5 minutes with… Matheus Carvalho

Who are the people that make inclusion an everyday reality? This feature gives you the chance to find out more about the team behind Inclusive Employers - our values, stories, motivations, and inspirations.

This month we hear from Matheus Carvalho, one of our Senior Inclusion and Diversity Consultants.

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

Before I joined Inclusive Employers, I had been with The Walt Disney Company for 8 years, where I worked in the Learning & Development team.

Looking back, I can see that getting involved this deeply in Inclusion and Diversity was triggered by a traumatic event. It was 2016 and the horrible news of the shootings in the Pulse LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando, not far from the Disney Parks, reached us. I had been to that nightclub myself, and knew a few people who still frequented it. Tragically, an old colleague had been one of the victims of the attack. It was all very surreal and terrifying. A targeted attack on our community that had also taken the life of a friend.

The day after the attack, the London LGBTQ+ community gathered in Soho’s Old Compton Street for a moment of silence and to pay respect for the victims. Amidst that scene of mass grieving, I also found comfort and inspiration from our community, coming together and supporting each other through difficult times. That woke up in me a sense of activism that, I confess, was lying somewhat dormant in me up till that time.

In the aftermath of this, two of my colleagues at Disney set up the company’s first official LGBTQ+ network in the UK. We continued to find inspiration within the community and started seeing real change within the organisation on the inclusion of the community. My work within the network led me to realise that pursuing a career in Inclusion & Diversity was where my heart truly was.

I wanted an opportunity to be able to support individuals and organisations and help them in the same way that the network had helped me become a better person and a better ally. That’s when Inclusive Employers came into my life. Once I saw the opening for the role of Senior Consultant, I just knew I had to apply – all the planets seemed to align as I was taken by the values of the organisation, the welcoming feeling given to me by the directors and colleagues, and the fact that the company was truly making a difference to so many other organisations out there. And I have recently celebrated my second anniversary with Inclusive Employers.

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

It is a bit of both, personal and work life. A few years ago my mental health took a real hit from things going on in my personal life, that spilled into my work life. Being raised in a very patriarchal society where men are not encouraged to talk about their feelings, I did not necessarily feel comfortable sharing this information with my line managers. But once I realised that I had to, as that was the only way I could regain control of my mental health, the response I had couldn’t have been better. I was truly supported with the utmost empathy. I was encouraged to look for support and was still seen by my employers as a capable individual able to deliver quality work.

I have been very fortunate to have this support from the leaders and managers I have worked with since.

3) What do you love most about your role?

Would it be too much of a cliché to say the people I work with? We have a team of really supportive and talented folks here at Inclusive Employers, and it is such a privilege to work with them.

I also get to have great conversations with our members and people who are making a real difference in the field of inclusion, which is so inspiring. I love helping people find creative solutions to challenges and opportunities, such as designing strategies and thinking of different ways of doing things.

4) What is a typical day like for you?

I try to keep a healthy balance of Zoom and Teams calls and training, and quieter moments where I can focus on writing and design work.  This balance gives me the headspace to be able to deliver quality work to our members and take stock to think and reflect on what we are doing.

In sum, it is a mixture of calls, training delivery, answering to e-mails, and getting creative. I also collect movie soundtracks on vinyl, so I usually have something playing in the background to inspire me with my writing and design work (Ennio Morricone’s score for “Cinema Paradiso” is playing on my turntable as I write this!).

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

There have been so many… at Inclusive Employers I would probably go with the Inclusion Allies sessions we do for members as part of the Allies programme. I absolutely love the Graduation, where the Allies come together to discuss what they have learned and their transformative moments. It is really inspiring. 

I can also think of when I marched in London Pride for the first time as part of the Disney Pride network, and the buzz and energy from that.  Also the independent film programming work that I have done at The Cinema Museum in London, when we screen queer cinema and have a room full of people discussing the film, what it means to them and the power of representation… Clearly there are so many!

To meet more people that make inclusion an everyday reality, see our full series of “5 minutes with…”