Says Kelsa: ‘Research tells us that the more diverse an organisation is, the more financially successful it is. From a personal perspective, the diversity I see in the neighbourhoods I’ve lived in is rarely reflected in the corporate environments I’ve worked in. Often at senior levels the talent pools are not diverse enough, and subsequently there’s less diversity. If we could be more open to recruiting people from different industries, this could help widen talent pools and lead to more diverse senior talent.’
Alexis agrees: ‘While some progress has been made, I believe British businesses can improve diversity throughout their workplace. It starts with fostering a culture of inclusion, where diverse voices are not only heard but actively valued and considered in decision-making processes. Companies should prioritise diverse hiring practices, implement bias training for employees, and establish clear paths for career advancement for underrepresented groups. Businesses risk losing top talent if they do not meet this challenge.'
Interestingly, SHFT has chosen not to mention diversity or inclusion anywhere on its website, the reason being, explains Chloë, is ‘it’s become a buzzword within the marketing industry and no longer holds much weight - it’s something that a lot of companies advertise but very little truly do. We haven’t strived to be diverse or inclusive because it is innate and by it being in the core of what we do and who we are, we have a diverse workforce and talent roster.’
The finalists all practise what they preach: SHFT has pioneered a new hiring structure that aims to bring more people of colour and people from working-class backgrounds into the industry while Kelsa implemented a development program in her previous role that fostered a culture of inclusion throughout the global workforce. At LinkedIn Tobi helped develop a program designed to elevate and empower leaders from under-represented ethnic backgrounds. Alexis has championed external organisations that work towards promoting racial equality and creating opportunities for underrepresented communities such as Fashion Minority Alliance and 10,000 Black Interns in the UK, and Jensen & Jensen supports Black-owned businesses, including partnerships with Inclusion Diversity Nuclear, Chapmans of London, Shakara, MSDUK, and the International Festival of Hip Hop.
‘A diverse workforce allows companies to tap into various cultural perspectives. This, in turn, helps businesses create a modern representation of Britain, a nation characterised by multiculturalism, especially London,’ says Myles Jensen. ‘Our conscious decision to collaborate with individuals who share our background and values goes beyond mentorship; it puts money in their pockets, supporting their business and personal growth.’