Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Roxna Kapadia, European Patent Attorney at Kilburn & Strode LLP, and is a report on today's joint CIPA, IP Inclusive, FICPI-UK and AIPLA Diversity in IP Breakfast Meeting. Kilburn & Strode is one of our Charter signatories.
Roxna writes: "Today CIPA alongside IP Inclusive, FICPI-UK and AIPLA hosted a panel discussion on "The Roles and Importance of Diversity Champions". Andrea Brewster, IP Inclusive Leader, chaired the panel. The panel included Harry Small, Partner at Baker McKenzie, Dr Bobby Mukherjee, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property & Technology Law at BAE Systems plc., Raymond Farrell, senior partner and co-founder of Carter Deluca Farrell & Schmidt LLP and Maria Scungio, a partner at Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks PC.
The members of the panel spoke about the role they play within their own organisation for improving diversity. One member gave a passionate talk on their organisation not appearing neutral when it comes to LGBT rights but in being an active champion of LGBT rights by, for example, wearing LGBT symbols.
There was great discussion about unconscious bias in recruitment and promotion. Here it was discussed how we tend to recruit and promote in our own image and how to overcome this by being aware of our bias and including a more diverse group of people in the recruitment and promotion process. It was suggested that people could benefit from taking a simple free online quiz on unconscious bias (e.g. the Harvard unconscious bias tests), to make us all more aware of our own biases.
One member of the panel talked about promoting the STEM subjects in under privileged areas and spoke in earnest, about white male privilege, how he has benefited and how he tries to actively open doors to people who would not have the same opportunities.
The importance of diversity champions at the top of an organisation and the importance of supporting others was emphasised.
This was an inspirational talk and shows there is a lot of momentum both here in the UK and across the pond, to make IP a more diverse community!"
Thank you Roxna for writing this article. If you would like to write a blog article for IP Inclusive, on anything diversity related, please email Emily Teesdale of Abel & Imray. Guest bloggers are always very welcome!