Inclusive Growth Show

Everything You Wanted To Know About Disability But Were Too Afraid To Ask

April 25, 2023 Toby Mildon Episode 99
Inclusive Growth Show
Everything You Wanted To Know About Disability But Were Too Afraid To Ask
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of the Inclusive Growth Show, I was joined by my colleague, Luis, and two clients, Mica and Jeremy who both work within EDI in the UK National Health Service known as the NHS.

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Speaker 1: Welcome to The Inclusive Growth Show with Toby Mildon, future-proofing your business by creating a diverse workplace.

Toby Mildon: Hello there, thank you ever so much for tuning into this episode of the Inclusive Growth Podcast. I'm Toby Mildon, and today you are getting four of us. Normally it's me plus one, but we've got four. So joined by two clients today, Mica and Jeremy who both work for the National Health Service in the UK. Hi, both. Thanks for joining us.

Jeremy: Delighted to be here.

Mica: Hello.

Jeremy: Fabulous, what a great team you are.

Mica: Thanks for having us.

Toby Mildon: Thank you, and we're also joined by my coworker Luis.

Luis: Hi everyone, great to be here for the first time on such a great podcast.

Toby Mildon: Cool. So we have got quite a conversation in store for you today because Mica and Jeremy are clients of ours and as I said they work for the NHS and I'll ask them to introduce themselves in a bit and what they do. 'Cause obviously the NHS is a huge organization in the UK covering all corners of the country. And Luis and I both delivered a talk for colleagues at the NHS called everything you wanted to know about disability but were too afraid to ask. It's a bit of a mouthful, but there is some logic behind our madness of labeling the workshop in that way, which we can explain in a bit. But before we dive in, Mica, how about you? Can you go first, can you just explain a bit about who you are, what you do, your background and which part of the NHS you're in? 

Mica: Yeah, so my name's Mica McDonald. I'm the team administrator for the equality, diversity and inclusion team in NELFT. I've been in this team for two years now, I've been in healthcare for around 10 years. So I started out working in mental health ward as a support worker and then sort of worked my way doing senior support work and then working across different roles such as personality disorder and psychiatric intensive care, and a non disability board. So then I sort of branched into the administration side 'cause I was always providing that sort of support and then here we are now, 10 years later now I'm in the EDI team and I love it, so yeah.

Toby Mildon: Brilliant.

Mica: about me.

Toby Mildon: Yeah. And you mentioned NELFT and just probably should clarify that stands for North East London Foundation Trust.

Mica: Yes, that's the one.

Toby Mildon: Cool brilliant, thank you. Jeremy, how about you? What's your background? What do you do? 

Jeremy: And isn't Mica a great member of the team? I mean, she is so enthusiastic. She's fabulous to work with. Mica and I often refer to each other as twins.

Mica: Twinnies.

Jeremy: Yeah we really do think quite alike, but I am new to the equality diversity and inclusion team. I've only been here some months. My previous role within NELFT and that was my first job within the NHS was in corporate communications. I was the sole designer for the whole trust. So with about six and a half thousand members of staff at NELFT, I created and delivered all the communications with the team but I designed it all. But I migrated over to the equality diversity inclusion team because they were fun and they had Mica in there and they had a hardship bounce in there and it was like meeting great people like you.

Jeremy: And it was just the reason why I joined NELFT and NHS in general because we have diversity, we have such a broad scope of staff and users of our service that I just love it. But my previous roles in life has been as a freelance designer working in corporate roles. And I just like and love working in small teams and EDI with Mica was a perfectly formed small team delivering really good high quality training and awareness sessions and that's how we met you, Toby, because you were booked in, you were delivering and you delivered a fantastic series of talks for us and you're gonna do more in the future so, fab.

Toby Mildon: Thanks Jeremy, thank you.

Mica: I just would like to add that I equally love Jeremy and it doesn't feel like he's only been in the team a few months. I refuse to accept that piece of information, so.

Jeremy: Oh yeah, oh yeah. We're there, we're there.

Toby Mildon: It sounds like there's a lot of team loving going on.

[laughter]

Mica: We're twinnies for a reason, we're twinnies for a reason.

