November 15, 2018 / By Maeve Hagen
I’m uncomfortable. Not just today, every day.
And you know what? That’s ok. Even better, it’s great.
Change can be uncomfortable. Respectfully disagreeing with someone can be uncomfortable. Pitching an innovative idea that pushes our clients to think differently can be uncomfortable. As the Navy SEALs say, “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable,” and roughly 18 months ago we set out on a journey to do just that. Our journey was and still is, to diversify our staff. Diversify the way we think, act and look, and most importantly, the way we approach business challenges for our client partners that require a creative solution. And yes, we knew there would be some discomfort along the way, but if we kept going no matter how uncomfortable we felt, we knew it would mean forward progress.
Looking around at my colleagues today and taking the time to get to know them personally, I’m proud at the progress we’ve made, but I’m even more encouraged by what’s to come. Because, let’s face it, hiring people who think, act or look different than we do is seemingly the easy part. Making everyone feel welcome and heard, that’s a different story. Living our agency diversity and inclusion mission to ensure every team member is heard and respected, that’s where the real change is felt.
Until I sat in a two-day empowerment fest, err, The 3% Conference in Chicago last week, I wasn’t sure we had done enough thus far. But listening to some amazing speakers last week like Wade Davis, Nicole Sanchez, and Heide Gardner, I learned that as long as we’re willing to show up, strap in, open our hearts and minds, and be ready to be uncomfortable, that’s growth.
So far this year we’ve had five D&I Council meetings along with multiple Employee Resource Group (ERG) sessions and each one has been more uncomfortable than the last. We challenge each other’s perspectives. We disagree. We reflect. We move forward. But, this is a journey. An important journey and one with no end. And moving forward with different perspectives by continually adding others to our circles will only make the work we produce and ourselves better in the process. In 2019, we’re excited to welcome others through our doors with trainings and a speaker series to bring in fresh perspectives along with evolving our ERGs and building an even more inclusive workspace.
Bottom line is, as we move into 2019, I’m comfortable being uncomfortable. Are you?