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Power of the Parent 5: S4 Ep5: Donna Patterson – Lets Talk Work

Power of the Parent 5: S4 Ep5: Donna Patterson – Lets Talk Work

Donna’s story is up there with something many of us would say happens in books and films. After returning to the workplace following maternity leave, Donna was in the thick of being gaslit, set up for failure and totally let down by her employer.Imagine returning to a full-time job on part-time hours and constantly being told ‘you can do it’ – not from a place of flattery, but something far more damaging that left her feeling awful. The impact of roles being offered and never materialising, and feel shut down of options because you’ve dared to procreate.

The headlines share the end result that she got a payout after after legal action where she represented herself. But there’s months of turmoil, horrific practices, the toll on her mental health and cross examining people she’d worked alongside sit behind those headlines.

Donna is through the other side in many ways and has heaps of new plans for the future, and I’m thrilled she’s sharing them with us today! We also covered some of the expectations she was carrying when she became a parent in the workplace, alongside some of the feelings of not being valued and the silent eye rolls.

Donna shares first hand examples of what COULD have been done so much better to stop it getting to the stage it did – so employers out there you could walk away with some incredible value add suggestions (that I promise won’t blow your mind and will feel accessible to all!).

You can find out more about Donna through the Lets talk work instagram and her new website.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:07.130] – Charlotte
Hello and welcome to Power of the Parent, the podcast. I’m your host, Charlotte Speak. I’m a Level Seven CMI accredited coach, a Strengthscope Master Practitioner, mental health first aider and talent consultant. And I’m also the face behind Power of the Parent.

[00:00:23.350] – Charlotte
In this podcast, I’ll be speaking to parents in the workplace. Some of them are in traditionally employed roles, others are running their own businesses. And we’re having conversations about life in general, insights about being a parent and having a career and exploring the strengths that parenting has awoken for people. We will talk about things like the value that they’re bringing to the workplace, as well as my guests very generously sharing their personal stories and anecdotes about everything life can throw at us.

[00:00:59.890] – Charlotte
Hello and welcome to this next episode of Power of the Parent, the podcast. Today, I am joined by somebody whose name may have come up in the press recently, Donna Patterson, who, well, she’s hit the headlines and actually her ex employer have hit the headlines. Now Donna’s story is up there with something many of us would say kind of happened in books or films. But after returning to the workplace following maternity leave, Donna was in the thick of being gaslighted, set up for failure, and totally let down by her employer.

[00:01:28.720] – Charlotte
Imagine returning to a full time job, but actually you’re working part time and constantly being told, yes, of course you can do it. It’s absolutely not flattery, it’s damaging. The headlines share the end result that she got a payout after legal action where she represented herself. But there’s months of turmoil, horrific practices, the toll on her mental health, and cross examining people she’d worked alongside, that sit behind those headlines. I am so thrilled that she’s joined me today on the podcast. I know that she’s got exciting news about what the future brings for her and we’re going to get incredibly practical about what you can actually do as an employer that are some of the simple steps that you can put in place to avoid this kind of thing happening. So thank you so much for joining me today, Donna.

[00:02:14.870] – Donna
Thank you for having me on. I’m really glad to be able to speak to you. Having both come from similar backgrounds in the retail world, I know that you have an understanding that possibly other people don’t have. An understanding of – how the dynamics of that environment can work. So it’s really nice to be able to speak to you.

[00:02:34.290] – Charlotte
One heck of an environment it can be. And we’ve spoken previously, before all of this happened, about that kind of particular environment, haven’t we? And I know that lots of people listening, whether they’re in retail or not, are going to benefit so much from your wisdom and your experiences. It’s sometimes hard, I would imagine, in some of those darker days to reach for where the silver lining might appear, but you can already see the impact that you’re having. People feeling empowered, you are Pregnant Then Screwed’s very own Erin Brockovich. And I think that it’s an incredible feat to have, I guess, come through the other side and still be standing and I can’t imagine what some of those days will have been like to have gone through. But I think you’re one heck of a woman to ever be able to do it.

[00:03:19.330] – Donna
There’s no beating around the bush. It was really really tough and really gruelling but I guess for me, I didn’t really feel like I had any other option. So until becoming pregnant with my first child, my career had pretty much gone exactly how I had wanted it to go. I had studied at university, I’d worked really hard, I found an industry in a career that really interested me and I pursued that and it all went exactly as I wanted, which I think set me up for a bit of a failure because I just assumed that is what working life was like. You work hard, you prove your worth, you prove your value and you will be rewarded. However, after becoming pregnant and it was more after the birth of my first child that I noticed the dynamics changing. It felt like the rules had suddenly changed because I wasn’t able to put in 60 hours weeks anymore. I had to be out of an office by a certain time because my child needed to be picked up from nursery or from the childminder. And my husband and I, we were splitting things, he was doing drop off, I was doing pickup.

[00:04:40.050] – Donna
It wasn’t like I was doing it all myself but yeah, I certainly noticed the dynamics beginning to change and real confliction coming up between well, this needs doing, this needs completing in the workplace. But me then having to explain I have to be somewhere, I have to collect my little boy, there is nobody else to do that. And I guess from that point in my working world felt like it had changed forever and a lot of the time it’s quite subtle things that I noticed that I just didn’t feel as valued anymore. I felt there was a lot of eye rolling whenever the constraints of being a working parent were mentioned. It was as if-, there’s a famous quote that goes round, ‘you need to work like you don’t have any children and you need to parent like as if you don’t work’. And it just felt really tough for me and then I guess if we fast forward to the most recent events, I became pregnant with my second child which I was really excited about and yeah, from that point on my working world just got even tougher. There’s been various things that have been shared in the press and they were brought up during the hearing around a role move that was offered that all of a sudden disappeared as soon as I declared I was pregnant.

[00:06:21.300] – Donna
There were things around, bonus payments not being paid while you’re on maternity leave, various-, just different things that really made you feel not valued because you are different to somebody who isn’t pregnant or isn’t on maternity leave and, yeah, it was just really tough. But like I said at the start, I felt I had no other choice but to fight back, because I’ve seen it happen all the time. I’ve seen it happen to other people. I felt it happening to me. And I think because it was my second baby, I was that bit older, I was that bit more established, I had that bit more stability in life that I thought, I am going to do something about this, I’m going to say something about this. Pregnant Then Screwed, which you’ve already mentioned, is an incredible charity. What Joeli has done out of her experience and how she has made something really negative that happened to her into something hugely positive for other people really helped me because it validated a lot of the experiences that were happening to me weren’t acceptable. I do think that up until Pregnant Then Screwed coming into existence, a lot of women had dismissed what had happened to them because it is so commonplace that you don’t necessarily recognise it’s not acceptable and it shouldn’t be happening.

[00:07:59.360] – Donna
So, yeah, Pregnant Then Screwed have done wonders and they’ve given me and loads and loads of other women confidence to put their head above the parapet and say, hang on, I don’t think this is right.

[00:08:13.070] – Charlotte
I think something that you’re pointing out there is it’s come up in a book that I’m currently reading and an article that I was reading this morning as well, about this kind of acceptance of a ‘normal’ environment. And just because we sometimes see it as ‘normal’, whatever that even means, doesn’t mean it is right. And it’s those environments that have reinforced and made certain people very successful and therefore they’ve got the most amount to lose. So they will protect that and they will reinforce that behaviour as much as they possibly can, because that’s how they’ve got their success. But it is discriminatory in its own light because you’re only celebrating and valuing a very slim portion of the population. And that, ultimately, is the way that I’ve seen it. And I too have been a client of Pregnant Then Screwed. The baseline that you go from is if you don’t tick these, I don’t know, three boxes, then you’re out on your ear and that can be subtle, but it will happen and the options will be closed down and the conversations will be reduced. And in the moment, it doesn’t always feel like those things are happening, but when you look back, everything has changed.

[00:09:29.430] – Donna
That’s exactly what I have explained a few times, that individually, because they don’t all happen at the same time, these individual little incidents that happen, you feel a bit weird, they feel a bit uncomfortable, but they’re not hugely significant enough for you to think, oh no, that shouldn’t have happened. However, like you just said, when you look at them cumulatively together, you see a pattern and it becomes clear that whoa, this is all out of order. And I think you’re exactly right that we’ve got such a limited representation in positions of power that it’s just not reflective of what the world and society looks like. But how on earth does that limited representation protect their position unless they just blank out all the other parts of society? Because that’s a big risk to their position, isn’t it? If they do start opening opportunities to a more representative version of what the world looks like. And that’s certainly my experience that I encountered.

[00:10:51.980] – Donna
This wasn’t and this formed part of my closing statement during the hearing. What happened to me is not just an example of a couple of bad managers who just didn’t do the right thing. This was company wide, all levels. Every person that I encountered was fundamental to what happened to me. So I think that’s what’s really concerning, that this is across the piece, this isn’t just a couple of one off bad eggs, if you like to call them that. And that’s really concerning because things have got to change. And that was what I was so adamant about and that really helped me stay focused and motivated when the days were tough and I felt out of my depth in doing what I was doing because genuinely one of the biggest driving forces for me was that other people shouldn’t have to go through this. And it weighed a bit heavy on my shoulders and I felt a lot of responsibility because I did want things to be better. But I’ve just seen that if I had the opportunity and I felt enabled to fight back, that I should do that because so many others can’t, because they are the main breadwinner, they can’t risk not working in that industry anymore. They are scared, time, they don’t have the energy. They have much younger babies than what I had. So I just thought, yeah, I’ll take one for the team and I will challenge that.

[00:12:33.890] – Charlotte
And I imagine that that team, that collection of people, whether they’re being able to do it overtly or not, are rejoicing for what you have been able to do. Because, blimey, I really hope that that employer is doing something internally right now to change some of this. I mean, we’ve seen their response, which we won’t go into loads of the legal side of it today, but we can only have hope. And hope is definitely not a strategy. But what you have done is given a voice and also given, I think it isn’t going to be at everybody’s disposal to do what you did, just to say out loud, representing yourself and cross examining people. We are talking about a supermarket with a lot of money at their disposal to bring in one heck of a team of barristers who I mean, are they all sat with their head in their hands right now? Probably.

[00:13:29.410] – Charlotte
It really is incredible. I can’t wait for you. Tell me you’re going to write a book because it’s definitely going to fly off the shelves, isn’t it? It could be a cross between your story and a how to guide, because your situation and your experiences aren’t going to be-, they’re not going to be the last, are they? Which is a really sad part about it. I know you’ve said a couple of times about, I felt like I had no other choice. This was where I got to. And do you remember the moment where you were like, was it when you picked up the phone to Pregnant Then Screwed or was it when they said to you, go for it? Was there something in particular that you thought, I’ve just got to do this?

[00:14:12.420] – Donna
Yeah, there was a couple of different things. There was never one light bulb moment. Right, okay, this is what I’m doing, because I did genuinely try to resolve things, not only just to follow the process and tick all the boxes so that if it ever came to a tribunal, I could say, well, I did everything the right way. I did genuinely try to resolve things. I didn’t want to walk away from my career. I’d worked 15 years for it. It satisfied me. It just made me feel valued in a way that being a parent doesn’t. And that’s not to say that I don’t love being a parent, because I do, but I worked hard to be in an industry, so I didn’t want to walk away from that, which is why I did persevere. I tried to come up with solutions. I didn’t just sit there going, ‘this isn’t right, fix it’. I came up with concepts, ideas of how things could be rectified and it was just, I think, at each stage where there was just no appetite to work with me and to compromise and agree a solution with me that I just felt, I am getting nowhere here.

[00:15:37.630] – Donna
And then through speaking to Pregnant Then Screwed, through them giving me a one hour free consultation with a solicitor, who I think out of all of the legal advisors I spoke to during my claim, he was the one who really gave me the confidence. And I’m glad that I did speak to him because he probably was the person that gave me the nudge to pursue it and believe that there was something worth pursuing. It was everything then that happened afterwards. The complete disregard for my health, wellbeing, safety, the clarity that I just really wasn’t actually valued. And it got to a point where it was made clear that I could either just put up with the offer that was being given to me in an alternative role or go away really, I think, is what it came down to at the end. And I decided, yes, I would go away because that wasn’t an environment that I felt I should be subjected to anymore. And I think that’s when I became really so adamant that I was going to try my absolute hardest and I think that’s why I put so much effort into it because I just really wanted to open people’s eyes to what had gone wrong and make things better so that other people didn’t have to go through it.

[00:17:07.600] – Donna
And I think that was one of the most infuriating things. Even throughout the hearing, there was just such a lack of acknowledgment and recognition of the mistakes that had been made. Which is really because that says to me that learnings haven’t been taken.

[00:17:26.510] – Charlotte
Something that you shared, you’ve said it a couple of times, is about not feeling valued. And this comes up a lot in my line of work, that common sense is not always common practice and wanting to feel or needing to feel valued is part of our basic human needs, isn’t it? And when we say things like being able to show up as your whole self and all of those kinds of things that have become a little bit cliched, a little bit wallpaper, there are real reasons that sit behind that, real human psychological safety reasons. But also, let’s be blunt about it, commercial reasons as well, from an employer perspective, because imagine how much this has cost your ex employer? I don’t just mean the headlines of what they needed to pay to you, but also the cost of the bad press. I know I certainly don’t shop with them anymore. I mean, not that they’ll be mad about losing me, but I’ve seen a lot of people on LinkedIn as well on that professional platform as well as other social media platforms who are saying, ‘nah, not happening, if that’s how they treat people’. And if treating parents in the workplace well can be an amazing talent magnet, then treating them poorly is going to be one hell of a repellent.

[00:18:43.580] – Charlotte
So all of that to say when you’ve talked about feeling valued in the workplace, could you just talk a little bit more about what would have helped you feel valued in the workplace? Let’s imagine we had a magic wand and a DeLorean and we could go back and make some of these changes for you. Are there like a couple of things that you could say either at an organisational level or even more specifically just to a line manager as well? Because I know sometimes it can feel a little bit like there’s a culture and then there’s individuals. What would you have loved to have seen?

[00:19:17.890] – Donna
You know what, I think what hopefully might be nice for people to hear is how a lot of the things that I’m going to say are really simple things. We like really easily, easily implemented things. So for example, just a conversation, an actual conversation. And what I mean by that is for one person to speak and the other person to listen and not for one person to have an agenda and to just drive that agenda forward. And when I say we, I’m talking collectively in the generalisation about returning mothers. But we are not unreasonable people. We get that there are business needs that need to be met. Nobody is expecting for the earth to be offered to them. But if somebody is saying to you, please, can we talk about what role I can return to, have the decency to have a conversation with them about that. Don’t repeatedly ignore them. So just having a conversation, listening to somebody, explaining back to them, look, for this reason and that reason and this business need and that business need, that isn’t possible. However, how about this? What about this? Give options, don’t just ramroad one solution only, have transparent and honest conversations.

[00:20:57.070] – Donna
And I think you’ll get a much better response from the other side rather than just trying to drive home the business’s sole agenda. And I think the other big thing is, and I don’t think it would be hard to do, is for employers, line managers, to have a bit of perspective. Quite often, line managers haven’t ever been in the position that a returning mother is in, which is having been out of the workplace for a number of months, been through a crazy, whirlwind experience of looking after a newborn, having all of their priorities completely change and shift, and just learning a new role that they’ve never done before. That doesn’t come with a manual, but just having a little bit of perspective. And I think that there’s some easy things that employees can implement to educate line managers to be a bit more empathetic, a little bit more understanding. And I know that you’ve said this before, Charlotte, just because your line manager has been a parent or has been a mother doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand where you’re coming from because every human being’s experience is very, very different. So I think there’s something to be done there about education, so that they realise that by having their email ignored three times, it’s really damaging to that person who’s been out of the workplace for three months, six months, nine months, whatever it is.

