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Celebrating diversity in business

Small business incubator The Icehouse has started a new series of podcasts across its social media channels, with Gisborne business people expected to feature in future broadcasts.

“A Seat At The Table podcast is about celebrating the different types of diversity and community in business,” The Icehouse Hawke's Bay and Gisborne customer growth partner Kate de Lautour said.

“It's about diversity of thinking, views, fears, diversity of regions, lifestyle and people.

“The podcast guests are business owners and leaders from around the country. New episodes are released the fourth Wednesday of each month — we hope it will empower business owners in Gisborne and the regions facing similar challenges.”

Each month, regular A Seat At The Table hosts Liz Wotherspoon, chief executive of growth at The Icehouse, Bryar Stewart, The Icehouse community manager, and Melanie Spencer, Co-CEO at Socialites, will invite special guests for courageous conversations under the theme of championing diversity and community in business.

The first episode is available now through listening platforms Spotify, YouTube and The Icehouse's social media channels.

“We want our listeners to feel like they also have a seat at the table and can be part of the conversation. We hope the stories told will create a feeling of empowerment — that it's OK to be yourself, to get it wrong sometimes, to be honest with what you are good at, what you are not good at, to feel the fear and do it anyway,” Bryar Stewart said.

“Liz and I had been talking for months about The Icehouse community and how we can authentically lean into diversity, how we can provide a platform for unheard or under-represented voices and perspectives, so the podcast idea aligned so perfectly with our own values,” she said.

Liz Wotherspoon said A Seat At The Table was a no-brainer as far as The Icehouse was concerned.

“We started with the idea of podcasting around gender diversity because we are asked how many women we have on our programmes. Our answer has always been ‘not enough'.

“However, A Seat At The Table is not just about gender or ethnic diversity, it's about diversity of thinking — a diversity of views, fears, and how to celebrate that diversity. If you don't create a forum in which it can be expressed or observed, how will it be celebrated?” she said.

Mel Spencer said the podcasts were about smart business and giving people a voice that they possibly wouldn't ordinarily have.

“As a businessperson you can sometimes walk out of the house with an armour guard on, almost having to pretend to be someone else. I am done with that — and it's what I think so many other people want now, to be themselves and be successful at the same time.”

Kate de Lautour said it had been great to welcome Sandra Matthews as an Icehouse coach last year, based in Gisborne and specialising in high-performance teams, business planning, family, agri-business and more.

“She is a great asset to The Icehouse Gisborne team and we are excited to have her expertise within the network.

“Our Gisborne business community is filled with smart minds, clever business owners and leaders.”

See: Unlisted YouTube Link of Episode One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4K05WMacn8

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: The Icehouse chief executive of growth Liz Wotherspoon, Socialites co-chief executive Melanie Spence and The Icehouse community manager Bryar Stewart. Picture supplied