Aluna Behaviour Consultancy Newsletter Number 13, April 2023
One Year On: Celebrating My Thankfulness
Yes!! Today is the first anniversary of Aluna Behaviour Consultancy. I launched my business on Friday 1st April 2022 and here we are a year later!! The last 365 days have been an education; and not always easy!! But I have sooo much to be thankful for.
My first celebration is for WOMEN: from my amazing mum to the great Maya Angelou. "Phenomenal Woman" and "Still I Rise" have often been the soundtrack to some of the most challenging days I hauled myself through. Even in death Maya Angelou is such an inspiration.
So, in celebration of all awesome women; some of whom I've met, some of them I haven't, some I used to know and some I'm destined yet to meet, I'm showcasing a number of events for women, by women - and all in my home town.
Girls Easter Club
A 3 Day Camp for girls aged 9-15 covering areas such as:
* I love me: A journey of self-discovery
* I love me: A journey into self-care
* I love me: A journey to self-confidence
* Saying no to others and yes to you
* Go High: Getting rid of the haters and building your tribe
* Managing My Mojo
* Social Media: uses and abuses
Mindfulness Coffee Mornings for women and girls have been developed to provide a safe space for women and girls in and around Birmingham. Through mindfulness practice a group of women and girls are supported by a qualified therapist. Discover who you have come to be and what you have come to do. Mindfulness Coffee Mornings bring like-minded women and girls together and guide you to empowerment!
ADHD and Women:
and Moving Forward for Change
This ADHD and Women Talk will explore how females with ADHD are often missed, misdiagnosed and misunderstood. They discuss important topics such as adult ADHD, being diagnosed later in life and insights from the "Conversations with Women with ADHD" campaign. You will learn why females with ADHD present differently to males - including the popular notion of ‘masking’.
Birmingham’s history has traditionally focused on the achievements of notable men. Join Birmingham Women's Heritage Trails on a guided tour of the city centre to discover the stories and achievements of the many women who contributed to the history of the city. Suffragettes, abolitionists, factory workers, academics, trade unionists, philanthropists, artists, politicians, and educators; many women put their mark on Birmingham’s history.
2019 saw the centenary of the Women's Engineering Society, founded in 1919, holding their first conference in Birmingham. The Women's Engineering Society is a United Kingdom professional learned society and networking body for women engineers, scientists and technologists. It was the first professional body set up for women working in all areas of engineering, The speakers will present evidence of women's roles in engineering in the 19th and 20th centuries that they uncovered in researching historical tales of women engineers in Birmingham and the Midlands. They are now working on a broader history with the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists.
Fun and fashion alongside other like-minded women in our community sharing the innovation and resilience of female entrepreneurs. Be inspired by the stories of three local women business owners who have built their businesses with a lot of vision, risk, grit, fear, and love. We know that our relationships sustain us and mean more to us now than ever. We all deserve a round of “The Big Applause” so join the event for an evening of connection and celebration!
Creative Journeys singing workshop reimagines journeys of hope. Develop musical creativity with professional women musicians, if you have experience of singing or not!! All songs and lyrics are created by local women in Birmingham by In Her Shoes who:
* Create high quality musical experiences for women
* Connect women to build understanding & empathy
* Empower women’s voices to be heard
The menopause is not just a 50+ issue. It happens to most females, so shouldn't be a hidden and taboo subject. The University of Birmingham wants to support the team at Menopause Cafe to get the whole world talking about the menopause. You do not need to work at the University or be a student, all are welcome. At a Menopause Café, people and often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss menopause. Open for all, regardless of gender or age.
So from childhood to middle age, 9 to 90, nurture your inner child, allow yourself some self-care and celebrate your womanhood. Believe in yourself, in the words of Glennon Doyle: "I have met myself and I'm going to care for her fiercely."
I must next celebrate CHILDREN. Since the age of 10 when I first became an aunt I knew that I wanted to work with children as I had a fascination with the way they learn. 45 years later I'm still as excited to read, research, listen to and discover ideas and thoughts about children's acquisition of knowledge.
I've had numerous roles during my career from nanny to CEO and many opportunities volunteering in different regions around the country. There have been sooo many highlights, but I believe this job will be my favourite. Although I don't engage in so much of the operational work anymore, I get to talk about children's learning in a range of forums sharing my experiences and professional opinions with parents, educators and professionals.
Rather than thinking that I have "dedicated my life" to working with children, I consider myself to be exceptionally lucky to have featured in even a very small way in the lives of the children I've been fortunate enough to meet. As well as being able to influence children's learning, I'm able to influence some of those who are in turn influencing children's learning; and I mean that in the broadest sense. For me, learning is about everything a child comes to know, think, do and experience. As the focus of my work, children learning about behaviour is important. It's not about them being taught how to behave, but how they demonstrate what they have learned about behaviour.
