Diversity and Inclusion with Emily Foster

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Diversity and Inclusion with Emily Foster

Hello and welcome to the blue pea leader podcast, and in this episode I’m going to be joined by Emily Foster, who is the APAC media leader for Colgate at WPP. And she’s also a diversity and inclusion leader, and that’s why I’ve invited her on the podcast today to share her thoughts, passion and her experience in the arena of diversity and inclusion. But before we get into the subject in its lovely meaty detail. Emily. Welcome.


Emily – Hello. Hello.

Thank you for welcoming me.


Ruth – So what is it that you would, like to share a little bit more about yourself and your background. I’m sure you do way more justice than I would,


Emily – Thank you so much. So, I have spent over 20 years in the advertising and media industry. And over the last 10 years at W PP and throughout my career I’ve been also very heavily involved in diversity and inclusion efforts within the organisations that I’ve worked for. And of course over the last few years, even more heavily involved as a sort of activist at a local and grassroots level but also as a leader that needs to drive through initiatives across parts of the organisation and across various different countries and regions. So, it’s a topic that I am very excited about that’s close to my heart as well. I am of a mixed race background. I was growing, I grew up in Hong Kong. And I also do not look like I am mixed race which puts me in a really interesting position as well, in terms of my self awareness. I am very white looking but I’m actually half Filipino. So, without really knowing it. I’ve sort of grown up with that heightened sense of awareness, and a kind of understanding of intersectionality, which is a big word that’s going around at the moment, in this area. So, yes, that’s me. I do loads of different things and I’m excited to talk to you about it in this session.


Ruth – So, I know that you’ve, you’ve lived in various different parts of the world and as you say it’s appropriate, the fact that you have had that pleasure. You have got a grid, and not just because of your family but you have a greater appreciation of those, the nuances and the differences in terms of what makes this so diverse. But then at times what can actually end up separating us in a way that it shouldn’t separate us.


Emily – Yes, I do have quite a lot of understanding of that by dint of not just my upbringing, but also in the environments that I work in. I’m currently based in Hong Kong. And I have worked on clients from around the world. And it’s really interesting when you work on clients that come from different places that may be communicating to global audiences in different, different markets and countries and different people, that when you, it’s really interesting to see the how your understanding of culture can drive the way that we think the way that we communicate with people, but also how we engage with each other, or not engage with each other. So yes, I do very much have a bit of an understanding of that.


Ruth – So diversity and inclusion that I mean it is. It’s a big topic. So where, where do we start it well I mean if I were gonna turn around and say, sometimes I go, some of the daftest questions are the best questions. What is diversity and inclusion?


Emily – Yeah, that’s the greatest question to ask to start. It’s so easy when we think about organisations, and the trend in diversity and inclusion as a topic right now. It’s very easy to get trapped into thinking of diversity on its own. Because many organisations are talking a lot about their policies in relation to hiring for example, in relation to how many women they might have at certain levels. In particular, so gender is a big, a big topic. And of course, the issue of representation, that’s driven in the US largely by Black Lives Matter of those of a certain race. So, those are really really important things. But in actual fact, They aren’t the only issues in relation to diversity and inclusion and the definition of diversity and inclusion are really important because if we don’t have an understanding of the difference between the two we don’t fully embrace the whole concept of it.

And so to answer or to describe what those two things are essentially in terms of best practice diversity tends to be more about what I mentioned which is policies and processes to ensure rapid rapid representation in particular groups. Often marginalised groups of people in marginalised communities.

Inclusion is where well, both are very interesting but inclusion is much more of a nuanced understanding of belonging and how we as people in organisations engaged with each other as as leaders as managers as individuals. And regardless of where people may be from and inclusion is also very much about the balance between the longing and accepting people’s uniqueness and you can’t have one or the other.

Only you have to have both. Because if you only have belonging, you have the situation where people are essentially feeling like they may need to just conform. And you can’t only have uniqueness because people may think that well you only valued me for being different, but you don’t really accept me. And so, when I describe all of that you see just how huge this topic of diversity and inclusion really is and what it really means. So I hope that answers your question. But yeah, defining the two is critical.


