need to be aware of your difference. Aware that you are not the same as the others.
That is to be normal” -Alejandro Jodorowsky
I cannot recall any definition that talks about all of humanity under one yet for some reason, Society attempts to group us all under one definition. How could this be possible if we are all individually different?
Tuesday the 27th February 2018 marked the birth of a new era focused on diversity and
inclusiveness. It was a day we witnessed key players and FinTech industry experts from the LGBT and its ally community rallied together to celebrate diversity and inclusion as part of the black history month in the US and the LGBT month in the UK. This fantastic event was hosted at the friendly DueDil office space, though the unpredictable freezing weather affected travel and business activities across the UK, we had a great turn out of attendees and everyone had a great time.
The event was themed “Celebrating LGBTQ and allies, Diversity in Fintech” and it tailored towards the celebration of freedom, diversity and inclusivity. The event brought together a significant number of bright, outstanding, smart, and extremely talented professional individuals that had experienced or are currently experiencing struggles, hurdles, and limitations in their life and career journey. It’s sad to state that diversity and inclusivity is still an unknown subject to many.
It couldn’t have been fantastic evening without the presence of excellent panelists; Izzy Obeng the founder and Director Foundervine, Simon Vandi a consultant at Eureka Financial Ltd, and Alun Swift the Head of Sales and Marketing Operations at DueDil. Tom Kegode the Innovation Programmes and FinTech Engagement Manager at Lloyds Banking Group moderated the event and maintained a dynamic flow of discussion on diversity and inclusivity amongst the panellists. Each panellist shared from their experiences dealing with some of the challenges they faced because of their sexuality or race, and they also talked about how it was addressed to attain inclusiveness within a versatile work space.
Following the long list of questions asked, panellist responded to the question as to whether diversity and inclusivity is a subject best taught in educational institutions or in professional environment by sharing from their wealth of experience acquired throughout the years referencing cases where they were unsure if it is okay to reveal their real sexual identity in a professional environment or whether they should keep these identity private to the confinement of a social environment. They shared great insight and advised on the need to discuss these issues with employers and colleagues since many employers are not aware of the issue unless awareness is created.
The panel session was wrapped up with an excellent Keynote address by Gary Stewart the Director at Wayra UK, which is a subsidiary of Telefonica Group. Gary shared stories from his early life experience in the Caribbean and the Bronx followed by life at University and the corporate environment. He opened up on how he confronted and addressed questions relating to socio-economic background as well as being part of the Black Ethnic Minority group. Gary further shared insights on how he dealt with questions of gender orientation and staying true to his identity irrespective of societal flaws.
Deep insight was shared by the speakers on the current state of discussion regarding diversity and inclusion in today’s world, and indicators was provided on how we can collectively preach the gospel of diversity and inclusiveness in our everyday life. The panellist answered questions and provided profound insights, information, knowledge, and shared experience for attendees that had a list of unanswered questions. The experiences shared by the panellists revealed that some of us have fought our way to gain acceptance and equal treatment especially in professional work environments.
It is evident that our society has lost some of its values a while ago, allowing human inequality is a shame since we are all born equal regardless of the privileges and rights enjoyed by selected few. Humanity and love for one another is fading but this can be regained since this is the era of promoting and embracing equality and inclusion in our diversified world.
In the words of Mohammad Ali, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will
accomplish nothing in life”. Racial, gender and sexual segregation is no longer acceptable in today’s society, so it is our collective responsibility to educate our community members. We can leverage on technology by providing access to unlimited information assets and creating an enabling environment that will foster the speedy realisation of an enlightened society.
Those of at the LGBTQ Allies Diversity in FinTech event might be WOKE, however the real challenge is educating and supporting the development of other minds to match… It’s a collective, and on-going effort.
Here is to Diversity and Inclusivity everywhere we go!
Special thanks to Albert Kennedy Trust as event partner and to DueDil Management and
their incredible staff, Alesha white and Katerina Maniataki. The organising team Farouk
Umar, Tech lead at DueDil, Nzube Ufodike, Digital Product Owner at Wealth Dynamix,
and Babangida Y. Kure, Venture Capital Researcher at Kingston Business School.
Witten by Yana Yana Binaev, with contribution from Babangida Kure.
Yana Binaev is a multilingual freelancer speaking 6 languages and a passion for spreading awareness around diversity and inclusivity. As well as skills in social media and digital marketing, Yana also is a poet and creates content as a blogger. Find out more msbinaev.com
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