Jan Gooding, global inclusion director at Aviva, has been named as the new President of MRS at Impact 2017. Jan's new role will come into effect in April 2017. This is her opening speech for the conference.
you for giving me this opportunity to say a few words. I am absolutely
delighted to be joining as your new President. And particularly proud to be
following in the footsteps of Dame Dianne Thompson, who has been such an
inspiration to all women who have aspired to have senior positions at work.
have to say that throughout my career getting my hands on trustworthy data and
insight has been crucial. It helps to explain where you are. How you may have
got there. And what viable options there may be to move forward.
I have just
started a new role at Aviva as Global Inclusion Director. The first request from the Chief People Officer was to commission a piece of qualitative research to find
out what colleagues at Aviva would describe as the ‘Stones in their Shoes’ when
it came to our HR processes and interactions with the people function. Whilst I
have always resisted the idea of an internal customer to describe the
relationship between departments I was impressed that before reviewing her
global organisation she was making sure she had a different and independent
perspective to help shift thinking and possible options.
all know as practitioners that you can’t change attitudes and behaviour without
getting under the skin of what people do, and the mindset that prompts it.
When I joined
the board of Stonewall as a trustee I quickly learned that a key success factor
to the impact they have had over the last 28 years - was their evidence based
campaigning. They can tell you that 25% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans
people are not ‘out’ to their work
colleagues. They know that 86% of secondary school and 45 per cent of primary
school teachers still say that pupils in their school, regardless of sexual
orientation, experience homophobic bullying. It helps to tell a story that may
challenge what any of us can experience first hand and believed to be the case.
the subject of inclusion, I am delighted that my arrival coincides with your
own review of thediversity of the research industry which I understand will be
followed up with a relevant campaign. I remember reading about Jessica
Mitford’s brief time working in the market research industry in 1930’s
-describing it as ‘considered to be slightly above selling or office work.
Attracting co-workers who were all women between the ages of 25 and 45, ex
chorus girls, the wives of businessmen, friends of copywriters and aspiring
a lot has changed with regard to the diversity of people engaged in the
industry. But we all know that no-one is able to say that their sector or
company is completely inclusive. You are no exception - and its important that
you put some energy into addressing the issues that have been uncovered,
working from your strengths, so you never doubt your ability be insightful
about the people you profess to understand.
at Aviva we find it difficult to be amongst the 50% FTSE 100 companies with no
black or minority ethnic board members. There is more and more transparency and
reporting on the make-up of people working in both the public and private
sectors. It seems that once again equality is back on the agenda. Not from the
perspective of ethics but because working with people who are different to us,
on any dimension, makes us better at what we do, and the cost of trying to fit
in and be someone you are not is too high. It’s about good old fashioned
productivity improvements, as well as improving the collective intelligence and
problem-solving capability in our companies.
The Wall Street Journal, The FT and The Economist have published endless
evidence making the case for the positive business impact of diverse and
inclusive workplaces. I am delighted that you are all taking stock of where you
are, and more importantly what you intend to do to make change.
time when the President of the most powerful economy in the world questions
what we would generally regard as truth, and calls it false – the whole idea of
what counts as ‘reliable evidence’ is called into question.
standards that you set and follow as an industry, the education and training
provided, the constant challenge and debate conducted through the MRS
Conferences like today, and the generous sharing of best practice case studies
really matters. When I was a graduate I was taught to put my ‘sources’ on any
presentation I did. It is something that I can see coming very much back in
really mind about it. That is why I became Chair of PAMCo and am overseeing the
complete reform of the joint industry currency for publishers – to provide
transparent, objective and accountable data so advertisers know the value of
what they have paid for.
actions speak louder than words then I hope the fact that I am standing here
wanting to be part in MRS tells you that I am here because I believe this
organisation, very ably led by Jane Frost, and all its work is very important.