Positive feedback from training programme for G15 BAME housing leaders

  • 5 January 2021

In April 2020 the G15 signed a pledge to ensure that our organisations – particularly at senior managerial, leadership and board levels – reflect the communities in which we work in terms of ethnic diversity.

As part of this, we made a commitment to be more visibly diverse at all levels of our organisations. and to invest and support our Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) talent by showcasing the talent we have and promote our talented BAME role models to encourage future influx of talent.

A key deliverable was to identify and promote our talented BAME leaders and experts as speakers at conferences, events, and webinar. The G15 commissioned Future of London, to develop and deliver an ambitious initiative to upskill our BAME leaders and experts by creating a tailor made effective presentation skills and public speaking programme. BAME colleagues were offered access to training to develop these skills and, by speaking at more events, raise their public profile, enhance their own professional networks and be the role model that future generations could aspire to.

Vipul Thacker, Group Director of Central Services (lead for the programme) at Notting Hill Genesis, said: "Over 50 BAME leaders have successfully completed the effective presentation and public speaking programme, and I am proud to say that they all qualify as accredited speakers to join Future of London’s Speaker Bank.”

Nicola Mathers, Chief Executive, Future of London, commented: “We have been delighted to provide presentation skills training to senior leaders within the G15. It is critical that all organisations, particularly those providing front line services, represent the communities they serve. Both FoL and the G15 are committed to addressing the lack of diversity in the housing sector and we were pleased to be able to draw on our track record in this area to support the major housing associations. We need more collaboration like this to really have an impact. I wish all the candidates luck going forward.”

Toyin Falade, Director of Sales & Marketing, One Housing (delegate on the training programme), said: “Everyone has to do a presentation at some point as part of their job and although I work I sales and marketing, presentations are not something that I am hugely excited at doing. Majority of people tell me that they are surprised to hear that, but I am sure that there are many also that can see the panic and anxiety at the very thought. The G15 presentation workshop was fantastic, providing lots of practical tips to improve your presentation skills – there were great takeaways for every one regardless of their specialism – I was not aware just how much being physical and exercising your voice, body as well as deep slow breathing, greatly helps with the nervous feelings. I am learning that connecting your authentic self and presenting from that authentic place leads to a more engaging and creative presentation. With my new presenting toolkit - I have since applied some of these techniques and I am finding presentations less frightening, and certainly would recommend the workshops.”

Morak Bayode, Head of Reinvestment – London, Optivo (also a delegate on the training programme), commented: “The workshops took me out of my comfort zone while providing the tools to cope effectively. The sessions gave new insight into public presentations which has been evident in the presentations I have given since then and even used them for online meetings (background, posture, framing). The pre-presentation calming techniques have been very useful in dealing with nerves and making a good start.”

Parminder Sekhon, Programme Facilitator from React, said: “It has been a real privilege to facilitate the half day training on presentation skills to Black and Asian senior leaders from the housing sector over the last 6 months. In my experience, for learning to meaningfully connect with a participant it needs to be relevant to their lived experience and creating psychological safety is a key part of this. After, the events of the summer where we accepted a newfound understanding of the issues affecting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in the workplace and the impact of structural racism and glass ceilings, developing bespoke training opportunities that nurture BAME talent at senior leadership level is crucial if we are to achieve parity of representation. Our course was interactive, experimental, neuroscience based and rooted in participants own lived experiences. Participants had the chance to talk openly about their perceptions of self, and perceptions of others of them, the burden of representation and individual pain points. The course was an opportunity to affirm the finely honed skillsets that participants already possessed and offer tips, tools and techniques to incremental gains that can be achieved through effective story telling voice work, body language and tone. Facilitating this course has been a real delivery highlight this year, thank you to all the participants who attended the six courses.”