October 2023

Embracing Intersectionality for Neuroinclusive Workplaces

Elizabeth Takyi is standing in an office environment wearing a high-neck black top with a black and white blazer over the top. Elizabeth is smiling at the camera.


Overlapping Identities.

Hear from Elizabeth Takyi, neurobox Ambassador, about the importance of embracing intersectionality within the workplace.

Learn how recognising the complexities of your employees’ overlapping identities can unlock the full potential of your team.

Growing up in London as a black woman, Elizabeth experienced cultural barriers throughout her youth and adolescence. Added to this was her own unidentified neurodifferences. It wasn’t until her early 30’s when she was formally diagnosed with dyslexia and later ADHD, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia. Elizabeth has used her own experiences to advocate for the needs of others in the community, helping them to access support and further their potential.

Meet the Speaker – Elizabeth Takyi

Neurobox Ambassador

…for example, there is no such single issue. So I’ve got dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, I’m a Black woman. I’m a woman and then Black, and, obviously, a single parent with all the other layers that go with it. Now, when I’m coming to work, those things don’t stay at home – they come with me.

Screenshot of Elizabeth Takyi during the live webinar. Elizabeth is wearing a high-neck leopard print top.
Elizabeth Takyi

Elizabeth Takyi was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia in 2002 during her time at university and diagnosed with Visual Stress in 2014. She was later diagnosed with Dyscalculia in 2019 and diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year. At the time of recording, she was also awaiting an Autism Assessment.

After identifying a gap in support services, Elizabeth set up a successful charitable organisation based in the London Borough of Wandsworth, to support adults with neurodifference and hidden disabilities, improve their employability skills, start their own businesses or return to education. She also has worked in collaboration with organisations, supporting them with their neuroinclusion efforts.

Watch the full webinar here:

Webinar Summary

In this webinar episode, Neurobox ambassador Elizabeth Tayki offers a compelling review of intersectionality in the workplace and how it plays out in her life. Intersectionality refers to the challenge of overcoming multiple layers of discrimination at work including racism, sexism, ageism, and ableism. 

As a neurodivergent, black woman and mother, Elizabeth faces some challenges in the workplace. Her dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and ADHD complicate her intersectionality, which starts with the “double disadvantage” of being black and a woman. By highlighting awareness of what intersectionality is and the complications surrounding it–especially for BAME communities– Elizabeth aims to improve awareness and change practices.  

Unconscious biases can manifest in workplaces in the form of some people receiving privileges over others. And intersectionality comes from the premise that women from BAME backgrounds have to work harder to overcome the racism and sexism they face at work. 

Building from that framework, Elizabeth highlights how additional layers of neurodivergence add extra challenges to her intersectionality that all people leaders and line managers should be aware of.


What is Intersectionality?

Intersectionality refers to the different social categories that all of us fall into. Each category can reveal a form of power or oppression in the workplace that may lead to advantage or disadvantage. And it can result in low productivity, poor mental health, and high staff turnover.  

American scholar and civil rights leader Kimberle W. Crenshaw first coined the phrase intersectionality in 1989 as a way to describe the “double layers” of racism and sexism faced by black women in the workplace. Several categories may form the basis of intersectionality including social class, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, (dis) ability, culture, and religion. In most cases, overlapping disadvantages will lead to power imbalances and discrimination in workplaces. 

In the webinar, Elizabeth gives an example of mentoring a young black woman with English as a Second Language and dyslexia, who worked at a large organisation. Elizabeth suggested she go to her line manager to disclose her dyslexia and ask for support. 

In response, the young woman’s line manager failed to see where she was coming from and couldn’t understand whether her difficulties at work were down to English not being her first language or dyslexia. But then, the mentee noticed that another young woman did receive support for her dyslexia and that she was a white, middle-class woman.  

In this instance, discrimination or unconscious bias may have played a part in the decision not to extend support to Elizabeth’s mentee. Intersectionality is a way to highlight these potential outcomes to HR and People leaders and avoid them happening. It’s also worth noting that dyslexia disclosure rates in the UK are very low, with only 1 in 4 people sharing their diagnosis with employers, despite around 6 million UK workers with the condition.

⚖️ How can intersectionality benefit your workplace culture?

Elizabeth often felt she was carrying a huge weight on her back. Line managers remained unaware of the challenges that ADHD, dyslexia, or other differences had on her daily life. With a low level of awareness and understanding in most workplaces, it’s not uncommon for someone with intersectionality to feel unsupported, stressed, and incapable. 

Increasing rates of inclusion will bring staff talents to the fore and boost confidence and potential at work. But intersectionality starts with BAME women since their specific challenges deserve recognition and acceptance. And they’re up against a corporate culture that works against them. 

For instance, in the US less than 10 black CEOs are in Fortune 500 companies. Plus, black women make up less than 5% of management and less than 2% of C-Suite positions. Many of these issues stem from problems on the ground, which include: 

  1. Wage disparities between women and men, and BAME and white middle classes
  2. Inequities present in hiring policies and promotions
  3. Different forms of discrimination
  4. Problems with retaining BAME women in the workforce
  5. Higher risks of sexual harassment
  6. Staff not bringing their whole selves to work like collaboration and creativity 

When line managers provide a strong sense of inclusivity in the workplace it can drive better outcomes. Supportive workplaces can look forward to higher rates of productivity, increased collaboration, and better retention. 

Studies show that 50% of millennial and Gen Z staff will leave a company in two years if they don’t feel a company is progressing with improvements to workplace inclusion. So, it pays to invest in promoting diversity and supportive, understanding workplaces.

🏆 Neurobox’s top tips for creating a neuroinclusive work culture that celebrates diversity

Promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity at work is possible with some simple steps. And while there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy, the best place to start is by creating a person-centred approach.

For instance, Elizabeth knows that–because of her dyslexia–she doesn’t have confidence as a writer. So, she wouldn’t be confident producing a report containing thousands of words, it wouldn’t be the best use of her skills or her time. Such a task would be better suited to another colleague who doesn’t face the same barriers from dyslexia or other neurodivergences.

Instead, if organisations take a person-centred approach and focus on the needs of individual staff, they let staff bring their whole selves to work. Proactive organisations can give their staff permission to be their authentic selves and, in doing so, let them share their authentic skills and talents.

Specific ways to do this include devoting regular time for staff to share authentic stories of their neurodivergence and the different ways it can impact their working life.

Other ways to consider helping neurodivergent staff feel more connected to their organisation include:

Staff networks and employee resource groups are effective ways to boost collaboration at work. They can bring disparate individuals together by revealing core strengths and talents and celebrating shared diversity in collaborative ways.

Diversity and Inclusion managers who set up employee resource groups can capture specific areas of diversity and help staff feel more connected, nurtured, and empowered.

Altering hiring practices
Is intersectionality included in your hiring policy and practices? It’s an area that’s sometimes overlooked, but it can ensure you’re hiring from the widest, most diverse pool of candidates.

As highlighted, intersectionality indicates the double disadvantage that black women and women from BAME communities experience in workplaces. And by embracing intersectionality as a key area, HR, People, and D&U leaders can shift the needle while supporting line managers to feel more confident when dealing with staff.

Watch the Q&A session here:

Read the Transcript

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Hi everyone. Well, welcome to another Skill Sessions
webinar. Everybody who is just joining, welcome.

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I can see that, yeah, the webinar is quickly filling
up. So, yeah. It’s great to have you all here

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at another Skill Sessions online webinar, lots
of familiar names joining, so that’s great to

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see. It means we’re doing something right and
lots of new faces as well, so that’s fantastic.

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So as that kind of little promo video suggested, Skill
Sessions is an event series that’s both online and in

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person hosted by us, by CareScribe, designed to share
knowledge about areas of neurodiversity and disability.

Read More

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We’re here to help build and foster an inclusive
community for these sorts of topics to be discussed.

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Each event is on a different topic, and we’re very excited
today to have Elizabeth Takyi, the neurobox Ambassador

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joining us and speaking on embracing intersectionality, a
bit of a tongue-twister there, for neuroinclusive workspaces.

