Darrell is autistic. I didn’t realise it at first – I just knew that he was rather abrupt and spoke loudly. Whilst I must be honest and say this irritated me, I’m glad I didn’t react to it for the next time I met him, he told me his story.
His story involved how he had become aware of how he comes to other people and how he was dealing with this. It also involved the first day in his life that he met a group of people that treated him like a human being. It wrenched my heart to hear this. However, he now has a highly prestigious job that he is excelling in; he is well respected in his community and he has a great circle of friends. You see he met people who accepted him, valued him, recognising the best in him – enabling him to do so too.
I don’t always get it right, but my central premises is that everyone has value to be realised and used to its optimum; be it in the workplace, community or education.
It’s why from the position of School Board member, with education I believe it’s great and necessary that young people achieve academically, that they have what is referred to as employability skills. Equally of importance, is the education – formally and informally that enables us to develop the self-awareness and self-confidence of and in who we are. I believe this is the real backbone of any and every human being – what really enables us to excel and be the best that we can be.
Similarly in society I believe it’s critically for us to know our place – locally, nationally and globally – I believe it such an awareness and appreciation that enables people to be active citizens. To fulfil a part such that though citizens may demonstrate regarding things that disagree with, but will not riot and cause destruction as they recognise they would be destroying what is theirs and what they are a part of.
Critically as well is the workplace – I say the workplace because regardless of the sector of your workplace; whether it is a employed or self employed role; or whatever the contractual terms not only do we spend so much time in the workplace, it also represents our individual and collective economic engines.
It’s why the people that work with and for us are of immense value and I watch programmes such as the undercover boss which send out the message that you only know what’s going on in your organisation by going undercover with dismay. I believe this is the antithesis of reality and more than anything you need to communication with and engage people.
To me this is all what Life and I as a person am all about. Oh yes and I definitely believe in having a lot of fun along the way.
Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013
Copyright 2013. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated