Spotlight on... Pip Jackson
23 February 2023
This week we meet Pip Jackson – Head of Inclusive Environments within Campus Experience and Infrastructure. Here, she chats to us about working on UCL's Inclusive Environments consultation, which opened today.
What is your role and what does it involve?
My day job is Head of Inclusive Environments within Campus Experience and Infrastructure, but I have recently had the privilege of becoming Co-Chair of the Astrea Network with the fabulous Loleta Fahad. Astrea is for women in professional services roles at UCL. It's open to all women, whether you're at the early stages of your career, or are already well established. If you want to learn from others, or share your own experiences so that others can learn from you, we'd love for you to join us.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL for just over three and a half years. I joined on April Fool’s Day 2019 – who the joke is on is yet to be determined!! I was previously Accessibility Specialist and Head of Building Control at Camden Council.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I am very lucky in that my day job brings much reward, but I am happiest with the good working relations I have built with the inclusion networks (both staff and student) across UCL. The fact they feel they can see that I am creating change and have faith in me means a lot because they are who I am doing this for. With Astrea, I am most proud of our ‘Astrea Celebrates Inspirational Female Line Managers’ campaign. We wanted to hear inspirational stories about managers who have supported, championed and advocated for their female staff, who have gone over and beyond to provide opportunities for their career development and who have taken steps to mitigate the gendered impact of the pandemic. We received nominations from women across the whole institution and put together an online gallery with excerpts from the nominations of those happy to be featured.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I have been working on a huge piece of work to make UCL a more inclusive environment to work and study in. Look out for our UCL-wide consultation and please do get involved.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
My childhood favourite novel is Emma’s Story by Shelia Hocken. It is told by a puppy learning to become a guide dog. Whoever bought it for me could not have known that a few years later I would lose a lot of sight and become registered as blind at 13. My current favourite book is The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson. I think it resonates with the rebel in me who doesn’t like to conform to what society expects of a 40-something visually impaired parent.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
It is my kids’ favourite joke from when they were small because it reminds me of when they were little and having to find it hilarious day after day. It goes like this…
My dog has no nose.
How does he smell?
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
I probably should say my family but I get to eat with them all the time – so it would probably be my close knit bunch of female friends – the ones who have held me up on the difficult days, laughed with me, cried with me and love me despite my faults.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t listen to the doubters but equally don’t make proving them wrong your whole mission! As a visually impaired teenager, hopes for what I could achieve from school, the education authority etc were low – basically piano tuner. Hopes for my doing A-Levels were not there, and I was actually laughed at for thinking I could go to university by a careers adviser. It has shaped the resilience in me, but has also meant I put undue pressure on myself to prove others wrong.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I have my day skipper qualification and, pre-kids, was part of a visually impaired team who won a cross channel boat race.
What is your favourite place?
Anywhere with water and a sun. I love swimming, sailing and the sound of water.