Welcome to the Inclusion Experience
Each of us has deeply rooted values that influence our behavior and that drives our pursuit of personal and professional goals. Like so many others who have worked in helping and human services professions, my life and career have been deeply influenced by a desire to contribute through service. In my case, these goals have been realized through, teaching, training and the delivery of psychosocial support services.
I began one of the most gratifying phases of my life when I embarked upon an international career in 1993. My first overseas posts were school psychologist positions at international schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Kenya. This work was intensely rewarding and continues to inform my values, beliefs and professional activities.
Zooming in on the work-family connection
In 1998, I transitioned from employment as a school psychologist to work for Care Somalia, UNESCO and the European Union, collaborating on the development of educational programs. Later, I facilitated executive leadership training at UNICEF before working briefly as a Staff Counsellor for the World Food Programme (WFP). In 2000, I became the first Stress Counsellor recruited within the United Nations System (United Nations Department of Safety and Security). I worked with some of the most fearless and dedicated individuals in the world, before transitioning within the Department to a Senior Training Officer’s post, the position from which I separated in 2018.
My work history is relevant to this discussion because these complex workplace settings helped me to crystallize my insights on the intersections between work and family. Stress for humanitarian and development workers, diplomats, and other professionals working in these environments was a particular occupational hazard that impacted work environments, challenged many marital and parental-child relationships and frequently compromised the health and well-being of personnel. Among my most compelling memories was my observation of how these talented individuals were successfully negotiating work-family conflicts that were fueled by their occupational demands. Most of them went to work each day and performed their duties efficiently in the most dangerous, austere environments in the world. They manifested resiliency.
There are a number of treasured lessons that I learned from providing services to individuals working and living in peril, who were often survivors of disasters or from underrepresented or under-resourced groups:
The circumstances of birth constrain, enable and/or advantage us.
People are driven by a universal desire to be treated with dignity, to exercise their right to religious, cultural and personal freedoms and to provide for their loved ones.
They are, rightfully, relentless in these pursuits.
The deleterious impact of poverty is manifested similarly around the world.
Human resilience is awe inspiring.
There is tremendous value in giving and sharing our resources.
We have the potential to make the world better.
I am carrying these values and experiences forward through my work as the Principal for Inclusion strategies LLC, where we make relationships, inclusive growth, talent engagement, cultural competence, human dignity, resilience and wellness our priorities: and where we understand that the impact of the workplace extends beyond its doors. We achieve these goals through the delivery of highly specialized inclusion, resilience/well-being and parent learning programs.
I invite you to join us for one of our Inclusion Strategies experiences…
Leslie Fair, Principal
Inclusion Strategies LLC