Podcasts

ByJoanne Lockwood

Homes for Heroes

Mushtaq Khan is passionate about tackling inequality, giving people the best chance in life through helping the social housing sector become more inclusive through leadership and governance, community services and workforce development.

When soldiers were returning from the trenches after World War I, the government launched an initiative called ‘homes for heroes’ and Mushtaq thinks that this is just as important today as we face multiple housing crises. He believes we need to, as a society build homes that are suitable for today’s need and to help people live and thrive. This crisis has been going on for last 30-40 years fuelled by the governments push on home ownership as the tenure of choice, houses being sold off through homes to buy resulting in being priced out of housing market as cities become unaffordable, and people spending a higher percentage of their income on their housing.

 
Published Published: 22.07.2021 Recorded Recorded: 10.05.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:01:58 Downloads Downloads: 51
 

The emphasis on home ownership seems to be a particular British problem, with many European countries having thriving private rented and social housing sectors. They also have more regulation over private renting sector, something we do not have in this country. Mushtaq believes we need the private rented sector within the UK to become regulated, so that landlords have to adhere to a certain standards level and go through a registration process. At the moment anyone is able to set up a letting agency or become a private landlord and often they are using this as a money-making scheme, without having the tenant’s best interests at heart.  Perhaps stemming from the 1980’s Thatcher government allowing council tenants the right to buy their own homes, there does seem to be a stigma surrounding not being able to afford your own home. The homes that formed part of the Thatcher scheme were never replaced and many of these properties ended up on the private rental market, resulting in a huge loss of affordable housing. The scheme was designed as an asset to society but became privatised.

Mushtaq believes housing organisations have two functions; to be the best possible landlords and to act as a community anchor and help regenerate the areas they work in. However, the huge push for new houses has moved them away from these core values. Social housing was set up initially for everyone and to allow for truly mixed communities but there is now a stigma attached with it, often with social housing tenants needing to use a different entrance and not having access to all of the amenities that the homeowners do.

The government deems affordable housing as being 80% of what the market charges, but this is still unaffordable for many. We are seeing homeownership across the UK, as younger generations are priced out of the market. Mushtaq believes we need a housing market that is fair for everyone as currently a 1/3 of those who are homeless are from a minority background and you can only be declared homeless by the local authority, so we have ‘hidden’ homelessness. The state has withdrawn from its responsibility to care for everyone, we are seeing the rise in food banks, something that we did not have 10-12 years ago, and more means testing being brought in before people can access benefits. Universal basic income is therefore really important, as without this families are not able to budget, this is not helped by zero-hour contracts.


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SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Mushtaq Khan Mushtaq Khan
Housing Diversity Network
ByJoanne Lockwood

Freeing women from being prisoners of their pain

Diksha grew up in Uganda with Indian heritage and saw prejudice against the indigenous people first hand and then she herself became a refugee at the age of 15 and now wants to free all women from being prisoners of pain.

Diksha has been a practising therapist for 23 years and offers integrated wellbeing services for women helping them manage stress, anxiety and pain. She uses pain as a generic term to include physical, emotional, mental, societal and spiritual pain. Through her therapy she enables women to find their own strengths, embracing pain they may have experienced so they can work through it and begin to live their true potential, without societal pressures.

 
Published Published: 15.07.2021 Recorded Recorded: 07.05.2021 Episode Length Duration: 0:57:59 Downloads Downloads: 43
 

Diksha believes we live in a very patriarchal, often hypocritical society which has kept women suppressed and often those that have broken free of this often do not feel comfortable enough with their position to allow other women in, operating in a protective mode. She says fear disables us. If we are fearful we cannot be generous, so unless we deal with this we cannot be our authentic selves. As a society we seem to look down upon vulnerability and view asking for help as a weakness, but Diksha suggests that it is only by embracing our weaknesses that we become strong. From a young age we are often brought up believing that we need to achieve certain status symbols in order to be seen as successful. This can often lead to us constantly trying to achieve or wanting more, rather than being satisfied with where we are and if we cannot achieve whatever expectations we have set for ourselves or we believe society to expect of us, ultimately leading to a sense of failure.