[00:22:34.260] – Donna
It’s not just a case of oh, they might just think that I’m super busy and I haven’t had a chance to reply. That genuinely sends a message of, we don’t care about you, you are not important, you are not a priority to us. And I think those kind of changes or approaches would reap huge rewards. And then there’s a bit about when you return to the business, sit down and have a conversation, take them to one side to say, how are things going? Are you okay? Is everything working out okay for you? Is there anything more that I can do for you? What have you noticed that has changed? Just take a bit of care and consideration for this person. Make them feel recognised and seen and valued. Like we keep using that word. There’s loads of data out there to prove how valuable a returning parent is to the workplace. They’ve usually got quite a lot of experience from their previous role. They understand the business. It’s a lot cheaper to retain employees than it is to recruit new employees, never mind the whole training process of getting them up to speed. And I just think it sends a really good message out to the rest of the workforce of, yeah, this person has returned from work and they want to stay here because we make working and having a family manageable and achievable.

[00:24:15.970] – Charlotte
I love all of that, so much of it. And I think you hit the nail on the head at the beginning of this to say there’s lots that you can do. And actually, some of it can be very simple. It is grounded in great conversations, it’s grounded in listening and not just waiting to talk and it’s understanding individuals. And I think one of the questions that I get asked a lot, I was asked it just last week on a workshop. I quite like it when it comes up because I’m weird like that. But the whole, well, why do parents get special treatment, type conversation. And in a way, I’m quite honoured that people ask it because I think I must look like it’s okay to ask. And to be honest, I would rather people ask those questions and they surface them so that we can talk about it. Because actually it’s when they’re under the radar that they cause more of the problem. But ultimately, and everything that you’ve just strung together there, none of it is saying that it’s not special treatment. If you actually listen to the recommendations that you’re making, that anybody makes in this arena, they are simple human contact things and wellbeing things that whether you have a family or not, these are the things that you want to be doing.

[00:25:32.090] – Charlotte
So any piece of advice that you dish out or any practice that you might want to put in place, it can go for anybody, really. But this is where you then need to make it shaped around an individual or your organisation, isn’t it? That there isn’t a checklist, a foolproof checklist, that if you follow steps one to five and you’re going to have the most amazing environment, every parent’s going to thrive. Because you can’t force that upon individuals, can you? It is about what helps them be at their best and how do they bring the whole self to work. But there are things that can help rather than hinder. And I think that’s kind of where we’re trying to get to with a lot of this, isn’t it? Let’s keep it straightforward because we do ask an awful lot of line managers. But line manager responsibilities aside, what we’re asking here is for a human conversation. And that’s where I end up with it. And I think everything that you’ve said there has definitely reinforced that for me.

[00:26:31.180] – Donna
You’re absolutely right that this isn’t just a special treatment for parents. I’m coming at it from that angle based on my experience. But you’re absolutely right. This applies to every single employee. Nobody should be treated preferential over anybody. This is just about, like you say, treating people as decent human beings. And I am really conscious of how thinly spread line managers are. The world we are operating in now is a really tough world. There are lots of challenges out there. But I don’t think we can continue the way that we are because human beings are just being thrown by the wayside, and that’s going to have ramifications for businesses. With the exception of Artificial Intelligence, not everybody can be replaced by robots. For businesses to thrive and operate, they do need people at the helm to run things. And I think the other thing, it doesn’t all fall on line managers. This needs to be a top down, bottom up approach. It doesn’t work if you’ve only got a couple of trailblazing line managers out there who are, they’re really putting the effort in. And they do exist. I know that they exist. But there needs to be a whole company approach to this in order for it to work and for it to be successful, everyone’s got to buy into it. And from my experience and from talking to a lot of other people out there, that’s not the majority of employers. I’m not saying that no employers are like that, but the majority out there, based on conversations that I am having, show me and tell me that this isn’t the approach that the majority of employers take.