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Lovely to see so many here. Please use the
chat. I know you already are, but yeah,
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come and tell us where you’re joining from;
say hello, get the conversation going.
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This is always great on these events. Also, make sure
you change your Zoom setting in the chat to “all”
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so that everybody can see what you’re saying. Otherwise,
you’re just saying hello to me and my team, which is lovely.
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But, yeah, say hi to, to everyone. But,
yeah, say hi to everyone. And please keep
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posting throughout the webinar and ask
questions and things as they pop into your head.
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Okey doke. So whilst people
are joining, I’m going to tell you
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a little bit about CareScribe
to kick us off and who we are.
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So, my name is Rich, and if you’ve not met me before,
I’m one of the founders and directors of CareScribe.
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And if you haven’t heard of us, CareScribe is
an assisted technology company based in Bristol.
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Myself and my other two co-founders, Chris and Tom, we’re
all neurodivergent, as are many people in our team. And as a
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company, we spend every day working to support disabled people
and neurodivergent individuals to work and study independently.
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And we do this by building technology, building assistive technology.
So we’ve got two software tools, which you may have heard of.
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The first one is CaptionEd. CaptionEd is a captioning
and note-taking tool that helps people better
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comprehend and retain the huge amounts of information
that’s thrown at us every day in our busy lives.
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This is, of course, a tremendous value for a
wide range of disabilities and neurodivergent
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profiles from those who are deaf or have
hearing loss who may have difficulty
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comprehending what’s being said, to those,
like me, who are dyslexic, have ADHD, or
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ASD, who may have similar difficulties or
find it hard to focus and retain information.
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Or even for those who have motor impairments and may find
it difficult to get their thoughts down on paper quickly.
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So that’s CaptionEd, our captioning and
note-taking tool. And we also have a product
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called TalkType, which you might have
heard of, which is our dictation software,
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which is designed to help people convert
thoughts into text, something that
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a wide range of people find very
challenging for a wide range of reasons.
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And if you want to find out any more about any of our
assistive technology or how we support people, then
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please feel free to pop a message in the chat or in the
feedback at the end, and we can set up a demo for you.
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And, of course, there’s lots of information on our website
at carescribe.io, so feel free to join that as well,
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and have a look at Google and get in touch. And right, brilliant.
Again, people, welcome, welcome, as people are joining.
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I can see the numbers are rattling up. So that’s fantastic.
Quick bit of housekeeping before we kick things off:
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captions, they are available through Zoom and you
should be able to just enable them on your own computer.
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So please feel free to do that. I mentioned
questions. Feel free to use the chat continuously
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during the talk, and if you’ve got particularly
poignant questions you want answers to.
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There’s also the Q&A Section. So please pop things in that
and we will – we’ve got a dedicated Q&A time at the end,
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so we’ll get back to those questions. You can
also upvote other people’s questions in there,
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So if someone’s asked a question you think, “Gosh, I really want the answer
to that,” then upvote it, and we’ll try and make sure we get it answered.
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And there’s no wrong questions. This is a safe place to learn. So please do.
Don’t hold onto your questions; get them down and we can try and answer them.
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And you’ll be glad to know this session, like all our
sessions, is being recorded and look out for an email from Lucy
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who will ping over the recording after the webinar. And it’s
also going to pop up on our CareScribe LinkedIn tomorrow.
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And so, yeah, look out for that. Final thing to mention is
this is our last online Skill Sessions webinar for the year.
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Our next session is actually in person. So in November,
November 7th, we’re in London doing an ADHD awareness
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webinar, so please come along to that. Tickets are now live.
We’ve got five days of early bird ticket prices available now.
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It is a paid-for event, but all funds go to the ADHD
Foundation so it’s raising money for a good cause.
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So please, join us in London. We’d love to see you
there taking this virtual webinar into the real world.
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So yeah. We’ll ping out with some invites
after this, and it’ll also be on LinkedIn.
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Right, well, without further ado, I think it’s
time to hand over to Elizabeth for her talk.
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So Elizabeth, if you’re ready, you can share your screen and pop your
camera on, and we can get going. So yeah. I’ll hand over to Elizabeth.
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There you are. Brilliant.
Over to you, Elizabeth.
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Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for coming to embracing
intersectionality for neuroinclusive in the workplace.
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Lovely long words, but you know what? We’ll get through
it today. Lovely long words, but you know what? We’ll get
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through it today. And when Richard was giving the
introduction, you did actually mention intersectional ideas —
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a bit of a mouthful, but I’ve been practicing, so it should be all great.
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Thank you everyone for coming today. You will take a lot of information away and also, I’m
talking from my lived experience of living with dyslexia,
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dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, recently
diagnosed, and I’m also on waiting list to get
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autism assessment done. So my name is
Elizabeth Takyi, and I’m a neurobox Ambassador.
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Prior to joining neurobox, I ran my own organisation, supporting dyslexics
in the workplace as well as in education and as well as employment.
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And today, I’m really happy and excited to be speaking
to you all about dyslexia and also neurodiversity
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and intersectionality for neuroinclusive
in the workplace. So a little bit about me:
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I’ve got 15 years’ experience, or just over, in the ND
space. I’ve worked in colleges; I’ve worked with schools;
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I’ve worked with adults in the workplace, as well as
all the other areas of SEN, where I originally started.
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Now, what got me into working within
the space is, obviously, because of
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my neurodiversity diagnosis, and I
really wanted to give back to community.
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So for that reason, I decided to embark on this
journey. One of the most beautiful jobs I’ve ever
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done in my entire life is working within
the ND community, and I absolutely
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love what I do. So that’s a little bit
about me before we actually dive into the
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webinar. So what is intersectionality? For just a minute, I’m just going to get the
