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George Parrett is a senior manager in our PR team. Two years ago, we asked him to be the anchor for The Green Room podcast. He said yes – and what an adventure it’s been since. To celebrate our second birthday, George has written about the things he’s learnt along the way and some reflections from his two years as a host.
Two years ago I put on a pair of headphones and, for the first time, uttered the words: “Welcome to The Green Room podcast by Deloitte.”
In reality, it took several attempts (and still does today), but after a few extra sips of coffee and the odd expletive, we were off and running, diving into our first big question: “What will be the last job on Earth?” It was a rather appropriate subject topic, particularly for someone new to the world of moonlighting as a podcast host…
Since then, we haven’t looked back. And 30 episodes later, with over 20 hours’ worth of interviews from more than 50 different guests, we’re still asking big questions about the world around us. We’ve tackled a huge array of really important, complex issues, including discrimination in the workplace, mental health, sustainability, education, financial inclusion, the impact of technology on jobs and the future of the high street, to name a few.
The big questions
I’m a naturally nosey person. I love learning new things and asking questions – something I’m sure my friends and family find to be a rather annoying trait of mine. Luckily, it lends itself very well to podcasting.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend an hour or so every fortnight asking brilliant people about their jobs, lives and experiences. That includes asking our CEO whether anything went to plan during their first year in charge. Or learning about how mental and physical health are interlinked. Or finding out about imposter syndrome and how it can affect anyone, even those at the top of their game. Or how we should all be paying the utmost attention to the destruction of mangrove forests across the globe.
As we go through each season, we ask ourselves: why is it so important that we ask these questions? For me, there is one key driver: worry. We have so many questions about things that seem to be out of control, and we’re all just looking for the answers we need to help us deal with our own concerns, questions, hopes, and expectations.
We worry about discrimination. The environment. Our jobs. The economy. Our children. Our parents. We worry about the future, and the past. And recently, we’ve all faced challenges we never imagined we’d have to face. Missing our friends and family. Trying to protect those we love and balance our own wellbeing too.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that it’s impossible not to worry, and that it’s okay to worry.
Asking questions in any context allows us to gain knowledge from others, helping us to reconcile our concerns and anxieties about things that we can’t fully comprehend.
When Lizzie, Ethan and I sit down and record an episode that explores what it’s like to be Black in Britain today, we’re of course not claiming that we’ve solved racism in a 30-minute discussion.
Instead, we’re acknowledging that we need to talk to people to understand more about an issue that affects so many. Concerns should lead to questions, which should lead to education, which should lead to positive change.
And it’s happening. I look back over the last two years and some of the incredible conversations I’ve been lucky enough to take part in, and I’m reminded that there are so many reasons to be hopeful and excited about the future. There are glimmers of light that have been there all along, even when they’re hard to see.
Innovative technologies are helping to repair our oceans. Inspiring role models are talking openly about their struggles with mental health, racism, disability, sexism, all helping to make things better for the next generation of leaders. Working parents are learning to find a new balance and are putting their families first. One moment I’m on a Zoom strategy call with dozens of colleagues, in the next I’m teaching my daughter how to code.
With the right perspective, and a willingness to ask the right questions, positive change is possible. A memorable moment was when we spoke about the impact of climate change with Colin Butfield from WWF and he explained that we should feel positive about the future of our planet and focus on what we have to gain from building a sustainable world – clean air, food, new businesses better living standards – rather than what we will lose.
There’s a big lesson in all of this. Conversation is so important. Over the last year we’ve all been physically removed from friends and loved ones, but having dialogue – simply talking to each other – has been a crucial coping mechanism for so many. It’s vital that we continue to listen, ask difficult questions and, most importantly, talk to each other.
We hope our podcast goes a small way to helping us all to do that.