Nina Goswami: Empowering the Voice of Inclusion
Nina Goswami, the BBC’s first Creative Diversity Lead and popular International Women’s Day speaker, joined us for this exclusive interview about her career in journalism. She is the current Head of Inclusion UK for Clifford Chance and has dedicated her career to improving diversity, inclusion and equity, in both law and journalism. Join Nina as she reflects on her proudest achievements and what she hopes people take away from her story.
Following a law degree, how did you break into journalism?
“For me, doing a law degree was all about supporting journalism. My kind of story starts when I was eight years old… my brother is 11 years older than I am, so we are all sitting around the kitchen table and my mum and dad are talking about his future and trying to persuade him to go to university. He did in the end, after their persuasion.
“But there was this moment of silence while we were sitting around the kitchen table, the TV on in the background, and it was the six o’clock news with Moira Stewart. My dad just, for whatever reason, looks at the TV and goes, ‘I can see you doing that one day, Nina.’
“I started in print journalism at the Sunday Times and then I went to the Sunday Telegraph and moved around Fleet Street a little bit. I then went back to my law roots and specialized as a legal journalist before jumping ship to the BBC.
“The reason why I did law at university, to answer your question, is that it has the same foundations as journalism. You need to be able to analyse, you need evidence, you need to argue, and you need to be able to back up your argument with evidence.
“That’s one thing that I find powerful about journalism, but also the idea of uncovering wrongdoing or revealing something about the world. They both have that same alignment, there are a lot of synergies between journalism and law.”
What is your proudest personal or professional achievement?
“I have two babies…
“Personally, I have an adopted daughter. We have a little three-year-old and she’s delightful. She’s also going through a ‘threenager’ phase, but she’s absolutely fantastic. That’s obviously my proudest personal moment, being able to nurture someone as amazing and as resilient as our little girl.
“Then professionally, my other baby, [was] the 50/50 project and just seeing that go from the BBC London newsroom to now being a global initiative – not just used at the BBC, but making a difference for so many organizations when it comes to culture change. That has to be the stellar standout when it comes to my career.”
What do you hope people take away from your story?
“Small actions can make a real difference.
“Whether it’s that voice in a meeting where you’ve got that feeling and you’re going, ‘oh, I just don’t know if this is right.’ By voicing it, it might feel like a really small action, but it takes a lot of courage for you to do it and you might come up with something that’s like the next big thing.
“That everyday small action of understanding where you are right now and where you want to go, being able to see the gaps and then make those small, tiny changes along the way is so powerful – you don’t even notice it happening. And yet, by the end of it, you’ve created something amazing.
“Don’t underestimate the small changes you can make, because every little iteration, every little change you can make can really have a really positive, big impact.”
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Be more confident about speaking up!
“I felt when I was starting off in journalism, I felt overlooked quite a lot. I think it’s actually something that not only women experience, but a lot of ethnic minorities feel as well. You always think, if you work really, really hard then people are gonna notice you, but actually, you need to be confident enough to use your voice.
“People are not going to necessarily go, ‘oh, I think Nina needs to do this amazing project because she’s really being passionate and advocated for it.’ So, just doing a really great job and hoping that someone notices you aren’t gonna cut the mustard, unfortunately.
“If I talked to my younger self, I would tell myself to speak up a lot more, talk about what I’m passionate about so that my bosses know about it. I would pitch ideas, but if they said no, I would turn around and go, ‘okay, then,’ while now I would say, ‘well actually no, this is a really important story and I want to push it.’
“I think that’s what’s really important, having the confidence to speak up and not giving up if you are really passionate about something.”