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Dive In festival closes strongly with record audience

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Lloyd’s has hailed the success of the Dive In festival, which finished last week on a strong note with its biggest audience yet despite the pandemic disruption.

Held virtually because of COVID-19, the diversity and inclusion conference had 21,000 registered attendees from 144 events in 35 countries.

The 12 events in Australia and New Zealand drew more than 2500 attendees, who between them filled more than 7500 “virtual seats” over three days from September 22-24.

“As predicted, the lack of geographic boundaries driven by the virtual nature of the events meant that we were able to welcome attendees not only from Australia and New Zealand, but also from Asia Pacific, the UK and the US,” Lloyd’s Australia GM Chris Mackinnon told today.

“Importantly, we were also able to include industry colleagues from around Australia and New Zealand who are not located in capital cities, and who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to participate in the Festival.”

He says the benefits of engaging through virtual events has been clearly demonstrated, and expects 2021 will be a hybrid version.

In one of the Australian events where opportunities for women in leadership roles were discussed, it was generally agreed COVID-19 has changed the conversation for good.

Sparke Helmore Partner Gillian Davidson, one of the event panellists, says the sudden move to flexible working arrangements meant women juggling career and families no longer had to justify themselves.

“For those who are still trying to explain flexibility it was not just about working mothers or perhaps a small cohort of carers… [this pandemic shows] that actually it applies to every single one of us,” she said.

“That has been a great thing, because I feel so much of the conversation that we were battling with no longer had to happen. We’ve felt it, we’ve lived it. That’s great for me and for women. It has been a tremendous thing.”