Capital Conversation Episode 44: Diversity campaigner Dr Miranda Brawn

Capital Conversation Episode 44: Diversity campaigner Dr Miranda Brawn



hello and welcome to the capital conversation with me Michael Heyman now my guest today is the business leader barrister and diversity pioneer dr. Miranda Braun named one of the UK's most inspiring activists she is founder of the Miranda borough and diversity Leadership Foundation which aims to improve diversity and equality in the workplace to tell us more Miranda welcome to the show thank you so much now I hear that you are one of your first piece of advice is to always have your elevator pitch ready absolutely it was the pitch so in terms of my pitch it's it's going to be diversity based and it would be around the fact that I have a foundation the Miranda for diversity Foundation and it's helping to close the diversity gap within not only the UK workforce but across the globe right and in terms of the work of that that foundation you're looking at developing future leaders you're looking at increasing diversity and equality in terms of how you do that tell us a little bit about the achievements thus far definitely so in terms of how we do that this started nearly four years ago where we launched one scholarship and the scholarship wasn't not just funding it involved funding mentoring and work experience and when I initially launched the scholarship it was geared towards black Asians on minority ethnics and the reason why I launched that is because I was frustrated at the lack of action around race diversity of in the workforce it was pretty much the elephant in the room was there a trigger issue was there a moment not so much a moment it was something kind wanted to do for many many years and I guess it gets to a point where I was resting over a Christmas period and it got to January and I was like bye I'm going to do it this year so I just literally had this Eureka moment where I thought I'm going to launch this scholarship and it was basically one scholarship I was going to self fund it and I spoke to some other colleagues of mine friends and my old law school and so many people were supportive in terms of what I was doing and that's what led to the foundation because I was getting money coming in where we more than one scholarship and so initially back in 2000 January 2016 when I launched the Miranda boom diverse leadership scholarship I had no intention hand on heart to actually launch a foundation right well when we had money coming in without even asking we then realized that we had to separate the funds from my own bank account and so we launched the foundation right as a result we also launched the Miranda born diversity leadership annual lecture which is where we we have an annual event where we empower and we educate the next generation right before we just go to lectures let's stick with scholarships minute ten diversity leadership scholarships last year just give us a sense of a couple of the recipients of that what sort of people receive the scholarship yes so it's a mixture literally in terms of the ten it varies from we've teamed up with the printer's trust so we've got someone there that is in the fashion and beauty industry we've teamed up with Cancer Research UK so it's a female scientist that wants to help beat cancer at a faster pace we've teamed up with Lambeth Council so it's also helping to increase diversity within real spread it's a real spread but more importantly when I launched the scholarship and the foundation it was more around race diversity because I was frustrated a lack of conversation the lack of action around that but listening to feedback and listening to what other people had recommended one of the things that we also did last year was launch a social mobility scholarship and that was geared towards also white working-class students I think that's so important because when you look at diversity there's lots of focus on gender race disability LGBTQ but I think social class social mobility that's really so isn't is the carrots actually I'm going to come on to the conversation in a minute but in terms of just to finish off on on the scholarship and in terms of what what the recipient gets what is the actual nature of the award so the recipient gets up to 1,000 pounds in terms of funding they get work experience it's one week's unpaid work experience and we cover all different sectors so we have people that literally want to get into banking law fashion government we're able to team them up with potential mentors but also role models that also speaker our diversity lectures they also get mentoring as well in the first year of launching the scholarship I mentored the seven winners and it was very exhausting and I realized I need to call upon my friends and also experts of in the industry to help mentor the winners but what I'm hoping that we can achieve this year and going forward is to increase the number of scholarships that we award I would like that we are in a position where we're able to award scholarships across all the different sectors ok so moving on from from the actual work of the foundation to actually I guess the area that it's trying to sort of influence and affect in terms of looking at diversity and inclusion I mean you mentioned and sort of started to touch upon the idea about well what is the conversation I mean do you think that when you go out into London you go and speak to the businesses around the capital mean do they get it do they get the case for inclusion and diversity that's a good question when you go out in London London is