The ‘Mark of Progress’ billboard campaign

The ‘Mark of Progress’ billboard
We are delighted to present our new logo which we are promoting via a
billboard campaign ‘Look for the Mark of Progress’ around Belfast from
the 17th June. We have replaced the gender symbols with a ring to
represent all areas of diversity.

Organisations moving to silver & gold will have the opportunity to bring
in other areas of diversity. Diversity Mark members will be invited to a
Roundtable discussion on 22nd August to talk about the steps to silver
and gold. This will also be an excellent opportunity to share best practice
with other members.

To register your interest in the Roundtable event email:

Mary McAleese Diversity Lecture at Queen’s University

Roseann Kelly, Mary McAleese, Dr Bryan Keating CBE & Isabel Jennings

The Diversity Mark Board were delighted to be invited along the launch of the Queen’s Management School Annual Mary McAleese Diversity Lecture Series at Queen’s University on Friday 21st June.

The event, entitled: ‘An Interview with Mary McAleese’, was hosted by Queen’s Management School, in association with the Chief Executives’ Club and was compered by BBC broadcaster, Wendy Austin. Professor Ian Greer, President & Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s opened the event and explained that QUB were proud to hold the Diversity Charter Mark.

Mary McAleese, was elected the 8th President of Ireland in November 1997, succeeding Mary Robinson. She is the second female president of Ireland, the first president from Northern Ireland and served as for two terms until November 2011

The new lecture series is part of Queen’s Management School’s mission to promote greater equality and diversity in the workplace, particularly with regards to ensuring equality of opportunity and respect for diversity across the University and the wider community.

Read more here >>>

Diversity Mark Presents at Powered by Talent Conference

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark NI was delighted to be invited along to present at this year’s Powered by Talent Conference hosted by the Abacus Talent Group at the International Convention Centre in Belfast on Wednesday 22nd May.

Powered by Talent united businesses from the professional services sector to highlight best practice in the attraction, development and retention of a company’s main asset; its people.

Christine White presented the breakout session ‘The diversity mix and creating the right environment for talent’.

Christine shared with the audience the cultural and financial benefits of prioritising Diversity & Inclusion and the audience took away valuable tips on how to create inclusive cultures.

Christine White presenting at the Powered by Talent Conference

Diversity Charter Mark Awarded to Northern Ireland Water

We were delighted to award Northern Ireland Water with the Bronze Gender Diversity Charter Mark.  They within their application have shown a real commitment to implementing inclusive growth and cultural shifts within the workplace.

Christine White presented NI Water Chief Executive Sara Venning and HR Business Partner Janine Murphy with the award at a recent visit to NI Water.

Read more here >>>

Diversity Breakfast at the Ulster Bank

Business leaders gathered today at an intimate diversity breakfast hosted by Richard Donnan, Head of the Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland. This event was another opportunity to highlight the importance of prioritising Gender Diversity in the workplace. Richard shared some valuable insights from Ulster Bank’s diversity journey with the guests.

Richard explained that they have been focussing on cultural change over the last few years by prioritising diversity and inclusion. He spoke about the importance of ensuring that everyone in the organisation feels supported to bring their ‘best self’ to work. He also explained that the organisation are on a journey and are now seeing the benefits of this positive transformation with a 30-40% increase in their staff engagement survey.

The Ulster Bank now have a 50/50 gender split at their Regional Board and an active RBS Women’s Network and Male Allies Group. All of which are playing a big part in creating an inclusive culture, enabling all genders to achieve their full potential.

Richard Donnan & Christine White at the Diversity breakfast
Some of the breakfast attendees

Colin McNab, Judith Gillespie & Rosemary Chapman

The Business of Diversity Lunch – with keynote speaker Gary McGann

Gary McGann, Chairman of Paddy Power Betfair Plc

Paddy Power Chief – Bets on Gender Diversity

Over 160 of Northern Ireland’s CEO’s and senior business men and women gathered on 2nd April, to attend Diversity Mark NI’s Business of Diversity Lunch, sponsored by Allstate Northern Ireland the iconic Belfast Harbour Commissioners Harbour Office.

The lunch was an opportunity to highlight the significance of gender diversity and encourage organisations to make the changes necessary to bring about sustainable and significant improvements in women’s career progression and create environments that are fair and positive for everyone.

Gary McGann, Chairman of Paddy Power Betfair plc, former CEO of Aer Lingus and Smurfit Kappa, and former Non-Executive Director of the Anglo Irish Bank, was the keynote speaker who shared his passion and insights into the benefits of promoting gender diversity in businesses.

