By The Recognition Team

CEO Winner: Abdul Wahid, Area Manager, Central Region

Abdul has clearly proved himself to be a role model, with his passion for diversity and inclusion shining through. He’s quick to recognise the value of others and has helped to break down barriers and obstacles to help colleagues from all backgrounds feel a connection to Co-op. 

Thanks to his encouraging and supportive leadership style, he’s inspired many colleagues to develop both professionally and personally. He takes time to understand everyone who he works with, and spends time working with them to develop confidence and find their voice when it comes to things like contributing and sharing their thoughts in large groups.

Abdul’s a firm believer that no one person’s values and beliefs are better than anyone else’s and he’s worked on several initiatives to support ethnic minority colleagues. Working with colleagues who use English as their second language, he made it clear that language should not be a barrier to success, going out of his way to arrange for English lessons should people wish to attend. 

He organised Listening Sessions for colleagues to share any concerns, enabling them to feel valued and he shared personal his stories to empower empowered colleagues from all levels to share theirs too. 

For Black History Month, every day for 30 days Abdul shared videos, quotes, and podcasts as a way of educating on the importance of the month and how everyone can play their part to support each other. 

This was all done by Abdul as he truly cares and wants to help everyone be as successful as they can which is evident by the fact he received five individual nominations.

Colleague Choice Winner: Natasha Wilding, Store Manager, Fortuneswell Store  

Natasha’s an inspiration to everyone.

As a transgender colleague, Natasha’s decision to share her story on the Colleague Stories blog was encouraging for so many people to see. 

Natasha worded wonderfully an incredibly sensitive subject that people can often find difficult to explain. She described perfectly what it’s like being trans and the difficult journey needed for someone to live as their true self. Sharing her experiences publicly took a lot of bravery and courage from Natasha, amplifying how important it is to providing a real-life viewpoint and a story that many other LGBTQ+ colleagues will be able to relate to. 

In her role as a Store Manager, Natasha has proved that she can progress professionally again inspiring others that there are no barriers to hold you back in your career if you’re willing and able to work hard for what you want. 

People like Natasha are so important in helping the trans community to move forward with things like rights and access to healthcare. Discussing personal experiences so that people can understand what challenges have been faced is a crucial step in this endeavour. 

(Pictured L-R Steve Murrells, Abdul Wahid, Elaine Codrington, Ella Banks and Helen Webb)