For the first time this year, the Stonewall Scotland Workplace Conference will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, an impressive and exciting venue with the size and scope to reflect our vision and ambition for our diverse communities. It comes to the EICC for the first time due to the conference’s growth – we first started with just 80 delegates and this week will welcome over 200.
I find it hard to believe that the 2015 conference is only the seventh to be held in Scotland; its history is so short and yet (in my opinion) its significance and impact on individuals, communities and workplaces, so great. I can’t help feeling that this year we really are in our stride and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
This year’s conference is on Friday 4 December and is the largest annual conference on inclusion in the workplace outside of London. Together we will reflect on what we’ve achieved for LGBT equality over the past year, and be inspired and empowered to deliver in 2016 and beyond.
Stonewall’s values of celebrating difference and promoting the value of diversity underpins our fantastic speakers and unique breakout sessions; but most importantly, we see the diversity of our community reflected in the delegates who've booked to attend. A real mix of organisations will be represented from NHS boards, FTSE 100 companies, national and local government, as well as a growing number of third sector organisations who we collaborate with. Delegates are attending from across the UK, from as far away as Shetland and Somerset.
We’ve seen Stonewall conferences change in structure over the years. Where we are today is a place where we collaborate and engage in partnership learning, to empower individuals to create change within their institutions.
We are thrilled to have developed this content alongside a group of fantastic speakers and session chairs to present something that really reflects Stonewall’s values and mission.
Stonewall’s Workplace Conferences are not box-ticking exercises and we will never allow them to be. It is our responsibility to continue to set the bar higher, to facilitate the best learning environments and most importantly, to motivate and empower people to deliver change in their workplaces and communities. Otherwise, we’re failing those millions of people like us who don’t feel empowered or represented and don’t have a voice.
I continue to feel humbled and reinvigorated by the fact that so many professionals choose to spend the day learning about diversity and inclusion in the workplace with Stonewall, especially when we really do ask them to work hard on the day. In a way, for me it represents the best of people, that willingness to engage in something constructive for the common good and to keep coming back year after year to challenge ourselves.
So if you’re coming along, we’ll make a deal, prepare to work hard and we will do the same because after all, if we don’t, who will?
Follow the conversation this Friday on Twitter, using the hashtag #EqualAtWork.