one of the most diverse it's in probably the most diverse city in the world so when you go out in London generally it is very diverse from an ethnic perspective especially when you're going to the workplace that that's not effect you can't see that reflection certainly not at the highest senior levels and so do workplaces get it I think there is a public persona where organisations to publicly reveal that they are supporting diversity to a certain aspect we had the gender pay gap reporting that has become mandatory from last year this year Tamura see we've had on the show you talk about breaking through the 30 but yes sorry totally do you think on on the whole diversity inclusion debate that it needs the same treatment it needs a very sort of hard and fast goals of knowing what success what the win looks like rather than just the warm wear I think we definitely don't need lip service we need action we need action but it isn't just from the businesses and organizations and I think there's a lot of pressure on organizations and organizations they do need to change the culture you can't just publicly declare that you're going to support and promote diversity and it's also upon the merit of the individuals that you are recruiting but when you look at diversity from that perspective you've also got to change your recruitment processes you've got to change your promotional aspects as well it isn't just a case of hiring lots of graduates and lots of diverse candidates whether it's from a gender race LGBT disability perspective at lower levels how are we going to increase that at the senior levels and I think that's where we really need to come into play and it's interesting is because I mean I'm just looking here at McKinsey statistic which says that businesses with a healthy balance of men and women are 15 percent more likely to outperform their competitors while those with employees from a good mix of ethnic backgrounds are thirty five percent absolutely but if but if that's the case is there what stop what stops there the wider sort of embracing but what's what starts sitting what stops it sort of becoming just mere words and becomes really accelerated deeds I think we definitely need more transparency so where we've got with the gender pay gap reporting when you look at Iceland it's illegal for men to be paid more than women we need to have something set in law right so there is a there's a role for legislation yes I certainly think so I think just like we've got the gender pay gap reporting we need to do the same for race pick out reporting as well I think that's the only way that we're really going to get some real change going into gear we need to have some goals we need to have some targets in place and there's that I mean obviously the law is often what helps you show what society is against but is the law there to show what it is for as well in terms of the things that it supports definitely definitely I mean there are lots of initiatives that have taken place and the government the UK government have been involved with certain initiatives there's a initiative in terms of coding that is now part of the National and that's also been able to broaden out to the social economic backgrounds of different students from a primary school level so you're a barrister yes there is a sense of what is the what is the legal treatment that you would like to see say the city receive in terms of how diversity inclusion is more than encouraged but actually legislated to achieve I I think in a situation like that it isn't just the city it's not just legislation it's not just organizations we've got to think about society as a whole and I think there's a lot of pressure when people talk about diversity they put a lot of pressure and a lot of focus on the organization's yes organizations do play their part when they're hiring individuals but we've got to go all the way back to making a good politician what's the prescription we get again to the bracket we've we've got to go all the way back to school children influence and primary school we've got to raise aspirations I gave a talk literally a few years ago and school children as young as four did not believe that they could become lawyers or bankers or judges and that might make a change to change that but I'm just say you know that makes the change in twenty years time but I'm looking at the sort of businesses that you've worked for Goldman Sachs JP Morgan Deutsche Bank Citigroup would you like to see the law help these companies make the right decisions definitely definitely with without a doubt but it's not just on these companies we've got to look at the media we look at the government there are instances where I mentor the next generation and they come to me in tears very emotional where their teachers have said to them no you can't become a lawyer no you can't become a banker we need to really start from the from from four years old upwards we can't just start once they enter the workplace and that's why I launched the foundation because we have a pipeline issue and in order for us to close the diversity gap it's not just based upon the organization's or changing laws we have to change aspirations and critics would say that they get it the educators got to change but it does give a potential reroute for leaders right now in terms of their responsibilities but quick one quick answer to that because I'm being shouted out together the brave but very very quickly well I think in terms of leaders they also when you think about recruitment some leaders in the recruitment policy they will hire friends you