Star Alumni Series: Ruth Wall

I’m Ruth Wall, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, and I completed the Windrush Leadership Programme. The way I heard about the programme was through one of my managers in medicine. She said, “This will be great for you, I think you should do it – I’ll be your sponsor and support you in whatever you need.”

It changed my pathway and opened my eyes. I think it was the first time I’ve been in a room with 70 people who look more like me – that doesn’t happen on training courses in organisations. There were people of all different races, religions, cultures, genders. It was very varied, and we obviously connected well with each other because we’re still connecting every day.
Ruth Wall
Ruth Wall
Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Recognising my skills
What the programme did was get me to step outside of my comfort zone. You don’t need to know everything 100 per cent to step into something else. I was very comfortable in what I was doing, I’d been there a long time. The programme gives you the confidence to think you can try something else and be confident in what you’re doing because you’ve got all these transferable skills. Don’t be scared to do that and seek support along the way.

Making connections
I loved the weekend away where you really got to talk about the course itself. And the networking – those people I met are the same people who are messaging me every day two years on. People share not just opportunities, education, awareness sessions or webinars, but also self-care. If you’re particularly religious, people will pop blessings on our Whatsapp group, or they’ll share things on mindfulness that might help you. And that’s a lovely thing to have. And if somebody is doing something well or they’ve had a promotion, they share in that group and everybody is really happy – it’s a real celebration. I love the network, and the key resources like Brené Brown. I’ve been able to use them going forward to get into the position I’m in now.

Progressing my career
Within two years I went from a Band 7 of nine years to a Band 8B in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. And it’s because of this support, the cheerleading I have from people around me, the development opportunities, the additional skills and the confidence that I’ve gained along the way.

Now, I use those skills from RADA and the practice sessions and I reflect on them. I sit in on meetings chaired by our CEO. I’ve developed a sponsorship programme called ‘By Your Side’ – I am a mentor and a mentee. My ‘By Your Side’ person is my CEO and she takes me into forums, meetings and networks that I would have never been in before. And I then mentor one of our colleagues who has a disability and I’ve learnt so much from her. She wants to develop her career so I’m taking her into networking opportunities she wouldn’t necessarily have been in. It’s been described as having someone who’s your cheerleader, who’s #ByYourSide.

I’m still very passionate about nursing and I’m very lucky in my trust that they support me to be Head of EDI as a nurse leader. I can go into departments and talk about health inequalities, I can look at what we’re doing with patients, what training and development we’re doing with our newly qualified nurses and many other things. EDI really is the golden thread that should run through all we do for our patients, families and staff members. Our aim is to enable everyone to bring their whole selves into Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. We look after our staff and make it a happy, inclusive environment.

If you’d like to find out more about our amazing Windrush programme for 2022, go here.