Diksha grew up in Uganda living, as she views it ‘a charmed life’ but she was aware, especially for the indigenous people that life was very different. At the age of 15 she was forced to leave Uganda due to Idi Amin and went to India, before travelling to the UK, a move she found incredibly stressful, especially managing the cultural differences. Due to these moves she grew up never feeling like she belonged anywhere and feeling on the outside. She was unaware of racism that many others suffered during this period, due to being disconnected, something she traces back to growing up in a violent home. These past traumas have made her resilient and allow her within her role as a therapist to assist others with their own journeys. Her mission in life is to support women that need it, showing them everything that is available if they allow themselves to be vulnerable and ask for help, which is why she is so passionate about needing an integrated system as this allows for rapport and trust building. She believes we are often paralysed by our circumstances and don’t know how to break out of this, everything we want is on the other side of fear’, almost like Stockholm syndrome and we don’t have the tools or courage to break through this ‘fear’ barrier. Diksha ends by saying ‘you can do it, lets do it together.’


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Diksha Chakravarti Diksha Chakravarti
FiXme Ltd (UK)
ByJoanne Lockwood

Empowering everyone to be able to share their gifts with the world

Penny was just getting into her stride with managing in-person programmes when September 11th 2001 shifted her ways of working and forcing her to be an early adopter of virtual working.

Penny started her career as a Project & Programme Manager, working to ensure every programme was as good as it could possibly be and quickly realised that in order to achieve this she needed to focus on the attendees. She was just getting into her stride with managing in-person programmes when September 11th 2001 shifted her ways of working and forcing her to be an early adopter of virtual working. She was subsequently able to operate as a consultant to advise others on how to do this successfully and at short notice when COVID hit.

 
Published Published: 08.07.2021 Recorded Recorded: 30.04.2021 Episode Length Duration: 0:59:14 Downloads Downloads: 37
 

Penny believes one of the biggest lessons for people is that virtual working is not just about virtual meetings and instead looking at how to ensure the team are working effectively together. This means allowing people to work asynchronously around their other commitments and at a time that suits them, which all ensures businesses get their optimum output. At the start of the pandemic many people were sitting through back-to-back meetings, without breaks, which was not the best use of time. People need time to decompress, absorb and time to complete the ‘actions.’ If we try to shoehorn this in between meetings, then it will not be our best work. We need to create conditions where each person can contribute their best, so Penny advises that when designing a workshop or meeting this is taken into consideration. By thinking about the environment, you create and what is going to suit everyone; even asking the participants what they need you gain an understanding of what makes them tick – trying to make it work but with an element of fun and ensuring engagement.

As the facilitator it is important to remember that it is the attendees meeting and you are there as the catalyst to make it happen. This means that you need to be mindful of when you may have lost the audience and potentially pause and adapt. By gaining an understanding of each participant –their strengths/weaknesses/preferences and what they want to achieve from this meeting and how can you help them manage this, you are able to foster an inclusive environment. Without this you run the risk of a leader who thinks ‘I am in charge’ and ploughs on regardless. If this happens and the meeting is not going to plan, you risk the flight, fight, freeze response that is triggered when you are stressed.

Penny’s second book, which is released on the 12th July, ‘Making workshops work’, is about creating collaboration for our time. Within it she outlines her magic 6, which are questions you should ask yourself whilst preparing for running workshops/meetings. The first ‘we are here to?’, so try and summarise the purpose of the meeting in ideally 7 words. The second; ‘today we will?’ try and set 4/5 objectives against this. ‘Our plan’ – thinking about start/end times/ who is doing what/. One that Penny believes is often forgotten is ‘how are we going to work together’. The final step is ‘what next?’, so right from the beginning you are thinking about next steps. She believes if you are clear on the above both in your preparation and at the beginning of the meeting then the meeting/workshop will run smoother and shorter than it would be otherwise.

If you are able to narrate the agenda to the participants, creating a shared vision then you have their buy in from the very beginning. The core of how people work together is the same whether in-person, virtual or hybrid, it’s about helping each person do their best work.


