Series Nine, Episode One – Matters of Disability and Mental Health Wellbeing

Posted on September 23, 2020

Host Julia Streets is joined by Rosemary Frazer, Disability Equality and Inclusion Consultant and Louise Newby, Director of Three Eggs Mental Health Training.  Together they explore the resilience and realities of employees with disabilities and the compelling reasons for supporting employees and leaders with dedicated mental health programmes.  They consider the challenges of onboarding new graduates and the importance of a relentless focus on diversity and inclusion in this current climate. They discuss corporate attitudes towards disability within the financial services industry and how fintech is enabling change, and how good mental health drives greater productivity and problem solving.

Research mentioned in this episode: UNISON National Survey 2020

 

Rosemary Frazer

Rosemary has worked in campaigning, DET training and public policy for over 25 years. She is a respected expert in her field who has worked with organisations ranging from Airbus to RNIB and the BBC. She is an independent consultant focusing on employment, education and changing attitudes towards disability. Rosemary was named in the 2019 Shaw Trust Power list of Most Influential Disabled People.

Rosemary is involved in numerous projects and campaigns on disability equality and inclusion, and has helped nurture and support countless initiatives, campaigns and small and medium enterprises in the disability sector. Rosemary also passes on her skills: training, mentoring and advising others in the disability community to help people bring their ideas for new  businesses, products and charities into existence.  

A seasoned campaigner and advocate who has worked in public policy roles for Mencap, Sense and Scope, where she led on raising awareness of the employment gap, the inaccessibility of public transport and media representation of disability. She has been published in the Times, Guardian, the Independent and the Huffington Post as well as contributing to numerous radio and television new and current affairs programmes.

Rosemary has sat on the Board of Campaign Bootcamp, Global Disability Innovation Hub and Disrupt Disability. 

You can follow Rosemary on Twitter @RosemaryFrazer

 

Louise Newby

Louise Newby started her career at Merck Sharp & Dohme’s neuroscience research centre, where she investigated brain markers for depression. She then moved to GlaxoSmithKline, working in the new products team where she managed the global launch of novel HIV therapies, before moving into marketing where her work included producing training programmes for healthcare teams across a variety of disciplines.

Louise then moved into education, eventually becoming Head of Science at a Secondary School. Louise was then asked to lecture trainee teachers at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, where she also participated in European research projects exploring strategies that improve student learning.

Louise’s work has been published in leading journals. Her background in science, experience working with several individuals who suffered poor workplace mental health and her understanding of how learners learn led her to establish the learning and consultancy business, Three Eggs.

You can follow Louise on Twitter @eggsTraining, and on Instagram @three_eggstraining

 

Series Nine, Episode One Transcript

Julia: Hello, my name is Julia Streets, and welcome to DiverCity Podcast, talking about equality, inclusion, and diversity in financial services. On the podcast we seek to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus and offer lots of ideas to help drive change.

Today I am joined by Rosemary Frazer and Louise Newby.  Rosemary Frazer is a Disability Equality and Inclusion consultant. She’s worked in campaigning, training and public policy for more than 25 years. Rosemary worked with a wide range of organisations, including Airbus and the BBC, and as an independent consultant has focused on employment, education and changing attitudes towards disability. And in 2019, she was listed in Shaw Trust Power List of most influential disabled people. Rosemary has sat on the board of Campaign Bootcamp, the Global Disability Innovation Hub and Disrupt Disability, and has held public policy roles at Mencap, Sense and Scope. Rosemary, welcome to the show.

Rosemary: Thank you very much for inviting me. It’s really great to take part in a podcast like this.

Julia: Louise Newby is Director of Three Eggs, a learning consultancy. Louise started her career at a neuroscience research centre, investigating brain markers for depression. She then moved on to GlaxoSmithKline where, among many roles, managed the global launch of novel HIV therapies. She then moved into education, which included a tenure as a Head of Science at a secondary school, and also lecturing trainee teachers at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. It was there that she also participated in European research projects, exploring how to improve student learning. Today, Louise works with several individuals who suffered poor workplace mental health, and this has led her to set up her business, Three Eggs. Louise, welcome to the show.

