It was a career highlight to be a guest of the Naz Legacy Foundation at the first market opening of the London Stock Exchange that marked Eid.
Let me start with a few explanations to set the scene.
The Naz Legacy Foundation continues the legacy of the late Naz Bokhari OBE, the first ever Muslim Head Teacher of a state comprehensive school. It helps young people from minority communities and disadvantaged backgrounds by supporting their education and encouraging positive integration into British society.
Eid is one of the most important dates in the Moslem calendar and marks the end of Ramadan which is a month-long dawn-to-sunset fast.
The official opening each morning to mark the start of trading is one of the great traditions of this institution and I cannot praise the London Stock Exchange enough for making the decision to gear this event to celebrate the contribution Moslems have made to the financial sector.
Inspiring and embracing young students in the presence of the Stock Exchange’s senior leadership created an opportunity for these role models to share their stories and reinforce the message of celebrating our identities at work.
Two years ago, recognising the positive impact of creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable culture, the London Stock Exchange approach Global Diversity Practice for advice and training on how best to proceed. This was another career landmark.
We designed and delivered all their unconscious bias and inclusion training. My training team and I delivered all the training to their ExCom and senior leaders across the world, travelling to Sri Lanka, New York and Italy. I then delivered keynotes to all colleagues as part of a cascade communication to ensure the message of inclusive leadership was heard by all.
A very proud personal and professional moment for me and GDP to listen to London Stock Exchange colleagues sharing their stories of belonging, encouraging others to bring their whole authentic selves to work.
This was such a milestone for an organisation that recognised they needed to change. It was a profound moment to witness the impact of our contribution and the integration of inclusivity as a core value and principle in one of the City’s most traditional institutions. Moments like this are important to me and to my business because they show us how our mission – to unlock the potential of inclusion was being realised – and helping organisations take their culture to another level of promise.
My own journey through corporate life has been marked by many challenges. While this is true for everyone, I know that I have faced many adversities only because of my ethnicity, religion and appearance.
Achieving my goal of helping businesses to embrace diversity and to create inclusive cultures where everyone thrives has been difficult and specially to stay true to my identity. I experienced discrimination from birth and into the workplace.
Today, thank you to the London Stock Exchange, the Naz Foundation and, I saw excitement and enthusiasm from students who now see inclusion in action and create a better world where everyone can be their authentic selves and see no limits to their success.