Diverse, inclusive workplaces perform better but, more importantly, they play a positive role in the communities which they're part of and rely on. It's clear that the legal industry has a lot of work to do to be more representative of the wider population, and Ogier is no exception. We believe that D&I is not an optional extra in 2021, it's fundamental to how responsible businesses do things. To help us achieve our D&I mission, each of our jurisdictions has a group of dedicated local leaders. We asked some of our Jersey leaders to share their reflections on Ogier's D&I efforts, and why this issue is important to them.
Neo Tshikalange – associate
D&I to me is 'Ubuntu', which means: "I am because we are". It is the unremitting collaborative endeavour between diverse individuals "learning and un-learning" to reach common ground. It's "choosing to change an opinion, rather than to persist in the wrong one." My hope for businesses is that their leadership soon reflects the 'global' demographic: racially, culturally, ethnically, nationally. This means extending the table, pulling out the chairs and opening the dialogue.
Christian Burns-Di Lauro – partner
Working in an environment where we have people with different genders and from different backgrounds and cultures is really important. This variety of voices and viewpoints ultimately reflects how diverse our clients are. It's also vital that we, as an organisation, contribute positively in tackling the many imbalances and injustices within society. Having a strong and meaningful D&I focus is an excellent (and necessary) step in playing our part to achieve this. Personally, I have had a lot of excellent female role models in my life, both in my family and professionally, and it means a great deal to me to be able to be an ally and champion of this aspect of D&I.
Tina Stanford – executive assistant
D&I is about embracing differences and getting a greater understanding of the people around us. By actively listening to employees and implementing fair and equal policies, Ogier is encouraging and enabling all of us to be our true selves, which can unleash great talent and creativity. As a parent, I want my child to grow up in a world where there is no doubt that opportunity is equal, regardless of personal characteristics. It's time for all of us to balance the playing field.
Sophie Reguengo – partner and D&I jurisdictional leader
I remember as a young lawyer trying so hard to fit into the "suited and booted" corporate mould but actually, I found that I grew my practise not just because I got the deal done (any lawyer worth their salt can do that), but because in my dealings with my clients and intermediaries, I was a real person. The importance of being able to show up as yourself at work is why I am so enthused by my role as the D&I jurisdictional leader for Jersey. D&I has long been a subject close to my heart, having co-founded the network for women in work in Jersey, Lean In Jersey.
Edward Mackereth – global managing partner and sponsor of Ogier's D&I initiative
The mission of our D&I initiative is to create an inclusive and respectful environment where every one of our employees can thrive. To achieve this, it's essential that we make progress and are held accountable for that progress, both collectively as a firm, and personally as the initiative's sponsor. Our approach at Ogier focusses both on increasing diversity in our leadership, and on nurturing a culture where people of all backgrounds and characteristics feel at home and have equal opportunity to succeed.
Sophie Halsey – service line coordinator
Being denied the opportunity to do something because of your gender, ethnicity, sexuality or disability is a very isolating experience. It's important we continue to make efforts in removing the barriers people are facing and do more to embrace and encourage the diversity our world has to offer. We are all unique and have various contributions to make, so it's important everyone is given the opportunity to do that, both in the workplace and in life more generally.
Natalia Fortuna – trainee English solicitor
Working for an employer with a progressive culture, flexible outlook, and which is receptive to new ideas is very important to employees and prospective applicants, especially now. Businesses with a strong commitment to D&I are more likely to attract talented people from a wide range of backgrounds. Employees who feel supported and respected are more likely to share their ideas freely, which in turn can help drive innovation in a business. Diverse cultures create diverse solutions.