The Way We Roll

Networkologist with a splash of Purple Obstinacity

December 02, 2022
Networkologist with a splash of Purple Obstinacity
The Way We Roll
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The Way We Roll
Networkologist with a splash of Purple Obstinacity
Dec 02, 2022

Creating change in the world of disability takes many skills. One perhaps less recognised is finding the right word for the right moment. Our guest this month is adept at this and would give Gyles Brandreth a run for his money. 

Kate Nash is the founder and chief executive of Purple Space, a professional development membership hub for disability employee resource groups. 

Her recently published first book, Positively Purple, discusses the importance of this work. It also "shares" (another Kate word) some of her personal disability history; Kate readily admits it isn’t something she finds easy. Through her work and her book she encourages other people with disabilities to find their voice, tell their story and ultimately achieve what they want to and who they wish to be. 

Whether she is being a networkologist (working with Employee Resource Groups aka staff networks) or utilising the obstinacity (obstinate and tenacity) that many of us have and often unfortunately need, Kate is a formidable presence in the world of disability advocacy. 


Kogan Page  Positively Purple Kate Nash book

Amazon Positively Purple various formats

Purple Space

Kate Nash LinkedIn

Purple Light Up Twitter

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Creating change in the world of disability takes many skills. One perhaps less recognised is finding the right word for the right moment. Our guest this month is adept at this and would give Gyles Brandreth a run for his money. 

Kate Nash is the founder and chief executive of Purple Space, a professional development membership hub for disability employee resource groups. 

Her recently published first book, Positively Purple, discusses the importance of this work. It also "shares" (another Kate word) some of her personal disability history; Kate readily admits it isn’t something she finds easy. Through her work and her book she encourages other people with disabilities to find their voice, tell their story and ultimately achieve what they want to and who they wish to be. 

Whether she is being a networkologist (working with Employee Resource Groups aka staff networks) or utilising the obstinacity (obstinate and tenacity) that many of us have and often unfortunately need, Kate is a formidable presence in the world of disability advocacy. 


Kogan Page  Positively Purple Kate Nash book

Amazon Positively Purple various formats

Purple Space

Kate Nash LinkedIn

Purple Light Up Twitter

Announcer  0:08  
Welcome to The Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:16  
Hello and welcome to The Way We Roll with me Simon Minty.

Phil Friend  0:20  
And me Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:21  
Our guest this month is Kate Nash. Kate is a friend and she's also a colleague of ours. She is also a renowned disability campaigner. And now an author

Phil Friend  0:31  
Kates latest book "Positively Purple build an inclusive world where people with disabilities can flourish", has just been published. The book aims to be a guide to helping organisations connect with their disabled employees, allies, executive partners or sponsors.

Simon Minty  0:46  
I love your enthusiasm there Mr. Friend. It's a great book in the book. There's also much of Kate's personal story from being 15 years old with a diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis where Kate couldn't walk was in constant pain, and in need of support and looking at a very uncertain future.

Phil Friend  1:05  
But in the more recent past, Kate created Purple Space, more of that later, a professional development membership hub for disability Employee Resource Groups ERGs you'll hear about those too, and Positively Purple, her latest book discusses the importance of this work. Now, Kate, how did you achieve the balance between the biographical and the book being a guide for organisational change? Do you have a couple of examples that you could help us with that would explore that a bit?

Kate Nash  1:40  
Yeah. Well, look first, thanks for the invitation. It's lovely to be with you both. Again. Great question. You know, when when writing, you know, I notice it's, it's always work in motion. And, you know, like, like, like most people who have written works like your good self Phil, where you start isn't always where you finish. And I was very lucky to partner with Kogan Page and worked with the publishing editor there, Chris Cudmore. And originally, the work was almost purely autobiographical. And while I felt the time was right necessary to get a bit of my personal story into the world, as we know, the person was political, and I am a political animal, that it was necessary to ensure the book was chock full of lessons learnt, particularly in relation to the employers community. Where, of course, you, Phil and Simon have worked extensively, and in our world its about what we do is build inner confidence of people with disabilities via the global growth of disability ERGs. So it was the finding that balance, it was about sharing one's personal story, but attaching that to the lessons that we had many, many 1000s of employees with disability, learn through the course of their working life, and then sharing that with for those that come behind us really

Phil Friend  3:16  
Just that pick up on that? Yeah, what the book does very cleverly is it you use yourself and your story. And then there is a moment where you say, and something for employees, something for employers so the structure is really nice. When you started out, though, as you say, Were you wanting more to just write about your experiences. And then this occurred as you were moving? Or did you have a deliberate thought about trying to reach three audiences in a sense,

