Race and Culture Network

Hema co-chairs the DE&S Race and Culture Network and explains how living almost 8,000km from where she was born has helped shape her commitment to DE&S and the network.

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I initially joined the Race and Culture Network around seven years ago. At that time, it was lead by one person who was the sole representative for DE&S.

The network over the time since has gone through various transformations and today we have 130+ members and a committee of 11 individuals who volunteer their time.

The network is important as it acts as a platform for different cultures to converge, thereby creating a more inclusive organisation and provides individuals from different cultures to network in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

From the DE&S Race and Culture Network


Being involved with the Race and Culture Network has broadened my experience and understanding of my colleagues and some of the cultural issues they face.  I believe this is helping me be a better colleague and is expanding my understanding of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace and outside.

I joined the Race and Culture Network as culture, race and people have always interested me and I’m intrigued by different cultures, customs and behaviours. This probably stems from my own nomadic life, having been born in Zambia and then moving to the UK when I was about 6 years old.

Initially we first lived in Wolverhampton, followed by Leicester for about eight years and then to London, where I lived until I got married and moved to Bristol.

From my original place of birth to Bristol the distance is 7,917km (4,919 miles). Hence I have been exposed to a variety of people and traditions. All cultures and traditions are important and by learning or knowing more about them it can dispel myths and misunderstanding.

From the DE&S Race and Culture Network


The Race and Culture Network helps me in a number of ways. It gives me a sense of empowerment, it offers a place that I can really open up with my colleagues and it’s a great place to network.

Cultures can also define an individual and for some it’s an integral part of their self and only by a willingness to learn about other cultures are we able to delve into the different facets of diversity in its many forms.

On a day to day basis I think most individuals within DE&S are aware of diversity, just look at the different types of food we eat today! Who would have believed that by around 2015 “a curry” would be amongst Britains top 5 most favourite dishes.

From the DE&S Race and Culture Network


I have volunteered at Bristol Abbey Wood family day as a member of Race and Culture Network, which was a great experience to promote to good work we’re doing. Speaking to other members has helped me to understand our contribution to the front line command which I am very proud about but also the vast opportunities available for career progression in the business.

If we look at footballers and managers in the Premier League a fair proportion of them are from other parts of the world and culture.

Embracing diversity isn’t difficult what the real challenge is to maintain it and keep it consistent, and that’s where the Race and Culture Network can help to create the awareness, develop it and sustain it.

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By |2022-01-05T11:52:56+00:00September 26th, 2018|
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