Earlier this year, we posted an article about Kilburn & Strode’s efforts to improve diversity, and in paticular, gender equality, in the workplace.  Specifically, Kilburn & Strode joined the Lean In community in April 2017.  Today’s blog article has kindly been provided by Victoria Coleman, Technical Assistant at Kilburn & Strode LLP, and is an update on the Lean In activities that have been taking place at her firm.  Kilburn & Strode are one of our Charter signatories.

Victoria writes:

At our firm, we are committed to progressing diversity initiatives. Why? Because we want to encourage innovation through diversity of ideas – and to create productive and varied teams of people working together for common cause. One way we can all get involved in our diversity initiatives is our Lean In Circle and we have been very busy over the past few months. Here is an update of what we have been up to.

Something social
To raise awareness of the Lean In Circle within the firm, we hosted drinks in August, which had a great turn out from all staff members.  We had interesting craft beers and snacks from Propercorn.  The latter was chosen because the co-founder of Propercorn has recently been awarded the New Generation Award at the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman awards, which celebrate female entrepreneurs in Britain. We also put up various posters to provoke thoughtful discussions.  In particular, we discussed how the language you use can create a certain impression. For instance, have you ever heard someone say, ‘sorry if this is a stupid question but…’, then ask a very intelligent question that everyone else was thinking but was too afraid to ask? When you say sorry you are apologising and there is no need to.  There was some active discussion of how we can appear more confident – would your reaction to someone be different if they simply asked their question? Do you really need to say “can I just ask…?” – what does “just” add? Since these drinks I have begun to notice people using this kind of language more and more and try to make more of a conscious effort to be aware of the language I use.A webinar from CIPA
Several of us attended the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ webinar which took place on 19 September 2017.  ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is a term given to a feeling that an individual does not deserve the success they have achieved and have a fear of being exposed as a fraud. This feeling is more common among women and a surprising number of (very outwardly successful) people suffer from it. This event again ties in with the theme of confidence which frequently runs through our Lean In sessions. During the webinar, the speaker Jo Maughan (a career and leadership coach) talked about her personal experiences and gave tips on how to overcome the syndrome. What I really enjoyed about the webinar was the feeling of solidarity and the sense that actually this is a very common way to think.Introducing new K&S people to our group
In October, we held a Lean In breakfast and, as we had many new starters in October, we played Lean In Bingo to get to know everyone. This was a great way to introduce new members of the firm and to learn more about our colleagues. We also had a very interesting discussion about being an introvert and how this can affect you at networking events.  It can be difficult when networking with people you don’t know and many people find it hard to speak up. We all know that, at times, it is easier to loiter by the food table!  We shared tips on how to put yourself out there more, perhaps attending with a friend or colleague can help facilitate introductions.  Another aspect of the discussion was how introverts and extroverts complement each other well and it is important that everyone is different.The success of the Lean In Circle internally has prompted us to expand our horizons and venture into hosting external events in 2018 – more on this later!Thank you Victoria for writing this article.  If you would like to write a blog article for IP Inclusive, on anything diversity related, please email Emily Teesdale of Abel & Imray. Guest bloggers are always very welcome!   

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