June 2020

The Role of Senior Champions and Allies in Improving Business Performance

June - The Role of Senior Champions and Allies in Improving Business Performance


It is a well-known fact that when senior business leaders are focused on agreed priorities then there is nowhere to hide when it comes to making progress. Senior sponsorship is, in fact, one of the most critical aspects when driving cultural change and building a more inclusive workplace for disabled employees.


But what are the core characteristics required of senior Disability Champions / Executive Sponsors? How can we learn from some of the best? How do they notice the big-ticket issues and work in partnership with the organisation’s Network / Resource Group? And as we enter the next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and organisations start to make plans for what that means for their people, what do Senior Champions need to take account of?


In addition, we turn the focus on Allies – and ask ourselves, ‘What do we want our Allies to Do?’


Don’t forget, we are fully digital, and our learning and development programme offers something for everyone, wherever you are based and whatever sector you work in: whether you have been running a network / resource group for years and looking for some fresh ideas, or part of a brand new start up Network / Resource Group.  


As ever, we offer you the opportunity to take up one of the challenges for the month ahead. This month, why not do one of the following?: 

  • - Say thanks to an existing Ally:  because what makes them a great ally is probably because they don’t want thanks, yet deserve it.. we have produced a graphic for you to use throughout the month so you can join in the digital party as we thank great allies

- Tell us about an unsung Disability Champion hero: we see it as part of our work to help you showcase your work and progress – the more we do it, the more skilled the community becomes in driving cultural change. So come and join us on the Member Zone and tell us about your Champion ‘heros’

- Remind yourself about the role of the Disability Champion: take a look at our revised template role description.


And have lots of learning opportunities, sources of inspiration, resources and services to tap into. Log in, before you take a look:

In the June issues of ‘Spotlight On’ Communications and Marketing Officer Lauren Pemberton-Nelson interviews Patrick Stephenson, Senior Disability Sponsor at Fujitsu and Annette Moody, Group IT Director, Serco 


This month, we host What Makes a Great Champion webinar, chaired by Patrick Stephenson. He will interview 3 senior Disability Champions about their work and areas of focus. Come along with your Disability Champion as a plus one – learn together, take notes, plan for the future. The date for this webinar is to be confirmed. 


And of course, we have a range of specific resources to help you through the month including:

Purple Champions & Allies Leaders’ Guide – first produced in 2017, this publication offers a good ‘all round’ description of the role and value of Champions and Allies

Purple Champion Leadership Model– produced in 2019, in partnership with Iain Wilkie, founder of 50 Million Voices, this publication shares some of the key competences of Disability Champions / Executive Sponsors

32 Ways to be an Ally – launching this month. This is a new summary resource brimming with ideas for how you build or refresh your own Allies programme – the things you can ask Allies to do to keep them engaged, committed and helping to drive change.


During the month we will also be announcing the introduction of two new working groups:

ERG Global Forum: where we bring together Network / ERG leads to share and build best practice materials. We are delighted to announce that Darren Rowen, Eli Lilly has agreed to chair the group. The first meeting will take place in July.


#PurpleLightUp Reference Group: where we bring together members and Ambassadors to plan for a fully digital extravaganza on 3rd December 2020 – highlighting the importance of access in our super-charged digital lives.


To round the month up, we invite you to drop into our live Monthly Group Coaching Sessions with PurpleSpace Founder and CEO Kate Nash OBE. Come and meet a small number of colleagues from different organisations and problem-solve together. This takes place on Tuesday 30th June:

London (GMT) - between 11:00 – 12:00
Sydney (AEDT) - between 22:00 – 23:00
New York (EST) – between 06:00 – 07:00

For those in other timezones, click here to convert the time for your area. We have six places available, allocated on a first come, first served, basis to make sure that all attendees are able to get the most from the experience. Click here to secure your place. We have speech to text facility available, if you need it and book in advance. We will post a summary of the key topics we explored on the Member Zone.  

And finally…

Have a great month. You are part of a large global community of change agents: day by day, each of you are making the world a better place. So, stay safe, don’t work too hard, play even harder and when it comes to driving disability inclusion don’t forget #You’reDoingItAlready

Find the space you need to feel good about the work you do. PurpleSpace.