Nick Crofts has been one of our elected members for eight years and is currently President of our National Members’ Council. The Council’s role is to hold the Group Board to account and act as the guardians of the Society’s constitution and the co-operative values and principles. The Council also makes sure that members’ voices are heard at the highest levels of the business.
As Vice Chair of our Respect LGBT+ Network I recently sat down with Nick to ask him about the importance of a diverse workforce.
How did you start working with Co-op?
I first stood for election after a friend recommended that I gave it a go. What drew me in was the commitment to being a different sort of organisation, one that is owned by its members and has ethics at its core.
I’m moving into my eighth year as an elected member now and I’m still hugely passionate about our Society and about co-operation in general; it’s such a fascinating time to be involved in the organisation and to have the role I have. I’m very lucky!
How important is a diverse workforce to you?
Very important. We’re an organisation that’s at the heart of communities right across the country, so it’s right that we look like our customers and members. Diversity also leads to better and more fertile decision making – the more viewpoints you have round the table, the better. I’m certainly proud of the fact that Co-op is an LGBT+ inclusive organisation. There’s a lot to be proud of and still more we can all do to make sure that we’re truly diverse and inclusive.
You recently came along to a Respect steering group meeting. Why do you think it’s important that we have colleague networks?
Drawing people together to discuss and act on issues that people have in common is really useful. Particularly for LGBT+ people, who still too often have a hard time in being open about themselves, knowing that there are other people just like you that work in the same place is strengthening. We have a great record on this at the Co-op, and Respect should be proud of the role they play.
You’re also a Labour Councillor. What’s it like to be LGBT in politics?
I’ve never felt discriminated against because of who I am and have never been in a situation that made me wish I hadn’t come out, or that someone didn’t know. I just try to be myself at all times and being bi is just a small part of who I am. I’m right handed, I have brown hair and brown eyes and I’ve been in relationships with men and with women. So what?
Vice Chair, Respect LGBT+ Network