Toby Mildon, D&I architect, on Diversity and Inclusion as a competitive advantage
Value through Vulnerability (boosted by HumansFirst) Host Garry Turner, Sponsored by Aequip
Would you mind just introducing yourself a bit more for our listeners?
Toby Mildon 0:27
So I’m Toby and I work with HR directors predominantly and senior business leaders, and to really help them hardwire diversity and inclusion into the organization so that it’s being seen as business as usual. I’ve been currently working with a large media organization, a publisher, looking at projects like how do we de-bias, decision making. And how do they become disability-confident employer, so that they can attract a wider variety of talent into the business.
Garry Turner 1:05
Fantastic. What do you feel, in terms of the book coming out, I’d love to explore that with you today.
Your new book is called Inclusive Growth. What was your inspiration for the book?
Toby Mildon 1:16
So a lot of the inspiration within the book came from me working in enhance an organization’s diversity and inclusion practitioner. It was looking at what I felt went well in terms of best practice and what other organizations should be doing. So that diversity and inclusion becomes the fabric of business and equally I was looking at all the stuff that was frustrating me and really, getting made go. And, as a practitioner, where I thought organizations were making mistakes or missteps and trying to achieve greater inclusion and purposes together and I came up with a framework or a model that helps businesses to implement diversity and inclusion based on those experiences.
Myself as a white male, the less we understand each other’s experience so your experience is Toby minus Garry, and the other seven and a half billion people on the planet that experience quite so important, isn’t it?
Toby Mildon 2:28
Yeah. And you touched on something there, as me as a white male. And what I am finding in organizations is that white men in the business of feeling like that actually that they’re missing out on this diversity and inclusion journey.
And the thing that I keep stressing to my clients when I do something or training with them or you know, however I work with that is I say that diversity includes everybody. And we need to make sure that everybody, every single person is taken on the journey. Because it’s only when businesses really reflect the communities in which they’re based and the talent that’s around them, and the communities in which they serve in terms of customers, that you know that they become high performing businesses.
Garry Turner 3:23
That’s a really, really interesting point, Toby because it’s like this sort of inside out view that actually within organizations we can see our demographic we know who’s working for us but how does that sort of amplify or how is that represented in society with your customers with suppliers, etc. And I love the way you focused on establish evolve and enhance I think they’re really positive, optimistic ways of trying to bring D&I to life and organizations you might speaking a bit about the sort of established part.
Why is that so important when embedding Diversity and Inclusion into a framework within an organization?
Toby Mildon 4:00
I found within established we look at two things we look at clarity and culture, clarity is all about setting the strategy for the organization. But it’s also things like understanding why diversity is important to your organisation. What data or insights, you can get your hands on for help shape your strategy. And what three talking points do you need to give to your chief executive, so that they are able to talk confidently from a podium, about why diversity and inclusion is important to the organization. So we do all of that first to really get clear on why it’s so strategically important to the business.
And I’ve called the book Inclusive Growth, because I believe that when organizations are inclusive and they are able to attract and retain diverse talent that they are able to grow they are better performing businesses. They are able to break into new markets, they’re able to recruit more people, whenever growth represents that they’re able to do it if they can do it in a much more inclusive way. So we talked about that in the first step of clarity. And then, then we move on to culture and that’s really thinking intentionally about what does your culture look like how, what would a more inclusive culture look like in the future. And whatever practical steps that you need to take to shift your culture, from where you are now to where you want to be.
It’s really important that we do those two things right at the beginning in terms of establishing diversity and inclusion or reestablishing diversity and inclusion in some cases where an organization has started to make inroads when they reflect, they were actually not really having the impact we thought it would make.
We’re treating this like a box ticking exercise and we’re not going to be particularly inclusive in our real diversity and inclusion strategy. So, we asked and answered all these questions in that phase, just to really get clarity on where we are and how we proceed from there.
Garry Turner 6:27
But I absolutely love Toby how you’re intentionally trying to find those three soundbites for CEO so they can speak confidently from the podium. I think it’s such a gap in the inclusion space, because I think and I’d love you to challenge me on this, but what I see from my network when I’m in conversation is there’s just so much fear because either we’re too busy, that we don’t make integrity when the time to understand why diversity and inclusion matters, or getting myopically focused on the metrics that we don’t make time to understand include why it matters, to find those soundbites and always make it easy.