Unknown Speaker  3:47  
Well there are six books that are in my head that need to be written just to say, Yeah, I feel like this, you know, I'm not I'm not in swansong mode, but I am at a part of my life where I'm noticing that there is a necessity for me to, I suppose share some of the things that I've learned for those people who don't have to go the slow road in building in a confidence. But But to your question, yes, originally, it was primarily autobiographical, but as soon as that was done, that was it was written in COVID. And, and talking to, you know, remarkable man, Chris Cudmore over at Kogan Page, it felt necessary to incorporate straightaway, those lessons and you say something for employers to go away and do actions, but equally, like a mirror, you know, change doesn't happen just by employers doing things differently. It just doesn't we know that. Otherwise we'd have would have solved all the problems because there are enough helping organisations that are out there. So yeah, it was about balance. Yeah, that came through the writing

Simon Minty  4:53  
I'm gonna be clunky here. I know in people in publishing and publishing for profit books the marketing of book presumably has also positioned it slightly better because you're both now in the business category. You're also maybe leadership category. You're also in disability biography, but you kind of straddle two or three strands rather than just being an individual this is my life story.

Kate Nash  5:15  
Yeah. Yes. I also. Yeah, it was hard, it was hard to do. So I mean, the readers, you know, the readers will make a judgement. But what I am noticing as those, you know, who get in touch with me, and I'm really moved by people reaching out to me, sharing with me, the bits they really enjoy the penny dropping moments. Sometimes that's employers who aren't so we've got to move further and faster. You know, sometimes it is somebody who hasn't yet secured that first break in a job and says, you know, I'm going to keep going as a result. Or it might be an individual change maker within an organisation who says, it's time that we rise up, we lean in, you know, I love working for my organisation, but we should be going further and faster. So yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm a fuss pot. So I'm always noticing things that are done differently and better, but I'm, I'm relatively pleased with how it landed. And I'm really moved by the responses of readers.

Simon Minty  6:20  
I'm also excited that we're this is like the Harry Potter series, we've got another five books to come Phil. This is so exciting.

Phil Friend  6:28  
JK Nash. Going way back, Kate now I, I mentioned, you mentioned in the book that you were at RADAR and so on, and because I ended up in RADAR because of you and the beginning of this journey. started when you left RADAR went off on your cruise to regroup, refresh, you know, get your your head together again. And then out of that, and I do remember you and I are having a conversation not long before you left, where you were beginning to say we should be doing more for networks in organisations and building on disabled people. That comes through very strongly in the book now how that came about. But purple? Where what where does purple come from? What was the kind of because everything you do is perfectly but you're not wearing purple today I'm very disappointed. But the colour purple I mean, famous film of the colour purple. But you know what I mean? Where did that come from?

Kate Nash  7:25  
We're told Purple Space made famous, the colour purple that is now synonymous with disability. And where did it come? We didn't invent it. We didn't purposely go out and look at a colour chart. Colour not at all. It came from the work that I was then doing in the self published book Secrets and Big News. We were in touch with two and a half thousand people with disabilities. And it was around 2012 2013 2014 that then UK government started to put ministers on platform talking about the purple pound. Yes, I remember. Yeah. And I went off and did some research. And I asked like journalists and political advocates. And I asked many people about where was that coming from? And nobody knew the answer. But when you did look at maybe some of the colours that attach with some political NGOs, not just in the UK, but around the world. It was often the case that the colour purple was synonymous with disability. So although we didn't invent the connection, I'm fairly certain that its Purple Space that drove the movement of using colour as an easier way of identifying with an experience that even those of us who are very politicised you know, snap us like a stick of rock social model runs through us. But ultimately, our community is chock full of individuals who are struggling to make sense of a human identity that they would possibly prefer not to have. That's real. And so So yeah, so that that don't know where it came from. We made it famous. And we delight in seeing other movements start to celebrate the experience of disability around the third of December like purple Tuesday, like purple sock day. You know, we love it. It's about building community celebrating and positivity about our lives.

Simon Minty  9:26  
You led me on b2b Another question, but I did want to I've been trying to get people to adopt the idea of us having a broader term and disability because LGBTQ plus when we know there's this range of people that will may have some commonality, but those distinction and I do sometimes when that when we say deaf, disabled neurodivergent people, but then there's a whole load of other people that could be on the list, and I do want to purple helps that. But there's also we might need to come up with a new wording around this. The purple light up movement this you've made unbelievably huge is linked to the UN International Day of disabled people. Every year gets bigger. So places like the Shard in London JFK Airport in New York and Sydney Harbour Bridge all light up in purple for one night. It's visually amazing. I like it because it shows sort of unity and community. What sort of impact do you think that's had? Well, I mean, obviously, it's awareness raising, but what else? Where else has it reached, you think

Kate Nash  10:28  
the primary purpose of purple light up was to really build community amongst the disability employee resource groups around the world. So Purple Space are now a community of 1000s of leaders from companies like GSK, Twitter, Google PwC, as well as UK organisations and national organisations. So that to put, impact has primarily been about disability communities within businesses are getting much more attention, getting much more part of the decision making process in terms of how they improve policy, and practice and procedure, much more spend, in terms of personal development, you know, Phil was in the vanguard of that at Lloyds Banking Group and other organisations as followed suit. But now we're seeing a lot of organisation choosing very deliberately to put a lot more bang in to investing in their own people to build their inner confidence and their leadership potential to help them support businesses to do differently and better and, of course, positively purple in the book, I mentioned a lot of examples of that. So that's the impact really, it's not about the light bulbs, I've always said it's not about the light bulbs will always be criticised for perhaps suggesting it was about the light bulb, but it's not. It's about positivity and community,

