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Power of the Parent 6: S4 Ep6: Shivani Uberoi – The Wallflower Academy

Power of the Parent 6: S4 Ep6: Shivani Uberoi – The Wallflower Academy

Today I’m joined by Shivani, founder of The Wallflower Academy – creating workplaces where everyone can be themselves by partnering with businesses to drive the equality agenda and optimise employee wellbeing. Shivani sums up how her mission is ‘to accelerate equality by driving sustainable culture change which unlocks an individual’s full potential.’Shivani’s CV includes roles in huge businesses (including Sky, PWC and Tesco) where she has inevitably gathers her impetus and experiences to bring the Wallflower Academy to life.

I came across Shivani after her recent LinkedIn post covering the eye watering stats on the widening gender pay gap but it did have a list of practical ways employers can invest in the progression and retention of women in the workplace that made my heart sing – and there was plenty to chat about in the recording!

We covered the importance of belonging, the exhaustion of trying to fit in, why we need to address the route cause of challenges and not paper over the cracks, and how to separate self-promotion from bragging. It was packed full of ideas for employers and parents in equal measure.

You can find out more about Shivani on her website and LinkedIn.

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.

[00:00:58.850] – Charlotte
Hello and welcome to the latest episode of Power of the Parent, the podcast. Today I am joined by Shivani Uberoi, the founder of the Wallflower Academy, creating workplaces where everyone can be themselves by partnering with businesses to drive the equality agenda and optimise employee well being. So you can probably see why I’m drawn to Shivani’s work. Shivani sums up her mission as ‘to accelerate equality by driving sustainable culture change, which unlocks an individual’s full potential’.

[00:01:24.910] – Charlotte
Her CV includes roles in huge businesses: Sky, PwC, Tesco, all feature on there, where she has inevitably gathered her impetus and experiences to bring the Wallflower Academy to life. I came across Shivani after her recent LinkedIn post covering the eye-watering stats on the widening gender pay gap. But it did have a list of practical ways employers can invest in the progression and retention of women in the workplace that made my heart sing. So hopefully that’s going to be the tone for our conversation today. And I will also add that Shivani is a parent and there’ll be loads of things that we could probably put in there. But have I captured the main things to introduce you, Shivani?

[00:02:02.590] – Shivani
Yes, definitely. Thank you. I’m sure we’ll come on to other things as we talk through all the different conversations that we have.

[00:02:09.190] – Charlotte
You’ve got a few different experiences to bring, haven’t you? So, yes. Thank you so much for joining me today. The first question that I want to go straight in there with is, talk me through the name of the Wallflower Academy and where this has come from for you.

[00:02:22.750] – Shivani
Well, I guess there’s two things. One. The movie. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Don’t know if you’ve seen it, you’re nodding, so yes, you have and I love that film. And I think one of the main things that really resonated with me in that movie was just this sense of being able to be yourself, but be different, but be yourself and being proud of that.

[00:02:40.340] – Shivani
And that really resonated with me, mainly because I guess both in life and in my career, I’ve always felt a little bit like I don’t belong. Whether that’s because I’m a minority in the room or just because I have different opinions. And early on in my career I really felt like I was almost trying to fit in and sometimes that meant I was mirroring other people’s values and I was just not being myself and I wasn’t being authentic. And it got to the point where sometimes I would dislike myself because of the way I was talking and it was quite hard because I felt like this is the way I have to be to succeed. But then I realised it’s so exhausting and I just couldn’t do it.

[00:03:18.400] – Shivani
And then I was just really lucky that I had mentors and brilliant sponsors who had my back and I was able to have the self belief to be myself and still be successful in my career. But it was hard work and that’s really the essence of Wallflower. It’s like giving people the self belief and the confidence to be themselves and still be successful and just working with organisations to create that culture of belonging.

[00:03:43.920] – Charlotte
Amazing. I haven’t ever watched the film the whole way through, but I’m familiar with the concept and the storyline in there and yeah, that’s a really beautiful way to sum it up. And the word that you used right at the beginning of that around belonging is something that comes up a lot in my line of work and I’m guessing yours as well, that ultimately that’s what we’re trying to create in workplaces for people so that you can show up and bring your whole self.

