June Sarpong on Why The Time To Diversify is Now
From TV presenter and co-founder of the Women: Inspiration and Enterprise Network, June Sarpong MBE, comes an empowering call to arms which argues the case for how limited we are by social division while inspiring us to make a change. Positive Luxury caught up with June to hear about her new book, Diversify, and why we need to take action now.
June Sarpong MBE is one of the most recognisable faces of British television, having interviewed hundreds of people, from politicians to celebrities and members of the public. In addition to twenty years of television work, June has hosted a wealth of events, including Make Poverty History in London’s Trafalgar Square and Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday celebrations.
June has worked extensively with HRH Prince Charles for ten years as an ambassador for his charity the Prince’s Trust and, in 2007, was awarded an MBE for services to broadcasting and charity.
What it means to diversify
In Diversify, June Sarpong puts the spotlight on six marginalised groups – including disenfranchised males, women, those living with disabilities and the LGBT community – with a primary focus on the UK and US, and reveals how a lack of inclusivity limits our economy, our society, and us as individuals.
June says: “We need to diversify and we need to do it now. This is an issue I’ve felt passionate about for a long time; it informs my work, my relationships and my everyday life… I’ve long suspected that there is a hidden financial cost to our lack of diversity. The research that I have undertaken for this book has confirmed that.”
Six degrees of integration
Most of us are familiar with the idea that there are just ‘six degrees of separation’ between any two individuals on the planet – from a newborn child in the most isolated tribe of the Amazon to Megan Markle.
With Diversify, June Sarpong turns the idea on its head, calling for understanding and connection in a world that’s often dominated by miscommunication and conflict. She advocates a need to transcend the six degrees of separation together and move us towards lives connected by six degrees of integration.
In June’s words: “We are all guilty of “Otherizing” and excluding people who seem different to us, and if unchecked the results can be catastrophic. In Diversify I explore exclusion in its many forms including discrimination by age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic background, religion or sexual orientation.”
Presenting six simple steps or degree shifts in our behaviour patterns, The Six Degrees of Integration aim to help us overcome prejudice, and bring us closer to having a more diverse and integrated social circle.
Drawing on her own unique experiences, case studies and with hard statistics from leading academic institutions and organisations, including Oxford University and Rice University Texas, June Sarpong demonstrates that by changing our approach, we can reach our maximum potential. Isn’t that something worth aiming for in 2018?