#TakeFiveWith Rosie Clarke
Could you tell us about yourself and your job role? And one hobby/fun fact?
My name is Rosie Clarke and I like to go to the theatre. I particularly like the ballet because as a child I went to dance school up until I went off to university. Even though I don’t dance now, I really love to watch the dancers perform ballet moves I used to practice.
I’m also a Senior Diversity and Inclusion consultant for Inclusive Employers, a Diversity and Inclusion consultancy. My job includes going out to organisations, meeting with them, finding out how they want to improve their workforce inclusion and then providing them with advice and guidance.
For example, an organisation might say they’re struggling to attract a diverse population of people to their job roles and we would advise them on how they could improve the recruitment process. For example we may tell them if you’re not very clear about how you can make reasonable adjustments or how welcoming you are to disabled candidates, some people with disabilities may not apply because they may not be sure their needs will be met.
What is a typical day like for you?
There isn’t really a typical day because this is probably the most varied job I have ever had. But the things I do regularly are things like visiting our members, who have an ongoing relationship with Inclusive Employers. I could be visiting any of our members in Manchester or Leeds or in South Yorkshire and sitting with them in their office for an hour talking about what they’re doing and giving them advice.
I might then go onto another meeting or do some planning and research. We need to keep up to date with what is the best practice and how the law is changing in relation to Diversity and Inclusion. It’s important that we do the research and reading to provide the best advice.
I also provide training – so some of my time will be spent preparing to deliver it e.g. getting the presentation together, preparing activities or exercises for the delegates, etc.
Could you tell us how you got into your role?
I got into my role in a very unusual way. Lots of people working in Diversity and Inclusion start their career in HR, but I started my career from a training angle.
My original degree is in Theatre and Performance and throughout that degree I was working with communities, running Arts and Drama based workshops that would help the delegates work on their communication skills.
I worked with a lot of people with learning disabilities on developing their independence skills. We would roleplay situations like going to a shop, handling money, speaking to a cashier, etc. Lots of those things can be quite difficult if you have a learning disability or don’t understand the social environment, so we pretended to do those tasks in a safe space in a drama studio until the delegates built the confidence to do it in the outside world.
That was where I started my career doing Arts workshops particularly for people with learning disabilities, but also with lots of young people who had a difficult start in life and struggling emotionally. Then I worked at the local authority in a local council with young people and families who had a lot of barriers to getting a job – which gave me a lot of project management and strategic skills.
Through the arts and social services I got really passionate about how work can completely change people’s lives – which inspired me to join the council’s inclusion group. I volunteered to get involved with them by signing the council up for Inclusive Employer’s National Inclusion Week campaign and participating in it made me realise that I wanted a career in Inclusion. So a year later, I applied to become a junior consultant at Inclusive Employers, got the job and have been working with the company for three years!
What motivates you to do a good job?
I think work is an opportunity for people. I appreciate that not everyone can work and think that we as a society should support those people, but there are lots of people who can’t work because we as a society are putting up barriers in their way. It’s not anything to do with them – it’s that we haven’t educated or looked after them appropriately or we make applying for a job so difficult that they never get one.
I feel passionate that those who have the innate ability or are well enough to work should be able to because I feel it would unlock their full potential. I’m studying for a Masters degree at the moment and one of the subjects I’m interested in is self-actualisation. It’s the theory that we all strive to self-actualise – to be the person we want to be. And when if we can’t reach that, we become unwell and unhappy.
I feel like work is part of self-actualisation – it’s being who you want to be, you get to develop skills and have relationships with people. It’s not always easy but it helps you grow and after you overcome an obstacle, you feel better.
I enjoy what I do because I think work is important for our health.
How do you learn at work?
I learn from my colleagues – everyone at Inclusive Employers has come to us from a different background (professionally, personal, race, religion, etc.). And I think a lot of what I learn is from them by having conversations, sharing personal or professional experiences, etc. I feel that is a really good way of learning in a nice environment where people can share things about themselves, and that’s really important to me in the place that I work, that people can share who they are.
I also learn from attending events, conferences and workshops within the industry. For example, I went to an NHS conference in Lincolnshire that was about BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people and what the NHS could do to advance equality for BAME people.
I also have an Audible account and listen to a lot of books related to what I do – I’m halfway through a psychology book called ‘The Idiot Brain’. It’s by a neuroscientist who explains the brain in layman’s terms – for example how the brain remembers. I’m very interested in why people are the way they are because if you want to get people to change, accept others and to work with different people – you have to understand why they may not do that already.
What are your aims for the next year? For example, if you work in accessibility do you have any plans to help make workplaces more inclusive? If you work in Learning and Development how are you going to promote workplace learning?
I would like to grow the services Inclusive Employers provide in the North of England. I have big aspirations as to how we can expand beyond the South of England, push our clients to be even more inclusive and see what they can do next to support everyday inclusion.
Personally, I will push on with my Masters Degree in Psychology because I think it will make me better at influencing people to change. Often, we go into organisations and there are blockers – such as people who don’t naturally get inclusion or accessibility. Some people just do, but others don’t and it can be hard to get them to change if they don’t understand why they should.
I think my degree will help me understand people’s individual motivations and develop services that are more tailored to different communities. For example, I’m White British so I think it’s important for me to make an effort to understand what it’s like to be a BAME person in Britain and I think my degree will help me do that, even though I may never share those experiences.
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