Interview with Elaine
Faith, the Marketing and Comms Manager at AKD Solutions recently had an interesting conversation on the topic “Diversity and Inclusion Workplace” with Elaine, the Head of Production at Noah Media Group. We want Noah Media Group’s story to inspire others and shine a positive light on your organisation.
Elaine has been with Noah Media Group, a multi-award-winning production, distribution and technology company for 5 years, but has had a connection with the group for around 15 years. Elaine had a constant focus on bringing in changes but was not sure how to implement these and was aware that people were apprehensive due to the sensitive nature of the topic.
One of the challenges Elaine faced was getting the more senior leaders in the business to give the time and commitment to the topic. This was tackled with a few video calls with senior members of the company with Akin which got everyone excited about working with AKD and what they could really achieve.
Faith: What challenges did Noah Media Group face before contacting AKD?
Elaine: The Noah Media Group were facing a number of changes in their organisation. From my own point of view, I always felt I was working in a male-dominated industry throughout my career. Plus, the calls to the companies and the clients were all mainly from white men.
There was also a movement within the company with many people wanting to get a Diversity and Inclusion Council up and running. They had a lot of different tools and things they had set up through COVID, plus lots of ideas and plans which needed to be pulled together, but I was not sure how best to tackle this.
Additionally, during COVID, they had to make some redundancies and they were looking for people to come and gain work experience, to go into schools and run filming programs. For this aspect, they were looking to find new ways to recruit and look for places to find different talent and new ways to reach out to different, diverse people, rather than getting the same people from the same backgrounds.
At this time, they became very aware that recruitment needed a new focus because they wanted to offer new opportunities but were finding it hard to find the right places to look and the right way of taking this forward. Every other week I attended a workshop until I went to one of Akin’s talks on language and being an ally.
Shortly after I followed up with Akin on LinkedIn, and Noah started their journey with AKD. We soon discovered it was a great fit because Noah was founded on trying to disrupt the traditional space because they had bad experiences making a film, and they really look at authentic different ways of telling content, telling stories, which are both aspects that particularly appealed to Akin.
Faith: That sounds great. Can you tell me the service offered by AKD Solutions to Noah?
Elaine: Once everyone was on board and the initial meetings were complete, the first topic was agreed on for the Language for Diversity and Inclusion, which was a starting point for their journey. It created the perfect opportunity because the board and the senior management team got together to think around this topic; what are the values of the company when it comes to the perception of Diversity and Inclusion, what should they be thinking about during recruitment, the words they use, what they want to achieve.
Faith: Perfect. How did Noah find working with the team at AKD?
Elaine: I felt the workshops were really well planned and everyone felt very supported. Everything was very clear and the AKD team were really good at bringing everyone together and making everyone feel included in the different conversations. They ran three workshops: Language for Diversity and Inclusion. They brought different groups of people in at different times, taking into consideration different working patterns and who would be most impacted by each topic.
Faith: That’s glad to hear. What were the impacts and takeaways for Noah?
Elaine: Having these sessions has opened up so many conversations across Noah, and people have been bold with their thoughts. Conversations in the office, and in meetings have naturally carried through to socials in the pub. People have spoken out and challenged where they would not have done before. Biases have been realised where they were overlooked before. A real shift has happened, and a very positive one.
The sessions also taught that everyone’s perspective is valid and that all conversation is good. It’s about seeing everything from different angles, thinking in a different way understanding where everyone is coming from and learning from this. I felt there is now a shift in awareness about who they have in meetings, who they have going to pitches, who they have talked to at the workshops, and how they are going to recruit going forward.
Faith: Can you tell me what did Noah feel were the standouts?
Elaine: Everyone felt really encouraged, and that everyone on the AKD team was really good, really well prepared. Plus, there have been so many follow-ups, all really very good all around.
Faith: What piece of advice would Noah give to someone who is about to embark on the same journey as their organisation?
Elaine: Everyone should just be open; open to themselves and to AKD’s solutions, and for the person organising to get as many people as possible involved from across their business.
If you would like to find out more about what we can do for your business after reading our diverse and inclusive case studies, click here.