Category: testimonial, Mental Health, Gender Focus, mental health initiative, Staff Testimonial, mental health first aiders, female, Female officer, Intellectual Property Office, IPO, mental health awareness, mental health in workplace, mental health at work, female focus, female staff, mental health group
I started my Civil Service career as an HR Admin Officer in IPO. I only expected to stay six months as a stop gap after completing my degree in Graphic Design but nearly 21 years later I am still here! It was soon clear that the IPO and the wider Civil Service could offer me a challenging and fulfilling career where I would get plenty of opportunity to develop my skills within an environment where I could be myself. After a series of corporate roles in Facilities Management and our corporate Secretariat outside of HR I recognised that HR was the place for me. I have a mixture of skill sets and whilst my creative brain gets excited by new initiatives and change, I also have a quite analytical side which loves numbers and problem solving. This is why a lot of my HR career specialising in pay and reward. I left IPO in 2010 and spent four years in the Department for Business which really broadened my skills and helped me understand more about how Whitehall works gave me exposure to Ministers and helped hone my negotiation skills with Cabinet Office and HM Treasury.
Sadly I didn’t have the best work-life balance with all the travel from Wales to London and it took a toll on my mental health. Thankfully I had incredible support in BEIS from my line manager. I came back to IPO in 2014 as Head of Pay and Reward and was able to open about my mental health struggles immediately and had terrific support. I took the lead on Diversity and Inclusion in the organisation in addition to my day job and as an extrovert I get my energy from people and love using creative solutions to make the organisation better. I have the perfect job which balances my analytical skills and my passion for inclusion.
Over the last 6 years I am very proud of the progress IPO has made towards being an inclusive employer where diversity is represented and encouraged. From achievements such as becoming a Top Employer for Working Families, to our progress on LGBT+ inclusion as evidenced through our ranking in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index to the work to become a Disability Confident leader. I think IPO is a Brilliant place to work and seeing the stories that our people are willing to tell about themselves is wonderful to see that they can be themselves in work is the most satisfying thing about my job. We are still on a journey but I am enjoying the ride!
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