Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Roxna Kapadia, European Patent Attorney at Kilburn & Strode LLP, and is a report on today's joint CIPA, IP Inclusive, FICPI-UK and AIPLA Diversity in IP Breakfast Meeting. Kilburn & Strode is one of our Charter signatories.
Roxna writes: "Today CIPA alongside IP Inclusive, FICPI-UK and AIPLA hosted a panel discussion on "The Roles and Importance of Diversity Champions". Andrea Brewster, IP Inclusive Leader, chaired the panel. The panel included Harry Small, Partner at Baker McKenzie, Dr Bobby Mukherjee, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property & Technology Law at BAE Systems plc., Raymond Farrell, senior partner and co-founder of Carter Deluca Farrell & Schmidt LLP and Maria Scungio, a partner at Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks PC.
The members of the panel spoke about the role they play within their own organisation for improving diversity. One member gave a passionate talk on their organisation not appearing neutral when it comes to LGBT rights but in being an active champion of LGBT rights by, for example, wearing LGBT symbols.
There was great discussion about unconscious bias in recruitment and promotion. Here it was discussed how we tend to recruit and promote in our own image and how to overcome this by being aware of our bias and including a more diverse group of people in the recruitment and promotion process. It was suggested that people could benefit from taking a simple free online quiz on unconscious bias (e.g. the Harvard unconscious bias tests), to make us all more aware of our own biases.
One member of the panel talked about promoting the STEM subjects in under privileged areas and spoke in earnest, about white male privilege, how he has benefited and how he tries to actively open doors to people who would not have the same opportunities.
The importance of diversity champions at the top of an organisation and the importance of supporting others was emphasised.
This was an inspirational talk and shows there is a lot of momentum both here in the UK and across the pond, to make IP a more diverse community!"
Thank you Roxna for writing this article. If you would like to write a blog article for IP Inclusive, on anything diversity related, please email Emily Teesdale of Abel & Imray. Guest bloggers are always very welcome!
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Hannah Fish, Marketing Manager at Carpmaels & Ransford, and is a report on the recent mental health event run by her firm. Carpmaels & Ransford is one of our Charter signatories.
Hannah writes: "Food for thought: We say “I’m fine” 14 times a week and yet we mean it only 19% of the time.
On 18th May, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week, Carpmaels & Ransford hosted an IP Inclusive event focused on well-being at work.
The event began with a Mindfulness Pause, facilitated by Tamzin Muir, which provided an opportunity for the attendees to gather their thoughts for a few moments. Following this moment of quiet, Stacy Thomson of Thrive in the City facilitated a discussion between 3 panellists, Sarah Sparks, Richard Martin and Tamzin Muir, all of whom had been high-flyers in the corporate world and were frank in sharing their own experiences of struggling to maintain their own mental wellbeing under the pressures of the corporate environment.
The wide ranging discussion highlighted the importance of sleep, the necessity of recognising the pressure we put ourselves under, the recognition of chronic stress symptoms, and the importance of actively listening to those around us so that the next time a colleague responds to a question about their well-being with “I’m fine”, we are alert to the fact that it in fact could well mean: “I’m…Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and, Emotional.”
Following-on from yesterday's blog post about the mental health event that took place in Bristol last month, you can now download some notes which summarise the main points discussed and give practical ideas to help your organisation tackle this important topic. You can also download the UK IPO speakers' slides. Please use these to raise awareness and keep the conversation going within your own organisations: we all need to do what we can to improve our own and our colleagues' mental well-being.
(Of course, we wouldn't be IP professionals if we didn't remind you that these notes do not constitute legal or medical advice, so please don't rely on them as such.)
Thanks once again to Withers & Rogers and Haseltine Lake (especially Fiona McBride and Lesley Evans #1 for their hard work in co-ordinating the event) and to the UK IPO speakers Lesley Evans #2 and Mary Taylor.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Jennifer Unsworth, Senior Associate at Withers & Rogers LLP, and is a report on the recent mental health event run by her firm. Withers & Rogers is one of our Charter signatories.
Jennifer writes: "As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Withers & Rogers hosted an IP Inclusive breakfast in their Bristol office. The focus of the workshop was "Mental Health - the last taboo".
The event was well-attended by the South West IP Community, including representatives from a number of law firms and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), as well as Jonathan's Voice, a charity that was set up in memory of Jonathan McCartney, a patent attorney who tragically took his own life in 2017.
The UK IPO shared examples of initiatives that they have used to improve wellbeing in the workplace, including manager training courses, peer-to-peer support groups and the establishment of a team of Mental Health Champions.
As mentioned earlier on this blog (here), IP Inclusive Management (IPIM) is the committee which oversees everything done under the IP Inclusive banner. It looks after our bank account and also formal matters such as third party liability insurance and data protection compliance.
Its current members are:
You can contact IPIM at any time by emailing the IPIM Secretary, or for financial matters emailing the IPIM Treasurer. Please feel free to send them your ideas about IP Inclusive's future direction or activities.
IPIM meets once a month. The minutes of its last two meetings (April and May) can be downloaded here, together with the Chair's report from April.
IP Inclusive Leader
Chair, IP Inclusive Management
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Ryan Compton, Director of Centre for Resolution, and is the final instalment in the four part series on the process of employing someone with a disability. (The previous three articles can be found here, here and here).
