At Commonwealth Games England we fully support diversity. Diversity is one of our key values and we are committed to ensuring representation, equality and inclusion in everything we do, and at every level.
We are proud to be one of the most diverse and inclusive teams in the country, and we continue to strive for that same diversity across our organisation, which starts at the top with our board.
Nigel Walker OBE has served on the Commonwealth Games England board for over five years. Throughout his successful career as an international track and field and rugby player, Walker has experienced racism in sport, but he believes the Commonwealth Games England board are not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk when it comes to creating balanced opportunities at the top of the organisation.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the Commonwealth Games Board for over five years now,” Walker comments. “With Ian Metcalfe at its helm, and there’s been a real drive to have diversity around the board table.
“Since joining the board, we’ve moved from just me being from a BAME background, to it now being me and two others in Ali Jawad and Ama Agbeze. So that’s 25% of the board.
“And what’s really important is that they’re not just, what I call, ‘dirt trackers’, who move from one board to another, they are people who are on their first board, so they are the future.”
Commonwealth Games England implement a diversity strategy that aims to cover all elements of diversity and inclusion.
“All elements of a society, or the population which any given board covers is truly representative because the individuals you are representing will have certain experiences.
“If you don’t have every single base covered, how can you possibly say you’re taking into account all the factors which might be brought to the table from that population that you’re serving.
“The important thing isn’t to go out and recruit people from a BAME background, for recruiting people from a BAME background’s sake, it’s about ensuring that when Ian and the rest of the board go out to recruit, that pipeline is there.
“So, in your shortlist of four or five or six, you get the candidates that accurately represent the population. And that’s the big piece of work that needs to be done, and that’s about the fabric of our society, how we think and how we do things, and we are going to need to do things differently.”
With Commonwealth Games England already having 25% BAME representation across its board, Walker hopes the balance of opportunities will only improve as they set their sights on hosting the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.
“Birmingham 2022 is quite a short term, I’d like to think we wouldn’t go below 25% [BAME representation] in that time, which is not a bad place to be, but I’d like us to have our diversity strategy hard-wired into the organisation by then. If we do that, we’ll be in a good position to maintain 25% and maybe even go a bit further.
“It’s important to get those fundamentals right and make sure people are thinking about it not just when it comes to recruiting a board member or executive, but people are talking about it all the time and laying those foundations.
“If we do that, when it comes to recruitment, Commonwealth Games England will be seen as the sort of organisation that is looking to represent the population that it serves appropriately.
“By doing those things on a week by week, month by month, quarter by quarter basis, when it comes to actually recruiting, you increase your chances of making the right appointment, and keeping the balance at both board and executive levels.”
For more information on our commitment to diversity, click here.