Helping that CEO or senior team to lean into this conversation I think is absolutely genius.
Toby Mildon 7:07
And when I talk to my clients and find out what are the things that is preventing them from becoming a more inclusive organization, they pretty much all say is the chief executive is not walking the talk. When it comes to the best intention and the senior leadership team, under the CEO is not really walking the talk so it’s a major sticking point.
And we have to really nail down why diversity and inclusion is so important to the future of the organization.
If I were a CEO right now and you’re coming to consult with me, what are those clear messages from your side, your lived experience, also from your work as to why we need to build more inclusive organizations and quickly?
Toby Mildon 8:03
Yes, there’s a few things that can go on in that conversation. One is that it’s the right thing to do.
You know, we’re talking about human rights. And I’ve actually aligned my business to one of the United Nations goals so when I create the business I was thinking, I need something I need a Northstar to be working towards so I use the United Nations goals and I picked one which is golden for eight, which is about decent work for everybody and economic growth. And I think when I’m talking to a CEO, I’m saying well actually, regardless of the business case because quite often they will talk to me about the business case and I say, well, the business case is quite simple, it’s the right thing to do. We should be creating businesses that enables anybody, regardless of background, to be able to come and contribute their best work, so that that gets this tried so that’s the business case. And I am a bit sarcastic with people sometimes. And when they say well you know, for example, show me the business case why we should recruit more disabled people, for example, and I myself am in a wheelchair and have been since I was born.
I will turn around to them and say, well, I will write the business case for you. When you write the business case why we should hire non-disabled people.
And then there’s a bit of silence at that point. The whole point is this is not only the right thing to do but it’s really important for the growth of business.
Garry Turner 9:50
It’s, you know, this is called Value through Vulnerability and that’s why I love these conversations, toe, because, you know, I asked my questions intentionally from that sort of that that leadership lens know what’s the ROI on humanity I wrote a piece a while back, again being sarcastic.
Like we really need to keep justifying why we invest in human beings, bring them together to connect to why we need to bring them together to learn each other’s experiences. And I think we are. I call it the journey from just our head, Toby, towards our heart, we need our head of course but we also need to lean into our heart more.
How might that come around trying to get people out of their head into their heart for this conversation to accelerate?
Toby Mildon 10:37
I’ve been contemplating the head and the heart, you know, it’s really common with that business change consultants and people that work in that area where they say, you need to appeal to the head and the heart, when you’re talking to business executives To me, that’s all I’m doing really is just using different types of languages that stick with the business. Some organizations are very analytical, very logical, very data driven. They want to see numbers, they want to see evidence, and that’s fine, That’s the culture of our organization to want to see that type of information. Then there’s other organizations that are more appealing to the human side of business where they are saying, what does it feel like to work in the organization. What is the employee experience. And that’s just a different language that’s just their language, so whenever I talk to an organization, my kind of tip to anyone really wants to progress diversity and inclusion in that organization is find out what language sticks within the business and speak that language in order to get your message across.
Garry Turner 11:56
This is really helpful actually because I’m now thinking about the other parts of your book around evolve. And that’s the bit where I feel personally my own journey is, I feel I’m fairly decent personally around establish I’m certainly in evolve stage personally totally around this sort of understanding of inclusion and it’s important to remember I’m Deborah Rue, a lovely lady wrote inclusion branding, spoke to her before and I remember this statistic, she said, a one in seven people have or will have a disability to in their lifetime and most of those people are locked out of work currently. So, how do we, as part of your role as an architect, I’m really interested to explore that. That wider role so does that mean that you will go in and literally design the space as well as the practices with people, or set up.
Tell myself and the listeners a bit more about what you actually do, how you bring that to life.
Toby Mildon 12:52
The reason why I call myself a Diversity and Inclusion architect is because when I work with my clients, I want to co-create something with them. I want to create a solution that’s fit for their business. And I want to create the whole package. So I don’t want to treat my diversity and inclusion like a box ticking exercise or where we create a little bit of training or a program that sits on the side of your business. I wanted to encompass the whole, and also, I want to create something like an architect studio where people come in, we get around a big table, and we give and take. Together we co-create solutions to making your business more inclusive.
And for me to go in and create the infrastructure of the solutions for my clients’ problems, is why I call myself an architect.