Jeremy: We really bounce off ideas and I think that's really makes us a really fantastic team. And my philosophy throughout the whole life has been no idea is a bad idea. Whether it comes from a cleaner, whether it comes from a chief exec or whether it comes from your fellow colleagues. Any idea is a really good way of promoting in this case, equality, diversity and inclusion. And Mica and I have had such a good bounce of ideas between us. And we have said, yeah, this is fabulous and more of it later, but BSL, British Sign language is just a great opportunity for NELFT.

Toby Mildon: Brilliant...

Mica: And just, sorry, sorry. I just think it as well, because we have that passion and it links in so well, Toby and Luis with the sessions that you deliver and what we wanna continue doing, we could work together. I think we all have that passion and we have those similar qualities, I think that's why that's like so great as well.

Toby Mildon: Definitely, that's great. And we we're a very passionate team about this and it's so lovely to work with like-minded clients who are also passionate about it. And Luis, it'd be really good if you could introduce yourself 'cause obviously you don't normally come on these podcasts. You are...

Mica: special privilege today.

[laughter]

Toby Mildon: Yeah, we've got extra special guests and what the person listening to us right now won't be able to see is that Luis and I have the same disability. So we're both wheelchair users, we were both born with a genetic neuromuscular disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. But one thing that we did talk about in our talks with you at the NHS is actually how we have very unique lived experiences of that. And the intersectionality between something say like disability and nationality. So Luis, do you want to just jump in and let us know a bit more about your background? 

Luis: Sure. Okay. Thanks Toby for being here. I do feel like a extra special guest, but I obviously joined Toby's team early last year, and my background is not D&I related, but it is very much around working with people and it was predominantly business development and sales. But I've really seemed to have find a real good spot in my career where I feel like I am really getting a return on investment for the time that I'm putting in behind my desk. I get to help organizations understand the dynamic of disability and help them support people within their organizations that have disabilities and for me that that's really a privilege.

Toby Mildon: Great, so Mica and Jeremy, dunno if you've ever come across the work by Simon Sinek, he's a bit of a management guru and he wrote a fantastic book called, Start With Why. He says that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Why did you ask us to come in and and do a couple of sessions around disability inclusion for you? 

Mica: Jeremy, do you wanna start that or? 

[laughter]

Jeremy: Okay, well first of all, you've written a fantastic book, Inclusive Growth and that for me was my catalyst for understanding disabilities and certainly from my limited experience, is the fact that diversity includes everyone. And certainly you and your story and your opportunity to actually explain that actually diversity in the workplace should be embraced is a really positive message. And to bring awareness that everybody has a really positive contribution to every workplace and every opportunity to meet different people and that's where I saw your session with us to really bring that alive. And as you say, a concept is fine but really you're buying from people, you're buying into the personal story that people have. And that's how I respond and that's how colleagues are, NELFT responded to your talk in the fact that we really resonated with how you, I wouldn't say battled, but you really wanted to raise your whole profile and actually contribute to the workplace. And I think that's a really excellent attribute and we've taken that through to other things that we've done within NELFT, but you were the spark of getting that going. And between yourself and Luis, I really think that your voice in our working community is absolutely brilliant and inspirational. And that's why I think Inclusive Growth as a book is fabulous.

Toby Mildon: Thanks, and just clarify, you're not getting any commission, are you.

[chuckle]

Jeremy: He's really good, he's very thorough. Like Jeremy will absolutely, he knows what he's doing. I think to follow up with what Jeremy said, I think it's really powerful when you have people's actual own experiences 'cause we can all talk and sort of read from something and go by facts and figures that we find, but actually when you talk about your own experience, it's how you, then you resonate with people and that hits you, it's more powerful. So I think it's also that little bit extra special that you both have the same condition, you and Luis, but you have your own perspectives, your own different stories about how you came to where you are now and where you started from and your experiences in your life. And I think that is immediately so engaging and that's why that adds to the buy in from people. So when people join your session, they're like, this is really... This isn't just any old training, you know what I mean? [0:11:01.0] ____ but this isn't any training, this is more than training, it should have [0:11:08.3] ____ voice because it's, I think it's that powerful maybe I'm biased sorry, [chuckle] Sorry.

