It's so nice to get that recognition. When you've worked hard, you deserve it.

Barbra Carlisle, Chartered FCIPD - Independent Coach Consultant

Barbra was an employee experience leader. She worked at a strategic level within the global diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging team at Arcadis. She's currently an independent coach consultant.

An active CIPD member, Barbra does a lot of coaching and mentoring, including being part of our Steps Ahead Mentoring and Enterprise Adviser initiatives. Her future ambition is to blend this with her inclusion work. She says, 'That's where my real passion is – that individual connection.'

I'm an active, lifelong learner. I always want to push myself.

Barbra originally joined the CIPD as an Affiliate in 2016. Her primary reason for joining was for the CIPD network, industry news and access to support on legal issues and the future of work. Later, she took the Experience Assessment route to become an Associate Member.

She found the assessment both inspiring and challenging. 'It made me acknowledge that, even though I’ve got a specialism, there are aspects of the HR system and processes that I’m familiar with. I had not really recognised my own contribution to different parts of the business.'

I thought, what if I don't do it now?

When Barbra started managing several global roles she felt she should be professionally recognised for her senior level of work. In 2021, she made plans to become a Chartered Fellow.

Barbra chose the Experience Assessment route again because, as she puts it, 'I’m in the last trimester of my career and I haven’t got a great deal of time to study. I also have a lot of experience in my work. My specialism has been equality and inclusion for many years. I felt I had the equipment to go through the assessment without study.'

You could tell that they want you to do well.

For her Chartered Fellow assessment, Barbra received pre-reading and took the opportunity to explore the content with others in her people team. This proved really useful when talking through the pros and cons of emerging technologies in HR. She also found the face-to-face aspect of the assessment enjoyable, 'They were pushing you to think for yourself, which is really valuable.'

When Barbra achieved Chartered Fellow she says, 'I got some really good, positive feedback. It's so nice to get that recognition. When you've worked hard you deserve it.'

As well as feeling increased confidence in the value of her work, Barbra feels, 'The assessment helps you reconnect with the wider people function.'

Be inspired, and think: where next for me in my career?

Barbra’s tip for Experience Assessment is to put your energy into it, and 'Remember, it's what you do on a day-to-day basis!'

Having a supportive manager and mentor really helps, but Barbra also emphasises the importance of staying inquisitive. 'When you’re going to be assessed, be curious about the reading and the learning and apply it to your own business, because that's how you’ll remember.'

Seeing Barbra become a Chartered Fellow alongside managing her busy day-to-day role has motivated several senior colleagues to ask about gaining professional recognition.

It empowers me personally.

Barbra feels the years of effort she’s put into her career have now been rewarded. 'It’s given me confidence that I know about the profession – and I am part of it.'

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