Celebrating Black History Month at SmartestEnergy #SmartestBalance

It is Black History Month, a time to celebrate and explore Black British History and champion Black British voices. In this latest blog of our #SmartestBalance series, Claudia McIntosh, our newly appointed Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Manager, shares why it's important to celebrate Black History Month as an organisation, placing inclusion and diversity at the centre of our SmartestBalance initiative.      

Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in 1987 and was initiated with the goal to raise awareness of and explicitly recognise the achievements of Black individuals during a time when our education system and media perpetuated a narrative of erasure of Black people from British history. It has since evolved into a national movement observed throughout the UK, with aims to educate, celebrate and recognise the role of people of African and Caribbean heritage in helping to shape the UK's culture, history, and economic development.   

Black History Month is now a month-long festival of educational events, exhibitions, shows, talks, memorial services and installations across London that raise awareness of history and celebrate traditions, customs and cultures.   

It is important to showcase, celebrate, and recognise Black history and its positive impact on our society each year, encouraging governments, institutions, and corporations to embrace and adopt equality and diversity policies. At SmartestEnergy, we are keen to join in this movement, pushing for fairness and equality and keeping this conversation alive amongst our colleagues, families and friends.  

The theme for this year is 'sharing journeys', an opportunity to learn from the experiences of those around you and share your own story in a safe space. As D&I manager and a Black female in Energy, I have come to dedicate my professional life to creating safe spaces for individuals and groups to share their diverse perspectives and embed ways for us to build strong relationships with one another.  

At SmartestEnergy, we are using this month's ‘sharing journeys’ narrative to facilitate discussions, explore cultures and educate our employees to learn, progress, and be better allies, employees and leaders. We will be holding a live discussion about our journeys into the energy industry, representation in the workplace, and allyship, as well as celebrating with African Caribbean cuisine at the end of the month. Moving forward, we would like to continue sharing our journeys and experiences with vlogs, video interviews and panel conversations.  

A welcoming culture is essential in the workplace, and it's important to highlight that despite our differences, we are all a part of one team. Through our SmartestBalance Equality, Diversity and Inclusion initiative, we are keen to continue driving acceptance, celebrating diversity and sharing our journeys, not only this month but all year round.