Keep your red shoelaces in – Citizens Advice CEO shares advice as honored by University of Bradford

Graduates at the University of Bradford have been advised to keep their red shoelaces in by honorary award recipient Dame Clare Moriarty DCB. 

It may not seem the most conventional guidance given to those embarking on a new chapter in life, and the Citizens Advice CEO wasn’t talking about real shoelaces. Describing the well-meaning advice she’d received to conform more in order to get on, she stressed the importance of holding onto what makes each of us unique “I kept the red shoelaces in, and did get through the door, and having got through the door I made it my business to try and make it easier for other people to hold on to and celebrate their difference rather than feeling they had to conform.

“I’d  encourage you to identify what your own red shoelaces are, keep them in and value them. Essentially, be yourself.

“You are unique individuals and deserve to be valued for who you are.”

Recognised by the University for her dedication to making a difference to underserved and underrepresented communities, Dame Clare has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate during the Winter 2023 graduation ceremonies.

From working in a Civil Service department known as ‘the place where people care about each other’ to leading the vital work of Citizens Advice, Dame Clare has made inclusion her watch-word, making her recognition from the University of Bradford – itself internationally recognised as the top university for social inclusion – a “huge, unexpected honour.” Dame Clare said: “The University of Bradford has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most socially inclusive universities in the country and that has shone through in today’s [graduation ceremony] proceedings.

“It is humbling to receive an honorary doctorate from such a great institution.”

University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor Shirley Congdon said: “Throughout her career, Clare has been a champion for diversity, equality and inclusion, and has emphasised the importance of emotion, empathy and difference in the workplace to create places where people feel heard, respected for who they are and valued for the perspectives they bring. 

“These are the very same values we champion at the University of Bradford and Clare’s impact on policy and practice to improve people’s everyday lives goes to show that people who share these values can – and do – make a difference.”