Focus on Diversity offers insight into diversity and inclusion policies and practices and share skills between big business and smaller ones. Founder Barry Walsh talks to ThinkBusiness about his passion to help businesses on their journey to being more inclusive.
What led you to set up your website?
I specialise in Irish SMEs involved in diversity and inclusion. When I joined Dell Technologies Diversity and Inclusion team, I became more aware of the programmes that large multinationals are undertaking in Ireland. I created the website to be the link between the two. For large organisations to see what is going on in the market and give the smaller organisations a place to promote their efforts so that more people will become aware of them.
“Network! Before you launch anything, reach out to people, ask for meetings – virtually as it may be easier timewise for them”
What makes your website different?
I want to be inclusive of all businesses so that SMEs and big businesses can work together to tackle issues in diversity and inclusion (D&I).
What challenges did you meet and how did you overcome them?
I had no web design skills whatsoever. It was a huge learning curve when I had to build the website. I’m dyslexic so I had to get an editor to check all the content I put up. Time constraints were also challenging. I went from being unemployed when it started to being on a three-day week in work, a steward in Aviva Stadium and freelancing for ThinkBusiness.ie. So just finding the time to create, edit, and get the content on the site is a challenge.
Did the pandemic impact your website and how did you adapt?
I don’t think I would have launched the website without the pandemic. I was unemployed for the first six months of the pandemic, which gave me a huge amount of time to create the content and learn how to create a website. Now that restrictions are beginning to ease, I can focus on initiatives in D&I that are office based.
“I was unemployed for the first six months of the pandemic, which gave me a huge amount of time to create the content and learn how to create a website”
What advice did you receive to set up your website?
ThinkBusiness.ie was fantastic. The current editor and former editor were always supportive with answering any questions I had. Professor Tom Cooney from Trinity University Dublin and Eric Lambe from Step Up Ireland had fantastic suggestions. I was able to lean on a few people in my network to get great case studies early on that set me on my way.
What was the most important thing you learnt and what would you pass on to other businesses?
Network! Before you launch anything, reach out to people, ask for meetings – virtually as it may be easier timewise for them. Get opinions from people you trust who’ve been there and done it. You’re going to make mistakes no matter what, but at least they’ll be able to tell you a few they made so you can avoid them.
“I was able to lean on a few people in my network to get great case studies early on that set me on my way”
What are your plans for the future?
For the moment I’m focusing on businesses based in Ireland in Diversity & Inclusion. Depending on time constraints, I hope to launch networking sessions and events next year.