Katya Veleva – Inclusion, Equity & Diversity Within Construction
By Stephen Drew
May 7, 2022
0:00 / 01:20:14
Stephen Drew00:01

Hello everyone. I am Stephen Drew. And here we are. We're actually here in September. Aren't we can't. Yeah, but this is the point. Oh, I said your name already. My host and scales, my host and Scouts. I got to practice. This is when you do your podcast onto it like this, but I am here in September with the fantastic guest catcher, 11 from the Architecture community and the BIM community, but now doing something which I think is equally interesting and arguably in my personal opinion, more profound.

So catcher is the rector of blush and the, and so what we do at what you do at plus crowd, I think changes the atmosphere. I know that is your tagline, but it's to do with diversity and inclusivity and making teams more productive, more happy, and more awesome in the world. Catchier. How are you?

Katya Veleva00:56

Hi, Steven.

Thank you so much for having me. It's a beautiful day today and I'm really excited to talk to you.

Stephen Drew01:03

Amazing. Alright. That's so-called so we are going to talk about your architecture backgrounds, because I think that journey is fantastic. However, tell us a little bit more about Bosch cloud. Now give the proper in production so that people will have a complete understanding of what the company is, and then we can backwards engineer your journey.


Katya Veleva01:24

of course. Um, so Bush cloud changes the atmosphere just, just as you said, we are a. Diversity and inclusion consultancy. Uh, and we also provide leadership coaching services. Um, I come from the experience of, of the construction industry, and I know how important this is. And I also sit at the busy intersection of being a queer immigrant woman.

So I come with this lived experience and a lot of, um, the professional understanding that I've built through a real desire to make it possible for all people to feel included in their workplaces, because I think this is what we need right now, very desperately

Stephen Drew02:03

amazing. And you're doing a fantastic job looking at the camera and I'm doing an awful job at it.

So I'm doing a title.

Katya Veleva02:10

Thanks. A lot of focus. I just keep, keep wanting to look at your face and I'm just

Stephen Drew02:16

half the people are going to be listening to the audio anyways, but like let's enjoy ourselves. And that's amazing as you said, and that was quite a poignant point of that. You consider the use out at that point, a queer immigrant, uh, look right.

I'm a gay man from the architecture industry as well. And I remember working in practice many, many years ago in 2012. And you know, there wasn't many people that came out at that time. And what's interesting is that we were having a chat in the office of accurate Larry, the architecture practice, where, you know, everyone's open.

And as I mentioned to you, we haven't open. We haven't opened, let me get it right on errors. I said it too earlier, perfectly. We haven't opened nonbinary trans person inaccurate Larry, and it's amazing. And we was, we were celebrating our pride there and I was talking about my journey as well. And what was interesting.

It's almost, it seems to mean now I've been blessed. Whereas the places I've worked at, I kind of feel myself. And when I haven't, when I've been through places, I haven't felt the need to kind of talk about my sexuality, but there's still a lot of work and there's still a lot of prejudice out there. And this is why, I guess you're doing your awesome company.

So do you want to tell me a little bit about the driver behind brush cloud?

Katya Veleva03:31

Um, so I've, I've always been, um, involved in various diversity and inclusion initiatives in construction. As you can imagine, um, woman in architecture, woman in BIM, they just don't construction. I have spent many a days on tables with 12 angry, old white men and myself and I kind of have selled back need.

So I've been involved in things and probably one of the first. More substantial seeds for what I want to do happen at the 2019 pride and my heart melted. It was an amazing experience. Um, I was extremely lucky to be on the architecture LGBT plus float.

It was no, no, no words exist to describe what it's like to travel through an actual million people crowd and be able to scream at them. And they screamed back at you. It's no words anyway, but, um, I've positioned myself on that phone cause it was obviously a cozy, cozy experience. And I got a tap on my shoulder, right.

And this person, uh, says, oh, hi, how are you? And the first moment, I couldn't even remember his name. We used to work together three years before that. And it wasn't a big company, HKS. We were working in separate buildings. We've touched bases here in Dallas events, but different themes, different buildings, you know, I know his name now, but you know, initiatives.

Oh. And he was like, oh, I just really wanted to say hi and say how I really remember how out you are and all of the things that you did around. Um, I did a bit of a presentation and push for gender neutral facilities. And, um, the company, I did the presentation to explain the benefits and planning perspective of which there many, right.

