“5 minutes with…” Donna Newton

This month, we're continuing our "5 minutes with..." feature, where we learn more about the people who are working to make inclusion an everyday reality. Here we're joined by Donna Newton, Head of Client Relations with our member organisation TPP Recruitment. She openly shares how her past experiences have shaped her awareness of inclusion and how much she values and enjoys being a part of inclusive culture at TPP Recruitment.

Can you tell us how you came to be in your role?

My dad was in the Army so as a family we moved around a lot. My sister and I were very close because whenever we moved, we always had each other. My sister died after a quad bike accident while on holiday in 2010 and I was not sure what I wanted to do moving forward. I joined TPP Recruitment on a 6-month contract, and well that was 10 years ago.

I have always had an interest in inclusion and diversity. I am dyslexic, my best friend was discharged from the army for being gay, my uncle Paul is disabled and confined to a wheelchair, and my god children are of Jamaican-English heritage, growing up in a world that does not always represent them. TPP have always allowed me to investigate, learn and develop my understanding of inclusion and diversity and understand the business need and value of being an inclusive recruitment consultancy.

Can you share an ‘inclusion moment’ with us – a time when you have felt included either at work or in your personal life?

TPP Recruitment have always been an inclusive employer. I have always been able to bring my whole-self to work, including my love of non-traditional hair colour and tattoos.

During the lockdown it has been challenging with my dyslexia. Not having someone next to me that is happy to read a paragraph, check my spelling and grammar or as a sounding board, and of course the challenge of learning new technology. But TPP have supported me with extra time to read material, virtual learning for new technology and always being at the end of a phone or teams if I need extra help.

On a personal note, dealing with my Mum’s illness, secondary cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy and eventual death, has been a challenge. I have been supported with time and space depending on what I needed. I have never been excluded, but at the same time I could not show up if I was not ok, that day.

What do you love most about your role?

I love the impact that inclusion can have on someone’s life and path. I love that TPP Recruitment have embraced inclusion and have embedded it into all we do, but at the same time are not standing still and understand that there is much more to learn and develop.

I am proud of the Inclusive Recruitment Guide we launched in 2020 as a free resource which has been downloaded over 300 times now and most recently the Inclusive Recruitment Grant which we launched in 2021. The collaboration TPP Recruitment have had with Inclusive Employers has been amazing, especially Naz and Matheus in developing our I&D strategy, the free resources and most recently data collection and analysis, to ensure we continue to reflect the community that we support and engage with all candidates.

What is a typical day like for you?

As Head of Client Relations, my role is to support my internal colleagues and our clients, and no two days are the same. For example, last Thursday, I attended the Inclusive Employers Deaf Awareness webinar, then attended a meeting with our fundraising and development team to discuss how we can offer further support to our clients and candidates. I then spoke to a client to give them feedback on their Inclusive Recruitment Grant application, followed by a meeting with a client to discuss recruiting their Director of EDI, which is a new role for them. Then finally, the company catch up where we all reflect on the last month.

What’s been you most memorable moment in your inclusion career?

There have been so many, but if I had to pick one thing it was phoning the winner of the Inclusive Recruitment Grant. They were so emotional because it will make a big impact their I&D journey to recruit new staff that will ensure the charity will be able to meet its goals and vision.

On a personal note, it was having my CEO Jayne Morris tell me that it was OK not to be OK, and know that it was truly meant, and the acceptance of my new purple hair do.

My COO Tracey George who is a driving force within TPP on I&D and allowing me to be part of the journey and supporting me to learn and develop.

My colleagues at TPP who have allowed me to talk or not talk, have always offered support and make me feel included.

To meet more people that make inclusion an everyday reality, see our full series of “5 minutes with…”