Wow what a year it’s been. Covid 19 has meant that the past 12 months have been extremely unusual and challenging for all of us in many ways. However, for me it has also been a year of great change and excitement as I set up my own business and launched this blog.
Last month I took a major step both personally and professionally when Lucy Reynolds PhD became registered as a limited company offering my services as a public speaker, workshop facilitator, D&I consultant and writer. I work with businesses and organisations on all areas of diversity and inclusion, in line with my passion and aim to explore, challenge and change perceptions of disability.
Nowadays, one of the most significant barriers to inclusion is that people feel awkward engaging with someone with a disability for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. It may sound simple but one of the main areas of my work is to provide a safe and supportive space for open conversations about subjects and issues that many people find difficult or uncomfortable.
Using my extensive research, unique knowledge, skills and first-hand experience as a disabled person I hope to inspire, help and support organisations to raise awareness of unconscious biases which impact our perceptions of disability and the way we engage with disabled people. I’ve found that speaking about my own lived experiences of disability encourages people to be more open and honest with each other and enables them to tackle and resolve issues with understanding and compassion.
The key to this is empathy; understanding another person’s feelings, thoughts and behaviour from their point of view and having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and personally relate to what they are experiencing. I do believe that the pandemic has provided an opportunity to explore and challenge perceptions of disability as we have all been marginalised from normal society.
Challenging as these times are, I think our shared experience has allowed people to become more understanding of disabled people and other minority groups. Through encouraging people to be open about their challenges and to engage openly with others will help to end awkwardness and embarrassment and promote diversity and inclusion.
Ultimately I hope to inspire people to embrace difference and uniqueness, to respect and accept others for who they are and to have the confidence to truly be themselves. Supporting people to play to their individual strengths should enable positive and lasting change on both a personal and organisational level.
This time last year I would never have believed that I’d be doing what I am now… I have found that through following my passion, being open with others and true to myself has led me to create a business doing what I love.
I wouldn’t be where I am without help and I’m extremely grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve had from organisations like Project North East, Generator and the BIC – and of course YOU for taking the time to read my blog!
The next exciting step for me is organising and hosting the first We Are All Disabled conference in partnership with Disability North, Project North East and Virgin Money, which will be held in Newcastle in October. Watch this space for more details coming soon…
In the meantime if you’d like to find out more about my work feel free to drop me an email email@example.com.
Alternatively you can visit my website www.lucyreynoldsphd.com or connect with me on social media at:
Facebook: Lucy Reynolds
Photo by Brett Jordanon Unsplash