#Eachforequal Three things you can start today to shift your world
By Phebe Cho, Head of Diversity
Tears streamed down my face as I sat in my car.
Her face was etched in my mind.
It was school drop off. Her favourite day of the week.
I watched her confidence crumble as she noticed one of her classmates handing bright pink envelopes.
All the girls, gathered together, their excited faces, huddled whispers as they peeled back the envelopes revealing a birthday invite.
She never got one.
My heart broke.
As the world celebrates IWD #EachforEqual I wanted to take this moment to say we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day every day.
But to me an enabled world isn’t just one that is equal.
It’s one that everyone belongs.
It’s not enough to focus on what the eye can see but we need to shift to the unseen. Moving our conversation from diversity to inclusion. Let’s focus on embedding diversity but strive for inclusion. Building a sense of belonging where everyone feels welcomed, respected and supported.
To celebrate everyone for who they are and the value they bring.
The question is how do we do this?
To build and embed inclusion into our businesses, we will need to stretch our reach a little further so that everyone belongs.
So that everyone receives a birthday invite.
It’s not just the responsibility for those who sit at the very top, or for Human Resources, this is a part of everyone’s job. We all contribute and influence culture whether we are aware of it or not.
Collectively, each one of us can help shift our own worlds.
And these are some of the simple things I have actively chosen to do, to help influence mine.
Seeing people for who they are on the inside instead of what you see on the outside.
It’s so easy to pass judgement, make sweeping assumptions based on our own biases but I challenge you, don’t. I promise you this, get to know the individual and you will be amazed. For every human being is unique. Every single person has a beautiful story; they have strengths, viewpoints shaped through their lived experiences and you don’t know it yet, but that connection you just invested in, will pay dividends to both you and them.
Listen more than we speak.
This is hard for me as I’ve been known to be a chatterbox since I started speaking but the very act of listening, is huge. What I’ve learnt over the years, is that we don’t necessarily have to agree on everything, in fact we probably don’t but by the simple fact that I am listening, we are both better for it. I am sharper, better because I have heard you, I’ve heard your voice, your opinion, why you have come to that conclusion and you are better because you have been heard. Your opinion matters.
Develop empathy for others
Step into someone else’s shoes. To feel their pain, to walk their journey. I think this is something we all could do better in, myself included. Because empathy is more than to recognise, it is to act. It takes deep awareness of others but also of yourself and luckily it is a skill we can develop and grow.
Our goal should be to build schools, businesses and communities where everyone matters. Where we each feel empowered to bring our whole self, where we celebrate our humanity, bringing better decision making, creativity and value add.