Louise: Thanks, Julia. It’s great to be here.

Julia: I’ve been really looking forward to this discussion. Rosemary, let’s come to you, first of all. I’m really keen to hear what you’re focused on for the remainder of this year.

Rosemary: It’s actually quite an exciting project that I’m working on with someone that I met through some social media, who’s been interested in the same things, and we are developing training modules for employers who want to know how they can recruit disabled staff better, how they can retain disabled staff, and how they can kind of make the whole employment process much easier than it is. Our challenge is that, normally we would do these training sessions face to face, but of course with COVID, we’ve had to try to find a way of doing them online and have the same sort of impact.

One of the things I think about disability, certainly as a wheelchair user, it helps if you’re in the room. It really does make a difference because you can see it, and can understand it better, it’s quite difficult sometimes to talk about disability in the conceptual way. But we’ll get there.

Julia: It feels like this is a conversation of the moment, isn’t it? Because dynamics are shifting, people are thinking about their return to work policies. And we’re going to get into some of that in this episode about what organisations must be very mindful of, and who is physically in the room, in these digitally remote times, which had been very interesting. Louise, can I ask you the same question? We’re heading into the last quarter of the year, what are you particularly focused on?

Louise: Well, what you just said, actually links to the main thing we’re doing at the moment, which is helping organisations with their return to work strategies, re-onboarding staff. The world’s changed so much, hasn’t it, from the place we were in a year ago? So we’re really helping organisations to get their members of staff back into the office in as positive a way as possible, but also recognises the challenge of adapting to new ways of working, which many of us wouldn’t have considered possible a year ago.

The other thing that we’re busy doing is rolling out our Proactive Employee Assistance Programme, or our PEAP, which we’re really excited about. It’s something that provides organisations with a holistic range of strategies that support everybody within the organisation. We don’t just provide a scruffy poster on the back of a toilet door. There is kind of an end-to-end package of measures that can support everyone at every stage of their career life cycle, and that’s all supported by a clinical psychologist.

Julia: It is very interesting. Because I’m reading some fascinating articles at the moment about, particularly when it comes to mental health, is how people’s anxiety levels have changed. We talk about visible disability and we talk about invisible disability. And so of course, it must all be completely inclusive. Really keen to hear more about.

Let’s pick up on that question about the return to work, and some organisations are thinking about how they bring their employees back into the workplace. Rosemary, I’m really keen to hear from you, because we like the podcast to be very practical, very focused, in terms of ideas the listeners can take forward, are there any practical, or even policy adjustments that should be made for people with disability as well?

Rosemary: I’ve been having some really interesting conversations with some of my disabled friends and colleagues about this whole period. We think that disabled people have probably coped better with lockdown, and being away from things, because quite often those barriers are there all of the time for us. So that FOMO, fear of missing out, well, sad to say, we generally are not fully included anyway. Weirdly, I think many disabled people working from home is quite a usual thing. Because their journey to work may be too difficult, so they’re working maybe part of the week from home anyway, and used to that.

My concern is though, that when we do return to work, that we stop thinking about those access issues that actually really matter. And that we don’t kind of as a default position say, “Oh, well, it’s going to be too difficult for you. We can’t really make those changes now, what with COVID and social distancing.” That’s something that we’re thinking about in the training that I talked about. That’s something we’re going to try to include. I have always kind of done it, worked half the week from home, worked half the week in the office, and that’s worked well for me.

Julia: I guess there is a risk of assumption, isn’t there? People will make assumptions about, for example, and this probably isn’t true, but I’ll put it out for size, is that those with disabilities might naturally therefore have to shield, and therefore would not want to come into a workspace necessarily. Of course, assumption is the enemy of many things. Your thoughts on that?