Ruth – Thank you. Yes it does, it kind of breaks it into components that you can start and get your head around and you realise that this isn’t something psych How do you eat an elephant, you know, not in one sitting, sort of things so Yes, it does. And I think it also highlights some of the challenges very nicely as you start talking about the belonging can make people feel like they should conform. The uniqueness can make it feel like, wow, I’m gonna phrase it a slightly different way that sometimes maybe somebody feels like I’m here for my uniqueness, but I’m just the performance, performing circus monkey. It’s not genuine Yes, yes. Now, one of the things he gave you mentioned, Black Lives Matters, a few years ago there was the me too movement. And I remember, and certainly a couple of years ago there was a little spell of conversations in courses that I was running where people were saying, you know, there is a more of awareness. Now, in this case it was around female representation. So this was the gender issue. And there was this thing of, you know, I want to be in the role because I can do the role, not because I become a D&I statistic, not because I’m. You can now tick a box. And sometimes people were getting things but on unwittingly probably by the people that were hiring them, they were making them feel like they were that statistic. What do you think leaders can do to make people genuinely feel that they are wanted, rather than just part of a. We need to be seen to be doing something. It’s trendy.


Emily – Oh, such a good question. I mean, it’s a really interesting one because when it comes to the representation part. There was a point in my life, many years ago where I didn’t believe in this concept of kind of quotas, or making a concerted effort to hire from a particular group. But as I have become more experienced and also personally experienced certain situations or shared or heard from, you know, colleagues or friends about their experiences. I really do believe that there is a need for us to do that because we have to force the issue. Without doing that, we struggle to find teams that are diverse enough to have the kinds of conversations we need to have the bring about new ideas and new innovations to drive growth which is ultimately what we want to achieve, aside from the, obviously ethical part of the whole thing in terms of what leaders can do to be genuine. I mean, it’s quite a question at the end of the day, it cannot be seen to be an opportunistic action.


And I feel that leaders, really have to have a good understanding of the concept of inclusion in general, what I had described a little bit earlier, in terms of how we engage with others in the organisation how we engage with people and how we balance the belonging and the uniqueness part of it. It has to be genuine. I also and this might be a bit controversial think that those who are in that position of being hired in to use your example should also understand that they bring to the table something unique because of who they are. So, the job itself cannot be separated from the person, completely. And sometimes it takes just that little bit of self awareness as a worker be or whatever you are to really understand that you know who you being your whole self at work is part of what you can contribute. So there is nothing wrong with feeling like with the concept in my opinion that what I bring to the table is something I bring to the table because I have, for example if you use me a mixed race background that’s brought up in Asia. I’m a woman who has a gay brother, all those things, helped me to contribute to the business and do my work well. So I think you can separate the two.


Ruth – Hmm, good food for thought there Yes, and I think maybe that’s the that’s the thing at times that we have been separating things that I can remember 20 years ago, that there was very much, you left yourself in the car park, and came into work and you were hired for your skill and  everything else was for the weekend, sort of thing. That’s shifted massively now. But I do think that’s it yes it’s realising that we talk about self awareness and I do think that is a key instrument in in so many areas not just in diversity and inclusion, but in so many areas as we think for leaders, the biggest key is self awareness. And then you can learn so many other things, but it is part of knowing what’s in the room, and how you’re filtering and processing things. And you’re often we, we may say something that can sometimes we say something that offends somebody and that wasn’t the intention, but it is through self awareness that you realise you know what I communicated that badly, or I didn’t realise I thought like that now I do. And now I can shift something. Yes. So let’s look at. Again, something else that’s come up in conversations, which is. So, I’ve had leaders turn around and say to me, you know I need to have a conversation with somebody about inappropriate behaviour. But I’ve tried to have the conversation with the person. In the past, and their response has been, that’s just who I am. And, they’ve used the companies initiatives in diversity and inclusion as almost a shield to say you can I you know if you’re telling me to change. You’re not being very, you know, diversity and inclusion oriented. And so it becomes a very difficult. Painful conversation.


Emily – I could answer this question in like a whole day workshop. But I’ll keep I’ll try to give you the short answer. Each organisation should and will have different ways of assessing its diversity, or inclusion climate.

