Lauren Hackett is Deputy Chair of Sainsbury’s LGBTA Colleague Network, Proud@Sainsburys. Lauren explains how the Radius Network Leadership Programme helped her to build a whole range of transferrable skills that helped Proud@Sainsburys to win a national LGBT award.

Since joining the Radius Programme we’ve really come into our own as a network. We’re a dominant voice in the business now. More people are listening to us and supporting us, which is great.

Our network membership has increased massively over the last couple of years and we have more allies than ever before. We were delighted to win Most Inclusive Business at the LGBT awards! This is a huge achievement, a massive goal that we strived towards for a long time. We are there now, we are recognised and Radius helped us on this journey.

As Deputy Network Chair, The Radius Network Leadership Programme helped me personally to tailor my approach to communicating with people across the business. How I communicate with someone at board level, a Sponsor or Director for example, is very different to how I communicate with someone on my team. Radius helped me with some important conversations and it also encouraged me to bring people on board from the outset.

Creating a strong narrative around what we are doing and why, has really helped to push our network forward. One of my personal highlights as Deputy Chair was Trans Awareness Week, which encouraged people across the business to come out. Knowing you’re a part of that journey and you’ve provided a safe space where people can be themselves….. that’s why we do what we do.

Network Chairs need a whole range of leadership skills. They need to be good communicators, to be passionate and to have empathy. The Radius programme helped me to develop many of these qualities, so I can carry my network’s voices forward. It gave me the transferrable skills I needed to do this.

Since the programme, we’ve expanded our strategic network. We have a monthly meeting with Sainsbury’s Network Leads and co-ordinate across the business. This cross-functional working with other networks is really powerful. A strategic approach is important too. As a network we support the business to make sure we are doing the right things at the right time for our colleagues.

The Radius programme was very educational. It allowed me to see things differently and step outside the norm of how I might work with my Sainsbury’s hat on. The opportunity to network was also invaluable. We shouldn’t be scared to work with other businesses and support one another.

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