When I’m asked ‘Why be a Diversity & Inclusion champion? One of my responses is Why not?
My name is Faye Johnson-James and I am the Head of Strategic Risk Management within Technology Services which is part of MoJ Digital and Technology. I am also a senior member of staff who happens to be BAME with additional memberships, some of which are shared with most of the population – religion, social mobility, marital status, parent, age, gender, disability, adult caring responsibilities.
Diversity and Inclusion have always meant so much to me ever since I was young. I’ve always tried to do things a little differently, but fairly, using all the rules and processes available to me. I don’t follow the crowd or let myself be put off from what I want to do. I’ve been happy to work in the background to support the under-represented.
The thing I love about working in my team and the Civil Service is the push for us to be a diverse and inclusive organisation. There is so much going on across the Ministry of Justice and I wanted to be part of that change and help build the narrative on how we make inclusivity and diversity a ‘normality’.
The Civil Service and our Diversity and Inclusion Networks
I joined the Civil Service in 2003 and I must say that Digital and Technology team is the most diverse IT department that I’ve worked in. There’s diversity everywhere and through the inclusive groups we’ve set up, we have managed to encourage, champion and celebrate the various diversities represented in the UK. Yes, there’s still work to be done to build a more diverse talent pool for our more senior teams but my view is you have to be in it to change it!
RESPECT was my first work based BAME support network. During my membership in RESPECT, I’ve been an Area Rep and Area Chair supporting and provided additional professional training to members of the network.
I learned a great deal of very positive things and about what’s good and what isn’t in Diversity and Inclusion and in 2011 I joined PROUD (People from Diverse Racial Origins Uniting the Department). I support them in their initiatives across MoJ including helping to organise things such as Black History Month where the PROUD network will be putting together various sessions across MoJ to celebrate BAME individuals in all walks of life and areas of expertise.
I’m also a member of Race to the Top (a BAME Network for Senior Leaders). I know the ideas and initiatives I contribute to are so worthwhile and I love helping to make a difference and help inspire change.
During my time within Digital and Technology, I’ve used my experiences throughout my life to support and build our successful Diversity and Inclusion Normalising Group which I have loved being part of. It is so important that we have different people from different cultures, backgrounds and gender to make sure we are getting ideas and viewpoints from different perspectives ...this is how we learn from one another, grow and progress as a team.
My role as a champion is to celebrate diversity, flag when things are not done correctly or fairly, work with the MoJ Senior Management Teams to deliver our overarching D&I objectives. Sometimes, it’s challenging but very rewarding when you hear a thank you or you’ve inspired me to do something.
These are some of the things I am involved in. The one thing I ask is for everyone to go away and think about one thing they can do to make your workplace more inclusive.