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SEE Change Happen

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Penny Pullen Penny Pullen
Making Projects Work
ByJoanne Lockwood

Driving the message that inclusion is a cold-nosed business priority

Neil, the CEO of the REC, talks about his belief that responsible and conscious capitalism can be inclusive and be able to realise the benefits to their business

Inclusion is more than a buzz word in 2021, it is a critical business priority. The main message Neil shares with the Business leaders he works with is ‘don’t leave it to your HR Director’. Inclusion needs to be companywide and often a fundamental shift to ensure that employees feel comfortable within the environment you have created and can therefore perform to the best of their ability.

 
Published Published: 08.04.2021 Recorded Recorded: 19.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:04:07 Downloads Downloads: 5109
 

Neil is a proud capitalist and feels priorities around inclusion and diversity can be associated with the political left. Businesses need to understand that they work hand in hand with society, they are not separate and instead are given a license to operate by the society in which they exist. They should reflect and serve the society in which they operate. Their customer base and potential employee base is more diverse than ever, and people perform at work when they are able to be their authentic selves. Neil believes, post-lockdown we will see the concept of responsible capitalism become more pronounced, allowing businesses to state their purpose more clearly and why their success is beneficial to not only their shareholders, but also the wider community. Businesses need to think long term how to stay competitive and this includes aligning what their employees want to achieve with what the business wants to achieve, and unless they can manage this, Neil predicts they will become progressively less relevant.

Our understanding of leadership within businesses is changing, welcoming a more authentic approach where leaders act with more humanity, actively using their influence to challenge any negative aspects of company culture and work towards making the problem go away. Neil believes the real art for leaders is to make the link to corporate reputation, understanding that by allowing people to bring their whole selves to work no one loses. Often this is missed, using flexible working as an example, which was originally brought in for working mothers, but was quickly realised that that level of inclusion benefit everyone and potentially allows a new route to open up disability employment. People planning needs to factor into business planning, and not human capital.  If recruitment is done well it opens up a huge amount of productivity upsides each year.

Post Lockdown different groups of the workforce will have varying priorities; with some keen to get back to the office whilst others will continue to prefer working from home. This poses a real challenge for businesses as they need to balance the two and engage both. This will make it harder, especially for bigger firms to ensure employees have a consistency of experience. The pandemic has made leaders more aware of employee’s home lives and mental health and we need to find a way to integrate this when the return to work begins. Neil says that if businesses are interested in driving a more inclusive economy now is a good time as the canvas is blank. We need to actively promote a society that works for everyone.

Quite often the experience required for a role is just ensuring that businesses are getting ‘more of the same’ and missing out on groups of people who have not had access to the same capital as others. We should look at a person’s lived experiences and what they would be able to bring to the role. Recruiters have a big role part to play in this and need to start having more in-depth discussions with their clients; finding out what they really want from their ideal candidate and ensuring they have effective diversity and inclusion within their processes. This is something they will have to get better at as an industry, changing the ‘pond’ they use to search for candidates and instead following the phrase ‘for hard-to-reach people, reach harder.’ Similarly, companies need to take the time for long term succession planning, starting the recruitment process early to stop decisions being made purely based on time pressures. All of this requires leaders willing to change the rules that went before.


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Neil Carberry Neil Carberry
The Recruitment & Employment Confederation
ByJoanne Lockwood

None of us are included fully in the world until all of us are!

Stacy is a parent, actor, feminist and member of the Women's Equality Party who is passionate about intersectional feminism

Until we are free of the discrimination that comes from not looking like or being like someone else then none of us are safe and none of us are really free. The same is true for inclusion, if the world that you are in does not include everyone then it isn’t the full world, it’s a bit of the world that isn’t fully representative or a safe, happy and fair environment for everyone.

 
Published Published: 25.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 17.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:01:58 Downloads Downloads: 1175
 

Stacy is aware she has an intolerance of the intolerant and struggles to understand the opposing point of view on inclusion. To her, as well as it being the right thing to do to from a self-interest point of view, she feels it is more interesting, easier and for businesses more successful to have a diverse workforce.

