5 minutes with… Joseph Aninakwa

5 minutes with is our interview series that gives you the opportunity to learn more about the Inclusive Employers team and other I&D professionals who are working to make inclusion a reality everyday.

Here we learn more about Joseph Aninakwa, Inclusion and Diversity Consultant at Inclusive Employers.

1) Can you tell us how you came to be in your role

A former colleague saw the opportunity to join the Inclusive Employers and suggested that I apply for the consultant role.

We had previously worked on an amazing training workshop called Racial Justice, which really was a thought-provoking piece. It challenged the participants’ thoughts, emotions and their understanding of race.

This colleague knew that I brought great value to my previous role in Learning and Development, at the University of Hertfordshire. I was excited at the prospect of joining Inclusive Employers and the potential to use my voice to connect and impact so many more people and organisations through training.

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to interview for the role and am delighted to now be a part of the team.

2) Can you share an ‘inclusion moment’ with us – a time when you have felt included either at work or in your personal life?

I remember this day like it was today. Before joining Inclusive Employers, I received an email asking if I could join the Christmas party celebrations, which was a few months ahead of when I was due to start.

When I saw this email, I knew that I had really made the best decision to join Inclusive Employers. It really got me reflecting about how inclusive the organisation was making me feel before I had even started. It was a powerful inclusive move, which helped me to understand how much they valued me.

I have never experienced this at any work place before. I am sometimes a bit unconventional in my approach and to see this unconventional move from the organisation, really got me thinking. I am a person who really likes to be valued and appreciated.

My real journey with Inclusive Employers started when I attended the Christmas party and met about 98% of the team there. No other work place has ever done this before.

3) What do you love most about your role?

What I love about the role is that every day is different. I am always meeting new people either face to face or virtually during training sessions.

I also love engaging with my colleagues and finding out so much about their lives, which helps me to look at my life and also reflect when we have our virtual casual chats sessions during the week.

I love the fact that I am trusted to deliver webinars and workshops in my own style, which is always encouraged.

I feel like I can bring my full self to work without judgment because everyone has a good understanding of what inclusion and exclusion looks like here at Inclusive Employers.

4) What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day is not really a typical day here at Inclusive Employers, however, I will give you an insight into what this may look like.

I will normally scan through my emails for the first 30-60 minutes of my day, unless I have training first thing in the morning – if so I will use about 10-15 minutes to check any urgent emails. I will then focus on the training that I have that day.

Still to this day I always feel a little nervous getting ready to deliver training, however, I feel that sometimes if you’re not a little nervous then maybe the training does not mean that much to you and how you come across may not be as impactful.

I know this may sound a bit unconventional, but I go through possible responses that participants may have, just to make sure I cover as many bases as possible. I always have different fillers I use in between if it feels a bit silent in the training session.

The rest of my time I go over my notes from different member meetings, so I can identify what they need, instead of what they feel they want. In the long run, meeting their needs will always be so much more impactful and will bring a great amount of value to their experience with me as a consultant and with Inclusive Employers.

5) What’s been the most memorable moment in your inclusion career?

I think the most memorable experience in my inclusion career so far has got to be the panel discission I did with Cheryl Carty, Inclusion & Diversity Consultant and Sparks Programme Lead; Alison Ross, Operations & Culture Director at Auto Trader; Aggie Mutuma, Black Inclusion Week Co-founder and CEO at Mahogany Inclusion Partners and Fraser Longden, COO at Wickes.

Preparing the questions and the run-through of the session before we went live on the day was an amazing experience. I learned so much from the other panellists, as well as understanding everyone’s journey and the different challenges they have faced at work and at home.

This experience really got me reflecting on how passionate I am about helping people to understand the different complexities of race, and that I can deliver this in many ways to help people engage with this very real conversation.

Meet more people who are driving the inclusion agenda by checking out our ‘5 minutes with…’ interview series.