Nzube Ufodike, nominated Chair of new BCS Specialist Group, EMBRACE, speaks to Blair Melsom MBCS about why now is the right time for a group dedicated to supporting marginalised communities and diversifying membership.

Tell us about the proposed BCS specialist group, EMBRACE. What is it and why is now the right time to establish it?

‘The idea for EMBRACE is to establish a space where we can focus on racial diversity within BCS and making the industry more inclusive.

‘On the back of the killing in the US of George Floyd earlier on in the summer and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) civil justice movement, I, like many people wanted to do something to make a difference.

‘At the same time, conversations took place within BCS and with external members and volunteers. BCS President Rebecca George was also very keen on pushing through a more inclusive and more diverse agenda for BCS going forward.

‘As current vice chair of the London Central branch, I brought up the topic at our committee meeting. This was not unusual as we have historically run several events that tackled diversity and inclusion. At the committee meeting, our chair Dalim Basu, encouraged me to connect with the main BCS organisation to follow-up, and the rest is history, as they say.’

Who will run the EMBRACE SG?

‘I've nominated myself as chair for the first year and recruited an amazing committee of individuals - namely: Charlie Fadden as Vice Chair, Doreen Duckoo our Treasurer, Prasad Amirthasagaran as Secretary, Joel Baynes as Community Lead and Nicola Martin as our Inclusion Officer.

'We have a few others that have signed up to become supporters. We since made a submission and received preliminary approval on our application, pending a couple of administrative tasks. We are now working on those items and aim to achieve full approval in October 2020.'

What will be the aims of EMBRACE?

‘The overarching objectives and desired outcomes are centred around making BCS a lot more accessible and visible to diverse communities; figuring out what the barriers to entry might be for underrepresented IT professionals based on race and why they aren't participating within BCS; and, to support communities that are making waves when it comes to racial diversity in the IT sector.’