Freedom of speech is protected by law up to the point where it veers into hate speech, although these checks are not perfect as neither misogyny or catcalling are currently classed as a hate crime. Freedom of speech is not about bullying, hounding people or being blatantly biased, which is a huge problem within our media and those feeding off this make up part of the problem. This bias can be seen in the way women are portrayed and the stories that make headlines; with Sarah Everard an attractive white female making the news but not black females who had disappeared around the same time. It needs to become socially unacceptable that women are vilified and often blamed for unsolicited advances and sexual assaults. We are still basing a woman’s value purely on looks and the attention they receive and the cumulative impact of being demeaned, belittled, and judged impacts on pay, work life and mental/physical health.

Many of us when challenged on our privilege try to defend ourselves but forget how fortunate we were to be born with it, having had opportunity from birth. It can be uncomfortable to realise the things you have benefited from over the years and can be hard to break down as no one is saying you didn’t work hard for them, but instead that doors others may have struggled through, would have opened immediately for you. Stacy says provided you are committed to breaking down those barriers that made others’ lives so much harder than your own, then no one is accusing you of anything and you do not need to feel defensive. Often the difference of privilege can be down to networking, learning about opportunities via the people you know, whereas others would not have known these opportunities existed, let along where to find them – something that keeps the divide constantly active.

Many people have a belief in a meritocracy and that they are the ones that did the best within it, so it can be really painful for them to be told the world they think they live in does not exist. Stacy uses UK politics as an example, asking ‘are the best people in our government and ruling the country always middle aged, wealthy white males? The voices we hear, representations in our politics are overwhelmingly the same voice and same class we have always heard.   Breaking the meritocracy undermines the society we thought we lived in and some people’s self-worth, which can be tied up in a feeling of nationalism. Our biases become almost self-fulfilling, with societies conditioning affecting us all and requiring a lot of unpicking as this starts from childhood often with stereotypical boys’ and girls’ toys/colours.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Stacy Hart Stacy Hart
Women's Equality Party
ByJoanne Lockwood

Standing in the middle and feeling excluded

Tom is the youngest of 4 boys and always struggled to find a role for himself within the family dynamic.

Tom was naturally artistic, something that was encouraged by his mother and led to him becoming a vocal harmony facilitator. He had chosen this career path, in part due to a belief that this would finally see him be part of a group and feel included – standing in the middle of the circle with everyone looking at him. But it was during this time he realised that he could not engineer being in a group, this would naturally happen and only by being his authentic self.

 
Published Published: 18.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 04.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 00:00 Downloads Downloads: 574
 

Tom identifies as a rebel, a term he associates as a person who is trying to move away from the mediocracy of life. It was only when he went to Leeds college that he met a cohort he could fully associate with and had his creativity encouraged. He has suffered 3 nervous breakdowns, 10 years apart and it was after hitting the bottom and being able to come back he realised that it was harmony and the groove in music that saved him. They became his main purpose with everything else background noise. One of Tom’s concerns for artists now is with the closures of science and art projects due to Brexit and COVID, they will lose local facilities and potential support networks and the chance to create their own ‘gangs’.

He started life wanting everyone to love him, but realised this is a fool’s game, which is unwinnable. Advertising will suggest that buying a product or into a brand makes this dream possible and can be exhausting to try. We often get stuck in a deadlock feeling that we have to include everyone, but we need to recognise that not everyone can be included, and as long as you are fair, giving people equal opportunities there is not much else you can do. It is completely fair for a brand to cater to a certain type of person and state that it is not suitable for others, similarly an artist will not appeal to everyone, which is where authenticity plays a role. Western culture is based on deliberate exclusion so that we feel the need to buy products, divide and rule. Being a rebel, in Tom’s view is to try and move away from the manipulation, to say no and create your own group. Although he does believe that every rebel can become commercialised eventually.

