Tanya lines is head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at English Heritage

What is your professional background?

In 2004, I started out as an occupational psychologist, studying what motivates and challenges people at work. My first role in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) was one year later as an Equality & Diversity Officer with the police and since then Ihaven’t looked back. Seventeen years later I’m now an experienced Senior EDI HR Professional, working alongside multiple teams to ensure organisations are inclusive and value diversity as the norm. I have worked in the commercial, public, charity and STEM sectors so have a breadth of knowledge about different cultures and industry challenges.

You are Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at English Heritage. What does that role involve?

English Heritage puts being inclusive at the heart of everything it does, ensuring it touches every area of the business, from uncovering untold stories to welcoming visitors, having partners and suppliers that meet our EDI standards, and ensuring everyone feels included, valued, accepted and respected. I programme manageour D&I Telling Everyone’s Story Strategy I lead a team to embed initiatives that help everyone to be heard and get involved like our EDI networks, and taking part in events such as Pride, Black History Month, International Women’s Day and International Day for Persons with Disabilities. This year for Pride, our historic sites will be flying the flag and our colleagues will be joining in withevents in London and York.Working with our LGBTQ+ Network, sponsored by our Chief Financial Officer, we also encourage our people to celebrate diversity during Pride month through webinars, storytelling and wearing lanyards.

How important do you think a positive culture of diversity and inclusion is in the workplace, and what benefits does its successful implementation bring to both the individual and to the wider workplace?

It’s essential! A culture is no good unless everyone feels they have a voice, are valued and supported to be themselves at work. Feeling like you belong is a fundamental human need and central to our well-being. It brings leaders on a journey from being good to great, helps attract and retain top talent, ensures services are accessible and inclusive, and in doing so, increases the success of an organisation. Inclusion means people feel like they belong, and everyone wins.

How does one go about fostering that culture of diversity and inclusion?

You need to start with involving senior leaders so that they understand the business, societal and people benefits. You can use data and lived experience stories to bring that to life. Next you need strong governance in place, a robust and realistic strategy, and finally the resources to match so you can create an engaging and inclusive workplace with structures and opportunities for everyone to play their part.

On either a professional or personal level what do you consider to have been your proudest achievement?

There are so many but what matters most is having people come to us as a team with their ideas on inclusion. That is the best feeling, as it shows that inclusion is embedded into the culture and we have done our job. The feedback I get from individuals, like someone feeling they don’t have to hide who they are anymore at work, is also extremely rewarding and makes me feel proud of the part our team has made.If I was to pick a current achievement, it would be that my team have expanded our EDI Networks from one to eight and they are currently making meaningful contributions to things like making our guides and policies more gender inclusive.

What is a typical day in the life of Tanya Lines?

I am a mum of two children, 12 and 14 years, even before I start a day’s work, I have already completed a pretty big job n getting them fed, dressed and to school. In my spare time I like cycling, spending time with loved ones and watching period dramas and comedies. In my professional life, I collaborate with multiple teams across the charity, inspiring and guiding them to go on their own journey which might mean advising on personal objectives for EDI, facilitating sessions on topics of interest to them, conducting equality impact assessments on planning or marketing content and reporting on our progress to the Senior Management Team. I visit our beautiful sites (we have over 400 across England, the majority of which are free to enter) to meet our people, in all their varied roles, to find out how our team can support them. I love to hear our people’s ideas for how we can make English Heritage an even greater, and more inclusive, place to work and visit.