need to change the policy where we go to diverse diversity specialist that's exactly what the Bank of England have done they've actually gone to a diversity specialist to help recruit Mark Carney's replacement ronnied other organizations that's a tantalizing prospect who Mark Carney's replace it might be solutely maybe females right those legs would now we're gonna hash them color now we're gonna have to go to the brain round it's time for a short break when we come back well so it leads the future as Miranda gives us her view on what business can do next to improve the diversity of their teams and the very future of our capital city stay tuned welcome back my guest today is Miranda Braun the business activist and diversity champion now Miranda you left us at a tantalising position just before the break we were talking about the future governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney due to depart and the opportunity for change that a very senior position like that might actually deliver let's pick up the story where we left off I think it'd be wonderful with if they if the Bank of England hired potentially a female person of color or someone with a disability or from an LGBT background or from a working-class background I think in light of everything that's going on around the world not just who in the UK or within London we really and the fact that they've gone to diversity specialists to hire the replacement I would like to think in the 21st century in 2019 and I know the replacement will be required in January 2020 I would like to think that we have a diverse leader for that particular role interesting challenge I think there then to those that have sat on that sort of that committee for change now I mean just adding to that the park or review in 2017 found that only 2% of director positions are held by people from ethnic minorities who are UK citizens despite this group making up 14% of the total UK population I mean does that does that figure help you or Hindi or sense of encouragement about how something like a future governor might might come to pass I think when we talk about encouragement this is where role models this is aware mentors really coming to play because this goes back to the next generation this comes back to even existing leaders you've got to be able to see someone in ABBA certain position especially from a next generation perspective in order for you to believe that you can achieve that yeah and I mean your your your case here really is about talent and realizing it's all about talent it's all about being hired based upon merit and there were so many statistics and there's research that comes out that shows you where people from an ethnic minority background they are overqualified and yet they're not given the opportunities they're not given the opportunities for pay rises for promotion or for even potentially getting into a position where they can get to become the next smart carny and this is where and the spy talks about in the first session about how it's not just about businesses it's about the government it's about the school of the education system it's it's really about society the media everyone coming together so four people are watching a show like this yeah that's out there thinking well I'm not a carnie what's their part to play in this that's a really good question and I did a TEDx talk a few months ago initially around this and it was really providing a few ideas in terms of what can someone who is not an activist you don't need to be an activist in order to help make change it's really just a case of talking about it whether it's with a friend or family or neighbor or a colleague at work it's really talking about diversity we've got to get into the habit of talking about it expressing views even if there did you I mean because we find that conversation difficult definitely I mean that's one of the reasons why I launched the Miranda born diversity Leadership Foundation because I was frustrated lack of conversation around race diversity everyone was talking about gender and not many people were comfortable talking about race and that's why I launched that a few years ago now people are more comfortable about talking about it this 2019 I mean you know here we are in terms of issues about society that you would hope would move on a highly multicultural City that we live in what why why do the roadblocks still exist do you think what's one of the one of the things that need to be addressed I think there's there's also in terms of why there were so many different reasons but I think there's also something called a systemic racism around that and so people that don't know what that is it's really I guess the perfect example is the grim fool tower where you're in a very wealthy part of London within a stone's throw away you've got a child that goes to a private school that's very wealthy and then you've got another child that's been brought up in accounts of this day and they have two very different experiences even though they've been raised in the same area and this all comes down to the generational experience and we have to change that do you think I mean I mean to use your face systemic racism do you think that issue is getting better in light of you know very visible examples that you've raised and you know issues like grande felling the whole nature of rich and poor living side-by-side or not no I don't in light of various situations whether that's Trump Rexxar etc it is not getting better and I think unfortunately and very sadly it is getting worse and we all need to come together