attendees to actually write something in the chat box — what you think intersectionality is.
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And that will be for about maybe a minute. Now, just to
say, I’ll say a minute, but I do have severe dyscalculia.
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So if I do go over that minute, I’ve got lovely Jen, here,
who’s going to say, “Elizabeth, you’ve actually gone over time.”
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So let’s give ourselves a minute to write something in
the chat box — what you think intersectionality is.
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Thank you.
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OK, I think, a minute maybe up or maybe not. But,
like I said, because I’ve got severe dyscalculia,
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I don’t want to sit here for 10 minutes thinking that’s a minute — really bad with timing as well.
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So we will actually leave it there, and you can post, bringing,
writing what you think it is whilst I continue with this presentation.
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So I think there’s a few there. And we’ll probably go back and maybe, when we finish, we’ll
go back and look at some of the things that people said what intersectionality might be.
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So today, I’m talking from a lived experience and how intersectionality,
sort of — I can use the word affects me in the workplace.
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And I’ll be speaking on race, disability, being a
black woman, and being a woman at the same time.
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So that’s what the presentation will be based on today.
And I speak from that because this is my lived experience.
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So everything I say here is from my lived experience and also the last seven, eight years
working with adults with ND in the workplace — neurodiversity challenges in the workplace.
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So that’s what I will be speaking about
today. But intersectionality, as we all know,
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obviously, can have an overlap of all different areas.
For me, it will be about what I’ve just spoken about just now.
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Right, so what is intersectionality? So the noun, the
complex — now, words a problem for me, by the way, dyslexia,
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so even though I’ve got massive big words going across a lot of my presentations, I will try
my best to pronounce them — pronounce it how I see it.
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And I think it’s quite authentic, actually, to have a dyslexic person with a PowerPoint with
massive big words coming across the page.
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But I’d like to say that intersectionality, the
complex is accumulative. That’s it: I did it.
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I’ve been practising this for about
three weeks, and I got that word.
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Sorry, Elizabeth, I think we’ve lost sound at your end.
I don’t know if other people are having the same problem?
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Just a quick, yeah, looks like. Oh.
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Still struggling on the old sound.
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I’ll let you know as soon as we can hear
you again, but the moment the sound is —
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Yeah. Can you hear me?
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Oh, we’ve got you. You’re back.
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Oh, I’m back wonderful, wonderful. Sorry about that, Richard. So I don’t know if anybody
heard what I said earlier, but I gave the example of what intersectionality is and read it.
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I hope everyone saw the PowerPoint slide at that time. So intersectionality, originally, was a
pioneering scholar and a writer on civil rights, the name of Kimberlé Crenshaw.
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Now, the pioneering scholar and writer on civil rights, she
actually described intersectionality as critical race theory.
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Well, she is actually a Black feminist, legal theory, and race, racism, and law. In addition to
her position at Columbia Law School, she is a distinguished Professor of Law at the
University of California, Los Angeles.
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Crenshaw identifies three aspects of intersectionality
that affects the visibility of non-white women.
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And I’ve got three points here. So she talks about structural intersectionality, political
intersectionality, or representational intersectionality.
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Next slide. So what is the importance of embracing it in the workplace? Now, what we
normally say is that if we don’t look at intersectionality as a whole, you may find employees
that are actually struggling in a workplace.
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So if there are any HR managers here today or senior
leaders or section managers or whoever you might be,
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it’s really important that you understand your employees. And when we embrace
intersectionality in the workplace, we can bring our full self to the workplace to create an
inclusive workplace
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for everybody, so to speak. And there’s a quote that is by Audre
Lorde, and she said, “There is no such thing as single-issue struggles
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because we do not live single-issue lives.” Now, I’ve got layers
of other things that will be intersectionality in the workplace.
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So, for example, there is no such single issue. So I’ve got
dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, I’m a Black woman.
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I’m a woman and then Black, and, obviously, a single
parent with all the other layers that go with it.
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Now, when I’m coming to work, those things
don’t stay at home: they come with me.
00:15:23.001 –> 00:15:27.031
And, obviously, if I’ve got a
line manager who may not
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see me as, one day, being very jolly doing my work and, next day,
it’s like, “Actually, I’m really struggling with my ADHD today,”
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or I’m maybe struggling with my dyspraxia
or whatever it might be at the time.
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So this quote really resonated with me when we actually found this. And I
thought it was a really good quote to actually put up as we deliver this webinar.
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So I’m going talk to you a little bit about
me and my intersectionality and my identity.
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Next slide. So like I said earlier, before, this is Elizabeth,
with all the other layers that I bring with me to work.
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One of the most beautiful things at the moment is to be working
for an organisation where I can be myself, and that is neurobox.
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Now, in the past, I’ve worked in organisations where I’ve probably hidden some of these
things. Can’t hide my complexion, can’t hide being a female.
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But one thing I can hide is all the others that
go with it and trying my best to actually fit in.
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And that has brought some huge challenges in the past,
in the sense that I never wanted to be found out.
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I didn’t want to mention I’ve got dyslexia. I didn’t want people to know that I can’t add up or
tell the time if I’m running late to a meeting: all these things were a huge impact
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for me in the workplace. So how it’s really benefitted me
is by, obviously, as an individual working for neurobox
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has been something that they embrace at work. And I’m hoping that HR managers or my
senior managers or anyone who’s actually joined us today would understand the different
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levels of intersectionality or what people might have or might be going through. And,
hopefully, this webinar would give you some tips, top tips to take away with you.
00:17:12.861 –> 00:17:24.500
So my lived experience and the struggles I’ve had with neurodiversity and all the other
challenges — and I’m just going to go to that slide, so bear with me, please.
00:17:24.525 –> 00:17:31.009
One second, just trying to navigate this
as well can be a bit of a challenge.
00:17:31.034 –> 00:17:41.179
So my lived experience and a struggle — so BAME cultural perspective, overcoming stigma.
Now, I would actually say that for me it’s more B and E rather than BAME.
00:17:41.204 –> 00:17:50.437
And that’s another topic for another day completely. And there are stigmas, there are
challenges both from this, let’s say, for example outside of work and in work.
00:17:50.462 –> 00:18:02.953
And I’ll also be covering the difference in all the challenges I’ve been going through, the lack
of support that it may be for me, as an individual, and some of the people I’ve supported in
the past.
00:18:03.109 –> 00:18:13.343