I recall meeting a 9-year old boy for the first time. When I asked him to tell me something about himself he proudly exclaimed that he was "manipulative". I was a little taken aback, until he perfectly explained how he had managed to use the very acrimonious relationship between his divorcing parents to his advantage. In whatever way adults feature in the lives of children, we must be mindful of the hidden lessons we share with them. Though he knew it wasn't a positive quality, he was proud to have mastered the skills of coercion which he went on to use at will with other children and even members of staff. Children see, children do.
I don't have the capacity to calculate the number of children with whom I've engaged professionally over the last 37 years. I believe there are only two I wasn't able to find anything endearing about, but I'm fairly sure that from every other child or situation - however small - I've gathered something that has contributed to my experience as a practitioner thus far, both at home and in the opportunities that have taken me overseas. I'm extremely proud of Nurudeen, who has fully embraced the education he is receiving, see this blog post to read his story: Is it actually possible to burst with pride? (aluna-abc.co.uk). The only other career path I could imagine for myself would be as an elephant keeper!!
Nurudeen at school, Ghana
Me and Raja, Sri Lanka
There are so many tales to tell, the vast majority of which are extremely positive and rewarding, so many of them humorous, some very sad and one particularly tragic. I attended the funeral of an 8-year old boy I'd worked very closely with. It was heart breaking and not an event I'd wish for anyone to experience. But I learned so much from him, his sense of fun, his humility, his innocence and the aspects, including his complex learning needs, that made him an absolute delight to be around. I celebrate him especially for all that he taught me about optimism and hope.
In addition to the work I do within Aluna Behaviour Consultancy, I have the pleasure of volunteering with a number of organisations supporting the needs of children, both locally and nationally. My decision to convert my business to a Community Interest Company will enable me to make connections with other agencies involved in the education and wellbeing of children. Alongside my business I have launched Diverse Enterprise Hub to bring together like-minded professionals to share information and collaborate on work with young people in our community. On the LinkedIn company page: Diverse Enterprise Hub: Posts | LinkedIn I have posted the women's events above and will continue to develop this group to include much more of the good work that is taking place in organisations and community groups in Birmingham.
There is so much more to celebrate, it would be impossible to document it all here to be read in one sitting only!! I see it as LIFE. To quote John Lennon in his song "Beautiful Boy" dedicated to his son Julian "Life is what happens when you're busy doing other things." I wouldn't begin to describe my life as being easy, or even straightforward. It has had its own challenges; many of which have been in relation to my career.
However, I'm thankful for the opportunities I've been given that have led me to where I am now - even in the context of some of the toxic environments I have found myself in and had to navigate myself out of. It is difficult for a lone voice like mine to significantly disrupt the discrimination levelled at me and some of the children I've worked with, but I continue to try. In developing Anti-Racism in Education Training at all levels, I aim to inform, challenge and affect change. I've found my tribe and the direction of travel that is my calling. Finding My Tribe (aluna-abc.co.uk) The determination to advocate for marginalised children drives me and gives me the resilience I have to continue to rise.
My worth has been, at times, rather tricky to determine. I know my stuff; that isn't debatable - or meant in arrogance - but in remuneration for my services only I can decide. The recognition from others is invaluable It's What You Know ... and Who You Know!! (aluna-abc.co.uk); which I now draw on when even the smallest hint of imposter syndrome creeps in. Having belief in myself must exist first, though the belief from others is extremely reassuring. This includes "My Special Family" (by blood or not) who have given so much support from the inception of Aluna Behaviour Consultancy and continue to shower me with positivity and good blessings. I've been fortunate to meet some incredible small business owners like myself who, through networking opportunities, have shared valuable insights and information every new business owner needs. For the professionals I've worked with in consultation and when delivering training, thank you for your recognition of my work and the perspective you have enabled me to share with you and benefit from in return.
I see learning in just about every situation and it is well worth celebrating. During the last 12 months I have undertaken 90 training courses, webinars, networking events and Zoom meetings in just about every subject matter relating to the work I do. Some have been more valuable than others - only in one or two have I excused myself before the end. I have equipped myself as a practitioner and educator with as much good quality training and opportunities to review previous knowledge as possible. I am heartened by the training in neurodiversity delivered by those with lived experience and I'm hopeful that this understanding makes its way to all educational settings in the near future. Diversity, equity and inclusion must move from the presentation of generic material on a website to become transparent and robust working documents that reflect the practices within organisations including local authority's Children's Services. One of Maya Angelou's most powerful quotes seems very apt here. “We [I] did then what we [I] knew how to do. Now that we [I] know better, we [I] do better.”
I have many goals - professional and personal - yet to be achieved, but I am optimistic for what can be realised in the year ahead. I will continue to celebrate successes, my own and those of others on a similar path. I aim to continue towards my vision with the unexpected twists and turns along the way. I'll work a little less and laugh a little more. I will continue to seek opportunities to discover more, to share more and to do more.
To my business peers here with me, thank you for all of your much appreciated support and best wishes. For the rest of today, lets continue to celebrate ... the Prosecco calls!!