[00:28:26.530] – Charlotte
Yeah, you’re totally right, and thank you for caveating that it’s probably not all employers, but it is lots of them. Maybe you should retrain in the legal world now. In fact, we’re recording this in the middle of November. A post that I’ve got going live tomorrow on LinkedIn and Instagram is one that I’ve used before, you will have seen it before, that supporting parents in the workplace is not an HR issue and it can sometimes fall to that function. This kind of homogeneous group of, well, you’re HR, you should know what to do. That just isn’t the case. It is a whole company approach that is needed, and I think that can be a major benefit. Sometimes it’s seen as it’s therefore going to be a massive thing. But the more people that you can get behind it, the more likely you are to see the cultural shift, the more likely it’s not to feel like work, it’s not going to feel like extra, because it’s just the way we do things around here. It becomes the culture as opposed to some sort of transactional initiative, doesn’t it? It goes a lot deeper when you involve more people.

[00:29:30.630] – Donna
Absolutely correct. And I would argue that if employers don’t get on board with that on the back of the work that Pregnant Then Screwed are doing, off the back of what I am going to ensure that I do, there are going to be a lot of employees out there who are going to start challenging back more. Because just on the conversations I have had in the last few recent weeks, people that I’ve known for a long time, completely new, people who have approached me via Let’s Talk Work, are telling me that they feel that they have the power and the confidence to have conversations that they’ve been bottling up for a long time, whether that be about pay, whether it be about their workload. There is going to be a shift, I do believe there is going to be a shift where people are going to say ‘enough’. And I’m not saying that’s off of the back of what I’ve done or solely off of the back of what Pregnant Then Screwed are doing. I just think people have had some really tough years. We’ve had COVID and the lockdowns. We’ve got really challenging economic environments now, the cost of living crisis.

[00:30:49.830] – Donna
I think all that melting pots of things are making people say ‘enough’, I’m willing to reassess my life and make changes so that I don’t feel so compromised in the workplace anymore.

[00:31:04.090] – Charlotte
Yeah, I think I read something in a book the other day I’m reading. I Didn’t Do The Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt. And it’s brilliant. But one of the analogies that Madeleine Dore, who wrote it, uses in there is ‘is the juice worth the squeeze?’ And when you were talking there, that’s kind of what came into my head of it feels pinchy and it feels squeezy in the workplace. So if the juice that’s coming out is not worth that squeeze, then people aren’t going to keep doing it.

[00:31:34.260] – Donna
I do really agree with that. I know in my situation, that was the point that I came to because that was a decision I had to make. I handed my notice in with no job to go to. Never in my life have I ever done that before. But my back was against the wall and I did that. And I know that that isn’t an option for everybody out there, but I think the tides are changing and people are going to find alternative options. If by having these types of conversations with their employers doesn’t result in the outcome that they’re hoping for or if they’re just not listened to, people are going to take action.

[00:32:11.930] – Charlotte
So on that note, and you’ve alluded to it there, but you have got new plans afoot for how you are going to turn an incredibly negative and probably harrowing at times, experience into something magnificent with Let’s Talk Work. So would you just like to share with us what you’re going to be doing? Because I know that there’s going to be a lot of people that might need to come knocking on your door.

