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ByJoanne Lockwood

Personal is Political and How Silence Speaks

Laura read "Women’s Room" when aged 7. Re-reading the story aged 17, she realised her own experiences, especially around inclusion, is what politics is about.

Politics in a social sense is distribution of services, who gets what, who counts, whose experience is promoted and whose is vilified. Our own personal experiences are a political point and are what count, what happens to us is a reflection of how and where we live. The statement ‘Personal is political’ comes from a book that Laura first read when she was 7, called Women’s Room. Re-reading the story aged 17, she realised her own experiences, especially around inclusion, feeling left out and not being given an equal chance are what politics are about.

 
Published Published: 04.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 10.02.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:00:59 Downloads Downloads: 104
 

Politics in a social sense is distribution of services, who gets what, who counts, whose experience is promoted and whose is vilified. Our own personal experiences are a political point and are what count, what happens to us is a reflection of how and where we live.

Laura states that we are the experts on our own lives, other people can comment and even influence, but only we are the experts. Our lived experiences, perceptions and those closest to us, all impact our views, which is why eyewitness reports are always slightly different. We all have our own reactions even to the same experience, thus generating varying outcomes. Tied into this we also often have group beliefs rather than individualistic, which can reinforce our biases and perspectives.

When you visibly occupy a minority position, people often assume that every conversation relating to this needs to be something you are part of. Laura says, for her the challenge comes when she may not be personally offended but she knows the topic is offensive, who has the right of responsibility to raise if a topic is politically offensive? People often feel the need to be a role model for whatever characteristics they represent, which can be exhausting and comes with a huge sense of responsibility. It means they often need to have disruptive and challenging conversations and this forms part of the political balance, as is something they must learn to live with. Laura says we need to change the balance, so instead of just focusing on the minority group, we look at the general population and living/working with inclusion and diversity issues every day. We want to help everyone to be their whole selves. Often diversity and inclusion topics cause people to feel uncomfortable or concerned as they do not want to get something wrong. As part of a minority group Laura says she respects people’s curiosity, it means they are comfortable enough to ask questions. She says there is no shame in not knowing the answer, only shame is not asking the question with the right intent or waiting and listening to the answer. The way we communicate helps people understand our intent.

Many workplaces have Diversity and Inclusion on their agenda, but to be implemented it has to have a business benefit. Often people are recruited to tick a D&I box, but if systems are not in place to support this individual within their role then it will never be successful. Similarly, employees get tired of engaging with work that does them no good. We want to know the outcome and that our contributions are valued.

Laura has recently started to write poetry, something she originally did purely for relaxation purposes and is in the process of turning this into a book. She says poetry has always been her inner story, our experiences and stories of self are all silent stories until we decide to share them. We act as our own protectors and chose which stories to share and how edited we make the versions. There is power in these untold stories and in the silence. We live in such a fast past world; we need to allow ourselves time to listen to the stories that are already there within our space.


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SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Professor Laura Serrant OBE Professor Laura Serrant OBE
ByJoanne Lockwood

Giving Yourself a Gold Star

Pam helps organisations by providing them with stress management techniques and works with their teams to help them build their own coping toolkits.

At the end of ‘live’ Conferences, Pam gives each attendee a gold star, as a reminder that they are a star – someone truly amazing, with the ‘r’ standing for, yes really. These sessions are designed to help people realise what they bring to the world, to identify and stop denying it, to celebrate it.

 
Published Published: 25.02.2021 Recorded Recorded: 07.01.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:06:20 Downloads Downloads: 607
 

Research shows positive thinking and recognising our own strengths plays a huge part in our ability to thrive. We tend to focus on the negatives and get fixated on these. Using visual props or relating content to people’s emotions helps them remember positive changes they wish to make and stick with them. Even now with online Conferences, Pam gets her clients join in the sessions, take part in breathing exercises as once they see the positive impact of this, they are more likely to carry it on.