[00:04:07.120] – Charlotte
And I got asked last week, ‘what do you mean by bringing your whole self to the workplace?’ And it was a really interesting discussion that ensued. It was a line manager session that I was doing and I think it’s a concept that sometimes we take for granted that people know what that means when we say it and it’s just like accepted that, well, of course that’s what you want to create in the workplace. But I’ve definitely had my eyes opened at points where it can feel like an alien concept to some people. So I think it’s incredibly important the work that you’re doing in the way that you’ve shared your story there.

[00:04:38.940] – Charlotte
So thank you for that rundown. One of the things that I would be really interested to talk to you about is something that, and I’ve seen you post about it as well, is this, I guess, desire or this searching that can sometimes happen when you work within organisations. And I know a lot of people listening are in that employer realm of looking for some sort of silver bullet, quick fix solution. And I know we’ve got the societal conversation to have there about what is encouraged and that celebrated the quick fixes. But in terms of what you see with your clients, but also how you would like to move past that, can you just talk to me a bit about your experience with that and your feelings towards the whole silver bullet quick fix approach.

[00:05:22.720] – Shivani
Yes, everybody loves a quick fix, right? And you know, it often comes from the right intention because nobody wants to believe that they’re biased or nobody wants to be biased. And organisations don’t want to have a culture of bias, so they’ll do whatever they can really quickly to try and fix it. But the reality is that change takes time, right? And there is no one answer. And I’m sure you see this all the time that actually, yes, parents are one group, but even for parents, every parent is different. Actually the support they need is different and their experiences are different. Yes, there’s overlap, but there’s also differences. So sometimes I feel like actually having this quick fix mentality can be a bit dangerous. And one of the things that I see in organisations quite a lot is where there’s companies where there’s a lot of women in junior positions but not many women in senior positions. And that happens a lot and I’m sure you recognise that triangle which many companies have with that hierarchy. And then one of the strategies that companies then use is hiring at the senior level. Yes, that makes sense. Like trying to get more women in at senior positions because that’s where the gap is.

[00:06:27.900] – Shivani
But what they’re not doing is then addressing the root cause. Like, why are women not progressing internally? And then how that sometimes then plays out is women are being hired in senior leadership positions, but then they’re not set up for success because the root cause hasn’t been fixed, the culture hasn’t been fixed. And then there’s extra pressure on these women to sometimes be the fixers, but also they might not fit into the culture and often what I then see is that they’re overwhelmed, they’re stressed, and then they end up leaving. Right? So it’s a quick fix, but it’s a short term fix because actually in a couple of years time, those women won’t stay there and the retention won’t be there because they haven’t been set up for success. And I see this often, and often I see this with my clients and my coachees in particular, where they’ve gone into a role and they feel really overwhelmed because there’s all these barriers in place and they feel like it’s their responsibility to kind of try and change it because they’ve come in at that senior leadership position. So, yeah, so I guess with organisations, it’s about taking that bigger picture view that, yes, hiring at senior leadership is important.

[00:07:35.240] – Shivani
You get the role models, et cetera, but also what are you doing around the pipeline and bringing that pipeline through internally? So it’s about having a strategy that is holistic. And in the article that I shared, the one that you referenced earlier, it was around the gender pay gap and how actually, when you’re over 40, most organisations find that the gender pay gap over 40 is three times as higher for women under 40. So that’s interesting, right? And what’s happening when you hit 40? So some of it is parenting. So what are you doing around parenting? Some of it is menopause. What are you doing around the menopause? So there’s so many different things. So actually just focusing on one is just not going to work, or definitely not in the long term.

