Staff Spotlight – Liz Kombate

Welcome to the first edition of our ‘Staff Spotlight’ series, where we delve into the dedicated individuals driving Bath Mind’s mission forward.

In this edition, we sit down with Liz, the driving force behind Bath Mind’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. As the newly appointed Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Liz shares insights into her dynamic role, journey to Bath Mind, and the impactful work they are doing to shape a more inclusive future for the organisation.

Can you tell us about your role as Bath Mind’s Diversity & Inclusion Lead?

My role as the Diversity and Inclusion Lead is a newly created role at Bath Mind with my primary focus being to design and implement Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (EDIE) strategies and initiatives across the organisation. Although I am based within the Human Resources office, I get to work collaboratively with my colleagues from across the whole organisation giving inclusion advice and working on strategic projects to increase our accessibility at Bath Mind.

No two days are the same but a day in my role may consist of editing our policies and procedures to ensure they are inclusive, advising Service Managers on how to advertise to a wider range of communities across BaNES, meeting with our Chair of Trustees to ensure compliance with Employment law best practice, or liaising with our Senior Management Team to keep them informed about the developments of my EDIE work. I also meet with colleagues in similar roles to mine from other local Minds and national Mind monthly, which is a great opportunity for collaboration and knowledge exchange across the Mind Federation.

Additionally, a large part of my job is working with and coordinating the staff and volunteer EDI Network and ensuring that ideas are actioned and thoughts are fed back to our Senior Management Team, helping to give a voice to our staff in shaping the organisation.

What inspired you to join the team at Bath Mind?

I have always loved giving back my time to my community and had my first experience with the charity sector when I started volunteering as a Young Leader at my local Brownies Unit when I was 15. Since then, I have volunteered in a variety of different roles, from helping at a Food Bank to marshalling charity fun runs. Most recently I have become a volunteer researcher at the Vegan Society.

When I went to university, this interest in social justice followed me and throughout my Law degree, I focused my studies on human rights. I then pursued an MA in Race and Ethnicity because I wanted to learn more about racial inequalities and social justice. After graduating, I started working at a charity that supports disabled children and adults as a Community Fundraiser and my love for the charity sector was firmly cemented.

I wanted to take my career in a slightly different direction, so when I saw the job advert for the Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Bath Mind, I applied immediately. I knew the role would give me the perfect opportunity to combine my longstanding passion for the charity sector and addressing injustice.

Moreover, Bath Mind really stood out to me because I have had my own experience of mental health struggles, both personally and with my loved ones, and feel that the importance of understanding mental health conditions and supporting those with them is imperative.

Most of all, I feel incredibly lucky that I can contribute, even in just a small way, to the amazing work that Bath Mind undertakes within BaNES!

Can you tell us about Bath Mind’s EDI Network and what they do?

The Bath Mind Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) staff network is a group open to all staff and volunteers across the organisation who have an interest and passion for equality, diversity inclusion and equity in the workplace.

Members of the network may identify as having a protected characteristic, as outlined by the Equality Act 2010, such as being:

  • a member of the LGBTQ+ community
  • a member of the non-binary community
  • a member of the BIPOC (Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour) community

Or, have:

  • a disability
  • experience of neurodiversity
  • experience of mental illness

However, many of our network members are keen allies and wish to know how to support their peers, colleagues, and clients in the best way possible.

The group meets monthly and is a safe and welcoming space to discuss topical issues and raise questions, concerns, or feedback on how we can strengthen our EDIE strategies at Bath Mind.

We also have two subgroups: the Neurodiversity and LGBTQ+ subgroups, which offer a safe space for peer support for staff and volunteers who identify as being a part of the respective communities.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on here?

It’s hard to narrow down just one thing because I am so fortunate that I get to have so much variety in my work! I have particularly enjoyed the first few months in post where I have been getting to know services and their teams and finding ways to support them in their EDIE endeavours.

However, I think if you pressed me for my favourite part so far then I would have to say working with the EDIE network and looking at ways to expand the membership and continue to give a voice to the members in meaningful ways.  All the members are so committed to EDIE, and we always have some thought-provoking discussions at every meeting!

What do you love most about your job?

The varied nature of my job is brilliant and because I get to work across all departments and services, I get a good insight into what projects are happening across the organisation.

Also, the passion for mental health and wellbeing that all my colleagues share is really inspiring too.

What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced since joining the team?

Whilst I mentioned that the role is new is exciting because it means I get to shape it myself, it can sometimes be challenging because there is no ‘handbook’ of how things have been done before by a previous colleague. That said, it is an exciting opportunity and I have lots of support from all my colleagues, so this thankfully hasn’t been too tricky!

Lastly, we’d love to get to know you more! What is your favourite…

  • Hobby? Anything active! I love playing netball, running, and hiking.
  • Colour? Yellow because it is such a positive and uplighting colour.
  • Season? Spring into Summer. I love the regrowth of nature and the weather getting a bit warmer!
  • Food? Tofu ramen.
  • Way to support your wellbeing? Going for a walk with a podcast. I also find cooking and baking really calming and the plus side is you get something tasty to eat after!

Posted on: 23rd January 2024

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