This National Inclusion Week, IGD’s Commercial & Insight Director, Nick Downing shares his experience of taking part in IGD’s reverse mentoring programme, and how it’s helped him better understand colleagues from less diverse backgrounds
I want to learn, I think it’s important to keep learning wherever you are in your career. I recognise that I have some inclusion and diversity ‘blindspots’ and I wanted to do something about that, so that I can be a good model and ultimately make a difference to others. Taking part in IGD’s reverse mentoring programme provided a great opportunity for me to build my knowledge and also give something back to the industry.
There were so many things I took away from the experience. I think the biggest learning was the way that confidence can hold people back from realising their full potential. We have some brilliant talent here at IGD, confidence is such a key enabler. For my mentor, one of her motivations in taking part was to prove to herself that she could make a real difference.
I recently ran some share sessions across Commercial Insights at IGD, where everyone shared their experiences and practical tips. The feedback was great, it also helped me better understand colleagues from less diverse backgrounds. We will do more activities like this in the future.
Taking part in the programme really made me take a step back and review how I work: am I working to my full potential? Is there more I could do with my team? When my mentor was talking about her experience of returning from maternity leave it made me look back at my own experience and if it was now, I would definitely do things differently. I think it’s something we should be much better at. I want everyone to feel welcomed and valued. At IGD, there are lots of positive changes to update returning colleagues on and this is something we’ll continue to evolve.
I would encourage other senior leaders to take part in the programme. Everyone has a story to share and we can all learn from other people’s experiences. My mentor and I have kept in touch following the programme and she has also presented to the Exec at IGD. We touch base every quarter on a range of people-related issues. I would recommend taking part without hesitation.
To find out more about reverse mentoring at IGD or to take part, visit here.