Category: Workplace Inclusion, WalesOnline Diversity and Inclusion Awards, ReachOut LGBTQ+ peer network, Gender Equality Champion, LGBTQI+ Champion, Disability Champion, Race and Ethnicity Champion, Social Mobility Champion, Wellbeing/Mental Health Champion, Peer Network of the Year, Inclusive Advertising Campaign of the Year, D&I Specialist Business of the Year, Outstanding Contribution Award
Dee Llewellyn came up with the idea for the brand new WalesOnline Diversity and Inclusion Awards
Dee and her child Amber celebrating Pride in 2019
Last month saw the launch of the brand new WalesOnline Diversity and Inclusion Awards and we're speaking to the Port Talbot local behind the idea.
Involved in awards events right across the country as a key account director for Reach plc, Dee Llewellyn noticed that there was one missing: a celebration of our equality champions.
Dee's big idea was so admired that it was given the support of WalesOnline, NorthWalesLive and BusinessLive, with various local companies already sponsoring the event.
The WalesOnline Diversity and Inclusion Awards recognise individuals, groups and initiatives which are making a positive social impact across Wales. Read on to find out what each of the 13 categories rewards.
But time is running out - make sure your stories are heard by entering online before the deadline on May 2.
The special event will culminate in a grand ceremony on June 22, 2022 at Cardiff City Stadium. For more information about the event, entering and sponsorship opportunities, visit the website.
Dee herself is a diversity and inclusion champion. Her everyday revolves around advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Not only is one of her roles at Reach plc named inclusion champion, where she co-ordinates events for the ReachOut LGBTQ+ peer network, but she also offers expertise and support through Pride Cymru and myGwork.
So what motivates Dee to make the huge difference she does?
"I am a bisexual woman who lives with a disability and is the parent of a non-binary child. I guess that really is the story," she said.
"I grew up knowing I was bisexual, but in those days it wasn’t really something you could be open about in school. I couldn’t truly be myself if I wanted to be accepted and that really bothered me."
Dee and her wife Sarah on their wedding day
Then, at 21, Dee was tragically involved in a hit-and-run which left her with severe life-threatening injuries, not expected to survive. She had to fight to get well, walk and work again, and subsequently suffered 10 years of injury.
"That experience opened my eyes a little to what life is like for people who live with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
"Then, when my child came out as transgender and finally settled in a non-binary identity, I watched them face bullying, stigma and an immense amount of inequality.
"I suppose it is a myriad of all of these things that’s made equality, diversity and inclusion such a passion for me. I am privileged to have been given an opportunity to make a difference, however small, to the lives of others."
Already at the heart of the company's cultural priorities, Dee joined Reach plc with a very strong diversity and inclusion focus.
It was only in her fourth week when she brought up the idea of the WalesOnline Diversity and Inclusion Awards and has since watched it come to life.
"The only awards of this nature are all based in London and are national, British awards. These awards will give us a chance to recognise the great work being done within Wales, to reward those really making a difference," she said.
"People who strive to make their workplaces more inclusive and promote diversity usually do so out of passion. Winning a prestigious national accolade for their commitment to diversity and inclusion can really make all that hard work worthwhile and show the appreciation felt by colleagues, employees and even customers."
Dee works with Pride Cymru to better connect the LGBTQ+ network
Take a look at the categories and criteria below and use Dee's advice when entering before May 2.
Gender Equality Champion, Initiative or Campaign of the Year
This award celebrates an individual, activity or campaign that has brought about change or placed a spotlight on gender issues.
LGBTQI+ Champion, Initiative or Campaign of the Year
The second category celebrates an individual, activity or campaign that has brought about change or shone a spotlight on LGBTQI+ issues.
Disability Champion, Initiative or Campaign of the Year
This award celebrates an individual, activity or campaign that has brought about change or placed a spotlight on disability.
Race and Ethnicity Champion, Initiative or Campaign of the Year
This important category of the event champions an individual, activity or campaign that has brought about change or brought important awareness to race and ethnicity.
Social Mobility Champion, Initiative or Campaign of the Year
This reward focuses on an individual, activity or campaign that has changed this for the better or placed a spotlight on issues regarding mobility.
Wellbeing/Mental Health Champion, Initiative or Campaign of the Year
This award celebrates an individual, activity or campaign that has a focus on improving the lives of people through wellbeing or mental health issues.
CSR Initiative of the Year
This award celebrates an activity, initiative or campaign that has had a positive social or environmental impact, linked to inclusion.
Peer Network of the Year
A peer network is a group of people who come together to support a common goal (usually voluntarily); this could be to raise awareness of a certain topic or an underrepresented group. Other names for peer groups are employee resource groups and inclusion networks.
Inclusive Advertising Campaign of the Year
This award celebrates an advertising campaign that encourages better representation of diverse communities within the industry.
Diversity in Tech Initiative of the Year
This award celebrates an initiative relating specifically to technology that has brought about change or placed a spotlight on diversity and inclusion.
D&I Specialist Business of the Year
This award celebrates an organisation that has brought about change, implemented an outstanding piece of work or placed a spotlight on a specific aspect of diversity and inclusion and has been a force for good.
D&I Podcast of the Year
This award celebrates a podcast that has excelled at bringing diversity and inclusion to a listening audience.
Outstanding Contribution Award
This award celebrates an individual that has made an outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion.
Nominations close on Monday, May 2. To enter or find out more information, click here.