Diversity and inclusion at Congress 2021

We’re really proud to have the charismatic Femi Otitoju as a speaker at VMG SPVS Virtual Congress 2021, 13-14 May.

A diversity and inclusion specialist with a career spanning over 30 years, Femi combines a scientific background with persuasive and engaging training skills.

Femi founded the Challenge Consultancy in 1985 to provide high quality, effective training and consulting services for the private, public and voluntary sectors delivering solutions for a wide range of UK and global organisations, including senior leadership teams at the BBC, Eli Lilly, Imperial College London and Nationwide. She has designed much sought-after Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership programmes and delivered a wide range of equality and diversity courses, cultural awareness, dignity at work, coaching, mediation and Board development services.

Femi’s most recent success has been in being engaged to design and deliver training on harassment, bullying and sexual harassment at the Houses of Parliament.

In Inclusive Leadership, Femi will discuss how inclusive leadership is not just about how diverse your team is, rather it is how you are perceived by the people you lead.  You may have a multidisciplinary team that combines the collective capabilities of women and men, people of different cultural backgrounds, younger and older workers, and, in a practice setting, vets, nurses, receptionists and managers, but, according to Harvard Business School, the team are more likely to report making high quality decisions and working collaboratively if they perceive their leaders to be inclusive.  In this session, Femi will explain what makes an inclusive leader, how you can become one, and why it matters to each and every team.

In Moving Up to Management, Femi will discuss how moving into a management role can be daunting, particularly if you are promoted within your practice and so find yourself managing colleagues. But if you make the transition smoothly, it can be very rewarding both to the practice and to you personally. There are some key things you can learn such as how to give positive feedback, effective delegation, ways to motivate others and the importance of consistency.  Existing managers may also wish to tune in to fine tune their management techniques!

The above sessions are proudly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

In Challenging Conversations Femi will be chairing a panel session to discuss the following themes…  If you were applying for a job, would you challenge a racist, ableist or homophobic comment during the interview?  And what if you were part of the minority group in question? How do you protect your mental wellbeing? If a client makes a racist or homophobic comment intentionally or unintentionally, do you know how you would call it out? How about if it comes from a colleague in the practice coffee room? And if you did, would you be supported by your boss and colleagues? What constitutes an unacceptable comment? Would your practice be welcoming to anyone with a disability or chronic illness, physical or mental? If not, why not? Can minorities be ‘too sensitive’? What are the common themes that the majority don’t get? How do you gently make your point, without escalating the situation? How do you take feedback about your behaviour with grace? How do allies best show support for their peers in the face of an unpleasant incident. Maybe you are able bodied, cis gender, heterosexual and white, but worry about the right language to use or that you may inadvertently cause offence? What do you do when you do trip up?

Femi will be joined by the following panelist: Charlotte McCarroll who teaches pre-clinical medicine at Surrey Vet School and is an award winning advocate for diversity and inclusion within STEM. Issa Robson, clinical teaching fellow at Surrey and co-founder of BVEDS (British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society). Claire Hodgson from BVCIS (British Veterinary Chronic Illness Society) and the ‘Spoonies’ community.  Femi will chair the discussion around how to challenge ‘isms’ in colleagues, team members and clients with those who may be unaware their micro-aggressions are a problem.  All staff need to recognise the impact of unconscious bias from yourself and others on the ways we work and to feel empowered to challenge overt prejudice. This discussion will give a taster, with the option for those who would like to engage more, to move to a different space for a workshop session.

We have a wide variety of non-clinical sessions to engage the whole team, from those starting out to those contemplating life beyond their veterinary career. From managing debt to saving money through sustainability, flexi-working to leading in a time of change, shared leadership to creating a digital strategy, it’s a programme designed to fulfil all needs in these trickiest of times.

Click here for the latest full programme details.

We will also be recording all sessions, which means you can catch up on every session after the event, at your leisure.

We have some great offers including member early bird and bundle deals, so why not register today!

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