And also the violence, gender nonconforming people face because of the lack of public, uh, gender neutral bathrooms. And then when the company moved a couple of months afterwards, all the facilities were gender neutral. So that felt lazy.

Stephen Drew05:37

We'll have to have a quick rando post. That HKS is office, right? They are from.

Katya Veleva05:47

And then, and, and, and he said, oh, because of, because of what you've done, because of all these things, I felt more comfortable to be myself. You know, he he's a white man and he, he was either, I think he was higher ranking than me at that point. And it just felt amazing. First of all, to remember such a long time, I mean, three years is three years.

It's a bit to remember that and to have made this effect. Yeah. It was really amazing feeling to know that I can have that kind of effect and that this is needed. And this kind of continue to happen around LGBT about, uh, around, uh, women's issues. I tend to be someone who is happy to step up. Who's happy to speak up.

And to the years I've built the vocabulary and build the patience to stay with these things, explain them, explore them and putting them out there for people. And. When I moved to consulting as well in situations when I haven't even been part of the collective and accompany, people have come up to me to ask to participate in these initiatives because they trust me to speak for them.

And that's, it's an amazing feeling. I keep saying that, but it really is. Yeah, no, that you can make a space better for someone else. And last year with, um, George Floyd's murder was, was something that really, really pushed me and made me commit to this immediately. Cause I had started thinking about it in the start of the year and in the, in the before world, if you want to call it like this, um, I was imagining maybe the next couple of years I can work in BIM and slowly transition into that as, as people do, but when the pandemic happened and this happened and I, I really had to pause and think about it.

What I really want to do. And you know, the world is ending in a minutes. It's no time to waste. Let's just get into the important

Stephen Drew07:48

stuff. I think that's, um, that's amazing and wonderful, fantastic journey. And, and you're right. It's, it's, it's, it's an exciting time, but there's also a lot of work to be done as well.

So it's amazing that as well, you've inspired people along your journey and that's where it is all about. I kind of feel that there's an optimistic tone with all of this. It's not like, oh my gosh, there's so much work to do. And we're so far behind actually it is getting there and there's those little success stories.

And I think as well now, I really love seeing a lot of architectural practices, actually doing some amazing stuff around diversity and inclusivity. And what I'm talking about is not just like one picture I'm on about actually getting people involved in doing stuff as well. And actually I think what would be amazing for the listeners here before we talk about your background, I would love to have.

All of what diversity and inclusivity entails and it's a long way, but it can mean, I think it can mean different things to different people. And so a good example that we did on ACRA, Larry, I talked to you about our office manager, who is fantastic, but I think another good example of in kind of inclusivity.

And is that an accurate Lowry? What we did is we got some students who were kind of at ollege level and we talked about spending a whole day in a half and walking them through what it's like to have a career in architecture and all this stuff. And these were people from a background of not an affluent school.

And to me, that's an example of inclusivity because you're inspiring people that maybe wouldn't have had access to that, to, uh, you know, have a career in, in a school. And we touched upon it before the podcast. So the lesson for me to record. You know, architecture is so exciting and it's really important to have people from a background, not all one school or one certain type of demographic.

It's not all an affluent background. It should be people from everywhere. And, you know, my parents helped me get into architecture and I came from a very humble backgrounds. You know, we had no money when I was growing up and that doesn't need to stop people, but also we do need to give people chances. So in your words, I would love to know how do you go about explaining diversity and inclusivity to people?

Katya Veleva10:03

Overall as, um, you know, it's obviously a very big topic and it's really important to know there's a lot of things that are going better, but it's, unfortunately it's not a full on upward trajectory. Right? Uh, we, we always want to hope that, you know, the arc of history is long and we hope that it leans towards justice.

But, um, if we, if we examine the process of that happening now, especially around the pandemic, that there's been some significant encroaching on, on trans rights specifically, even in the UK, across Europe, there's been very, very concerning, um, attacks on reproductive rights in the U S as well, um, going, uh, around racism as well as some very, very concerning.

Ditching the real history of racism and how people are limited in step. So there's a lot of movement and there's a big rift, cause there's, there's a section of society where things seem to be going great and going in a really excellent direction. But there's another one which is kind of separating a lot.

And, and I'm all about building bridges. And this is part of what inclusion is. It's creating these connections in the beautiful little islands that we are. So it becomes a fully functional archipelago eventually because we are different. We can't deny that. We don't want to say we're colorblind because we're not.