And sometimes you find that when you come together with people with neurodiversity,
particularly from the B and E or the BME group, you’ll find that we’re all singing from the
same hymn book.
00:18:13.368 –> 00:18:24.711
So people might talk about their challenges with financial issues or not being able to afford
certain assessments or not be able to culturally speak about the defences that they have.
00:18:24.736 –> 00:18:31.001
And, obviously, that can have a huge challenge on them
when they’re performing at work. So I will be covering
00:18:31.834 –> 00:18:38.877
the difference, lack of support, lack of neurodiversity understanding, and the awareness.
Sometimes I’ll go somewhere, and I’ll be speaking to people —
00:18:38.901 –> 00:18:46.794
it could be a networking event, it could be where I’ve gone to give a speech or talk, rather —
and somebody might come up to me and say, “Well, actually, what is neurodiversity?”
00:18:46.819 –> 00:18:57.302
I know it’s a new buzzing word, and it’s been a word that is quite fancy. But sometimes I will
break it down and explain what neurodiversity is in a nutshell.
00:18:57.327 –> 00:19:08.552
I’ll also be covering financial issues, where not everybody can afford an assessment. And I
know that today we’re covering — we’re talking about intersectionality in the workplace.
00:19:08.577 –> 00:19:21.204
So some workplaces may be able to — for the workplace needs assessment. But on
individual people, it might be a struggle for them to be able to do that.
00:19:21.229 –> 00:19:28.431
Next slide, please. Thank you. So I always go about the
story so far. So you see the young lady in that image there.
00:19:28.456 –> 00:19:34.212
She’s on her own; she’s the middle of nowhere; she’s got a rucksack
on her back, and she’s alone and that’s sometimes that’s how I feel —
00:19:34.234 –> 00:19:41.009
— that I feel like no one else gets me. I also feel like I’m on
my own and I also feel like, “Listen, why am I doing this by myself?”
00:19:42.634 –> 00:19:48.431
In the past, it’s felt like that. And, in fact,
sometimes it can actually still be the same.
00:19:48.509 –> 00:20:00.803
And I think it’s really important that I share my lived experience story with the individuals
here today, to tell them about where I started from, how it all became, and how where we are
00:20:00.834 –> 00:20:06.897
So this is me, Elizabeth. Some of you may have already
attended some of my talks. You probably found me on LinkedIn.
00:20:06.922 –> 00:20:15.725
I do SEN and talk about dyslexia and neurodiversity.
And I’ve been doing this for the last seven years.
00:20:15.868 –> 00:20:22.639
So you probably see a lot of my work all over the social media and internet
and everything. And that’s because I’m passionate to make a change,
00:20:22.664 –> 00:20:34.553
really passionate to make a change for people who are struggling with
neurodiversity and disability and also other long-term health conditions.
00:20:34.578 –> 00:20:37.874
So I give you a little bit of a
background. So I was born in the UK.
00:20:37.901 –> 00:20:46.859
When I was two, my parents took me to Ghana, to West Africa, and primary school was a
challenge for me. And that will be another webinar session completely.
00:20:46.884 –> 00:20:59.359
We won’t go into details about my growing up with dyslexia back in Africa, but I can touch up
on it that no one, teachers, or even my parents, knew what dyslexia was at the time.
00:20:59.384 –> 00:21:05.531
So I’d always struggle in the education system. It was
really tough for me. I was always bunking off school.
00:21:05.556 –> 00:21:16.845
I was distracted in class and so forth. Now in Africa, when I was in Ghana,
when I was going to primary school, if you went achieving and you got something
00:21:16.934 –> 00:21:21.611
like, if you did a test or something or an
exam and you got it wrong you will be caned.
00:21:21.635 –> 00:21:26.728
And if anybody who’s joined me here
is from, Nigeria or Ghana or any of
00:21:26.767 –> 00:21:32.001
those African countries, you know what I’m talking
about. So it became a bit of a trauma for me.
00:21:32.108 –> 00:21:40.343
But fast forward, I came to the UK when I was 12 and went into secondary school, and when
I knew that I wouldn’t get punished for not being able to read, write, and spell,
00:21:40.368 –> 00:21:44.633
suddenly it was like, actually, I can do what I
want here; I don’t have to learn if I don’t want to.
00:21:44.668 –> 00:21:52.094
That had a huge impact on me, leaving secondary
school with very little qualifications was a bit of a challenge.
00:21:52.201 –> 00:22:00.688
So how dyslexia was found or diagnosed, shall I
say, was when I decided to, change my life around.
00:22:00.713 –> 00:22:08.383
By this time, I’d had two children. And, in 2004,
I decided to embark on a new journey with learning.
00:22:08.440 –> 00:22:17.139
So I remember going to — not South Thames College — South Bank University and walking
into the foyer of the administration
00:22:17.164 –> 00:22:25.309
admissions department, and I remember saying to the admissions
lady that was sitting there that, “I’m here to learn.”
00:22:25.334 –> 00:22:29.631
And she actually said to me, “Well, what do you want to learn?”
I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to learn, to be honest.
00:22:29.656 –> 00:22:37.717
But there was space on a human resource management degree,
and I said, “I’ll do that.” So when I joined the class,
00:22:37.742 –> 00:22:44.670
I didn’t know how I had dyslexia at the time, so I was really
struggling. And I remember my university lecturer saying to me that,
00:22:44.695 –> 00:22:50.451
“Do you think you’ve got dyslexia?” And I was so much in denial,
I didn’t want to accept that there could be anything like that.
00:22:50.476 –> 00:22:54.553
But in the end, I had to go for the assessment.
And this is where the dyslexia was picked up.
00:22:54.568 –> 00:23:02.381
And ever since I was diagnosed with dyslexia at university, I
then — my wings were so wide that I could fly like an eagle.
00:23:02.406 –> 00:23:08.209
And I just wanted to say anyone here,
if you’re embarking on an education
00:23:08.234 –> 00:23:11.756
or anything like that, and you think you might
have dyslexia, but you’re not too sure, I’ll
00:23:11.781 –> 00:23:18.409
definitely advise you to go to your student services
department and get the support that you can get.
00:23:18.434 –> 00:23:24.256
So that’s where dyslexia was diagnosed in 2004. I then left
00:23:24.281 –> 00:23:31.170
college, graduated and moved on into the working environment.
Now, this is where a lot of the challenges happened.
00:23:31.201 –> 00:23:37.668
Because I was so much in denial and didn’t want to accept
dyslexia, I was really struggling in the workplace.
00:23:37.701 –> 00:23:45.701
And I remember the first job I ever got, and I will actually mention the company’s name, I
was actually working for the Metropolitan Police Service in the HR department.
00:23:45.701 –> 00:23:52.701
And, when I first got the job, I did not
disclose dyslexia. And I’m not proud of that
00:23:52.701 –> 00:23:59.099
because I was really worried about being
stigmatised or what were people’s perception of me.
00:23:59.268 –> 00:24:11.701
So I didn’t disclose it. As a result, I really struggled in the workplace. And, in the end, out of
shame and embarrassment, I actually left the company because I didn’t disclose it.
00:24:11.701 –> 00:24:21.701
So disclosure in itself is a completely different topic. So at some point, perhaps, we might do
some sort of sessions on that because it is a different topic completely.
00:24:21.701 –> 00:24:29.473
And as a result, because I didn’t disclose, I really struggled in the
workplace. So I left that and then I decided to go into education.
00:24:29.501 –> 00:24:40.659
So I went and did my PGCE, and, from there, I met a young girl who also had dyslexia. And I
think a penny dropped for me when I was teaching
00:24:40.684 –> 00:24:47.285
in West Thames College and it was like, actually, I wonder what’s going to
happen to this young girl when she finishes her course, go into the real world,
00:24:47.301 –> 00:24:51.896
Would she get the same challenges that
I had when I was at the Met Police?
00:24:51.921 –> 00:25:03.701
So a penny dropped and I decided to set up the company a year later and
A2i Dyslexia was founded, and we’ve helped so many people over the years.
00:25:03.701 –> 00:25:11.701
So I’m going to now speak to you — the next slide, please, Jen. So I’m going to now speak to
you about the highs and lows of living with all the conditions that I’ve mentioned.
00:25:11.701 –> 00:25:17.774
Now, I say condition, some people say learning difference; some people say learning style.
00:25:17.834 –> 00:25:30.235
But, for me, all — everything you see on there, which is dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia,
ADHD, visual stress, anxiety, and also being a Black neurodivergent woman
00:25:30.260 –> 00:25:38.711
has had a huge impact on me in every area of my life. So dyslexia will be — and it’s not just
the reading, writing, spelling, it’s everything else that goes with it.
00:25:38.736 –> 00:25:45.701
Sometimes I get really anxious that I’m not able to do a
certain thing. I get frustrated that I can’t read certain texts,
00:25:45.701 –> 00:25:55.978
and then, the anxiety kind of sets in. Many people that have met me face to face will say,
“Actually, Liz, you don’t seem like somebody that would worry about things like that.” But it
00:25:56.002 –> 00:26:06.701
does become a bit of a stumbling block, especially when you’re not able to pronounce
certain words or you’re not able to say certain things. Or sometimes part of my dyslexia will
00:26:06.701 –> 00:26:12.701
I’m speaking; I forget what I’m supposed to
say. So I have to stop, think, and carry on.
00:26:12.701 –> 00:26:17.701
Or sometimes I might speak really fast because I want to get
everything in, and then people don’t understand what I’m trying to say.
00:26:17.701 –> 00:26:26.701
So some of the highs have been — I mean, one of my highest moments has been like,
