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Macpherson Kelley commercial associate on why she's joined DEI group

By Shandel McAuliffe | |7 minute read
Macpherson Kelley Commercial Associate On Why She S Joined Dei Group

A lot of business leaders and HR know that focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion is important. But getting employee support for leadership initiatives, such as DEI, can be challenging. Commercial associate Emma Berry explained to The HR Leader why she's joined Macpherson Kelley’s DEI working group.

If you're interested in establishing a working group to manage your organisation's DEI agenda, it's important to 'recruit' team members in the right way. No one should ever feel compelled to be part of DEI initiatives. Keeping this in mind, presenting the opportunity in the right light so it's a win for the business and a win for employees is the key to driving engagement with DEI projects.

The HR Leader asked Ms Berry what her motivation was for being part of Macpherson Kelley's DEI group, and why she opted for their 'gender pillar'.


Ms Berry shared: "When Olivia [Holmes, national HR manager] put out the feelers, I came back and I said, 'I'm happy to do any work across any of the pillars. I think they're all great ones to get involved in.' I did indicate at the time that I was particularly passionate about our gender pillar, because that's what I associate most with. And I felt that other pillars were perhaps left to people who were able to best support those, to have the right ideas coming through unique people that it's actually going to affect more."

Ms Berry added: "So I felt for myself, gender was the one that affects me the most and what I can put ideas towards the most. But I've had a chat with Olivia about other pillars and what we can consider. I had a chat with her about our Indigenous Australians and how we can help shape our policies around that, because that falls into our culture and religion pillar. So whilst we've all been divided into these pillars of what we've asked to be involved in, I think it's going to probably end up being a little bit less formal in that we are also going to collaborate together and share ideas. And that's the beauty of it."

The relationship Ms Berry has with her firm's HR team also influenced her decision to be part of the working group, as did the outcome the work might have on the organisation.

Ms Berry said "It was a no brainer for me, really. For starters, Olivia manages the HR of our team so well, and she's a great person to lead this initiative. But to be part of something so big for our firm, to do something that is really going to affect a lot of change for the people who are already in our firm and who are going to be joining our firm, I think that's really important."

"Our world is changing. Australia is changing. Law firms are changing. And I want to be part of that and make sure that we are taking the right steps to do the right initiatives, to get the right people in our organisation. Because as Olivia says, MK [Macpherson Kelley] welcomes everyone in and encourages us to turn up as ourselves to work. There're no facades. So having these kinds of policies in place makes sure that people are comfortable and that's going to make us do our best when we turn up every day," she continued.

Asked to predict where she'd like to see Macpherson Kelley's DEI work in five years' time, Ms Berry said "I would like to see us with some policies in place maybe within the year that we can actually start actioning. Our parental leave policies and our public holiday swap schemes, I think they're fantastic. But as with anything there's so much more we can do. So I'd love us to say in five years' time that we've set all of these fantastic policies that actually mean something to the employees. And not just having them actually in place, but having them so ingrained in the firm in five years' time that it's like a bat of the eye."

Ms Berry concluded "I'd like to see in five years' time that our policies are not just something that's written down that occasionally we refer to; I want to see it as something that everyone lives by every day."

For more on Macpherson Kelley's DEI work, and working-group member Ms Berry's perspective, listen to the full podcast below.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation with Olivia Holmes and Emma Berry is below.


Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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