Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Andrea Brewster OBE, Leader of IP Inclusive.
Andrea writes: "This week I travel to Bangkok, to be with my daughter who’s having gender reassignment surgery. This is the culmination of years of soul-searching and heartache for her; I’ve done my best to support her but she’s travelling a tough road and I can only wonder at her courage and commitment.
Having a transgender child is an inspiring reminder of a very simple truth about human relationships: that there are many layers to a relationship, but very few of them depend on gender.
Yes, if it’s a sexual relationship you’re after, the other person’s gender may be important to you. And maybe if you like a relationship based on power, you might use gender as one aspect of it – but I’m going to discount that because in my book, that isn’t a valid human relationship.
In most other contexts, the gender label is superfluous. You love someone as you find them, for what they do and what they believe, for the responses they evoke in you. Assigning them to a different gender category won’t change that. You’ll still love them. Even in a sexual relationship, there will be foundations beneath, that have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the human being who simply makes you smile, allows you to speak, helps you face the day with enthusiasm.
It never occurred to me that I should feel differently about my son when he turned out to be my daughter. And I don’t. “Male” and “female” were labels that were entirely inadequate for encapsulating her mind and personality. Neither category could contain the love and respect I felt for her. Neither could define the way we interacted with one another.
And once that thought comes into focus, you realise that all the other labels are superfluous too. In your relationships with friends, family, colleagues or advisers, gender simply shouldn’t come into it – and nor should sexuality, race, religion, physical or mental capabilities, physical appearance, background, age or a whole host of other so-called distinguishing characteristics. Each person is a unique meld, impossible to deconstruct without devaluing the whole. So instead you build a relationship out of trust, respect and shared values. You experience things together. You work together, laugh together, cry together. You support one other. As you are. The whole of you.
Impostor Syndrome: many of us suffer from it, even if we didn’t know it had a name. Especially people in under-represented groups, such as women and ethnic minorities and LGBT professionals.
It’s that feeling that you don’t belong; that you’re not good enough to be there; that sooner or later you’re going to get found out. It can prevent you from achieving your true potential or contributing effectively to the groups you work in. And it can be a serious barrier to recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce.
We are pleased to announce our next nationwide IP Inclusive event will focus on impostor syndrome and will be taking place on Tuesday 19th September 2017. The breakfast event is being hosted by a number of IP firms at venues in Bath, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Southampton. Join us at one of the venues for a chance to meet other IP professionals before tuning in to our webinar on impostor syndrome. The event is open to all in the IP or the IP-related professions (e.g. paralegals, legal secretaries, attorneys, technology transfer specialists, IPO staff, in-house IP teams, trainee lawyers, solicitors, barristers, technical translators, IP journalists, etc.).
During the webinar, executive coach Jo Maughan will tell us how to identify and overcome Imposter Syndrome – in ourselves, and in those we manage. Taking the chair will be Carol Arnold, former Senior IP Counsel for Shell’s UK IP department and President of the IP Federation from 2014 to 2016. Jo and Carol’s candour about their own success will bring an inspiring personal touch to the debate.
We will be circulating details on how to register for the event soon but, in the meantime, please save the date and spread the word within your organisations.
With thanks in advance to our generous host venues: EIP, Mills & Reeve, Abel & Imray, Burness Paull, Appleyard Lees, Gill Jennings & Every, Mewburn Ellis, Potter Clarkson, and D Young & Co.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Ben Buchanan, a UK IPO Diversity Champion, and is a summary of his presentation at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord's annual internal conference. Both the IPO and UDL are Charter signatories.
Ben writes: "On 16 June 2017 I had the pleasure of speaking on behalf of IP Inclusive to people from across the business at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord. UDL are IP Inclusive charter signatories and had invited a speaker from the IP Inclusive taskforce to talk to them at their annual conference about the work we do and how UDL could get involved.
The event provided a valuable opportunity to have a big conversation about why diversity and inclusion (D&I) is good for business – as well as being the right thing to do. It was also an opportunity to make sweeping assumptions, challenge them, and think about how – and why – to mitigate the consequences of unconscious bias in everything we do.
After an introduction to IP Inclusive and a recap of our recent achievements, I asked the conference delegates to think of as many differentiating characteristics – diversity categories if you like – as they could.
