Chatting to Loraine Martins OBE about Network Rail’s Impressive Diversity and Disability Culture

Loraine Martins - Interview

In the lead up to this year’s Health and Wellbeing at Work event, it was a pleasure to interview Network Rail’s Loraine Martins OBE. Appointed Director of Diversity and Inclusion in 2012, Loraine is at the centre of expertise which supports the Company’s ambition to be more open, diverse and inclusive. She was awarded an MBE for her previous role leading the equality, inclusion, employment and skills agenda for the London 2012 Olympic Park and was recently awarded an OBE for her outstanding contribution to shaping Network Rail’s diversity and inclusion culture.

Ahead of her interview with Health and Wellbeing at Work Director Lauren Sterling on Friday 19 March as part of the Neurodiversity Programme, she shares some insights into Network Rail’s work around diversity and more specifically, disability.

LS: Out of all the diversity and inclusion campaigns you and your colleagues have spearheaded at Network Rail, which one have you been most proud of?

LM: I think it has to be the Purple Light Up campaign in December, celebrating the economic and leadership contribution of disabled workers around the world. Lighting up some of the largest stations in purple was a hugely powerful signal to both our employees and the wider public. We all look forward to it and encourage our staff to wear purple throughout the day. I think it’s a really great moment of reflection, to see how far we have come not only as a business, but also as a society in terms of embracing the richness of our workforce. I really like the visibility of it all, and the fact that our employees are always highly engaged by the campaign.

LS: And which campaign do you feel has really made a difference in shaping a culture of inclusion at Network Rail?

LM: I’m really proud that we are a Confident Disability Leader Business. That hasn’t been an easy journey as its quite a rigorous process. The emblematic signals it sends to disabled people are extremely valuable. It communicates clearly that you are welcome, you are going to be supported, that we are going to do our best to make sure you do your best.

LS: How do your employees drive the diversity and inclusion agenda?

LM: We have six extremely active networks who have been absolutely fantastic in supporting and challenging us. They are the vanguard in pushing us to be the best that we can. They have been instrumental in holding a mirror up to our organisation in terms of the things we can do better. They challenge us to improve and help us to embed our diversity and inclusion strategy through consultation and sharing lived experiences. We also have over 2000 diversity and inclusion champions who act as local change agents. They are instrumental in role modelling inclusive behaviour and challenging us to be more ambitious.

Join Loraine at Health and Wellbeing at Work Week as she talks about Network Rail’s ‘Can Do’ Disability – Becoming a Responsible Employer (Friday 19 March). 100 hours of insight and best practice over four days and on demand for a further 30. Register today – only 12 days to go!

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