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Q&A with Inclusive Numis Network (INN) co-founder and chair Robyn Hawkins

The Inclusive Numis Network (INN) is an employee-led, board-sponsored initiative focused on building a diverse and inclusive workplace. It focuses on professional networking, community support, career development and charitable causes and is vital to our business succeeding in its ambitions.

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It is our aspiration that the INN conversation series gives a chance for our employees, clients, stakeholders, and anyone who wants to know a bit more about our business, to understand the people that make Numis the place it is today.
Robyn Hawkins is a director in the debt advisory team here at Numis. She joined the investment bank in July 2019, having worked for Barclays in London and New York for eight years. In this Q&A, she discusses exactly what the Inclusive Numis Network is, what it stands for and why it is important.

What is the INN?

The INN is an employee-led and board-sponsored discussion and learning group, open to everyone, that addresses challenges and opportunities around diversity and inclusivity to encourage dialogue across the firm.

Its main focus is to achieve more connectivity within Numis, where every employee feels able to contribute fully and excel by being exactly who they are. The INN wants to achieve positive progress in our internal community, employees’ career development and professional networking.

We want Numis to lead the way in harnessing diversity and inclusivity to ensure that the Numis meritocratic ethos is embedded within every aspect of our structure and strategy.

We aim to achieve this through engaging with employees and external partners on all issues of diversity, as well as encouraging our community to support, question and learn from fellow colleagues.
For its first year, INN is going to focus on four topics (Gender Diversity, Neurodiversity, LGBTQ+ and Ethnicity), but it can cover any type of diversity and in whatever shape or form. The network is there to give all employees a platform to lead on an event of their choice to help promote inclusivity. 

The INN wants Numis to benefit from the power of diversity – and we want to play a part in making Numis the sort of firm where anyone would want to join, regardless of who they are.

Why was INN created?

An initiative like this highlights that we all have more in common with each other than we might think. Sometimes those bonds aren’t immediately visible but can be extremely valuable. 

If you look at the growth of Pride, the impact of Black Lives Matter, the conversations around mental health and so on, there’s clearly been a national shift in mood. I’ve personally benefitted from being part of many types of networks and I think this is reflective of the society we live in.

Initiatives like INN fit quite snugly within our sustainability framework too, so there’s a very strong business case for inclusivity, but it is also the right thing to do.

Who is it for? Can anyone join?

Yes. It’s for everyone and a really good way to get to know colleagues by hearing their experiences and perspectives. We’ve had amazing feedback so far, and I’ve found it very valuable to meet people from across the company who I’d never normally get to talk to.

This isn’t a network for people of the same type of diversity (for example ethnicity, culture or gender) to talk with similar people. It’s more the opposite - this is about finding connections below the surface and building professional and personal relationships in our careers. 

What does INN hope to achieve?

INN aims to generate a positive impact in four areas:

1.   Internal community: Supporting employees through inclusivity challenges and promoting inclusivity opportunities

2.   Career development: Training and feedback sessions

3.   Professional networking: Connecting with other Numis employees and third parties

4.   External community: Engaging with charitable causes on inclusivity issues 
We’d like Numis to be the company of choice for anyone looking for a rewarding and positive career in banking. Overall, a more inclusive firm will be better placed to attract and retain better quality talent than a less inclusive firm. 

What’s next?

INN’s first event in March was a panel with women in finance and it was a strong start that showcased some of the outstanding women leaders in the UK today.

Over the coming months, we’ve scheduled three more events, covering different topics and being led by other members of the committee in different formats:

Neurodiversity: A comedy night with Joe Wells (an award-winning writer and comedian), whose act is based on his experiences of neurodiversity and others’ responses to it

LGBTQ+: A summer sports day and BBQ to coincide with Pride 

Ethnicity: The eminent historian and broadcaster, David Olusoga, will lead a session during Black History Month

We look forward to building on this initial success and seeing more employees get involved.

If you’re interested in being involved with INN, or would like to take part in an INN Conversation on a topic of your choice, please contact INN 
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