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Ongo Chief Exec shortlisted for leading diversity award

Steve Hepworth, Chief Executive of Ongo, has been shortlisted for an award at this year’s National Centre for Diversity ‘FREDIE Awards’.

The event is in its seventh year and is designed to champion and celebrate individuals and organisations who are going above and beyond in their commitment to Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement (FREDIE).

Steve has been shortlisted in the ‘Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Year’ category for his leadership and vision of embedding FREDIE throughout all levels of the organisation. Most recently working with colleagues to develop and approve a Board Trainee Programme for Ongo, targeting underrepresented groups.

He has opened up conversations on a variety of topical issues that have often been seen as taboo, including the Black Lives Matter Movement and women’s safety, and during LGBTQ+ History Month he spoke of a family member's personal experience.

A proposal to create two permanent positions at Ongo, specifically designed for neurodiverse individuals, was also approved under Steve’s leadership.

Steve gets involved in Ongo’s Diversity Steering Group, made up of colleagues and customers, ensuring this makes a real impact and drives change within Ongo.

When asked about the award, Steve said: “I’m delighted to have been shortlisted. It’s a great honour and is something I feel very passionate about.

“Creating an inclusive and welcoming organisation is the responsibility of us all, and I’m so very grateful to work alongside fantastic tenants, customers and colleagues who share that vision.

 “I’d like to say a huge thank you to them, this award is a celebration of all of your hard work. I’m just glad I can be a part of it and that we can continue to grow, learn and improve together.”

He is also a member of the National Centre for Diversity's National Patron's Network and is an Ambassador of White Ribbon, which highlights a commitment to end male violence against women.

Erica Sanderson, Strategy and Policy Manager at Ongo said: “I am a lead representative of our steering group and am just so pleased to work for an organisation that takes equality, diversity and inclusion so seriously.

“Steve is a brilliant Chief Exec, he listens to understand and educate himself. He doesn't profess to know everything and wants everyone to embrace the principles of FREDIE.

“I nominated him because he doesn’t just want to talk about improvements and what could be changed, he makes it happen.”

The awards will take place on Thursday 9 June at Aston Villa Football Club, Birmingham.

To find out more about Ongo and their commitment to EDI, follow them on social media or head to their website: www.ongo.co.uk/edi. For more on the FREDIE awards, go to: www.nationalcentrefordiversity.com/2022-fredie-awards.

Issued 26/04/22