We asked Dinesh Desikan, who leads the Represent group at Whitespace to reflect on the past year and the progress that bringing people together has made.

Represent is a network for employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds​ and those who champion diversity and inclusion to have space within the business to listen, learn and share experiences. The group was set up a year ago with the mission to:

Make dentsu a welcoming workplace for minority ethnic communities and a driving force for a culturally progressive & diverse industry.

Over the last year, we have built an active community of 179 members which continues to grow as new initiatives like The Book Club and Black History Month are launched. The goal of the network is to implement new and support existing strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equality into all aspects of dentsu's operations and ultimately change industry perceptions.

 

Images of speakers for the Black History Month talks run by dentsu

 

Represent plays an important role in ensuring that dentsu policies are inclusive and fully consider the needs of ethnically diverse communities, maintaining consistency across the network. The group also aims to raise the profile of dentsu to our clients and the advertising industry.

 

 

Black History month was a huge success with 4 virtual events taking place. We heard from the inspirational Patrick Hutchinson, a personal trainer and a children's athletics coach from South London who received worldwide attention after he was photographed carrying an injured counter-protestor to safety during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in central London. Another event was hosted by a female Intersectional Panel which spoke with black women from dentsu. You can watch both of these events on our YouTube channel.

 

 

We’ve also celebrated other cultures and groups, with recipes from our South Asian colleagues being shared for Diwali, and a really great talk with our colleagues at &Proud around the intersectionality of experiences during LGBT History Month.

We have just launched our Reverse Mentoring Scheme, that pairs junior employees with members from our senior executive leadership team across the business. The aim is to share experiences and give new perspectives to both parties. Managing Partner, Phillip Lockwood-Holmes is taking part in the initiative as well as a few other Whitespacers.

 

A pink illustration for LGBTQ+ history month

 

We’ll be celebrating our first birthday with a live event talking to some of our represent champions on what we’ve accomplished over the last year. Frances Irvine, Head of Diversity Equity and Inclusion for Whitespace will be joining the panel to share what we’ve been doing over the year to make Whitespace an inclusive and welcoming place to work.

But really, this is just the start of our involvement in the Represent group. We are committed to making a positive impact on our industry and are looking forward to highlighting more events throughout the year that showcase the rich cultural diversity that exists across dentsu.