Susan Barratt, CEO of IGD on inclusion and diversity

Date : 23 November 2021

Susan Barratt


At the same time as working with the food and consumer goods industry to create a more inclusive workforce, IGD is also embarking on its own inclusion and diversity journey. Here IGD’s CEO, Susan Barratt, shares what inclusion and diversity means to her, for IGD and the wider industry.

Everyone can relate to exclusion, we can all recall our experience of it and how it made us feel, and so it’s a valuable way of starting a conversation about inclusion.

I’m passionate about leading an inclusive workforce. Inclusion is the right thing to do to ensure we all meet our potential and I want everyone to be open and honest and feel part of what we are trying to achieve. I want to create an environment where people can be the best version of themselves.

As with many other organisations, we need new people to join IGD and be part of our journey. Therefore, inclusion must be part of our strategy to attract new people and enable them, and the food and consumer goods industry, to thrive.

I recently took part in IGD’s reverse mentoring scheme, where senior people from across our industry are mentored by someone from an under-represented background. My mentor was Sarah Atta-Nugent, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist – BAME workstream, at Morrisons and it has been a fantastic experience.

Throughout our sessions, Sarah and I were able to create a safe space, enabling us to have very open and honest conversations about own experiences of inclusion, as well as broader conversations about society. And I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to continue these conversations even after the process has finished.

The reverse mentoring scheme will have a big impact; it includes senior leaders who can impact business culture and provides a fantastic opportunity for someone from an under-represented background to expand their external network and influence the industry for the better. The programme has been set up using a framework and governance to ensure it delivers value and a useful experience for both people in the partnership. Part of the challenge is to make sure that everyone taking part can be genuinely honest and I found my experience of this invaluable.

Our latest Inclusion and Diversity research, which launches at the end of November, shows our boardrooms are becoming more diverse, suggesting an increase in gender and ethnic diversity at leadership level in grocery.

We know that senior leaders want the space to have open and honest conversations with their teams about what great inclusion looks like. Our industry leaders need to lead from the front and develop their own understanding of what it takes to build an inclusive culture in their own business.

Inclusion has to be part of our strategy to attract people not only to IGD but also the wider food and consumer goods industry; this will help us to build an inclusive workforce that is fit for the future. Everyone, and every role, has a part to play.