Diversity & Disability Inclusion


Hi, I’m Jamie and I thought this week I would like to talk about something that is very important to me as an event executive living with a disability. 

Did you know that 1 in 7 people have some form of Physical or hidden disability in Ireland? 

Did you know that only 36% of people aged 18-64 with a disability are currently employed or self-employed in Ireland?

As one of the lucky 36% of the population working with a disability. I would like to take this opportunity to spread some light on the good work and campaigns that have been taken by companies, both internationally and in Ireland to tackle those statistics. Together we can stand up in 2022, we can become more diverse and more inclusive in our recruiting and marketing strategies. 

I hope this blog will not only broaden your knowledge but also encourage you and your colleagues to become more inclusive and open to diversity and disability in your workplace from today! 

“Inclusion is the celebration of diversity put into action”

In event management, it is vital to become (if not already) more considerate when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the planning process of events. When you think about diversity and inclusion, don’t limit yourself to just one characteristic such as race or ethnicity. Instead consider the full terminology of diversity including gender, race, social class, sexual orientation, ability, religion and many more! For example, to even consider accessibility for wheelchair users at an event is showing massive consideration for a large proportion of our population. Even if it seems so small to you, it means so much to those who require extra help or assistance. It also shows that you as an event manager or as part of an event team are taking the plunge into change and helping to normalize these thoughts in the process of organizing and planning events for all!

Here are some of those Brands & Businesses taking that plunge!

Diageo | Society 2030: Spirit Of Progress

Diageo as one of Verve’s biggest clients are taking that jump and are pledging to an agreement as part of Society 2030, where they will champion Inclusion and Diversity.

By 2030 Diageo will target to Champion the below key aspects of Inclusion and Diversity:

  • They will Champion Gender diversity with an ambition to achieve 50% representation of Women in leadership roles by 2030.
  • As advertisers of some of the world’s most loved brands, they will use their creative & media spend to support progressive voices, celebrate diversity in their advertising and help to share a tolerant society. 
  • They will Champion ethnic diversity with an ambition to increase representation of leaders from ethnically diverse backgrounds to 45% by 2030

ASOS X Disability Representation

Sometimes, I feel brands can often forget to acknowledge so many young people who are affected by having a disability, especially without realizing how easily they can broaden their marketing reach to be able to cater for different needs, if they simply did something ‘different’. 

ASOS took a slightly different approach, standing up for disability & inclusion on just a random day, without major PR campaigns and media coverage prior to it being released on their website. In this particular case, they showed one of their models promoting an earring on their website, where the model was wearing a hearing aid. 

The brand was praised for promoting products not specifically targeted to disabled people being worn by a visibly disabled model. This shows that their commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just for press or media coverage, instead their commitment is long lasting, including their introduction of wheelchair user models & clothing lines. Making fashion accessible for all, has really given this company an even better name!

Sky X Kick It Out ‘We are all in’ Advert

Sky and Kick It Out, have formed a 3 year partnership to fight racism and discrimination. Sky has agreed to also commit to using their extensive established multinational channels to support the organization, by making it easier and more accessible for football fans to be able & willing to report incidents of discrimination. This partnership has really helped both brands, in particular Sky, as it has allowed them to show in their marketing strategies, what they can do and how they want to tackle the issue head on. 

The partnership decided to create an “I’m in” press release video, as part of their marketing campaign. This video clip below shows various well-known sports personalities and athletes showing their solidarity, to kick it out of sport. This video now features hourly on all Sky Sports channels at the beginning/ending of each programme, with potential marketing and awareness reach to millions of viewers daily.

Elevate | The Inclusive Workplace Pledge

Business in the community Ireland’s new pledge “Elevate” was set up to support companies building more inclusive workplaces. So far 52 companies have signed up to Elevate, the inclusive workplace pledge, including A&L Goodbody, AIB, Diageo Ireland, Tesco, Janssen, Deloitte and Irish Rail, just to name a few. As part of this pledge, these companies can demonstrate their commitment to building truly inclusive workplaces and can show their support of the broader values of inclusion, diversity, equality & opportunity in Irish society. The Elevate pledge is still open to businesses who would like to get involved today to become more inclusive & aware of disabilities.

Take Action

From all of my reading and researching of these brands, I’ve found a lot of companies are doing tremendous work to become more inclusive and open to disability and diversity. However, it’s now time for more brands and companies to take action and stand up for what is right…Equality for all! 

I think as companies and businesses, we should celebrate all diversity world days/ awareness months. Celebrating these disabilities and diverse communities, to show our colleagues, we stand with them. As a Type 1 Diabetic & Verve event executive, I have received tremendous help and support from my colleagues and peers around my disability. Not only does it help me feel more comfortable talking about my disability, it also makes my colleagues feel more comfortable asking questions, which in turn normalizes the condition that I have.

I look forward to what the future holds for events and marketing, when it comes to inclusion and accessibility for all. I think it is really important for us to never forget any part of the population, just because they don’t fit into our ideas for events and plans.

It is time to start thinking openly and make sure everyone fits in, it is time to make that difference today! 

– Jamie Purcell 

The Verve Experience Podcast

Verve is an agency celebrating 30 years at the top of the events, experiential and marketing industries. This podcast pulls from that wealth of experience, giving key insights from the past, tips for the future, and everything in between.

You can listen to all of  The Verve Experience episodes here: https://audioboom.com/channels/5045240

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