Russell Blake – Q&A as Lead Ambassador for Within

Case Study

Russell Blake has recently stepped into the role of Lead Ambassador for the Within Network in Compass Group UK & Ireland. In April this year he also took on the position of Managing Director Healthcare, Compass Group UK and Ireland.  

Russell joined Compass in 1999 in Eurest, with his first role being the mobilisation and management of a state-of-the-art greenfield site for a tech client. He has since worked his way through various roles within the business and across various sectors.

Russell joined Compass’ Healthcare team as Business Director for White Oaks, focussing on care homes and residential living and developed our Medirest Signature brand, for private healthcare in 2014, before being promoted to Managing Director of Hospitals and Senior Living in October 2019.

What is your role for Within?

I am the Lead Ambassador for the Within Network, and it’s my job to help individuals and the organisation understand the challenges faced by some in terms of reaching their full career potential as well as attracting new talent. It’s an absolute privilege leading the Within network, helping everyone in our business thrive and raise awareness and appreciation of the different cultures.

What is the aim of the network?

The Within Network aims to promote cultural diversity in our work environment and inspires others to do the same. The community is made up of employees from a range of backgrounds and representative of different areas of our business, at all levels from our frontline to those working in head office.

Why is the role important?

The role is important as it raises awareness within the business of issues and challenges of people trying to further their careers and move up the ladder. I am here to make positive steps in supporting everyone to have opportunities made available to them regardless of their ethnicity or background. We also celebrate different cultures and events throughout the year, we often have special menus in place to mark cultural or religious occasions, host webinars and share information and resources.

What else does Compass do to support the D&I agenda?

As a business we operate on the basis that we want everyone to thrive and provide opportunities for our people to do that. We understand that different groups of people may face differing challenges and so we have three networks (in addition to Within), which help to support the D&I agenda:

  • You Matter – our mental health awareness campaign, supporting colleagues and those with mental health challenges, helping to address the stigma around mental health.
  • Pride in Food – supporting and celebrating our LGBTQ+ community, striving to create an inclusive and diverse environment where everyone can freely be themselves and maximise their potential with an emphasis on Respect, Equality, Teamwork and Growth.
  • Women in Food – helping to attract, retain and develop our female talent, as well as ensuring appropriate representation at every level of our organisation.

Each network has ambassadors across each sector of the business, who create events and campaigns to support the community in their respective networks. The ambassadors also work to support suppliers and clients, extending their reach beyond our business.

For external - Visit here for more information on how Compass Group UK & Ireland supports the development of its people.

Russell Blake