Fawley Food Festival fosters inclusion

More than 400 colleagues at Fawley were recently treated to an enriching cultural culinary experience thanks to our EMBRACE network. Tastebuds were tantalised as a cornucopia of flavours from around the globe were highlighted, underscoring our aim to foster inclusion within our workplace.

Our EMBRACE UK initiative exists to inform, support, and inspire ethnic minority employees and their allies, and encourage awareness and understanding of the inclusion and diversity issues relating to race and culture. The vision is to create an environment where employees from ethnic minority backgrounds are fully valued and represented at all levels. EMBRACE is open to all UK-based employees.

Newsline spoke to Omar Said, Turnaround Cost Engineer at Fawley who helped to organise the event:

Omar - what inspired this food festival as a way of celebrating diversity?

“Our EMBRACE team wanted to celebrate how diverse Fawley is by promoting the many distinct cultures and backgrounds of people working there. And, if there is one thing that brings people together it is food, which we hoped to use as a catalyst for conversations around our rich cultures and their differences.”

What a great idea. Tell us more about the event?

“The food festival took place during lunchtime and by 1.30pm, we had provided an incredible 400 meals and 900 taste samples! We had four hot food carts from five regions and 10 cultural representatives who each hosted a decorated stall to showcase their specific traditional food and drink, and provide facts around their region, traditional attire and even some antique pieces.

We also extended to Leatherhead, where our colleague Suzan Atkinson, organised snacks accompanied by I&D minutes, which people can share at respective meetings, again using food as a catalyst for conversation around I&D.

How were the participating food cultures chosen to ensure broad representation?

“We tried to get at least one culture/background from each continent and with the help of our cultural reps, we were able to display 10 different regions namely; Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Nigeria, Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, Malaysia, India, South Africa, Venezuela and Culture of Health.

Omar – why and how were you involved in the event?

“I love planning and organising events that bring people together, especially if it’s part of a bigger cause. EMBRACE’s mission is to raise awareness around I&D, something I personally connect with and value being 3,000 miles away from my home(s) in Egypt and Kuwait. Internally, this event removed barriers and invited everyone to talk about cultural differences in a positive light furthering the I&D conversation. This is a huge win for the EMBRACE team when it comes to internal engagement – setting the stage for bigger events and conversations.

“I focused on supporting our cultural reps with their stall content to help them connect with our attendees. I have a lot of appreciation and regard for my colleagues who also helped to organise the event namely Chibuike Obianyor, Iyanu Agbedejobi (IPS) and Eniola Dada (IPS). We are already having requests about when the next EMBRACE Food Festival will be! We hope to be back soon!”

Our Sponsor Helen Ross, Chemicals Process Manager at Fawley, said: “The EMBRACE team delivered a fantastic interactive and informative event – there was a real buzz on the day, with teams from across site taking the time to appreciate and celebrate the richness in culture we are fortunate to have here at Fawley. A lot of new connections were made, with a greater appreciation of diversity across the site……and we all know diverse teams make better decisions!”

For more information goto/EmbraceUK or email: EMBRACE.UK@exxonmobil.com