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Inclusion, Wellbeing and Community

Inspiring Inclusion: Lisa Essuman

The important messages we share during International Women's Day go beyond just one day a year. Across the Flutter Entertainment family, supporting women to develop their skills and ensure their careers can progress through to leadership roles is an important part of our global Positive Impact Plan.

Lisa Essuman, Inclusion, Wellbeing and Diversity Senior Manager at Flutter UK & Ireland was part of the team that spearheaded our Women In Racing event that took place in our offices at the start of the month.

In 2023, Lisa was nominated and featured on the list of Pioneers at Flexa. She also sits on the board of Black and Irish, a non-for-profit community organisation.

We asked Lisa to share with us a little bit about her Inclusion and Diversity career journey along with what inspired her to build her career with us here at Flutter UKI in this area.

Here is Lisa’s story, in her own words:

I’m Lisa Essuman, Inclusion, Wellbeing and Community Senior Manager for Flutter UKI.

I’ve been with Flutter for 10 years now, starting out in various marketing and commercial roles before joining the people team 4 years ago. I must set the record for the diversity of roles I’ve had at Flutter, which is a testament to the career opportunities I’ve had here!

My passion for I&D started long before Flutter though. Growing up as a mixed-race child  in Ireland in the 90’s, I was unconsciously obsessed with needing to fit in and when I realised this in my adulthood I became curious about it and the psychology of belonging and identity.

I started my career in media production, which led me to a successful period of producing radio documentaries. Those documentaries usually had an inclusion and diversity angle, giving a voice to the under-represented in society. The first documentary I made was my college thesis about my Irish origin story.

In 1961, when my Mom was 5 days old she was taken from her Mother, my Grandmother from the hospital, because she was unmarried and she was put into an industry school,which were institutions run by the Catholic Church and funded by the government. These institutions were awful places where innocent children were treated without love, dignity or respect. We don’t know the circumstances, but my Grandmother later went on to have more children out of wedlock and was forced to give birth in a Mother and Baby home.

Against all odds she managed to take two of her daughters from the Mother and Baby home and move to Scotland. Meanwhile, in Ireland, my Mom spent much of her adulthood looking for her Mother, not knowing what had happened.

In 2016, after 30 years of a search we located her sister in Scotland who didn’t know anything about her but was really keen to meet her.

We all went over to visit, in the hopes of meeting my Grandmother. Sadly, the pain was too much for her. She refused to meet us and six weeks later she died.My Mom never got to meet her Mother.

Last week during our IWD event in Dublin I shared this story, and I did so for a couple of reasons:

  1. As leaders and colleagues, it’s important to understand and communicate our why when it comes to inclusion and diversity.

    As Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In business we can often experience death by PowerPoint and its easy for the work of I&D to follow suit, but stories drive change in a powerful and emotive way.

  2. Understanding our past can help shape our future and who we want to become.

    This IWD we had a referendum held in Ireland so at Flutter HQ we used it as opportunity for us to reflect on the past and how gender inequality was embedded into society from the foundations of the State. The stereotypes and biases that exist outside in society can often come inside our organisations and usually this is completely unconscious.

  3. The third reason was a personal one…to give a voice to the important women in my life who were silenced.

    Ireland has a shadowed past when it comes to women’s rights and often women (and men) who spent time Magdalene Laundries, Industrial Schools and Mother and Baby homes experienced shame and believed they were unworthy of love and belonging. As Brené Brown says silence,secrecy and judgement are key ingredients for shame to grow but if we douse it with empathy it can’t survive. We can apply this to business too. According to Forbes, when people feel their leaders are more empathetic, 86% reported they are able to meet the demands of their work and life successfully.

    Leading with empathy is a key behaviour associated with being a modern and inclusive leader

 

 

Thank you for sharing your story and personal experiences with us Lisa, we are delighted you’re part of our team and can’t wait to see where your career with Flutter UK & Ireland takes you next.

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