How to be Inclusive when you have Zero Budget

By Anj Handa

Before we begin, an admission. My heading was designed to draw you – in because you can and should be inclusive, no matter what the circumstances. Meeting people where they are at is possible for all human beings. Yes, systems and processes can hinder inclusivity within your organisation but should not be your excuse.

Inclusion takes daily practice – keeping your ears and ears open and responding to what those around you are saying, whether they are your clients, delegates, colleagues or friends and family.

In a recent interview, Rod Githens, associate professor of leadership and organization development at the University of the Pacific said: “You hear all these depressing stats over and over, and there’s this perception that nothing is changing.”

The article, ‘Employees are tired of their companies paying lip service to diversity’, expands this point further:

‘Part of the problem, Githens says, comes from a lack of transparency. Employees may see their organization “talking the talk,” so to speak, by organizing diversity events and increasing awareness of its importance.

But until leaders are “walking the walk” and making systemic changes, employees may not feel inspired to do the same.’

I’d like to share some of the ways in which I maintain Inspiring Women Changemakers’ commitment to inclusion, yes, with zero budget. Because it’s in the fabric of why we do what we do, what we do, and how we do it. It’s not a bolt on, it’s our culture. We don’t always get it right but we are always willing to listen and learn.

We’re a *women-led movement for positive social change which actively seeks to include *men (*and those who identify as women/men). In short, if you’re as passionate about making a difference as we are, come on in. Because we can’t achieve this in silos.

At our events and within our membership we have welcomed refugees and asylum seekers, different faiths, beliefs and ethnicity, people of different sexual orientations and genders, different physical abilities, varying degrees of mental health and neuro-diversity, ages ranging from 18 to 70.

It reflects not only my own friendship groups and wider networks but also those of our members.

The definition of a Conscious Brand is:

“A brand that has created a unique name for itself by establishing a significant presence in the market by being painfully aware of and sensitive to the needs, wants, desires and representation of the loyal customers they seek to retain”. TM Famira M. Green)

In her excellent blog entitled ‘6 Lessons in Conscious Branding from the Danielle LaPorte debacle’, Ms Green encourages her audience to check their inner circle, asking:

“How diverse is your own circle? Not only with women of other nationalities and race, but also those with different religious beliefs, sexual orientations, lifestyles, diverse upbringings, experiences, and goals in life?

If your inner circle looks, acts, thinks and responds just like you how are you going to be able to attract a diverse audience? Famira M. Green (From Twitter)

Yes, your brand is your business and your inner circle is your personal life. However, I have found that they have a direct correlation with one another.”

For further advice or to bring me in to support your business with its diversity and inclusion objectives, get in touch. It starts with a conversation!

Inspiring Women Changemakers is a dynamic, women-led movement for positive social change: in business, in society, and in the world. We help our members to powerfully communicate, connect and campaign.


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