We catch up with Founder Gabrielle Austen Browne as Diversity Ally, an organisation specialising in helping the global events industry to become diverse and inclusive, rebrands to become Diversity Alliance.
Just like individuals, businesses expand and grow throughout the years and often have to rebrand and reimagine in order to keep up with ever-changing circumstances. This is the situation Diversity Ally Founder Gabrielle Austen Browne found herself in as she launched the brand’s new identity, Diversity Alliance: “When we first started working in this area, it was mid-pandemic when racial diversity protests were happening. It was a lot more about allyship then. How people can listen to each other, learn each other’s stories, support each other, and advocate for each other. That’s what an ally is.
Now that we’ve grown and people are more aware and taking more action, it’s become more of a united group effort to drive this mission forwards, particularly in the events industry. The word alliance feels more about being joined or associated under a similar goal. It’s almost like we’re going from childhood to adulthood.”
The name isn’t the only new thing happening over at Diversity Alliance: “We’re also branching into new things. We’ve always focused on workshops and education around the challenges that marginalised people face but are also challenges for the industry as well. Things that people are unaware of but are affecting their organisation. That’s really important, but now there’s space for us to move into other activities to pull the message forward.
“I’m building an online accredited training course for organisations who want to become knowledgeable in this area but can’t afford consultancy or workshops. I’m also writing a report using information and data collected from The Power of Events to study diversity and inclusivity in the events industry. There are also some other key areas that Diversity Alliance is going to be looking at, and these are: educational tools and resources, data and benchmarking, community and social impact, and recognition and celebration.”
Along with a brand-new identity, Gabrielle also moved the business out of London and made its home up in Manchester:
“I felt like there wasn’t as much access to companies in the Midlands and north of England with regards to diversity. I met some companies at industry events down south, but I just felt like there wasn’t really a representative up north. We’re always so southern-centric and London-centric when there’s so much going on up here.”
“I felt like there wasn’t as much access to companies in the Midlands and north of England with regards to diversity.”
Diversity Alliance is also reaching out to the next generation of event professionals through a partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University: “This month my first set of interns from Manchester Metropolitan will be starting in a programme called Rise Interns, which is supported by Santander. It was key for me to make sure that I was practising what I was preaching and supporting more underrepresented students to give them that experience within my organisation. It will be good to have more hands-on deck, as there’s a lot going on and it’s all really important work.”