Hachette has held its first "Changing the Story Day", celebrating the work of its diversity and inclusion network and the publishing that underpins it.
Yesterday, more than 500 members of Hachette UK staff attended a packed programme of talks exploring diversity and inclusion at Carmelite House while more than 1,000 participated in a tour of the building to hear about the range of books the company publishes from the publishers themselves and how they can address issues raised by the Changing the Story programme. Colleagues in Australia and New Zealand, India, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Caribbean also marked the day in their own way.
The talks and workshops from Hachette UK's employee networks and working groups comprised discussions led by the Gender Balance Network on activism, power and change, the Wellbeing Network on work–life balance, Hachette Pride on LGBTQIA+ experiences in publishing, THRIVE on what it means to "decolonise history", the Disability and Representation Network on how to make content accessible to all, the All Together Network on "publishing outside the box", PAW on how small changes can make all the difference, and the Ageless Network on representation of 50+ readers and colleagues.
Some Hachette UK staff used one of their company sponsored volunteer days to take part in outreach work, either reading to school children through Speakers4Schools or engaging with parents and children together with the National Literacy Trust in Croydon, where families were invited to take part in free storytelling and play activities at Croydon Centrale Shopping Centre.
David Shelley, Hachette UK c.e.o. told The Bookseller: "I am hugely proud of the hard work that the whole Hachette team put into our first annual Changing the Story Day. Our mission here is to make it easy for all people around the world to access the work of our authors. So this day was dedicated to helping explore the many ways we can become more diverse and inclusive in our workforce and our publishing - and to better reflect the world we live in. It is a long journey but I felt very fortified by the fantastic, thought-provoking, rallying presentations we saw from all eight of our networks, and the powerful discussions that took place in all our offices worldwide."
After approximately 50 staff joined the NLT in Croydon, Sarah McDermott, Small Talk project manager at the National Literacy Trust, added: “We were delighted to meet so many families at our Small Talk event in Centrale Shopping Centre yesterday. Thanks to Hachette’s dedicated team of volunteers, we were able to put on a whole day of exciting activities that got families chatting, playing and reading together. Hachette’s fantastic Changing the Story programme also enabled us to gift 350 families with a brand new children’s book to take home and enjoy. We look forward to our continued partnership with Hachette, as we strive to help more families fall in love with reading.”
Changing the Story was launched by Shelley in early 2016, and it is now co-chaired between Dialogue Books publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove and John Murray Press m.d. Nick Davies.