Ryan writes: "Wow we are finally here in the last part of the series. I have really enjoyed doing these blogs and hopefully you have enjoyed reading them. So far we have covered what is a disability, legislation including the Equality Act 2010, what is a reasonable adjustment, how to recruit disabled people and how we employ them.
In this blog post, we are going to look at retaining employees with disabilities and ways in which we can support them whilst in the workplace.
Internal or external support for employees with disabilities
Some organisations are already considering alternative ways to support their employees. This could be for example counselling services, whether it is in-house or signposting to external providers, generic workplace coaching or sourcing the best technology to ensure our employees are at their maximum productivity. Some organisations stop at this level of support and don’t strive to do more.
I have always wondered why?
If we need to upgrade our computers to ensure maximum performance it is not something that we would hesitate to do. However when it comes to engaging with specialists that understand the world of disability, some organisations don’t see the benefits of utilizing this type of support. More often than not it is not even something they have considered. Take two examples of specialist mediation and specialist coaching. If you have an employee who has a dispute in the workplace around their disability, then an expert with a conflict resolution and disability background would be best placed to find resolution. Similarly with specialist coaching, if organisations were to use generic workplace coaching for their disabled employees they may not get the results they wanted. By using a specialist disability coach the employee would be able to explore their limitations rather than focusing on explaining their disability.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Andrea Brewster, IP Inclusive Leader, and is a report on the joint IP Inclusive, CIPA and LawCare webinar on mental health.
Andrea writes: "We have to take responsibility for our mental health. This possibly isn’t what you want to hear when the existing demands on your resources are already close to overwhelming, but it was a key message from our 15th May webinar on “Why looking after your mental health is so important”.
Ann Charlton, from the charity LawCare, didn’t mince her words. We are all responsible, she said, for recognising and responding to potential mental health problems – in ourselves and in the people around us – and for addressing those problems openly and without judgement. Harsh though this introduction might have seemed, it was followed by sound and above all practical advice that showed our webinar presenter to be exactly the kind of straight-talking, wise and supportive friend that we all need when things are getting on top of us; she was concerned not only with helping us, but also with teaching us to help ourselves.
The webinar was jointly organised by IP Inclusive, CIPA and LawCare. It was open to all IP professionals and attracted over 130 registered attendees, some of whom would undoubtedly have been listening in groups with other colleagues. Intended to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, for which this year’s theme is stress, it explored how stress can affect professionals in the legal sector and what we can do to make ourselves more resilient to its ill-effects.
Ann’s presentation covered several important areas, including:
We're delighted to announce that the IP Inclusive initiative has won the 2018 MemCom award for "Best equality or diversity campaign".
The award recognises the role played by professional associations in promoting equality and diversity. Judges were looking for genuine "buy in" across all levels of the association or organisation, as well as initiatives which resonate with the membership and lead the way in terms of promoting equality or diversity within the profession itself. Among others, the judging criteria included "evidence of a clear strategy/defined target audience" and "a practical and uncompromising campaign delivering lasting impact". We're extremely proud that IP Inclusive's work has been judged worthy of those standards.
We would like to thank CIPA for nominating us and everyone who's helped bring IP Inclusive to this point. We now have two awards to our name - last year we won Managing IP's Corporate Social Responsibility award - and that's a great way of raising awareness of, and confidence in, the important work that we do.
Andrea Brewster OBE
IP Inclusive leader
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Michele Fellows, Director at Fellows and Associates, and is about whether taking a career break impacts on earning potential. Fellows and Associates is one of our Charter signatories.
Michele writes: We at Fellows and Associates have just gone live with the data collection phase of our 7th annual salary survey, and I thought I would delve a little deeper into something that has been nagging at me for some time. Does taking a career break negatively impact your earning potential?
We added the question of a “career break” into our 2017 survey for the first time and it is these results which I have analysed in more detail for the purposes of today’s question.
Now it may seem like the question will have an obvious answer as how could a hiatus in employment have a positive effect? Perhaps we’re all in for a surprise. Some may also think this relates solely to females given that even in this day and age of improved workplace equality and paternity rights it is still most frequently the “fairer” sex that tends to stay at home with the child(ren) for any period of time. Whilst it does bear out that of those that took a career break 70% were women, it is by no means restricted to women alone, especially when we consider that career breaks can occur for many reasons. Unemployment, sabbaticals or other personal issues that could include mental health concerns or caring for loved ones may also require one to take time away from their career. In fact, only 45% of the career breaks were due to maternity leave.
World Day for Cultural Diversity is a UN initiative designed to raise awareness of cultural diversity and its benefits. Read more about World Day for Cultural Diversity here.
Help IP Inclusive promote diversity and inclusion in the IP professions. Join our campaign to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity, on 21st May, by doing an activity for diversity and inclusion and show your support by sharing what you do to celebrate.
Who: Anyone who considers themselves to be part of the IP profession.
Where: Anywhere, whether in or outside the office.
What: Do something different, perhaps something you’ve never done before, to show your support for diversity and inclusion. Stuck for ideas? See our suggestions below.
How: Share photos and/or videos of your activity with @IPInclusive using #Strengthindiversity.
When: 21st May 2018.
Here are some suggestions for what you could do on 21st May:
Got more ideas? Share ideas for activities to do on World Day for Cultural Diversity with us by commenting below or on Twitter @IPInclusive.
James A. Anani-Isaac
On behalf of the IP & ME Committee