Over the past several months, we’ve been participating in The Workplace Enlightenment Certification program. The program, conducted by the 4As is designed to ensure that our agency has the highest standards when it comes to equity and inclusion. While equity and inclusion is something we believed we practiced, the experience has opened up our eyes more and has made us realize that we need to be working on our practices, thought patterns, and actions perpetually.
Within the program we’ve been exposed to things such as:
- How to recognize and respond to the impact of privilege in our company
- How to recognize the barriers to inclusion and what we need to do in order to remove them
- The ways we can increase opportunities for bringing in diverse perspectives as part of our team
Most importantly we’ve developed plans for action.
Our entire team has been participating in the program and we’ve been led by a great facilitator Natasha Bowman. Here is a great video of Natasha giving a TedTalk that is worth the time to watch:
be present with the problEm
At the most basic level, just pausing and spending time as a team to actively think about the different challenges people may face because of their race, gender, sexuality, age, faith, or ability does wonders for making you realize that true understanding and empathy requires time to think and consider. The simple ritual of carving out the time as a team as part of this program made us be present with the problem.
making a difference makes a difference
One of the biggest takeaways from our experience that continues to resonate is that what we do doesn’t have to change the world. But, if we can impact one person, one life, evolve one negative thought pattern, then we’ve made a difference. We don’t want to get paralyzed into inaction by the fear that our efforts won’t make an impact. They have and they will continue to, as long as we commit to being open and continuing to learn. If we are making a difference within our figurative four walls, that is what matters. We may feel like we still aren’t doing enough and the work is never done, but that is ok because we will continue our commitment to making our workplace and team a more enlightened one.
What this means going forward
While becoming a certified enlightened workplace is something we can be proud of, it doesn’t mean we’ve accomplished anything. The true test of the impact will be how we continue to weave the practice even deeper in our organization. Our values are Curiosity, Bravery, and Caring, and our enlightenment journey crosses all three of those. We have a great team of diverse people who are open-minded and willing to learn. We’ll continue to support causes we believe in, like the Marketing Explorers mentorship and scholarship program we developed with Career High School in New Haven and our committed to make sure as our team grows in size it also grows in diversity of perspective.