Garry Turner 13:57
May I say you’re the first person I’ve ever come across with that title, I think it’s brilliant.
But it speaks to what you do so beautifully as well, it’s not just a title. That’s what’s so powerful to me Toby. The thing I’m really excited about is that word co-create, you just used so maybe you can speak a bit more why that’s so important and bringing your work and this agenda to life.
Toby Mildon 14:19
Yes, co-create. I’m a big fan of co-creation for, for a couple of reasons. One is a good friend of mine. She’s really high up in politics, has spent all of her career doing disability rights. In the 90s she was the kind of women who chained themselves to a bus in London. Remember those scenes where disabled people were fighting for access to public transport. And she said you know this phrase from Disability Rights campaigning, which goes ‘nothing about us without us’. And it’s a phrase that’s really stuck with me, and the reason why I like co-creation is because so many organizations when they implement diversity and inclusion. It’s usually done from the HR department done to people in the organization, rather than with.
And one of the things I talk about in my book is kind of the central chapter is colleague experience and design, and basically this is user experience design or Human Centered Design Thinking that, you know, prior to me becoming a diversity and inclusion practitioner, I worked in technology as a project manager user experience and design, and so I’ve got all of that background as well into my Diversity and Inclusion thinking.
So, there’s that co-creation with the organization’s to solve employees’ problems. And it starts with a simple question which is, if an employee’s going on the journey. It could be about your recruitment journey for example, or it could be becoming a parent for the first time. What are the speed humps or roadblocks that prevent an employee from completing that journey. And then how can you co-create to remove your speed humps and road blocks.
So, that’s kind of the first point, really, in terms of co-creation with designing solutions. Be at that point when we talk about diversity and inclusion.
Oftentimes, it becomes a bit like a them and us.
So again, there’s people sitting in the business saying, Oh, you know, we really do need to recruit more disabled people for X Y Z reason. And we’re going to design these solutions because we believe these are things that are preventing us from recruiting more disabled people or promoting people that we already have in the business. And the solutions have done to the disabled people who are treated a bit like this kind of group at arm’s length. And I think if we are to be inclusive we need to bring everybody closer and work together on coming up with solutions that work for people.
Garry Turner 17:22
Thank you so much for sharing that, the co-creation word where it comes up a lot for me in some of the work I do internally like my corporate, Toby, but I love how you’re bringing your technical expertise, you know your software expertise together with your inclusion experience. I think that’s really unique. I guess it also speaks directly to your architect language, so technical architect meets D&I architect, you’re if you’re very cool chap, Toby, very very cool I can see how this is coming together.
The first section of the book is establish, the middle is evolve, and the last part is enhance. What’s the objective of that last part of your book, enhance?
Toby Mildon 18:09
Enhancing is all about how you can make a bigger impact. Following established, established is about getting an understanding why you’re doing this, and the end, the last part of it, enhance, is about how do you really celebrate yourself as an inclusive employer. How do you also work collaboratively across the organization through your supply chain with strategic partners with the rest of your organization because in a lot of organizations, diversity and inclusion is driven from the HR department, and they’re not taking the rest of the organization along with them. And actually, everybody that diversity touches every part of the business, so if you take for example, something right well. If a business wants to recruit more people. Then the company really needs to think about what assistive technologies it can provide to disabled people.
So does a business provide for example software for people who are dyslexic, does it provide speech to text software like I use to control my laptop. So, in that instance, you need to get your IT department involved in procuring those licenses and getting that software to your IT catalog. So that’s what we talked about in that chapter. But it’s also about how do we reach beyond the business. So many organizations for example have strategic partners, they might outsource their IT to another company or their finance service desk, or if they have Front of House staff, receptionists or security people, that might be outsourced to another company. So how does a business get those organizations on board to help you with your business objectives around diversity and inclusion.
Garry Turner 20:21
I love this sort of bigger system approach that you’re focusing on Toby, this inclusion and diversity focus, you’re trying to help organizations, you know, help individuals be seen, have the right to their opportunity, but then it’s this beautiful vision of actually how do we bring all of these external partners and stakeholders together.
Is the bigger system approach common within the diversity and inclusion space?