Before Pam begins working with organisations, she works closely with the management teams to ensure they have policies and strategies in place to make sure each employee can bring their whole self to work. Without this structure being in place at an organisation, her stress reduction sessions will only be teaching people how to tolerate an unsafe situation.

Pam has a book that outlines the 33 red flags that you are heading for burnout and what to do about it. One of the warning signs is constantly saying, ‘I’m fine’, especially if your loved ones are questioning you on this, and you are responding negatively to their concern. People who finally succumb are not weak people, they are people that have been too strong for too long. If you are checking in with someone, the question needs to be ‘how are you really?’ and organisations need a culture of trust for people to be secure enough to answer this honestly, and strategies to deal with whatever the answer may be. Often stress is unconscious, we are not aware of it, and this has been made more so during the current pandemic, so it is about understanding the warning signs and making sure we focus on what we need to stay healthy. Currently we are all coping with the same ‘thing’, even though we are experiencing it differently – so people are finding it easier to talk and be honest about how they are feeling.

The background hum of stress is triggered when we are on medium alert all of the time. It keeps us switched on constantly and stops us switching off to let our body do its maintenance. Pam has a ‘care model’, the a in care being acknowledge. If we try to acknowledge the positives in the day, however small the wins may be and write these down we are able to fall asleep easier, sleep better and wake more refreshened. Without this acknowledgement we can get stuck on things we can’t control and become stressed, often no longer paying attention to the things we can control. Pam advises to not underestimate the small things and the big difference they can have to your stress levels, often shifting the mood and your state, she asks you to look at your life through the eyes of someone who would love to have what you have, not about recognising your privilege and feeling bad about it. It is about learning to appreciate what you have.

Workplaces need to be proactive, letting colleagues know that they are not expected to perform at 100% during lockdown, whilst trying to home school, support family etc. They need to be aware that home responsibilities may be disproportionate for some people. For many people not being present in the office sparks concerns they may be made redundant or placed on furlough. With this concern many employees try to over perform, to show themselves as invaluable. The problem with functioning under this constant state of adrenaline and stress, is that it is addictive, so when you do stop it feels unnatural and makes you feel guilty, that you should always be busy. Pam advises introducing a structure to your day, habits for the morning and evening before and after work to allow you to switch off. We should try to set realistic targets for the day and celebrate achieving them, rather than trying to achieve too much and feeling a sense of failure.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Pam Burrows Pam Burrows
People Booster
ByJoanne Lockwood

Transphobia rife among UK employers as 1 in 3 won’t hire a transgender person

Let me be blunt, it is 2021 and it is still the case that Trans and Gender Diverse individuals face a significant level of discrimination and marginalisation in both society and the workplace, if we spoke about Black People, Disabled People, or a Person of Faith in the way that trans people are portrayed in the media then there would-be public outcry.

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ByJoanne Lockwood

Finding the Magic

Mark is a former accountant who now combines his passion for magic into his consultancy work to try and help everyone find the magic in their own career, life and find their loves/passion.

Whilst working as an accountant, Mark kept his love of magic a secret from his clients, worried that it would adversely affect his professional credibility. It was only after being made redundant that he decided to focus on his passion for speaking, writing, and mentoring and is now happy to reveal his passion for magic, believing that you need to reveal parts of yourself and be your authentic self.

 
Published Published: 18.02.2021 Recorded Recorded: 17.12.2020 Episode Length Duration: 1:03:23 Downloads Downloads: 56
 

During Mark’s career as an accountant, he did not openly discuss being a magician with his clients, for fear of their reactions and the perception that as a magician you are good at deceiving people. Looking back, he feels keeping it a secret was a mistake as he now believes it may have helped cement more client relationships. He now uses magic as an analogy in his talks, showing the audience different ways to stand out in a professional setting. The skills he uses within his speaking were gained from the magic shows he has taken part in.

