Jane Farrell and Annie Hedge set up EW Group (then Equality Works) in 1992. The business came from the idea that organisations would only excel when they fully engaged with diversity, in all its forms, in both their staff and their customers. It’s an ethos that has stayed with us to this day.
Jane and Annie were both former teachers. They had a close understanding of how some pupils came from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Some had learning difficulties. Some experienced racism on the bus to school. And some were being harassed for being different in some other way.
They wanted to bring an inclusive approach to workforce and leadership development, and how the best organisations demonstrate a professional intent to notice, adapt to and leverage difference at work, whatever that work might be.
In the early days, Jane and Annie worked out of a spare bedroom. Then they won their first major contract: to run a diversity management programme at the Health Education Authority. The business has since expanded across the public, private and third sectors, nationwide and overseas. One award-winning programme at London Underground saw the team design and deliver training to 2,000 managers. At the time it was the largest diversity mainstreaming project of its kind.
In 2017 EW Group celebrated our 25th anniversary in business. We hosted clients past and present, as well as consultants and friends, at a special event at London’s City Hall. Our guest panel included:
- Tina Tchen, former Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama
- Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2)
- Chris Grigg, Chief Executive of British Land Plc
On the night we also launched our Inclusive Culture Pledge, offering organisations access to free tools and resources to boost their diversity development over the course of 2018.
The EW Group Head Office
We decided on a shake-up in our workspace in April 2015, moving from traditional serviced offices in East London to our current co-working space in Kings Cross (managed by The Office Group). The switch brought about a culture change of our own.
Since we joined we’ve shared the space with other SMEs – a restaurant booking app, a very 21st century postal services company and a recruiter driven by social values. The energy and entrepreneurial spirit in the building just rubs off on everyone. Our workspace reflects our values – it’s creative and positive – and happily it’s the sort of space that clients and consultants love to visit us in.