My Defining Moment of 2014

  • Katie Hinksman
  • May 1, 2018
As the CEO of Savran, specialists in diversity consultancy and coaching, I have worked with individuals and organisations from many diverse groups. For example, I have coached a young Asian woman to set up her own business and she has managed to increase her income threefold; I have also provided relationship and life coaching to men and women and have supported clients in the process of life-changing decisions in both their career and personal lives.
Savran’s most notable achievement this year has been consulting with a Police force to improve
the recruitment, retention and career progression of their 3000 minority ethnic officers. All these ventures have helped bring about positive change for my clients, but this would not have been possible without the changes I made in my own life.

Success comes down to the goals and aspirations we set for ourselves, but quite often the thing that prevents us from meeting these goals are our own limiting beliefs, which are often self-imposed. Diverse groups sometimes experience obstacles through unconscious bias of others and may need extra support through networking, mentoring and coaching. These are issues as an Asian businesswoman, I have had to overcome myself and coach others to do the same. Ultimately, diverse groups increase the quality and creativity of decision-making and improve the quality of service and profits of any organisation.

Expanding my business means that I am busier than ever, but it’s important that my values, culture and family are not compromised. This year, we as a family started weekly meetings to openly discuss, in an understanding way, all aspects of life and to support each other in achieving our goals. We all contribute to documenting the values that we inherited from our parents and the ones that we want to live by in a family mission statement that hangs in our kitchen. This reminds us daily that as we grow and develop, we shouldn’t lose sight of our values and the legacy we want to leave behind.

The defining moment for me this past year was losing both my Mother and my Mother-in-law within the space of a few months.

My Mother became a widow at the young age of 36 and had raised my three siblings and I on her own. She instilled in all of us strong family values, a hard work ethic, the importance of education and giving back to family, friends and society. Most of all, she encouraged us to be ambitious and not let circumstance or our own self-doubts, limit us.

Seeing both of my Mothers leave this world was an incredibly difficult time, but it also brought about a desire within me to honor them. I did this through developing and expanding my business, and used both of my Mothers’ names, Savitri and Rani, to create Savran.

I wanted to put my wealth of experience of teaching, training, coaching and mentoring into a wider project of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As an Asian woman, I felt that minority groups such as women and ethnic minorities should be empowered and supported more to progress in the workplace and in business.

For further information on personal development, career coaching or diversity consultancy contact Rita Chowdhry on rita@savran.co.uk or call 07973 469298

Anything is Possible: What I Would Tell my Daughter

  • Katie Hinksman
  • May 1, 2018
I have been a teacher and personal development coach for over 28 years. During this time, I’ve had my brain picked countless times on the question of parenting and I am often asked what advice to give our daughters. So, what do I think?
Pressures are part and parcel of life; there has always been, and always will be, pressure in varying forms for every generation. I suppose the main difference that our young daughters face today is finding themselves expecting to succeed in many more ways than one – not only at school, at having the perfect home and family life, a vibrant social life, but also in striving for the best career.

In today’s age, more is available to our daughters and so the prospect of achieving all your ambitions can be daunting. I want to share some of the advice I live by and encourage those I coach and mentor, including my own daughters, to utilise as a way of managing pressure and harnessing success.

Believe in your abilities

‘There are two kinds of people: those who think they can and those who think they can’t, and they’re both right’  – Henry Ford

Know what you want for yourself, work hard for it, and trust that you can achieve it. It is usually the lessons learnt outside of the classroom or boardroom that define who we are and what we want out of life. I have always encouraged my children, and those I teach, to expand their horizons; travel, take on a challenge, support a charity. Develop socially and understand that success doesn’t have to be just about academics and making money.

Maintain good relationships

‘Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future’  – John Kuebler

Maintain a strong support system of friends and family. It is important to surround yourself with the right people, because they can have a big influence on the choices we make. If a child is acting out, look at who they socialise with. Being surrounded by honest, hardworking, ambitious people with positive attitudes will encourage a similar mentality when it comes to tackling your own pressures in order to develop and grow.

