Government Communications Service
Printable version

Connecting Diverse Voices celebrates 2020 round

This round of Connecting Diverse Voices (CDV), the GCS Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) mutual mentoring scheme has come to an end. 

This round saw 118 active participants from across 37 government departments and ALB’s; a significant jump from 2019.

Gabriella Jessup, one of the co-leads reflects on the programmes successes:

“Leading Connecting Diverse Voices has been an incredibly meaningful undertaking, and it has been a true privilege to watch how mentoring relationships built by participants progress their confidence as communicators and as individuals. Collectively, it is a privilege to see the undeniable impact of the programme on increasing representation in this profession, as unique to this programme, through every conversation held with courageous openness, we can learn what we do not know.”

Suzanne Edmond, one of the Director of Communications (DoC) sponsors of the programme also comments:

“Creating truly diverse teams relies on fostering inclusive environments where everyone can perform at their best. To do this, we need to recognise the limitations of our own experiences and knowledge and build awareness, understanding and acceptance of each other’s differences. By doing so we’ll not only be able to get the best out of each other, but will be better placed to communicate with our wide range of audiences. Connecting Diverse Voices continues to play a critical role in supporting these ambitions through enabling honest conversations where we can all learn and improve together.

It’s continued success is testament to the dedicated teams who volunteer their time to run the programme each year. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic 2020 leads, Stephanie Mittiga, Sarah Chaudry and Gabriella Jessup, and welcome Andrea Breau, Libby Daniels and Corina Sehmar who I know will build on their success in 2021.”

Thursday (28 January 2021) saw the programme’s closing event, which featured a panel of participants, who shared their experiences on the programme. This included mentoring partners Sophia Linehan Biggs, Head of Communications at the UK Supreme Court at the Supreme Court and Urvi Ramanuj, Project Manager at HM Revenue and Customs.

Urvi recently said: 

“The mentorship programme was a great way to form a relationship with someone new.  Through our conversations it’s given me the confidence to apply what I’ve learnt to help educate other colleagues on diversity and race and how we can use this to inform future campaigns in my department.”

Sophia recently said: 

“Participating in the programme has given me a safe space to ask questions about diversity and race, and gain insights from someone with a different background. It helped ensure that I prioritised this aspect of my personal development, and the commitment to monthly meetings held me accountable to keep learning.”

Emily Towers, Deputy Director, Strategic Communications, COP26, United Nations Climate Change Conference and Hannah Jackson, Senior Communications Officer at NHS Digital also highlighted the great friendship they have created through the programme.

Emily recently said: 

“There’s one zoom session that I really looked forward to during lockdown, and that was with my CDV partner Hannah. We have never actually met in person, but despite that, have formed a close friendship based on openness and trust.”

Hannah recently said:

“The friendship we have achieved in such a short space of time, spent together via screens is definitely the best part about this, there’s something therapeutic about talking through such personal experiences that has bonded us. We’ve probably only just scratched the surface over this past year and I think it says a lot that we’d both like to continue the sessions beyond the official programme.”

This year’s programme will be kicking off in spring, GCS colleagues will be notified when applications are open. 

Find out more about the Connecting Diverse Voices programme.

Related content


Channel website:

Original article link:

Share this article

Latest News from
Government Communications Service

Webinar Recording: ICO & ICS.AI - Reduce inbound contact with AI-driven customer service