It’s been such a busy start to the year for Positive About Inclusion. Catching up with friends who also run a business (be that a social enterprise or otherwise), it’s heartening to hear that business is good. Everyone feels busy and we all agree, somewhat reluctantly, that that’s a good problem to have. But we’re all often so busy actually ‘doing’ that we don’t get much opportunity to take a breath. So I’ve deliberately taken an hour or two to look back on Quarter One of 2022 and I thought I would share some of my Quarter One reflections.
Trust Your Gut
When we started the business, Lucy and I agreed strongly/were adamant that we wanted to deliver customised solutions for each of the organisations we worked with rather than apply an ‘off the shelf’ type approach. We had no idea if this was a model that would fly. Looking back at Quarter One, we have delivered EDI training customised to the audience (i.e. from board members and trustees through every level in the corporate hierarchy to front line) or tailored to the sector (such as social housing, charitable sector, comms/marketing, environmental, etc.) We’ve completed EDI health checks for two large housing associations in the north east and a national federation of environmental charities. All of our projects have been tailored to the organisation and the outcomes have been well received. It would seem we were right to trust our gut.
Value Your Network
We’ve always acknowledged that the support, advice, guidance, mentoring and coaching from our network is invaluable and one of our shared values is definitely trying to support our friends (old or new) in the same way that our network supports us. During Quarter One, we helped our friends at Business Gateshead to celebrate International Women’s Day and delivered a pro bono personal pronouns workshop for SHARE. But for lots of reasons (including a busy delivery schedule, holidays and a dose of Covid), we haven’t been in a position to do as much of this ‘added value’ activity during Quarter One as we would have liked. Again we’re renewing our focus on that during Quarter Two, making new connections to continue our commitment to ‘pay it forward’.
Although we didn’t articulate this to each other at the time, looking back on how and why we founded Positive About Inclusion, one of the big attractions was actually the steep learning curve. I can’t believe I’m saying this now (and it didn’t feel like a positive at the time) but in hindsight, we both love to keep learning. And between us we have learnt a fair bit about running a business – from maintaining a website and understanding search engine optimisation (just about) to balancing the books and managing our cash flow. Add to that the dynamic nature of EDI itself, and it’s just as well that we love the fact that every day is a school day. Quarter One didn’t give us many ‘formal’ opportunities to keep learning so we’re renewing our focus on that in Quarter Two with some new products and services in development. Watch this space!
And finally, in reflecting on Quarter One for Positive About Inclusion it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge how proud I am of my business partner Lucy for being appointed Managing Director of Women in Social Housing. Lucy took up this part time post in January, combining this role with her Positive About Inclusion work and bringing added value to both. I have watched in wonder as she manages two busy schedules, pivoting between one role and the other. Just amazing!
Karen Faulkner, Director and Co-Founder of Positive About Inclusion