[00:08:17.910] – Charlotte
I totally agree with so much of what you said there and I think it’s almost like we’ve got to change the definition of the comfort blanket that I think sometimes people take hope, more hope in the quick fixes than they do in the long term strategy. And I know that it can sometimes feel painful, it can sometimes feel like, well, we’ve got a problem right now, so we need to change it right now. And there is a world where that can coexist, I think. And I’d be interested to hear your take on it, and I’m thinking out loud now, but I suppose there are things that you can do that can be quick fixes, which we don’t want to demonise that completely, because if you have got a burning platform that needs solving, fair enough. But I suppose in isolation, that’s where it becomes a problem, isn’t it? That’s the transactional stuff, that if you want it to be transformational, you want it to take you in a stronger strategic direction, that it’s about combining the two rather than villainising one or the other. Let’s kind of bring it all together.

[00:09:14.820] – Shivani
100%, yeah, exactly. So, yeah, there’s definitely space for these quick fixes and everybody wants results and change is taking painstakingly, a slow time. So, of course, where we can have these quick fixes, then we should definitely implement them but go in it with our eyes wide open, right? So, yeah, if you are hiring at the senior level, hiring senior women in, what support are you giving them to succeed? Maybe like career coaching or other support to support them, being aware that the culture isn’t quite there to support them. And in recruitment, changing job descriptions, things like that can also be a quick fix and that actually often works quite well. And that’s probably an area that you can make, I guess, quick change, looking at a job description, changing the wording around it to make sure it’s inclusive. So, yeah, there is definitely a place for quick fixes. But yeah, I guess the main point of this discussion is there is just not one answer. Right? So it’s not like you fix one thing and you’re done because yeah, I’m yet to meet an organisation where that works.

[00:10:13.010] – Charlotte
Yes, please.

[00:10:13.720] – Shivani
I mean, I’d love to.

[00:10:17.480] – Charlotte
So anybody listening wants to give us some great examples of lasting change, of quick fixes, please feel free to correct us.

[00:10:23.500] – Charlotte
You’ve kind of given me a bit of a segue there with talking about particularly the female side of things here. One of the videos that you have shared previously is around self promotion. And it’s a really interesting topic to me because it comes up, as I’m sure it does with yours, comes up a lot with clients of mine. I do quite a lot of work with people around their self trust and your own internal narrative. Trusting that and sometimes it can get-, there’s a fear there about if I believe in myself too much, is that going to make me come across like a gigantic ego? Or am I going to look like I am not open to feedback? We kind of go down that typical human negativity bias that we’ve all got. But I think and it’s coming up a lot right now in the realm of being in the room and being physically in a workplace and obviously the repercussions of how inclusive is that realistically? I’m going off on the tangent there. The question that I wanted to ask you was from your perspective and the work that you do, how do we equip people better to feel comfortable with self promotion regardless of where you physically are in the workplace? Which that’s probably a really gigantic question, isn’t it? But from what you’ve seen and the things that come to the forefront for you, what would you kind of love people to do more of when it comes to self promotion?

[00:11:51.690] – Shivani
I guess believe in themselves and I guess similar to you, yeah, I see it a lot with my clients, but I’ve seen it in myself, right? And I’m sure you have as well. And I said it in my video that at the beginning of my career, it was really uncomfortable for me to self promote because I associated it with bragging. And actually, then what I learned is they’re two different things. Actually talking about my achievements and what I’ve done well is very different to then bragging about it. And what I learned was actually, people aren’t going to know how great I am and the brilliant things that I’ve done unless I tell them, right? And yes, there’s a role of sponsors as well. And there’s a role for sponsors to advocate for you and talk about you. And that’s something organisations can do and managers can do. But the responsibility does sit within ourselves because you can’t rely on someone else talking you up and shouting about your achievements. So how can we change that mindset that yes, it’s not bragging and it doesn’t make us look bad, how do we find a way to do it authentically?

