Today’s shoutout goes to Renu Bhopal-Padhiar, Programme Lead – Community Mental Health Transformation Programme, who was nominated by Jazz Janagle, Jazz said:

“I’m nominating Renu for her commitment to make the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme a success – for going the extra mile (and then some) to make meaningful change and improvement for our service users, and for being a truly compassionate, inclusive and committed leader – and woman of colour – in the organisation. Also, for being an inspirational role model and holding other women up and supporting female empowerment and leadership, and for doing it all with passion, warmth, kindness, and humour!”

Renu was asked about her role, what she is most proud of, who she is inspired by and what equality, diversity and inclusion means to her. Renu said:

“I am the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme Lead for NHS Birmingham and Solihull. I lead a dynamic team focussing on supporting transformational change across our community pathways. Since forming the team in June 2021 and through coproduction with our service users, Experts by Experiences, carers, and amazing community teams we have made some massive steps forward in increasing our community provisions in Primary Care and supporting swift access to appropriate services.

What I feel most proud of is the impact we are now having especially for our service users; I am committed to improving the experience of our service users and their families. Whilst this is only the start of the journey I think from these initial green shoots, forests will grow. I feel proud of my team in that we are all so committed to the same goal and vision, I am proud and thankful to the clinical and operational teams that remain onboard, delivering this work alongside us and their patience because at times this change has been frustrating! I feel proud that service users and carers have trusted us with their stories and felt empowered to help us shape the change.

I am inspired by all the strong people around me, especially the special women around me, my amazing mother and sisters and my team and colleagues they all bring something that is unique to them, I am especially thankful to the strong leadership I have experienced in this role from Elaine Murray, my line manager, who has been unwavering in her commitment to transformation.

Equality, diversity and inclusion for me means being accepted for exactly who you are, not having to comply to norms and pigeonholes because it makes others feel more comfortable, but celebrating the amazing individuals we are. I believe in benefits of a bright melting pot of differing views, backgrounds, orientations, beliefs. I believe it is hugely important that we challenge our bias, stop, and take time to understand each other through polite inquisitive enquiry, be tolerant and accept individualism. In understanding each other we also need to accept that not all of our needs are the same so our offers and services must adapt. Equality, diversity and inclusion is a golden thread for me in all I do as a leader for change.”

Renu Bhopal-Padhiar