Simon Minty  11:54  
as you say, it's a lovely way in to those senior people that they may not engage with this, suddenly they say, Oh, I can do that. And then boom, we've got the door open. You've also mentioned the line. I've taken this from an American activist who died a few years ago, and she said, Look, before we can get to disability pride, we need to get to disability community. And community is the first point. And then when you feel part of that, then you can start building up to pride and I, I've always taken that. And you're saying if that builds on the community is quite powerful.

Kate Nash  12:22  
Yeah, beautifully said, Simon. That's exactly what it's all about. It's about finding ourselves, finding each other, and finding the connection. You know, the three of us on this call, you know, we're out out some of the personal experiences about the manifestation about our disability or altogether different, but you scratch the surface, and there's so much similarity in what we've experienced, and what we've had to do to lean in to our careers and that and that's what we do within purple space. That's what purple light up is all about.

Simon Minty  12:54  
I've got six questions but I'll let Phil come in,

Phil Friend  12:57  
I just want to go to think again, about the book and what goes on in in that book. And you are, without doubt a very creative individual. Because you know, the colour purple, whilst it wasn't your colour, but you did things with the colour, names your company. You've done the light ups we just talked about and all these other things. But you also change the language. You write new words into the lexicon, so things like networkologist, I've always thought was a fabulous word. I wish I got it. But there's a new one in this book. You do explain it in the book, but I want you to explain it to the listener really, which is obstinacity. Now, I think I know what that means. But it's just brilliant. This is Kate Nash in her pomp. A new word has landed obstinacity. Now you do explain in the book and readers, the people that are listening, I hope you buy this book, and you read the bits about that. But in a nutshell, Kate, what are you trying to get across with this new word?

Kate Nash  14:01  
You know, obstinacity it's a mash up of two words being obstinate and tenacious tenacity. And it's that it's, I suppose it's that sweet spot in between those two attributes. So, you know, one of our exaggerated strengths, or are a manifestation of our dark side. And it was ever that so yes, I am very determined I am I work to purpose. When I wake up in the morning, I think purpose. I have a touch point with a cup of coffee in the day. I'm very purposeful in both my personal and professional life. And I'm very determined in ensuring that the things that I do deliver according to the aims and objectives of how I set out to work, but but I'm also obstinate as well. And so yeah, obstinate I can't I don't think I invented it. I think I probably heard it from somebody else. Probably Susan Scott Parker, but it's yeah. obstinacity is I think the trait that I see now, across the disability Employee Resource Group community, they realise they sometimes have to dig deep, and sometimes be a little bit unpopular to drive change. And they have to, they have to do that from their own tenacity and determination. And sometimes obstinacy. Yeah. 

I was just gonna say that, that that, that. I liked that. I hadn't thought of tenacious. But I get that. It's a bit like a Jack Russell, isn't it? You know, it's got something in his mouth, he won't let it go. And he just refuses to let it go. Until whatever it wants to do with it is done. And in a sense what you're saying. And it strikes me the ERGS are a kind of campaigning group without ever saying they are. They're just doing it.

Simon Minty  15:57  
You've been blessed with obstinacity Phil. Yeah.

Kate Nash  16:04  
I learned from the best 

Phil Friend  16:07  
I've never invented the word though. I'm very annoyed about that.

Simon Minty  16:10  
I am going to muddle up this question badly. But I will get to it. You mentioned inner confidence a few times and totally get it. I think sometimes when I do my work, if I'm training, whether it's working with disabled people, or managers, or whatever it may be, I have to remind myself of those times because you we do this work and it comes out of us. And we know stuff now and we know our way to navigate. And because we go in and talk about disability, you've got to be upfront with it. But I forget about all the other people who are at different stages, different difficult spaces, sometimes. One of the, we're banging on about words. One thing I'm sure you did come up with, and I use because I love it is the word sharing. And it just changed from, you know, disclosure, or as our good friend, Susan Scott Parker says, confessing to having a disability, which was so lovely, but your word around sharing and it there's something about it, that just seems to make sense to me. And I hope that it means that people who are hesitant about this, that's an access route in I mean, it was you who started sharing, wasn't it?