Rosemary: Absolutely. There seems to have happened, over the course of this period, the term vulnerable has been used to describe all disabled people. Now, if I’m a 20 year old blind person, I’m no more vulnerable to COVID than anybody else, but we are seeing that term used. I would say the same, I’m no more vulnerable, I have no underlying health conditions. However, some disabled people do. I think this is the challenge, and I would argue, the beauty about the disability community, is the diversity there. But I also think it does mean that there are challenges in understanding. You touched on earlier about invisible conditions. Most disabled people are not physically disabled. Most disabled people, you will not know when you meet them, that they have some kind of condition, but we make assumptions. I always say that, as a wheelchair user, I’m really fortunate, because, when I meet someone, I don’t have to explain. I don’t have to out myself, as it were.

I’ve supported employees in my teams over the years, where they’ve had to talk about something quite difficult in terms of their access needs, and maybe they’re newly disabled, and they don’t feel very confident or indeed very knowledgeable about what they need. I think that’s a big learning that I’ve had. I’ve always been disabled, and so I’ve never experienced that kind of sense of loss, or understanding what it’s like to transform into a new way of living when I’ve become disabled, as most disabled people do actually. They acquire their disability later in life. I also think that’s the challenge there for employers, is to kind of try to get their heads around, but not get terrified of that diversity.

Julia: It’s a dangerous leap, I believe, to go from disability to mental health, without recognising that they are two very separate things with some overlap in the middle. Louise, I know you’ve been working with individuals who are really experiencing challenges with mental health, particularly during lockdown, and also in other circumstances as well, in the context of coming back into workplaces after months of working at home, I’d love to hear your thoughts on practises or policies that need to be put into place. Are you seeing some best practise that you can recommend to the listeners?

Louise: Yes, I think, as ever, there is a huge difference between what some organisations are doing and what others aren’t doing. I think probably the most straightforward thing that everybody can do, and it’s not going to be difficult for them, is to communicate. Communication has been key throughout this whole situation that we’ve been in since March. There is a potential though for people to be overloaded by communication messages. I’d say, keep the messaging really focused. At this time, as we begin to think about the future, that’s something that’s really worrying people, I think that now is the time to start holding honest conversations with your teams about the situation at work, because many people will be worried about their jobs. If there is a silence about that, then that starts to create anxiety within people. Give regular updates on the business, as information becomes available to you, and provide everybody with the opportunity to ask questions. Because if people feel that they have a chance to say what they’re concerned about, then that will help to reduce their anxiety. Communication remains really, really important.

There’s also a need to recognise different levels of anxiety amongst different members of the team. Some people won’t be worried at all about coming back into the office. They’ll just be seeing it as an exciting opportunity to get back to some sort of normality. But others are going to be very anxious about returning, and it’s really important that you don’t assume that everybody feels the same as everybody else, or the same as you do. In that respect, it’s important to make sure that you let everybody in the office know what the office will look like when they come back, and what rooms will be unavailable, how many days they should be in for, and make sure that that messaging is followed through by everybody, every level. Because if you’re a junior member of staff, and a more senior member of the team invites you to a meeting in a small meeting room that you have been told is off-limits, what do you do? It’s really important the leaders lead by example.

We’ve seen government guidance changing frequently, and it’s important that you review what you’re doing in your office regularly. As people adapt, things will need to change. It’s important that what you set out at the beginning, isn’t set in stone.

One of the really big things that we really emphasise to organisations that we work with, is to collect data. I think invisible disabilities are often invisible because workplace practises are designed not to look for them. I think a lot of the reason behind that is because people are scared of opening a can of worms, if they start talking about these disabilities, suddenly everybody in the office will have one. Well, we know from so much data now, that there are a huge number of hidden disabilities within the workforce. We’re not going to be finding things just because we’re looking for them, those things are there. If organisations have gathered data to fully understand what those issues are, then they can use that information to help their workforce to cope better. That might be through doing things like Pulse or Always-on surveys, or you can just do regular feedback sessions, just to help understand what the level of employee wellbeing is at the moment, and allow you to then do deeper dives into what you can do to help your workforce in the future.

