Every October marks Black History Month in the UK, a celebration dedicated to honouring the contributions, achievements, and experiences of black people throughout time.
This year’s theme, ‘Saluting our Sisters’, focuses on the achievements of black women and the role they continue to play in shaping history.
And one woman who knows a thing or two about shaping history is Colonel Dame Kelly Homes, a worldwide sports icon and Double Olympic champion. So, we were honoured (and starstruck!) to have her join us for a truly brilliant talk about her experiences as the only mixed-race person at her school, as a woman in the army, and as an LGBTQI+ community member.
Embracing our ‘unique’
As an advocate for diversity and inclusion (D&I), Dame Kelly shared how, from a very young age, she decided to embrace her ‘unique’. Having such a strong mindset would go on to shape her experiences throughout her career, including her time in the army.
“I went to the army thinking ‘I want to be the best version of myself’. I didn’t care that I was female. I didn’t care about the colour of my skin. I wanted to be the best version of myself.”
Dame Kelly’s life story reminded us that her achievements were not without challenges. For instance, while in the army, men would challenge her authority and ability, hugely underestimating what she could do. This reinforces why, this Black History Month and beyond, we should celebrate the success of black women in our society and what it represents.
Learning to understand each other
Throughout her talk with us, Dame Kelly raised the importance of asking the right questions, particularly when it comes to understanding each other’s struggles. And we agree – because it’s only by truly understanding each other that can we create a more inclusive environment.
At Westcon-Comstor, we have several initiatives in place to inspire conversation and learn more about one another.
This includes our D&I-dedicated employee resource groups, which offer safe spaces to talk about our diverse experiences. We also run a ‘ONE Westcon’ program, through which we organise D&I-focused awareness days and cultural celebrations to ensure the ongoing honouring of and educating around different cultures.
Learn more about how we embrace diversity and foster inclusion here.