Video | Project engineer reverse mentors Balfour Beatty boss on inclusion

A Balfour Beatty project engineer, Ayo Ogunbambi-Alao, has been sharing her views on diversity and inclusion with Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn, as part of a reverse mentoring programme.

The company’s reverse mentoring programme for senior leaders was launched in 2019 with the aim of supporting a focus on diversity and inclusion by connecting the firm’s corporate message to personal stories and experiences.

Ogunbambi-Alao, who joined Balfour Beatty through its graduate scheme, became involved in the programme after she found out about it while co-chair of Balfour Beatty’s Multi-Cultural Affinity Network (MCAN).

Ogunbambi-Alao said: “By connecting members of different under-represented groups across the business with senior executives, the programme aims to provide a richer understanding of the challenges faced by minorities at a senior level.

“Naturally, each partnership is unique and explores different topics. Through my own conversations with Leo, we discussed many subjects including unconscious bias, sexism, anti-racism, recruitment, retention, allyship, LGBTQ+ and strategic direction. We worked to develop an understanding of what contributes to a diverse and inclusive environment, whilst highlighting some of the challenges and opportunities within the organisation.”

Over the past two years, the programme has formed 70 partnerships between 140 individuals across the business.

Ogunbambi-Alao added: “As a result of my participation in the scheme I’m now working on progression and retention as part of the Black Inclusion Plan, which aims to support and do more to celebrate Black leaders and Black talent in our organisation. It’s a further opportunity for me to affect positive change across the company.

“These last two years have not only provided an opportunity for me to influence the understanding of Balfour Beatty’s leaders, but to also really move the dial in how we think about inclusion at work – it’s been a meaningful and worthwhile experience and I look forward to contributing to Balfour Beatty’s journey over the coming years.”

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  1. Credit to her for taking the bull by the horns and doing it. She is a star in the making.

    Credit to him for taking part. He says all the right things – but most of his answers don’t go much beyond the superficial and end up with a question back to her… sounds a bit defensive?

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