This is the first blog in a new ‘day in the life’ series from KCL’s Diversity Digest blog. In this new feature we will go behind the scenes, getting to know our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Team and find out more about their work.
Our first ‘day in the life’ feature comes from Jennifer Hastings our EDI Projects & Partnerships Manager.
My name is Jennifer (pronouns she/her) and I started at King’s in June 2021 as the EDI Projects and Partnerships Manager. The EDI function at King’s consists of two teams; the Consultancy team, managed by the Head of EDI, and the Projects and Partnerships team, who I manage. My team includes five Project Officers and one Project Administrator, who provide EDI support and expertise within seven faculties. I also lead on King’s race equality activity.
The way I start my day varies- thanks to hybrid working I have a choice between pre-work exercise, a lie-in or the commute to Lavington Street. If I am in the office, I always stop off at a coffee shop (hot chocolate, extra hot) on my way in. Tip: Coco di Mama gives you a free chocolate with your hot drink.
Once a week, my morning begins with a Project and Partnerships (P&P) team meeting (we now try to alternate between in-person and online). This is an opportunity to hear what is happening within the faculties, discuss current projects and support each other with any challenges. We also make an effort to provide feedback and praise on a regular basis, which is an easy way to help colleagues feel appreciated.
As the lead on our race equality work, I oversee the implementation of our Race Equality Action Plan (REAP). This formed part of our Race Equality Charter submission, which we received a bronze award for in 2020. Whilst we are proud of this achievement, the REAP reminds us that there’s still so much work to do to become an anti-racist institution. It ensures we continue to evaluate the impact of our interventions and helps us focus on systematic change. The REAP belongs to everyone at King’s and actions have been allocated to various teams, including the P&P team. I have regular meetings with team members who are leading on a REAP project, such as the development of a race equality allyship tool. The purpose of these meetings is to ensure the project is on the right path and provide support when needed.
In between meetings, I catch up on emails and Teams notifications. Having used Zoom in my previous job, it took some time to adjust to Teams however I am now a convert! I find it makes collaboration and communication a lot easier (although I do miss the ‘touch up my appearance’ option on zoom).
Lunch is an obvious highlight of the day and I am a strong believer in making the most of my lunch break. If I am working from home that either means a walk to a local café, a spot of reading or catching up on Netflix. I’m also partial to some of the opportunities at King’s, such as a recent online Trustee fair that enabled me to chat with some brilliant charities.
In the afternoon, I may have some ‘desk time.’ The nature of EDI work makes my role really varied. I may be writing a committee paper, developing a mechanism for tracking race equality progress, or liaising with colleagues across King’s to see how we can collaborate. King’s is a complex organisation and so, since I joined, I have dedicated quite a bit of time to understanding the context of the REAP and the progress that has already been made.
It’s important for the function to maintain its expertise and keep on top of new EDI developments. One of our Project Officers has developed some microaggression training and so we recently had a ‘train the trainer’ session to enable the rest of the team to support with session delivery. This is one of my favourite parts of the role and I feel lucky to be surrounded by intelligent, passionate colleagues who help me become the best EDI practitioner I can be.
My plans after work vary. On a good day I might meet a friend to see some comedy. On less ambitious days I will catch up on whatever series I’m watching (my most recent obsession was Yellowjackets). EDI has been a passion of mine long before I started working in the area and so it’s not unusual for ‘work’ topics to spill over into other parts of my life, whether that’s my choice of reading material or a debate around the dinner table.