5 minutes with… Ariel Chapman - Inclusive Employers

5 minutes with… Ariel Chapman

'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 every day.

Here we learn more about Ariel Chapman, Senior Inclusion and Diversity Consultant at Inclusive Employers.

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

My inclusion journey probably started all the way back in school when I often felt excluded myself for being different and I realised as I grew up that I never wanted anyone else to feel that way. That is of course a lot easier said than done!

Fast-forward many years and I was completing research in Israel and the Palestinian Territories on peace education initiatives. We are all guilty at times, myself included, of making generalisations and assuming the worst in people but this project showed me how important dialogue between groups is and how we continually need to work at better understanding the ‘other’. These incredible schools work tirelessly at bringing children and young people from both sides of the conflict together to foster inclusion and celebrate diversity.

Witnessing first-hand the power of these conversations in Jerusalem shortly after a spate of terrorist incidents was life-affirming. It not only gave me hope for peace in a part of the world that is important to me personally, but it gave me a passion for working in inclusion and diversity.

Following that trip I completed my Masters and started working and volunteering in the inclusion and diversity sphere and I have never looked back!

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 actually happened in my job at Inclusive Employers!

I’m Jewish so it’s important for me to have Shabbat (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) free of all work. Whilst I’m a liberal Jew so do not follow all Shabbat observances, I still have lots of things I want to get finished before sundown so I can truly relax and follow the traditions and rituals of Shabbat that mean the most to me.

When speaking to my line manager about finishing early on Fridays it was agreed straight away as there is a truly flexible approach to work here. Not only that but on my first Friday with the company my manager wished me ‘Shabbat Shalom’ as I signed off for the day which meant so much!

Those two simple words really made me feel seen and valued.

3. What do you love most about your role?

I love working with such a diverse range of organisations who are really passionate about inclusion.

Despite their differences in size or remit, everyone is committed to fostering inclusive cultures and ensuring everyone feels comfortable being themselves at work.

But out of everything I do, I really love delivering training and facilitating discussions within different organisations. It’s important that we continually challenge ourselves and others to always be our best and I do that through training facilitation.

When delivering training I love talking to new people, finding out what they’re passionate about and helping them understand their place in fostering an inclusive culture at their workplace.

4. What is a typical day like for you?

I’m a real morning person so I usually like to get up a few hours before I start work so I can have a relaxed morning. I run a few times a week and always have a good breakfast before logging on for the day!

Whilst my mornings before I start work are pretty routine, once I’ve logged on, every day is different which I love. I try and always make time to chat with the rest of the team and then I could be diving straight into delivering some inclusion training, meeting some clients and helping them with their plans and then helping to write some guides for our Members Resources.

Each day brings with it new challenges and new ideas which means my job is always interesting. I do particularly love days when I can focus solely on writing new content like our upcoming Tackling Modern Antisemitism and Weight Stigma resources coming out in the new year.

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

It’s really important to me that my queer identity and my Jewish identity co-exist peacefully together but this can sometimes be a challenge.

Often religion/spirituality is played against LGBTQ+ identities and vice-versa which means I can feel a little out of place sometimes. This is especially true when it comes to antisemitism and homophobia in my respective communities.

Earlier this year I hosted and took part in a panel discussion for Inclusive Employers on LGBTQ+ identities and faith. It was such a wonderful event to be a part of and we discussed the joys and challenges of being a member of both communities in detail. It’s definitely a conversation we need to keep having as nobody is a single identity and I hope we get to revisit it in the future.