And in addition, as companies organisations develop their, their sort of way of thinking, what should really be happening is that each organisation should have a very clear charter. In terms of that are linked to essentially inclusive values, and accompanying behaviours. And that, I think charge is a great word, actually, is it feels like something that it’s they’re not, it’s not a mandatory it’s more of a sort of ways that we live in work by, I would say something you can sign up for.

If it’s only, it’s only with something like that that a team, an organisation or group of individuals or two people who may have a disagreement or a decision that needs to be made or something important to discuss. It’s only with that that those things can truly kind of live and breathe in an inclusive way. So, with regard to your example. I think it’s a tough, ask for the person who is using the excuse and the person who is is having the difficult conversation. Because, you know, in most instances. Probably the team or organisation does not have that charter. And because they do not have that charter for how they behave with each other, you can’t really call someone out. And ultimately, in that situation if there was a charter that would then be a point in the chart that would allow you to have the conversation where you would then be able to say, Well, you know, I feel uncomfortable because someone has spoken to me in this way, let’s have a conversation with each other. Are we living up to the charter that we’ve agreed to is this part of who we are in terms of an inclusive organisation, and to have a calm conversation on what is the evidence behind whether you have lived or not live by that charter. So I think. Yeah, that’s my answer. It’s a big one. But it really for me boils down to being really clear on your inclusive values, and therefore your behaviours as a result of those values what they need to be, which everyone should sign up for. Inevitably, as I said, most organisations, don’t really have this. And so, it becomes a tricky, a really tricky conversation to have. And it becomes frankly unnecessary and sad, in a way that this happens and you know it does happen.


Ruth – like I said it’s painful for everybody. And you mentioned the values, and then there’s the behaviours, and what I see so often is the key. It’s the behaviours. So there’s a lot of companies that have their values, but then it’s left to everybody to interpret what is a behaviour that is living that value.  I do think sometimes getting people together to have that conversation of… these are the values. So how do we behave, that shows we’re living these values is a very rich rewarding experience that can actually be part of helping people connect.


Emily – Yes, absolutely. In this area, I see more progress, more examples, than I do just in terms of kind of really delivering on DNI as a whole, where there are companies who do have some great values and accompanying behaviours and are quite well known for some of them. Netflix is one Zappos would be another. And,  there are many companies where they throw a few lovely words on the wall, and nobody really knows what they mean in reality. And you also have companies that have kind of a few vague behaviours, but you’re like, well do they really need in terms of values. Yeah. So you can’t you can’t have one without the other. I feel like you’ve got to start with the values, but but you must have the behaviours otherwise it’s very hard for people to understand what it really means for how people engage with each other.


Ruth – It sounds like that is certainly something that a leader can do for their team so you know D&I we’ve established is huge. It’s a huge area. And so whilst the company maybe is working it out, a leader doesn’t have to wait until the company has maybe worked everything out because something like a team charter is totally feasible.


Emily – Absolutely, I think leaders and managers have an important job to do, in, you know, really making sure that they are thinking about this. Thinking about inclusivity, regardless of the processes that are taking place, you know, at certain levels, especially in huge organisations where things can take a very  long time to roll out. And this is quite common. And I also feel that there is some really good simple basic things for leaders to think about. The first is really going back to some basic things around leadership, which is a sense of self awareness in terms of how they are engaging with people, whether the behaviours are inclusive behaviours. And what I mean by that some examples would be, you know, do they in meetings allow everybody to have a voice in the meeting. Does everybody get a say. Do they allow for different ways of communicating within a meeting. Perhaps if there are people that have very different social styles that may be those who are less vocal than others. For example, would they create mechanisms for voting in certain topics or certain decisions. I’ve heard of some great examples where right now. Now that we’re working on teams a resume, and often on video. If there are sort of decisions to be made, there’s some great examples of leaders asking various members of the team for their vote or their perspective before the meeting starts to send them an individual email so that the lead they can then read out each of those perspectives to the whole group. And that allows people to be able to give their opinion openly without feeling like they may need to follow one or the other. And then it also shows that the leader is being inclusive, in, in the sense of, you know, reading out everybody’s opinions to then be able to come to a decision together. So there are kind of ways and behaviours that leaders can think about to improve their engagement and be more inclusive. The other thing to think about is to watch micro aggressive behaviours. So micro aggressive behaviours are things like, perhaps not giving team members important information about the business. A leader can often assume that new news that is happening at a senior level may not be of interest to the team but actually 99% of the time they are. And so being as transparent as possible, and giving that information is really part of inclusivity other basic things like just not interrupting people when they’re trying to speak, especially people have a more analytical social style, it’s so common, and I do it, I have to watch myself. I’m less likely to feel bad if I’m talking to an expressive so that’s good. But I do need to be to, you know, personally I have to work on that. So self awareness is really big and I think the second part I think in terms of what leaders can really do to help themselves in this area is understand unconscious biases. There is some amazing training and articles available online it’s not difficult to find. And it’s really important to understand where your biases are I myself have done a few different trainings. And I remember doing a test. About a year ago where I, you know, it was a really simple test but I got a pretty terrible score. And, which basically made me think I better go and start to learn a little bit more about all of this and understand where my biases are. And there is also a great website that Harvard had built, it’s actually, it’s actually a research that they’re doing on implicit biases. And you can go in there and choose from several tests, and on your to understand where your biases are, and I’ve done both the, the gender one and the LGBTQ plus one. And it will basically tell you where you sit, amongst the general population in terms of whether your bias towards the one group or another. It’s absolutely fascinating and I think just by doing it, you’re going to gain a sense of self awareness and start to ask yourselves important questions.


