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Leadership Series 2020: Nicola Mendelsohn CBE in discussion with Dame Vivian Hunt

We live in an era of fast paced change, with great opportunities – yet many companies across the board are failing to find ways to make the most of these changes, in particular when it comes to racial and gender representation. Why? Systemic and structural inequality. 

At CogX 2020, Dame Vivian Hunt outlined why inclusion and diversity efforts- including those promoting racial and gendered representation, must be prioritised in the organisation. Hunt is McKinsey & Company’s lead speaker on diversity issues and Chair of Business in the community, as well as being the chair of Teach First. She has also been named one of the ten most influential Black people in Britain by Powerlist Foundation. 

In discussion with Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice President, Facebook EMEA, at CogX, she provides data to support the correlation between diversity and financial performance. Her insights on the correlations between an inclusive environment and performance were illuminating. 

Hunt opens the discussion candidly, explaining: 

 ‘As a parent and as a mother of course I want to inform, educate and protect my boys, and inform, educate and protect our organisation, and not be cynical and weary that these moments are going to pass. I do feel that the scale and breadth of the injustice and the reaction feels different this time.’ 

She continues to outline 3 clear steps which can be taken to ensure inclusion becomes a reality. She comments on the weight early decision making carries in regards to this in start-ups and the responsibility from the beginning for companies to be ‘against racism and bias and pro inclusion’. 

There is an urgent need to turn these ideas into action. Hunt comments that ‘we need to be unapologetic about the data and the history of representation for Black and BAME communities’. As technology becomes ever more present in our lives, understanding its social impact is central to discussions on ‘how to get the next ten years right’. The global reach and range tech provides is by nature inclusive, and therefore great opportunity is created when new systems are put in place.

As Hunt explains; ‘We have a chance to have a new dialogue about equality and inclusion and we have to cease the moment’.

Revisit Dame Vivian Hunt’s CogX talk to hear more….



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