As part of our Black Pride campaign at Trinnovo Group, we are shining a light on the inspirational leaders in our community, highlighting their thoughts on the importance of Black Pride, what it means to them and how we can do more to empower this community in the workplace.
We reached out to Tash Thomas, an Inclusion and Diversity Consultant, Presenter, Speaker, and LGBTQIA+ Activist to find out more about her and her thoughts surrounding Black Pride.
Tash uses her lived experience and intersectional identity as a Black queer woman to continue the focus on diversity and inclusion in society and in the workplace. She provides valuable insight into how to remove barriers associated with diversity and constructively ensure that opportunities can be accessed with equity in both the workplace and wider in our local and global communities.
She is also co-founder of ‘Breaking the Distance’, a unique LGBTQIA+ travel and relationship blog, (alongside her wife, Marthe). Breaking the Distance aims to educate and promote positive LGBTQIA+ visibility, whilst also providing a safe space for people to be their authentic selves.
Currently Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the European Coworking Assembly, Tash’s responsibilities lie in developing a working and actionable guideline for advancing EDI and creating safe spaces within the coworking industry.
Originally trained as a Musical Theatre performer, Tash’s style of delivery is engaging, fun and positive, as she focuses on providing information in a way that allows participants to reflect and relate the content to their own lives. She is a believer in the power of story-telling and often incorporates her own lived experience into her delivery.
Tash is a seasoned and experienced speaker and panel member on equality and diversity discussions and has spoken at events for organisations including the Women’s Equality Party UK, International IDEA Project, Mercedes Formula 1 and Skyscanner. As well as being a Queer Leader for the non-profit, We Create Space.
She is a Certified Diversity Professional from the North Hertfordshire College and is a Certified NLP practitioner from iGNLP/ABNLP.
What empowers you?
I am empowered by positive change and seeing the shift that occurs after honest and open conversation. When I see the impact of representation and how that can shift people’s perceptions and understanding. Every day I am learning something new and this is the motivation to continue my work.
What is your favourite thing about Black Pride?
I think it’s hard to articulate it, but we all know that feeling when we feel like we 100% belong in a place. Black Pride is a coming together of two of my most influential identities. It’s a space where I can express both my Blackness and Queerness in there full and most authentic form. It feels like a celebration of everything I love about myself.
Why is important to celebrate Black Pride?
I think it’s important to acknowledge that for many people of colour, their Queer experience is very different to a lot of white people due to cultural stigmas. There has also been a history of many LGBTQ+ spaces being a space for only a core demographic of the community and Black Pride has been created out of a need to create more space. For many years the only LGBTQ+ representation we have seen in the media is the cisgender, white, gay man with the occasional lesbian. However, the community is much broader than this and so it’s important for these other identities to be seen and heard.
What is your biggest career and personal achievement to date?
I would say that it’s just one answer. I am incredibly grateful to live a life where I am able to combine all of my passions. My love of performing and being on stage with my passion for making the world a more equitable place. I truly love the work I do within Diversity & Inclusion and I honestly believe that this work is my mission and so finding this so early in life has to be my greatest achievement and will continue to be.
What strategies can we implement?
I can’t stress enough the importance of representation. However, representation first needs a safe space. It’s not fair to expect people to be out and proud, being their authentic selves in a workplace that isn’t equipped with the tools, language, or awareness. Businesses need to ensure that they are creating an inclusive environment for diversity to blossom and to be celebrated. It needs to be seen as less of a “strategy” and more ‘It’s the right thing to do!’
As part of our Black Pride campaign at Trinnovo Group, we are raising money for Kaleidoscope, a UK-based charity focused on fighting for the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people across the Commonwealth. They fund, fight for and empower those upholding the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people, working with governments, change-makers, and civil society organisations to effect meaningful and lasting change in the lives of LGBTQIA+ people everywhere.
Please feel free to donate to the cause here.