It was only 25 years ago that women were able to join the magic circle in their own rights and Mark is passionate about making people aware of the breadth and depth of experience now available within the industry. We are no longer limited by the historical approach that was always adopted in the past of magicians typically being white middle-aged men. Mark is perhaps more aware of discrimination and stereotypes than others as a Jewish man, and says although he hasn’t suffered overt racism, he knows many that have. He explains his religion, an accident of birth has no bearing on who he is, what he does etc. A minority characteristic should not impact the way someone engages with you.

Stereotyping also exists within professions the most persistent of these within accountancy being the view that those doing the role are boring. This view is also around the job itself, that bookkeeping/numbers are not interesting so to want to do that as a job must make you boring by default. Mark would encourage people to ‘find the magic’ with their accountants and let them really use their expertise to assist you. Many people are not aware of the full extent of support they can offer, notably around broad business knowledge and context. Our biases and prejudices play a role within who we chose to use as an accountant, with people tending to choose someone they relate to, to work with. There has been an increase in the number of people using professional headshots on their CV, as a way to help them find clients, but also whittle out anyone that may not want to work with you based on any inbuilt prejudices.

Both Joanne and Mark agree that the only way to change our perceptions and inbuilt prejudices is by meeting and talking to lots of different people. As a society we tend to think of anyone that is not ‘typical’ as being someone we need to help or try and fix, with the belief that what we know is right. However, if we step out of our comfort zone and talk to people not obvious within our network, we can make new connections, develop, and grow.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Mark Lee Mark Lee
FindATaxAdviser.online
ByJoanne Lockwood

Time to take your penguins for a walk?

For many, lockdown number three is proving to be the hardest yet.

It is cold and dark outside, schools are closed, and job security is an issue for many. Financial pressures are mounting, and we will have been living with Covid-19 in our lives for an entire year as of next month.

Are we looking after ourselves, are we focusing on our own individual needs and ensuring our own mental health is being looked after?

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ByJoanne Lockwood

It’s tough being LGBTQ+ on Valentines’ Day – where are we represented and thought about?

We live in a cis-hetero-normative world and Valentines’ Day reminds many of us of this fact every year.

Everything seems to be geared up around “the lady” and what “the man” will do to woo for affections – ok that may well be the historic story, but we are in 2021 – if the cast of Bridgerton can come from a wide range of communities and sexualities then organisations can think about the message they put out each and every year.

It is LGBT history month in the UK and this surrounds Valentines’ Day – yet we do not have major brands stepping up and shouting out for the LGBT community in their product lines to appeal to those who have same sex partners or who are bi, pan or aromantic.

Marks and Spencer were lorded for their BLT with guacamole to create the LGBT sandwich, but I think they missed a trick this year with the campaign “Valentine’s Day Colin the Caterpillar cake with Connie in ‘Love Cocoon’”

No option to customise this for two Colins, two Connies or even a saucy two Colins and one Connie. Don’t get me started on the overtly gendered names themselves or the white Britishness of the whole experience.

C’mon big brands walk the talk not just this month but every month – we don’t live in a binary cis het world – I know it and you know it – step up! Next year make Valentines’ Day for everyone.

#lgbthistorymonth #opinionpiece

ByKaren Attlesey

Burnout cannot be dismissed as something that will magically disappear!

An interview with Joanne Lockwood, Founder & CEO of SEE Change Happen and Chris Merrifield, Founder of Burnout Fighter about stress and burnout.

Burnout is often described as a workplace phenomenon and can be dismissed as something that will magically disappear. As a result of this people often do not know the warning signs, or do not feel able to ask for help, should they need it. Research has shown how detrimental stress and burnout can be to a person’s physical and mental health – often affecting their whole lives and there is not one quick fix.

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ByJoanne Lockwood

Who am I, and Who are You?

Roland, an HIV positive survivor, talks about the impact of hidden disabilities and how he had to overcome the stigma of his AIDS diagnosis at work.