Toby Mildon 20:48
Not at all, No, to be fair, it can be found, it can be found. There are lots of businesses doing it. And the reason why I wrote the book is to give that bigger. macro system to anyone reading my book is effectively looking at diversity and inclusion from 30,000 feet. And they’ve got a blueprint or framework that they can work with. The reason that I write that is because so many organizations they get very excited about diversity inclusion that may or may go headfirst into creating initiatives, for example, or programs which are designed to fix people rather than fix the business culture and infrastructure.
And they get really excited, and then a few months later they get really frustrated that those initiatives are not making the impact that they thought they would make, or there’s rumblings people are saying hang on a minute. You’ve put on the program to recruit more women in senior leadership positions. What if I, what if I’m a woman who doesn’t want to be in a senior leadership position. What about people from, say, an ethnic minority background. When our we going to get a program. And if I’m a black female can I go on that program and we’re not really taking that intersectionality into account. And then, and then organizations start to see some of the problems that arise around, not being able to make an impact, not being able to have sustainable change, not being able to get return of investment or return on effort.
And then that’s when people come to me and say, how we know this is important to the organization but we’re just not getting the impact that we thought we were going to get.
Garry Turner 22:47
It’s got me thinking Toby about up previously spoke about the fact of course you know you work a lot with HR directors, you know, HR tends to take the lead on inclusion and diversity is it in the right place.
Inclusion and Diversity, should it be sitting with the C-suite, rather than in HR. What your thoughts might be about where this sits in the future?
Toby Mildon 23:12
Yeah, this is something, something actually talked about in my book, it’s interesting so you’re right, a lot of the time, diversification is driven from the HR department. Unfortunately in a lot of instances it doesn’t always get the kind of the sponsorship if the HR director is somebody kind of middle halfway down the HR department that takes on the responsibility, and then they wonder why they’re not getting the impact, because they’re just not in that position of authority. So whilst a lot of businesses have it from the HR department, ideally being sponsored and proactively driven by a HR director, in my opinion. A it should definitely be on the C suite board. The chief executives should absolutely take personal accountability and responsibility for driving diversity and inclusion. And if there is one person on the C suite that should take responsibility for it, it should be the chief operating officer, because it’s their responsibility for the efficient running of an organization, and across the organization as well, you know they look across the whole of the business. And they’re in a prime position to be taking diversity and inclusion as a responsibility for the CEO on the board.
Garry Turner 24:38
Thank you for sharing that yeah it’s it’s, again it’s all experience here you have your lens everybody’s got a lens on this but I can’t help feeling, personally,that, you know, there’s so much data out there isn’t there, there’s such evidence as to why inclusion matters diversity matters, matters. but there’s a lot of the same conversations happening certainly the last five years that I’ve experienced in this space. So I do wonder if there is that gap you’ve just spoken to the, we’re actually going to take the data and make it actually impact change. Maybe there is a shift in emphasis required.
Toby Mildon 25:09
Yeah. So, I mean, again, it depends on what language, the organization is speaking. You know I’ve spoken to some Chief Operating Officers say they like data, they like numbers they like evidence. So, if they make that then that’s what we present. So we you know we present employee insights and data. and, you know, a really good calculation, for example, if you’re just looking at gender in the business. If you can understand why people are leaving the organization. And then split that between men and women, you might see a difference and say, people are leaving an organization because of lack of flexible working opportunities. And that might be impacting on women. And then you can do a cost calculation so you can say well you know, if we’re losing this amount of people for this reason, I mean that’s that’s that’s similar exercise what I did in my with my previous employees is, we basically calculated the cost to the business. And we presented that cost to the business owners. And then the penny dropped they’re like, this is considered the business a fortune, losing people because we’re not very good at flexible or agile working. And then we put in really good agile working practices that everyone in the business enjoyed. it wasn’t an initiative that we just did for the women of the organization. It was stuff that benefitted the whole organization. And at the same time, we saw our retention of women increase and the attrition decrease.
Garry Turner 26:54
So, thank you for sharing that example this is it’s really funny because I’m not a numbers guy, I’m very much the sort of touchy feely guy with sort of my intuitive type person but I know that you say we need to meet people where they’re at and where they sit within an organizational context, but I’d love you to maybe share as we start to wrap up to this has this great conversation but I’d love to also celebrate. Who’s doing great stuff in this space right now that you’re really inspired by.
Who’s doing great stuff in this space right now that you’re really inspired by?