[00:32:36.080] – Donna
Again, it wasn’t like a light bulb moment. It was after months and weeks of going through the process that I went through and considering what on earth am I going to do next? I came up with the idea of just sharing all of this knowledge that I’ve learned, because it occurred to me that what a waste it would be for all of the learning that I have done over these months to just never be used again, because I certainly don’t want to go through a tribunal personally again. But it seems a waste to not share all of that knowledge with other people because there is information out there, because I found it. But my experience is that it’s really fragmented and disjointed and it’s dotted around across various different websites, in various different conversations that I’ve had with solicitors, Pregnant Then Screwed, Working Families. What I want to do, basically is be a one stop shop of, okay, you’ve got a preliminary hearing coming up, this is what you need to do. You’re concerned about how to speak to a judge, this is what you need to do. Your ex employers’ solicitors have been difficult. This is what I recommend, the approach you take, if you’re really concerned about how to prepare your cross examination questions, here is an example of what they should look like. And because I went through the process end to end, I’m able to give that context and information about what to expect at each stage of the process because it is really scary. And there were so many times where I just wished there was someone that I could speak to. And I was actually really lucky because Pregnant Then Screwed allocated me a mentor. But that particular person didn’t actually get to a hearing stage, so they weren’t able to tell me what those five days were going to be like. And I then also had the amazing Helen Larkin, who I basically just approached out of the blue to say, ‘please, will you help me and tell me what you did to successfully win your case against Liz Earle, the beauty brand?’ So Helen was able to help, but those people had limited time and they were giving up their time for free out of the goodness of their heart. So I was very conscious that I couldn’t really just keep abusing that time. And that is how I came up with the idea of Let’s Talk Work.

[00:35:08.450] – Charlotte
Absolutely incredible. And I think what you are doing is if I was describing it to somebody else, what feels different is you’ve taken the process, you’ve gone through the policies, but what you’re doing is actually attaching your story to it. And that’s what people want to hear. They want the story sharing because that’s what brings it to life. That’s what makes it lift off a page to think, yeah, I can do that and it’s bringing it into real life rather than fill this form in, prep these questions. It’s the human side of things that you were not afforded in the workplace that you can now give to other people. So I think it is wonderful, you’re wonderful. And hopefully what this will lead to is an abundance of employers actually wanting to do the right thing. Not from a place of fear, but from a place of actually, yeah, kind of does dawn on me now that we do need to recognise and value what everybody brings to the workplace, not just one tiny section of it, because we are already in that war for talent is the cliched line that we use, isn’t it?

[00:36:16.710] – Charlotte
And you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of millions of people that we can be alienating from the workplace that are going to be the key to unlocking, I think, some of our economic struggles right now.

[00:36:30.300] – Donna
I read something in Joeli Brearley’s book, the Motherhood Penalty, and it was a stat. Now I can’t remember the actual number, but the stat was a really high proportion of the household purchase decision making is done by women. I’m going to put it at say, 80%. And if that percentage isn’t reflective in the decision making in all businesses, how on earth can businesses be making the right decisions that that buying power is then going to use when it comes to making buying decisions for their household? So these big organisations have a representative and that’s not just mothers, that’s every minority group out there. If they aren’t represented in the decision making, how can those businesses be sure that they’re making the right decisions? Because they’re making them solely off the back of a very small segment of society.

[00:37:35.180] – Charlotte
Yeah, and it’s a tale as old as time, isn’t it? That has been true forever. But what I think is different now is our access to information. Our buying power is different because we’re shopping differently. I’m not some sort of, like, customer insight person, but it seems like although that’s been true for a long time, it means a lot more now and it carries a lot more weight. So we’ve got to react and respond, well, respond rather than react, hopefully, to that. It would be brilliant before we wrap up, just if people want to come and find out more about either your story or the work that you are doing now, where is the best place for people to come and find you?

[00:38:15.550] – Donna
I have an Instagram page which is Let’s.Talk.Work so you can find me on there. And then I’ve also managed to set up a website which is another new talent I didn’t know I had in me and that’s www.letstalkwork.co.uk.

[00:38:36.920] – Charlotte
Amazing. I’m sure there will be lots of people flocking there and I can’t wait to see and follow more of your story and see all the amazing successes that you have. I have absolutely no doubt. So thank you so much for joining me today, Donna, and for sharing your story.

[00:38:50.730] – Donna
Thank you so much for having me on and listening to me.

[00:38:53.870] – Charlotte
A pleasure. Take care. Thanks very much for tuning in to Power of the Parent, the podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please rate, review and subscribe. And if you could tell all your friends about the podcast, that would be wonderful. If you’d like to get in touch, you can find me on Instagram. Just search Power of the Parent. See you next time.

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