Kelly Kehn, Co-Founder of the All-in Diversity Project: Improving industry progression in terms of diversity

Kelly Kehn, Co-Founder of the All-in Diversity Project: Improving industry progression in terms of diversity

Monday, December 18, 2017 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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The initiative is aiming to Benchmark diversity, equality and inclusion for the global betting and gaming sector

Kelly Kehn, Co-Founder of the All-in Diversity Project, explained to TotallyGaming.com that the All-In Diversity Project is “an industry-driven initiative to benchmark diversity, equality and inclusion for the global betting and gaming sector".

She added: “It’s just standard good business practice to have a quality benchmark for any initiative or strategy. All-in Diversity Project is creating a very compelling tool for the Betting and Gambling industry in order to change things for the better.”

“Initiatives like the All-in Diversity Project are not new, there have been a few attempts to start a discussion about the gender imbalance in gaming for some years but with the exception of the women in gaming awards most sit on the periphery, many conference organisers seeing the subject as too marginal to give it any real headline billing. Just about every industry globally has research and data sets that create a level of transparency and measurability around diversity, inclusion and workplace equality.

“We can say that there aren’t enough women in gaming or tech all we want, but, at the end of the day, we should have a solid benchmarking tool for the industry before any one business decides to invest in diversity initiatives. And that is what we are creating with the All-in Diversity Project. The “All-Index” is the first standard index that measures diversity for an entire industry on a global scale.”

Taking from her own experience, Kehn reveals that as individuals who have spent their entire working lives in the industry, Kelly and her partner Tina Thakor-Rankin both believe the All-in Diversity Project will progress the industry in three ways.

She said: “Our industry is perceived as being very male dominated, with a less than stellar reputation. By taking proactive steps towards diversity, equality and inclusion, the sector has an opportunity to get on the front-foot and present itself as modern, forward thinking, socially and culturally aware – and ahead of the game compared to other sectors.

“Anything which helps enhance reputation is likely to have a positive impact on recruitment, investors and customers. We, as an industry have not historically focused on corporate social responsibility or workplace equality. However, the next generation of talent, customers and investors are all looking to be part of businesses that have a greater purpose. We believe in our industry and want to see it succeed.

“Secondly, the way we recruit is important, the new generation of employees expect a working environment which is gender neutral, socially responsible, adaptive, flexible and above all, inclusive. The most successful businesses will pre-empt this and start hiring for tomorrow today. The very best minds have a choice of where they want to work and it’s no longer good enough to just have a big salary. We have to create company (and industry) culture that attracts the best talent and then keeps them once we’ve hired them."

She also outlines the importance of the the products and the marketing around them: “It goes without saying that when the industry opens itself to the best talent, those new perspectives internally will start to affect our products and how we promote them. It will bring new ways of doing things and new ways to communicate to our customers. Most importantly the next generation of employees will bring with them an insight into what their peers, the next generation of players actually want.

“In a nutshell, the All-in Diversity Project is taking proactive steps to create the tools that will improve our whole industry globally. We are using best business practices and applying them to solve the problem of our lack of diversity. This, in turn, has positive effects on our image, the way we recruit, our products and how we market them, and in the end, the bottom line. I may be biased but I’d say it’s pretty important.”

Emphasising how the initiative can be beneficial to operators, Kehn continued: “We are creating the tools and initiatives that will improve how we as an industry progress in terms of diversity, inclusion workplace equality. We are doing it in a commercially relevant way in order to improve our image, the way we recruit and our products.

“Besides all the wonderful PR that comes from supporting an initiative which can only do the industry reputational good, operators that get involved will be the first to benefit from the data sets and recommendations that come from the research. They will get access to toolkits and workshops on how to implement and execute a strategy that embraces and promotes a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion at all levels in the organization, and  will have a say in how the initiative evolves and how we allocate resources moving forward.

“All-in Diversity Project has brought on strategic partners such as Odgers Berndtson, Betting Jobs, Bird&Bird and KPMG in order to add more value to operators who get involved as well. Both Odgers and Betting Jobs are committed to improving the diversity of the overall talent pool and understand what it takes for an industry like ours, and  Bird & Bird deeply understand the sports and gambling sector as well as have a global reputation for Employment law and corporate services.”

She concludes by stating: “I would encourage any business in our industry who is considering investing in diversity initiatives to join the All-in Diversity Project.We are also engaging with regulators, government agencies and policy makers who are also looking at the issue of workplace equality and inclusion.

"It goes without saying that any industry which is one step ahead and can argue a case based upon facts rather than assumed fictions is likely to have a louder voice, and maybe even a seat at the table above those who have not – this could be an opportunity for the industry to influence the discussion far beyond its usual borders.”

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