Kate Nash  17:17  
Yes, it came from originally Secrets and Big News, again, the lives of two and a half thousand People with disabilities that we were talking to. And they deeply disliked the language of confession, disclosure, and, and declaration, you know, secret been something that, you know, that we we suggested that we shouldn't want or shouldn't have, or there's something dark and mysterious about our lives. But yes, sharing is both gentle, and powerful. It's gentle, because it softens the language of declaration and disclosure. And it makes it much more accessible. Because ultimately, that's what we're doing, you know, to share an aspect about humanity with others who we know may change their view, about who we are, what we can do our level of talent, where we can be placed at work yatta yatta, it's, you know, we have to trust both organisations and individuals with that aspect of who we are, before we choose to share, and so many employers run at this at a rather transactional level, you know, but I've got to tweak the question and update and monitoring, exercise and bingo, I get all the best data. Now I'm exaggerating for effect here, of course, but the notion of sharing is about us looking inwards. And finding ways of framing our experience in a way that we retain and preserve and protect our brand. You know, and and it's about trusting others.

Announcer  18:52  
Thank you for listening toThe Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend. If you enjoy the show, don't forget to subscribe, rate and share.

Phil Friend  18:59  
As we've we've said you very cleverly and and very accessibly weaved your story into the story of the employer and the employee and what they can do. And we talked about obstinacity. And I'm interested in where this come from because you do talk quite a bit in the book about your family, your mom and your dad in particular. And the efforts they went to running your about because you know they became your taxi service and all sorts of things. And incidentally, I understand that on a number of occasions your father was known to buy you chocolate bars. I want to know firstly whether your mother knew that was going on or what. But this relationship between your family you and your family comes through very strongly how much the obvious question but how much does that speak to the Kate we we now know and see

Kate Nash  20:00  
Oh, it's a lovely question Phil. And you know, as soon as you ask it, I go right back into the thoughts and the feelings that I needed to dig deep into in the writing of Positively Purple. I think sometimes our backstory can be so challenging that there are aspects of it that we probably never choose to share again, even with each other, because it's about navigating other people's stuff, as I call it in the book. But to your question, yes, chocolate, you you touch on a little story that I share when I was being discharged from a long term hospital. So I was about 15/16 years old, and they were trying to get Stills disease, juvenile chronic arthritis under control. The only way they could do that was high doses of steroids, much, you know, fantastic biologic drugs, and the disease modifying drugs that they have now means that a lot of youngsters won't have to endure some of the health and medical challenges. But yes, I've been discharged. My lovely dad was driving me from the hospital, and he couldn't fix what was going on. For me, we'd already been told this was never gonna go away. This is part of my life, and little explosions were going off in my head. Because you know what? It hadn't been that long ago, I was running around the hockey pitch, being a very active young teenager. And my dad, you know, he went into a newsagent. And he came out and he put a bar of Bournville chocolate into my lap. And he said, Don't, you winked at me. So don't tell the others. And I'm not suggesting for one moment that they didn't, you know, both my brother and sister got their own fair share of secret treats. Sure, they did knowing my dad. But it's, it's a story of love of a family, who, like me, were totally derailed. By an experience. You know, we all had our own private journey, I'm sure. And I'm probably will take aspects of that the day we die. And you know, disability, like most life stories, you make sense of it, you have to live life going forward. But you often make more sense of life as you look back. And as I as I look back, and I think about my family and what they had to cope with. And we didn't have the language or the framework to make sense of it there. Yeah. Yeah, if that makes sense. It makes

Phil Friend  22:29  
Perfect sense. obstinacity comes from where then?

Kate Nash  22:33  
comes from my dad. Yeah, my late dad, bless him if you're upstairs and you're listening, dad, but in a good way, in a good way. Because he, you know, he gave me a bit of verve, you know, he was he was a man born just before the World War, and he lost his own parents very, very quickly in life. And, you know, he must have had his own challenging story. But he taught me a thing or two about being a little bit stubborn. And I'm pleased he did,

Simon Minty  23:04  
I think we have a title for one of your new books, I think I'm gonna call it Oh, you call it secrets and love. I'm really about ready, because you just said it. And I thought, well, that's the lovely little phrase. This is real personal stuff. And I don't think I've taught I've taught you about hip replacements, because we share that, but not a huge amount of personal stuff around, you know, impairment or our condition. And I'm struck, and this is really cliche, a dodgy territory, but I think it's important from what you've said, and it's where the social model doesn't work. For someone like me who is born, and it is what it's always been, and don't get me  wrong. There's ups and downs and setbacks, and positives and all that stuff. But I am not any different. Whereas you said I was running around playing hockey, and it happened at a very crucial time of your life. I mean, do you think that sort of the before and after, this is the sense of loss that we don't always talk about with disability, that sense of change and the difficulty afterwards?

Kate Nash  24:01  
Yeah, it's so true. Simon, you know, all of our experiences are different for me, I had a really stark before and after moment. And, you know, although the there are challenges that come with that emotional challenges motional health challenges. As I look back, I notice the fact that it was a it was a helpful thing, because I saw how people changed around me and I came up close and personal to other people's stuff, perhaps in in in you know, some of the assumptions that people make about our lives. So you're right, we don't often talk about this, but it's it's terribly necessary. That's why I brought the book into the world.