And, and, um, digs the experiences that other people have had have affected them. And we need to acknowledge. Yeah. So it's about all those different experiences in business. We often talk about women. So gender identity is important, but, um, obviously we need to talk about diverse genders and marginalized genders because they're multiple of them.

It's not just men and women. Race is very important. Um, obviously sexual orientation and gender identity with the diverse gender identities need to be considered ability as something we don't talk about. Or when, whenever we talk about, we only focus on, um, uh, mobility, disability, and that's a very big topic, which encompasses as well, neurodiversity and, and, and people who, um, are neurotypical or people with dyslexia on the spectrum.

And so on.

Stephen Drew12:26

I wouldn't afford that. It just, it doesn't. Because it's such a broad topic, I guess. I don't know whether it's my mind or because of what's close to me, but then I have a, an understanding of diversity. Inclusivity is probably more to do with, um, backgrounds and affluence and sexual orientation, because that's kind of closer to, um, what I've seen I've experienced.

But when you just said that now I w yeah, I wouldn't have all of that, uh, typically straight away,

Katya Veleva12:57

but, Hmm. And it's, it's something that could, um, you know, all of us have output that, that affects people in this way, especially even if you just work online and you think, oh, my stuff is accessible because people don't need to get to places to hear it.

But for example, um, Contrast on your website is very important. Having accessibility. That was the first thing I did for my website was to find an accessibility tool. It comes kind of on the side. Yeah. And um, often, um, people that dyslexia may need different contrast levels. So if it's black on white or white on black, it doesn't work for them and just kind of all blurs out.

So they need to be able to do that. People with visual impairments need to be able to make things bigger or brighter. So all of these aspects are aspects of including. Similarly having materials, which are written, which are all audio, which are visual in terms of pictorial rather than written to encompass all these abilities.

And of course, what you mentioned, socioeconomic background is extremely important and it's a, it's a huge aspect of diversity is one quite limiting things for people. So there's, there's so much to be talked about, but within architecture specifically, yes, it's amazing to have these diverse workplaces because the research shows and I can quote you some excellence research by Dr.

Katherine Phillips, um, that diverse groups, outperform homogenous groups, categorically, not only, um, by the quality of their decision-making, but, um, within their consideration and, and the accuracy of the decision-making. However, so it's great to be working in a diverse environment, but architect. And the people who create our world, we all live in the built environment.

Uh, we can kind of pull stats in there, but the majority of us live in the urban space live in the built environment. And that is again, I'm going to say all of us. And if the space that is meant for all of us is just made by a certain group of people. Then it's not going to serve everyone. So within architecture, we need to have a diverse view of what's needed in the world because they may be the most amazing group of architects around the table.

But if they have just had a white male privileged experience, they have no way of knowing it's almost not their fault. They have no way of knowing what it's like to be a single black mom in a project, somewhere in the U S or around here in a, um, housing estate or something that it just doesn't work. But within architecture, do you know, what's the percentage of black women, architects,

Stephen Drew15:41

I think is quite low.

Katya Veleva15:45

Give it a

Stephen Drew15:45

stop. I cause I, my backronym recruitment. Yeah. So I've seen a lot of applications I think. And so what's the stat off and I'm going to give you a good guest right now. So I'm not going to, I'm not going to cop out. I'm gonna have a proper guest. What is the stat about out of all women architects?

How many are black? Is that the stat? Is that

Katya Veleva16:05

out of architects? How many? A black women?

Stephen Drew16:09

1%. 1%.

Katya Veleva16:13


Stephen Drew16:15

Oh, okay. But I was in the right. Yeah, because I was thinking. It's low. It's so low, but you know, what's mad is that I can think of off the top of my head. And I would, I'm almost excited to tell you who I, who I know are amazing black women architects, but of course, I don't want to say any names on the podcast without the permission for GDPR, but you're right.

And that's annoying because that's, they are talented. The ones I know, but this there's a short

Katya Veleva16:42

list, but also it doesn't map. Like that's the other thing, um, that. It could be a tip for inclusion, um, for, for anyone that's listening, that kind of thing. Whenever you're, you're highlighting a particular group that's president.

Oh, they're so amazing. Oh, they're so amazing. And then you remember being average is a privilege. Yeah. That's exhausting to kind of have to feel that you constantly need to be amazing to be able to say something about your experience or your needs and wants in the workplace. Yeah.