How many hats do you wear and if we change hats for labels, which labels do we apply to ourselves or do others apply to us and how interchangeable are they? When does one label become more dominant? Individuals are multi-faceted, and our leading labels will vary, depending on the context at the time.

 
Published Published: 04.02.2021 Recorded Recorded: 08.12.2020 Episode Length Duration: 1:08:36 Downloads Downloads: 37
 

Roland for years, was not ‘out’ at work and didn’t share that part of his private life. He avoided social events for fear of anyone catching on to his truth. It was only in 2000 when he joined the Foreign Office, he was subject to an in-depth security check, so had to be honest, which afforded him a huge sense of relief that he could be wholly who he wanted to be. He feels this allowed him to be more productive and engaged within his roles as he was not always on high alert to ensure he did not trip up and reveal his secret. 3 years into his employment he became unwell and was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, needing 5 months off work. On his return he was advised by HR not to share his diagnosis with the wider team as they could not be responsible for how they may react to this type of news. This deprived him the ability to be fully authentic, which had a huge impact on his mental health, it is mentally exhausting to not be your authentic self. An authentic person in the workplace is a happy person, so engaged, hardworking and likely to stay longer.

This happened 13 years ago and treatment for HIV and Aids has moved on rapidly since then. People testing positive for the disease now are able, with medication to get their virus levels down to a non-detectable level. There is still no cure but symptoms can be managed and reducing the virus level stops them being infectious. This advancement is still relatively new, only occurring within the last 3 years so is something many people are still not aware of. When Roland was diagnosed his employees reaction was based on the outdated mentality that the virus could be transmitted via sharing a cup/on the keyboard etc. Many of the reactions he received from people, were from a place of fear and it was this that sparked his drive to educate people on his illness.

HIV/aids used to be named GRID – gay related immune disease, but nowadays 50% of the HIV community is not gay. Currently the most at-risk categories are; post-menopausal women who are divorced/separated and engage in unprotected sex as they no longer see the risk of falling pregnant, and the black/African community. The primary route of infection being through unprotected sex. Statistics from Public Health England on annual infection rates show, over the last few years that there has been a drop in the number of gay men being diagnosed in the UK. Roland explains this is primarily due to the introduction of PREP, a form of treatment that can be taken as a preventative for the disease. Since its introduction infection rates for other STI’s has increased.

Roland, especially as a gay man has noticed that levels of acceptance and attitudes towards differences have improved, although there is still a lot of work to be done and there are still territories in the world where it is not safe to just be you. This leads Roland to question ‘how far do we have to go in order to be accepted for who we are and can we ever be truly authentic, especially in the workplace? In the privacy of our own homes, you may be a completely different person than you are in a professional setting, so Roland states that maybe authenticity is recognising the different hats that we wear and knowing when it is appropriate to wear each one.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Roland Chester Roland Chester
Chesters Network
ByJoanne Lockwood

Me, My Hormones and I

Lauren is an Executive Coach and Menopause at work specialist, who is passionate about raising awareness on a topic that is often avoided and misunderstood in the workplace.

It was only after leaving her job due to suffering with low self-esteem, palpitations, anxiety and memory loss that Lauren discovered from her GP that all of the symptoms she was accrediting to onset dementia was actually due to going through the early menopause. This prompted her to start working on raising awareness and understanding of the menopause - something that is just a natural life stage and stop any other woman going through the same thing she did.

 
Published Published: 01.02.2021 Recorded Recorded: 07.12.2020 Episode Length Duration: 1:01:20 Downloads Downloads: 56
 

Menopause has a far-reaching impact which many people may not be aware of.  Lauren explains that peri-menopausal starts when your monthly cycle become irregular and oestrogen levels begin to fluctuate. Once you have gone 12 months without a cycle, this is the menopause. There are over 30 symptoms of menopause and although no two women experience it in the same way, it is reported that 25% of women suffer with severe symptoms, if not prepared for it and do not know where to get help and support; 55% have mild to moderate symptoms and may need some sort of intervention, even if this is just lifestyle changes and 20% will sail through.

