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The BIMA 100 is a list of the individuals who are helping to shape the future of Britain’s digital industry. To feature on the list, it’s less about client work and projects - instead it’s championing the leaders, pioneers, entrepreneurs and changemakers. 

Basically, it’s a big deal to get on the list and those named have truly excelled in their field. That’s why we’re so excited and honoured to have Strategist, Elliot Inskip make the list in the Champions for change category.

What does it mean for you being in the BIMA 100?

For me, personally, it’s kind of wild. Back in 2013, I was working as an admin for a digital recruitment company and BIMA was this sparkly, exciting space where some of my favourite industry events happened (I was there as events staff). I’ve looked to BIMA as a barometer for the industry since then, and it’s just not something I ever anticipated happening.

Professionally, I’m hoping that this helps me to shine a light on others who are doing incredible work in this space and to get more people involved in their Diversity & Inclusion initiatives (or start some!). I want more people to be doing this work. I want it to be much harder to get a BIMA 100 for championing change because it’s a crowded space that everyone is driving incredible growth in. I want the field to be so crowded with excellent work that it stops being “change” and starts being the norm.


 

How did you feel when you found out you'd made the list?

It was some much-needed good news after a tough month having hard conversations about some D&I initiatives I’d been pushing for being postponed amid budget discussions. The unglamorous side of this type of internal work is that it’s quite often beholden to things entirely outside of your control, so even when everyone agrees something is a great idea, it might not be possible to bring it to life for several months.

That said, getting this level of recognition felt a bit weird. I feel like I’m in the very early stages of helping to drive change - there’s still quite a lot to do! It feels great to get positive feedback and encouragement from my industry peers, but when I look at what I have actually achieved so far, none of it feels exceptional enough to warrant special recognition. Is that imposter syndrome or just recognition of how far I have yet to go? Only time will tell!

What do we need to do to keep driving the agenda forward?

So much. There is so much work to be done, and we are only getting started. As a business, Kin + Carta has had smaller agency-level employee networks and groups doing really great Diversity and Inclusion work - I would be utterly remiss if I didn’t shout out to the excellent work happening in the Kin + Carta Americas teams - but we’re only just joining up those efforts as an agency group to bring about organisation-wide change. And that is a huge amount of work. 

As an industry, we need to expect more and better. Not just of our employers, of ourselves and each other. We need to step up and start taking accountability for our working environments. 
Some of the questions we need to be asking as both individuals and organisations are:

  • How are each of us making our workplace better for others? Both in terms of how we collaborate and work together as teams and how we design spaces to remove barriers to access and inclusion (both on and offline).
  • How are we, as individuals, making our teams more inclusive and inviting marginalised people to participate? This is really important! Change can happen from the ground up if everyone starts making an effort to champion each other. 
  • How are we, as businesses, proactively working on improving diversity and inclusion in our own organisations? It’s incredibly hard to create change in an organisation without literal buy-in from the board and senior leadership. Are you leading by example? Are you funding D&I initiatives? Consider how your senior leadership team reflects the business and what you could and should do to improve representation. 
  • How are we, as digital professionals and experts in our field, challenging our clients to be more inclusive and showcase diversity in their products and services? We are in prime position, as expert consultants to large corporations and organisations with global presence, to change how the world views accessibility, diversity and inclusion. What if we all insisted on these as best practice? We have the power to move the needle!

Earlier this year, I spoke at an event about LGBTQIA+ history at a Kin+Carta Create Lunch & Learn. It was the first time I’d given a talk specifically about my own experience as a trans person, so it was already a bit nerve-wracking, but I think it might also have been the first time most of the people in the room and tuning in online had seen me. Not only was the response really positive, but I’ve seen cross-agency collaboration really thrive since that event. It’s really nice to feel like you’re making a difference, but it’s even better when you can build relationships with other teams to get even more done as a collective - the Create team are my first port of call when I’m kicking ideas around now!

  1. Find a few regular events that will help you broaden your knowledge of what’s happening in the industry, develop your understanding, and introduce you to others outside your agency. When I was getting started in 2013, I went to IxDA London and UXPA every month, which is where I developed an interest in user-centred design and customer-centred strategy.

  2. Don’t limit your networking to “influential” people - make friends with admin assistants, social media managers, catering staff, and other juniors. Having a friendly set of peers with a wide range of skills is hugely beneficial. Influence comes in all shapes and sizes, and diversity of thought is where the most innovative ideas come from.

  3. Get a mentor. It takes a bit of time to find the right person, but a good mentor is incredibly helpful when you’re making decisions about your career or need advice about how to handle a problem at work. 

    And when you’ve got your feet under you, and are no longer starting out - remember to pay it forward. Invite bright juniors to events, talk to graduates about what they’re excited about, bring an admin assistant out to an industry event they’ve shown interest in. Be the person you needed at that stage in your career for someone else.

 

With everything that’s been going on in the world as of late, there’s been a lot of slowdown across the initiatives I’ve been working with. Right now, I’m focused on keeping momentum on K+C Connect and wider Connective projects so we don’t lose traction. 

I’d really like to invite more people to get involved in Diversity & Inclusion efforts. I encourage anyone who has read this far to think about ways that they, personally, could make a difference. It really doesn’t have to be big - speaking to your HR team about adding pronouns to email signatures or Slack profiles, promoting the work of your colleagues who are people of colour or LGBTQIA+, recommending your colleagues from marginalised communities for speaking engagements or panels when you see opportunities. There are a lot of small but meaningful actions anyone could pursue. I’d love to help more with this effort, whether it’s as a speaker or a mentor, or (when things start to calm down), talking more with groups outside of K+C Connect. There are a lot of initiatives out there I’m excited to work with.

I really, genuinely believe that a rising tide lifts all ships, and as an industry we are capable of raising the bar on what good and excellent look like when it comes to diversity and inclusion. We should expect better and do better - as an industry and as digital professionals. Everyone has the ability to be a champion for change. What if we all were?