Inclusion empowers us all | #TeamBartsHealth blogs

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Inclusion empowers us all

Health Records Officer, Hemlata Mistry, discusses her experience as an inclusion ambassador (IA) and why she wants to encourage colleagues to get involved.

Why did you apply to become an inclusion ambassador?

On one side it was just me being nosey, but a lot of it was about growing my confidence and stepping out of my comfort zone, so when the opportunity arose, I took it and also encouraged some of my colleagues to sign up to the training. Even when asked to do this blog I shied away from it at first but after being encouraged by my mentor I agreed. Before doing the IA training, I would not have been able to do it. 

These types of initiatives help to empower us all and ensure we are all treated fairly despite our ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. We can help break down these biases and barriers that these groups may face. It can only be a good thing.

You have sat in on a couple of interviews as an IA, how was that experience for you?

As part of our inclusion strategy, interview panels for band 8+ roles have to have an IA on the interviewing panel to ensure the process is conducted fairly.

My first thought when invited was, they are all band 8 and above, what could I possibly have to contribute at my level so I was a little scared going into it. But you're quickly reminded that it’s not about that, you are not there to interview the candidate from a technical perspective, you are there to review all applications fairly and ensure that the panel interviewing is being fair. I also had to prepare and ask an inclusion question of my choice to the candidate. I became very nervous even though I knew what I needed to say, I was afraid it would be said incorrectly so this is where the fear started to kick in.

However, the panel were very accommodating and made me feel comfortable and part of the team. They were willing to listen to my opinion, which gave me the reassurance and made me feel more at ease.

What would be your advice to anyone wanting to be an IA?

It may be nerve racking at first, especially if you feel like you are not at a certain level but I would encourage as many of us to get involved. You will be making a difference and contributing to our strategy of ensuring we all feel like WeBelong.

How did you find out about being an inclusion ambassador?

Via an email from the Barts Health Women’s network . If you haven't already, join now and receive similar updates about what the network is doing and info you may find helpful.

How would you like to see our inclusion agenda progress?

Bringing everyone together as one united team so we all have a voice. Going on these types of training programmes can help broaden your skills, which can be beneficial to you career progression.

Hemlata is also part of the reciprocal mentoring programme launched last year, and is paired with Heather Noble. Hemlata describes their monthly conversations as very “inspiring” and “motivating” and has also been given the opportunity to shadow senior team members.

It’s amazing that somebody, who to me, has progressed so far in their role still wants to do more, which makes me think there’s still so much more I can achieve also. In this short span of time and in this journey I have made new friends and I believe my communication skills and confidence has risen, which is why  I would encourage a lot more staff to sign up to these types of programmes so they really understand the inner workings of the organisation and feel included. Opportunities are out there, no matter what band or level you are if you want to do something to improve yourself, do it. 

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