Another really important thing is going to be onboarding of new recruits. We’re thinking particularly about new graduates who have had a very different end to their degree to previous cohorts, and especially those new graduates perhaps moving to the city for the first time, who don’t have that social support network, which is so important when you’re working in a high pressure environment. We know that loneliness is a huge trigger for mental health issues. Managers need to really be thinking about how they’re going to onboard their new starters, bearing in mind the experience that these new starters are having compared to other people. Think about a special programme where you’re going to provide lots of face-to-face contact with those new recruits, whether that’s virtually, or practically and in person.

One of the final things that we’re thinking about is continuous development of mental health practises. We’re very aware, for some organisations, mental health is very much a tick-box exercise, and there are lots of tokenistic gestures. We would say that you need to have this as, it’s just intrinsic. It’s part of your culture, it’s something you do all of the time. It’s a fundamental part of why your organisation is so successful, and you recognise that that’s why your organisation is successful. Because you do care about the minds in your business and how people are working, and that your business’s future success depends upon the wellbeing of your team.

Julia: That’s fantastic. There’s some really, really practical insights there the listeners can take onboard. Thank you very much for that. For both of you, it’s enormously helpful.

Rosemary, I know that all your work with disabled people led you to research and document experiences in other industries, but also in financial services. I’m really keen to hear, thinking about the world of financial services, how well do people with disabilities fare? What could be done differently or better? Any initiatives, networks, anything you’d recommend, that this industry should really focus on?

Rosemary: I’ve been having chats with disabled friends, colleagues of mine, who work in the financial sector. One of the things that keeps coming out, and they all work in very different areas, is the willingness to adapt in that sector and to make reasonable adjustments, that they didn’t find in other sectors they worked in. Over the years, I’ve been kind of thinking about why this is. And, of course, fintech has helped an awful lot and it’s been really good. But also, I think what helps is the attitude. Attitude is everything when it comes to creating a good environment, a good diverse work environment. Because the financial industry itself has experienced so much change, I think even over the past 20 years, with chip and pin, with a less use of cash, and just the way things are done, I think, then adapting the workplace for the needs of a disabled employee is not that big a deal.

I think it’s different in more traditional industries where the work hasn’t changed, or the way of work hasn’t changed, to maybe think, well, how can we do things differently? I just hear such really positive stories from people who work in the financial sector, that sadly, I don’t hear from other sectors. There’s more, and again, it’s related to the work that’s being carried out, more risk-taking, “Let’s try this and see what happens”, rather than, “Ooh, that’s going to be expensive,” or, “Ooh, we’ve not done that before.”

We’re terrible, I think, in this country, “Ooh, we’ve not done that before. I’m not sure that would work.” I’ve lived in the States, where I experienced a completely different attitude to that, where they were more willing to try new things. Again, it’s as much about a culture, as the practical things of, “Can this be done?” But it’s even wanting to kind of step back and think, before we look at, “Can this be done?”, “Do we want to do this?” And I think if you start off the point, “Yes, we want to create a more diverse workforce”, then “Well, how do we do that?”

What I’ve seen over the years is, it has to come from the top. This nonsense about, “Oh, well. Culture change, it has to come up from the bottom”, no. In my experience, if the Chief Executive says something’s going to happen in a place of work, it happens. Diversity is normally something that sits with HR and, of course, HR has a really important role to play in that. But I also think diversity has to be part of what the Chief Executive thinks about every day, what the senior directors think of every day. It should be linked to their bonuses. It should be linked to their KPIs, and each director should have a KPI that’s linked to diversity. I think that’s where it works. Because I think it’s unfair to expect employees at a lower level to really push that agenda.

