New Leadership Stories Initiative launches as part of RCVS Black History Month Celebrations

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is launching a new Leadership Stories Initiative as part of its celebrations for Black History Month in October.

The project, which will include a monthly release of mixed-media content including blogs, podcasts and videos, will centre around personal leadership stories of veterinary leaders from under-represented backgrounds. The first stories will feature Past RCVS President, Dr Mandisa Greene, and Bristol-based Head Veterinary Nurse, Nadidah Adamu RVN.

The aims of the RCVS Leadership Stories Initiative are to increase the diversity of perspectives and experiences represented within the professions, and to ensure that under-represented groups can see themselves reflected in content. This includes showcasing individuals from different roles and sectors within veterinary practice and at all career stages, as well as students and new graduates.

The theme for Black History Month this year is ‘Time For Change: Action Not Words’ – a theme that has resonances with the wider RCVS Diversity & Inclusion Group Strategy, which aims to attract a wider pool of diverse applicants to the professions, help develop supportive academic communities, and ensure that the pervading culture within the UK veterinary profession is healthy, sustainable, inclusive, innovative and respectful.

Dr Tshidi Gardiner, Chair of the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group, said “People of colour and those from other minority groups can often have a different experience of working in the veterinary sector from other colleagues and so it is important that we can speak openly about our experiences and our journeys into veterinary work.

“This is why projects such as RCVS Leadership Stories are so important, as they allow us all not only to have a better awareness of each other’s experiences, but to actively celebrate each other’s achievements as well.

“The Black History Month theme of ‘Time For Change: Action Not Words’ is also relevant to an RCVS Mind Matters panel discussion entitled ‘Translating words into action: What could the future look like for BAME veterinary students and professionals?’ which I am delighted to be chairing.

“Within this, we will be discussing the joint RCVS and Vets Schools Council BAME Student Support Working Group Report and its key recommendations, as well as specific issues highlighted in the report. We will be discussing how the report’s recommendations for improving the educational experience of BAME veterinary students can be translated into action; and what else can be done to ensure that those from under-represented backgrounds entering the professions, and those already in the professions, feel welcomed, valued, and respected for who they are.”  

Gurpreet Gill, RCVS Leadership & Inclusion Manager, said “Black History Month is a brilliant way of celebrating the contributions and achievements of black colleagues within the veterinary professions. However, it is important that we continue to do this important work throughout the year – not only for October. This is why we are keen to highlight the importance of ongoing initiatives which will help to ensure a more inclusive future for the entire veterinary profession.

“We have added a new video to our Leadership Library highlighting the importance of inclusive leadership and are continuing our partnership with the official Black History Month website, the content for which we will continue to update throughout the year. It is important to showcase leaders from diverse backgrounds as well as promoting inclusive leadership to inspire future generations and shape the future of our profession.

“Black History Month is an opportunity for celebration, but also serves as a platform for education and positive progression.”

RCVS activities for this year’s Black History Month include:

More information on the RCVS activities for Black History Month can be viewed on the campaign’s official website, which also features Tshidi’s interview, including information on her aims as the new Chair of the RCVS Diversity & Inclusion Group, what positive progress would look like, and the importance of celebrating Black History Month within the veterinary professions.

All videos will be available to view via the RCVS YouTube channel and will be added throughout the month.

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