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What’s it like to walk in someone else’s shoes?

What’s it like to walk in someone else’s shoes?

I took this photo at Nottingham Pride in July.  It was the first time I’d been, I went on my own, not part of a group.  I didn’t officially march, but I did jump off the pavement and join in.  The person wearing these killer heels, marched, they meant business.

This year has been a big year for me so far.  I became Chair of the Construction Industry Council (CIC)  Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)  panel and I also undertook the most ambitious project I’ve delivered so far, 1 Hr to Change.

The CIC D&I panel brings together representatives from the professions in our industry including RIBA, RICS, APM, RTPI.  Our purpose is to collaborate and raise awareness about the challenges we are facing in our industry around D&I.  The key thing is, we have a skills shortage and we are not attracting talent from the diverse talent pool that is available to us.  Part of this issue, I believe is that we have created an industry where we can’t be ourselves.  To me, D&I is about everyone being able to bring their whole selves to work, men and women.

I recently vlogged on linked-in about a Client I was working with who told me a story about some advice he was given early on in his career as a Site Manager.  He was struggling to work in the tough, adversarial environment he found himself in.  He was told by his Manager that he had to either put on an act, a mask, or it wasn’t for him.  That attitude definitely still exists today.  Men can’t show emotion and if they do, they are weak.

D&I is about understanding each other and breaking down the barriers but it can be tough if we don’t know how to act, or what to do to create an inclusive environment.  I know of a woman who tried to tell her boss she was gay so she could be open about who she really was.  It was not well received and she felt she had to go back to hiding her personal life and continue to adopt the ‘we’ did this rather than her and her girlfriend.  I worked with a man at the start of my career who is gay but never came out at work, he only talked to people he really trusted, that was 20 years ago and he is still not openly gay.

In June as part of the 1 Hr to Change programme I recorded a podcast and webinar with Sharon Slinger from Constructing Rainbows.  Sharon is an award winning Chartered Quantity Surveyor who worked predominantly with large Contractors prior to setting up her own consultancy advising companies on Diversity and Inclusion.  Sharon has also been involved in setting up a number of LGBT networks in her career and is now co-opted onto the CIC D&I panel.

There is a link below to listen to the podcast and sign up to get access to the webinar for free.  There is some great information in there as to what companies can do to start to generate a more diverse and inclusive culture.  One of the things we can do as individuals is call out bad behaviour.  I did this recently and got a bit of a backlash!  It prompted me to make a video of me ironing….. the link to my Facebook page is HERE to watch the video and hear my story.

If you want to find out more about what you can do, watch the webinar, there are also some great resources available on these websites:

Sustainability Supply Chain School Fairness Inclusion and Respect Toolkit

Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) BAME in Property

Stonewall, a charity who’s mission it is to make lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people feel like they are not alone.  There is a great toolkit here.

Disability Confident a scheme to help employers make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the workplace.

Sharon talks about the importance of stories bringing to life people’s experiences and helping others to understand what it’s like to be in their shoes.  I don’t know the story of the person wearing the amazing shoes in my photograph but I would love to hear your stories, especially any initiatives you have going on in your workplace to encourage diversity and inclusion.

The CIC are working on an exciting new project we are launching in November 2018.  If you want to find out more about this then click HERE to sign up to my newsletter.

The link to Sharon’s podcast and webinar is below.  Have a great week!