Zoiey Smale - Inclusive Employers

What do you enjoy about your role at Inclusive Employers?

I love that I get to talk about my two favourite things which are Sport and Inclusion and people aren’t scared when I do talk about it. I have spent over 2 decades in sport and had varying roles across that. This means in my role now I can share my thoughts and useful examples that helps the sector. The role pulls in on the coaching aspect, which I love, and no two days are the same.

It’s refreshing working with a diverse range of people, whose values align to my own.  Within my department I feel like I can bring my fullest self to work, my difference is celebrated, and experience is deployed to help others. I had never experienced that in any other role before.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Maybe this is my upbringing but I don’t hold difference in achievements, I just revel in the fact I have achieved something. Achievements don’t rank in my eyes, it is just a collection of really great things that I am thankful I have been able to do. When we talk about biggest achievements who are we doing this for and why are we sharing things?  

For example, the experience I had wearing a GB tracksuit is just as valuable as volunteering on a new initiative looking at improving life for others. I get just as much joy in having stood on a podium, with seeing one of the kids I have coached perform a new skill. My achievements from my parents were always equally celebrated too. I have learnt to see real value in using my privilege and creating spaces for others to achieve.

Think about what are we modelling achievements on, as a society, how has this shaped how we value achievements? My accolades in life don’t keep me warm, seeing the impact of my work does. So maybe for arguments sake, my ‘biggest’ achievement is I have found a role I genuinely enjoy doing and that aligns to my values. Because a lot of people don’t have that.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

When you are trying to do something that will improve something, it is better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. You must be sure in what it is you are doing and challenge your thinking before doing it. But if people aren’t onboard and you can’t go a day without thinking about it. Do it.

Tell us something about you that we might not know.

I have two maverick (spoilt) pugs called Nelson and Nala. Nelson is named after Nelson Mandela. When I got Nala she was given this name as the name itself blended the fusion of some of my ancestral roots. It can be an African girl’s name but also a Hindu boys name. I kind of liked that.

Senior Inclusion & Diversity Consultant (Sport)