Cordelia Johnney: Equality & Diversity Specialist
Cordelia was shortlisted for the Inclusion Champion award for the Women in Housing Awards 2019.
Tell us about your journey at Stonewater
I joined the company six years ago as the Equality and Diversity Officer, just before the establishment of Stonewater. I had never worked in the housing sector prior to taking the job, but I took the post as it offered me a new challenge and a chance to champion Equality & Diversity in another sector. Dedicated to fighting injustice, working for Stonewater has given me the opportunity to do the work I love and provide a service I can be proud of.
Since joining Stonewater my role has grown into Equality and Diversity Specialist, with a greater level of organisational responsibility. My initial tasks were to support the organisation to meet its legal obligations and develop its Equality & Diversity strategy and policy. Those tasks have developed into leading on the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) agenda, providing expert advice to the whole business and embedding it into the working practices of everything we do, from the Board all the way to the frontline service delivery. Working for Stonewater has really built my confidence. It has not only allowed me to believe, it has allowed me to know that I can be an EDI thought leader.
Tell us about your role and why it's important to you
No two days are ever the same as my role involves championing and embedding EDI throughout Stonewater. I spend a lot of time educating and influencing different parts of the business. I passionately drive the EDI agenda at all times ensuring that our customer and colleagues are really considered in decision-making.
Being the EDI lead has given me the opportunity to create initiatives such as I Am Stonewater, which displays colleague’s differences and inclusivity at Stonewater. Also, we have developed two Employee Network Groups to give our colleagues a voice.
It has been a challenge to get the entire organisation to realise that EDI is not all about me or who is doing my job, however this is changing as we have embedded EDI into what we do. We understand that EDI is a shared responsibility.
How did it feel to be shortlisted for a Woman in Housing Award?
OMG! Being shortlisted for this award was crazy and fantastic. It wasn’t something I was ever expecting. I was stunned. I’m so used to doing what I do that I wasn’t even thinking about awards. The supportive comments that I received from colleagues, friends and family was great and empowering. Win or lose I’m never going to forget that feeling.
Where do you see your role in the future?
I would hope that I could continue to have a role in EDI or Social Justice and progress up the management ladder. I’m passionate about using EDI to support the progression of the business and under-represented individuals. I believe that only companies that embrace EDI will have a successful future, as it’s essential that they meet the diverse needs of their customers and colleagues.