Interestingly the feedback moved rapidly on from protected characteristics and visually apparent differences, to things like educational background, ideological beliefs and values, culture, cognitive preferences and sources of motivation. Within the workplace, people were talking about length of service, seniority and working patterns. Outside work we talked about friendships, community ties and preferences for living environments.
We then reflected on these differences and how they can potentially benefit business performance and competitive advantage. How, by making the most of them, organisations can empower people to be themselves and do their best.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Fellows and Associates Ltd and is a more in-depth review of an excerpt from their 6th annual Salary Survey that has recently been published. The article focuses on the final part of their report that looks at discrimination within the workplace. Fellows and Associates are one of our Charter signatories.
Michele Fellows writes: “Every year, Fellows and Associates compile a salary survey of the Intellectual Property profession. We continually look to improve on it based on feedback and changes within the market place and this year, in support of IP Inclusive, we were particularly excited to take a closer look at discrimination within the workplace. We know that many firms have signed up to the IP Inclusive initiative and times have changed recently (although never as much as we would like) and as such we asked our respondents to focus solely on their experience within the last two years.
To put this into perspective, 88 of the 206 people who completed the survey had experienced discrimination of some sort. Of these 88 people, 67% had encountered discrimination of more than one type either directed at themselves or at someone else. This issue is definitely not exclusive to the UK, with both the UK and international contributors achieving almost the same ratio of those that had been discriminated against versus those that had not.
Our latest blog article is written by John F Kennedy, head of client services at specialist trade mark firm Wildbore & Gibbons LLP. John is originally from a brand development and professional services management background, and now specialises in brand protection. Wildbore & Gibbons is one of our Charter signatories.
John writes: "As one of the signatories to the IP Inclusive Charter, we are one of the firms promoting inclusivity and diversity in our sector. We are fortunate that in our 130 year history we have developed a diverse client base spanning a range of sectors, cultures, peoples and geographical locations.
Brands have always sought “exclusivity” in some form or another, to differentiate their products or service offering from their host of competitors. The new challenge in our highly scrutinized, 24/7 online media world is to be authentic, inclusive and transparent in all activities as an integral aspect of doing business - not simply as a clever marketing campaign.
The new brand challenge facing clients in every sector is to be more “inclusive” in every aspect of their business. This includes every facet of business - the operational; the logistical; supplier and distributor relationships and employee and stakeholder engagement.
Brand protection has always been founded on solid trade mark advice from your friendly neighbourhood trade mark attorney. The spectrum of protection has now expanded across a new brand continuum - overseeing brand and reputation management in every aspect of the modern business. Brand behaviour is not just minutely examined but any flaws not befitting the brand can be communicated and commented on in the online world in seconds. The “empowered” consumer can be a positive advocate, the “disgruntled” consumer can have a very negative impact on reputation and long term brand credibility.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Chris Burnett, an Associate Patent Attorney at A. A. Thornton and is about the talk he recently gave to sixth formers at the Hylands School in Chelmsford, Essex about the careers available in IP. Chris is on the IP Inclusive taskforce and is working on the project to raise awareness of the IP professions among schools, universities and careers advisors. A. A. Thornton are one of our Charter signatories.
Chris writes: "The last time I stepped into a secondary school was when I was a pupil nearly 20 years ago. I instantly stepped back in time walking through the main door, and familiar sights and sounds came flooding back. Some things had of course changed - people were now holding the door open for me and calling me “sir”, blackboards were now projector screens and the computers weren’t BBC Micros… but you get the general idea.
I have been involved with IP Inclusive for a while now, and I am part of the Careers In Ideas team, who are trying to increase diversity by spreading the word about IP-based careers to those who have never heard of them. Like many others in the various IP professions I only found out about my present job through a family member who happened to know one. Clearly, in terms of increasing diversity this is no way to continue. In one strand of my work for IP Inclusive we are encouraging people to visit schools, universities and careers fairs to talk about what they do. This was me practicing what I preached.
The Careers In Ideas initiative is about inspiring people to take up a career in IP, and since many of these careers require a STEM degree, what better place to start than sixth formers taking science A-levels who are looking to apply to university?
I was invited to talk at Hylands School by my next-door neighbour, who is a science teacher there. Hylands is a medium-sized secondary comprehensive academy in Chelmsford with just over 700 pupils and several farm animals. Many of the students I spoke to had already decided to go to university to study science degrees, so I merely had to inspire them with tales of my daily grind.