[00:12:52.160] – Shivani
So yeah, so I guess that is the biggest thing for me that I talk to my clients about on an individual basis, but then I also then talk to them about, okay, talk about your achievements with your line manager, identify your sponsors, find a way that if you don’t want to be amplifying your voice yourself across the organisation, what are the other ways to do it? And some of that is through using other people and using other people’s voices. But I think often it does essentially come back down to you, right? And your mindset and being comfortable with it. And even I’m not 100% comfortable with it now. I mean, since I started my whole self employment journey, I’ve had to learn a complete new way of self promoting, like on LinkedIn, right? And I found that really uncomfortable. But again, I’m trying to do great work here. I’m trying to help people, right? And I’m not going to be able to help people unless they know what I do and they know my skill set. And then if they know my skill set, then hopefully they will engage with me and then I can help them.

[00:13:46.280] – Shivani
So come back to your why, right? And there’s another thing that we talk about is what is your why? What are you trying to achieve? And then what do you need to get there? And often that will be if you’re trying to get to that promotion or you’re trying to achieve a certain goal, you need to talk about what you’re doing to get that interview. So come back to your why.

[00:14:05.070] – Charlotte
I think that’s so powerful and I think the question that you’ve just provided there, or I guess that statement about come back to your why, or what is your why? If you want to reframe it as a question, can be something that could be so easily slotted into a line manager’s toolkit. Because one of the things that I’ll often come up against is this fear, from a line manager perspective, of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing, and therefore they end up doing nothing out of panic. And actually, that can sometimes have a bigger consequence than actually saying slightly the wrong thing. I’m not advocating for intentionally going out there and being naughty, but certainly kind of giving it a go and trying to have some of these conversations, particularly for parents in the workplace, that we can feel a bit lost. The things that are famed for being eroded when you become a parent are things like your self worth, the value that you add in the workplace, your self belief and trust and all of those things that I think it is about reconnecting with who you are and what’s important to you and your why is the core of that, isn’t it?

[00:15:08.850] – Charlotte
And you don’t have to be a coach to ask that question of people, do you? Just being a curious human.

[00:15:13.910] – Shivani
Exactly. Why is this important to you? And often when you ask that question, it is just really powerful and yeah, and we can all ask that question. And the other place I see this come up a lot, actually, is when women are about to go on maternity leave. I’m sure you probably see it as well because there’s always that time where a woman’s about to go on maternity leave, she’s working on this big project and it won’t quite be completed. Right? And I had this the other day. So a couple of weeks ago, a client of mine is going on maternity leave. This is her first big project that would be going to the exec, and she’s really stressing herself to try and get it done before she goes, but actually it’s not realistic and there’s not enough time. So I asked her, why is it so important to you to complete it before you go away? Because she wanted the recognition. She wanted the exec to give her, I guess, the recognition for the skills and everything she’s put into it, which of course, everybody would want that. What’s another way of achieving that? Speak to your line manager.

[00:16:07.800] – Shivani
And yes, then it goes back to your line manager. Right. If he’s then the one presenting it, he needs to make sure the credit is given to the right person and he or she amplifies the voice of that person on maternity leave. And having that conversation with the line manager can be quite uncomfortable. And she hadn’t had it yet, but then she was going to go away and have that conversation. And that comes a bit to the self belief, focusing on your why and also knowing if you don’t have that conversation, you don’t know what’s going to happen, right? Will your line manager talk about you or will he not? You don’t know. So, yeah, it comes up a lot. And I think also just raising awareness of it, if a line manager had a little bit of a toolkit, because I see this, I say with 100% of women going on maternity leave, so if a line manager knew this was like a thing, then they would know, okay, she’s about to go on maternity leave. What projects is she working on? What can I do to advocate for her while she’s away? Making sure she’s still in the conversations and she’s not forgotten? Because we do feel forgotten, right? Like six, nine months, one year, however long we take. It’s a long time.

[00:17:05.030] – Charlotte
Tremendously. And I had a very similar situation. I was working with a dad not so long ago who was going on shared parental leave, and he was in a workshop with me about preparing for parental leave. And it was inevitable that a project – I don’t think it was like an exec visibility thing in this instance – but it was a really big project that he’d been involved in for like 18… It was 18 months worth of work. And then he was taking actually, I don’t think it was shared parental leave in the classic sense because he was taking a little bit longer. I think he was having just over six months away from the business. And it was an overlap with his partner that his employer, I better not name them because I haven’t checked, but they’ve been trialing some different approaches to parental leave and he was kind of the guinea pig for what this might look like in the future. So there was a bit of a double whammy for him that he was like, I’ve got to make this look really good, that it works. In his instance, it was for a dad.

