Sodexo hosted its first Inclusion Conference at the stadium of Everton Football Club last week (4 May).

Regional chair Sean Haley welcomed more than 250 delegates at Goodison Park, who listened to a variety of of external and internal speakers focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

In the morning, Chris Bray, CEO Sports & Leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, held a discussion on stage with Everton FC head of HR Kemmel Healy and equality manager Rachael Jones. Sodexo provides hospitality, retail, conference and events services at Goodison Park.

James Gorry, a former construction worker who had a workplace accident that left him paraplegic, gave an inspirational talk on health and safety at work.

Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE, author of The Incredible Power of Staff Networks, hosted a panel debate with co-chairs from each of Sodexo’s employee networks: Pride, Women Work, Generations and Origins.

Annie Zaidi, listed in The Independent’s 50 most influential women in sport, led a breakout session on her career as a football coach from a BAME background.

Other breakout sessions were run by Mohamed Kebbay from Business in the Community, the first openly transgender Masterchef contestant Leng Montgomery, Steve Walter from Making Connections Matter and representatives from Sodexo’s employee networks.

Sodexo’s diversity and inclusion council was founded in 2009, and the diversity and inclusion strategy has six work streams: gender, ethnicity, generations, inclusion, disability, and sexual orientation and gender identity.

Megan Horsburgh, Sodexo UK & Ireland head of diversity and inclusion, said: “The Inclusion Conference was designed to raise awareness, provide new knowledge and develop new connections, and reflected the passion and enthusiasm Sodexo has for diversity and inclusion. Thank you to our speakers, Everton Football Club, the D&I team, volunteers from all the employee network groups and the D&I council who all worked really hard to put on a truly inspirational event.”

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