Stephen Drew17:13

There's so much here when you were, when you were talking there.

I was having, I've got my sound effects here, but appropriate sound effect. So I was going, oh, so that was my brain explode. My brain was exploding a lot because you talk there about architecture in two senses. Because when we, before we, even, when we talked before this, I was talking about. Um, inclusivity and diversity more from a business standpoint, because I've worked with a lot of architectural practices and this massive tangible benefits in terms of employment retention.

And this is recruiting these stuff. There's lots of benefits to diversity. Inclusivity equals staying long time doing awesome Architecture, but I, yeah. There's um, so you know, the chap, um, his name's Ben cannon or Ben CA I think I've pronounced a certain name. Right. But let me, I'm going to type away on this for one second.

So then, um, I spoke to he's involved in the architecture, benevolent society, Ben Chapman. Okay. And so I spoke to him a while ago and he was at a sale. Okay. Uh, the architects and he was head of wellbeing. And so if I had the similar conversation with a ban, because I was involved in the charity and I went, okay, what, what is your role, how their wellbeing.

Yeah. Part of his, what his role was. So this is looking after the staff and I was like, wow, that's amazing. And he was like, yeah, there's much more than that. What I'm talking about, the wellbeing of architecture and how the design with wellbeing in mind. And there was the same thing you set up, it blew my mind because suddenly that's a massive scope.

And so do diverse and inclusive Architecture. You're right. Is so important because we can influence the fabric of urban society and all this stuff. And that's truly amazing. That's a big task though, cat yet, you know, that's a lot.

Katya Veleva19:03

That's part of the architectural profession architects need, it's kind of like sustainability as well.

It needs to be implemented. It doesn't need it. Can't be an add on anymore. It's the girl to a design to be sustainable and inclusive. So it's not my job. I can, I can give them some tips, the design start coming together. Um, you know, it, it, it has to be an integral part of the design. Yeah.

Stephen Drew19:28

Well, I agree. And there's something to inspire too, as well.

Cause at that gray area, we really care about sustainability. So, and that's amazing, but you're right. That diverse and inclusive architecture is equally important.

Katya Veleva19:40

Um, I mean, uh, in diversity and inclusion and sustainability are also very deeply intertwined. Um, when you look at the United nations list of 17 goals, these things are together as one and diversity and inclusion.

Uh, addresses and critiques, the patriarchal imperialist white tradition that exists in the world that is very much celebrated in business. And that's very much the driver for a lot of the things in business that have led us to where we are environmentally. And, um, very often when I need to talk to people about diversity and inclusion, I to connect to the bottom line, right.

Because in business, everything is about the bottom line, but I heard someone say that that's not my quote, but it's really good. One. I don't remember who said it. Um, It's important to remember that the end of the world is also bad for the bottom line. So these things kind of come together and we need new type of perspective.

We need new kinds of qualities to celebrate in business. That's not just assertion and drive to profit, but it's a more holistic view, more sustainable and longterm, um, development of, of what we're doing. And, and the that's why I see these things very, very deeply connected. Yeah. I

Stephen Drew21:02

agree. I think, um, I think you're right.

I I'm, I'm like either, this is cynical part of me that I've learned that businesses follow a, the bottom line, but there's also mistakes there. So typically in recruitment I've seen it where unfortunately, um, people lose, uh, sorry. Directors could lose staff because they're not being diverse or inclusive or sometimes a lot of the times I think that mistakes have.

In PR, um, architecture practices, not because they're aware of it and they ignore it half the time. It's this running with the ball attitude. And then at the end they go, oh man, I can't believe this. Yeah, because everyone's minds is dealing with these massive projects and all this stuff. And then, you know, diversity inclusive is then perceived as like, well, yeah, that's nice.

But if we don't get this project over the line and we don't get this out the door, then w um, you know, the business is gonna fail. But then what I see happens is that people lose talented people because of these issues, like with talking about, and the quicker I can remind practices that actually they were in a recruitment consultant, which is what I used to do is incredibly expensive.

And therefore actually fixing and prioritize. Issues such as, um, diversity, inclusivity and well being, and the benefits of your staff is a small price to pay compared to replacing someone. So,

Katya Veleva22:28

you know, what's the actual price. I'm sure you have the hand. Yeah. Yeah. There's something that I've, I've gotten myself a lot of numbers behind everything that I'm saying because people often attack it on its emotional sides.