[00:18:03.490] – Charlotte
But also, I’m having some of the same feelings that people talk about, that women get in the workplace about, am I going to be forgotten? How am I going to stay connected? All of those things. Anyway, that was the background that nobody asked for, but that’s the context. So when it came to it, he was using some Keep In Touch days or had planned to. So the conversation that he ended up having with his line manager, was there any way that they could make sure they could engineer some of the briefing sessions? Could she put those in for his Keep In Touch days so that he could still be a part of it? So he wasn’t going to land the whole thing, it just was impossible. Baby had arrived and he was having a significant period of time away from the business. They couldn’t shape anything else around him. But one way that he still remained connected was to almost say up front, I think this is going to be a really good use of a Keep In Touch day. Can we therefore make sure that that happens? And that line manager, I don’t know, but I don’t think it had entered her head at the time to plan that.

[00:18:59.600] – Charlotte
But he initiated it. Nobody’s going to have his back like he did. And he was able to feel like actually, I’m now a really great example of how you can use a Keep In Touch day in a really targeted way. So not just, yeah, we offer KIT days out, but that we actually do it with strategy. Because sometimes Keep In Touch days can get a bit of a bad rep, can’t they? But in this instance, it did feel like he was really flying the flag from all angles.

[00:19:26.940] – Shivani
Yeah, that’s a brilliant example. And I also like that you’re talking about working dads, right? Because a lot of companies are rightfully now trying to advocate for shared parental leave, but of course, men are going to be worried about the same things that women have been worrying about for years and years. So actually, making sure that culture is there for dads as well as mums is so important to try and encourage them to take that shared parental leave. And also, there was something else that you said there that made me think of something. So the use of Keeping In Touch days in that way is really, really good, right? But also, I’m quite mindful of putting the pressure on people, parents to take those Keeping In Touch days because all of our experiences on maternity or paternity leave are different, right. And actually, you might not be in the right headspace; so actually it’s giving that option that, yes, let’s set it up. So, yeah, you can use one of your Keeping In Touch days, but actually, if you don’t feel like that’s not what you want to do because you haven’t slept for a week or whatever, that’s also okay because it can also have the opposite impact as well.

[00:20:25.340] – Shivani
And I’ve seen that happen where people are pressurised to use those Keeping In Touch days to have that face time, but then they just don’t feel like they’re up for it. I guess, trying to just give people options, right? And also there’s no hard and fast rule in what works for someone might not work for someone else. And what you might think will work for you. You might change your mind in three months, right? And the more we can share these stories, the better. And that’s a brilliant story that you shared because then it does give someone a bit of inspiration. Oh, yeah, maybe that’s something I can try.

[00:20:53.820] – Charlotte
Yeah. I won’t steal their thunder and hopefully they will share it. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there about, there’s a lot of nuance that sits behind these conversations and that word nuance is splashed around an awful lot. But we don’t want to forget the meaning of it. What works for one person, and parents are not this homogeneous group of people, just like line managers aren’t. Everybody’s got their own experiences that they bring to the table. We’ve all got our own backgrounds, experiences, cultures that we’re all wading through to try and figure out what being a parent means to us. And I think one of the things that I found really interesting was something that you shared about your kind of model around the interaction between inclusion and well being. And a lot of what we’re talking about doesn’t always get labeled, if you will, for want of a better word, as inclusion. But essentially that is what we’re asking for. It is about creating inclusivity in the workplace so that you can bring your whole self so that you are able to have that kind of psychological safety, I suppose.

[00:21:59.950] – Charlotte
And I think it would be-, I’d love to hear in your words, because I’ve read it, but it’d be so lovely to hear in your words why it is so important that we link these together, particularly from an employer perspective.

