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Dr Who? What a memorable day that was! Great pics. :o)

MsCYPRAHSep 22, 2018, 11:33:42 AM

Officially became a Doctor of the Open University yesterday (DUniv), and it was an incredible experience. From arriving to have my photos taken, to being led on stage, being introduced by my nominator, Jiten Patel, being handed my written confirmation, having to make my acceptance speech, and then having a lunch in our honour (there were two doctors being confirmed), it was just awesome. Like nothing I had imagined!

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but I will never forget it, because it was unreal.

With my nominator (left) Jiten Patel, and the Executive Dean of the Open University, Professor Josie Fraser

With my fellow honoree, Sherry Coutu (front right), and other senior members of the Open University

This pic is with a great friend, Bubbles White, and my super fella, Colin (aka @Gorfski) who were amazing supports on the day!

My favourite picture! Me in all my glory!

Another favourite picture: me and the Great Boyfriend (@Gorfski) :o)

Announcement of our conferments!

Conferment Document!

Full text of conferment containing my nominator's introduction of me.

(Sounds like someone else!) :o)

My Acceptance Speech: It seemed to have resonated with lots of the audience (over 700 people present) who came to hug me and thank me afterwards. most surreal.

Executive Dean, Honorees, Graduates, and Guests,

For one who is never short on words, I was speechless when my partner read me the notification letter about this honour. I am not one for public honours, having declined a few, especially those with ‘British Empire’ in their titles, so, I will treasure this particular accolade forever. Having seen my work enabling more effective diversity personnel practice across the UK, despite the downsides, it has been reward enough for me.

I was brought up in poverty in Jamaica in the sixties, with a father who didn’t want girls, only boys. But my positivity, dreams, and strong belief in myself propelled me forward in a way I never dreamt possible. After all, if someone had told me then, that I would go to England, get a degree from a pioneering university, and the opportunity to attend Cambridge University, I would have laughed at them in disbelief.

Yet that is exactly what happened and, clichés apart, the Open University changed my life completely, in ways too magical to comprehend. It gave me the opportunity to study soon after having my first child, while holding down a full time job, with the added complication of my ex-husband serving on an RAF posting abroad. For various reasons, I couldn’t attend my first degree ceremony, hence why I am very proud to be here now to accept this special honour.

For all the excited graduates whose presence I’m sharing today, Congratulations on your wonderful achievement. From personal experience, I know it cannot be underestimated. However, success in the rest of your life is not assured by your degree, but what I call the four empowerment pillars of:





Principles reflect our internal values and what matters to us in life, while our chosen words and actions demonstrate those principles clearly, and influence the reactions of others toward us. However, principles are most useful if they support a purpose in life, and are used to enhance our routine interactions while putting others first. Otherwise, principles can become millstones around our necks, weighing us down with narrow-mindedness, while blocking our hopes, development, and progress. At such times, we are likely to appear inflexible, exclusive or entitled, and with a seeming lack of empathy for others.

Personal authenticity completes the four pillars. There is only ever ONE you in all of history. Don’t ever forget that. My own favourite mantra says: “Always be yourself. Those who like you will value and nurture you, while those who don’t will pass you by and save you the stress.” I live those words every waking moment, as I enjoy being me, whether happy or sad.

I am grateful to the OU for valuing my contributions, nurturing my talents, and recognising my achievements in the most awesome way possible. In fact, this honour has motivated me to release an updated version of my pioneering work, Managing the Diversity Maze, and I would like to present a copy to the Executive Dean for the library.

As I’ve obviously fully recovered from being speechless, I’d better finish now before I’m turfed out! But I must extend heartfelt appreciation to Jiten Patel and George Farrow for nominating me, and to my super partner, Colin Gorf, and kind friend Bubbles White, for sharing this amazing moment, too.

THANK YOU so much, and Good Luck to everyone!