[laughter]

Toby Mildon: That's cool, that's cool. I mean, Luis, maybe do you wanna touch on how our kind of personal stories are different and how we communicate those in the training? 'Cause that's kind of the first bit of this particular talk that we do, isn't it? 

Luis: Sure.

Toby Mildon: We kind of just introduce ourselves, but our introductions are quite different.

Luis: Sure, yeah for those of you who don't recognize the twang in my accent. [laughter] I am originally from South Africa and that presents a whole different set of barriers in comparison to Toby's life growing up and the career that he's developed. And we share our story because it allows people to kind of get into what it was like for us growing up and trying to find our place in the world and putting our imprint on our, on the workplaces that we were involved in.

Luis: So when we look at my life and my career, most of that has been barrier orientated. So there are a lot of gaps in my CV and there are a lot of interviews where I was actually the perfect person for the job, but because the work environment couldn't cater to my kind of requirements that I need around my disability, I never got the job. And the infrastructure in South Africa is not what it is here in the UK. So that played a role in how I progressed in my career as well.

Luis: And I think that the kind major differences are, is Toby comes from a country that has had a lot of advocacy for people with disabilities, from the past that are starting to have the ripple on effects from the people who really done amazing things and convincing government to really take us seriously as individuals and as people that really matter. And in South Africa, that's not really the case. I mean, there are people on the front lines, but their voices are not being heard as loud and clear as what we see in Europe, in UK and in the US so...

Toby Mildon: Yeah, and I think one of the things that I think is particularly relevant for our client here, the NHS is linking NHS with or healthcare with privilege as well. So, you know, I was born in the UK where we've got free healthcare at point of need. The NHS has sustained and saved my life on more than one occasion. But having that kind of healthcare safety net has meant that I could go off to university, I could get a job in the city that led to me working with companies like Accenture and the BBC. But obviously growing up in South Africa, Luis, you had a very different experience of accessing healthcare, didn't you? 

Luis: Oh yeah, absolutely. So whilst there is a government healthcare system in place, it's a really poor system. So it's really hard to get access to things that you need. And when I look at when you want a high standard level of care, which is really required for our condition, I had to have private medical insurance, which cost £300 a month just for myself because I have a preexisting condition. But also there is no access to life-changing medication like there is here in the UK and Europe and the US. But I'm on a new treatment for SMA, like Toby is and that would never have been at my disposal in South Africa. I would've had to have been a multi multimillionaire to be able to afford the treatment.

Jeremy: I think what's interesting...

Mica: I think that's really empowering for people to hear. Sorry Jeremy.

Jeremy: 

Mica: No, I just think that's really empowering for people to hear and I think that's another way it really resonates and relates because not everyone has the same circumstances. They're not all in the same place and everyone has different things that shape their life. So to sort of not be letting that be the winning factor, you said no, I don't accept this, and you came and you've sort of overcome those challenges there's been other challenges, but you overcome that part of it. And I think that speaks to people that have had something similar or maybe aren't aware that that might happen and then it speaks to them on that level.

Toby Mildon: Yeah. Mica what did your colleagues take away from the, the stories that Louie and I talked about in our presentations? 

Mica: I mean, I remember first was just people were saying, we need this. We need... Why aren't more people doing this? We need this again. And I think, a lot of the feedback was around we should have this rolling out to all managers. All managers should be on this training, 'cause we put out anyone is welcome to join it. But they were saying naturally, specifically, we should go for managers having it first as like a starting point and then try and get more people to do it, because it was that important.

Toby Mildon: Absolutely, Jeremy what...

Luis: Jeremy, I know I cut you off before. Sorry, Jeremy.

[laughter]

Toby Mildon: What's your thoughts, Jeremy? What did you notice your colleagues...

