2016 has been an eventful year, and not always in a good way. But as it draws to a close, I find myself with only positive memories of what IP Inclusive has achieved. And it’s time to say my thank yous. Because whilst I may have been the one standing at the helm, it’s been the many other committed supporters who’ve driven the ship forward, who’ve kept a look-out for threats and opportunities, and who’ve provided the vision and the passion to keep projects on track.
And these are unpaid volunteers, note: busy professionals all. IP Inclusive is powered solely by donations – of time, expertise, hospitality and finance – from the generous individuals and organisations that support us.
So, I would like to say a massive pre-Christmas “thank you”:
- To our 88 (and counting) Charter signatories. Welcome on board! I hope that signing the Charter is just the beginning of our relationship. Each one of you matters.
- To everyone who’s joined our IP Inclusive plenary meetings, attended our three fantastic November events or helped out in the background on any of our projects. You are amazingly loyal, and too many to list, but you know who you are.
- To four people whose contributions have stood out this year: Chris Burnett of A A Thornton & Co, Lee Davies of CIPA, Lesley Evans of Haseltine Lake and Parminder Lally of TLIP. Parminder has not only project-managed the creation of the Careers in Ideas concept and resources, working tirelessly with Ashridge Communications and members of the IP professions, but has also continued to contribute and curate content for our website and blog, and single-handedly tweeted us into the limelight – Parminder, I’ve no idea where you find all that energy, when I struggle even with the Red Bull® to hand! Chris meanwhile, ever friendly, ever enthusiastic, has been building us a network of contacts and co-ordinating our efforts to distribute the Careers in Ideas resources. Lesley has been our Charter Champion, skilfully managing the creation and implementation of a Charter scheme fit for all IP professionals and ensuring, with quiet determination, that it yields positive benefits for our community. And Lee has put copious amounts of his free time into building and developing the IP Inclusive and Careers in Ideas websites: sorry if we took you for granted, Lee; you made it look too easy!
- To those four people’s employers, who’ve allowed them to dedicate time and resources to IP Inclusive projects and been supportive in so many unseen ways.
- To the organisations whose donations made the Careers in Ideas work possible: CIPA, the CIPA Informals, FICPI-UK, Carpmaels & Ransford, Dehns, Haseltine Lake, Kilburn & Strode, Mathys & Squire, and Potter Clarkson. You can feel proud of your legacy, which I’m sure will benefit your own organisations and many others to come.
- To everyone who contributed ideas, copy, case studies and proofreading assistance to the Careers in Ideas literature, including many of Chris’ colleagues at A A Thornton & Co.
- To the people who bravely starred in careers videos for Parminder’s awareness-raising work: I look forward to seeing your faces on the Careers in Ideas website, and to hearing about the new recruits you’ve inspired.
- To those who’ve been working with Lesley on the Charter project: Kate Hackett of Haseltine Lake for being Lesley’s right-hand woman and a whizz with the admin; Carol Arnold, Julie Dunnett, Julia Florence and their colleagues at the IP Federation for helping us find the right way forward for in-house IP departments; Emily Teesdale of Abel & Imray and Ele Wade of the IPO for helping to build and communicate with that all-important community of Charter EDI officers.
- To Darren Mossemenear of Marks & Clerk and his “Group C” team, for their work with Pearn Kandola on our unconscious bias webinars last spring.
- To the people instrumental in establishing our Women in IP and IP Out support networks, in particular Isobel Barry of Carpmaels & Ransford, Mark Bearfoot of Harley-Davidson, Sarah Brearley of Mewburn Ellis, Caelia Bryn-Jacobsen of Kilburn & Strode, Joey Conway of Norton Rose Fulbright, Holly Cowie of D Young & Co, Susi Fish of Boult Wade Tennant, Barbara Fleck of Crescendo Biologics, Rebecca Lawrence of Redd Solicitors, Tom Leonard of Kilburn & Strode, Jonathan Lerwill of Dyson, Yelena Morozova of Gill Jennings & Every, Darren Smyth of EIP, Vicki Taylor of Managing IP Magazine and Emily Teesdale of Abel & Imray. Thank you for two fabulous launch events, for providing safe spaces and friendship opportunities for so many IP professionals, and more generally for your passion, creativity, courage and candour.
