Champions for Children: Meet Taryn Marks

In recognition of IDAHOBIT Day, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, we caught up with Taryn Marks, the RCH’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead to talk about her new role and why diversity, equity and inclusion matters. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the path that has led you to your role at the RCH?
I’ve worked across Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in several sectors and industries including health, education, research, media/broadcasting and sport, mostly with a focus on better outcomes for my people – First Nations communities. The principles are often the same, just in different systems and settings. I’m looking forward to working across the RCH on the Gender Equality Action Plan as a key focus, and supporting the great work of the Wadja team and programs like Holmesglen Practical Placements, that give experience to neurodiverse young people

What does a typical day as the RCH’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead look like?
As I’m new to the role, a lot of onboarding of the various strategies and plans. I meet with a variety of reference and working groups as well as Campus partners. I get my creativity covered with events and some internal communications (which I love as a former impact producer!). It’s a very collaborative role and I enjoy that no day is the same as the next!

Why is it so important for children and families at the RCH, that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are championed?
I am very practical about the small role I play in making change for underrepresented peoples. It takes time and a lot of patience and kindness. Success to me is unpacking and rebuilding the systems that have not worked for all people. I’ve heard it said that the system is broken for people that experience marginalisation. I believe that the system is doing exactly what it was designed to do, and that is, exclude those not from the dominant culture and this is now deeply entrenched, for some communities more than others. Champions very often get the ball rolling for others to catch on and run with ideas and initiatives in their own ways. My hope is for all staff at RCH to welcome “difference”, to listen to voices that have been frequently missing from the table and to be open to learning new ways of working – ultimately for RCH children and families.

Why is it so important to commemorate days such as IDAHOBIT Day?
Gatherings help to remind us of the actions, large and small, we need to remember every other day of the year. We get to be proud and hear stories that may or may not be like ourselves and to perhaps challenge our own inner bias’ without even knowing it!

What inspires you?
My three girls Ruby, Iris and Coco but broadly children and young people. Sometimes we forget how much children imagine freely – especially small children. They see things so differently. When our planet is warming and the smartest global thinkers can’t change the issues of inequity i.e., the world’s wealthiest one per cent are still getting wealthy, I’m inspired that the next generation and the ones after will create change because they’re much more socially minded.

Who would be your dream dinner party guests and why?
Barack and Michelle Obama for incredible knowledge and stories, Taika Waititi for entertainment and creativity (and I guess his partner Rita Ora has to be invited along, so she can sing and entertain), Greta Thunberg for wisdom beyond her years, Nelson Mandela for inspiration and awe, Naomi Osaka because she is just a total boss, plus my three girls and some friends.

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