and I when I gave my TEDx talk and I was also given an honorary doctorate in laws at the University of Law and when I gave my commencement address one of the things that I said is if you want to speak up for diversity or to change the world you don't need to be a person of color to speak up around very versatile you don't need to be a female to speak up around gender you don't need to be gay to speak up around LGBT disabled from a working-class background and so on I think everyone has the power so everyone listening today you all have a power to use your voice and the voice is very powerful but you've got to be brave if you see discrimination occurring it's wrong and when you look at diversity it's not just the moral and the right thing to do it makes economic sense and if you look at them the mcgregor smith review from a few years ago that shows that if you increase this race diversity within the workplace you can increase the UK economy by twenty four billion pounds per year right I mean that's the economic case let's look at your case I mean you know you born and raised in London I mean to what degree did this city shape your outlook what were the kind of I guess the highs and lows of that so I was born and raised in Leytonstone East London and when you look at London London is the most multicultural city in the world and when I grew up in Leytonstone there was everyone and I come from very die I'm mixed-race so I come from very diverse family but my mother and father I had a very blessed and a very loving and happy childhood we're both my parents really emphasize work ethic and I think that's really important but also they instilled confidence and self-belief in me my mother worked in the city yes but in the 70s and 80s women didn't really work I think my mother was probably one of the first women out of all my friends that I knew that actually worked especially watching the city and so I think when you look now fast forward you know a few decades on we have more women clearly working in in the workplace and working in the city but one but I grew up with my mother she's the one that introduced me into the city she helped me through off my first CV so you've got the nurture you've you've got you've got a mum and down there been highly supportive but along the way you've also built a very high profile list of sponsors including the speaker in the House Commons John Burke I mean in terms of if people have sat there watching this program thinking you know what I could be an activist I could be a campaigner what what is it what are the lessons about building the network building if you like the infrastructure to do the sort of things that you're doing I think it's really just to have a genuine passion if you have a passion and a genuine drive to make a difference you can really and is infectious it is definitely infectious and everyone that and you get so many people that approach you that want to help that believe in your cause and they want to be part of that and I get so many of the next generation that say to me I want to help you I really admire what you're doing I want to be the next Miranda broad and I'm just like well that that's so sweet I'm actually writing a book at the moment that's due to be published late next year and because I get so many questions and queries from our next generation from all different races all different diverse backgrounds in terms of how can they become a success career arise I thought the best way because there's only one of me the best way is put all this information into a book and so that's coming out to help encourage and inspire anyone else that potentially might want to speak up but it's it's also having that belief do you have a role-model with your parents my parents were my first role models literally I mean but they instilled work ethic so for example I would have my birthday in Christmas list but if I wanted anything outside of that they would make me work whether it was washed dishes or or do something even if my GCSEs when I did my duty C exams my father said to me for every a you get you get two hundred pounds for every be 100 for every C 50 pounds anything else well I got a car at the end of it and so let see before I pass my tests I've had a car I know most families on in that situation but it's just a nice way to write for now we're right over against it quick tweet light response the future how do you see it from a diversity inclusion I think I think the best way in terms of diversity and inclusion for the future is together nurse we all need to come together we need to come together regardless of our race or gender or social background or sexual orientation religion I mean 12 percent of Londoners are Muslim that's a long tweet but it was worth it because I think it was a very important message dr. Miranda brown thank you very much for joining me on the capital conversation thank you and thank you it's all we have time for today and big thank you to my guest today dr. Miranda Braun and you know what today's been a story of taking sometimes difficult conversations and turning them into positive action for people and businesses across the Capitol and for more from leaders who are ripping up the rulebook to create change join me for the next Capitol conversation I'll see you then you

One thought on “Capital Conversation Episode 44: Diversity campaigner Dr Miranda Brawn

  1. Loved this interview with Michael and sharing the work of my education and diversity charity – The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation!

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