Have shiny shoes and a shiny mind

‘You can never be over educated or overdressed’  – Oscar Wilde

First impressions count – so give yourself a head start by looking your best. The way you present yourself gives others an insight into the kind of person you want to be. If you dress for success, your mind follows suit, helping you to feel good about yourself and allowing your most valuable qualities to shine through with confidence.

​Practice good karma

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’  – The Golden Rule

Having a good set of moral principles to fall back on when you feel overwhelmed can help guide you. I believe in the simple premise that what goes around comes around and so it is important to be good to those around us. This is a universal approach that can be applied to all walks of life like the golden rule above.
I am passionate about helping our younger generation to realise their potential and not be discouraged by the pressures they face. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it!

Interview: Nicky Morgan Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities

  • Katie Hinksman
  • May 1, 2018

What are the reasons for diversity in the workplace?

I believe that diversity within the workplace results in increased performance. For example, boards and companies perform better with women on board , and businesses are also better off when they reflect the societies they serve, making companies more competitive and resulting in increased performance.. There’s also no worrying about discrimination/bias or being the odd one out.

Why is the public sector lagging behind?

The public sector has many thousands of female and BME employees – the issue is how many of them have the chance to reach leadership positions. There are many reasons why that does not happen including poor leadership, lack of mentoring, people ruling themselves out of applying for promotions and of course there could be some unconscious bias. It’s the right thing to do to get people to realise the importance of diversity.

What are the key strategies for diversity?

By getting senior members of an organisation involved and getting more women, for example, on company boards. Helen Morrissey, CEO of an investment management company, set up the 30% Club to boost gender equality in boardrooms and we can all buy into this target. Every FTSE Board has at least one woman, but this doesn’t mean we are as diverse as we should be. Parliament is currently at 22% women, but 30% would impact diversity of debates etc. We also need to be more creative about people who haven’t had traditional backgrounds, i.e. people who didn’t go to a good university or are from a charity background. People from different backgrounds helps change the culture. Just because you haven’t got a typical background, doesn’t mean you can’t do the job.

What’s your opinion on mentoring?

I understand that mentoring is used in the Civil Service. Women can have male mentors and so you get a different perspective on things, and the mentor gets something out of it as well. It’s a question of setting up formal mentoring schemes and applying them. To help this the government has invested £1.9m in the Get Mentoring project, which recruited and trained over 15,000 volunteer business mentors from the business community.

There’s also talent spotting – finding good people and encouraging them to apply for positions. Women in particular rule themselves out of positions without it actually being the right thing for them to do so. It’s important to train senior people to appreciate that part time working or different ways of working are not a bad thing. This includes anyone who may not have a linear career path and we need to appreciate the difference that this brings. This is where unconscious bias comes in. It’s important to explain to people when they are doing recruitment exercises not to prejudge and to really understand the skills required for the job they are filling. You have to get senior management to set the tone of all of this. It’s only when you get the Chairman of the board or CEO involved, that’s when it changes.

What about coaching? Could it be used in schools?

I think career coaching is a space to explore. In schools it’s a question of resources and priorities, but I think perhaps schools who should be sending their students to good universities, but aren’t, might think about coaching – I am aware of schemes in the US where that has been used.

What do you feel about networking groups?

There are two types of networking groups. The first is for mutual support, which is useful for sharing ideas. The other is for campaigning groups, which are for meeting and sharing experiences and require dedicated leadership, like the 30% Club. Networking groups are good for making contacts and you could also invite somebody who might be supportive. Personally, I feel that on a personal level these groups are more helpful than mutual support groups.

What’s your view on backlash from majority groups?

Senior leadership is important in explaining to people the reason behind diversity and inclusion: it makes businesses and organisations much better. What needs to happen is a change of culture and in order for that we need to change hearts and minds.