Podcast: "It matters who is around the table"

Why are diversity and inclusion crucial in the humanitarian sector?

Diversity is about all the ways we are different. Inclusion is about making space for that difference.

Recent research on "How diverse leadership shaped COVID-19 Red Cross Red Crescent humanitarian responses" points to the fact that having various voices and perspectives heard can make a significant difference to how complex issues are addressed in the humanitarian sector.

Having people with different professional backgrounds meant that the important questions were raised and attended to. Having age diversity meant that communication channels were far better utilized. Having leaders from different ethnic and racial backgrounds meant that means and methods to provide feedback was strengthened and taken seriously.

This podcast is an opportunity to hear from different leaders of the Red Cross and Red Crescent what is the concrete impact of diverse and inclusive leadership in the humanitarian sector. What are their stories on how they have prioritized diversity and inclusion and what challenges have they overcome to do so?

Meet our podcast guests and moderator

Martha Keays, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Americas regional office

Martha's career with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement spans over three decades in various capacities, including managing complex emergencies and large-scale operations in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

She began her career as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and went on to take up different roles as a regional disaster management delegate, head of regional delegations and senior advisor to the IFRC secretary-general in Geneva.

Before returning to her new leadership role in the field, Martha was the country director for the US Peace Corps in several countries. She is now the regional director for the Americas at the IFRC office in Panama.

Samantha Dickson, president, Grenada Red Cross Society

Samantha served as a public officer for more than 30 years. She performed the functions of teacher, guidance counsellor, health director of the Red Cross office in Grenada, and deputy/acting national disaster coordinator of the National Disaster Management Agency. She joined the public service of Grenada in 1988 and started as a volunteer of the Grenada Red Cross Society in 1989.

She studied education, psychology and emergency management. Samantha was the recipient of the 2020 National Award in Grenada for humanitarian service.

Zakaria Jama God, head of the ICRC sub-delegation, Cameroon

Zakaria was born in Somalia and moved to the Netherlands as a child where he grew up. With a keen interest to learn from every experience and build bridges between the people he met, he has a master in international relations and diplomacy and worked for the United Nations and the European Institutions prior to working in various roles with the ICRC over the past five years.

Kate Sutton, director of the Humanitarian Advisory Group (HAG)

Kate is a co-founder and director of Humanitarian Advisory Group, a social enterprise established to bring fresh thinking to the humanitarian sector.

Kate has over 20 years of experience in the sector and was awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal by the Australian Government in 2016. She was selected as one of Australia's top 100 Women of Influence in 2015. Kate has a Master of Human Rights Law and a Master of International Development

Useful links:

Watch this short video to learn more about the report.

Research on "How diverse leadership shaped COVID-19 Red Cross Red Crescent humanitarian responses"

Red Glow platform: Inspiring women within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement