Mark Coates (he/him)

As CEO, I felt it was vital for me to join the ED&I group so that I can keep this area of work at the forefront of my mind and use the levers I have in this role to bring about change. In recent years I have felt challenged, often uncomfortably but always positively, to reflect on my own privilege and how I have had an easier journey in life than many others in society, including our young people. One of my particular passions is gender equality in parenting – inspired by our time living and working in the Netherlands, my wife and I both went equally part time to raise our children, and feel that we as parents/partners and our children are better off for it. Now our kids are older I have now gone full time again as CEO, but I remain committed to equal parenting and see flexible, parent-friendly policies as equally important for male and female staff. Childcare may still be predominantly a “women’s issue”, but it absolutely shouldn’t be that way!

Jon Rodriguez (he/him)

Growing up as a young gay man in a rural area, I soon headed for the bright lights of London where I imagined everyone was equal, the roads were paved with glitter and everyone was afforded equal rights. 30 years later, I am older and wiser and I now recognise that sadly, this is not the case. That said, I am passionate about making the change that I want to see in the world and Creative Youth Network's ED&I Group is our contribution towards making it a better place for the future generations. There have been some great strides in ED&I work over the past 30 years and sadly some steps back. But there is always so much further to go and so much more to achieve. Being part of the ED&I Group is about being a part of bringing about that positive change and I am proud to be a part of such an inspirational group of people who are trying to do just that.

Deborah Gee 

Bio coming soon.

Owen Barlow (he/him)

I love youth work and the possibilities we bring to young people! I can safely say, however, there is still work to be done to raise awareness of what we need to do to create safe spaces and challenge prejudice in our youth groups. I am on a mission to tackle the learned habits of homophobia, racism, and sexism that impact youth engagement with our services on the ground by equipping youth workers with scripted interventions and example phrases to challenge prejudice and normalise diversity and inclusion.

Holly Aylward (she/they)

I want to change the world! And although I don’t have a lot of power to do so, getting involved in the ED&I group and their work to tackle the inequities in our organisation seems like a good place to start. 

Michael Waine (He/Him)

One of the main things I’ve learned in my years as a youth worker is that change is possible when people step up and act. I am passionate about pursuing justice and fighting oppression and joining the ED&I group seems to be one way of engaging in this within CYN. I would love to explore what it looks like for us as an organisation to celebrate one another’s differences as well as what we have in common.

Stephen Murphy (He/They)

From a young age I have always had a passion for representing my peers and advocating to improve their working situations. This began humbly as a member of Student Council in my secondary school and more recently lead me to advocate for a number of performing art groups in the University of Bristol: From my peers in the Theatre Department to the University’s Pantomime Society. These experiences have not only emboldened my passion but provided me with the necessary knowledge to prepare me to continue my path of advocacy into the professional working world. I cannot wait to get started and help make Creative Youth Network as inclusive and supporting a work environment as it can be.

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