Mica: Well, it's kinda interesting because, the feedback that I got was that lived experience of all the challenges that you faced. I think the important thing for us as an organization as NELFT and for staff that work within the NHS is not to be afraid of confronting disability and accepting disability and working with people with disability. I think it's very easy for people to say, oh my goodness, am I going to be offensive the way that I address you, the way that I approach you? Are you going to take offense? Am I going to take... Am I going to say something that's inappropriate? And I think what they took away from your lived experience was the fact that we are people. We make a positive contribution. We think exactly like you but we have a disability which like you were saying, Toby, the NHS has guided you through and helped.

Jeremy: But it is, the session that you had for us was to dispel that fear of a disability. And that to me was the crucial thing. We've gone through disability confident process, which is a kind of government backed scheme where we develop our disability approach as an organization. And we were very fortunate that last year we had disability confident leader status. And that means that having gone through two or three different layers of essentially awareness or training for our staff, we are at a leadership level. So we are very proud of that. But it's NELFT as a whole that has embraced disability. And so that we can learn from you, but we can also impart our knowledge to others. And our staff have really embraced that. And your session, your awareness really embraced all that ethos of what disability contribution can make in the workplace.

Toby Mildon: I'm really pleased that you have got to that disability confident leader 'cause like not many organizations get to that level. And it is something that we talked about in the presentation, and I mean the Disability Confident Leader standard basically has got kind of two asks of an organization and that is how do you attract and recruit disabled people into your organization, and then how do you retain and develop disabled people. And in the talk we shared with you some examples of what good practice looks like. But I mean, what is your trust been doing to attract and recruit disabled people to come and work for you? 

Jeremy: Really interesting. Only yesterday, we have a new starter at NELFT and she has impaired hearing. And she sent an email to the EDI team and said, "Can you supply a BSL sign interpreter so that she could go through the interview process?" And our whole idea behind our disability confident leader status is the fact that we try and make the whole induction and interview process equal for everybody and whatever disability that have and whatever diverse range of staff that we have. Having a BSL interpreter on site on hand, is a real bonus. And we've as a EDI team, we spend a huge amount of resources covering that for all nationalities. Whether it is sign language or whether you speak French, Latin, Swahili, or Cockney. [laughter] It's all there.

Mica: Low acquisition. [laughter]

Jeremy: Yeah. But in this case, BSL, and I think that is a campaign that Mica has and she's championed is in the fact that we should all be aware of British sign language and offering just a little bit of breaking down those barriers between users of our service and ourselves. That little breaking down the barrier is so crucial for those first 5 minutes of offering a service. Mica how have you found our three cohorts and our waiting list for BSL? 

Mica: Well, I wanna first say that helps you build rapport as well. Jeremy, following on from what you were saying, when you break down those communication barriers, you can immediately connect with somebody. And then just to add to what you asked Toby, that's one of the ways, we wanna recruit people and we encourage people with disabilities to come to us. We wanna be their best care by the best people. We also have the health passport, don't we Jeremy? Which we always talk about, is how to get up. I know people can't see it 'cause it's a podcast, but we have it. People can take that throughout their entire Nells career and it's something, it's for them, it's your passport will get you in and out the country basically. It's the same. Is whatever needs and support you have, you put that in there and you take that and you go to your line manager and that supports you throughout.

Mica: That is your tool basically. And we've recently developed a mental health passport in the same vein. Again, it's another sort of, that's our approach is we absolutely welcome it and we've got much available, much support. And again, we talk about it on our induction presentation. We talk about all the networks that we have regarding the protected characteristics. That's how inclusive and diverse we are. And we want you to not feel afraid. If there is a barrier, then we wanna kind of push through it and with disability confidently the level 3. But we are not sitting being a complacent in that. Like Jeremy said, we've got this massive idea to do BSL and it sort of become, it started out as a little project and I started learning it and there was our group, our cohort 1, then we had a cohort 2, then we got put on the next module.

Mica: And now every time we talk about it, we get an influx of people saying we wanna learn BSL. And it's amazing, and I love it that it's really generated so much and it feeds into disability confident leaders, and it feeds into a relatively, all our networks that we have, the hearing support network that we have is quite small. And we wanna really build that up because the disability network is a really popular network. We have great attendance for that. It's just... We've got a massive project, haven't it, Jeremy? This BSL, it's been so great learning it as well. And every, we get much positive feedback from the people that have learned it, the people that wanna learn it and yeah.

