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Embracing diversity & human connection

Sam Conniff, Co-founder of Livity talks about embracing diversity & human connection

In this heart-warming video Sam Conniff, Livity, Co-Owner and Chair, tells the story of an extraordinary young woman called Shanize. He goes on to use the story of her success as an example for why all organisations should be making use of more diverse pools of talent.

Shanize, a young woman from inner city south London, had been excluded from two schools by the age of 14. Our society has no safety net for people like her and systematically lines them up for failure. The statistical evidence for girls like her ending up on a journey towards teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment etc is so high that we can predict their path with certainty.

However this was not what happened to Shanize. She ended up at Livity, a profit making marketing agency with a purpose to benefit the lives of young people. Sam talks about Shanize’s transformation from an angry young woman into an integral part of their team and everything else she has since achieved.

However, even more remarkable than the 180 turnaround in Shanize’s life is the impact she has had on both Sam and Livity. Excluding this whole slice of society is not only detrimental to the people themselves but also to our companies as we are missing out on a whole pool of potential talent. Innovation is a complex topic but one simple way to increase innovation in our companies is to increase diversity across our employees.

Social enterprise is not the answer to all business but it can be a catalytic converter. Purpose within an organisation is now expected not only by consumers but also by the talent coming into your company.

Sam concludes by saying that in his opinion grand ambitions of purpose can be our baseline expectations, “not high risk strategies, not ambitions, but a baseline”.



Sam Conniff was a key speaker at Wavelength Connect event On Your Marks 2014. To view more videos from this event go to On Your Marks 2014.



Livity is a youth marketing agency.

They work with young people every day to co-create campaigns, content and communities. Their clients – including Google, Channel 4, NSPCC, Big Lottery Fund and Barclays – get uniquely deep youth insights and a precious pool of young talent, energy and ideas.

Their young people get training, equipment, support and opportunities to build brighter futures.

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