Baillie Gifford is an investment manager that aspires to be one of the best investment firms in the world and fostering a culture of inclusivity is central to this. We have a keen interest in non-fiction, and we have supported literary festivals across the UK for many years.
When the benefits of diversity and the importance of inclusion became a firmwide focus, the Sponsorship team spotted an opportunity, to use our literary sponsorship to engage staff in the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. Addressing this through books and their authors provided an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues and hear about some of the solutions through personal experience, research, and storytelling.
Collaborating with our literary sponsorship partners, we created a series of events around identity. The objective was to raise awareness of some of the issues around marginalisation and structural problems within society, whilst creating empathy towards the situations that others face which are often hidden from view.
There were 11 events, 4 podcasts and 29 speakers and hosts. We had 1,638 attendees across the events. The events were recorded, with 313 views. Overall, 73% of staff attended one or more events.
The success of Beyond Words paved the way to do more. In 2022 we created a Climate Book Club, delivered our first Forum for Long Term Thinking, inviting authors from across the globe, and Beyond Words 2022 starts on the 14 November, with already more than 1,000 sign-ups.