Meet our inspiring equality champion this International Women’s Day

Date added: 08 March 2024

As we join the world to mark International Women’s Day and #InspireInclusion, we caught up with our own inspiring equality champion, KMPT Disability and Wellness Network (DAWN) chair, Taran Spero.

Never afraid to challenge the system, Taran has spent her life stepping-out of other people’s comfort zones to ensure we are all seen and valued for being ourselves.

Growing up in one of Liverpool’s most deprived inner-city neighbourhoods Toxteth, as a mixed-race child, with hidden disabilities, from a large family, Taran saw her differences as ‘super powers’; she was never scared to question things that didn’t make sense to her.

Taran’s undeniable infectious personality and desire to be always learning set her apart from her bullies and she spent her early 20s as a fashion model travelling the world.

On becoming unwell physically and mentally in 2006, Taran was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and knew she needed help with her mental health. 

Taran reflects on her time as a former KMPT service user as invaluable to her role now.  Starting her career with the trust as a volunteer and quickly progressing to peer support practitioner, Taran is able to ‘bring her whole self, unreservedly and unashamedly’ to everything she turns her hand to.

Today, as chair of DAWN, Taran uses her lived-experience and passion for equity and accessibility to provide a safe space for trust colleagues, regardless of gender or ability.  She feels privileged to be able to help enable them to recognise their own worth, while ensuring the workplace is a happy place, free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

An advocate for equality in her personal and professional life, since becoming chair, Taran has introduced a deaf awareness programme, mindfulness (focusing on being in the moment without interpretation or judgement) in all forum meetings and a new work and wellbeing passport; while also advancing a support and retention policy for disabled staff.  Working with the trust’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team, Taran is currently working on launching a new reasonable adjustments policy and establishing disability/neurodiversity reasonable adjustments training.

Taran’s mindset means she considers challenges to be opportunities: ‘it shows us what we don’t want and helps us to focus on what we do want’.  She feels valued and supported by the trust as a DAWN campaigner and is thrilled to report that her network forum membership comprises managerial, clinical and support staff, all working together to ensure best practice, regardless of banding and hierarchy.

It’s no surprise that Taran has been a Freedom To Speak Up guardian for KMPT – she exemplifies the trust’s values and is described as ‘open’, ‘honest’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘accountable’, ‘respectable’ and most heart-warmingly ‘much more than a valued colleague’ by her peers.

It’s also no surprise that under Taran’s leadership, DAWN has been repeatedly recognised and commended by national employee network benchmark the Stellar Standard and, most recently, nominated for an advanced classification.

Did we forget to mention that Taran has an honours degree in psychology and professional coaching, as well as a Masters in mental health recovery and social inclusion.  An associate of the NHS Leadership Academy, Taran is also qualified in the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Mary Seacole leadership development programme for healthcare leaders.

We hope Taran’s story has inspired you this International Women’s Day, as she continues her sterling work to support our more than 1,000 disabled team members, by inspiring us all to be limitless in life. 

Find out more about KMPT’s DAWN forum and how the trust is committed to creating an inclusive environment where the culture embraces fairness in both our service provision and employment; service users are at the forefront of decisions made and staff are given every opportunity to develop and progress within their careers: