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  • Writer's pictureLeila McKenzie Delis


Updated: Jun 26, 2022

DIAL Global’s next virtual summit, themed ‘Taking Action,’ is taking place on 22-23 September 2021.

The two days of expert keynotes and in-depth panel discussions will explore how some of the most well-known companies are prioritising actions over words across 10 visible and invisible facets of diversity. Delegates will learn tangible strategies and steps to help make real, measurable progress in creating equality in our workplaces, confirmed the organiser.


The line-up of 50+ world-class speakers will delve into many diversity-related topics, such as:

  • Life after Prison: Changing lives of returning citizens

  • How companies can focus on ability not disability

  • Celebrating Gender & Race Trailblazers

  • Leading CEO Activists

  • Diversity and Inclusion in Sport

  • Managing Cultures in the workplace

  • Are you taking care of yourself?

This virtual free summit is sponsored by Accenture, Walgreens Boots Alliance, BRITVIC PLC, Co-op, Yahoo, Barclays, Alfa Systems and Revolt. For more information about the event click here.

Fair Play Talks to DIAL Global’s CEO Leila McKenzie-Delis on how she is spreading best practice and peer-to-peer learning to enable today’s diversity champions to move that dial to level the playing field and achieve a fairer workplace for all.

McKenzie is a passionate thought leader in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) space. She manages multiple business and charitable interests, and hosts the popular Diverse Inclusive Leaders podcast series. In this interview, McKenzie explains her passion for DE&I and how – through DIAL Global’s many activities – she plans to help leaders speed up workplace DE&I efforts to achieve much-needed change.

(Originally published 3rd February 2021)

Fair Play Talks: Why are you so passionate about DE&I and why did you focus your business in this area?

Leila McKenzie-Delis: My passion and commitment to diversity and inclusion was inspired by my upbringing. I was born in Hong Kong, adopted as a baby by a British couple and grew up in Harrogate, Yorkshire. As one of the relatively few non-White people in my school and the local area, I began to think about the nature of identity, race and how I was different.

That feeling of separation and difference; the desire to be blond-haired and blue-eyed; and the deep and understandable yearning to ‘fit in’ was a powerful motivator for me as I grew up. I grew tired of being ‘a chameleon’; and started to understand that my differences are my strengths.

Although I ended up graduating top of my class and with a first a first-class honours degree, I quickly came across difficulties in accessing opportunities to graduate jobs and internships; while my friends and peers around Harrogate did not experience the same barriers.

Committed to creating opportunities for myself, I ran several businesses and built a successful career in executive search; where I was able to promote the idea of more diverse C-suite hires to major organisations.

Fair Play Talks: What’s your vision for DIAL Global?

Leila McKenzie-Delis: Our goal at DIAL Global is to create the largest community of DE&I change agents to help achieve work place diversity and inclusion faster. DIAL Global empowers leaders by facilitating peer-to-peer learning through thought leading summits; cutting-edge insights and evaluation tools; and the most supportive/powerful D&I community.

Fair Play Talks: How are you helping organisations focus more on DE&I?

Leila McKenzie-Delis: We believe the time is now for a movement in global businesses to increase diversity at all levels in the workplace. It’s time to bring together like-minded people to challenge the status quo; and push for a world of fairness, difference and belonging. The time is now to inspire corporations to take a stand, to step up and advocate for diversity and tolerance inside and outside their organisations. It’s time to make public commitments to diversity and equality, driving real actions and measurable results.

Fair Play Talks: What more could companies be doing to really move the dial and speed up change?

Leila McKenzie-Delis: One of the oldest pieces of management advice is ‘what gets measured, gets done’. Bringing the same standards of informed decision-making used throughout management to the business of DE&I can be a game-changer.

The development of a comprehensive diagnostic tool like the McKenzie-Delis Packer Review represents a significant step forward in how DE&I is measured. It can provide a unique level of insight into where your organisation is, and what more you need to do. The McKenzie-Delis Packer Review encourages all organisations to take action based on real, measured facts rather than ‘common sense’ or opinion. An open and honest analysis can help your organisation understand where you may have equity issues; and provide a data-based foundation in order to set goals; as well as where to focus initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The stories and best practice shared in the McKenzie-Delis Review can easily be translated to any organisation large or small. Our hope is that it will equip business leaders around the world with the insight, inspiration and best practice needed to make real, measurable change.

We already have so many of the solutions to tackle the issues; they just need to be applied more broadly and driven through with passion, process and persistence. I urge all leaders and organisations to take this best practice and adapt it for their own workplaces today.

Fair Play Talks: What’s the most common DE&I pitfall which that can easily be put right?

Leila McKenzie-Delis: Thinking that a consultant can solve all your DE&I problems/issues. We 100% believe that peer-to-peer learning is the fastest way for organisations to make change and learn from others on the same path as they are. Hearing stories, best practice, obstacles and failures can help us all learn faster together.

Fair Play Talks: How can DE&I professionals do more to help their organisations become more inclusive and fair?

Leila McKenzie-Delis: The most important thing is to start the journey. Leaders need to influence/change the conversation/story and tell/drive action; but ensure engagement and that you take the leaders/organisations on the journey wherever they may be. To really drive change requires relentless persistence. However, it is also not the sole role of a small minority of people. It is the collective responsibility at board and leadership level to really drive this change; and certainly not an ‘HR initiative’. To truly make change happen leaders must put their heads above the parapet, often in a place of discomfort and unease, and stand up for what is right. The more who do, the more will follow and so the trickle effect begins…

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