Because I’ve been in workplaces where I’ve felt absolutely comfortable. I’ve also been in ones where I felt, “Nobody wants me here.” It’s only whenever I’ve had the support of someone senior, where that journey has been so much easier. So yes, I would say that’s probably something that certainly I would focus on is, who is responsible for ensuring a workplace is diverse?

Julia: That falls within the heading of leadership, and when we think about how learning and development programmes within organisations are there to support leaders and enlightened leadership in challenging times. And exactly as you say, Rosemary, it’s an industry that’s constantly changing. It’s wonderful to hear you talk about the role of fintech and that we’re changing the way that the financial services work, so this should absolutely be sort of intrinsic to that as well.

Louise, I know you’re thinking about leadership. I’d love to hear from you as well in terms of, are there some very specific leadership developments that organisations can really think about, which is then going to create a positive workplace to support individuals, whether it’s mental health conditions and also physical disability, or visible and invisible disability, as well? I’d love your thoughts on what must leaders do? And how organisations must focus upon leadership?

Louise: It’s great to hear Rosemary talking about top-down because that’s something that we go on about a lot. I think it’s quite unfashionable to talk about top-down for certain things. But actually, in the case of mental health, and in the case of hidden disabilities, if it isn’t top-down, it’s not going to make a difference, and it is going to be, as I was saying before, tokenistic. It’s just not going to become an embedded part of that organization’s culture. 

The more that people do that, the more people hear others talking about it, the more confident they will be to do the same.

Leaders need to show that they support the training of individuals to better understand how to spot signs and symptoms of mental ill health. It’s no good just sending Joe off on a course, and nobody in the leadership team is supporting Joe in doing that training and asking Joe, when he or she gets back, how they’ve got on. They also need to make sure that the HR policies and procedures reflect mental wellbeing, and that will help to embed mental wellbeing across the organisation as a whole. Also including mental wellbeing in annual appraisals, so that kind of links to the KPI aspect that Rosemary was talking about. It just needs to become part of what organisations do. And also demonstrating how much they care about mental wellbeing by not sending emails out at 10 o’clock on a Friday night, being mindful of the timing of key communications and things like that.

Probably most important of all, is that senior leaders share their own experiences of mental ill health, how they cope with stress, for example. So that rather than being a sign of weakness, it’s something that’s seen as a sign of strength, a sign of resilience, that, “Yes, work is tough sometimes, and we all feel pressure from work, and this is how I deal with it. And I’m prepared to talk to you about it because it’s not a weakness. It’s not something that should be hidden away.”

What’s really important now, is also recognising the pressure on senior leaders, who are working in a completely different environment to the one that they’ve ever worked in before, and the pressure that that can put on them. We do need to support our senior leaders. I think there’s perhaps sometimes more focus on people lower down within an organisation, but who’s there for the senior leaders to turn to? What support can they be offered, confidentially, if they require it? Because they don’t want their team to think they’re struggling because of the impact that could have on their team.

An approach that we found really useful are our reflective practise groups. We provide a safe space where a senior group of executives can talk about the pressures of work and how it impacts their lives. They’re run and facilitated by a clinical psychologist. So they don’t come up a whinge-fest with everybody moaning about everything that’s terrible. It’s just a unique opportunity for people to talk about how they’re feeling, what they’re finding stressful at the moment, how they’re coping with it, sharing experience with others. The outcomes of those groups aren’t shared with anyone at their management team. They’re confidential and kept within the four walls of the meeting where that’s happening, or the four video screens, if it’s being done virtually. It’s just a demonstration by the organisation of their commitment to people at all levels and the negative impact that work can have on people’s lives, but actually, “That’s okay, and this is how other people have coped with it. And we can all work together to feel more positive again, if we’re struggling.”

Julia: I love the point you made about sort of baking mental health into scorecards and KPIs because now, constantly, we talk about healthy high-performing teams. This is a really important part of that as well.

