By Anna Price CEO & Founder human.  | Inclusion Champion | Strategy Adviser

In the current landscape of business, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) seem to either have become buzzwords echoing through boardrooms and corporate strategies or are increasingly subject to backlash by a noisy minority of anti-woke individuals.

The discourse often appears performative and reactive, lacking the authenticity required to foster genuine change. This trend raises critical questions about the sincerity behind the push for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

My journey as a parent of children with unique needs and my own experiences as a woman with ADHD, have fuelled my passion for authentic inclusion. On August 10, 2009, my youngest daughter, Eloise, entered the world, bringing with her the realisation that our lives would forever be different. Eloise, born with Down Syndrome, presented a visible challenge, but one that was generally met with compassion and kindness. A stark contrast emerged when my eldest daughter faced a hidden disability—autism—eliciting more negativity, doubt, and exclusion from those who lacked awareness about her condition.

Amidst these challenges, I found myself advocating not only for my children’s inclusion but also for a broader, more authentic approach to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. My encounters with exclusion in the professional world, compounded by being a woman in male-dominated industries and a single parent with caregiving responsibilities, exposed the performative nature of many diversity initiatives.

In conversations with business leaders, I’ve witnessed the struggle to navigate the increasing noise around diversity and inclusion. The fear of saying the wrong thing and the uncertainty of where to turn for guidance often leads to silence. The performative nature of many initiatives, driven by a reactive approach rather than genuine understanding, contributes to a lack of progress.

Reflecting on these experiences, I envisioned a future where leaders could engage in honest, fearless conversations without fear of reprisal. A future where the authenticity of inclusion transcends rhetoric and becomes a cornerstone of organisational culture. The somewhat synthetic nature of current efforts not only hinders progress but also perpetuates a cycle of exclusion.

The urgency to change the world of work for the better stems from the need for a more inclusive environment for my children, for future generations, and for everyone who has felt the sting of exclusion. As an advocate for all those who see themselves as different, I am committed to creating a space where diversity and inclusion are not checkboxes but ingrained principles.

In this envisioned future, my children, and others like them, can enter the workforce as valued contributors, and leaders can confidently navigate the complexities of the diverse identities had by human beings in our workplaces and society. I want to break the cycle of performative gestures and reactive strategies, fostering a workplace where authenticity is the driving force behind every inclusion initiative.

The journey to authentic inclusion is not just about changing policies; it’s about reshaping attitudes and fostering understanding. By sharing my experiences and engaging in open, honest conversations, I hope to inspire leaders to lead with authenticity, empathy, and a genuine commitment to inclusion. Together, with a little more humanity and a little less hostility, we can silence the noise surrounding diversity and inclusion, and replace it with a harmonious melody that resonates throughout the world of work for generations to come.

About the author

A Strategic Communication and Inclusion expert, Anna has devoted her life and career to helping other businesses and people reach their potential. She does this by combining over 25 years of international experience with her innate ability to create authentic connections and observe the bigger picture. She works closely with organisations to establish their unique market position and understand how they can differentiate themselves from the competition by identifying, developing, and capitalising on their strengths. She helps people and businesses to see things from a different perspective. Her experience has been gathered working across multiple sectors and with organisations ranging from micro businesses to FTSE 100 organisations.
In every role she’s fulfilled people view Anna as positively different and she has embraced this difference to found human. to help facilitate her long-held desire to make the world of work accessible for all.

Often described as a whirlwind Anna was diagnosed with ADHD in 2014 and is a passionate advocate for neurodiversity and workplace inclusion – or as she likes to call it “allowing people to be themselves”. She is also a parent to two disabled children – one who is autistic and one who has Down’s Syndrome, her reason for championing change is for them.

Anna has contributed to many EDI Programmes and activities as a consultant, mentor and influencer over the last 10 years, including for ACAS, Amazon and Mattioli Woods, as well as appearing on the BBC in the national press and numerous radio shows and podcasts, as well as sitting on the influential and ground-breaking CMI Women Board.

Anna decided in 2020 that whilst she enjoyed her role as a neurodiversity ally there was a huge opportunity to bring clarity and pragmatism to the evolving and noisy EDI sector to enable organisations to access EDI advice, guidance and strategy without the bias often brought about through the echo chambers in which EDI consultancies operate. And so human. was born.

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