Meet the Islanders: our YOUR ID squad

Want to learn more about what River Island is doing to champion diversity and inclusion? Say hello to Samah: River Island's a passionate member of our YOUR ID community. We grabbed her for a quick chat to tell us a bit more about the YOUR ID initiative, what she's most passionate about, and what changes she's excited to see on the Island.

For me, representation matters. The world has evolved, and WE have evolved. Although there has been some progress, people can still feel isolated and overwhelmed at times. Our sense of belonging and ability to bring our authentic self to work has become more important for me, and my fellow Islanders. This is what motivated me to join YOUR ID. I wanted to lead with kindness and become a genuine advocate of accepting everyone.

Being a woman of colour and in an underrepresented group in the workplace, for me it's about creating opportunities for others who may feel as though options are not always readily available for them. I'm also passionate about raising awareness of unconscious bias and the impact of stereotypes.

Leveraging my psychology background, I can help reduce these effects through asking questions to gain a better understanding and creating awareness in how our biases can impact a person's progression, career and development. Another one of our YOUR ID initiatives that I'm passionate about is our work towards building psychological safety at work. Creating an environment in which people can speak up without judgement or fear of consequences is an enormous part of inclusion and will aid in building diverse teams.

We have been able to build a great awareness so far by having the right conversations with our Islanders. This is just the start of our journey! Since starting, we have shared a calendar that includes key events that matter to everyone, gained sponsorship from senior leaders and created an open dialogue in which our Islanders are able to approach us with curiosity, share our differences and celebrate our uniqueness. We've created a safe space for our Islanders to be vulnerable, have meaningful conversations, learn and grow, with the intention of making a positive difference to others.

As part of upholding our values and belief in safe environment without fear or judgement, YOUR ID was also able to create a private and reflective space for prayers or meditation: The Prayer Room at Chelsea House. We wanted to create a space for fellow Muslim Islanders to practice their faith during their working day, without having to resort to awkward spaces with lack of privacy.

I'm really proud of the YOUR ID initiative, especially as it's one that not many places have. I'm excited for the community to continue to grow, learning and educating along the way so we can create a sense of belonging for everyone without compromise. We're also soon to be launching listening groups, which will allow for open dialogues around what we need to address, what we have achieved and what we can do differently.

This is a journey and will always keep evolving, with the end goal of embracing our uniqueness and building a sense of belonging for everyone. For me, I want to continue to lead with kindness. As I always say, “There is no mistake, there is always an opportunity to learn”.  Be curious and open-minded so that together, we can make this a great place to be.