This week we meet Teresa Williams, Interim Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (Operations) at the Office of the President and Provost. Here, Teresa chats to us about working with the Disability Equality Steering Group to reduce barriers faced by disabled staff.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am Interim Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (Operations), supporting the smooth running of the Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Team. A key focus of mine is on reducing barriers faced by disabled staff, by advocating and facilitating change. I work closely with the Disability Equality Steering Group, who are disabled staff - they are really keen to see some change at UCL.
I also oversee some race equality programmes - BMEntor - mentoring schemes for black and minority ethnic staff and Fair Recruitment Specialists, which is proving popular.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL since summer 2016. Prior to that, I was Senior Adviser in EDI at Barnardo’s, a national children’s charity working to eradicate discrimination and disadvantage for children and young people.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
One of my first tasks at UCL - pulling together all the great LGBTQ+ activity across UCL into a successful submission in the Stonewall Top 100 employers listing for LGBTQ+ equality.
At Barnardo’s I created an in-house EDI benchmarking award (there are no sector specific charter marks like Athena SWAN or Race Equality Charter). It got real engagement from all departments, keen to showcase their work.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I hope UCL can achieve the Disability Standard charter mark. There is lots to do first. However, positive things are happening that will help. One is a Digital bility Project led by ISD (implementing the Digital bility Regulations) - this is all about changing the way we work to maximise technology which reduces the barriers faced by Disabled students and staff. We have now all been thrown into changing our ways of working and learning new skills - which shows what is possible!
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
I enjoy mixing things up on Spotify rather than listening to one album at a time. However, Al Green and Nick Cave would certainly be in the mix.
Crash - the 2004 film with Don Cheadle and Thandie Newton (not the 1996 film) - an exploration of race and identity.
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Michelle Obama; Nick Cave; Nelson Mandela and the Brontė sisters
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t waste educational opportunities. I was thoroughly disengaged at school (a Catholic Girls Grammar in Liverpool) - I misbehaved and didn’t pay much attention - which showed in my exam results!
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I have a short temper - but hide it well at work - at least I hope I do.
What is your favourite place?
Standing on a beach or headland witnessing the power of the ocean.