Global Director, D&I at TM Forum
Inspiring diversity and inclusion within the workplace is the focus of Vicky Sleight, Global Director, Human Factor and Diversity and Inclusion at TM Forum, who is driving the world’s first industry standard.
“We are working to help make the tech communications industry succeed in being the most diverse, equal and inclusive industry in the world,” said Sleight who has been leading, influencing and driving change at the international level in culture, equality, diversity, and inclusion since 2011.
Sleight is working on the Inclusion and Diversity Score (IDS) alongside industry leaders which will improve diversity within technology and eventually across all industries. “We've just finished the pilot and our plan is that the industry takes this on as launching the second wave,” she said.
Sleight is leading the global industry collaboration and Executive Advisory Board for Diversity and Inclusion along with the Digital Organisation Transformation & Culture program.
“We recognise that diversity and inclusion is a business-critical and strategic imperative. It’s not just a gender issue, societal or CSR, and diversity exists beyond gender, LGBTQ+ and ethnicity. It should be equal for all, including accessibility, neurodiversity and age. can all be a key differentiator. Many efforts focus on visible diversity, yet we believe inclusion is more important in order to attract and retain diverse talent.
“Our plan is to get CEO executives that are committed to this index. We can then start building it into our employee matters surveys and into our strategies. In order to deliver on our mission, we need sponsorship from the top to give this issue the focus and actions it requires at a global level.
“It’s critical that we start taking this seriously as a strategic issue and not just a moral imperative. If we don’t change the dynamics of the industry, we are going to have a massive talent problem in the next decade. The Generation coming up really cares about inclusion.”
Sleight cites Rachel Higham, the former Managing Director of IT at BT and former chair of the advisory board as one of her role models in industry. “When she was our chair, it was all about action and passion. She put the drive back into, not just her own business, but the whole industry. On a personal level, I admire my mother. She had three jobs just so that I didn't have to stand in the free school meals queue when I was young.”
Sleight volunteered as a project volunteer for Onsite Support and spent two weeks mentoring and helping children in Botswana orphanages. “This was the most rewarding two weeks,” she said. “It's amazing to see some of them moving on now with scholarships to universities from the UK to the USA.”
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“Our strategic approach was reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic response - there was stronger national direction, digital and data were the main enablers, and all the emphasis was on prevention and on delivering services outside hospital, into communities and homes.”