Simon Minty  24:44  
And it's perfectly nice that because between you me, because I know you that's a bit he's most striking because it's stuff I don't know about you. And despite being a friend for a long time, it's the stuff we've not talked about. Was that difficult to be so open. I mean, how Is baring your soul.

Kate Nash  25:02  
Yeah, it was torturous. It was yeah, it was hard. It was really hard. And as you ask, you know, when we can't help but flip back into those, those those years and those days, and like many of us, sometimes we are brought up on what you know, the kind of medical inspiration porn that is out there. And it's just that pure and simple. It's about how to, you know how to make sense of our difficult parts of our life. But, you know, I'm a political animal, as well as someone who needs to channel the things that I have learned about navigating ill health and disability.

Simon Minty  25:42  
It's also it's such difficult territory in terms of disability politics, because I saw a lovely image of Sophie Morgan, who I know you've met, and she's written a book, there's loads of people writing books. And Sophie is a wheelchair user car accident, and she was one of those contraptions or machines that moves your legs for you. And she wouldn't normally move her legs. And so she's doing it, she's laughing, she's filming. And he said, This is amazing. I've never seen my legs move like this for 15 years. But she then she added the line, and I almost felt that she had to, which was, I don't want to go back to this necessarily. That's what not what I'm arguing for. But I almost a little bit of me, I don't know whether we're getting more developed sophisticated. It's an acceptance that some may, if there's the blue pill, the red pill, it is okay to still believe in disability rights and politics and be proud of who you are. But also say, you know, what, if I had an option that I didn't know, that can lead me in a difficult space in politics, politically?

Kate Nash  26:39  
Yeah, but but so right, Simon, you know, and I think this is where we have to mature as a movement to make more room for some of the thoughts that we have along the way that are not always over popular to share. And although while the social model is our, you know, I talk about the the social model, as like our North Star, it's so pilaris it's how we have made sense of an inelegant, you know, inaccessible in hospitable, I think world, and we're still on the move. And those of us that are old enough, can look back and see some of the beauty and the impact and the benefits of legislation, even though quite rightly, we should have still very impatient, young disabled people who want to ask to go further and faster. That but to your point, yes, it's, we should never ever put people with disabilities, people who experience our health, people who experience neurodiversity, or have endured accident through war, or, or in other ways, to not have to go through it. We make sense of our life story, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes we will double back on that. And we have to make room for people to still prefer things to have been a bit different. At the same time of recognising got to improve policy, practice procedure and politics.

Announcer  28:08  
This is The Way We Rolll hosted by Simon Minty and Phil Friend,

Phil Friend  28:12  
You talk in the book, about your experiences, albeit relatively brief, but important, I think it's it felt important as you describe in the book, your connection with day centres and learning disabled people. And the impact that had on you. Before you then moved on to begin to do the stuff that you were going to do much more of later on in life. Where do you think we are now with learning disability? And I'm not now talking there's the kind of end of learning I know we were talking continuums here, huge, ly different people. And there's this whole journey that people with neuro diverse backgrounds, autism and so on, are finding a place and they seem to be gaining traction. But people with very severe learning disabilities are still It seems to me at least not part of this story. How do you? How do you feel weird doing all that looking at it from your point of view at Purple Space and the work you're doing with the ERGS and so on? Where's learning disability fit in all this?

Kate Nash  29:21  
It's a great call out Phil, I suppose on the short answers, we're doing much better than we were. I speak routinely now to disability employee resource group leaders who are partnering, for example, with some of the more reputable brokers that support the process whereby people who experience learning disabilities can enter the jobs market, sometimes that's through internships, sometimes that through job experience, you know, there's lots of different schemes. And I think that's one of the most exciting aspects of disability Employee Resource Groups is through the process of leaning in to the process of building community, they also look up and look out to organisations that do a good job to help those who are further from the jobs market to secure work. So, but to your question, we're doing better, heaps more to be done. Heaps more to be done. Because you touch for example, on a community who really do find it hard to, to get a foot in the door when it comes to paid employment. So better but more to do feel short answer.

Phil Friend  30:34  
Yeah, yeah. Well, I think I'll be honest, I think that's how I see it, too.

Simon Minty  30:40  
I'm gonna match two questions, but hopefully, they will be actually a question for rather than the statement, Kate. Sorry, I keep doing that. Thank you for managing to answer. So we sort of sometimes talk about coming to terms is, you know, there's you come to you and you find this peaceful place where it all makes sense. I mean, no, that's not real, because it doesn't. I'm wondering, couple of the tricky moments that Kate Nash, person who has a disability still get so What are you're really trying moments and the add on, which the last part is? And what would you tell a 15 year old? Kate, how the next few years are going to be the rest of your life? Yeah,