- To the organisations who’ve hosted events for us this year: Carpmaels & Ransford, CIPA, Gowling WLG, Kilburn & Strode, Marks & Clerk and Norton Rose Fulbright. You’ve made us so welcome. Thanks for all the behind-the-scenes work that went into the registrations, the setting up, the IT support and, of course, the refreshments (where would we be without refreshments?).
- To all our speakers, panellists and panel chairs (Carol Arnold of the IP Federation, Claire Baldock of Boult Wade Tennant, Penny Gilbert of Powell Gilbert, Jean Hughes of CPA Global, Saiful Khan of Potter Clarkson, Parminder Lally of TLIP, Tom Leonard of Kilburn & Strode, Seth Levy of Nixon Peabody, Alex Morgan of Baker & McKenzie, Kathryn Nawrockyi of Business in the Community, Deepti Nigam of GE Healthcare, Kate O’Rourke of CITMA, Suzanne Oliver of ARM, Maria Petnga-Wallace of Business in the Community, Mike Rebeiro of Norton Rose Fulbright, Darren Smyth of EIP and Justine Thompson of Baker & McKenzie): you have entertained, informed and inspired, opening our minds to new ideas and perspectives.
- To everyone who’s introduced me to potential speakers and other useful contacts: the IP Inclusive network is vital to our success and it’s growing rapidly in breadth and strength.
- To those who’ve offered to help us distribute the Careers in Ideas resources and who’ve been forging contacts and building networks to support that.
- To Vicki Taylor, Alice O’Donkor and their colleagues at Managing IP magazine, for all the publicity and supportive copy – and similarly to Neil Lampert at CIPA, Richard Hayward at CITMA and IPKat Darren Smyth, for airing our news more widely. Keep it up – the more we’re talked about, the better!
- To the people who’ve written blogs or event reports for our website, posted on our forum or contributed to our LinkedIn® discussion groups. Thank you for your honesty, and for the courage it takes to stick your head above the parapet; you are great role models. Particular thanks to Michael Hawkins of Noerr Alicante, Jonathan Lerwill of Dyson and Sarah Brearley of Mewburn Ellis for establishing and overseeing the IP Inclusive, IP Out and Women in IP LinkedIn groups.
- To people from across the professions who’ve offered their time, expertise and above all their support, and who’ve helped to spread the word about IP Inclusive in their own organisations and beyond.
- To our founder members – CIPA, CITMA, FICPI-UK and the IP Federation – for sticking with us and continuing to donate time and resources and to shoulder the formal responsibilities associated with IP Inclusive. Thanks to Rowan Freeland of the IPLA, and to Keven Bader at CITMA, for assistance with constitutional and financial aspects of the initiative. Special personal thanks to CIPA, for supporting and financing me as IP Inclusive leader, and to their Executive PA, Gary McFly, who’s done so much to keep the administrative stuff working: Gary, you must be fed-up of my emails; you have the patience of a dozen saints!
- To the IPO for support and staff time and many other useful resources, especially to Ben Buchanan and Ele Wade for their cheerful, hands-on approach to various IP Inclusive projects. Above all, thank you for being our influential “friends in high places” and ensuring that diversity stays on the agenda within the UK’s IP community.
- And finally, to Darren Smyth and his colleagues at EIP, for rainbow unicorn LGBT bath ducks, a vital component of any decent diversity plan. Darren, your sartorial charms have won us many friends and much notoriety – but the competition is not over yet!!
I realise I’ve virtually written an Oscars®-night acceptance speech. But what a lovely way to end the year, knowing I have this many friends, and that IP Inclusive really is uniting the IP professions in their commitment to a more diverse and inclusive working environment.
To everyone who’s part of that community: THANK YOU!!
And to everyone who’s thinking of joining us: COME ON IN!!
IP Inclusive leader
Thank you Andrea! You are definitely the heart and inspiration behind all this :)