Planning for the New World: A Q&A with Mark Atkinson
17th June 2019 2 minutes read
Last week saw the release of a fascinating new report from Retail Week on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the Retail sector. Published in association with Google and Green Park partner, Be Inspired, ‘The True Value of Diversity’ sets out the compelling business case for embracing D&I, why D&I drives growth and why retail leaders should view D&I as an ongoing activity. As one of the industry’s most trusted sources of business intelligence, Retail Week turned to specialists including Green Park’s Senior D&I Consultant, Nicola Paul, for expert contributions.
Meet Nicola Paul
With a background in the retail and legal sectors, Nicola was a natural choice. She joined Green Park in 2018 with a track record of developing long-lasting and inspiring change in diversity and inclusion. Previous employers include the John Lewis Partnership, where she ran large branches before assuming the company’s first dedicated position for diversity and inclusion. Nicola also brings a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication.
For Nicola, contributing to the report meant a chance to influence the Retail industry’s thinking and direction. Endorsed by Google and Accenture, the report has the backing of some of the world’s biggest business names. It’s also been created in partnership with Green Park partner, Be Inspired, a Retail Week initiative that promotes gender balance at all levels across retail and encourages women to fulfil their career aspirations. With the support of these respected partners, the report carries the weight to make a real impact.
Helping businesses to succeed
Nicola feels the report is essential reading for an industry that’s facing turbulent times. And she believes that diversity and inclusion have a huge role to play in helping businesses to succeed. In the report, Nicola stresses that business leaders must spend time with people not like themselves to gain a different perspective. “There’s so much diversity in the sector overall, but not at senior levels,” she says. Nicola believes that diverse decision-making teams are more likely to drive commercial innovation and unlock new ideas. And that can be crucial for businesses at all levels:
“The UK is more multicultural and diverse than it’s ever been, and if you don’t have the right mix of people in your marketing and product design teams you probably aren’t going to design the right shopping and working environment for your business in the future.”
Hope for the future?
The good news is that in Nicola’s view, the Retail industry is well positioned to lead the way in D&I for the wider business world:
"There’s such a great opportunity for the Retail sector to inspire. It’s in a prime position to help people break glass ceilings – to take them from the shop floor to the top floor."
It’s a view that will no doubt inspire Green Park’s Consumer & Retail clients, whom Nicola supports with wide-ranging guidance on D&I. You’ll find further information about this team as well as our Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics team here on our website.