Recognised as one of Ireland’s most successful CEO’S, McGann spoke passionately on how changes in organisations are necessary if gender diversity is going to be implemented successfully into organisations.

Speaking at the event McGann said, “Seeking gender diversity in businesses is not simply about making up numbers, it is logical. There is a wealth of incredible talent on offer from women and there is no sense in businesses limiting their talent seeking to a tighter market.

“In all aspects of life, women are instrumental in making decisions. Females have a huge input in the end market, so why are they missing in action in middle level decision making process? The reasons are threefold: there are not enough women putting themselves forward; females tend to hold themselves to higher standards; and the education process is preordained to position men in senior business roles.

“To tackle this imbalance, the tone must be set from the top. Procedural processes must be implemented in the workplace to challenge inequality, to enable people to overcome barriers to gender equality.”

Speaking at the lunch event, Head of Business at Diversity Mark NI Christine White commented, “The time to act on gender inequality is now and we are calling on all businesses to assess their gender equality procedures. Organisations must seek to remove obstacles faced by women at key points of career development and progression, implementing structural and cultural changes that help advance gender equality and put in place a strategy and an action plan to effect meaningful change.

“Diversity Mark NI’s Charter recognises that organisations cannot reach their full potential unless they benefit fully from the rich and wide-ranging talents and abilities of all their employees. A balanced workforce is good for business: it is good for customers; for profitability; and workplace culture.

“With 38 organisations now signed up for a Gender Diversity Charter Mark we are making strides to tackle disparity in the workplace and events such as todays are crucial in encouraging others to make the steps to developing an unbiased workplace to benefit everyone.”


Queen’s University Belfast Diversity Award

Congratulations to Queen’s University Belfast on achieving the Gender Diversity Charter Mark.  The award was presented to Professor Ian Greer, President & Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s at a recent Business Leaders Diversity Breakfast he hosted at the iconic Lanyon Building earlier this month.

Queen’s have been on the diversity journey for many years having won their first Athena SWAN Diversity Award in May 2007 and they have had an exemplary record of submissions since then.

We are excited to be with Queen’s on their diversity journey and look forward to working with them over the coming years.

Diversity Mark NI Vice Chair awarded CBE

Dr. Bryan Keating has been awarded a CBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list for services to economic development in Northern Ireland.  Dr Keating has been a director of and an investor in a number of Northern Ireland technology businesses over the last four decades and is the former chairman of MATRIX, Northern Ireland’s science & industry panel.  He is the managing partner of the CIP partnership, visiting professor at the University of Ulster, chairman of the advisory board of the Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship in Belfast and more recently Diversity Mark NI vice chairman.

The CBE is the highest possible award of the Order of the British Empire, given for prominent national or regional roles and to those making distinguished or notable contributions in their own specific areas of activity. Only six were awarded in the Northern Ireland 2019 New Years Honours list.

The Diversity Mark NI board are delighted that Dr Keating’s continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s economic development has been recognised in this way and extend their warmest congratulations to Bryan and his family on this well-deserved honour.

Dr Bryan Keating CBE

Guardian Public Service Diversity Award for NIFRS

At a very special evening in London on Tuesday the winners of this year’s Guardian Public Service Awards were revealed.  We are very proud of our members at the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service for being awarded the Diversity & Inclusion Award.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service serves a population of 1.8 million people. It has 68 stations and approximately 2,230 employees, including 917 full-time firefighters. There are also 994 retained (part-time) firefighters, who have other jobs but who live and work no more than five minutes away from a fire station. The 2018 firefighter intake was 11% female, 11% were BME and 7% were LGBT.  In 1991, Heather Smart became Northern Ireland’s first female firefighter – and she stayed for 27 years, retiring this year. Thanks to her efforts, more and more women are finding their vocation in the fire service.

Today, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) employs 60 female firefighters.  Even so, it remains – as in the rest of the UK – a service dominated by men. In 2017, 3.6% of the service’s firefighters were women, an increase from 2% in 2009. NIFRS has already acted to address the under-representation of firefighters from the Catholic community, but wanted to do more to improve its record on recruiting women.

It was important, says David Moore, director of human resources, to have a workforce representative of the community, but another driver was that organisations that are diverse are more successful.  The organisation set a target of having at least 10% of applications from women. This involved an active approach – reaching out to women and showing them the attractions of a career in the fire service – rather than passively waiting for them to apply, but also identifying elements of the recruitment process that indirectly discriminated against women.


Heather Smart, the first female firefighter in the NIFRS