• Madeleine Bonser

Spotlight on Chris Allan

Updated: May 12, 2021

Here at Spotlight, we had the chance to chat with Chris Allan, Director at Your D+I. He spoke to us about launching a business during a pandemic and provided tips to those struggling with working from home.

A background into you and your business?

Your D+I was formed in June last year after the threat of redundancy and furlough. I was working for a D+I consultancy prior to furlough and felt I could do more and make more of an impact than what I was already doing. We are a diversity and inclusion consultancy and workshop provider who specifically but not exclusively, support SME’s, creative and digital agencies and University career teams on a better understanding of D+I through fun and informative workshops and consultancy.

After being sacked for being gay 12 years ago I went back in the closet for a while when joining a new business in fear of it happening again. After feeling comfortable enough to come out while working for a University my mind started to wonder how I could help other people who have been discriminated against because of their characteristics and how I could better support businesses in understanding D+I.

Starting your own business is a really daunting thing and has definitely been challenging but knowing you are doing something you love and makes an impact makes all the difference.

What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?

Being able to give back. We set out to support our community and have recently set up a charity commission with a few other businesses. We have also successfully finished our first ever charity event supporting freedom4girls who are a period poverty charity and raised over £250.

What is it that gives you the drive and determination to succeed?

Knowing that we are supporting people and businesses in adopting a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

Three tips would you give to those starting their careers

  1. If you love something go for it

  2. Take risks

  3. Network!

Advice to people who are wanting to start a business

Do it! There is no ‘good time’. We launched a business amidst a global pandemic and it has worked for us.

Advice be to someone managing a team

Listen to your team. The last 12 months have taught us to be more empathetic. Instead of being reactive when someone is struggling, listen to what they actually need not what you think they need.

To what do you attribute your success?

It would have to be commitment and collaboration. People who are starting their own businesses are all going through the same thing. Talk to each other and try to find a resolution together.

Top tips do you have for businesses struggling with remote working

Create a separate workspace if you can. Avoid working from the sofa or your bed. It will help you switch off easier. Also, go for a walk and make sure you finish on time, this will prevent you from overworking.

What does the future look like for your business?

Exciting! We are launching our D+I starter kit for SME’s which offers a more affordable and less time-consuming solution for SME’s at the beginning of their D+I journey. Also season 4

of our podcast Diversitea.

If you’ve found Chris' story interesting then connect him on LinkedIn and follow Your D+I on Twitter and Instagram. Also, don’t forget to give his podcast Diversitea a listen. Read more blogs like this here.

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