So that’s definitely another thing and then I think the third is around really working hard to actively challenge your own personal stereotypes. Everybody has a stereotype or has stereotypes in their minds of the people that we manage or the people that we deal with on a day to day basis. And, one has to actively challenge them as one sees them in their mind. And that’s not easy, but an example would be if you were to interview somebody, or if you were to performance manage a particular person. If in any way you are feeling uncomfortable in the conversation is more than likely that you, your unconscious biases or your stereotypes are starting to kick in. So stop and think, and give yourself time to assess that. And after the meeting, make sure that you are listing down the evidence that makes you feel that certain way, so that you can assess, just how much of it is fact versus an unconscious bias or a stereotype. And it sounds so simple but quite hard to do. And then, not, not many of us do do it, but I think those are things that are absolutely workable, regardless of what is happening in the sort of organisational level.


Ruth – there’s some really good points there in terms of how you can grow and develop, so that you and irrespective of what anybody else is doing your as leaders will often say you need to walk the talk. So you know, rather than waiting for somebody to do all of this you becoming more aware of where are you biassed Where are you, and we do we all have biases. And it’s really looking at the cost of those, in some cases, looking at the cost of the bias. You know you talk about the evidence, and the fact and taking the opportunity to write those down. And I know from either myself doing this, or from working with others. Sometimes we kind of realise we’ve written something down as if it was a fact but it’s actually also still an interpretation. And you know, it is just becoming more aware of those things and how they play out in. In each conversation and not all conversations are equal, you know, but when when you’ve got a bias and it’s a powerful it’s an important conversation that bias can have a way bigger impact than you’d ever solved.


Emily – Yes. Yes. And I think one thing I would say is that, in my experience, it does vary. Around the world in terms of how leaders feel about this particular topic or how important it might be to them. And I hope you can see that I truly believe that, not just from an ethical perspective but from a business perspective, it is important. Everywhere, to think about things this way. Because ultimately, there is research that shows that when people feel they can bring their whole selves to work. They can be more productive they are more productive and are more likely to help the company into driving growth and driving new business. So, it’s imperative regardless of what I normally see or hear as excuses. Legal issues or challenges, you know, in certain markets, of course, you have to be sensitive to that. But that doesn’t stop. Human beings from behaving in an inclusive way.


Ruth – So you talked about the fact that people bring their whole selves to work. And I do think that is very important because if the more of us that can show up, we got to, we got to be honest here, you know, it’s the good the bad and the ugly, or. It is, it is what’s great about us but also what will show up are our biases. So if we can bring more of a self to work and there is a space in which we can have powerful conversations. Then we can learn about ourselves and go, Oh, I didn’t realise that yeah okay so I’m still bringing myself to work but I’m bringing in a more aware version of myself. A more improved version of myself. Whereas if I don’t bring myself to work. If I can’t be me and I can’t be vulnerable. Then I’m not going to learn and grow in the same way. Because I’ll put some of my good stuff in a box. But I’ll also put some of my biases in a box. And they’ll still unconsciously all of this is still, there still seeping out. So, what would you say are some of the myths that are around regarding some of the common myths surrounding diversity and inclusion?


