Clarion Black History Month Event
Written by Michael Adeniya
COO, UK Black Business Show I EMEA D&I Lead – Clarion Events I Chair D&I – EIA
Published on 3 November, 2021
For the first time, colleagues at Clarion Events came together for a Black History Month celebration event. I had the privilege of hosting the evening which was full of laughter, meeting new people and leaning into conversations about race in a way that was respectful, impactful and even enjoyable!
Being back in Fulham Green on a regular basis has been a really nice feeling. Bumping into new people (we've had so many new hires in the last 12 months) and those corridor catch-ups with old friends has been something I've really missed, especially since living in Wales where I've been especially isolated over the pandemic!
Ogo (Oliver Agency and Clarion Gaming), Kandie (ex- Enlit) and I pondered what impact this distance has had on fostering a work community. It's that sense of community that gave us the idea for this year's BHM, to host an actual event rather than sharing content or educational resources. Something that would literally bring us together and play a part in rebuilding a community feel across an organisation embracing so many different corporate cultures.
But even with that we still had doubts. Will it feel performative? Will people even turn up?
I'm glad to say that it was well attended by a beautiful cross-section of people across Clarion Event teams and central functions. Hannah Awunoga, Global Head of Employee Engagement at Barclays, dialled in virtually to talk with us about development and career progression, as well as defining easy steps in creating allyship.
Shaun Stewart, who manages sales for the Baby Show, gave an inspiring talk that was kind of about his clothing brand outside of Clarion. But really it was about who he is, why he does what he does and how his three values of focus, determination and faith show up for him in his day to day life.
Finally, award winning stand-up comic, screen-writer and actor, Dane Baptiste, closed the night with a comedy set that the room in hysterics. Dane Baptiste, in amongst his numerous TV appearances and comedy awards Dane was also the black British act to be nominated ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.
A warm sense of togetherness permeated the room that night, which I hope serves as a basis for more internal events that allow us to celebrate our differences, rather than ‘checking them in’ at the door. But what happens next to ensure this isn't a one off, but the start of something substantive? Would love to hear from you to know what you think.