Something you were talking about earlier, which I’d really love to come to Rosemary on, which is the question of recruitment. Louise, you were talking about onboarding new staff as well. Rosemary, I’d love to get your thoughts on, when we’re thinking about the recruitment of employees, I mean, what advice do you give organisations to make sure that the recruitment process is fully inclusive? And also to onboard employees with visible and invisible disabilities as well?

Rosemary: I think, look at how you recruit, look at the whole process. I’ve recently recruited five disabled people to a board, each of those people were disabled, and they were disabled in very, very different ways. And the usual application process that we have, isn’t it? It’s the dull application form, It’s the personal statement that we write, which I’ve always loathed. So what we did was, some people said they struggled with writing, so we did telephone applications. One person did like a poetry recital for us about why she wanted the role, and what she thought that she could bring to it. It was a real challenge to me, because I’m quite a square when it comes to doing things, and it challenged me as well. But what really makes a big difference, is they could see another disabled person that was involved in this, that there was empathy there, and so I would think, have someone who is disabled, and who’s able to talk, and doesn’t feel bad or feel awkward about talking about their disability.

If I can share something, which I think is really important, that touches on what Louise spoke about earlier. I went, as part of a panel, to go and talk at a large city law firm about hidden impairments, hidden disability in the workplace. Then there was a Q and A session afterwards. A person stood up and said, “I haven’t told anybody about this before, but I just want to let you all know that I’m deaf.” She’d worked there for seven years and had not told anyone she was deaf. She’d relied on lip reading and she’d avoided going out, social situations. She didn’t want to tell anyone that she was deaf because she thought it would affect her career. And her line manager was devastated that he didn’t know this, and felt that he, “What could I have done to find out?”

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to find out, because if someone doesn’t want to divulge that, that’s their right. The only thing that you can do is to keep putting across very clear messaging about, “Here’s what support you can get. We want to make sure that we have a diverse workforce. If you want to go and talk with people.” I think informal networks are really good with that. It’s easier for me, people can see, or they think they know when they see me, what my access needs are. It’s just kind of having that, where someone can maybe go to an older disabled person or a disabled person in the workplace that has been there longer, and say, “Look, I’m living with this condition. I’m finding it’s starting to change. I’m not coping as well as I used to be able to do. What do I do about this?” Rather than going to a non-disabled line manager, or a non-disabled person in HR, who wouldn’t have, and why would they have knowledge of impairment and disability?

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years, managing teams of disabled and non-disabled people, is my goodness, what I don’t know about access and what I didn’t know about how to make reasonable adjustments. It’s been really, really helpful to me, and it’s made me think about, “Okay, well, what do I need to do?” And that, that was said, about starting every team meeting with, “How are all of you all?”, starting a one to one supervision with, “How are you? How’s the family? How’s…”, rather than, “Did you do that? Did you finish that report?” Because people with, and I say this as someone who’s had some mental health issues that I’ve dealt with over the years, you hide it, of course you hide it, because it’s something we don’t like to talk about. And we have to, we have to talk about it.

I would agree with what Louise said as well about, how do we better support our senior management in this? How do I better support my senior managers to understand my disability and my needs better? These are all really important things.

Julia: I think that’s a perfect moment, where we’re going to bring in Cynthia Akinsanya, because she has some research to support today’s discussion.

Cynthia: Disabled employees, working from home during lockdown, say they have been more productive and took fewer days off sick than when they were doing their jobs in the office, according to a survey published in August ’20 by UNISON. The union is now calling on the government to give disabled people a right to work from home if they wish, and for employers to face penalties if they don’t comply. “Disabled employees should have the right under equality laws, to reasonable adjustments to reduce the effect of their disability,” says UNISON. This includes working from home, but UNISON has been told by workers that many employers argue that this doesn’t count as a reasonable change to their employment arrangements. Figures released by the union, based on responses from more than 4,000 disabled workers across the UK, show that half worked from home during the COVID crisis. This is a huge increase on the one in 20 who say they usually do this.

