Corporate Inclusivity and Equality
MTC recognise that whilst the key messages of Diversity are being advocated in the workplace more visibly than ever, there is still much to do to make programmes and implementation relevant and effective.
Over 25 years, MTC as a business has been lucky enough to have worked with genuinely diverse clients, from differing backgrounds, abilities and ethnicities. Each of them have had careers that have taken them to the pinnacle of their sport, however, their distinctive life experiences have shaped very individual viewpoints. As such we have asked them to express what ‘Diversity’ means to them and therefore what their own individual messaging can impart to a wider audience. We hope to have a regular stream of these comments and analysis on topical news items within our upcoming Diversity Blog.
After 25 years of business, MTC are able to access an unlimited network of talent, including our own client list, who will meet all aspects of a brief and, in particular, are on message.
“I was brought up as a Jamaican child in Wales. The only time I was in contact with white welsh people was when I was in school. The rest of the time I was surrounded by black people, by my family and friends. To that end I only had Jamaican food when I was growing up, I was lucky that I never really experienced the racism that perhaps my parents did when they came over, or as I may have done in bigger cities like Birmingham or London. Wales and Llanedeyrn where I grew up protected me in that sense. The best part of Athletics however, is it breaks that boundary, there’s no black, white, Chinese, Indian. If you’re the fastest, you’re just the fastest, race is irrespective.”
Colin is an Olympic Silver Medallist, World Record holder and multiple World Champion hurdler. His experience of growing up as a first generation immigrant in Wales has helped to shape him into the man he is today. Facing many challenges both during, and after his career, he draws on this experience to help inspire others.
“I’ve always viewed an obstacle as an opportunity, because sometimes it just creates a door or an avenue that you didn’t know was there. The doors that I’ve had to knock down whilst growing up to convince people that I was worthy of an opportunity will hopefully still be open to future generations. I want young people to think ‘if she can do it, so can I.'”
Liz Johnson is a Paralympic Gold Medallist and a 3x World Champion. The obstacles that cerebral palsy and personal tragedy presented to Liz are well documented, but Liz never let them define her. In fact, she has spent a huge amount of time talking to workplaces, educating them on the normality of living with physical and mental challenges, and on the immense value these individuals can bring to the workplace. She also uses her platform to help show people with disabilities the scope of what they can achieve.
“It enraged me that the colour of my passport dictated my capabilities. It enraged me that my gender made them think they can tell me what I can and cannot do. How can they tell me I can’t do this just because I was born a Saudi?”
Born in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, Raha Moharrak faced a constant challenge in a traditional environment where women were restricted from sport. With no infrastructure, training or equipment, Raha strove to break the cultural norm through facing nature’s most difficult and dangerous challenges. Her successes in mountaineering combined with her speaking talent on an international and corporate stage has led to the Saudi government acknowledging the link between sport and health and the necessity to provide it equally for future generations. Raha wants to use her platform to inspire and empower people of all ages and backgrounds.
“I always swerved the topic of sexuality, prone to telling half truths and shying away from the scrutiny. What I allowed people to see was Mark the swimmer, Mark the bloke, but beneath both faces was this other story that I kept hidden away. I think within sport sexuality coincides with a question of masculinity which constricts people. Whilst nobody likes to be vulnerable, sharing my story allowed me to come out and show the ‘real me’.”
Mark is a 5 time Olympian and 6 time World Champion. After hearing so many disparaging throwaway comments at golf days and at football matches, he felt it was time to address the issue. Since then, he has received countless messages from young men who are also experiencing a similar internal struggle whom Mark is determined to be an example for.
“We’re lucky in Athletics that there is no disparity in funding and training, but that’s not to say the focus is the same. For instance at the World Championships in 2017 there was a Mo Farah and Usain Bolt countdown, but none for the females whatsoever. It’s similar behind the scenes too, I have two coaches that are male, two doctors that are male, the physios are all male, my nutritionist is male and my psychologist is male, the only female on my team is my race agent, the disparity is alarming but a reality we need to work towards changing.”
Asha is the leader of Team GB’s record-breaking 4x100m Olympic, and World Championship, medal winning relay-team. Success in a male-dominated sport never comes easy, but Asha’s attitude and perseverance has given her the necessary drive to not only succeed, but to drive change and challenge perceptions.
“All mums are amazing the way they juggle things, and when kids start doing sport there’s even more to juggle with the time restraints of being here, there and everywhere. When I became a mum, mentally I became so much happier in myself. I had a better balance in my life and that led to better performances.”
Jo Pavey was forty years old when she won the 10,000m at the European Championships. It was the first gold medal of her career and, astonishingly, it came within months of having her second child. Because of this, Jo has been held up as a role model for juggling mums. But she feels uncomfortable living with that tag because she believes that she’s had a support network that many others do not. Despite this, Jo uses her platform to help empower people to believe they can achieve anything, at any time in their life, regardless of personal circumstance.