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Melanie D’Aubney, Area Sales Manager at Falcon Foodservice, has more experience than most when it comes to diversity in the foodservice equipment industry. Watching the diversity panel discussion at the Foodservice Equipment Association’s 2022 conference she was energised by the potential for change embracing diversity and inclusion could bring.
The panel discussed how 75% of companies are facing a talent shortage, and the vital role diversity and inclusivity can play in widening the recruitment pool in remedying this.
Melanie has a deep perspective of how the industry has changed. Starting her career at a distributor, where she worked in various roles for ten years, she then decided she wanted to try sales, joining Falcon as Area Sales Manager for London and the South East for five years. She left to raise her children and pursue her own businesses, recently rejoining Falcon in the same role, after a twelve year absence.
“Falcon has long been committed to increasing diversity and inclusivity in the company,” she says. “Equality is a key part of the culture here. A third of our senior managers are female. Everyone has a voice and everybody is listened to.”
Nonetheless there is still plenty of work to be done in the wider industry. “It’s undoubtedly a very male dominated sector,” says Melanie.” “I have noticed some improvements that have occurred during my time away, but there is more work to be done to increase diversity.”
Some of the panel’s solutions to widening diversity included embracing flexible working arrangements to support employees with family commitments. They also stressed the importance of not being put off by potential mistakes made during the process. “Inclusion is a journey” was a key point, and that it’s OK to make and learn from mistakes. Melanie supports the panel’s argument that diversity as an issue is not going away, and businesses should both celebrate their successes and look on it as an opportunity to solve staff shortage problems.
The benefits of improving diversity are clear to Melanie. “The more diverse your employees are, the more different perspectives and ideas you’ll get thrown into the mix, which will open up more opportunities.”
She sees the FEA’s focus on the subject at its conference as a sign that the industry is serious about finding ways to improve. “There’s no easy fix to this, but the panel showed that many other companies are taking the issue as seriously as Falcon and that we’re all ready to have these necessary conversations so people can start to make the changes they need to make.”
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