The comedian and author shared stories from her own life, and spoke about the importance of equity and intersectionality

This year Carpmaels was delighted to welcome comedian, author, former Microsoft employee, and social mobility advocate Toni Kent to our office to give a talk on equity – the theme of International Women’s Day 2023 – equality, intersectionality, and how businesses can attract and retain more diverse talent.

Toni was welcomed by a full house and plenty of enthusiasm from the Carpmaels team, with whom she shared stories from her personal life and her career journey, her experience of growing up in a low-income home, and her insights on the unknown difficulty of social mobility.

At Carpmaels, we know that diversity of thought is vital to our business and enables us to approach challenges differently and offer our clients creative and original solutions. We are pursuing several initiatives to support the development of female employees and working parents. We have introduced a core skills development programme to make sure everyone is supported to reach their full potential, and we have also taken steps to reduce bias in our recruitment initiatives.

We want the steps we are taking to ensure that Carpmaels & Ransford continues to be a supportive and healthy workplace for our employees, which in turn ensures that we provide the best possible service for our clients.

Key to the day’s theme, Toni explained how the difference between equity and equality is that equality means everyone gets the same opportunities – but equity is understanding that not everyone starts from the same base and the importance of providing the tools to help get them there.

She spoke about how, from early on in her life, she was determined not to be poor as an adult, and the work she had to put in to get to where she is now. After many years and an extremely varied career, Toni now regularly speaks to businesses and firms like Carpmaels about the different experiences people bring to the working world.

Asked how companies and firms can attract and retain more diverse talent, she spoke about inclusive hiring practices and her own experience of being hired by a tech company based on character references and her professional experience, rather than a degree. She also underscored the importance of social events where employees don’t need to have a particular type of cultural capital to take part, and the importance of language; seeing potential hires as an “addition”, rather than a “fit”.

Finally, Toni underlined for our team the importance of understanding that people who don’t come from a “typical” hiring pool may need to work harder to get to the level others are already at.

At Carpmaels, we were among the first patent attorney firms to publish our Gender Pay Gap Report, at a stage when we were not required to do so by law. Improving diversity and inclusion at all levels is a top priority for Carpmaels & Ransford. We want to say thank you to Toni for sharing her knowledge and insight and for helping our firm to continue to develop in the right direction.

10th Mar 2023

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