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Inner Rebel Reflections – Top 10 quotes of the day

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Inner Rebel Reflections – Top 10 quotes of the day

The diversity of world-class speakers, powerhouse panellists and the luminous lightning bolts that were plastered on, well, pretty much everything, made Inner Rebel 2022 a conference to remember.

I was beyond excited when I found out that Alive was one of the sponsors for this event (and not just because it meant James and I had the privilege of going along!) Much like Advita and the Inner Rebel crew, at Alive we love nothing more than sharing our courageously creative ideas and making work a welcoming, inclusive and fun-filled place to be.

As someone who is passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion work and lives for projects that have a positive social impact, it’s safe to say the Inner Rebel line-up was right up my street.

Each speaker deepened my knowledge on big, bold and important topics including belonging, behavioural science, leadership, innovation and diversity of thought.

I left Manchester buzzing (and not just because of all the sugar I’d had!) Both my mind and my notepad were bursting with ideas, musings and wonderful one-liners we’d heard throughout the event. Squeezing it all into this blog post feels like an impossible task, but I’ll give it a go.

In no particular order, here are my top 10 quotes of the day and why they hold so much truth, power and potential to influence positive change…


Number 1
“The problems we face transcend the boxes we try to put them in. To solve them, we need diverse thinking, diverse people” – Matthew Syed

When you harness the voices of people with different backgrounds, experiences and expertise, you achieve new ideas and better outcomes. This is what Matthew refers to as a ‘growth mindset’ as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’ – fill the room with people who might challenge or disagree with you, rather than those who simply playback your perspective.

Number 2“Recruit for a cultural add not just a cultural fit” – Nichole McGill Higgins

Being told you ‘fit in’ is a complement, right? It means you’re comfortable, familiar, safe… But by shifting to a ‘culture add’ mindset you’ll find people who bring something different to the table – a new skill or perspective that adds value to your organisation.

Number 3“I’ll be a token gesture but only once. Because my presence paves the way for the next person to be welcomed in” – Sarah Brown-Fraser

This refreshing take on tokenism prioritises your presence, rather than how you got there. Grasp every opportunity to be heard, seen and represented and in turn you’ll empower others to do the same.

Number 4
“Saying ‘bring your whole self to work’ is great, but we need to remember this might not feel safe for everyone.” – Sasha Watson

It’s a privilege to bring your whole self to work. It relies on having a safe space, self-confidence and acceptance from colleagues. If this doesn’t ring true for your organisation, then there’s a great deal of work to be done to address the reasons why.

Number 5
“Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all” – Matthew Syed

Nobody likes a know-it-all. Instead, create a positive working environment where listening, learning and being open to change enables others to connect with you and share their ideas freely.

“Meet people where they are” – Priya Bates

There’s no one channel or platform that suits everybody. We must put people at the centre of our comms and adapt and adjust our efforts until everyone feels included.


“Being in a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader” – Sam Akinluyi

What kind of leader are you? It’s a question that deserves time, attention and careful consideration because everyone you work with will be impacted by the answer. Sam reminds us that people in leadership positions only become leaders when they empower others, elevate their potential and enable creative freedom.

Number 8
“If you ask enough questions, you can be a better innovator than you are today” – Tom Pullen

This circles back to Matthew Syed’s comment about becoming a learn-it-all. Innovation is all about ideas – the best ones often come along when you’re connecting, collaborating and having conversations with colleagues.

Number 9
“It shouldn’t have to happen to you for it to matter to you” – Nichole McGill Higgins

Allyship is profoundly powerful. It’s about using your privilege to break down barriers, challenge inequalities and pass the microphone to someone who may otherwise be silenced. I love this quote.

Number 10
“Stand in the truth of who you are” – Sharon Amesu

We all have something unique to offer the world – own it.


When we create safe, supportive spaces for people to share their knowledge and lived experiences, ask rebellious questions and challenge the status quo, we become better learners, leaders and allies.

Thank you to Advita and her team of Inner Rebels for pulling off such a cracking conference, you should be extremely proud.

Search #InnerRebel2022 on Twitter.

Read about how our team unleash their inner rebels.

Written by Lauren Castle at Alive!

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Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

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Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

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DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

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Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

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Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

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Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

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Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

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Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

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Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

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Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

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Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

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Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

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Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

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Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

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Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

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Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

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Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

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Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

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