#UNBROKEN - My day with Dr Hannah Barham-Brown
Last year, we interviewed three amazing disabled women, all with very different professions, about times in their life where they've felt broken. They told us how they overcame these moments and shared their views on the idea of perfection.
This is the first set of a series of videos we will be creating to amplify the voices of disabled people. The campaign is titled #Unbroken, tying in with the ethos behind kintsugi - the Japanese art form of mending broken pottery with gold, rendering it more valuable, not less.
The first two videos, featuring Jackie Hagan and Hannah Cockroft, were well-received. Yesterday we released the third video, featuring Hannah Barham-Brown, a disability campaigner, doctor and Deputy Leader of the Women's Equality Party.
I first had the pleasure of meeting Hannah at Naidex 2019 when she visited our stand. She was wearing a great, vibrant pink two-piece (jacket and trousers) and was incredibly encouraging about what we were trying to do as a company. Hannah was with her mum and I was with mine (she was helping run the stand) and it's since become apparent that we're both pretty proud of our respective mums.
When I asked Hannah if she wanted to take part in our #Unbroken campaign she enthusiastically said yes. At the time of filming, I was on NatWest's Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme, so I was working from their shared workspace in Manchester City Centre. Hannah joined me and the film crew from Fraggell Productions in the office and we nabbed a meeting room for the interview.
The footage we got from that interview was THE hardest to edit down to a short, snappy video because there was so much of what a journalist might refer to as "gold" in there. I've included four great tidbits at the end of this blog post for your enjoyment!
The experience of filming with Hannah was great. She was really open, never afraid to hold back (she really doesn't do fence-sitting) and has a cracking sense of humour. I came into the room at one point to find everyone laughing. One of our film crew hadn't realised that Hannah was an ambulatory wheelchair user, so - when she stood up for a moment - he did a double take and she ribbed him about it!
The interview was a hugely interesting experience and, if I learned anything about Hannah, it was that she is resilient, "bloody-minded" (her words, not mine) and passionate about diversity and inclusion.
Hannah, if you're reading, thank you for taking part in the first #Unbroken series. Now, here's four moments from the interview that didn't all make it into the shorter cut, either at all or in full, so I've included them here. Enjoy!
Hannah's guilty pleasure:
"Evenings on the sofa with a gin and tonic, screaming at old episodes of Grey's Anatomy - when they get it wrong! That's so satisfying. That, and having a good ugly cry. I think Grey's Anatomy, gin and tonic, ugly cry: perfect evening!"
Hannah's role model:
"My mum's incredible. My mum's a wheelchair user herself. And I often call her my role model. And she's always achieved whatever she wanted to and never let her disability or difficult situations hold her back."
Hannah on diversity:
"A lot of the work I do involves talking about how important diversity is, whether that's LGBT+ people, people from different ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities. We need all of these different people in society, in our businesses, in our politics, because every single one of them brings something unique."
Hannah on disability:
"Being disabled can be a right pain in the arse. It's not easy. There are days when I wish I could just get up and go for a run. But actually, the experiences I've had since becoming disabled have really informed how I do things. So, I talk about how disabled people are "nature's problem solvers" because we live in this society that's designed without us in mind; where there are steps everywhere, where there are never enough ramps, where the doorways aren't wide enough.
"We have to learn to problem-solve and think on our feet, which is ironic as a lot of us aren't on our feet, but we have to learn ways round things. If you take that unique skill set and put it in a business context - every company is saying they want problem solvers... Well, we are those! That's what we do on a daily basis!"
You can watch the video and the other videos from the campaign here.