Feb 20 2018

susan lee

We caught up with Susan Lee, Equality and Diversity Officer, to find out what she enjoys most about her role, what Equality and Diversity means at Royal Holloway and what she did to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family over the weekend. 

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Equality and Diversity Officer?

I started my career as a nurse/health visitor before moving into management to lead a team of Community Nurses. I then made a horizontal shift into Human Resources management, and had (took on?) a number of HR roles including Head of HR and Organisation Development before taking early retirement from being Head of Equality & Diversity and Workforce at a Primary Care Trust. After a couple of years I decided that I miss the challenge of working and applied successfully for the Equality & Diversity Officer role in 2013. This role spans across student and staff and is responsible for progressing the equality and diversity agenda within Royal Holloway.

2. What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love the variety this role entails, from facilitating the development of the equality strategy to supporting managers and staff to embed equality and diversity into their everyday working lives. I also get to work and interact with students and staff from diverse backgrounds across the institution. It has been very satisfying to observe the gradual changes happening within Royal Holloway, and an increase in awareness of equality issues and the development of support structures, including staff networks and mentoring schemes.

3. Can you tell us a bit more about Equality and Diversity at Royal Holloway and what Equality and Diversity means to you?

One of our aims is to improve the visibility and profile of equality and diversity within the College which will help us mainstream best practices.  One step towards this has been to revise the reporting structure for equality and diversity within the College. The Equality and Diversity Steering Group will now become an Equality & Diversity Strategy and Development Committee with clear reporting lines to the Planning Resource Committee and Academic Board. Equality & Diversity for me is just a short hand term to enshrine all the things associated with how we respect each other’s individual (human) rights.

4. What Equality and Diversity projects/events are you currently working on?

As a public organisation, the College has to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and publish equality objectives every four years. We are in the middle of consulting on Equality Objectives that will be at the core of the College’s equality Scheme 2018-2021.

The other key project is the renewal of the Race Equality Charter award. We are currently analysing the results of the staff and student race equality surveys that were conducted in December 2017. In relation to this, we are also tendering for a provider to run a BME staff development programme. At department level, we are working with equality and diversity teams on a range of projects, including Athena SWAN (gender equality) initiatives.

5. Which project have you enjoyed working on the most over the past year?

It is hard to say which project I enjoyed most as all the projects I have been working on are interrelated and all about eliminating discrimination, advancement of equality and fostering good relations. However, I think I really enjoy working with and supporting the various staff networks, such as the staff disability forum, LGBT staff network Women’s network

6. Did you celebrate Chinese New Year over the weekend? If yes, what did you do?

I did celebrate Chinese New Year with my family. We had lunch at Soho and went to the theatre to experience an afternoon of classical Chinese dances and music performances by Shen Yun, a classical Chinese dance company. And, of course the children, although grown up also received their ‘hong bau’ (red packet with money).

7. Who inspires you inside of the organisation? Who inspires you outside of the organisation?

It's the staff working at Royal Holloway who really inspire me. Their hard work, commitment and good will are fundamental to fostering an inclusive community where we respect each other and value our differences. Outside of the organisation, all the Olympians and / Paralympians really inspire me with their drive and energy in overcoming adversity and pursuing what are important to them.