“That’s when everyone found out that changing the system works”

Written by Mark Rowland Wednesday 10 August 2022
Chartered Manager of the Year nominee Riwilo Masulani CMgr MCMI has always held strong convictions about making a difference in the workplace. At the Environment Agency, he has succeeded in doing just that
Riwilo Masulani

Riwilo is one of six shortlisters for CMI’s Chartered Manager of the Year 2022. Below, you can learn what makes him so special. The winner will be revealed at the President’s dinner in November – keep an eye out!

A year after graduating with a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Zimbabwe, Riwilo Masulani was standing in front of the panel of experts to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), presenting a proposal that could mean more money for elephant conservation. It wasn’t an easy sell, but it was the right thing to do, both for Zimbabwe’s wildlife conservation and for its economy.

This role as senior scientific services officer for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority was his first adult job. But even then, he had strong convictions and a drive to do what was needed in order to make a difference.

Flash forward to 2020

Riwilo, now studying for an MBA at Nottingham Business School and working at the UK Environment Agency’s National Permitting Service, approached his superiors and offered to help revamp its recruitment processes.

This was the height of the pandemic, which revealed inequities in the health service; George Floyd’s tragic death in the US also brought race inequality to the forefront of people’s minds; CMI was also responding to these trends with guidance to help improve workplace inclusion. 

Inspired and driven to make a difference, Riwilo put himself forward to drive change at the Environment Agency (EA), which was producing a Race Action Plan – with a key objective to increase the diversity of the workforce. He wrote an article, published to staff at the EA and Defra, highlighting the importance of inclusion for the organisation at all levels in implementing environmental protection and flood defence duties.

“The major challenge was that no one was actually willing to come into the forefront and make the changes, because we had a standard recruitment process which we had to follow. My proposal was to actually change that recruitment process to make it more inclusive, and align it to the new initiatives.”

Keep reading to discover how Riwilo’s change programme achieved success


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