Julia: Thanks, Cynthia. The links to the research can be found on our website, divercitypodcast.com. That’s where you can find all our episodes and sign up for early notifications of future recordings. Please do follow us on Twitter @divercitypod, and DiverCity Podcast is available on BrightTALK and all good podcast channels. We’d love a rating because it all helps to promote the show.

As we go into the last few moments of this episode, I’m really keen to hear your thoughts on a question that I’m asking pretty much everybody at the moment. And that is, we are heading into tough times, it’s very clear. As we navigate, what is absolutely going to be an economic downturn, your views would be very welcome on why it’s essential that diversity and inclusion must remain high on corporate agendas. It’s very easy for it to be sidelined. Particularly representing the interests of employees with visible or invisible disabilities and mental health, Louise, may I come to you, first of all? Why must D&I remain high?

Louise: I think, first of all, we should always remember that better psychological wellbeing is associated with higher levels of productivity among the workforce. Employees in good health, we know, can be up to three times more productive than those in poor health. There are several studies now that show that good workplace mental health is the key ingredient for effectiveness of high performance and high efficiency work practises that have the most impact on productivity growth. So it goes without saying that if you want to remain successful, despite challenges around you, you need to support the mental wellbeing of your workforce.

Professor Alex Edmans at the London Business School has said that companies that treat their workers better do better. He’s done a significant amount of research, looking into that and understanding the impact that treating your workers better can have on company performance. Along those lines, we’d argue that organisations that recognise the contribution that every single employee can make and understand the impact that a positive mental health culture has on everyone, will be far better placed to navigate their way through the uncertainties we have ahead of us. Because if you create a positive environment for everybody to work in, that’s going to cost far less than failing to do so, when you think about the cost of attrition on businesses. By supporting the team that you’ve got, that makes much more financial sense than losing people and training up replacements, or spreading your staff more thinly. By understanding the needs of everybody within the organisation, you can get the most out of every individual and keep productivity levels high.

Julia: A very compelling reason, if ever I’ve heard one. Rosemary, may I turn to you? I’d love, as you wrap up the show, your thoughts as well, about why diversity inclusion really matters right now.

Rosemary: In terms of disability, two things come to mind, when I think of disabled people, resilience, problem-solving. Disabled people constantly show resilience, having to adapt to changing conditions. Problem-solving, having to live in a world that doesn’t meet your needs. In the workplace, I want the resilient employee, and I want someone who knows how to solve problems. That’s what any company wants in their workplace, and if you want that, you will find it so much in disabled people. Because we are going to be going through lots of change going forward, and people will need a lot of resilience. I think disabled people are champions of that, as I can think of so many examples where I’ve seen that in the workplace over the years.

Julia: I think that’s a very inspiring way to end the show. I can’t tell you how much I’ve really enjoyed the conversation. Not only because it’s covered an incredibly important topic right now, but also particularly for your insights, your perspectives, your experience.

Louise, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been great to have you on the show.

Louise: Thank you. I really enjoyed it.

Julia: Thank you. And Rosemary, thank you so much for joining us today.

Rosemary: Thank you. It’s been really great.

Julia: As always, to all our listeners at Divercity Podcast, thank you for listening. I’ve been Julia Streets. Thank you.

Kieron: This episode of the DiverCity Podcast was produced by me, Kieron Yates, on behalf of Julia Streets Productions. Thanks to Cynthia Akinsanya for her insights. You can find out more about the guests on this week’s show on our website, divercitypodcast.com. Whilst you are there, you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates.

To be sure of catching all our future podcasts, subscribe to our feed on iTunes, or your favourite podcast app. And, if you’ve enjoyed this episode of DiverCity Podcast, remember to give us a rating or review. This all helps promote the show to a wider audience. Finally, our Twitter handle is @divercitypod. Thanks for listening.