In aid of International Women’s Day 2023, we’re shining a light on the inspirational women we work with, collaborate with, or have pure admiration for as female pioneers within their fields.
As part of our Words of Wisdom blog series, we interviewed seven inspirational female founders from tech, PR, research and fundraising to discuss this year’s Embracing Equity theme.
I am Suzie, I’m 31 and originally from Norfolk, but I moved to Manchester six years ago and have become an adopted Northerner (minus the accent).
I have been working as Kidscan’s Head of Fundraising for a year. I manage a small team to raise money to fund vital research into children’s cancer. I have worked at various charities throughout my career, including those supporting homelessness, mental health, humanitarian issues and the elderly. My previous experience has given me a broader insight into the range of inequalities that people in very different situations can face.
In what way can organisations be more inclusive to encompass marginalised and vulnerable groups such as youth, women, persons with disability and so forth?
Within the work we do at Kidscan, we work with ambassadors who deal with disabilities due to the late effects of their treatment. We often hear how they can be marginalised due to these, and we do as much as we can to raise awareness of the disabilities that they have. It is also imperative to have EDI groups within organisations made up of people from all backgrounds to ensure that the organisation is fully aware of needs, difficulties and feelings that can be faced.
What does embracing equity mean to you?
Embracing equality is something of great importance to me.
As a young female, I find it can still be difficult to be taken seriously in a work setting. I have felt throughout my career that I need to speak louder and with more conviction to feel that my male counterparts are listening.
As a manager, I have taken this onboard and try to make sure everyone feels heard and understood to the best of my ability. Embracing equity isn’t something that stops at the workplace; it is something I practise every day in my personal life.
Something else I have learnt is that everyone will face adversity at some point, whether that’s visible to you or not, and all we can offer, at the very least, is kindness and respect.
In which areas should more efforts be employed to ensure more inclusiveness?
This is important in all areas, but as a starting point, having policies in place to protect those who may be disadvantaged or vulnerable is vital. Creating awareness in the workplace for managers to ensure everyone has a safe and comfortable environment to work in is also essential.
On a personal note, creating time to get to know the team I work with is really important to understand their strengths and weaknesses, so I can work with those to ensure they have the best experience.
Please share any good examples of practices, measures or initiatives that can be adopted, shared and/or scaled up.
An initiative that works well at at Kidscan is to hold ‘lunch and learn’ presentations with new corporate partners and invite our ambassadors along to tell their stories of adversity and survival. Ambassador Charlotte jennings regularly goes to visit Housing Units to educate the staff about her journey and this has resulted in £75,000 being raised.
These presentations really help us spread awareness of the struggles survivors can still face years after beating cancer. In doing this, we hope to inspire other organisations to look at their policies and practises.
Another initiative that has proven successful in raising awareness is holding presentations around different religious festivals, LGBTQ+ issues, homelessness, women in the workplace, and many more. Having people present and speak from experience is an effective learning tool and a great way to take steps forward.
To find out more about the amazing work Kidscan do for children with cancer and the leaps they’re making in children’s cancer research and treatment development visit: https://kidscan.org.uk/