Page published on 2nd November 2022
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Susan Nelson, our first ever IP Inclusive intern, left us at the end of last month to resume her legal training. We were incredibly sad to see her go; she had rapidly become a key part of our executive team, working with us on major projects such as our 2021-22 impact report, our Inclusivity Unlocked! programme and the Careers in Ideas Summer of IP campaign, not to mention a whole string of blog posts and event reports.
Shortly before she left, Susan took a few minutes to reflect on her time here and has kindly provided us with one last blog post by way of a goodbye and thank you. She hopes eventually to take up an IP post, so to those of you lucky enough to have met and worked with Susan during her time here, we hope you’ll have the chance to meet with her again before long. She leaves IP Inclusive with our very best wishes for her future, and our thanks for her amazing contributions.
Hello, I’m Susan, a law graduate from the University of Glasgow and future trainee solicitor at Clifford Chance. I feel extremely lucky to have spent five months interning here at IP Inclusive and to have been the organisation’s first ever intern. As my time draws to a close, I wanted to share some of my highlights over the past few months.
In May, I participated in Clifford Chance’s LIFT (Learning Internships for Future Trainees) scheme. I chose to apply to IP Inclusive because its mission particularly resonated with me. I am equally passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. I am also interested in qualifying into IP in the future. As such, I knew my time at IP Inclusive would be an invaluable opportunity to better understand the industry and to network with those already in the sector. I spent four weeks participating in the LIFT scheme. After a great month, I was invited to stay on as an intern throughout the summer and autumn.
Since my LIFT internship, I have been very busy at IP Inclusive. The two main projects I have been working on are Inclusivity Unlocked! and Summer of IP.
Inclusivity Unlocked! is our series of events and resources looking at how workplaces and working arrangements can be made more inclusive in the post-Covid world. I was tasked with leading and coordinating this project, taking it from the planning stages to organising and running several successful events. I even designed and produced follow-up resources which organisations and individuals can use to help them become more inclusive.
Summer of IP is the second main project I have been working on. Again, this was an invaluable opportunity to lead and take ownership of a project. I was briefed with creating a “summer school”-type scheme, the aim of which was to encourage more people to consider a career within IP. Working with the Careers in Ideas task force, I decided on a series of events and corresponding activities (that will be run by individual organisations) which will take place next summer. So far, I have written a prospectus to encourage organisations to get involved, produced guidelines for participating organisations, and sent out forms to determine who will organise which events.
Although I will not be here to finish either of the two projects, I am excited to watch them evolve over the coming months. I trust they will both be a great success and will help IP Inclusive to achieve its mission of promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity within the UK’s IP sector.
What else have I been up to?
Alongside these projects, I have written many blog posts for the IP Inclusive website News and Features page. I have covered several topics including menopause, dyslexia, mental wellbeing, and creating a healthy alcohol culture. I have also written articles on various IP topics for the Careers in Ideas website to help educate those who are unfamiliar with IP. Not only has this helped to improve my research and written communication skills, but it has also improved my awareness and understanding of sensitive EDI issues. I believe that this knowledge will help me to be a more inclusive colleague when I join Clifford Chance.
On the social media and communications side, I have been monitoring the IP Inclusive Twitter account and have added content to the update newsletters via Mailchimp. Similarly, I was given responsibility for managing the Careers in Ideas email account and was tasked with responding to any queries that came in. I even set up an Instagram account for Careers in Ideas (the first strand of IP Inclusive to hit Instagram) and created several posts. This will hopefully allow IP Inclusive to expand its reach and gain a new following.
Finally, I was involved in the recruitment process for two new members of the executive team – Helen Smith and Anne Burgato. It has been fantastic to see IP Inclusive grow in numbers since I arrived. I know that they will both be great additions to the team and will be able to successfully lead Summer of IP and Inclusivity Unlocked! to completion.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of my internship was being trusted to chair two Inclusivity Unlocked! events (see the event report here). Firstly, it was rewarding since I had put a large amount of effort into organising both events. I selected and liaised with the speakers, chose the questions and event themes, was responsible for overseeing the logistics of the events, and promoted them via the website and IP Inclusive social media. Secondly, chairing the events was a great opportunity to improve my confidence in public speaking as well as to develop my oral communication skills. Overall, it was a great experience and I feel very lucky to have had such a high turnout at both events.
What I have gained
I believe I have developed lots of skills during my time at IP Inclusive. Firstly, I have gained experience in event management and working with volunteers. This has improved my time management, organisational and team working skills. Working at IP Inclusive has also been a great opportunity to understand more about the IP sector generally. By participating in various meetings and actively listening to the discussions, I developed my commercial awareness and business acumen. I have learned more about how a not-for-profit organisation like IP Inclusive operates, its strengths, its challenges, and the opportunities it faces.
Beyond this, working at IP Inclusive has been an unparalleled opportunity to network and meet with those working within the IP sector. I have also enjoyed collaborating with people from other organisations including LawCare, Jonathan’s Voice and Focal Point Training. I know that these connections and the advice I have gained will be invaluable throughout my career.
Looking to the future
I am excited to be commencing the final stage of my legal studies in January when I begin the Legal Practice Course. Equally, I am looking forward to starting my training contract at Clifford Chance and hopefully completing a seat in IP. Overall, I believe the skills, knowledge and experience I have gained from being at IP Inclusive will be invaluable when I begin my training contract and throughout my legal career.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Clifford Chance for funding my LIFT internship and for setting up the opportunity to work for IP Inclusive. It has also been a pleasure and privilege to have spent the past five months working so closely with Andrea Brewster. I have learned so much from her in such a short period of time. She has provided me with lots of valuable feedback and has been incredibly supportive. I am extremely grateful for all the effort she has put into ensuring I have had the best time possible at IP Inclusive.