The average age of menopause is 51 and that is also the same average age of woman taking their own lives, leaving work and divorce statistics spike in ages 45-55, which is why Lauren is a strong advocate for being aware of what the symptoms can be and where you can receive help from. She works with fitness and nutritional professionals so she can offer people a one stop shop for everything related to the menopause. The youngest recorded case of menopause was in a 12-year-old, so this has now become part of the education system, working to increase awareness from a young age.

Lauren believes that women often don’t recognise that they have testosterone, a really important hormone and for some when it begins to drop can experience a lack of confidence, or self-esteem. This can be prescribed within hormone replacement therapy. Lauren recommends before visiting the GP that you keep a record of your symptoms and read up on HRT and whether this may be right for you.

It is important for employers to become educated about the menopause and for women to understand what they are going through, so they can put their own processes in place to help them through the journey. Quite often in the workplace others may notice these changes in you, before you notice them in yourself, so it is about being able to open these conversations, how to signpost people to the correct support and help, in a supportive way rather than in a threatening one. Lauren has noticed that many organisations are now adding women and menopause to their agenda, as we see an increase in the number of women in the workplace, holding more senior positions and working later into their lives. 6 years ago, when Lauren went through this, there was a lack of understanding in the workplace and even she did not know what to look for, or that perimenopause was a thing. Due to this lack of awareness she couldn’t manage it, or take control, something she is hoping no other woman has to face.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Lauren Chiren Lauren Chiren
Women of a Certain Stage
ByJoanne Lockwood

Being Visible, Listened to and Respected

Susan works with very successful clients who have received feedback relating to how quiet they are and them needing to them to being more impactful.

Susan from an early age has been an introvert. Through her own life experience and client work she is aware that introverts tend to be underestimated and not as visible as they could be so can miss out on opportunities and be overlooked for promotions. In corporate culture it is not always the person that works the hardest that gets rewarded, it may be the person that is most vocal and seen.

 
Published Published: 21.01.2021 Recorded Recorded: 02.12.2020 Episode Length Duration: 1:08:27 Downloads Downloads: 41
 

The way we were raised can have a huge impact on how we are perceived. We need to expose our merits, as this gets you recognised and remembered. Often, we need to escape our programming to be able to self-promote ourselves. It is a British trait and perpetuated by the media that we easily judge those doing well and try to drag them down. The rise in social media can bring out our ‘green eyed monster’.

Susan works with very successful clients who have received feedback relating to how quiet they are and them needing to make more impact. Inevitably these people are just more reflective and take time to consider what they want to say, before speaking. Culture in the corporate world seems to value those that are speaking up, over those that are speaking with high quality content. If a person is perceived as too quiet they are easy to be left behind or passed over. Susan believes if you are at the table in a meeting then it is your duty to share your opinion.

There will always be polarised opinions that become very divisive and do not allow any room for centralised discussion. We need a forum to allow people with different views to express themselves, without fear of being shouted down or ridiculed. We should be able to ask questions, learn other viewpoints and in that way either reinforce our own beliefs, or perhaps change our stance. This can be difficult to do as our ‘group’, the people we surround ourselves with tend to share our values/beliefs, so we are not challenged on our views. With rise of popularism and the internet, the unquestionable authority of professionals, medical etc is no longer believed as we can find research online that disagrees, despite this often having no supporting evidence.

Susan has created her own spoken communication model based on 5 key areas she has identified as being essential to speak more effectively with impact. The areas are; audience, content, preparation, performance and voice. She says you need to consider your audience in any communication, ensuring that your talk pitched at a level where people are engaged and will not switch off.  Speaking to be understood and recognise if you are not being and adapt your style.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Susan Heaton-Wright Susan Heaton-Wright
Superstar Communicator
SEE Change Happen: Transgender Awareness & Inclusion