In the run-up to IP Inclusive Week, we’re looking at IP Inclusive’s regional networks. We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved with their local network – or if there isn’t one, to help us set one up. We know that not everybody wants to come to London to join in our efforts to improve diversity and inclusion.
So, following our recent post about the North of England network, this time we hear from our South West one, which was established in the spring of 2019. Their post tells of how the network developed and what it does for IP Inclusive Charter signatories and supporters in the region.
You can find out more about the regional networks, and subscribe to their mailing lists, here. And please do get in touch if you’d like to make a start on establishing another one during #ipinclusiveweek. We already have a Midlands network ready to launch in Birmingham on 13 November: watch out for more details on our Events page.
The South West network writes:
We believe that those who want to pursue a professional career in IP should face a level playing field. A career in IP can be tough so we want to play our part in removing both perceived and actual barriers and promoting a diverse profession where no one feels they are excluded, side-lined or blocked from progression on the basis of their age, gender, sexuality, race, religion, social or socio-economic background or because they suffer any kind of disability or mental illness.
If we are to maintain the high calibre of IP professionals within the South West and attract new talent to the pool, it is crucial we ensure our profession in the region is inclusive, tolerant and welcoming: that we look after and out for our colleagues and offer a diverse and inclusive environment in which people can work, develop and learn.
Who are we?
The IP Inclusive SW committee comprises:
- Megan Jefferies of Thrings LLP;
- Fiona McBride of Withers & Rogers;
- Jim Pearson of Abel & Imray;
- Rachel Jones of Mewburn Ellis;
- Caroline Day and Susan Gregory of Haseltine Lake Kempner;
- Jonny Lerwill of Airbus and representative of the IP Out community; and
- George Karkera of Withers & Rogers.
George, along with Sheri Jeyakumar, also of Withers & Rogers, and Vivek Raghavan, Monique Henson and Jordan Mitchell of Haseltine Lake Kempner, has founded a SW regional branch of IP & ME, seeking to promote and support ethnic minority IP professionals in the South West.
What do we stand for?
We are a regional sub committee of IP Inclusive and stand for all the same ideals as the national organisation. As a regional group we strive to provide an inclusive and diverse environment for all IP professionals in the South West and endeavour to promote and support all aspects of inclusivity, from organising events supporting the IP Inclusive communities such as IP Out and IP & ME, who arguably have traditionally been less well supported in the regions than in London, to raising awareness of topics such as the importance of allies, mental health, the imposter syndrome, social mobility and unconscious bias.
What have we done so far?
Formed in March 2019, we have so far held events ranging from networking drinks in Bristol as part of the joint AIPLA/Women in IP Global Networking event and a joyous Picnic in the Park in support of Pride, to a hard-hitting lunch time session on mental health with speakers from the UK IPO and Jonathan’s Voice. We also try to host SW viewings of the IP Inclusive webinars such as that streamed during mental health week, and we recently hosted a SW screening of the Women in IP webinar “Inclusive Leadership”.
What are we planning?
In the immediate future, we are hoping to arrange Christmas drinks in conjunction with CITMA and are in the process of setting up some pooled Mental Health First Aid courses in the South West. As a committee we meet regularly and plan to have a full schedule of events running throughout 2020.