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Leadership Insights:Inclusion week 2023

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

In a series of articles, we discuss topical issues facing industry leaders, all through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (D,E &I)

With this week marking inclusion week and the theme being 'Take Action, Make Impact', we thought we’d pass the reigns onto other business leaders to give us their thoughts on diversity and inclusion, and what action they are taking to bring about impactful change in their industry.

As we approach the end of Inclusion week, we continue to explore current challenges that industry leaders face, with a primary focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

We are pleased to present another influential leader, Enoch Adeyemi, The CEO and Founder of Black Professionals Scotland, who shares his thoughts on inclusion and what actions he has taken to make Scotland more inclusive for Black Professionals.

In a world where employment opportunities often present significant challenges for minority communities, Black Professionals Scotland is a prime example of a team who provide meaningful support to empower Scottish black ethnic minority professionals with life-changing opportunities to help them reach career goals. We asked Enoch a series of questions and here are his responses:

1. Why are you passionate about diversity and inclusion?

I am passionate about diversity and inclusion because of my deep understanding of the impact of discrimination as a Black man in Scotland. Throughout my career and personal life, I have experienced various forms of discrimination based on my speech, skin colour, and culture. These lived experiences have fuelled my commitment to addressing inequality and fostering a more inclusive society.

I have channelled this passion into practical initiatives, such as founding Black Professionals Scotland (BPS) and co-founding Black Scottish Adventurers (BSA). My experiences have made me realise that diversity and inclusion are essential for creating a more just and equitable society. When everyone is valued and respected, we all thrive. Beyond my personal encounters with discrimination, I am equally passionate about diversity and inclusion because I believe it is the right thing to do. I am human and so are you, therefore, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

2. Can you share examples of specific actions your organisation has taken to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession?

Black Professionals Scotland (BPS), has taken several specific actions to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. We've done this through:

  • Career Support: BPS provides career support and guidance to Black individuals pursuing legal careers. We offer mentorship programs, workshops, and networking events to help them navigate the legal profession.

  • Collaboration: We collaborate with legal organisations and firms to create internship and employment opportunities for our members, fostering diversity in legal workplaces.

  • Advocacy: BPS actively advocates for diversity and inclusion in the legal sector by engaging with legal associations and participating in discussions on equitable policies and practices.

  • Recognition: BPS acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of Black professionals, including those in the legal field, through The Black Scottish Awards to inspire others and highlight diverse talent.

3. How have these actions resulted in tangible impacts or positive changes within your workplace?

Through initiatives like Black Professionals Scotland (BPS) and Black Scottish Adventurers (BSA), we have significantly increased diversity and inclusion. BPS boasts more than 4,000 members, fostering a more inclusive professional community, while BSA has made outdoor spaces more accessible to ethnic minorities. We have actively fostered collaborative partnerships within and beyond the organisation. This has led to positive outcomes for both members and partners, enhancing our ability to achieve shared objectives and address common issues.

4. What are some key challenges you’ve encountered in promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal field?

Some key challenges we've encountered in promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal field include gaining access to decision-making spaces, building trust, ensuring meaningful mentorship, fostering community engagement, and establishing effective partnerships with businesses.

5. In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues that require immediate action to advance diversity and inclusion in the legal field?

In the legal field, immediate action is required to advance diversity and inclusion. Key priorities include increasing the representation of underrepresented groups at all career levels, breaking down systemic barriers, addressing implicit bias through awareness programs, fostering mentorship and sponsorship for diverse professionals, promoting diversity in leadership positions, implementing inclusive policies, and collecting and analysing demographic data. These steps collectively aim to create a more inclusive and equitable legal profession for the benefit of all.

6. How can National Inclusion Week serve as a platform to inspire legal professionals to take meaningful actions and create lasting impacts?

National Inclusion Week can inspire legal professionals to take meaningful actions and create a lasting impact by raising awareness about diversity and inclusion challenges within the legal field, which serve as inspiring examples and provide educational opportunities. Through open dialogue and discussions, it can foster a culture of inclusivity and encourage professionals to publicly commit to diversity and inclusion efforts. Furthermore, the week can facilitate networking and collaboration, enabling legal experts to connect with like-minded organisations and individuals, thereby promoting collective efforts to make lasting impacts in the field of diversity and inclusion.

7. Can you share personal experiences or stories where taking action in support of inclusivity has made a profound difference in your legal career?

While I don't have a legal career myself, I've witnessed the incredible impact of BPS’ initiatives like Black Scot Interns and Blacked Skilled Pathway Programme within the legal profession. These programs have provided opportunities for interns and skilled professionals, opening doors at prestigious firms such as Pinsent Masons, Brodies LLP, and Morton Fraser. It's inspiring to see how taking action to promote inclusivity can make a profound difference in the careers of those involved. These success stories demonstrate that when we prioritise diversity and inclusion, we create a more equitable and thriving legal community for everyone.

8. What advice would you offer to legal organisations looking to take proactive steps to make a meaningful impact on diversity and inclusion?

I would say that legal organisations should:

  • Lead by example by committing to diversity and inclusion, assessing the current landscape, and establishing inclusive policies and practices.

  • Support underrepresented employees through mentorship, sponsorship, and diverse hiring practices.

  • Empower employees to connect, share experiences, and create community through employee resource groups.

  • Set goals, monitor progress, and hold leaders accountable.

  • Continuously improve diversity and inclusion efforts through open communication, employee involvement, and celebration of successes.

About the contributor: Black Professionals Scotland is a beneficial networking platform that was founded on the principle of equity and fairness. It is powered by motivational speakers who are dedicated to support Black professionals in Scotland by presenting internship opportunities and mentoring programmes designed to assist the minority in choosing their career choice. BPS has acheived an admirable set of awards throughout the years such as ‘Platform of the Year’ - Proudly Black And Scottish Awards 2022 Gala and Enoch becoming ‘Diversity Hero of the Year. Thank You Enoch Adeyemi for your contribution to inclusion week.

If you’d like assistance with planning your inclusion event, share your insights or wish to discuss your D, E & I ambition, please contact us using this link:

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