‘The Business case for Diversity and Inclusion’ panel at Digital DNA

This week Diversity Mark hosted a panel “The business case for Diversity & Inclusion” at Northern Irelands largest tech event Digital DNA. Thanks to the fantastic panelists Gareth Quinn, Ritu Bhatt and Fergal McFerran for joining and imparting their advice, experience and practical tips to our audience. Our Interim Head of Business Nuala Murphy led the conversation. See her wrap up below.  

Nuala Murphy, Fergal McFerran, Ritu Bhatt and Gareth Quinn speaking at Digital DNA Event, Belfast.

Gareth Quinn shared the need for a diverse team to represent his diverse customers for KairosTech Solutions, a scheduling platform for elite athletes. He shared his challenges of being in tech, sports tech and how recruitment has been tough. I mentioned networks like Women of Wearables (WoW)® and connecting up with individuals such as Marija Butkovic.

We all know Gareth Quinn as founder of Digital DNA. Indeed it’s how we first met when he asked me to be on panel for marketing while I was Head of Marketing at Totalmobile Ltd. Back then Gareth understood the need to have more representation at conferences and ensured focus was placed on that each year. As someone who walks the walk when it comes to the business of Diversity and Inclusion, he shared just how tough it is and how he continually tries to do better.

Ritu Bhatt MD of iEngageIT a tech company that is diverse by nature with teams in Belfast, London, India and soon to be Belgium, shared her motivation to start brownscafe to celebrate the successes of brown and non white people in Northern Ireland and the need to inspire the younger generation. She also shared the reality that smaller businesses see D&I as an overhead but if you are thinking of building a global company you need to have D&I embedded in your culture right across the board.

Businesses need to create safe spaces for all staff to feel a sense of belonging. The business benefits are clear; better performance, higher returns, more product teams, more innovation, staff retention….the list goes on. So why is it so tough?

Fergal McFerran from Stonewall a non profit that stands for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace (LGBTQ+) people everywhere, shared how organisations are afraid to get things wrong. He suggests they listen to their staff and understand them and what they need. He also shared the importance of commitment right across the board and true collaboration with organisations and groups. What does that look like? Accepting getting things wrong is part of the process but listening and basing action on insights will see change.

As an independent assessor with Diversity Mark he talked about the importance to start on a structured journey, to focus on one or two things and do them well. Spreading yourself too thinly doesn’t bring success. Personally, as interim head at Diversity Mark I have seen a shift from “good thing to do” to “business need” when it comes to company’s trying to build more diverse teams, boards and organisations. It’s a no brainer for sure and I’m encouraged to see commitment in this area.

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to emma@diversity-mark-ni.co.uk to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

Alchemy Technology Services reach no. 29 On UK’s Best Workplaces List


Bronze Accredited Alchemy Technology Services announced on Thursday that they had reached the top 30 on the UK’s Best Workplaces list.

Based on confidential employee surveys, Alchemy achieved some of the highest scores among the 183 companies listed with 97% of Alchemy employees saying that Alchemy was a “Great Place to Work”.

Alchemy Founder and CEO, John Harkin said, “We are delighted to have achieved a place on this year’s Best Workplaces List. We have worked hard to create a workplace where our people feel supported and valued, have the best opportunities for progression and can become the best versions of themselves. We have grown the company from 2 employees in 2018 to over 100 at the end of 2020 and we’re just getting started. We have two separate recruitment campaigns running at the moment due to client demand.

Our staff have progressed at an extraordinary rate, some doubling their salaries in 2 years through promotions and progressions and the majority seeing anywhere between a 25-50% pay rise at the end of their first year with us. We have proved we have industry leading opportunities and salaries for people locally.”

100% of Alchemy employees surveyed said “When you join the organisation, you are made to feel welcome.” While 98% said “I’m proud to tell others I work here.”

Head of Human Resources, Anne O’Neill said, “We are very proud of this achievement. We have a very unique working culture at Alchemy and I think that has driven our success, both in achieving a place on the Best Workplaces list and as a business. We are progressive and quite different in how we do things. As we have a flat structure, we have developed a coaching and mentoring culture to support and develop our employees.  We have also developed a system of progression which is open and transparent.

What makes it different from traditional promotion processes is that there is no limit on the number of people who can be promoted at any time. Very simply if you make the grade, you get the reward, creating an environment that is collaborative and supportive as there is no competition for roles. It puts the individual firmly in control of their own career path.”

Alchemy launched in Derry/Londonderry in September 2018 and have since held 6 Assured Skills Academies. They are currently recruiting experienced insurance software professionals for senior roles as well as graduates for their 7th Academy. More information can be found at www.alchemytechs.com/careers

Congratulations to all the team at Alchemy from Diversity Mark.