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Leadership & Life Chat - The business of grief, menopause, maternity and beyond with occupational therapist Hilary Horton

Divorce, loss, menopause, depression and complex PMS are some of life's biggest challenges, particularly for women. Occupational Therapist, Hilary Horton educates us on how men can better support women in the workplace through empowerment and empathy, which ultimately is good for business.

TRIGGER WARNING – this episode contains mentions of eating disorders, miscarriage, child-loss, suicide, and self-harm.

If you’re a male business leader, this episode may be of particular interest. Our special guest is occupational health specialist Hilary Horton. Hilary has decades of personal and professional experience and insight into the complexities of women’s health. She chats to Mark about how managers and business owners need to educate themselves to better support their teams. Many modern businesses haven’t kept up with societal change, and women still face barriers in the workplace, particularly around maternity leave, depression, menopause, complex premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and even religious understanding.

Hilary highlights the importance of empathy and education for leaders, particularly male ones, as businesses that tap into the power of women in the workplace and embrace and support them, are the ones who are often more successful.

Hilary is a former military nurse, who learnt empathy and leadership in her very early years, as part of the ‘over-spill’ working class community in the West End of London. She made it to be Head Girl at school, and realised young that if you have a skill, it’s your duty to pass it on. After a spell of mental health issues during her broad and fascinating career working in prisons, hospitals and the military, and studying psychology, Hilary made it her life’s mission to advocate for better health support within the workplace.

Mark also chats to Hilary openly about his own personal experiences being child-free and how this impacts his life at work, and they discuss what leaders can do to support employees going through grief and loss of all kinds, from miscarriage to divorce, to the loss of a pet or taking time off because of menopause symptoms, and why these factors need to be considered in appraisals and in the construction of policy and procedures, as people deliver their best at work when they feel supported; we are all human after all.

Show notes

Hilary’s business - Enspirita

Hilary’s LinkedIn

Chris Anthony on Impromptu Business Chat


Tales of the Sea – Maggie Chiang

Man's Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust – Viktor E. Frankl

In Search of Mary Seacole: The Making of a Cultural Icon – Helen Rappaport

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© Larking Gowen LLP



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