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Building Meaningful DE&I Solutions Together With the CSA Team

Senior Consultant, Leng Montgomery reviews his first 30 days working with Charlotte Sweeney Associates. 

Today I have been at Charlotte Sweeney Associates for a month, and it’s really flown by. Like anyone I’ve had moments of figuring out what’s what but also really love feeling part of a dynamic and supportive team.

I’ve worked in D&I for around 10 years now and have mostly been in-house. I’ve worked in lots of different sectors which now has really started lending itself well to the types of conversations and solutions I can support. Through my career there’s been stints of consultancy I’ve done and freelance pieces of work, but I’ve never been full-time in a consultancy which is something I’ve always worked towards but didn’t know when this would become a reality.

Since March I’ve been working freelance and enjoyed great collaborations with Unleashed.org as well as building up a portfolio of clients myself. I’ve enjoyed working on a variety of different projects and even had a TV appearance as well!

In June this year I delivered 12 pieces of keynote/public speaking and 9 pieces of training delivery, and I loved it. I also started at Charlotte Sweeney Associates too! It was quite full on but as I’ve learned particularly working in DE&I over the last year, that it is a role that means you’re always on. There is also more to do and more you can be doing – together.

DE&I work can become a bit lonely and isolating at times, but I’ve felt really happy having more people to work with and collaborate with. Joining a consultancy such as Charlotte Sweeney Associates has really helped me think about how I scale and grow as a consultant as well as working in different ways due to there being the structure and the platform to do so.

One thing I’ve learned over the past year is that things can change very rapidly, and we need to adapt and we can adapt to working in a way we could never imagine before. As a consultant I continue to be busy and am grateful for that as with that comes feeling happy at work. I have more of a voice than I’ve had anywhere else and in the type of work this is, it’s crucial.

I feel organisations that are early in their DE&I journey do benefit more from working with an external consultancy to help them gather and explore the right solutions to make impactful and authentic strategy, engagement, inclusive leadership, and training.

It’s also critical that you are setting up your DE&I person (or team) up for success – especially if it’s the first time you’ve had that role in an organisation!

There can be a lot of pressure and expectation and DE&I will hold up a mirror that can show you the best and the worst of what’s happening internally. One person will not be able to fix a toxic workplace culture if it’s got that far. By working with a consultancy and internal DE&I you can build the right and meaningful solutions together.