They've really seen inclusion. And I think it's important to put it out there because we need to wake up. We need to be a little bit more emotional about some of the things that we're doing. That's part of being more diverse in businesses, bringing slightly different sides, but, um, that's a stopped I've gotten from, I have a reference for it.

I know where I've written down the reference, but, um, to replace a member of staff whose salary is below a hundred K it costs about an average, uh, 22,000. I can just put a

Stephen Drew23:16

place. Especially if the I, yeah. And on, so for anyone here who thinks that's mad and cat is mad, so I've done recruiting seven years.

Let me break it down because I could say that it's expensive to replace someone anecdotally, but I'm going to take your staff. So thank you for that. That's amazing because let's go through it, right. It's the same now catch your leaves. Okay. And I need to replace them for argument's sake. I know you were there, you are a director right now at, you know, your own business.

Okay. I know you're a director out of washcloth. Pretend you are an architectural technician again. And you're, um, you're at my company. So you're at Stephen Drew or super sheds or whatever. And you just had to, you know what I'm saying? And you go and you know what, there's something else popped up and I read, and maybe you don't tell me, and this is what, this is what pops up, because it takes a brave person to say, look, I'm leaving because I don't think you're inclusive or diverse and hats off to anyone that does that.

But sometimes maybe I hear something like, do you know what this other company's approached me? And it's an opportunity that I'd never met and they seem like my kind of people. Right? So let's, let's forget the changes and all that stuff for a second. So to replace you yet. So you're going to be gone your month.

One month's notice. So I've got to look for someone so it immediately, and let's pretend you're on 50,000 pounds. So immediately to get you where a recruiter is going to cost between seven and a half to 10,000 pounds to find you, then I've got to advertise the role in a few places. So that could cost money.

I've also got an interview. You're your replacement. Which has takes my time. And I'm a director on like 120 grand of Stephen Drew associate. So, you know, an interview, it was probably like three, 400 pound on my time. Then I got, I've been through five people or so, so a good spread of a choice, then there's going to be a second state Jeanette view.

And then you make an offer to someone and it's declined because it happens in life. So yeah, it can be really expensive and really, really, really expensive. So

Katya Veleva25:17

that's up to a hundred K if you, if you're looking to replace anyone higher up in that, the, the graph goes exponentially up. It's much, much more expensive.

Stephen Drew25:28

And also we've seen your highest as well, because I'm doing that now. And I have them in the past. You're looking at people with three months notice. So it's, you know, it's kind of, um, it's tricky for a business, so it does make sense to sort this stuff out now. And that's for any practices that are listed.

Um, you should be looking at this because you have to stay ahead of the curve. And I do think that the practices that embrace these changes and there's many reasons to do, and there's a myriad, but the one that is close to me and I can anecdotally say with confidence is that you will attract the best talent and you will get the best people.

And then you'll do the best architecture and will all go round and round and around because you get the awards and the practice was up and up and up. Um, okay. So tell us, so now Stephen Drew associates, I realized, oh my gosh, I need to sew it all out. So, so before there wasn't many places who would factor what you're doing.

Head-on. So plus cloud is one of the few that I can think of if that I can't actually think of another, um, especially when architecture, but you don't just do architecture. Does it apply to all kinds of companies?

Katya Veleva26:41

Um, I, I I'm open to all sectors I work with with different clients. Um, I've recently, um, branched out in the higher education sector and I've gotten myself as a preferred supplier to the university of Portsmouth to do that, uh, coaching and facilitating

Stephen Drew26:58

the university as well.

I don't,

Katya Veleva26:59

they it's very, very exciting. There's, there's a lot of conversations to be had there as well. Obviously I work with, um, with people within the industry because this is where my contacts lie. And this is, this is the easiest start I work, um, also with, um, An organization called my G workmate, which may be something that you may be

Stephen Drew27:18

interested in.

Yeah. Isn't it like two twins that set it up or something. I thought we met though, the famous twins though. I've hear them. It's a bit like the Facebook twins in my head. I'm sure they love the guys, but you know, I'm just like, you just don't get many Twain's the air around, so yeah.

Katya Veleva27:35

Yeah. I know. I know. Yeah.

Um, I work with a wellbeing agency as well, and I'm very open to all sorts of, um, different businesses within the construction industry. Yours also have built by us, um, who was found by Donna Walker and they do some somewhat similar work as well. And she is just amazing the way she speaks. Yeah, she is.

