In this new series of ‘meet the board’, we introduce you to DCA’s custodians. You can get to know their diversity and inclusion journey and their contribution to DCA. We begin with Abbie Wright, Aurecon’s Inclusion Manager. Here, she ‘confesses’ how she came to be involved in the industry, and her vision of the way forward.
“So … I once delivered a presentation to a women in leadership conference called “confessions of a diversity manager”. One of my confessions was that … I didn’t set out to become a D&I leader! It wasn’t a career goal, and how I arrived here wasn’t by design. It was, in fact, born from a moment in time when there was alignment between the organisation I was working for, recognising the business opportunities available when leveraging from diversity, and me looking to support that organisation to transform the way in which it embraces and enables talent.”
“Diversity Council Australia was integral to both Aurecon’s and my own diversity and inclusion approach and understanding. Very early on in my diversity and inclusion leadership journey I sat with Lisa Annese, who went on to become DCA’s CEO. For several hours we explored bias and the impact of behaviour and language on enabling talent, particularly female talent.
“It was a challenging conversation in that it prompted a sense of the way forward, which I knew wasn’t going to be easy. It was then that I realised the incredible value of DCA membership both for my own development, and for the organisation I worked for. In fact, the value I gain from DCA membership was what inspired me to nominate for the DCA Board. It’s an opportunity to give something back to the organisation whose knowledge programs and research contributes so much to the work I deliver.”
“Any role that deals with peoples’ personal values is not going to be an easy one, and nor should it be. Embracing what makes each person uniquely human is at the core of inclusion. Establishing a workplace where people respect others’ uniqueness when it doesn’t align to their own values won’t stand a chance unless there is a united business case which touches at an individual rather than just organisational level. This is an area of D&I that I’m particularly focused on; getting to peoples’ hearts and minds when it comes to the why. One of the D&I elements I champion is inclusive leadership as I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact empowering managers to lead teams inclusively can have.”
“My approach to inclusion is to bring others on the journey by influencing a work environment where everyone can feel psychologically safe, valued, and accepted. Bringing others on the journey can be achieved by engaging directly with employees, involving them and consulting with them, on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Diversity needs to be part of the employee experience, and not something that gets done to employees. When the staff themselves become champions for inclusion, there is no end to what can be achieved.”
For more on Abbie, read her full bio.