National Inclusion Week 2021
In celebration of this year’s National Inclusion Week (NIW) we spoke to Ivy, Gender Identity Lead on the PRIDE at MBDA committee, and Andy, Co-Chair of the Neurodiversity at MBDA committee. We discussed how MBDA has evolved over the years in its commitment to inclusion and how our networks collaborate to foster this inclusive culture.
MBDA have participated in NIW for the third year running now, how do you think we have evolved in that time and how do we demonstrate our commitment to inclusion?
“The past three years has seen a proliferation of inclusion networks and a huge rise in engagement from our communities. Pride at MBDA recently celebrated its third anniversary, and other great networks such as Mosaic (celebrating ethnic diversity), Neurodiversity and Parents and Carers (among others!) have been growing rapidly over the past couple of years. Seeing attendance at our events go from a handful of people to 30+ for National Inclusion Week this year is reassuring us all that we are doing the right thing by promoting inclusion among our networks and the wider MBDA community.” Ivy - Gender Identity Lead, PRIDE at MBDA
“I have been in the company for two years now and yet in just those two years MBDA as with all other companies have had to change to a different world. Being inclusive is increasingly important to understand the particular challenges people face and the pandemic has brought this into sharp focus. Moving from face to face meetings to a virtual world has been challenging but opened up opportunities for to bringing people together in different ways.
MBDA consistently highlights its commitment to inclusion with a wide and varied set of communities that embrace inclusion in its many forms. The Mosaic Network and the Neurodiversity Network going from strength to strength highlights aspects of needed inclusivity. The full support that MBDA support has provided shows that MBDA wants to make these changes” Andy – Co-Chair, Neurodiversity at MBDA
Together we celebrate inclusion. How do you collaborate with other networks?
“This NIW we are running our events in collaboration with our gender balance network SPACE2B (Being an Ally) and Mosaic (Intersectionality). This has given all of our networks the opportunity to share how we approach these topics at work; the same word can mean very different things depending on who is reading it!
Beyond this, intersectionality and allyship have been core focuses of our work this year; we have worked closely with representatives in other network to brief our own awareness and presentations, introduced a new Ally lead specifically tasked with engaging and involving our ally community across networks, and collaborated externally with groups such as Airbus and the RAF as part of Pride in Defence.” Ivy - Gender Identity Lead, PRIDE at MBDA
“As a new network we are still building these relationships but already have had exciting collaborations with the parents and carers community. Discussions are happening with other communities to understand their histories and take forward from the lessons they learnt. I foresee a lot of opportunity for collaboration and discussions with other networks as together we all interact and intersect in ways that needs raising to challenge discrimination and raise awareness.” Andy – Co-Chair, Neurodiversity at MBDA
The NIW theme this year is all about unity. How do you think this is reflected through our company values?
“The obvious answer lies in our company value of Team Spirit. We all work together in our local, departmental and wider group teams, and fostering inclusion in these groups is key in making us effective and allowing us to deliver to our customers with a competitive advantage. There is still a long way to go in introducing inclusion as a given in teams across the company but we are definitely in a better place than we were three years ago.” Ivy - Gender Identity Lead, PRIDE at MBDA
“Working with all, uniting together, embracing how those who are different can bring a different viewpoint that leads to innovation. The commitment of MBDA and its communities to being a truly great place to work, embracing differences. Together we face down discrimination, working with integrity. Passion of the communities to grow and raise awareness. United together, strong teams leading to a true sense of Team spirit.” Andy – Co-Chair, Neurodiversity at MBDA
Can you give examples of how inclusion at MBDA has played a part in your everyday life, in and out of the workplace?
“I myself have experienced the impact a lack of inclusion can have on employees. Prior to coming out at work, I felt isolated, exhausted and ineffective in my role; and even after coming out, there have been multiple incidents which have left me feeling like there is an uphill struggle. That being said, the presence of inclusion networks such as Pride at MBDA is the sole reason I have been able to come out at work and is the backbone of my support network in the workplace, and I do truly believe that these networks improve the lives of people who participate in them.” Ivy - Gender Identity Lead, PRIDE at MBDA
“Everyone is different, it’s what makes us special but it is easy to say that, and hard sometimes to live. Feeling like you are alone can be difficult. Having to hide your true self is tiring and challenging and having that worry that your career can be harmed, knowing the company is so supportive is important to me because I am so passionate about being inclusive. Part of the reason I took this job in MBDA was because of the inclusivity I saw advertised in LinkedIn. I have been able to actively get involved in the neurodiversity committee that now plays an important part of my work life. Having this involvement will continue to be important to me.
The stories that others have shared has led to conversations in and out of work and making changes to how we can be more open in recruitment and supportive as managers and peers. I have challenged people I know by raising their awareness. Changing people’s perceptions makes it so worthwhile.” Andy – Co-Chair, Neurodiversity at MBDA
MBDA is an award winning company; committed to providing an inclusive working environment where our employees can be themselves and everyone has equal opportunity to reach their full potential. We value difference and know that a diverse community makes for greater innovation and brings a breadth of skills, experience and perspectives.
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