Chapter 7: Some further reflections by the mentor
What is diversity? Is it working with anyone different from myself? When I think back about mentoring clients during the last two years I can see that I must, then, have worked with a lot of diversity or have I? I wonder why I have not given this subject much real thought until learning about this book? Oh dear what have I been missing?
I am a self-employed consultant specializing in individual development carried out, one to one, in a variety of settings. I am white, female, English born, brought up near London. An analysis of my socioeconomic background would no doubt classify me as middle class and I suppose I am middle-aged (although I think I prefer middle-youth ). I am relatively fit and healthy physically and mentally, have had a high standard of education, and most of my needs are met.
If I take as a working definition of diversity people who are different from me (or me from them), then I have been working with diversity over the last couple of years. For example I have worked with clients:
who had mental illness
who was a permanent wheelchair-user
who were a different gender
who were a different nationality or colour (French-Algerian, Estonian, Czech,
Polish, Canadian, Syrian, German, Dutch, Malaysian, Mexican, etc.)
who had a very different career path from mine (senior and middle managers in global commercial organizations), where much of my background is in the cultural heritage, not-for-profit sector.
I have also worked with...