In June 2021 I was delighted to welcome and introduce our third Diverse Minds’ associate, Sandra Brown. A diverse leader with real passion for fairness and equity. Devastatingly, our friend and colleague passed away on 13 September 2021. Sandra was a shining star in the EDI world and we will all miss her so much. She brought joy and happiness to so many people as a practitioner, friend, colleague, mother, daughter and sister. I will always treasure the time I spent with her, the conversations and her sage advice.
Sandra’s equality, diversity and inclusion journey started in the Home Office. Where she was a policy officer to the Equalities Minister and later moved to the Police Service. There she worked with Chief Officers to implement the recommendations of the Macpherson report into the death of the Black teenager, Stephen Lawrence. Sandra worked in large and small organisations, engaging in a wide a range of projects. These included: developing inclusive leadership programmes for senior leaders, carrying out diversity and inclusion audits, developing and implementing equality strategies and implementing diversity initiatives.
As well as supporting the underrepresentation of Global Majority staff as a coach and mentor. Sandra was instrumental in setting up a cross higher education mentoring programme called B-MEntor. The programme was shortlisted for two national awards in 2014: the ENEI Tapping into Talent award and the Race for Opportunity Developing Talent Progression Award. Sandra was well versed in the use of national accreditation frameworks such as Athena SWAN and the Race Equality Charter Mark having gained Silver and Bronze awards respectively for the universities she worked in.
She was never afraid to speak up and out as her public resignation letter from one HEI demonstrated, which you can read it here. She lived and breathe justice and made us all better for it.
Areas of Sandra’s expertise
Sandra was a diversity and inclusion expert with over 12 years’ experience in strategy development and EDI training. Sandra’s main areas of focus were race, gender, and disability. She developed specific expertise in delivering award winning and large scale diversity and inclusion transformation programmes in gender and race as well as developing reciprocal mentoring schemes.
What’s one fact about yourself you would like to share?
I worked with Baroness Lawrence to implement the recommendations of the Macpherson Report into police forces in England and Wales.
What inspired you to join Diverse Minds as an Associate in 2021?
In addition to being extremely passionate about EDI, I wanted to be part of a business that was as passionate as me! As well as one that was making a difference to others. When the opportunity arose to support my friend Leyla with her fantastic business, it was a no brainer.
What is the one book that has greatly impacted what you do and why?
It has to be Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book Why I Am No longer talking to white People about Race. Whilst I understand her frustration at continuously having to explain racism in depth, it provides me with a platform to strengthen the conversation. Conversations that started following George Floyd’s death, I have up to date examples of racism that I can relate to. It also made me think more deeply about the importance of race and the part it plays in society.
How has not getting what you want immediately helped you to reach your career goals?
It makes it that much sweeter when it arrives! When asked for a seat at the table, I have been told the table is getting smaller. I took myself out of that environment, became more resilient and placed my chair at a table that respected and valued me, my skills and what I have to say.
What are your top three tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing?
- Know which battles to fight.
- Have early morning power walks
- Salsa Dancing!
We are delighted to have Sandra as part of the Diverse Minds Team and we look forward to you meeting her and the rest of the wider team. You can find more information about Diverse Minds Associates here.