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National Inclusion Week - Major General Bobby Walton-Knight

Category: inclusion, testimonial, diversity, inclusive workplace, inclusive employer, Inclusive, Inclusivity, diverse workforce, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, National Inclusion Week, Inclusive culture, diverse and inclusive workplace, ministry of defence, diverse team, MOD, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, inclusive language, diverse talent, diversity and inclusion, Diverse voice, inclusive leadership, inclusive employment

Diversity and Inclusion

Major General Bobby Walton-Knight

I’m Bobby Walton-Knight and I recently took over from Nick Cavanagh as Director Strategy & Plans in DIO.  Like most of you I’m spending most of time on Skype rather than meeting people face-to-face, and working around three days a week in Andover for those meetings where I do need to be in the office. I’ve been reassured by the careful Covid controls that place been put in place and where people need to come in, it certainly feels a safe place to work.

I have been a LGBT Advocate for the Army for the past 5 years which has been a fascinating and rewarding role. Diversity & Inclusion is fundamental to how we think and operate as individuals and with our family, friends and colleagues. Being mindful, understanding and able to respond to the concerns and challenges of those around us is incredibly important, and more so in the current environment.  No two people are the same and we all face a unique set of circumstance, opportunities and challenges.  But we all deserve equality of opportunity and lived experience regardless of age, disability, gender or gender reassignment, race, religion, belief, sex, orientation, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity or paternity. The support we can give others often brings untold reassurance that is difficult to measure in tangible terms. In the DIO, we have six Diversity & Inclusion networks and forums, each with a Champion and Lead, and Champions, military and civilian, in each Directorate, the majority of who are qualified Diversity & Inclusion Advisors.

The theme of this year’s National Inclusion Week is ‘Each One, Reach One’. This is one person or one organisation reaching out to another person or organisation by inspiring, sharing and promoting inclusive practices. The DIO has events taking place, the majority in the virtual space. In Strategy & Plans, I am hosting, via Skype, a Diversity & Inclusion Conversation this week, that will explore several subjects, including race. I am holding it to reach out to my staff to better understand their lived experience of working in the DIO, regardless of individual background. I will then provide support, or address any of the issues that may be raised. I am very excited about it, particularly as the DIO’s Race Network Champion and Lead are joining us, and I will be challenging the views of my staff on different themes and encouraging debate. There will also be the opportunity to ask live questions, or via messenger, e-mail, phone or text if individuals feel more comfortable doing so this way. I have already invited all my staff, who are mix of military and civilian, to the conversation and they have an outline of what is arranged.

Alongside the support we give one another, it is the opportunity to reach out to those around us, and explore new themes and challenge ideas, that for me are the essence of inclusion.

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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 info@vercida.com for more information.

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Defence Infrastructure Organisation

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