Toby Mildon 27:29
Yes, there are some really good examples, I get asked this question a lot, which is the organization that is doing really well at this in diversity and inclusion. And my answer is there is no golden winner and there is no one organization that is doing really well , however there are examples of good practice or best practice all over the place. And some of them I managed to feature in my book which is quite handy for, you know, being able to give people good examples but we can look at EY and even like if we were talking about the End chapter which is about celebration, which is about how do you project yourself as an inclusive employer once you’ve done all the hard work by the way of becoming inclusive. How do you then project that how do you then create your employer brand as an inclusive employer. So I interviewed EY as part of that chapter, because I was very cynical and I said that a lot of businesses, they go for awards and they win awards. And then, they’re in the press and they have really nice awards evenings and the following day, there are still people in the organization that feel like they don’t belong. That is not a particularly inclusive organization.
So I’ve had this conversation with EY, with Sally, who is the head of E Y in the UK for D&I. And their strategy, over the last 18 months or so has been to focus more on empowering employees to tell their own stories for giving them the tools and the confidence or the empowerment, to be able to talk openly online at conferences internally as well outside the organization, about what it’s like to work there. And less of reliance on going to win awards, and they only really go for awards where it comes with some sort of helpful benchmarking exercise, kind of thing. And again, it’s something I mentioned in my book because I’ve worked in roles before where it felt like I was spending most of my time, sending out award entries and not really actually making any difference to the business. And it was really frustrating when I was in that job because I was just like, I could just see stuff all around me that needed fixing in terms of being a more intensive employer. I was putting out award entries and I was getting really frustrated.
Diversity and Inclusion as a strategic imperative and a competitive advantage
So that’s one example. And then I think about when I left Deloitte, I was responsible for running our return to work program, which was seen as a really good practice. And I thought what was really encouraging as leaving the firm, is that we were talking about how do we make the program digital. So rather than having two intakes a year of people that have had a career break of two or more years who want to return to accountancy or professional services, how do we just make this business as usual so that anybody that has had a career break for a couple of years has a good opportunity going to work in the organization and that was an encouraging sign for me.
Garry Turner 30:56
Thanks for sharing. I hope to pick up on that language that you use as well again back to that part is so important. I love that you use always good practice more than best practice and that really speaks to me. I think best practice makes it sound like there’s only one way, whereas good practice is sort of easy to share or maybe we can iterate sort of agility wise, I think. I just think it’s so powerful an example you’re sharing for almost going full circles where we started telling you that, D&I helping slow down, get present come together on a human level and share stories. That’s more important than going and winning awards. I think that’s such a powerful message.
Toby Mildon 31:35
Yeah, yeah, definitely, definitely. I think it’s definitely the right strategy to go do. You know I’ve read a book once and the reason why it got me thinking was that I read the comments around if you look at the Times top 50 and careers for women. A lot of those employers listed in the top 50 of the worst gender pay gap in the country. And it got me thinking about what how I had this disconnect between winning an award to say that you are a particularly inclusive employer and in this instance, a really good employer for women. Yet, you’ve got some of the worst gender pay gaps in the country. So it’s just incongruent. And I’ve worked in organizations that have won awards. They’ve won awards as the best company in a particular category or whatever. And then I go to work the following day. And then my manager does something to make me feel like I don’t belong to the organization because I have a disability. And so there’s this disconnect, I’m thinking.
Something’s not quite right in there and actually there’s a better way for clients to be projecting themselves as an inclusive and program, attractive thing that talent, because if we if we look at something right unconscious bias, we know that it’s human nature to want to hang out with people that are just like ourselves. So, when we create our employer branding. That’s what we project we just project more of the same. And then we attract more of the same. And then if we really do want diversity because we believe that it’s a high performing business we can innovate more we can make better decisions. We’re more comfortable all of those benefits that we receive. We need to be projecting a different image in order to attract a wider variety of talent.
Garry Turner 33:43
Well, you’ve beautifully, creating a segue that I wanted to create today to be so well done. Towards a masterclass, actually, that you’re going to be leading on the 5th of March around this very topic celebrating inclusion and diversity through EVP (Employee Value Proposition) and employer brand, and that seems to be speaking exactly to this topic.
What is the plan for the master classes?
