Category: Awards, WORKPLACE, Manager, Support, confidence, skills, employees, resource, cultural
Those of you who know a bit about PurpleSpace will be aware of our mission to help employers to retain and attract purple talent by learning directly from disabled employees via the establishment of disability networks and resource groups.
We feel so passionately about the role of networks and resource groups in supporting inner confidence and driving cultural change on disability, that our CEO Kate Nash OBE coined the term ‘Networkologist’ to describe those employees who develop the skills to support disabled colleagues and help their employer to grow disability confidence.
PurpleSpace were therefore delighted to hear that two of our members and fellow ‘Networkologists’ Giles Barker from Transport for London and Sarah Banks of the Ministry of Defence have been awarded a British Empire Medal and an MBE in recognition of their work.
We caught up with Sarah and Giles to congratulate them and to hear what the recognition meant to them.
Sarah a recent recipient of our Equal Approach leadership bursary scheme said: “To receive this honour in recognition of the work I do to promote the disability agenda is truly awesome.
As a group, the ‘Defence Disability Network’ works together to make sure that line managers and disabled staff know where to go for further advice, to make us a more disability-confident employer and ensure the wellbeing of disabled staff. Ultimately we want to create an inclusive workplace where everyone can be themselves regardless of who they are.
It has been a privilege to work with disabled colleagues and hear their experiences, and, when necessary, to intervene and successfully address any problems which they might experience in the workplace on top of a busy day job which makes it more empowering.
I hope to use my new profile to continue to make a difference by influencing others and to continue giving constructive challenge and inspire further cultural and behavioural changes after putting in years of effort for the benefit of civil service colleagues and for the MOD as a whole.
It’s about the behaviours which we demonstrate and the relationships which we form with others. Despite the fact that my particular disability (cerebral palsy), has deteriorated as I have got older, I have not let that stop me learning and communicating. I realised that I have found an area that I am passionate about and have been able to make a difference and inspire cultural and behavioural change. Obtaining a PurpleSpace Bursary has provided me with new and exciting opportunities to further my awareness and meet with other fantastic disability advocates. I am always looking to increase my own knowledge and the understanding of others and share best practice.
I’ve always believed that you should “be done, as you would be done by”. In other words, treat people as you would like to be treated. Everyone deserves to be feel respected, valued and to be able to make a valid contribution to the work place and wider society without facing barriers. As leaders within the Civil Service, there is much which we can do to make sure that is the case. Disability touches all of us at some point in our lives and we need to celebrate the diversity of being different!”
Giles who is one of our most experienced members added:
“I am hugely grateful for receiving this award as this celebrates the impact of my leadership skills to encourage and create corporate wide change. It also gives some recognition to the listening, coaching and mentoring side of the role which is often hidden from public view. I hope this award will help to raise the growing profile of staff networks, especially in the Civil Service and Public Sector and highlight the remarkable professional development opportunities that working with staff network groups brings. It has also been hugely gratifying to see PurpleSpace, a professional development hub for disability networks, harnessing, nurturing and promoting disability talent in the most effective way possible."
To find out more about PurpleSpace, please click here.
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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email [email protected] for more information.
We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.