A few weeks ago at MRS Impact 2022 the MRS Diversity Inclusion & Equality council presented “The Impact Inclusion Collective” booth – a group of speakers giving bitesize sessions on topics currently hot on the DI&E agenda.

The booth session on Day One was expertly hosted by Michael Albert Brown, MP of Insight, Data Solutions and Marketing at UM as well as a long-standing member of both MRS Pride and the MRS DI&E council. Sadly, on day one technology was not our friend! The recording that we hoped to share did not want to play nicely, but fear not! We will be releasing individual write ups of each of the topics we covered and linking to all things useful to you from each session.


Second up on Day 1 was Jake Steadman, who leads a project on Allyship for the MRS DI&E council, and he discussed his motivations, learnings and advice with Michael:

Michael asked what motivated Jake to put himself forward for the role of leading on Allyship for MRS.

“Short of it just being the right thing to do, the data that came out of the report mentioned by Babita (link below) was a shock to me, and I didn’t think it was ok, and I wanted to know how I could get involved, and what I could do”.

“When I look around the room in market research, there are a lot of people who tick the same boxes that I tick, and it was an eye opener when I saw the data on the impact that that was having – so I put my hand up because I wanted to be part of the solution.”

They then went on to discuss:

What are the main pillars of allyship: Allyship can be split into passive and active, or concentrating on both internal and self-development, as well as external action. From a self-development aspect it’s about how allies need to be proactive about how they educate themselves and be proactive about building networks and relationships with people who don’t look like them.

“There is a whole piece of work that we all need to do on ourselves when it comes to education”.

“There is a huge amount of literature out there on Allyship. Go onto google and type ‘what is allyship’ and you’ll find blogs, Harvard business school articles on it and there are loads of great books on the subject”

Jake has provided a selection that he would recommend as helping him on his journey below.

With external action, it’s about looking out for opportunities that allies have from a position of privilege to raise others up and offer opportunities wherever they can.

“From an external action perspective, it’s about recognising that the privilege that people like me have, is a power, and we can use that to advocate for others, to share opportunities.”

How do we engage with people who are maybe not on the journey towards allyship yet:

“Part of what I’m trying to do and the journey I’m on is that I think there are lots of people who do want to be better allies, but there is a lack of understanding about what that means and how to go about that.”

“We communicate that it’s ok to get things wrong, it’s ok to not have all the answers, and to see this as a journey that we are all on.”

Jake emphasised the need for allies to be open to feedback especially when being aware of potentially contentious language. And to not be afraid to ask for feedback on language that you are using if you are unsure. As booth attendee Lian Nuttall from InSites Consulting said in the chat:

 “Definitely speak to people to ask the language THEY like to use, but are also comfortable for YOU to use – just because you hear someone use a term doesn’t always mean they are comfortable with you doing the same  - opening the conversation/asking is important!”.


Diversity, inclusion and equality in the market research sector, 2020 report          


Books suggested by Jake as good foundational reading on Allyship:

So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo, Bahni Turpin, et al

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindess by Michelle Alexander

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji

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