An event was held by Truth to celebrate the outstanding Changemakers within the insights sector. In an evening of thought-provoking and empowering conversations, everyone agreed that we are, in reality, the people who must start the change we want to see happen.
Important conversations regarding the improvement of equitable access to the Insights and Research sector are only just the beginning. Where is our industry heading and are we doing enough? How can we each, as individuals and as a collective, do more to affect change and truly understand the people we seek to represent?
These were some of the questions we sought to find answers to when, in partnership with the MRS, we created the DI&E Changemaker Award, an award to recognise individuals in the research, insight & data analytics sector who are making specific contributions to meaningful diversity, inclusion and equality initiatives – either within their own organisations or as part of work they do in their wider communities.
Following the awards ceremony in June, we invited our finalists and Jan Gooding, former President of the MRS for a panel discussion in our offices on National Inclusion Week. Jan kicked off the event with a brilliant intro which left us both speechless and hungry to hear more about her experience. Being constantly challenged by stereotypes and facing discrimination, she reflected “I’m happy to say, my boss said it was the biggest mistake of his life, getting rid of me”. But as life has its ups, as well as downs, at a different company she found herself in a supportive environment, in an environment where she wasn’t afraid to speak up, and initiate change when her supervisors recognised that she lost her spark.
Trying to sum up one’s experience with diversity and inclusion isn’t an easy feat, however, Jan’s wise words are as close as it gets to this: “There was no destiny, there were simply choices that I made” and “The most important thing is to know that change happens”.
Our second speaker of the night, Clare Woodward, was nominated for the world-first creation of guidelines for insight professionals to ensure they are conducting inclusive research. The project originated from a desire to drive real, meaningful, positive change within our industry, and to create guidance that drives research to be more inclusive throughout, providing safe environments where participants feel a sense of belonging and that their contributions are valued and not just adding extra quotas to sampling.
Recognising her own privileges and having a strong desire to fight for other people, Clare is passionate about research and EDI and was keen to lead the project. Unsurprisingly, she, like many others who are on a mission to become Changemakers, encountered numerous challenges but her number one tip to overcome these stayed the same: “If you don’t know something, Google it. There's so much information out there.”
The MRS Diversity and Inclusion Best Practice Guides cover inclusivity from sampling, the pros and cons of certain methodologies, and the language we use. They help drive systemic change by harnessing the influence that commissioning clients have – if clients are changing the agenda, then the agenda changes – and can be found here: https://www.mrs.org.uk/resources/diversity-and-inclusion-guides-for-clients
Next up, we heard from Daniela Aguilera. Daniela was nominated for challenging stereotypes, pushing for EDI in their everyday work and educating and inspiring others. Daniela has been in the industry since secondary school and always questioned the status quo. Working in project management and qual recruitment allows scope for doing this. Why do you want to speak to these people? How will you do it? What are you going to do with that data? Inclusion is front of their mind, and they have driven a lot of tangible change as part of their day-to-day role – starting with challenging the recruitment spec that allowed them to challenge the system, setting the foundation for whose voices will be heard by the influential and powerful brands we advise. So, what is Daniela’s biggest achievement? “Proving that diversity and inclusion benefits everyone.”
Our next panellist, Ryan Uhl, was nominated for passionately championing EDI initiatives that have delivered meaningful business impact. Despite feeling like he is still at the beginning of his journey, he believes the strategy they are laying down at Mail Metro Media to understand communities will pay dividends for their future work and insights. His strong work on external partnerships is also making insight and data more accessible, encouraging understanding through research on identity and representation. He constantly questions himself and the bias his company holds, so not surprisingly, his biggest piece of advice stems from this as well: ”Don’t just hire people like you. Hire someone different.”
The winner of the MRS Changemaker Award 2022, Sabrina Trinquetel was our last speaker of the day. Leading by example, unafraid to be bold or vulnerable, Sabrina was nominated for raising awareness of the intersectional agenda and impactful contributions to MRSpride and CORe. For her, being able to bring your whole self to work in a trusted environment, with joy and belonging is incredibly important. ”Not to say each day is easy, but they have the strength, tools and support to get on with their job, and that they aren’t distracted, held back or unhappy because of the way they are treated or made to feel. That’s where my drive to help people and businesses comes from.” According to Sabrina, we have some difficult questions to answer in the future, from climate change to economic fluctuation, so we need the most diverse, confident, and supported people working to provide unique insights to brands and governments across the world.
Through her work with MRS Pride and the DI&E council, Sabrina helps drive change to achieve this goal, raising awareness of unheard stories and challenges, creating the tools, support and content to inspire and guide other people to make a change and through listening, sharing and celebrating with others the stories from across the industry and the progress we have already made. “My drive is trying to create an environment where people can feel comfortable. I know it sounds simple but it’s not.”
You can read more about the MRS’ other work here https://www.mrs.org.uk/about/mrs-diversity-inclusion-equality-council and watch the video on Intersectional Research from MRSpride x CORe, led by Sabrina on https://youtu.be/r9H47eDpDMM