COVID changed the way that Tom ran his music sessions as without being able to physically be together it was impossible to get everyone harmonised and in tune. This meant that he started playing music, drums to people and allowing them to connect with the music, play along and dance, creating a safe space where everyone can be out of time together. He finds this very exciting to facilitate and it is a model that can be transmitted universally. Tom notices there is quite a bit of anxiety around the easing of lockdown as we emerge into a world where everything is different but also the same. He is working on exercises people can do when back in the office, concentrating on reintegration back into the workplace. He questions how long will we feel cautious for; we have got used to having personal space around us when out, how long will it take for us to shake this off? Tom’s tip for when we return to work is to create a circle, which emulates zoom meetings where there is no hierarchy and share authentically how you are feeling, creates support and trust for the group. We should use this an opportunity for change. Need to continue to value what everyone brings to the table, valuing different attributes and skills and allowing people to be their authentic selves, without worrying about gender biases.

Tom says we should not rush back into old habits when we have built such a great community during lockdown. He has found during his sessions they have become inclusive events, with the whole family getting involved and people letting go of their inhibitions as they are in the safety of their home.


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Tom Morley Tom Morley
Instant Teamwork
ByJoanne Lockwood

Will Diversity and Inclusion “Just Happen”?

We are drawn to people that are like us, it is human conditioning and causes an ‘other group’. As William says, it is about difference not about being better or worse.

There has been a lot of legislation to ensure that we are treating everyone as equals, but this has made some people believe D&I has happened, or that we don’t need to do any more. If we take that stance, to let things run as they are, change will still happen but too slowly.

 
Published Published: 11.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 01.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 0:58:44 Downloads Downloads: 625
 

William believes, as a white male he has had an unfair advantage all his life, something he says he was not always aware of, because it is invisible. He has seen others struggle to overcome the disadvantages the world has thrown at them and realised that he would not necessarily have faced the same obstacles. He believes those with a position of privilege need to consciously act and step away from it to level the playing field. He argues that legislation intended to level the playing field has merely disadvantaged traditionally privileged groups, rather than address the route cause of the imbalance, causing a perpetuating cycle of discrimination and resistance to change.

We are drawn to people that are like us, it is human conditioning and naturally causes an ‘other group’. However, this is about difference not about being better or worse, although it is often interpreted as that. When asked for recommendations on speakers, William realised that he would only suggest people he knew and could vouch for, and at that time these would all be predominantly white males. Noticing this he made the conscious effort to extend his circle and become professionally acquainted with people from a wider variety of backgrounds. William says instead of concentrating on our differences we should be celebrating them and what they can teach out, he wants everyone to look at where they may have an unintentional bias or a less inclusive group and what they can do about it, because that is how change will happen.

Lockdown has allowed for more exclusivity, something that William has noticed especially with networking events. The move online has opened these events up to a wider audience who may have not been able to attend physical events due to childcare, mobility issues etc. People are just people, and everyone can bring value, irrelevant of their history or background and we need to break down the fear of ‘other’, and of anyone not like us. Fear is not based on anything systemic; we just need to build familiarity and trust and the lockdown medium of technology has really helped with this. William hopes this continues when we move back to a more open society, can we continue to be as inclusive?

We have equal pay legislation for men and women and have had it for a long time but there is still an imbalance. We need to start looking at these problems from a different viewpoint. Rather than try to fix the world as it is, what world do we want to build for tomorrow? Within workplaces a hiring managers unconscious biases will see them favour a certain type of employee. Similarly, with roles requiring a certain amount of experience, which increases with the seniority of the position. If to become a Board member at a firm requires 10/15+ years’ experience you need to have been able to get into a senior position that many years ago, at a time where these roles were predominantly filled with white males, making them the only candidates likely to meet the experience requirements. In this way we are perpetuating the problem without realising it. What does this requirement for hiring mean we will get from the available candidate pool? What are we trying to achieve by asking for this and can people have the right skillset with less experience? People need to be able to see how much more they can achieve with an inclusive and diverse workforce or customer base. William believes people often do not know where to start. It is a big undertaking, especially within organisations as it needs a whole office attitude change, investment in training and development and even a look at the infrastructure, so you have to be fully invested in the outcome.


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SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
William Buist William Buist
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: 594
 

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: 629
 

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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SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Pam Burrows Pam Burrows
People Booster
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: 19.02.2021 Recorded Recorded: 17.12.2020 Episode Length Duration: 1:03:23 Downloads Downloads: 68
 

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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Mark Lee Mark Lee
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