Jul 06
Natalie Heilling - Then and Now

Natalie’s Story

I grew up in Hertfordshire, one of three children of bi-racial parents. My father is British and my mum is from Trinidad. Our parents were married in 1960s Britain.When I think back to my childhood, rather than remembering playing outside in a carefree manner with my friends, I remember always being on guard from who might appear around the corner, a feeling of anxiety of what might happen to me.

We grew up on a council estate and although there were decent people living there, we experienced extreme incidents of racism involving groups of people following and tormenting us, emotional and verbal abuse, as well as horrific violent acts against my pets, my mother, and I myself was left brutally scarred on my face at the age of 5.

Looking back, these incidents are truly shocking and something that no-one should have to ever experience.

Throughout my childhood, I was often made to feel ashamed of how I looked, who I was, and where I came from. I remember on several occasions I was being told I would be prettier if I was white. These experiences haunted me for many years. Experiences like this naturally make it difficult for you to feel accepted in any setting.

You question yourself and what people think about you all of the time.

Eventually we were driven from our house and had to move to a different neighbourhood and although my confidence was completely shattered, things did start to get better after that.

Luckily, later in life, I have met wonderful friends and work colleagues who, without even knowing it, rebuilt my confidence, self esteem and faith in people.

Today I feel different, today I feel thankful for who I am. I am glad to be different and proud for all that I have achieved. In a strange way I feel that the negative experiences I had taught me resilience.

I can’t change what happened to me, but I feel we have a choice after going through such traumatic events, to let those experiences define who we become, or we can choose to rise above them.

Today I am thankful for having two wonderful daughters. We live in London and the population is much more diverse, meaning that luckily they have not had to endure such treatment. However I do always make sure to teach them that they should be proud of their heritage and who they are.

As you can imagine, I am hot on the topic of Diversity and conscious of the broad array of issues that have to be considered when companies put together their Diversity and Inclusion strategies. I co-founded Research Partners with my colleague Heidi Kull, an Executive Search and Talent Intelligence company, and we are encouraged to see that the corporate world recognises the benefits that come with having a gender and culturally diverse workforce.

My experience has fostered my genuine desire of helping clients with solutions that will ensure companies excel in this area, whilst making it a positive experience for the candidates. I am proud of our team at Research Partners, as we have created a wonderful diverse culture of like-minded people who show mutual respect for our clients, candidates and colleagues alike.

Here’s to everyone dedicated to fighting for a kinder world to live in.

#equality #mixedheritage #diversity #inclusion #womenleadership

About The Author

Natalie Heilling is an International Executive Search Consultant and Co-Founder of Research Partners running various recruitment campaigns across Europe, North America, and Asia while helping clients reach their hiring targets with peace of mind. Natalie has worked in Technology and eCommerce for the last 20 years and helped US companies confidently establish themselves in Europe and emerging markets.

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