Jeremy: Yeah, I mean, what's interesting is the fact that we've got something like 120 people on a waiting list. I mean, if you think that you have clinical staff, you have corporate staff right down to what I would call our accountants and our kind of admin support staff or wanting to learn BSL, we're never going to be interpreters much the same way that, we personally don't live an awful lot of the disabilities that we have in our trust. But making that little better difference, goes a long way. I mean, I have glaucoma I'm slowly going blind, but looking at me, it's a hidden disability, nobody would know. But the more I talk about it, and hence why we got you Toby on board, was the fact that if you more you talk about things, the less fearful you are of the whole thing. And therefore you are spreading the word that whatever disability people have, they can all make a positive contribution.

Mica: Well, I think that is well, is what would help encourage me if people with a disability say, "Oh, I can see that trust in that organization," There's not just senior people, it's of all staff. There's someone there that you can see that you think I identify with you. And I think that helps. Again, you think, "Okay, I feel safety." And then that encourages people that the people I wanna work with.

Toby Mildon: Definitely.

S?: If your company has a great diversity and inclusion strategy, if your organization has an amazing work culture where productivity is peaking, if the best talent in your industry are working for you, if all your employees are happy and feel included, then feel free to skip this message for about 30 seconds and continue listening to the podcast interview with Toby. But if you feel that your company is lacking in any one of these areas, your employer reputation is TIG in a hit. Toby Mildon is one of the UK's lead in diversity and inclusion experts who has helped top companies like Deloitte, the BBC, Sony Pictures, and Centrica, as well as numerous scale of businesses who want an outstanding inclusive culture. To go further in your diversity and inclusion journey, log onto to Toby's webinar @www.mildon.co.uk/free-webinar, to accelerate your company's diversity and inclusion strategy in 40 minutes. Thanks for listening. And now back to the podcast interview with Toby.

Toby Mildon: This is something that we cover in the talk as well about the, I suppose like some of the misconceptions about employing disabled people and Luis, do you want to kind of share what some of those misconceptions are, but then I suppose what the flip side of those might be? 

Luis: Sure, sure. So I really love doing this part of the talk because I believe it really helps to change people's perceptions. So one of the things we identify is that sometimes employers feel that they're really frustrated and struggling to support their disabled staff because people aren't really identifying that they have disabilities. And that's mostly coming from a position of people that feel unsafe and they are worried and concerned of sharing their disability with their employers because it might negatively affect their employment. We also talk about some of the workplace adjustments that employers are concerned about and the fact that it costs a lot of money to make those adjustments. But in reality, when we go to the flip side of things, workplace adjustments don't really cost anything.

Luis: It's just about having a creative mentality to how your workplace and processes are developed. When we look at the cost of things it's generally in the region of £500 if you are spending money on a workplace adjustment. And we try to encourage organizations to create that environment where people can feel safe and disclose their disability because you are wanting to know so that you can support it better and not because it's for a tick box exercise or because you need to disclose data in the report of how many disabled staff you have.

Mica: I think that's key. 'Cause sometimes things do get tick boxy and then that's not sincere. It's not genuine. And why do it? I think do it with dignity and intention and with good, like everything you've said, I think do it because you want to do it because it's important, not because, oh, we're just gonna do that. No.

Luis: Yes.

Mica: That's not the mentality.

Luis: Yes. And I think for organizations that are offering products and services to the public as well, when you have disabled employees as part of your workforce, it really makes it a lot easier for you to identify with the customers you're trying to serve.

Toby Mildon: Absolutely.

Mica: It's surprising this feedback we get in our induction presentation, we do it every month and obviously people come from different trusts and different everything and every month we'll get someone who says, I've never seen a team, there's so much that you do. 'Cause we talk about reasonable adjustments, we talk about the external people that we've work with like yourselves and the training that they provide and that links in with the networks, we kind of link everything together and then people are really surprised because they've come from places where that isn't really visible or existing and they're just really surprised and relieved, I guess sometimes that it's safe, people will put in the chat or they'll speak to us after and say, actually I do have a disability. Because like Jeremy said, he has glaucoma, he says that in every presentation. He's very open about that. So I think that's, again, that speaks to people.