obviously, running A2i Dyslexia and supporting many people that needed help.
00:26:26.701 –> 00:26:32.788
That’s one of the most great achievement
that, for me, has been really great for me.
00:26:32.813 –> 00:26:46.225
Now, statistically, if you look at it on paper, everything I’ve spoken about like, drop out of
school, playing truancy, not being able to focus in class, and being a troublemaker, so to
speak — and I’m not proud of any of that.
00:26:46.250 –> 00:26:51.701
That was when I was young. On paper, I really
wouldn’t have become far as far as I’ve come.
00:26:51.701 –> 00:27:01.701
But what’s really helped me is to be able to embrace all these different conditions and be
able to go for the help I needed and, obviously, with the assisted tech
00:27:01.701 –> 00:27:08.701
and workplace needs assessment, I’ve
managed to really, excel in my career.
00:27:08.701 –> 00:27:17.079
Thank you. So I mean, I did mention some of the lows, and going back to that slide, some of
the lows have been, obviously, the mental health aspect of it,
00:27:17.104 –> 00:27:24.701
the worrying, the not being able to do it, all the things that go
with depression and things like that, and I’ve had all that.
00:27:24.701 –> 00:27:32.406
I’ve gone through all that. And sometimes, you know, I say to people that if you really find
that you’re really struggling, please do seek help.
00:27:32.431 –> 00:27:39.701
So if there are any HR managers here today and somebody comes in and said, “Look, I’ve
got dyslexia and I’m really struggling and I’ve got anxiety and all sorts of things.”
00:27:39.701 –> 00:27:46.612
One of the things I would recommend is have a safe space
for them to be able to speak to you about their challenges.
00:27:46.924 –> 00:27:55.701
Thank you. So when we talk about intersectionality,
Kimberlé Crenshaw also gives an example of that.
00:27:55.701 –> 00:28:06.243
There are overlapping identities, and what she says is, “Without frames that allow us to see
how social problems impact all the members of a targeted group,
00:28:06.268 –> 00:28:17.143
many will fall through cracks of our movement –” You see how I’m stumbling there? “– left to
suffer in virtual isolation. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
00:28:17.168 –> 00:28:28.118
Now I can tell you that, statistically, the prison inmates or prison statistics is that at least 40
to 50% of prison inmates have got dyslexia.
00:28:28.201 –> 00:28:32.688
And when we talk about falling through the cracks,
it’s getting the help and support you need at the time.
00:28:32.713 –> 00:28:38.701
And I do have stats and some of the stats
are like, 4% of people using Jobs Centre Plus
00:28:38.701 –> 00:28:49.524
have got severe dyslexia. And, obviously, if they don’t get the help they need, then,
obviously, they can’t excel in the workplace.
00:28:50.383 –> 00:28:57.243
Three things to keep in mind in terms of intersectionality
and all the other things that go with it,
00:28:57.346 –> 00:29:06.709
ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, disability, culture, class, and religion – now, I can actually
say that everything I’ve mentioned here, I can identify with.
00:29:06.801 –> 00:29:13.609
And some of these things could be a real challenge
for me in the workplace if we don’t embed
00:29:13.634 –> 00:29:21.909
intersectionality into our policies and all the other things that we do. So three things to keep
in mind: social identity categories overlap.
00:29:21.934 –> 00:29:31.013
And number two is these categories, particularly minorities, relate to the systems and
structures of power and discrimination. Now, I want to give you a little example of that.
00:29:31.038 –> 00:29:38.474
There’s a young girl that I used to mentor when I was
running my organisation, and she was working for a
00:29:38.499 –> 00:29:44.701
very large organisation, and she went to her line
manager and actually said to her that she’s got dyslexia.
00:29:44.701 –> 00:29:53.025
She was a young black girl and it was actually dismissed in the sense
that her line manager didn’t understand where she was coming from.
00:29:53.065 –> 00:30:01.190
She also have English as a second language. So I think when she came to me, she did say
to me that her manager was saying, “Is it because,
00:30:01.215 –> 00:30:08.729
maybe, you know, English is your second language? That’s why you’re struggling to do the
task I’ve given you or the role that you have, or is it because you have dyslexia?”
00:30:08.807 –> 00:30:10.701
And I just want to bring
to everyone who’s here,
00:30:10.701 –> 00:30:24.627
I want to bring to your attention that it doesn’t matter where — what your background is. So if
you’ve got, a second language, for example, you can still have dyslexia
00:30:24.744 –> 00:30:29.843
and still — not being able to perform in your
work because of — it’s not — it doesn’t matter.
00:30:29.868 –> 00:30:34.701
It’s not because you can’t speak English, that’s why you’re
struggling. I think that’s the example I want to give.
00:30:34.701 –> 00:30:43.018
So no matter what your background is, you can still have dyslexia and still struggle, and it’s
got nothing to do with the fact that, you know, English is not your first language.
00:30:43.034 –> 00:30:51.143
I thought I’d make that very clear. And some categories
— some categories accrue more privileges than others.
00:30:51.301 –> 00:31:02.701
So when I give the example of the young lady that I was mentoring, she did actually say to
me — and I used the word, maybe, I’ll just say, for example, we say that the appetite known
as for error.
00:31:02.701 –> 00:31:11.701
So Sarah was a white middle-class girl who’s also got dyslexia, but there was more
favourable going towards Sarah than there was for this young lady.
00:31:11.701 –> 00:31:15.701
And she just said, “I don’t know why I can’t
get the help I need or the support I need.”
00:31:15.701 –> 00:31:26.159
And that’s why I want to actually bring to the attention of everyone here today is that there is
a lot of racism in that setting, in the sense that Sarah can get the help she needs,
00:31:26.168 –> 00:31:36.159
but the other lady can’t. And I just want HR managers to be quite mindful
of things like that, and it can really have a huge impact on the individual.
00:31:36.701 –> 00:31:45.701
So I want to give you top tips for embracing intersectionality in
your workplace. And the first one is not one size fits for all.
00:31:45.701 –> 00:31:50.701
And we all know that not one size fits for all.
So I may have — I’ve got Jen with me here today.
00:31:50.740 –> 00:31:57.343
For example, I’ve got dyslexia, but let’s say Jennifer on
the other side — or let’s just call the person another name.
00:31:57.368 –> 00:32:01.701
Let’s say Stacey may have dyslexia.
Our dyslexia would never be the same.
00:32:01.701 –> 00:32:07.691
So Stacey might be able to give you that 15,000-word report. I may not be able to do that.
00:32:07.716 –> 00:32:16.701
Now, I’ve often heard that in the workplace or I’ve had the experience of people speaking to
me and said, “Well, actually, if she can do it and you’ve both got dyslexia, I don’t understand
why you can’t.”
00:32:16.701 –> 00:32:26.701
I just want to say that everybody’s dyslexia is different. We’re a diversity, ADHD, autism,
whatever it might be, it affects us all in different ways.
00:32:26.701 –> 00:32:36.701
One of my strengths is that I can’t put words on paper, and if I can, sometimes, it’s mumbo
jumbo, but one thing I can say to you is if you put me in front of 10 million people like I can
give you a talk;
00:32:36.701 –> 00:32:42.925
I can give you a presentation of what I want to say. But
I don’t have so much confidence when it comes to writing.
00:32:42.934 –> 00:32:49.806
It doesn’t mean I can’t read my emails, I can. But that’s
when maybe workplace needs assessment comes into it, and I get
00:32:49.830 –> 00:32:56.701
all the assistive technology to be able to correct my word
and the wording and everything else that I’m trying to do.
00:32:56.701 –> 00:33:05.701
So it’s about taking a holistic approach and person-centred
approach so that everyone has space to be their authentic self.
00:33:05.701 –> 00:33:15.701
Thank you. And then we’ll talk about encouraging a safe space for employees, so they can
bring their whole authentic self to work.
00:33:15.701 –> 00:33:19.701
There are some really challenging words in here,
isn’t it? But we’ll get there. I promise you.
00:33:19.701 –> 00:33:27.701
And that’s really important that we embrace the differences
of the individual and what their challenges are.
00:33:27.701 –> 00:33:34.701
And the PowerPoint presentation I’ve shared earlier,
Elizabeth, with all her different labels, so to speak,
00:33:34.701 –> 00:33:43.701
and just to say to our attendees, I actually — the labels that I have,
which is dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and all the other labels I have,
00:33:43.701 –> 00:33:52.701
I actually take pride in that. And not everybody takes pride in things like that. But for me it’s a
real privilege to be able to know that I can say to somebody in the workplace,
00:33:52.701 –> 00:33:59.701
“I’ve got dyslexia and I need help.” And that
makes me feel liberated if I’m able to say that.
00:33:59.701 –> 00:34:06.701
I just want to say that for the second slide, which is embracing a
safe space for employees to bring the whole authentic stuff to work,
00:34:06.701 –> 00:34:14.343
senior management can be involved in encouraging them to share
stories and lived experience of their overlapping identities.
00:34:14.368 –> 00:34:24.701
Create a safe environment for employees to feel comfortable and confident to voice
experiences and challenges. That’s really important.
00:34:24.701 –> 00:34:35.701
Of course, we talk about collaboration and that’s really important. Some organisations may
have employee resource groups or they’re also known as staff network
00:34:35.701 –> 00:34:45.412
to encourage people to work collaborate — there you go, massive word. I love it when I —
