5 Big Questions: SHEREE ATCHESON


Why has the tech sector been so slow to be inclusive?

Can you be both privileged and under-represented?

Who, and how, should we be demanding more?

In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to global tech leader, diversity and inclusion specialist and author SHEREE ATCHESON.



Known for:

  • Global Director (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) – Peakon
  • Global Ambassador – Women Who Code
  • Author – Demanding More: Why Diversity and Inclusion Don’t Happen and What You Can Do About It
  • Former Head of Diversity & Inclusion – Monzo
  • Former Consulting Inclusion Lead – Deloitte
  • Most Influential Women in UK Tech (Computer Weekly)
  • Queen’s University Belfast Graduate of the Year (2019)
  • Top 100 BAME Leaders influencing the Tech (Financial Times)

The 5 Big Questions:

Measuring change How do you measure the impact of what you do?

Ready for anything - future proofingHow should people/businesses be preparing for the future?

Skills, talent & opportunityHow do we build the workforce we need for that future?

Embedded innovationHow do you use creativity to solve problems?

Bold connections, collaborationHow do you collaborate?

Key quotes:

“Always start with listening, before you make any assumptions.”

“Often in diversity and inclusion work, people create huge lofty goals to try and change everything overnight. That tends to mean you don’t fix anything, you end up very stressed and your passion runs out. Never just rush in. Choose just one to two things per quarter, to do incredibly well.”

“Privilege is very nuanced. One of the reasons I wrote Demanding More is people view privilege very often as ones and zeroes. Yes to this and no to that, but it’s so much more than that. For me the real impact is to get people to recognise that nuance.” 

“Representation will not change overnight. But processes can, broadly, change much quicker.” 

“I want people to be vulnerable about what it means to exist in the world and how it’s easier for some versus others. I want people to have empathy. So often leaders talk about empathy being the biggest skill that we need, yet they seem to very much not have it themselves. Recognise the impact of your decisions on other people before you make the decision.”

Useful links

website // shereeatcheson.com/

Sheree Atcheson bio (Wikipedia) 

Sheree Atcheson — Demanding More (direct purchase link) 

Sheree Atcheson — Demanding More (Amazon link) 

Sheree’s writing in Forbes 

Women Who Code // womenwhocode.com/

Sheree’s TedxBelfast talk 

This episode was recorded in May 2022

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


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