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Jeremy: It's interesting in our induction process that Mica and I give to new staff is that we try and encourage everybody to be open about their disability because I think that as individuals like you, Toby, when we had your session, you were very open about your struggles and your disability. And I think that if you are opening up the conversation about having uncomfortable conversations. It actually, in the long run, I mean, certainly for me enabled me to empower myself and not to be afraid of my disability, but actually help others to vocalize and come to terms with their own disability. And it was during one of our induction processes for new staff that were coming in that somebody said, well, I came from a previous trust and we have a badge that said I am autistic. Do you have that at NELFT? 

Jeremy: And remembering your presentation, it was embrace change and embrace honesty. And we thought, this is a fabulous idea. Why haven't we done this before? Because what she was saying, being autistic, if you are frontline staff and let's say you are part of admin reception, getting information from users of the service and just saying simple things like your name, address, contact details, why are you here? Because that person is autistic. It just takes a little bit more time. You just need to slow down the whole conversation. And so we are producing, I am autistic badges for all staff so that anybody who has declared themselves or just feels that actually saying, I am autistic for staff and users, just to again, break down that barrier, I think helps the whole workforce. It helps the whole team spirit that we're here for, to help users of our service. And you were instrumental in pushing that understanding. So for that alone, thank you.

Toby Mildon: That's right. I'm glad that we could spark these kinds of conversations and I mean the talk that Luis and I do, so the everything you want to know about disability, but we're too afraid to ask. I know it's a mouthful.

Mica: It's a good mouthful. It's good mouth... It is.

Toby Mildon: When we think about all of the work that we do these talks are really kind of like the beginning of the journey for a lot of organizations, it's what organizations do when they want to just raise awareness, increase engagement on the diversity and inclusion topic 'cause a lot of organizations are starting from that kind of starting position. So I'm really pleased to hear that the talk that we did is a catalyst for you. So what's next in store in your organization? 

Jeremy: I have a definite, again, springboard from your position.

Mica: Try And shut us up. That's more the problem with this podcast. Try and shut us out. No, we had enough. Now it's been three hours. [laughter]

Toby Mildon: What has it started or what is it the catalyst do? 

Jeremy: Well, it's the process when you start a new job, certainly at NELFT you make a declaration on your disability and your occupational health report. That goes to HR. Sometimes people disclose a disability, maybe in my case I have diabetes. When I first joined NELFT, I wasn't under medication. I controlled at all on diet, so I declared that. But over the four years I've been in the NHS, my condition has got worse. And now I am on medication and I disclose that. And the more I talk about it, the more other people say, oh yeah, I've got this condition. But sometimes some people need equipment, they need software, they need reasonable adjustments in the workplace and the Department of Work and Pensions, it's a government department. It takes a long time to get finance for these reasonable adjustments.

Jeremy: Access to Work is a big headache for people who are declaring a disability. One the workplace readjustments. So what we have, again, on a springboard on the back of your presentation, it said we want EDI to be the center to make change possible and make it simpler. So making it easier to get support for staff. We've taken on board as a department, we will buy the equipment, we will facilitate the whole process and then claim it back from Access to Work. What we're trying to do is speed up the process so you are not waiting, five or six months. In one case recently it was 12 months before Access to Work could reimburse them. So that from you was saying, don't be afraid to think differently to make change possible.

Toby Mildon: Absolutely. Luis and I have just been through the Access to Work process ourselves.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Toby Mildon: And I think that the waiting list before they even look at your application was 12 weeks, wasn't it Luis? 

Luis: Correct.

Toby Mildon: When we applied, it's not the fastest moving process in the world.

Luis: COVID probably doesn't help that. COVID slowed everything down. So adds another layer, doesn't it? 

Toby Mildon: Yeah. That has certainly set them back. And they are working through a backlog. Mica and Jeremy, thanks ever so much for taking time out to chat with Luis and I today. I know that you've both got very busy schedules. What is kind of one departing thought each, what would your recommendation be to the person listening to us right now about disability inclusion in their own workplace? 