sometimes it becomes a bit chaotic when I can’t use a certain word.
00:34:45.437 –> 00:34:49.397
I’m going to try this word out:
collaboratively. That’s right, got it.
00:34:49.436 –> 00:34:58.701
Right. And it’s really great for people to work together and bring all the different, skills,
knowledge, and talents that they can bring to the table.
00:34:58.884 –> 00:35:07.556
And if there is any DNI managers in this webinar today, it’s
really important that we encourage different diverse groups to come
00:35:07.568 –> 00:35:15.876
together and bring all their skills and talent, so we can have a better
work force and we can have a great productivity in the workplace.
00:35:15.901 –> 00:35:21.462
And you can do this by having members that may be
part of different groups and different network.
00:35:21.487 –> 00:35:28.806
Lots of organisations are now embarking on employee resource
groups and if anyone’s here and they haven’t even thought of that,
00:35:28.831 –> 00:35:39.701
might be really good idea, perhaps, after today, to try and speak
to your team and see if anybody is interested in setting up ERG.
00:35:39.701 –> 00:35:48.290
So the third point I want to say is hiring practices. And it’s really,
really important that when we’re hiring, we’re doing incorporating
00:35:48.314 –> 00:35:56.248
intersectionality into your hiring process, which will allow
you to attract people with different experiences and knowledge.
00:35:56.326 –> 00:36:03.701
Also taking a look at your hiring practice: does your policy
and practices incorporate and embrace intersectionality?
00:36:03.701 –> 00:36:11.701
That’s something that — it’s good to take away. Also providing
you hiring manager with inclusive recruitment training
00:36:11.701 –> 00:36:19.701
so that they can embed all
these things into hiring practices.
00:36:19.701 –> 00:36:24.701
Just going to take a quick water, sorry everyone.
00:36:24.701 –> 00:36:30.701
Now, I can confidently say this. The whole
five points you see on this slide is me.
00:36:30.701 –> 00:36:36.701
Now, I can confidently say this fight, the
whole 5 points you see on this slide is me.
00:36:36.701 –> 00:36:43.583
So when we’re hiding somebody, for example, and they’ve
got to dyslexia or they’ve got all the other ND conditions,
00:36:43.608 –> 00:36:48.701
it’s really important that you look at their skill set and
you look at the strength they can bring to the company.
00:36:48.701 –> 00:36:55.701
Many years ago, the word dyslexia — people will literally look at
you, and they have their own perception of what dyslexia might be.
00:36:55.701 –> 00:37:07.862
But now that we’re all speaking about neurodiversity and all the other conditions, it’s really
great for us to look at the bigger picture and see what different employees can bring to the
00:37:07.887 –> 00:37:12.701
And one, the first point I want to say is, for
example, I’m going to use me as an example.
00:37:12.701 –> 00:37:19.972
So I make connections that others don’t
see. And that’s a great talent to have in any organisation.
00:37:20.034 –> 00:37:25.792
So I cut through the noise and see the bigger picture. So
sometimes there might be a problem, an issue at work, and
00:37:25.834 –> 00:37:31.495
somebody might think, how do we actually solve this problem? And
they’re tapping away thinking, how do we actually solve this problem?
00:37:31.634 –> 00:37:36.701
And you got good old Elizabeth standing in the background going,
“It’s actually that simple. Why don’t you do it this way?”
00:37:36.701 –> 00:37:46.925
And every employer would want to have somebody who can see the bigger picture. So
communication is — communicate complex subjects through storytelling.
00:37:47.003 –> 00:37:54.340
I do lots and lots of public speaking. I do talks; I do
webinars; I do a podcast; I’ve done live shows in the
00:37:54.364 –> 00:38:01.701
past. And we are great storytellers. And if anybody here
have got dyslexia would probably agree with me on that.
00:38:01.701 –> 00:38:08.701
Not every dyslexic person is probably confident in speaking in
public, but they will have their own strengths to bring to the table.
00:38:08.701 –> 00:38:16.443
We are, as dyslexic people, problem solvers in different
ways and we’re bringing new ideas to the table.
00:38:16.468 –> 00:38:24.701
Now, when I say that, I want to sort of look back and look at our great entrepreneurs that
have got dyslexia or in the entertainment industry, for example.
00:38:24.701 –> 00:38:31.527
So we’re looking at actors or actresses, some of our
politicians who might have dyslexia, and all the other people
00:38:31.551 –> 00:38:38.701
that may have dyslexia, but they’ll bring strengths into the workplace
and all the other neurodiversity conditions that they may have.
00:38:38.701 –> 00:38:47.259
An example I can think of is maybe somebody like the actress
Whoopi Goldberg, one of the great actresses, actress who put on
00:38:47.368 –> 00:38:54.134
our television, and no matter what mood you’re in, she can actually
make you smile and improve our mental well-being if I can say that.
00:38:54.173 –> 00:39:00.701
And then we look at our Richard Branson, Jamie
Oliver, all the other people that may have
00:39:00.701 –> 00:39:05.701
dyslexia and have done great work. I mean,
I did some research and the founder of IKEA
00:39:05.701 –> 00:39:11.244
have got dyslexia. We all shop in IKEA. I’m sure we’ve all been
walked through the door and see the great stuff they can do.
00:39:11.269 –> 00:39:16.809
So, when we’re hiring, we’re looking at the bigger
picture of what the individual can bring to the table.
00:39:16.834 –> 00:39:25.106
And the list and example of dyslexic people, I could be here forever
telling you what the list of strengths that can bring to the table.
00:39:25.131 –> 00:39:32.701
So build support and empower team,
people, and organisation. Lovely.
00:39:32.701 –> 00:39:40.809
So this brings me to the end of my presentation or, if I can say, the
webinar. I want to say thank you to everyone who attended the session today.
00:39:40.926 –> 00:39:46.701
If you’ve got questions, and I’m sure
we’ll have lots of questions in the chat,
00:39:46.701 –> 00:39:53.676
I may not have the answers for you. But if I don’t know the answer,
I’m sure we will find out the answer for you. And on that note,
00:39:53.701 –> 00:40:03.076
I’d like to hand back to Richard, and say thank you, everybody, for
joining us today for this very amazing and a very important topic,
00:40:03.101 –> 00:40:11.943
which is intersectionality in the workplace and how we can
all build a newer inclusive workplace. It’s very important.
00:40:11.968 –> 00:40:20.140
Thank you, everybody, for joining us this afternoon.
And I’ll hand over to Richard now. Thank you.
00:40:20.165 –> 00:40:29.676
Thanks so much, Elizabeth. That was fantastic and, yeah, enlightening.
And we’ve got lots of comments in the chat that are popping up.
00:40:29.968 –> 00:40:40.489
So, yeah, thanks. Thank you so much. And thanks to everyone for participating in the chat
as Elizabeth was talking. And please ask your questions. And so, ideally,
00:40:40.514 –> 00:40:50.701
if you can pop them in the QA section that would be brilliant. But if not, the chat’s fine and we
can — and my team can pick them up and pop them in the Q&A.
00:40:50.701 –> 00:40:56.043
Hopefully, you can see the chat as well as, Elizabeth,
because you’re getting lots of great feedback.
00:40:56.068 –> 00:41:09.003
But, yeah. I think one of the best things, we’ve seen over both this webinar and previous
webinars is just that talking about your personal experience, how many people can share in
that, in that openness,
00:41:09.034 –> 00:41:17.701
really, just kind of drives more conversations. So, yeah. Thank you for sharing, and thank
you for everyone else for doing exactly the same.
00:41:17.701 –> 00:41:28.701
And so I’m just going to — if I can — pull open
the Q&A section, but keep your questions coming.
00:41:28.701 –> 00:41:36.701
So yeah. Good comment – actually, a couple
of good comments from Catty Hall, here.
00:41:37.237 –> 00:41:47.658
One is around, it’s just worth — because I think it might spare a bit of — some conversation is
around NHS waiting lists for assessments, such as ADHD and autism being around
00:41:47.683 –> 00:41:57.619
three years. And also, the sort of negative stigma that’s associated with private
assessments, which I think is — I know there was a thing in that was in the
00:41:57.644 –> 00:42:06.505
BBC not too long ago, a couple of months ago, right, about ADHD assessments, and this
really drove kind of a negative connotation towards those.
00:42:06.701 –> 00:42:15.376
But yeah. And then, on top of that, if you go privately,
there is sometimes some difficulties transferring
00:42:15.401 –> 00:42:24.539
care and treatment across from private to NHS. But Elizabeth, I don’t
know if you’ve kind of experienced any of that in your kind of work
00:42:24.563 –> 00:42:33.701
and that sort of, I guess, disconnect between private and public healthcare systems —
obviously cost difference, some stigma associated with the private
00:42:33.701 –> 00:42:35.509
And difficulties.
00:42:35.534 –> 00:42:43.816
I mean, yeah, in terms of, the workplace needs assessment, obviously, you
if somebody is in a workplace and they identify themselves as having a
00:42:43.840 –> 00:42:52.701
neurodiverse condition, the first thing I would advise is to speak to your
line manager and then that triggers off — triggers down to your HR manager.
00:42:52.701 –> 00:43:02.689
So in terms of the workplace, we can get the support we need. But sometimes when
somebody’s want — just like the question — whoever’s asked that question, it is very
00:43:02.713 –> 00:43:08.043
And the waiting list — I mean, at the moment, I’m on
the waiting list to go and get my autism because I just
00:43:08.068 –> 00:43:12.701
don’t know. I want to get my autism assessment done
because I know the role overlaps, and I’ve been on that
00:43:12.701 –> 00:43:17.609
waiting list since 2019. And I’ve been
