Blog Archive

ByJoanne Lockwood

Living on the Edge

Ever since Andi can remember they have always looked at the edges, at those people who haven't quite fitted in and now feels that they also occupy that space - "on the edge"

Growing up Andi never quite felt as though she fitted in, despite as she says, ‘playing the game’ and following expectations by going to university and then starting her career in the corporate world. Throughout this time, she felt she was hiding who she was, her intrinsic self.

 
Published Published: 16.09.2021 Recorded Recorded: 15.06.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:07:31 Downloads Downloads: 61
 

Growing up Andi never quite felt as though she fitted in, despite as she says, ‘playing the game’ and following expectations by going to university and then starting her career in the corporate world.  Throughout this time, she felt she was hiding who she was, her intrinsic self. It was only after being made redundant and moving into the education sector, where she found new ways of collaboration, working together to grow and develop, that she finally felt she had found her real self and real space. This flicked a switch in her to stop pretending, realising that you don’t have to conform to a certain way of living, just because it is the norm and instead understanding what you have is valuable and that it is OK to be you. Being on the edge is valuable and can create change.

Andi worked within the education sector for 15 years and it was being visible as her whole authentic self which gave her the confidence to start her own charity, Chrysalis in 2017. Andi overcame initial difficulties and was able to push the charity to the ‘edge’ and its current state of celebrating every aspect of everyone and all of their differences, driven by a powerful moto that ‘everyone can be an ally.’ 

Andi believes this allowed Chrysalis to adapt well during lockdown and ‘turn on a sixpence’ as she was used to not following the crowd, or worn paths, knowing that because they work for others doesn’t mean they will for her. Her thought process being that if it’s what everyone is doing, then there must be an alternative, perhaps better option for them.

Both Joanne and Andi state that it is only recently that people can express themselves outwardly, showing the things that make them intrinsically who they are without fear that they would be interpreted negatively, especially in the workplace. This is especially true for things such as visible tattoos, piercings, different hair colours, although there are still some sectors that are further ahead with this, and it is still not acceptable at senior levels within the corporate world.

Andi believes we need to have seen a discrepancy to understand the change required and that everyone can do something about it, sometimes we need to take a risk. If you are in the middle, you are not taking risks with your core being, or stepping outside your comfort zone. Although for some might be anxiety inducing, we need to understand that people have their right to not join you on your journey, stay in their comfort zone and pick their own path, you cannot force anyone to join you. We all relate to things differently, but Andi states ‘if you develop yourself, you never lose.’

It is often the case that our own fears can hold us back or stop us from achieving our dreams. We all want to feel as though we ‘fit in’. From a young age many of us are attributed a label, often not of our choosing and this can have a huge impact on our lives, especially as it affects not only how other see us, but also how we see ourselves. However, if we were able to own and affirm a label that you have been given you can rub the edges of, it starts to fit a bit better and changes how others see themselves. We should be able to ‘try on’ these different labels and decide if they fit for us.


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Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

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Andi Maratos Andi Maratos
Chrysalis
ByJoanne Lockwood

Losing the Labels

As a woman Briana was taught at a very young age how to avoid harassment and certain labels. As a woman of colour that is amplified by showing you how to scale back your ethnic personality to avoid being seen as ignorant, confrontational or aggressive.

As a woman of colour living in Wisconsin, Briana feels a constant pressure to act a certain way, look a certain way or respond in a certain manner making her feel as though what she is doing is wrong and in fear of being labelled ignorant or too aggressive. Her dream is for everyone to not be defined by any one thing and be able to be themselves, unapologetically.

 
Published Published: 09.09.2021 Recorded Recorded: 11.06.2021 Episode Length Duration: 00:00 Downloads Downloads: 44
 

Throughout her life Briana has felt more oppression from her skin colour than being a woman. She has found her colour intimidates others and has faced blatant and direct racism. This contributes to her feeling as though she exists in a constant state of pressure, living almost in survival mode, working out what is the best course of action in any given situation. She says this even comes down to everyday scenarios; who you should travel with, needing the correct ratio of diversity to ensure safety and even then not feeling safe because of the fear of retribution if something she says is perceived as aggressive or intimidating. This is something that is typically not spoken about, and many just live it, live with the list of rules in the hope it is enough to keep them safe.

Briana was raised in a Christian household; her father was a minister and her mother was a teacher in the public school system. Due to this Briana was sent to a private school where pupils were, predominantly from white affluent society. This gave her the chance, being from an impoverished background to experience both worlds first-hand. It was during this time that, whilst out with friends from school, she was singled out by the police as someone that did not look like she should be part of the group. This taught her from a young age that the police are Institutionally part of the problem and are not going to help you, you’ve got to help yourself. It took the other pupils to convince the police that she attended the same school as them, showing she needs other people to validate the experience she was living in order to be believed.

