May 12, 2020

Paul Cleal OBE: “It’s about society, and it’s about forward motion”

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About this episode

Paul Cleal OBE is Vice Chair of Kingston University and also sits on the boards of a number of great organisations, including Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the National Citizen Service Trust. Before this, Paul spent 16 years as a partner for Big Four professional services firm PwC. As a young man with African heritage, born in 1966 and brought up in a single-parent household in Croydon, Paul faced many challenges growing up, including being attacked whilst playing football. Although he’s seen racial discrimination first hand, Paul believes socio-economic disadvantage is the biggest challenge to social mobility, because without money, second chances don’t come easily, and hard times are more difficult to recover from. Having received help and support throughout his life to achieve his list of incredible successes, Paul chooses to give back by mentoring young people, and believes diversity and inclusion need our full attention. In this conversation he explores ways we can address issues around education, equality and representation. One major concern Paul highlights is the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on organisations, as he worries they may put their social mobility and diversity strategies at the bottom of the pile while they focus on the immediate financial future.

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