Bee-eater. David Tipling /

A future with EDI in mind: a note from Juliet

BTO's CEO Juliet reflects on the responsibility to improve our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Juliet Vickery

Chief Executive Officer

Juliet is responsible for leading the work of the Trust, under the governance and strategy of the Board.


Throughout my entire career, I have had male supervisors and line managers, and have worked in almost entirely male leadership teams. Have I felt supported and genuinely listened to? Yes, most definitely, and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with each and every one of them. But, when the conversation has been about how to address gender disparity in senior roles, all the (male) eyes in the room have turned to me. The message this sends, albeit almost certainly unintentional, is that it is my responsibility to lead in addressing this issue. 

It is all too easy to turn to the only representative of a minority group in the room and expect them to be the one to shoulder the work of redressing the balance. I’ve done this, I know I have, when it comes to issues of, say, ethnicity, sexuality or gender. Often this is because we feel we can’t understand, empathise or relate to the barriers they see or encounter – we don’t, or perhaps can’t, understand the world through their eyes. But this should not stop us from recognising the need to be part of the solution too. As a leader of an organisation that I firmly believe needs to change and become more inclusive, I recognise more and more the need to increase my own understanding and to be part of those solutions.

Shoveler. Mary /
Gulls and Terns. Tom Cadwallender / BTO

Topics like race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and religion are sensitive and the growth of associated acronyms, terms and phraseology doesn’t make them easy to navigate. But my career as a conservation scientist has embedded in me the necessity of understanding a problem in order to find the solution – do your research before you head off in the wrong direction. This means we need to talk with and listen to those who know, who have the lived experience and/or expertise to advise. 

So my message is simple. If you truly want to play a part in creating a more equal, diverse and inclusive world and workplace, start by committing to understanding one of the protected characteristics – age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation – better than you do now. 

As we come to the end of Pride month, why not pledge to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by the LGBT+ community by the time Pride month comes round again in 2023?  You could start by taking a look at the insightful and sometimes painfully honest stories in the British Ornithologists' Union rainbow blogs or the British Ecological Society Rainbow research. You can also keep an eye on BTO social media for more EDI-related content coming soon. 

BTO Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Statement

We've updated our EDI Statement to reflect our continuing commitment to educating ourselves, addressing the barriers to equality and diversity, and creating an inclusive environment.

Read more
Juliet Vickery, 30 June 2022

Related content