Briana is optimistic for the future and feels that people are beginning to acknowledge their conscious and unconscious biases. George Floyd heightened awareness of this, and many people are now taking steps to unlearn unconscious biases that they were not aware they had. Often, we do not know how our own biases affect our life and how we interact with people. We need to stop relying on minority communities to educate others, instead doing the research ourselves and not being afraid to ask questions. We can all actively do things now to make things better later. We need to be comfortable with not knowing or understanding everything, as it is not our lived experience and be open to hearing different stories and voices. We tend to put too much reliance on other people to show them where they are going wrong, need to take ownership and the onus on ourselves.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

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Briana Tucker Briana Tucker
Browning Business Consulting
ByJoanne Lockwood

Freedom for Everybody

Lulu was a criminal defence lawyer for 11 years prior to coaching and empowering women to come to the forefront in society as an asset and not as a weakness.

Lulu used to be a criminal defence lawyer, fighting for people’s freedom from incarceration. She is now a coach and uses the word ‘rebel’ and all ‘rebels want freedom’ in her branding, especially the term ‘she rebel’ those who don’t just want freedom for themselves, but for everybody. Lulu believes as a society we are on a tipping point of exploring what this looks like and how much women have to contribute to this narrative.

 
Published Published: 02.09.2021 Recorded Recorded: 08.06.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:03:51 Downloads Downloads: 32
 

During her time as a lawyer as her confidence grew and she was able to be more assertive and vocal in court, so did her frustration with what she perceived as systematic injustices. Lulu knew this was something she needed become part of if she wanted to continue to flourish, leading in part to her decision to leave. Reflecting on her experience she says she was, as a woman quite naïve and didn’t recognise that many of the behaviours she was being asked to tone down were due to her gender. Lulu needed to have a certain energy to deal with this on a daily basis, something she found exhausting.

As part of her coaching Lulu runs retreats for women as a way to give them time, something that especially with COVID they often either do not have enough of, or feel they deserve. When women burn out everyone around them is affected due to the connection and nurture they have for others. This lack of time is one of the biggest challenges her clients face along with a lack of confidence and lack of permission born from their conditioning to not break the rules. Lulu’s background is in criminology, and she calls this the ‘double deviant’ so if a woman breaks the rules it’s not only the rule she has broken, it is also the rule of being female she has broken too. She argues that there is almost a double punishment, something that is evident in the criminal justice system and in corporate positions. This results in women spending a lot of time double checking themselves, time and energy that could be spent on other things.

Many of the books and films that Lulu and Joanne were exposed to when they were younger reinforced the stereotypical male and female roles. For younger generations it is only more recent films such as Frozen and Brave where women are the heroes and save each other/themselves. We haven’t always had this privilege or these role models and this needs to increase so we have roles where women are being women, not acting like men. More feminine based skill sets do not seem to be valued and we feel we have to work harder to be taken seriously. 75% of the worlds unpaid work is completed by women, so Lulu says this needs to be broken down to see which tasks they unload so that they can focus on their own genius, sometimes just needing to break the cycle of the mundane.


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Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Lulu Minns Lulu Minns
She Rebel Radio®
ByJoanne Lockwood

Being a woman in a man’s world

Mandy Hickson is a former Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 pilot, now keynote speaker and author of the best selling book an officer not a gentleman, D&I is incredibly important to her and she feels we still have some way to go

Mandy joined the Royal Air force in 1994 aged 21 and became part of the first group of women allowed to fly fast jets and only the second woman to fly the Tornado GR4 on the front line. She never struggled being a woman in a man’s world during the training or felt that she stuck out as the whole group banded together. She did however start to notice this more when she joined her squadron as the first woman pilot within that group.

 
Published Published: 26.08.2021 Recorded Recorded: 24.05.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:01:23 Downloads Downloads: 43
 

RAF was the first out of the services to have full inclusivity across every role, opening each up to women. When she originally joined it was illegal to be homosexual and join and if ‘outed’ you could be kicked out. These huge culture changes do not change overnight, people have preconceived ideas and it takes a while to alter this mindset, a process that is partially helped by new recruits and also evidence that the change is successful.

During her time in the RAF, Mandy went on 3 tours to Iraq where she was only woman with 39 men. Whilst she said things like shared facilities did not bother her, it was purposeful and vindictive actions with sly digs and bullying that Mandy could not tolerate and which really affected her. She said she felt this, especially on her first tour after successfully completing 5 intensive years of training and thinking she had made it to then feel completely lonely, craving female company and conversation. She was trying desperately to fit in and be one of the boys in this alpha male environment, but realised she was trying too hard and had to make an conscious effort to be more herself – she still wanted to be a woman, just in a man’s world. It takes strength of character to find belonging, rather than just fitting in.

Mandy says regardless of gender she stands out as a 6ft woman with a loud laugh, but thinks her height helped her especially in her role as an Officer as it gave a perception of confidence. Authenticity is very important to her and something she thinks has helped her with her keynote speaking, which she did after leaving RAF. When speaking at events she doesn’t include her name, just a description of her career history and loves the audiences shock when they realise it is a female speaker. We all have out inbuilt preconceptions and biases based on our conditioning and Mandy thinks it is important to challenge these.

We are still being socialised and conditioned on gender expectations and roles that are still considered predominantly female or male. In order to change this we need the people who hold the privilege and the power to open this up to others, with women gaining the vote as an example of where men allowed women the vote. We need those in this position to not feel threatened and want to engage in an open dialogue in order to open these doors. We are not going to get true change until men want the same thing, because they are still in the decision-making majority.


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Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Mandy Hickson Mandy Hickson
Hickson Ltd