told that it could take longer than that.
00:43:17.634 –> 00:43:23.035
Some people decide to go private, but it’s a cost
thing, and not everybody can afford that, for example.
00:43:23.168 –> 00:43:32.668
for example. So in terms of the workplace, you speak to your line manager, speak to HR,
and then it will be up to them to go and get you the right support that you need.
00:43:32.701 –> 00:43:36.701
Privately, yes, I did watch that. BBC program. And it can be very pricey.
00:43:36.701 –> 00:43:37.701
00:43:37.701 –> 00:43:47.790
Thanks. Thank you for that, Elizabeth. And there’s another question here which says, “As
well as making reasonable adjustments, and how can we promote all the benefits?”
00:43:48.701 –> 00:43:49.701
00:43:49.701 –> 00:43:54.701
So I guess that’s, I think that ties into the conversation
around the — there’s just so many benefits to
00:43:54.701 –> 00:43:58.343
being neurodivergent. It really isn’t a negative thing.
But yeah. How about promoting those benefits within work?
00:43:58.368 –> 00:44:04.176
I mean, one thing I will say is that, when I — in the
workplace, when I was working for myself as well as when I’m —
00:44:04.201 –> 00:44:09.977
I think I used the example of when I was working
for myself as the founder of A2i Dyslexia,
00:44:10.201 –> 00:44:19.701
access to work was a great place for reasonable adjustment. And it was
really great to be able to get a support worker to help me with my work
00:44:19.701 –> 00:44:24.701
that I was doing in terms of, if you’re not
self-employed and you work for an organisation,
00:44:24.701 –> 00:44:30.935
Some of the benefits are assisted technology. Some of them,
as you know, speaking to your line manager and actually being
00:44:30.959 –> 00:44:39.443
open about that particular condition that you might have. And
I also think it’s really important that employers would have
00:44:39.468 –> 00:44:46.073
for example, “We are a neuroinclusive organisation.” For
example, some companies at the bottom of the email, they’ll
00:44:46.097 –> 00:44:52.701
have, “We are a disability-confident company,” things like
that encourage people to come forward and speak about all
00:44:52.701 –> 00:45:00.189
their different challenges that they may be going through. There is
stigma, and there is stigma across all the communities. But I will
00:45:00.213 –> 00:45:07.701
say so much from the community I’m from, there is a huge
stigma, and there’s a lot of myths around ND conditions.
00:45:07.701 –> 00:45:18.509
I can’t speak generally, but I know that some people that I’ve worked with in the past, there
are so many different myths that go around, as well as people’s perception of what
00:45:18.534 –> 00:45:21.701
ADHD or dyslexia might be. Yeah.
00:45:21.701 –> 00:45:31.943
Absolutely. I’d add, as well — I mean, I know there’s lots of
department and business leaders on this call. And I certainly find,
00:45:31.967 –> 00:45:37.322
as a leader in CareScribe, and I’m sure,
some of the team that’s on the call, the more
00:45:37.346 –> 00:45:42.701
we, as leaders, can talk openly about the
problems and the struggles that we have
00:45:42.701 –> 00:45:49.701
and the diagnoses we have and how that impacts us and we benefit from them but also have
difficulties, the more that opens up the conversation for others.
00:45:49.701 –> 00:45:58.701
So I think, leading by example there as well and being open to
encourage others in the organisation to do the same is really important.
00:45:58.701 –> 00:46:09.701
A couple more questions coming in. “What kind of educational material can one share with
one’s HR department to help educate re neurodiversity and specifically dyslexia?”
00:46:09.701 –> 00:46:15.701
So is there any educational tools that we can
share within HR departments to help educate them?
00:46:15.701 –> 00:46:26.701
When you say educational tools, it’s a little bit tricky. And the reason why I say it’s tricky is
because the individual person have had a workplace needs assessment,
00:46:26.701 –> 00:46:36.701
which would — obviously, their report would tell them what they need. So, for example, for
me, one of the tools I need to be able to perform really well in my work is DragonDictate
00:46:36.701 –> 00:46:47.701
and Text for — is it Text for Help? I can never say the right word. And all the other assisted
tech that I use to be able to support me in the workplace.
00:46:47.701 –> 00:46:55.701
So I wouldn’t be able to say this specific assisted tech will
help everybody because everybody’s ND condition is different.
00:46:55.701 –> 00:47:04.701
So it’s up to the individual’s report. And when the workplace needs assessment does all the
assessment and everything, it will be tailor-made for the individual person.
00:47:04.701 –> 00:47:10.161
So there isn’t a generic educational
tools that can help the individual person.
00:47:10.186 –> 00:47:15.701
Yeah. So it’s about – obviously, dyslexia
and all the other ND, everybody’s
00:47:15.701 –> 00:47:22.701
story and journey is completely different. So that’s when
the PowerPoint — when I said not one size fits for all.
00:47:22.701 –> 00:47:33.701
So it’s about engaging with the workplace needs assessor, reading a report, find out what
help they need and tailor-made for them as an individual
00:47:33.701 –> 00:47:38.701
rather than — there is no generic for everybody.
For example, I’ve got my dyslexia glasses.
00:47:38.701 –> 00:47:46.701
And when I’m really struggling to read — and I can actually put
it on now — well, some people carry their overlay with them.
00:47:46.701 –> 00:47:54.509
When they are out at work, some people have the overlay on
the computer. I prefer glasses. I don’t want to be walking
00:47:54.534 –> 00:48:00.371
around with different papers because I’ve got — I think,
with my ADHD, I’ll lose everything and also dyspraxia.
00:48:00.396 –> 00:48:05.709
I’m not that organised in that way. So blue
works for me; it may not work for Stacey.
00:48:05.734 –> 00:48:10.701
Stacey might be a pink colour background or George
in the office might be a green colour background.
00:48:10.701 –> 00:48:14.701
So it works differently for everybody.
00:48:14.701 –> 00:48:18.701
Yeah, absolutely, couldn’t agree more. Thank
you, Elizabeth. And question here from Emma,
00:48:18.701 –> 00:48:27.701
“What would you say are the main challenges — sorry — what would you say were the main
challenges being a neurodivergent black woman CEO?”
00:48:27.701 –> 00:48:39.701
Oh, wow. OK. Being a neuro, Black — sorry, even get the word trust
twisted now. So being a neurodivergent woman CEO — wow. Challenges:
00:48:39.701 –> 00:48:52.117
there were huge challenges. Working for myself, I could actually be me and carry on being
me, but what some of the challenges were, for example, when you are a CEO of an
00:48:52.168 –> 00:49:02.209
Lots of words, and that’s part of my dyslexia. Just to say, Richard,
part of my dyslexia is words and trying to remember what these words are.
00:49:02.234 –> 00:49:09.851
Some of the challenges would have been, obviously, you are
the CEO, so you’re overlooking the whole of the organisation.
00:49:09.876 –> 00:49:17.701
And memory, retention, and trying to remember
all the things that needed to be done.
00:49:17.701 –> 00:49:26.701
And when I was working for myself, I had an amazing, great team. So I was out there doing
what I was doing to grow the business in terms of income generation.
00:49:26.701 –> 00:49:32.701
And all the other people in the different teams brought their
skills and talent to be able to support the organisation to grow.
00:49:32.701 –> 00:49:39.701
So some of the challenges were trying to keep on top of
everything, to be honest with you, and having dyslexia.
00:49:39.701 –> 00:49:47.701
And also, I think it’s really important I mention this, one of the challenges was to be able to
hear someone’s story which resonates with you,
00:49:47.701 –> 00:49:53.224
but then they don’t know where to go for help. They’ve
come to you, but they don’t know what else to do next.
00:49:53.234 –> 00:49:58.701
And in terms of financial, they can’t afford to
be able to, for example, go for an assessment.
00:49:58.701 –> 00:50:09.409
That took a huge toll of me, to be able to know that I can’t help somebody and to be able to
unlock their full potential because of financial situation or the struggles they may have.
00:50:09.434 –> 00:50:15.954
And hearing their story that resonates with you, it’s a bit traumatic
sometimes. And then you hear their story of their lived experience and
00:50:15.968 –> 00:50:23.243
it really resonates with you, but looking at myself as, actually, I’m all right because I’ve got
the help I need, but they can’t have the help they need.
00:50:23.268 –> 00:50:28.610
That was one of the most — biggest challenges for
me. Yeah, because they can’t afford the services
00:50:28.634 –> 00:50:34.701
or because they’re afraid of being find out — found out rather —
or because they don’t want no one to know that they’ve got dyslexia.
00:50:34.701 –> 00:50:38.142
That was quite challenging moments for me. Yeah.
00:50:38.301 –> 00:50:50.304
Thank you for sharing. That’s fantastic. And yeah, really useful for people to hear. Lots of
questions keep flooding in, so we’ll try and get for as many as we can.
00:50:50.329 –> 00:50:55.851
But if we don’t get to anyone, just to say, we can
share them, amongst ourselves and get back afterwards.
00:50:55.868 –> 00:51:00.246
A question here, which I think is a really important
one and touches on something you said before,
00:51:00.271 –> 00:51:07.355
“How have you found access to work in relation to providing
appropriate and relevant equipment, assistive technology and software?
00:51:07.380 –> 00:51:19.270
I have felt sometimes that decisions have been made about the support that I need based on
preconceptions of what someone would dyslexia needs rather than my specific needs.”
00:51:19.426 –> 00:51:27.199
Yeah, yeah. And I agree with you on that, Richard. Yeah. I mean, sometimes, I’ve even had
people say to me, “Oh, are you struggling because you can’t read and write?”