Yeah. I can listen to her for ages. I used to mentor with them, uh, in the food program. So as I know her well, and she's just astounding woman, but, um, I'm a big believer that first of all, the tide rises all the ships. I have no, uh, I don't believe in competition in that way. And I connect to organizations like that.

Um, very openly and happily. And, um, because I really think that there's too much work for sure, for all of us. And it is the sort of work that the better one of us is doing. All of us will be doing better. Um, there's, um, utopia as well, which is kind of a wider organization and they kind of have a, um, a slant towards advertising as well.

And they're really great. And they also build their own network with other consultants and it's generally quite open and communicative community within diversity and inclusion. Warriors, if I can call us this way.

Stephen Drew28:57

Yeah. Go for it. I love, I love that. And so I think we'll, we'll touch upon your roots in a second.

I have one question to segue into it and, and, and that's because there's an element of what you do is it's amazing that you speak into people or maybe on bonds and you go into businesses as well. And it makes sense because you come from architect, uh, it seems to me that you, and when it helps understanding that world, so you can probably make, while you can work with a lot of companies, what your background is going to be immensely valuable through Architectural, kind of like when I went into recruitment, it helps that you work in architecture because you'll know what you're talking about.

And, you know, you can kind of see where you need to fix things, but before we talk about your backgrounds, so you're. Now I do a bit of coaching. So you can give me a bit of a price online because I thought about, I started last month. Oh my gosh. I got two things. Oh, well I said last month, but this is in September.

So I started four months ago. There you go. Cover day. No one will know. And I came back. Oh, it's just saying, cause we're going to launch this joking. Oh my God. I ruined that. So I had quite a few people and then this month has been less busy and that will, that will, that will, that will change. I'm sure.

Right. Coaching academy you've been to the coach. Nick had was that useful because there's part of me. You tell it like it is. I'm like, I've got my degree in architecture. I got my diploma, I've done recruitment. I thought all this stuff could it, maybe it will be really useful, but I've also done a lot of studying in my time.

Was the coach and academy useful in that? Does that help the way you, you, you teach and mentor and coach people.

Katya Veleva30:47

So the first mentoring training that I had was way back in 2009. Um, so, and I've been involved in mentoring throughout, um, I've mentored with the Stephen Lawrence trust, which is now called blueprint for onions.

Yep. Yep. I work with him, um, and then, then build by us. And then with women in BIM, I created the, the women had been mentoring scheme, which went well, but we have the first round, we had applicants from playing three different countries. And now they're running that program for a second year, which is amazing because you know, the, the work has paid off in a way.

Um, so I've, I've had this background and, and especially when you're been consoling. You can't approach someone who's been spent a decade in education and go to them and say, yo, listen, I'm going to tell you how to do your job in a new way. It's not going to, it doesn't matter what kind of genius tool you have or method or principle.

It doesn't matter. You need to, you need a different approach. You need to understand what these people need and then try and figure out how to give them, give it to them and then fit them with the ISO or whatever is required at the time. So I always have this kind of approach. And when I started studying with the coaching academy, it started giving me a Boldy.

It started giving me, um, slightly better vocabulary and reasoning for doing the things that I was doing. There were some new techniques that I really grabbed onto immediately, but it was a double process for me. And that course that I did was. And the coaching academy has the largest coaching qualification body in the world.


Stephen Drew32:31

Because I've seen the fee with them. So this is why I know, I know where we live in an episode, but I'm also writing down notes here of which one to go to. It's just that I'll give

Katya Veleva32:40

you specific recommendations. So you can take a lot of that course, but because it is the largest. They're they're big groups of people.

And sometimes that could feel to me, I struggled a little bit with that. I've signed up for two other courses with them. So with the, with the base, which is coaching coaching, um, we were about 180 people on, on calls. And then I'm doing executive coaching, which is a specification, which we get like 20 something, 30 people.

And it's an entirely different experience. Right. But I have done, and I think this is what's gonna really be helpful to you. I've done a specifically career coaching with the career counseling service. Oh yeah. Um, there we

Stephen Drew33:26

go. You speak your music to.

Katya Veleva33:29

Yep. Yep. Yep. And that course was five days and thought though, but five full days across two or three weeks, and we were 12 people in the group.

