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AbouAbout Gillian Neish
Gillian works with individuals and organisations in all sectors to help them recognise and fulfil their potential. The focus of her work is power, whether challenging the power inequalities of racism, sexism and the other ‘isms’ or developing personal power through personal development programmes.
‘Race’ and Equity Issues
Gillian designs and facilitates courses which encourage people to think beyond stereotypes and accept the reality that there are as many differences in any one group as in any other group (even their own group, however they choose to define their group). In a challenging but non-threatening way, she enables participants to explore the nature and impact of power inequalities in society and to develop practical strategies to eliminate discrimination and value diversity.
Some of her courses are specifically for people from black communities because, as a black woman herself, Gillian fully understands that whilst it is often assumed that every black person automatically understands all about racism and knows how to eliminate it simply because they are black, in reality, that is not the case. These courses help participants understand the impact of racism and the other ‘isms’ on themselves. In addition, the participants recognise and consider their own ‘coping strategies’ and the impact on their relationships in both their public and private life as well as on the relationships between people from different black communities. They then learn practical techniques to develop their assertiveness skills in challenging racism and all discriminatory treatment and to improve their personal effectiveness.
For example, Gillian designed and delivers the ‘Developing Management and Leadership Skills for Employment and Public Life’ course for PATH (Scotland) http://pathscotland.org.uk/leadership-programme/ and developed the ‘race’ equality training input to NHS Lothian’s ‘Leading Better Care, Leading Across Difference’ course.
In their ‘Removing Barriers: race, ethnicity and employment’ report:
the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee included the following amongst their recommendations:
“We urge the Scottish Government to work with the public sector to realign their policies and direct their resources at tackling underrepresentation of ethnic minorities, primarily by developing best practice, including developing projects such as those at PATH (Scotland) and NHS Lothian in response to their duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).”
Having worked in this field for more than twenty years, Gillian is well aware that delivering training on ‘race’ and equity issues is not as easy as some people believe because participants come with a wide range of opinions and strong emotions! She, therefore, offers ‘Train the Trainer’ courses to ensure that trainers have the knowledge and skills not only to deliver courses but also to mainstream these issues into all their training programmes.
Gillian works with Jane Elliott, www.janeelliott.com the international facilitator and lecturer, who developed the eye colour discrimination exercise made famous in the training film ‘The Eye of the Storm’. Gillian now conducts the ‘brown-eyed, blue-eyed’ exercise here in the UK providing an experiential opportunity for participants to understand the impact of power inequalities.
Gillian has produced a number of training resources, including the DVD ‘Eye Opener’ winner of the Premier Award at the Learning on Screen Awards 2004; and ‘Perception is Everything’ which explores the factors that influence how we perceive and interpret the world.
Gillian has an MSc in Diversity Management from The University of Bradford, a BSc (Hons) from the Open University and a Post graduate Diploma in Transactional Analysis (TA) Counselling from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
Gillian has worked with the Springboard Consultancy, the UK’s leading international training and development consultancy for more than twenty five years and is licensed to deliver the following programmes:
the award winning Women's Development programme
the programme for women and men on the way up
the innovative programme for experienced and/or older workers
the ground-breaking programme for undergraduate women with a special version for
postgraduates and researchers; and
the personal and work development programme for women and men who are relatively new to
the workplace and in the early stages of their careers.
Gillian is also licensed to train trainers to deliver Springboard Consultancy programmes.
As part of her own, ongoing personal development, Gillian continues to study Transactional Analysis (TA) and works, part-time, with individuals and with groups, as aTA counsellor. TA theory, originally developed by Eric Berne, provides an explanation of personality that has proved highly successful in developing self-awareness and, through a clearer understanding of how we communicate, improving relationships. It is also extremely useful in explaining the perpetuation of oppression and gives a theoretical explanation to underpin her ongoing work on challenging power inequalities.
Central to all Gillian’s work is her commitment to anti-oppressive practice. Her courses and programmes are designed to empower participants to acknowledge and challenge oppression, value diversity, recognise and build on their strengths and take action to make a positive difference.