Kate Nash  31:18  
so you want a tricky moment? Yeah. Well, there's so many. There's so many, well, let me share with you. It's one that I share in the book. It's, it was a couple in the book. You know, one was when I think I'd had a hip or a knee replaced, I was very, very young. I was either late teens, very early 20s, I was coming out of a hydrotherapy pool. And I was walking with crutches or a Zimmer frame because I was still in recovery from surgery. And there were two NHS staff who were talking to each other. And they didn't think I was in earshot. And they said, you know, she has such a lovely face, you know, just a shame about her hands on her legs, and yada yada, yada. And I, you know, I didn't, I was ashamed, I don't even have the face. it all goes, pearshaped my point being I cried a river at night. And I you know, it would have taken a long, long time to get over such a seemingly innocuous statement, maybe it was, was designed to be a compliment, you know, the reality? Well, you know, the give us something, the legs of Con, my, my point being, there was so many I'm sure you know, your listeners will to have experience moments of things that people say that they are there moments where we can either rise up, or they can enter our soul. And we call them you know, we often talk about the soft bigotry of low expectation, or people's pity, or disappointment about our lives. And we, we have to keep, what do we do with that, in my mind, we have two choices. Either we preserve and protect our brand. And we find the tools and the techniques to not listen to other people's stuff. And to keep going and keep going.

Phil Friend  33:21  
You say, I mean, there's a point you make in the book again, which is choose your battles that you don't have to fight every battle you can choose. You remind me of a  Naidex exhibition, the old exhibition that used to show the equipment, and I went there I was in my wheelchair going through a packed hall and these two I knew they were OTS occupational therapist, because their badges on and they were walking towards me and the deep in conversation and one of them tripped straight over me, didn't even see me, straight over me on the floor, got up, looked at her colleague, obviously very embarrassed, and then said, Oh, these shows would be so much better if they weren't here. And I decided, Kate that I was going to deal with this one. I said if we weren't here, you wouldn't have a job. And that kind of, but you you make the point. We only have so much energy. We only have so much we can do choose your battles, but you were 15 when that was said we Yeah,

Kate Nash  34:23  
I would have been around. Yeah,

Simon Minty  34:26  
I want to follow up. I totally get it. I also I suspect between the three of us we would have a dozen really strong stories where it got through and it stayed there and you can't and we turn it into a story we turn it into an example we write it in our book. What I was more interested in something that's happened in the last year Kate cuz you know people go You're so sorted and you're so is there something what still pokes you and still gonna go? Okay, that's reminded me I've got to brace myself.

Kate Nash  34:58  
Oh my goodness. I suppose the short answer would be more of the same Simon, and particularly more of the same with those people who are employment having to deal with that now, and not knowing what to do with other people's stuff. So, you know, I share, for example, James Partridge is a wonderful, dear friend, James, who wrote a couple of cracking books in his lifetime. And he's his last book, he tells the story of when he went to one of his first panel interviews, and he had lots of facial surgery. And he was doing well on the panel interview, and he was then asked, you know, I see, Mr. Partridge, you've had a good number of surgeries in your time, will you be facing any more surgery, and and He bluffed it? And then he was furious, and said, Do you think I need more surgery? So that, you know judicious use of sarcasm? We often used to talk about it. And James said, No, I don't think I was doing it on purpose. But to your question, and it's it to me, it's about it's exactly those moments where we notice the level of hurt that other people offer by saying stupid things in our face and and to us and to our contemporaries. It's about what what what did we learn through the process? And how do we pass it on to others, so that they can learn first, faster? Now, do I believe that it's possible to completely hasten that journey? No, I don't. I think it's a lonely journey. I think it's an individual journey. All we can do for those of us who have tried the boards is to support others hear those stories, to help them to get their own tricks and flicks and techniques and tools in place quicker as the best that we can do.

Phil Friend  36:47  
We talk a lot, again, about storytelling. I, you asked me once to come along and meet a group and just talk about my own experiences, which I enjoyed it. I enjoyed doing it. And it seemed to have an impact on the listeners. But you're a big fan. I think we all are. We all tell stories, don't we? The three of us, but I think you've seen it as a vehicle. So you're deliberately putting in place opportunities for people to share stories with each other and so on. Do you? How do you set that up? If somebody listening wanted to try and do something similar? They have obviously got buy your book? That's the first thing so but aside from that, yeah, there it is. Simon is holding up the book. I just wondered how that developed for you, and how you now kind of package that and make it a part of a process.

Kate Nash  37:40  
Storytelling. Yeah, for our, for our member organisations. And indeed, organisations that are not members of purple space. If they want to deliver storytelling workshops in their businesses, we have some really well thought through products and consultancy. And we routinely now bring together anything between six to 12. Individuals with Disability into a virtual room, we do that routinely could be large pharmaceutical, global companies, oil and gas companies, professional services, firms, etc. And we'll support those individuals to build their skills in storytelling. So they can cascade much more quality messages into the business. And so we do see driving change. And for individuals, you can tap our website, we do have an open resource called Purple stories, which is chock full of hints and tips as to how to share your story. And we're firm believers in thinking about the end game. Before we tell our story. What do you want individuals to think, to feel and to do as a result, and from that output, you work backwards, because because we endure so much staff sometimes, particularly those that are not well versed and well practice and skilled, will be a little bit too cathartic. In sharing our story. We don't know the start middle that we don't know the punch line, we tell everybody about our surgery and what drugs were on and, and so it goes on and there's no purpose. So but we're sticklers for detail. And it's about what do you want people to think to feel? Or do as a consequence of hearing story?