[00:22:12.470] – Shivani
Yeah, it’s so important, right. And I often just find that we don’t talk about it enough. I’ve been working in the D&I space for gosh, like ten or so years now. And I think what I found a couple of years ago was actually we were talking about all the practical things, what can we change around policies, what can we change around systems? But what I was seeing was actually the wellbeing impact of the lack of inclusion on people and that manifested in so many different ways, right? So it could be somebody being a minority in a room and not having like you to call it the courage to speak up or not feeling like they belonged and so they couldn’t speak up. And often that would heighten the feeling of Imposter Syndrome as well. So that’s one way I was seeing it. And then I started seeing it and felt it when I became a mum, right, and this whole, I guess, just yeah, your whole life changes and then you go back into the workplace and the mental load is just like it’s just so real. You just never switch off, right? Or it’s easy not to switch off because you’re working and then you’re parenting and then you’re working and then you’re parenting.

[00:23:14.230] – Shivani
And it was really tough for me. And then when I spoke to the other women parents about it, they all said it was tough for them, but it was something that nobody was talking about because they were just talking about flexibility and all of those things. And when we dug into the why, why were we not talking about this? It was because about the stigma, right? And actually many people feel like we should just be able to cope, right? I think five years ago we were talking about how can she have it all, right? And all of that narrative and actually people were feeling, okay, yeah, should be able to have it all. But reality, you can’t, right? You need to take breaks, you need to have me time, you need to look after yourself, you need to take rest days where you actually rest. So yeah, so I think it’s just so, so important and I’ve seen it just come up in so many different ways and from an employer perspective, getting back to your question, I guess the first thing is around the awareness of it actually recognising the fact that actually supporting people on their wellbeing journey is so important.

[00:24:09.100] – Shivani
And it’s great to have the mental health support for them to get counselling or therapy or all the other great things that it offers, but actually often by then it can be too late. And there are things that we can do earlier on, right, and there’s these interventions that we can take place in our daily lives that can often stop some people having to get to that point where they need that mental health support. And more and more companies are recognising this. That was one good thing that came out of COVID and lockdown. There’s a lot more focus on mental health, but I still think there’s a lot more we can do to bring wellbeing into our everydays encouraging people to build some positive daily habits, taking those breaks, simple things like not eating lunch at the desk and not rewarding long hours and things like that. There’s so much and yeah, I just feel like there’s just still so much to do in this place, especially from a preventative viewpoint. Like we do a lot now on reactive mental health support and that’s brilliant, but we need to do a lot more in the preventative space.

[00:25:08.600] – Charlotte
Which I think just goes back to reinforcing what we were talking about earlier in the conversation that if you are doing something that is a quick fix, always making sure that there is some sort of long term big sister or big brother initiative. Not big brother, that sounds wrong, but it goes hand in hand so don’t kind of devalue one over the other. And like with anything, two things can be true at the same time, can’t they? Different emotions can coexist and run alongside each other. And I think sometimes we would do well to remember that, that we can feel incredibly joyful and incredibly grateful for what we have with family setups and things that we have aspired to want to achieve. And also at the same time we can feel really exhausted and really like, actually I need a break. I think sometimes it’s that strive for perfection that can sometimes impede some of those feelings and some of those really leading us to hold back and nobody has to overshare, I’m all for boundaries, but I think if we can encourage as much storytelling as possible about the realities of being that parent in the workplace. I work with a number of people at the minute who have dual care and responsibilities with parents.

[00:26:22.080] – Charlotte
They’ve got aging parents and they’re also looking after them and that brings a whole different dynamic to the plate for everybody. But these are still people that want to do well in their workplace. They work for their careers, they enjoy being in the workplace, but they’re not defined by what they do. They have a lot more going on for them.