I know those people now I'm friends with some of them, you know, it was excellent. And I really, really appreciated that. And maybe for what you're doing, this could be much more appropriate. And then I can recommend you a couple of books. So instead of doing a full year, the way I did with that course, um, you, you can do these five days and I'll tell you two books to read and you're covered.

I think I

Stephen Drew33:59

love that you hit a, your life, but you now are I'm. I'm okay with saying, I do not know everything. I am still learning. And, uh, that would be useful because I've got a lot of practical experience. So offer people, I'm sure what you learned from this and hope the way you do your business now is that it's just sometimes know how to deliver that.

And also people we're all different and certain people respond in different ways. And I've got to learn on that therapy way. So I had a, I had a really good chat with Karen. And so Karen is on a podcast episode, which will be out. Yeah. It will be out before this one, you know? Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, of course.

You know, and, and she gave me some great advice as well, because part of what you're doing as well, I'm sure is sometimes when I, I, when I do a session, you're always dying to tell people the answers like, oh, you got to do this as that. You can't do that. You got to let people them along the journey and you got to, and I, and that's what I've done.

The recruitment is that Evelyn fab, a there's a few types of approaches to recruitment. I had an incredibly low dropout rate because it's about listening to what the people. And then finding them those opportunities and letting them decide they want to go there rather than the old idea of recruiters, which are just like, come on, you want to do it?

Yeah. It's super super sales because don't work. And then I don't want to be the reputation of, oh my gosh, that's the chief guy did this and that. Whereas actually this approach, while you could make less money than a recruiter with no values, there was wit the style. Exactly. You get much more value because in the industry, your reputation is not tarnished and people trust you.

And that is worth much more, which is hopefully what I've done. Um, yeah, you know, it's like, I do care about architecture. So this is what I've learned in coaching. This is, this is now how do I translate what I've learnt in recruit? You know, that seven years of getting people to come through it and do that.

And it's difficult. So I imagine. That when you, uh, we don't want to know specifics about clients or anything like that. I imagine you've almost got to have this approach with the companies that you meet. Haven't you, you've got to understand their perspectives, see what they've they successes and failures, and try to like inception style, put these little ideas in their heads so that they come to the conclusion.

Katya Veleva36:40

Well, that's certainly something that I'm could do. Um, but also to me, the best, uh, outcome is when it is an open discussion and people don't feel like I've put something in their head. Yes. That's, that's, that's kind of, kind of goes into maybe hidden style sex cells. They can ex as well. And, and

Stephen Drew37:04

yeah, so you need, you need the stats like you did now, and you've got to offer value.

So what's your, what's your general approach when you add, so say now you were speaking to me. And I'm running a Stephen Drew practices. Well, would it be a combination of you evaluate the company and then you sit down with me and you listen to what's going wrong or right. And then you offer suggestions and it's that middle level.

Is that more

Katya Veleva37:30

accurate? First and foremost, what I do is I w I need to know what you want. I need to know what your values are and where do you want to go? I need to understand that they're happening throughout, you know, if, if there's a theme of people who are responsible for this decision-making, I need to see if they're on the same page with those things and figure out what they want.

What are they aiming with this? You know, is it the tick box? Do they want to see increase in something specific? I tried to speak their language. That's that's important and it needs to be adaptable. So I worked with the digital construction company and, uh, with them, I was very strict about how, um, did some self-assessment before that, on the team I worked with an after that, and really translated things into numbers because they do information management, they want to see numbers and I try to bring that forward to them.

And that way, if you're an organization that wants to see an influx of certain type of people, We figured out what the messages in that, and then I help you understand what kind of things will lead you to the things that you want. Um, but it is highly, highly individual and that's, that's where coaching comes in.

And that's why I really got into coaching. And I enjoyed that course, like that full year of, of getting into things and reading the right books and practicing as well. And I've, I've done a lot of, um, a lot of hours of one-on-one coaching purely to sharpen my tool, right? Because ultimately I want to work with organizations, but this is it's very valuable when you kind of really shape things out one-on-one and reading more and more about coaching led organizations.

They really connect for me to the principles I've read about, um, in native American governing and social justice organizing. Wow, this really. There's a sound board sound for you.

Stephen Drew39:29

I've got no. Okay. It's a magic wand, but we'll take it right. I

Katya Veleva39:35

like the snap of fingers, but it re it really rang a loud, loud bell for me that there is