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Why I’m passionate about diversity

Category: testimonial, Award, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Capita, Staff Testimonial, role model, black women, future leaders, Black Talent, black British, Award winner, Black female, equality and diversity

Diversity and Inclusion

Eileen Lewis - 100 Future Leaders award

Eileen Lewis, Diversity and Inclusion Business Partner at Capita, is also the programme lead and instructor for Reduce Inequality Stive for Equality (RISE), which is specifically designed to support underrepresented colleagues progress their careers. Here she tells us about her new role and what it means to be part of the 100 Future Leaders List.

I started my career in Sheffield County Council working in housing and council tax benefit administration, working my way up from benefits clerk to benefits assessor and then team leader. We were acquired by another company, and I moved into the training world, teaching people how to process housing and council tax benefits, before training in business analysis. I was lucky to learn a lot from different people and work on different aspects within various business areas.

I joined Capita in January 2009 as a training and policy officer and since then I’ve had two promotions and three secondment opportunities. I started my current role in April and I’m on a project management level 5 apprenticeship as part of it. I’ve been supported so well at Capita in all of my previous roles, and I’ve got a mentor and a coach that help me to drive my career forward, which has been amazing. My manager suggested the apprenticeship because project management is a skill that can be applied to so many areas and I can take it anywhere.

Being the best I can be

At this point in my career, I want to develop people and help them become the best that they can be. I love working with people and having gone through various challenges in my own career, I want to be able to share those experiences with people be able to inspire and empower them.

That’s how I came up with the Reduce Inequality Strive for Equality (RISE) programme – because I wanted everyone to be able to share their voice and have a space to communicate their own experiences. RISE is all about developing Black, Asian and minority ethnic people and starting them off on a transformational career journey that will give them leadership skills and competencies for them to be able to apply for senior leadership roles. There is a lack of people in these roles at Capita, and I wanted to create a programme to help restore the confidence that was needed in the business. It’s a tangible leadership course – which is very different from other leadership courses out there because we give people time to practice skills and be in new environments as team leader, for example. This allows them to show how they would work in new roles.

A passion for people

Words really can't describe how blown away I was by the 100 Future Leaders award. I've been nominated for a previous award – the Black Tech Awards – and I’ve just won an internal award as well. All of these recognitions that are coming up just make me feel humble and proud. The key part about it for me is that I do it because I care and I'm passionate about it. When I help someone achieve something they thought they couldn't, or inspire them to take the next step - that's when I feel really proud

My recognition demonstrates that people can see the great stuff that you’re doing even though you might not. It demonstrates that companies care, because without being given the right opportunities, I wouldn’t have been able to make that list. Capita has created these platforms for me to be able to shine. It shows what we can do to improve diversity and inclusion within the workplace when we work together.

A great leader to me is somebody who leads by example and inspires and motivates people to be the best they can be. It's as simple as that. Someone who will put out their hand and pull others up after them and then push them up higher.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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