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A day in the life of …. Ebony Quow, Lead People Business Partner. JD Sports

Ebony Quow is an accomplished HR professional with a diverse background in talent acquisition, development, organisational development (OD), and a passion for DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and… View Article


A day in the life of …. Ebony Quow, Lead People Business Partner. JD Sports

Ebony Quow is an accomplished HR professional with a diverse background in talent acquisition, development, organisational development (OD), and a passion for DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).

She currently serves as the Lead People Business Partner – Technology at JD Sports Fashion and is a recently appointed Advisory Board Member of Diversity in Retail. Ebony holds a master’s degree in international human resource management (with Distinction) and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from The Manchester Metropolitan University. With a career that began as a trainee fitness instructor at 16, Ebony has developed a broad skill. She is passionate about driving positive change and making organisations better places to work. Her personal goals include surfing in Hawaii and exploring her heritage in Saint Vincent.

Can you tell us more about your background and how it has shaped your career in HR?

I’ve had quite a diverse career path. I started at 16 as a trainee personal fitness instructor at a local women’s health club. That early experience was eye-opening and made me realise I had a natural talent for bringing out the best in people. I loved engaging with individuals and helping them achieve their goals, which taught me a lot about resilience and teamwork.

From there, I ventured into different roles, including sales and training, and even played rugby. These experiences reinforced my passion for people engagement and development. I thrive in environments where I can drive change and support others in reaching their potential.

Being part of a team sport has shown me the importance of collaboration and communication, which are essential in any organisational setting.

This passion naturally led me to HR, where I can use all these skills to build a supportive and inclusive workplace. Working in HR allows me to make a tangible impact on both the business and the people within it, which is incredibly fulfilling.

What inspired you to focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)?

My interest in DEI stems from personal and professional experiences. Throughout my career, I’ve often been one of the few people of colour in my workplace or team. This has made me acutely aware of the challenges and barriers that exist. I realised the importance of using my voice and position to advocate for equity and inclusion, and to help create environments where everyone feels they belong.

You were recently appointed to the board of Diversity in Retail (congrats, by the way!). How did that start, and what kind of work are you doing now?

Thank you! My journey with Diversity in Retail (DiR) began through JD Sports’ collaboration with the organisation. I was introduced to their Ethnic Future Leaders and Ethnic Senior Leaders Programmes, which were truly transformative. Being surrounded by successful people of colour and having a supportive mentor within JD Sports enriched my experience and broadened my perspective.

After completing these programmes, I had the opportunity to interview for a position on the Advisory Board. I saw it as an incredible chance to make a broader impact, so I went for it. In my new role on the Advisory Board, I contribute to shaping the strategic direction of DiR. My work involves bringing fresh perspectives from my experiences to drive initiatives that promote equity and inclusion across the retail industry. My mission is to bridge the gap between theory and practice, ensuring that DEI efforts are impactful and sustainable. It’s been an exciting journey so far, and I’m looking forward to continuing this important work.

Are we really seeing change in terms of diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

It’s a mixed bag. There are certainly organisations making significant strides in DEI, driven by a genuine commitment from leadership. However, change is not uniform across all sectors or companies. There are still pockets of resistance and fear of the unknown. The key is ongoing education, open dialogue, and a willingness to challenge the status quo. Gen Z entering the workforce is also pushing for more inclusive and equitable workplaces, which is a positive force for change.

What does a typical day look like for you at JD?

I’m an early bird, so I’m up at 4:45 am to walk my dog, and then some exercise is involved—either running or weight lifting! (Included picture of me in the gym!!) Once I’m in the office, my day is all about collaboration. I work closely with various business areas, addressing needs such as spotting pay benchmarking gaps, workforce planning, identifying opportunities to plug skills gaps, managing attrition, and implementing structural improvements.
I also spend time with our DEI business partner and the wider team, feeding back insights from the business and working on initiatives like employee resource groups. My role involves a lot of interaction with senior stakeholders to identify gaps and implement solutions, ensuring that our organisation continues to grow and improve.

You discussed the importance of governance and leadership when building a culture of belonging. Can you elaborate on this?

Absolutely. Change must come from the top, with leaders acting as gatekeepers of the culture we want to create. It’s about having a desire to protect and nurture a diverse and inclusive environment. Leaders need to be brave and willing to challenge the status quo, ensuring that DEI strategies are integrated into the broader business values and operations.

Fear of the unknown and resistance to change are common barriers to diversity. How do you address these issues within your organisation?

Education and open dialogue are key. We need to acknowledge and address these fears by creating safe spaces for conversation and learning. It’s about understanding that fear often stems from unfamiliarity and the risk of getting things wrong. Encouraging self-education on different lived experiences and identities helps break down these barriers and ultimately drives a more inclusive workplace.

Generation Z is becoming a significant part of the workforce. How do you see this impacting workplace culture and diversity initiatives?

Gen Z’s influence is profound. They value equity and want to work for organisations that reflect their ideals. This generation is vocal and innovative, often challenging traditional workplace norms. Their presence pushes organisations to be more agile and inclusive. However, there’s still a need for generational allyship to bridge the gap between different workplace expectations and approaches.

What are your aspirations for your career and the broader impact you want to achieve?

I aspire to continue being a change-maker in HR, ultimately aiming for a Chief People Officer role. My focus is on making organisations better places to work, where diversity and inclusion are ingrained in the culture. I want to be the voice that challenges norms and advocates for equity and belonging at all levels.


Thank you so much, Ebony, for sharing your insights and experiences.


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