October is Black History Month and as part of our celebrations we are sharing stories from our staff. It has certainly been a month of lots of conversations and discussions across our society at work or at home. At Advance we are proud to have a diverse workforce who deliver excellent care to our customers. The new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group will be working together to make sure we have conversations about subjects like Black History so that Advance continues to develop a culture where diversity and inclusion is part of our culture.
“For me, Black History Month is about education, celebrating success and sharing.” Maxine started working as a Customer Services Advisor in our Leicester call centre three years ago. After a career in working for both for British Gas and a local authority children’s home, Maxine joined Advance through a desire to help people by building a rapport with customers, contractors and staff. Of her job she says, “I just think it’s great to be part of such a supportive team. Every day is different. I really love it.”
“Educating people through events like Black History Month is important as a lot of prejudice comes from ignorance.” Maxine’s parents faced racism when they came to Britain from Jamaica. As the only black child at her school Maxine also faced daily discrimination. Although she feels things have improved, Maxine believes much more could be done and fully supports the Black Lives Matter movement’s call for Black History to be included on the curriculum of UK schools. “I feel for my son and grandsons. I want to make a difference so that things are safer for them.”
Passionate and committed both as an Advance staff member and as an advocate for change, Maxine said “I believe in being positive. No-one is born racist. I would like people to have the confidence to intervene and challenge prejudice when they see it.” As a member of Advance’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group Maxine believes changes could be made to organisational culture through training programmes and greater diversity on recruitment panels. “Ultimately I think it’s important we recognise our similarities while celebrating our differences. I just want to help to create a fair and equal society.”
*Maxine is pictured above with her youngest grandson, Micah ,and receiving a PRIDE Award from Advance Chair, Marie Li Mow Ching.