Colleagues from our region won both 1st prize and “Highly Commended” for EDI initiatives in the Global Staff Awards Diversity category – a remarkable achievement. For the number 1 spot, Kiwayne Jacob in our Jamaica office was described as a “one man force of nature” in making International Literacy day a true success and meaningfully challenging the discrimination and marginalisation of visually impaired and blind persons in Jamaica. Susy Villafañe and Mariana Nova drew the judges’ attention in the #WeAreDiverse campaign which promoted our EDI policy and key messages through digital channels, promoting best practices and reaching wide audiences with the message. We spoke with Susy and Mariana and asked them about the award

Q: How did you feel when you got the news that #WeAreDiverse was Highly Commended?

Susy: I was incredibly excited about it, but at the same time I considered this to be a challenge. I thought of it as a new manner to encourage ourselves to continue joining efforts with Mariana, and hopefully with other team members, to reach for equality in as many places as possible. 

Mariana: I was really happy and deeply flattered to receive the news from our CEO. It was encouraging to see our efforts around EDI are supported by the highest levels of our organisation. It was also inspirational; my mind was immediately going around ideas of what we could to next! 

Q: Do you have any data on the impact of the campaign?

A: Yes, we collected information on the campaign’s impact. 

From January 1 2017 to December 19 2017:

  • 1, 317 mentions
  • 2.0 million people reached
  • 9 million impressions

Q: Why do you think EDI campaigns are important?

Susy: I believe EDI campaigns are a path to visualize our differences and understand that the acceptance of those wouldn’t divide us; on the contrary, it would strengthen our communities. There lies the importance of EDI campaigns.

Mariana: EDI is at the core of the work we do. As an international organisation working in over 110 countries and territories the British Council relies on the affirmation that our differences only enrich us. We have such fantastic and inspirational stories to tell!

Q: Any plans for more EDI campaigns in the future?

Susy: Mariana and I have been in conversations to join efforts with our global colleagues. The EDI initiative is one of the main reasons we are in love with the British Council, so we are definitely planning how to have a greater impact, but I just don’t want to spoil the surprise, so keep an eye on our #WeAreDiverse section in all the Americas’ Websites.

Mariana: One of the main reasons behind the #WeAreDiverse campaign was its sustainability. Now it’s time for it to be updated and reach for new goals. Currently we are exploring the possibility to broaden this effort to a global realm and to seek for key stakeholders to join our mission.