I’ve just reached my three-year anniversary at Boots so a good moment to reflect back over the past few years and what we’ve learnt from the journey we’ve been on.

One of the greatest steps forward has been the increasing role of our inclusion Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and the work they do to help advance what we do around diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). We have a number of BRG’s across Boots all adding incredible value to our ongoing journey to be inclusive and reflective to the many customers and communities we serve each day.

I’ve been lucky enough to see first hand the great work these teams do in my role as Exec Sponsor for the Boots Pride BRG. This amazing group of people work to pull together a clear vision, focus and activity plan for the year with engaging content to help practically demonstrate how DEI lives and breathes  in Boots and as part of our brand purpose to be “With You. For Life.”

The Pride BRG has consulted with my team on various marketing programmes including our “Joy For All” Christmas campaign where it helped advise on the development  of the drag queen character who was a key part of the narrative. The Pride BRG insights helped to ensure that what we created was authentic and true to our brand.  I also really appreciated the push back and challenge the group gave us to make sure each element was absolutely right.  Its work extends into how we work with suppliers on key moments through the year, including Pride where we work with key brands including Durex, to celebrate this key time in the year – again the insight the Pride BRG gave into the core focus and narrative in our work has been invaluable.

I’ve also personally learnt so much from the team who run the Pride BRG. I don’t personally identify as being LGBT+, so the lived experience of those that do and the journey they have been on has really helped me better understand the role I can play to support and champion their work. This included getting the Pride BRG, and the other BRGs across the business, to share their work with the Senior Executive team once a quarter to keep us all close to the great things they are doing. So often in life we wrongly assume that others have the same lived experience as ourselves when in fact the opposite is often true – its liberating to walk in someone else’s shoes (or Boots!) and to identify with their own unique lived experience.

So my key learning is to embrace every opportunity to get more involved both  in or outside of the core of your day job. Its liberating to see the world through other people’s eyes and in my view doing so not only makes you a better marketer, it helps make you a better leader too.