Simon Minty  39:20  
And as a pragmatist? I totally agree. I know all three of us will use our stories. And it can be cathartic as well as educational, and it makes something come alive. But also your point about what do you want to achieve as the individual that's the critical bit because if we all go all guns blazing, or to us it doesn't crack it, and that can be even more interesting. You mentioned something about not doing this alone or you have a fantastic partner. I know you didn't mean it in that sense, but that's my segue is spending more and more time in Wales. You've worked so hard for so long. Are we seeing an easing up of Kate Nash We're changing direction.

Kate Nash  40:01  
Yeah, I suppose a change in emphasis Simon, I'm deeply proud of the Purple Space team. I talk about team, I mean, the broader team, not just the beautiful staff team, but also our ambassadors, and the disability employee resource group leaders across the world. And it's my job to make sure that I can navigate Purple Space into a place which is in you know, which will endure my exit well. And what I want to do is focus on writing, as I say, I've got six books in my head that are desperate to be written. So I joke in the book that, you know, I do I do work hard. And you know, a lot of people say, apparently, that when you're on your deathbed, you know, people will say, I wish I didn't spend so much time in the office. I am lucky, I've had an amazing career. I wouldn't change it for the world. Because I've been a bit I suppose. obstinate that has come with some pain. And I've probably missed out on a little bit and time with loved ones and family and, and dear friends. But ultimately, as I say, I think I've been the lucky one, ultimately. But yes, I love Wales, my adopted home, I'm very lucky to have a family that I want to spend more time with. But as I as I do things a bit a bit differently. It will be writing for the future. 

Phil Friend  41:28  
So I suppose as we draw, to an end now going back to when you were that little person in the back of the car with the Bournville chocolate? Remember the Yes, you do remember that? Tony,

Simon Minty  41:41  
I had you in the front seat? Were you in the backseat?

Kate Nash  41:44  
I think it was in the backseat.

Phil Friend  41:46  
Good. Yeah, no, no, I know how this works. Like Bournville chocolate can only be eaten in the back. But taking that idea, that metaphor, you know, kids in backs of car going, Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Dad? Are we there yet? You know, shut up and eat your Bournville. Chocolate? When will we know when we're there? Kate? Given what you I know, you've got to write another 500 books, and you've got all these other things. And you've done an enormous amount. And just in passing, I would say that one of the things you do talk about is this doesn't come about without hard work. People have to really put in the effort. I know Simon, and I know about working hard. And you do too. And James Partridge bless him. And he was always always working. But how will we know when we're there?

Kate Nash  42:36  
It's such a super question. We need another podcast. Let me let me summarise because I think that the notion of destination, I don't put words into your mouth Phil . But that's, that's fair. It is a really interesting dynamic. So let me answer in my way, I think when it comes to employers, and the actions they need to put in place, and the policies, practices and procedures, that they now need to make manifest, whether the workplace adjustment policy, whether it's about recruitment, I think that dynamic is is lends itself to destination, there are some, you know, actions that can be put in place that will deeply support people to secure the first job will support them to navigate disability through the course of their working life, and enable them to flourish in the course of work. And I call out provocatively and naughty and tongue in cheek, but not really, this is not rocket science. And if employers could do better to create a visible, easy to use, and elegant and well known workplace adjustment process, with service level agreements, then that becomes closer to what I call destination. On the other hand, in terms of the end of it, that's the kind of the macro level, but at the micro level, individuals who acquire a disability through the course of their working life, or indeed, whatever they choose to do with their lives. That's always I think, work in motion. I think there's, there's always a sense, I think any human being is making sense of who they are, to the day they die, and we're forever learning. And we should be forever learning. You know, we shouldn't put our feet up and think job done, I think and you know, and until that moment, we're pushing up the daisies, we should always look to ourselves and say, How do I give love better? How do I love the right people in the right way, the way that they wish. But it's also about making sense sometimes a difficult and I think that's quite hard to hasten, that is not always a complete destination. The best that you and me and Simon and all your listeners can do is to bottle what we've learned to package it into easy bite sized chunks and hope that those that come behind us have a little bit less of a struggle, because they rise up quicker.