Toby Mildon 34:03
Absolutely. Yeah, so my book has just been released. And then my plan is to create master classes or training that go with each chapter. So anyone who wants to go deeper and understand how they actually implement what I talked about, then they come along to a day long training course. And for each one, I’m partnering up with an expert in their field. So, as you say that I’m creating one around inclusive employer brands, with a guy called Myles who runs the employer brand agency roofer. And so, we’re putting our heads together that even he’s bringing his branding expertise. I’m bringing like diversity and inclusion expertise and we’ve got this intersection between the two. So hopefully, the idea is that we have a really powerful training Day for everybody. And we will be talking about, how do you actually create an inclusive employer brand. And people will walk away from the training session with a blueprint for for an inclusive employee brand.
Garry Turner 35:17
I’m certainly gonna be evaluating that myself, Toby seriously, you may well see me at some point at one of your events because they’ve got some rich anyway genuinely really fascinating. I think it’s we look to sort of close out our lovely conversation today.
What are your hopes for 2020 and beyond? What are you hoping for the impact of the book, the master classes? What’s your hopeful vision, as we move forward?
Toby Mildon 35:43
Yes. So, the most immediate impact if anyone reads my book, the immediate impact I want to make in the world, is that people think differently about managing or implementing diversity and inclusion in the organization, but they start to think of it much more strategicly, that it’s a big agenda item at board level, that they’re really thinking about how they can get into the fabric of the organization, rather than treating it as a box ticking exercise or one of those things that you have to do, because your clients are now asking you to demonstrate that you are thinking about diversity and inclusion, when you pitch for work or put in proposals. So that’s step number one. Step number two is that I really want to be in a world where we have people working. And that leads to economic growth for everybody, regardless of the background so that everybody can bring their talents and innate skills and abilities to the workplace to solve the problems that we need to solve in the world.
Garry Turner 36:56
Beautiful. What a beautiful way to wrap up, and I’d love your use of the word innate because we’ve all got gifts, and so often they’re not seen.
Maybe you’d like to leave our listeners with a reflection as to how to lean into this, if maybe there is someone listening that is feeling a bit afraid or they have not had a conversation with someone that’s got a disability, or hasn’t spoken to someone that doesn’t look like me before?
What is one little recommendation to reflect on?
Toby Mildon 37:26
Yeah, that’s a good point. And when I do my training. I do training around unconscious bias, one of the strategies that I talk about is reverse mentoring which was created by Jack Welch at GE. So, when he created it he was thinking, somebody more senior and experienced in business mentored by somebody less experienced, typically younger or junior. Actually we’ve adopted it in diversity and inclusion where you get mentored by somebody who is from a different background to you, just to really open up your world. And then when I do the training I talk about doing this in three stages. So Lean Back, Lean Forwards and Step In. Lean back is where you go home and you listen to something, or watch something or read something differently that you wouldn’t normally, listen for to read. So my favorite is going on TED Talks, for example. Or, the very fact somebody listening to this podcast suggests that they are interested in the topic of diversity and inclusion, and they’re very open to the idea of talking to people from different backgrounds.
So that’s step one, Step two is going proactively going to networking with, with people that you wouldn’t normally hang out with. So, my favorite is meetup.com. There’s loads of meetup groups on there, either like LGBT people working in the city, and within technology, disability groups, you name it, it’s all on there. Or, if somebody is working for a big organization, big organizations will have employee networks that organize events to go along to, a networking event that you would ordinarily go along to.
And then the final one is, Step In, which is actually going get yourself a mentor. So find somebody within the organization who’s from a different background to you, and go out for coffee with them, strike up a friendship or relationship with them and it just get a sense of what it’s like for them working in the organization. And ideally, they’ve got some sort of skill that they can teach you as well, like maybe they’re really good at a piece of software that you could give tutor in a very professional way. And they can teach you that piece of software or something. So, that’s a good way of doing it.
Garry Turner 39:56
I’m literally buzzing. What a gift you’ve just shared for some of the, honestly, real lessons for me there as well I feel I’m fairly good at a couple of those elements but not all of them so like you’ve really given me a fantastic challenge and opportunity as well. Toby thank you so so much for joining me today.
What’s the best way to reach you?
Toby Mildon 40:26
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With over 20 years of international sales, business development and relationship-building experience combined with a deep understanding of people, team and culture dynamics, Garry Turner serves individuals, teams and leaders as a strategic advisor and interpersonal catalyst.