By Rachel Collins, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
I recently sat down and spoke to the team at TechUK on why allyship is so important to driving change. Allyship, defined as active support for marginalised groups, is critical for driving change and promoting engagement, job satisfaction, and customer loyalty. Colt is spotlighting allyship as part of our Actioning Inclusion campaign to promote understanding and define its practical application.
I spoke about the topic broadly at the industry level, but what about Colt? What do our Colties think about allyship, and are we doing enough? To mark International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD), I caught up with three of our team members to discuss what they think.
“To me, IWD gives me a chance to pause, reflect, appreciate and respect all the amazing women I’m surrounded by and their blessed presence in my life”, says Danielle Reilly, Head of Network Sourcing. “IWD gives us an avenue to connect with women and reinforce the message that ‘you can do this’ because it is possible, it’s just sometimes a little bit harder.”
For Danielle, allyship is about getting everyone on board – not just those affected by prejudice. “Everyone has the ability to be an ally,” she says. “Men can be allies to women; cis people can be allies to members of the LGBTQI+ community; able-bodied people can be allies to those with different abilities; economically privileged people can be allies to those who are not.”
I asked Danielle what the future looks like at Colt.
“Colt has set transparent targets, goals, and diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives. Doing so will increase the accountability of people in leadership positions, encourage honest conversations between Colties and their bosses, and inspire them to share ideas and solutions. I see a greater diverse leadership and Colt management team in the future.”
As Danielle explained, it’s not only women who should beat the drum of allyship, nor only once a year at events like IWD.
To Alessandro Galtieri, Vice President of Corporate Law, ignoring differences wasn’t enough. “I used to think treating everyone equally was an adequate solution to preventing prejudice. Now I understand the need and the urgency of positive action and allyship.” He goes on to tell me that he has faith that Colt’s I&D efforts – having been built into Colt’s DNA – will positively impact allyship at this digital infrastructure company.
Paul Hiscocks, Regional Service Delivery Director, is wholly aware of how his demographic – and his commitment to allyship – is where it’s needed most.
“Being an ally is the most important thing I can do as a white male in making work more inclusive and diverse. Whether I like it or not, I am in a privileged position, so to promote equity for women, people of ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and people of all gender and sexual orientation is massively important. Above all, on a moral and humane level, but also, the best teams that I have been a part of inside and outside of work are those where everyone has a voice and is heard, and feels comfortable to speak up; I can contribute to the group and is truly a part of it.”
I am proud of the Colties who offered me their stories and opinions to mark IWD. Inequality in the workplace affects everyone, so everyone needs to be involved to change it.
We’re celebrating IWD all week by sharing articles from our Women+, Pride and YOUnited networks as well as celebrating in person in our offices. You can join the conversation on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok.