We spoke to Pam Walton, Equality & Diversity Co-Ordinator at Gentoo to catch her thoughts after winning The Diverse Company Award for The Housing Sector at The Excellence in Diversity Awards 2015. Here’s what Pam had to say:
We are excited and delighted to win! Very proud that the approach we take and the passion and commitment of our staff had been recognised and rewarded in this way.
How did you feel about the other shortlisted nominees within your category?
The housing sector does so much fantastic work in communities, responding to diverse needs, and much of it is under the radar and doesn’t receive recognition. So it was lovely to hear a little about some of that work which is being done by the other worthy finalists. They should all feel very proud.
Where are you going to go from here with your work?
We certainly won’t be complacent! We’re not stopping! We’ll be continuing with our vision “to improve the art of living beyond imagination”, building on our successes and developing new work. For example, we’re developing some work around domestic abuse in same sex relationships, and also about the decisions and challenges faced by older LGBT people when the time comes for them to consider entering sheltered housing or to need care and support.
What does Diversity & Inclusion mean to Gentoo?
It means celebrating difference and valuing and respecting people as individuals. It is about empowering people to feel safe and comfortable to be themselves and to live life to the maximum of their potential. It’s about living authentic relationships, and increasing awareness and understanding of difference as something to welcome and value. And it’s about each of us doing our bit to help level the playing field by taking personal responsibility to make a difference, to address inequality and prejudice, and help change attitudes.
Where does this rank within your Diversity & Inclusion achievements?
Receiving national recognition is wonderful. For us, we’re particularly proud of this award because we know that the judging was influenced not just by our submission about ourselves, but more importantly by what a variety of third parties had to say about us – our staff and also other external organisations.
What were yours and your colleagues thoughts on the awards?
Awards evening was a great night. Well organised and a great feel and good atmosphere, well hosted by Steph McGovern.