Diversity & Inclusion

How ABS increased allyship at work

Senior Damage Recovery Specialist Marissa Hunt and Recovery Manager Doug Clark share a personal perspective on allyship and two initiatives that have helped ABS to make allyship central to the working culture.

“Understanding allyship is entirely specific to each individual”

“When I think of allyship, my first thought is of those who have supported my career and given me the confidence and ability to progress and develop from the day I started as an Enterprise apprentice,” said Doug Clark.

“The more I learn about allyship, I have a sense of the challenges I have faced in comparison to my peers. I realise that how I interpret allyship in terms of social mobility isn’t necessarily wrong, but it is only one small element of what allyship means to everyone else.

“The Race, Religion and Equity committee shared their thought-provoking views on allyship when they visited ABS. This made us step back and assess how we needed to play an active role as allies within ABS and we introduced two new initiatives.

“An Allyship Tree is a visual representation of a person’s network of supportive colleagues, managers or friends. It encourages employees to recognise those who have influenced their career, life and everything in between.

“I have hosted speed networking sessions where we have discussed our trees with other ABS colleagues and shared stories about mutual allies. These stories have encouraged us all “pay that forward” by being an ally to the next employee, and this has brought the ABS family together.

“The other initiative, In My Shoes, raises individual awareness. We have heard our colleagues tell their stories on a platform where they feel comfortable and able to take quite probing questions to help those attending understand allyship better.

“The impact that these sessions have made have really brought ABS together as a whole. We have shared Allyship Trees atgroup town halls and a wide variety of ABS and Enterprise employees have told incredible anecdotes which have shone a light on the impact of being an active ally.”

“To grow as people, we need to imagine ourselves in the circumstance another person faces, so we understand and empathise”

Marissa Hunt explain to DRIVE how last year ABS started “In My Shoes”.

”This is a wonderful platform where people could share their stories with no judgement, in a safe space where people could ask questions and together, learning and developing as a team in a place that inspired peopleto find ways of coping with your challenges and find allies.

“It’s been truly amazing to hear these inspirational stories.Tamsin Wallace shared her experience of being transgender, Ashley Halstead talked about his hidden disability, Debbie Glover explained her life challenges as a military wife – and I spoke about living with bipolar disorder.

“It’s been life changing to step out of our comfort zones and be brave enough to both share our stories and answer questions in front of an audience of more than 300 people. We have made anincredible difference.

“After the events there was an influx of people reaching out to get support, showing how powerful it is to understand what other people you work with have had to face in their lives.

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