The role of leadership in diversity and inclusion

Dr Robert Traynham delivers an RSE signature event from Aberdeen on how leadership can help nourish diversity and inclusion.

How does one lead in the field of diversity and inclusion? What are the leadership qualities that we seek and need in this ever-changing and emerging field?

Tricky question. The answer according to Dr Robert Traynham is pretty straightforward; “that you must have a moral compass – of which comes from within – there is no textbook for this”.

Do you believe that society, your local community, and your environment would be in a much better place if there were equal and equitable voices at the table? Voices that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, voices that have a different dialect than you; voices that have different lived experiences than you? And not just listening – but acting on those diverse experiences to create a more rich society.

For Dr Traynham, leadership qualities are simple: “listen; seek diverse thought, act on that thought if it makes sense and don’t be afraid to allow a voice that may be different than you lead the discussion or project”.

All are welcome to attend and participate in the Q&A. The event will be chaired by Professor Neil Vargesson FRSE, Chair in Developmental Biology, University of Aberdeen.

About the RSE signature event

All are welcome to the RSE’s signature events, designed to educate and encourage new thinking, ideas and conversations. This event aims to amplify the RSE’s mission of ‘knowledge made useful’ by enhancing our understanding of national and global scientific, cultural and economic topics.


Dr Robert Traynham


Dr Robert Traynham

Head of Global Public Affairs, Facebook.

Dr Robert Traynham has been at the intersection of communications, technology, politics and public policy. With nearly two decades, he has designed and executed impactful communications, marketing and external campaigns for elected leaders, political organizations, non-profits and Fortune 50 companies such as Wal-Mart, Comcast and Facebook.

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Professor Neil Vargesson FRSE


Professor Neil Vargesson FRSE

Chair in Developmental Biology, University of Aberdeen.

Professor Neil Vargesson is a developmental biologist interested in understanding how embryos form normally and determining how some drugs cause birth defects, most notably thalidomide. He has published widely in these areas. He also has an interest in public engagement and his expertise on drug-induced birth defects has led to advisory roles to many international Governments and Agencies, including the WHO, as well as advising media, the public, lawyers and featuring in documentaries. He also has interests in governance and policy and enjoys his role as a member of the University of Aberdeen governing body and multiple University policy and strategy committees.

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Monday February 27th, 2023 18:00-19:00


The University of Aberdeen