00:51:27.224 –> 00:51:33.701
And I’m like, “That’s not even the issue for today. Today’s remembering where I am, who I
am, and what I’m supposed to be doing.” You know?
00:51:33.734 –> 00:51:41.523
So some of the challenges, trying to kind of make sure that
everything is OK for you to be able to thrive in a workplace.
00:51:41.548 –> 00:51:47.543
But going back to when I used to work for myself
or with A2i Dyslexia, because we have such a
00:51:47.568 –> 00:51:52.601
great team, such an amazing people who would —
the team would just pick up from where you are and
00:51:52.626 –> 00:51:59.676
continue to do what you’re not able to. And
we all know that we all have our strengths
00:51:59.701 –> 00:52:03.701
and we all have our weaknesses, and my weaknesses
are just, somebody else had the strength
00:52:03.701 –> 00:52:13.676
for that, so they can continue to do that. So you are right, Richard, and sometimes the
perception is that, “Oh, we’ve all got dyslexia, so we’re all the same.”
00:52:13.776 –> 00:52:14.909
No, it isn’t.
00:52:14.987 –> 00:52:25.009
We all have our different challenges. Like, for example, I might be
able to write a great report or something that’s quite vital at work.
00:52:25.034 –> 00:52:29.674
I’ll be able to do that today. But tomorrow,
if my boss came up to me and said, “Oh, Liz,
00:52:29.698 –> 00:52:34.701
that report you wrote, can you give me another,
like — I don’t know — 500 words report?”
00:52:34.701 –> 00:52:38.701
I probably wouldn’t be to do that. And it’s sometimes like,
“Well, you did it yesterday. Why can’t you do it today?”
00:52:38.701 –> 00:52:47.722
I don’t know what the answer is to that. And you know, you might find this in a workplace,
and it doesn’t mean that the person’s lazy or they’re making it up or whatever.
00:52:47.734 –> 00:52:51.701
It’s just that particular day, they’re going
through challenges and they’re not able to perform.
00:52:51.701 –> 00:52:58.701
Doesn’t mean they’re not going to do the work; they might want to come back and pick up
from that from another time and be able to move on to do something else
00:52:58.701 –> 00:53:01.701
for that day. Yeah.
00:53:01.701 –> 00:53:08.701
Absolutely. I mean, yeah, just to speak to
that. I’m dyslexic; my brother’s dyslexic.
00:53:08.701 –> 00:53:14.689
We both work together in CareScribe. We’ve had
the same upbringing; we’re genetically very
00:53:14.701 –> 00:53:22.676
similar. He can do things that I really struggle
with and vice versa related to dyslexia.
00:53:22.701 –> 00:53:31.587
We’ve got very different lived experiences, and that kind
of nature versus nurture it’s “What’s the difference?”
00:53:31.601 –> 00:53:35.701
But yeah, massive differences. And he needs tools that
I don’t need and I need tools that he doesn’t need.
00:53:35.701 –> 00:53:37.576
Yeah, there isn’t one
size fits all, for sure.
00:53:37.601 –> 00:53:40.109
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.
00:53:40.134 –> 00:53:47.143
I’ll probably, yeah — I probably got time for another
couple of questions. So I’ve got a couple here.
00:53:47.168 –> 00:53:53.718
So there’s one which is, “At what point do you accept that the industry you’re in is having a
detrimental effect on your health
00:53:53.743 –> 00:53:58.640
and it’s time to leave and look for a
more neurodivergent friendly profession?
00:53:58.679 –> 00:54:05.701
Eg colleagues in higher education are struggling due to
lack of reasonable adjustments and excessive workloads.”
00:54:05.701 –> 00:54:11.701
That was a lot of questions in one for me.
So, simplify it for me, please, Richard, so in other words…
00:54:11.734 –> 00:54:21.709
Basically, I guess, when is the time to look
for a different profession versus ask for help
00:54:21.734 –> 00:54:29.701
in a scenario where you don’t feel supported and it’s
starting to have an effect on your health at work?
00:54:29.701 –> 00:54:36.176
To be honest with you, I just want to say
that if you find that you’re — and I’m not
00:54:36.201 –> 00:54:41.701
going to speak; I’m not going to generalise what I’m about to
say, but I’m going to speak from my lived experience, for example.
00:54:41.701 –> 00:54:49.093
If you’re in a workplace or when I was in a workplace and found that I
was really, really struggling, nobody was giving me the help I needed,
00:54:49.118 –> 00:54:56.009
I was quick to quit if I can use that word. I’ll
be like, I pick up my bag and that it. I’m going.
00:54:56.034 –> 00:55:05.023
But I wouldn’t really say that was the best way to do it because sometimes the best thing to
do is to speak to your line manager and say that, “What help can I get?”
00:55:05.048 –> 00:55:10.543
Neurodiversity’s a buzzing word for the
last, I don’t know, maybe 10 years, 15 years.
00:55:10.568 –> 00:55:18.701
So, you know, it’s great to go to your line manager, and say,
“I’m really struggling,” and try and see if they can support you.
00:55:18.701 –> 00:55:24.701
Now, when is it enough to say, “I don’t want to do this
anymore, I’m quitting”? Our mental wellbeing is so important.
00:55:24.701 –> 00:55:31.009
It’s so important to know that, actually, “This is really
affecting my health, and I’m not able to perform in my role.”
00:55:31.034 –> 00:55:37.701
And at this point, to be honest with you, you should still be speaking
to your line manager. And I know not all line managers get it.
00:55:37.701 –> 00:55:44.338
Some of them just think, “Well listen, I’ve got stats to meet. I’ve got this quota to meet, and I
need it sorted out.”
00:55:44.363 –> 00:55:49.104
But I would say you have to look at yourself
and think, “Actually, my mental health is really
00:55:49.129 –> 00:55:56.576
important for me.” And I wouldn’t — I don’t know
the answer to that. That would have to be up to the individual
00:55:56.601 –> 00:56:07.701
whether they say, “Actually, even though I’m really struggling, do I continue or do I look for a
profession that will be dyslexic friendly or neurodiversity friendly organisation?”
00:56:07.701 –> 00:56:11.447
And now that we’re working from home,
some of us can work from home, it’s
00:56:11.472 –> 00:56:15.744
even better to maybe even suggest, “Look,
because I struggle with noise and the phones
00:56:15.768 –> 00:56:18.986
are ringing and people are talking in the
office, I can’t do the open plan office.
00:56:19.011 –> 00:56:23.927
Is it all right if I do three days at work, two
days at work maybe, and three days in the office?”
00:56:23.952 –> 00:56:35.701
“Is it OK if I work from home because I’m struggling to focus in the office?” And I know that
during pandemic and even now that we can work from home, it’s really improved my mental
00:56:35.701 –> 00:56:41.701
And I enjoy my work a lot more because I don’t
have to be where there’s so much noise going on or,
00:56:41.701 –> 00:56:49.701
perhaps, where I’m really struggling to concentrate or focus.
So that might be an option to ask if you can do hybrid work.
00:56:49.701 –> 00:56:51.701
00:56:51.701 –> 00:56:57.701
Absolutely, oh that’s really helpful. And
yeah, and if you don’t ask, you never know.
00:56:57.701 –> 00:56:58.701
00:56:58.701 –> 00:57:09.701
Brilliant. Well, I’m just looking at the time and I think
probably we’ll need to put a stop to more questions.
00:57:09.701 –> 00:57:14.429
That doesn’t mean don’t ask them. That
means they — we’ll get back to the other ones,
00:57:14.454 –> 00:57:20.046
the rest of the questions offline, and
we’ll ping you our responses. So feel free
00:57:20.070 –> 00:57:25.443
to keep asking questions and we’ll get back. But thank
you everybody who’s asked questions, everybody who’s
00:57:25.468 –> 00:57:32.734
put messages in the chat: both of the positive
00:57:32.749 –> 00:57:36.812
affirmations and also the sharing
lived experiences and all of that.
00:57:36.834 –> 00:57:41.701
It’s been great and what that’s kind of what
makes these webinars, I think, so valuable.
00:57:41.701 –> 00:57:49.157
So, thank you for that and for coming along and joining
us. Big thank you to Elizabeth and for sharing —
00:57:49.801 –> 00:57:56.384
— you can see from the messages and the chat how valuable everybody’s found that, and I
found it incredibly interesting to listen to.
00:57:56.409 –> 00:58:08.701
So thanks so much. And just to say that everybody is going to get a CPD certificate. So, as
you leave, there’s a survey link. If you complete that survey, that’s really helpful.
00:58:08.701 –> 00:58:17.907
We’ll also send you a CPD certificate afterwards, so you’ve got that and along with — that will
be the recording for those of you who are after a recording.
00:58:17.934 –> 00:58:22.876
And as I mentioned, we host these
events for free and pretty regularly.
00:58:22.901 –> 00:58:26.876
And we would love to hear your thoughts
and recommendations and requests for
00:58:26.901 –> 00:58:30.601
future topics and speakers because
it just helps us basically make sure
00:58:30.625 –> 00:58:35.343
these webinars are serving the community
that we’re trying to trying to build.
00:58:35.368 –> 00:58:41.308
And so yeah, please do give feedback, and tell us what you
like, what you don’t like, what you’d like to see next time.
00:58:41.434 –> 00:58:49.042
And just to remind you, there’s that next
session, not online, but in person: November 7th
00:58:49.067 –> 00:58:54.809
in London come along and the last one was up in
the north in Manchester and it was fantastic.
00:58:54.834 –> 00:58:58.709
We were there for the day. We had
a great day. Please come and join us.
00:58:58.734 –> 00:59:03.701
It’s on ADHD awareness. It’s going to be fantastic.
We’ll send out some information about that.
00:59:03.701 –> 00:59:10.176
Hopefully, we’ll see lots of you there.
And that’s it. We’re out of time.
00:59:10.231 –> 00:59:15.476
So yeah. Thanks again to both
Elizabeth and everybody who’s joined.
00:59:15.501 –> 00:59:23.243
Thanks for participating and hopefully we’ll either see you in person in London next month or
we’ll see you back online in the new year.
00:59:23.268 –> 00:59:30.701
Brill. That’s a wrap.
Thanks, everybody