[00:26:41.740] – Shivani
Yeah, and everyone does, right? You don’t have to be a parent to have other things going on for you. Yes, you can be a carer, you can have a lot other things going on in your life, right? And yes, just recognising that we are all human, we have a life outside of work and we have emotions and we have lots of other things that are going on and actually work doesn’t have to be number one all the time and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you’re not committed, that doesn’t mean you’re not ambitious. And it’s not a weakness. It’s not a weakness to say ‘I need a break’. It’s not a weakness to say, yeah, I’m going to go on holiday and turn off my phone and not check my emails. Actually things like that need to be celebrated and that’s where I do really advocate storytelling, right? The more especially senior leaders and managers can actually role model, like turning off their phone, not replying to emails. And I know a lot of managers say that they have a thing at the bottom of their signature saying I work flexibly so I might email you in the evening, I don’t expect you to reply.

[00:27:37.400] – Shivani
And I understand that, and that has a place. But at the same time, there are these signals that people are getting when they’re getting emails at 11 o’clock, that okay, my manager is working at 11, right? And actually, I think we just have to face into the fact that as managers and leaders, we have a responsibility, right? And yeah, that can be quite important. I think role modelling is just such a powerful way to, I guess, give people permission to do things for themselves.

[00:28:01.020] – Charlotte
I would really love to ask you one final question, if I may. You know, the whole part time, part ambitious narrative, what would you love to say to people who hold that, who really believe part time is part ambitious? What would you love people to-, how can they move beyond that?

[00:28:21.010] – Shivani
Oh, big question. How can they move beyond that? It’s like just open your thinking, right? It’s like, wouldn’t everybody like to just work three or four days a week and then still achieve their career goals and have a great life where you go on holiday, look after your family. That would be like a brilliant set up for most people, right? And actually that can just seem so alien to people. You want to work three to four days a week because you want to do something else, which is outside of work for those other days. But yeah, I think if you step back and especially as we get older into our life, all of these things become more important for someone prioritising their non-work commitments over their work commitments, it doesn’t mean that their work commitments are not important. And surely everyone can understand that to some level. Like, even if you’re not a parent, you might have a great hobby. You might love to go traveling or mountain climbing. I imagine every Friday, you could go do something like that. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? But you could still achieve your career ambition. So this isn’t just about being a working parent.

[00:29:23.960] – Shivani
This is just about us all having fulfilling lives and doing all those things, especially as a parent. Weekends are not the same, right? It’s just not the same. So often, some parents I know, they’ll be working four days a week. And that fifth day actually isn’t with their child, it’s with themselves, right? Because weekends are no longer for themselves. And that’s so important. I guess just take that bigger picture approach and you just understand, everyone is different. And when you become a parent, some people might want to actually say, I want to pause on my career. That’s okay, right? In two years time, they may then decide they want to lean in again. That’s great. And if they don’t feel like that, that’s also okay. But then other people may want to go part time, work three to four days a week, but they still want to accelerate and continue to move and that’s also okay. Everyone is different.

[00:30:15.330] – Charlotte
What a line to end on as well.

[00:30:17.490] – Shivani
I know, right? It feels like we’re going really philosophical there as well.

[00:30:20.970] – Charlotte
No, I love it, but I know it’s not an easy concept, but it is simple to think everyone is different and I just think it is so easily forgotten. But ultimately that feels like that’s the key to unlock some of this stuff. So thank you for ending on that completely unprompted because I think that’s a really lovely line. If people are listening and they want to come up and find more out about your work and you, where is the best place for them to come and have a little nosy round?

[00:30:50.010] – Shivani
The best place to find me is on LinkedIn, as I said in this podcast. Yes, I’m always on there. Well, not always, I do take weekends off. But yeah, find me on LinkedIn and yeah, happy to connect and if you have any questions or want to talk more about anything we’ve talked about. Yeah, I always love having these conversations and even if you have a differing perspective, right? I love getting into debates about these things.

[00:31:09.880] – Charlotte
Amazing. That is an open invite and I will put the link to Shivani’s LinkedIn profile in the show notes. So if you’re listening to this and wondering where that will be, it will be in there. So go find her. Thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your incredible wisdom. It has been an absolute delight and I’m really, really grateful to you.

[00:31:30.920] – Shivani
Thank you so much for inviting me. I’ve really enjoyed it as well. Thank you.

[00:31:35.610] – Charlotte
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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