Mica: In a really biased like, number one plan pathway. I just think they need to get on and book you and have training. Just saying, 'cause obviously I love you, and everyone loves...

Toby Mildon: And again, you are not on commission, are you, Mica? 

[laughter]

Mica: No commission. I can guarantee it. No one is making pennies. It is my own bias, obviously. No, I just think it's a brilliant session and the feedback and the response that we get from everybody. And the power of you as individuals like Toby, you're brilliant, Luis, you are amazing. You're both amazing people. So that is the power and people really need to just get on with that and sign up to everything that you have.

[laughter]

Toby Mildon: Oh, thank you. Jeremy. What's your advice? And the people that listen to us are usually heads of people and senior business leaders. Have you got any advice for them? 

Jeremy: Yeah, don't be afraid. Don't be fearful. Embrace, certainly change, but embrace disability because they are amazing people out there that have great thoughts. They can impact your business and your workplace. And just because they declare a disability does not negate their really creative contribution to the workplace. And it is all about fear. Fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of not doing the right thing, fear of maybe over explaining what the policies of the company is. Just we are all human. And we all understand. Actually fear is good because it makes us do something.

Toby Mildon: Yes.

Jeremy: It kickstarts that adrenaline of change. And for that, I have Toby, I have you to thank for.

Toby Mildon: Thank you.

Mica: And I think if people are listening and they've maybe not made a start and they're new to equality, diversity and inclusion, then it's a great place to start is with, with yourselves and begin that journey. Because that you've heard from me and Jeremy, there's so much positive and there's so much to do. And just because you might get a leaders status level three, you don't have to stop with like, okay, we've just reached the top now. There's always more we can do. So begin that journey, make the first step, whatever it is, make that step.

Toby Mildon: Oh. Thank you. And Luis, what's your kind of parting words of advice to the person listening to us now? 

Luis: That's a really hot question, Toby. I guess from this discussion today, it really just shows the difference. Being open and communicative with the people around you and the difference that can make. And when we understand our people better, it means that we can be better allies all the time and not just some of the time.

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Luis: And taking that on board is gonna be a great step in the right direction.

Toby Mildon: But it's really about that kind of openness, honesty, transparency, and being vulnerable as well and using these in order to be a more inclusive leader in the organization.

Mica: I think Even the title, I'm gonna say that at the beginning, the title of the session, everything you wanna know about disability, but you are afraid to ask that in itself is the immediate that barrier is kind of down because you just say it's there and it's a bit of a, here it is, here we are.

Toby Mildon: Yeah.

Mica: And that's why it's sort of, all [0:39:27.9] ____ stop talking.

[laughter]

Toby Mildon: No, you're right. It sets the tone and that...

Mica: It does.

Toby Mildon: And that's what we wanted because we wanted to create a space where you could ask any question about disability and not be worried about it. Like Jeremy was saying, there's a lot of fear about talking about disability, saying the wrong thing. Putting your foot in it, causing offense. I suppose Luis and I want to facilitate and create that kind of environment where it's okay to ask any question that you like.

Mica: Yeah.

Luis: Absolutely.

Toby Mildon: Well, Jeremy and Mica, thank you ever so much again for taking time out of your busy day. Thanks for all of the great work that you're doing in the health service, keeping the country healthy, and I look forward to continuing to work with you.

Mica: Thank you. Thank you so much. Nice. We always love anything any day where we get to see you too. It's a better day. So thank you for having us.

Toby Mildon: Oh you're welcome. And thank you for tuning into this episode of the Inclusive Growth Podcast with our guests, Mica and Jeremy and Luis who is on my team. If Luis and I can come and deliver our everything you want to know about disability, but we're too afraid to ask, talk within your organization, then just get in touch with us through our website, www.mildon.co.uk or follow us on LinkedIn and we would be very happy to talk to you about that. Until then, take good care of yourself and we'll see you on the next episode of the podcast which is coming up very soon.

Speaker 1: Thank you for listening to the Inclusive Growth Show. For further information and resources from Toby and his team, head on over to our website at mildon.co.uk.