Phil Friend  44:57  
So the employers journey In many ways is is much easier in a sense, isn't it? We know where we're headed. And we we know what to do to get there with our own lives, those of us with disabilities or those who are newly disabled, whatever stage in life they are. It's work in progress it never I mean, I've, I've now got six grandchildren. I was a grandfather to five. So I've now got to learn how to be a grandfather of six. And I'm a disabled grandfather. So before I became a grandfather, I didn't know how that worked. But now I kind of it's that's the work in progress, isn't it? Because at each stage of our life, as you now begin to sit down and write more than you used to and be less out there in a kind of way. Yeah, I think that's really interesting. So work in progress for the individual, but employers should come on guys, you guys and gals, you know what we need to do about this? Now.

Kate Nash  45:52  
I think sometimes those of us who are very politicised, it can be easier to forget the human and private and lonely and painful emotional struggle to make sense of an identity that let's face it, if pushed, many of us would have preferred not to have that, even though we might have transcended that. But in terms of what employers should do, it's much more destination like, let's not muck about here, there are things that can be done. And we're very lucky to work with many employers. We're doing just that.

Phil Friend  46:21  

Simon Minty  46:24  
Thank you so much, Kate, the listener, we will obviously put the link to Kate's book, it is called Positively Purple, the subheading of building an inclusive world where people with disabilities can flourish by the amazing Kate Nash, and it's published by Kogan Page, thank you so much for being an amazing guest. We knew and it's always lovely to have you I say, get under the skin a little bit more, which is always lovely. So thank you for being sort of straight with us and honest and open.

Phil Friend  46:54  
Yeah, lovely to see you again. Haven't seen you for ages. It's lovely to see you and keep eating the chocolate. Your secret is safe with us.

Kate Nash  47:05  
Thank you both will do

Simon Minty  47:07  
good luck with the rest of the books as well. We look forward to seeing you again.

Kate Nash  47:11  
Wonderful, thank you both.

Announcer  47:12  
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Simon Minty  47:17  
Lovely to speak with Kate. She is a friend who we've known for a long time. And it's great to that she's written that book. So yeah, really great to have as a guest.

Phil Friend  47:25  
It is a good read. I mean, I would recommend it to anybody. I think it's a very accessible book very easy, and there's something for everybody so good on it, and she's gonna write another 10 that's obvious.

Simon Minty  47:37  
There'll be Kate and the Philosopher's Stone. Yes.

Phil Friend  47:41  
The goblet of whatever.  Kate and the chocolate disappearing

Simon Minty  47:50  
Any listeners corner there's nothing for me anything. 

Phil Friend  47:53  
Just a brief mention, I had a conversation with Judy Erwin, who has popped up on our podcast before she's an old old friend of mine and yours Simon did some equality training bit less now but she's still in doing bits and bobs. She was very very struck by video actually discussion about Strictly Come Dancing. And it said she said to me it really made her think about the physicality appearance what's acceptable on TV? What isn't that kind of stuff? She said it really did sort of provoke her to think quite carefully about a subject which she's often thought about over her lifetime. So she was she said it was a very thought provoking conversation, and one that she valued. So that's nice.

Simon Minty  48:43  
I thought it's amazing. We you don't mention whether, you know, she agreed with me or you notice Well,

Phil Friend  48:50  
I'm trying to be diplomatic I think she favoured more my side of the discussion.

Simon Minty  48:56  
I was saying it as a joke in there because that is, it isn't about that if we made you think or that's the point if you disagree with one of us, but you hear a different perspective. That's really cool. That is the point of it. So thank you, Judy. Thank you for listening. And I hope it did. Well. I'm glad it made you think a little bit more deeply because it's tricky stuff is really tricky.

Phil Friend  49:17  
I think the other thing I would say just picking up on your your point is that it is possible to hold very different views from each other and still respect each other's point of view if that's the worry now isn't it that if you don't agree with me I'd never talked to you again kind of mentality I just don't understand it. But anyway,

Simon Minty  49:34  
I'm losing your current here you feel a losing connection. Maybe we're gonna stop

Phil Friend  49:41  
Alright, well,

Simon Minty  49:44  
I was joking. I totally agree with you. And if we can't it's gonna be a terrible terrible world if we you know, if you do one thing and it's your you're blocked or blanked or whatever, this is really tough stuff.

Phil Friend  49:56  
Yeah. Okay, so till the next time Simon

Simon Minty  49:59  
is Indeed I think next show is back to you and me hanging out during the fact getting ready for Christmas at the

Phil Friend  50:05  
old. Well, it's gonna say chocolate but get the old plum pudding in the oven. Isn't that what you do at Christmas?

Simon Minty  50:10  
You do thank you so much for listening to the end. Thank you again to Kate Nash for being a brilliant guest do check her out and have a look at the links which we will have on our podcast web page.

Phil Friend  50:23  
And if you want to contact us by email, we are at

Simon Minty  50:29  
and shortcut go to beacons. That's beacons, The Way We Roll and you will see links to all the shows YouTube, that strictly conversation as well as signing up to the mailing list.

Phil Friend  50:41  
Okay, that's the end of this episode.

Simon Minty  50:45  
Thanks for listening. Bye bye. Bye.

Announcer  50:48  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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