This inclusion consultancy involves fully encouraging and supporting your organisation, whilst offering candid feedback and insightful suggestions. I am heavy on the “friend” but not shy to be “critical”.
My Critical Friend relationship with Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) is flexible and on-going.
As our Critical Friend Steph Cutler has been a valuable external asset and we have found working with Making Lemonade to be a hugely positive experience. Steph liaised with us on a number of projects while TPT was going through a time of change and reminded us of the benefits of external input – especially when an organisation is in a state of flux.
Through discussion, research and review, Steph has helped improve both our outward and inward-facing materials – by improving the accessibility and content of our conferences, and by encouraging us to take a more person-centred approach to reviving our staff forum.
One key suggestion from Steph was the introduction of Workplace as our primary internal communications tool – we have high hopes for this platform, and are grateful to Steph for making the necessary introductions outside TPT to strengthen our networks externally within the sector. Advice on inclusive practices relating to Marketing and Communications have also been a huge boon, as we look to optimise and streamline our tools and methods. Steph is always friendly, professional and knowledgeable and working with her is a pleasure.
Sharon Billingham, Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Pocklington Trust
Project-Specific Inclusion Consultancy
I find that design thinking processes and user involvement so often bring amazing innovation in creating inclusive, smart ways of doing things. I suggested this approach to Public Health England (PHE) when they asked me to design a ‘reasonable adjustment passport’ for their disabled staff. They backed my reframing of the brief: supported me to speak to a wide range of staff who were effected by the process of requesting and recording workplace adjustments. Their courage was rewarded with a tailor-made outcome, based on the insights of their staff, which fed into existing practices. My recommendations also addressed many more issues than was initially anticipated.
I have worked with Steph in the past and have been suitably impressed by the unique style, high level of knowledge and professionalism that she brings.
One of the functions that I am responsible for, Diversity and Staff Inclusion, was seeking to implement a formal reasonable adjustment process. The large and complex project required a detailed analysis of PHE staff requirements, cultural challenges and technical boundaries that the function must deliver within. Steph did an exceptional job in uncovering the target audiences and identifying suitable sources of knowledge and constructing a consultation process that sought to uncap key information for informing the project plan.
Steph’s comprehensive knowledge of disability and workplace adjustments combined with her refreshingly honest, open and trustworthy style of working with staff meant she produced a report which made recommendations to my project group which were not only well informed and compelling but were fully viable. We are piloting the recommendations ahead of schedule.
Lauren Toure, Interim Head of Operations, Human Resources Directorate
Leadership & Board Level Involvement
I have held a number of influential committee and trustee positions and I believe I add value to any board looking to strengthen its capacity and knowledge around diversity and inclusion. As a trustee of Action for Blind People, I contributed to the Board Development Committee and represented the Board on the RNIB Connect steering group.
I offered advice and support to the Chair, Board and CEO in establishing and maintaining excellence in governance structures: reflecting geographical, cultural and devolutionary differences within the UK. I saw the charity through an association agreement with RNIB which ultimately led to the merger of Action for Blind People into the RNIB Group.
Steph was appointed as a Trustee in 2014 when Action was embarking on a significant period of change. She was appointed for her specific skills and experience in accessibility and engagement and also because we recognised her to be a very determined and successful person who would be an excellent role model for others living with sight loss.
As a member of our board Steph provided challenge to our work particularly in the areas of inclusion and customer engagement and helped us to improve what we do and how we do it. She also provided incredible support through some difficult times and never shrunk away from being visible to justify decisions that Trustees made. Steph is truly unique and a person I would happily turn to for an objective and balanced perspective on a whole range of subjects.
Miriam Martin, CEO, Action for Blind People (part of the RNIB Group)