Emily – Love this one, I would say. Diversity and Inclusion at the same thing. And we talked about the challenge of making sure we define what those two words mean, and of course when you talk about it in sort of higher levels at certain levels you can use them interchangeably but you must really understand the difference between the two, they’re not the same thing.

Another myth is that diversity isn’t an issue in some countries, and often one we’re looking at rolling out plans or helping to educate across regions or markets. That is feedback that you get and that is definitely a myth.

Legal problems prohibit us from embracing diversity and inclusion. I think when we think about inclusion as we’ve mentioned before, which is more about how we engage with other people. Then the legal challenges in markets should not be prohibitive to us to leaders being better leaders basically better inclusive leaders, of course being sensitive to kind of legal challenges as well.

Another big one for this year is that diversity is about race. It is only one part of diversity, not the whole story.

And sadly we also hear things like disability can hold us or our teams back. And I think that is a very outdated but unfortunately, something that’s still here. We still hear quite regularly. It’s hard for people to understand that people with disabilities of all kinds, are actually extremely useful and helpful in our workforce.

And another one which touches on some of these issues that I talked about with regard to diversity as an inclusion as being about representation is the myth that if we are diverse in numbers. We don’t have a problem with diversity and inclusion. That is clearly not the case, if you have lots of different people that are represented. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an inclusive organisation. I think I talked earlier about the you know the belonging and the uniqueness. You’ve got to have the balance between the two. And you also have to think about your inclusive behaviours. So, just because you’ve got some representation does not mean that you have a problem. There are also challenges where of course, there are organisations who say well yes you know we’ve got 50% women in the workforce, but you actually find that at a more senior level they’ve got, you know, none or five. So defining diversity is also an issue. When it comes to representation.

And the other one which is one of my favourite topics is that DNI is a human resources responsibility. And this is something that is definitely a myth. It is the responsibility of everybody in an organisation to be inclusive in their behaviours and to think about the importance of diversity and inclusion and act upon the right values and behaviours in relation to any diversity and inclusion charter. It is not just the responsibility of human resources, and in many organisations, it is not at all the Human Resources responsibility. In fact, it is often separated from human resources, because the actual work and responsibility is quite different from traditional human resources. And so, in actual fact the, from what I can see, there are some pockets of success, where D&I resource or capability sits separate to human resources. Plenty of myths there.


Ruth – there are yeah, there are a lot of myths there. So, as a as an individual, then I mean I’m not even going to do this as a leader, as an individual, if I wanted to get better at this. Where could I, go to learn more to expand my horizons on the subject, you mentioned, harvard, they’ve got a test so I’ll include a link to that website in the transcript to this podcast. Any other good sources or things that you think somebody could start and do that’s going to help them not get so overwhelmed with this but feel like then they’ve got like that bite size bit of making some progress.


Emily – Yes. So there’s a lot online, which is great. But I would say a great resource would be the Harvard Business Review. There are some fantastic articles that they come up with regularly across the whole spectrum of the challenges that organisations face in diversity and inclusion so definitely go in there and take a look at the various surveys and articles that are there. That will keep any normal person busy. And I think. that’s a good starting point. There are also some great books, a personal favourite of mine in relation specifically to the LGBTQ plus challenge is a book by John Brown, who was the old CEO of BP, and he wrote a book about eight nine years ago called the glass closet. And it was it’s pretty pioneering to have a CEO of such a major company, writes about his experiences and also what companies can do in this area. So that’s definitely worth a read if it is of interest to you and even if LP LGBTQ plus pillar isn’t of an of interest, what it does do is help you understand some of the kind of broader challenges that organisations generally have anyway. So I think it’s just a great starting point in terms of understanding these challenges in companies.

In terms of other things that in the individual can do. I think that, you know, I can speak from personal experience, you know, in the grassroots work that I’ve been doing it really has started with a personal motivator. It has been because my brother is gay and therefore as an ally of the gay community. I’ve become heavily involved in driving support for that group but also in driving better ally ship across the organisation. And so, you know, having a personal motivator obviously helps. And if there is something that, you know really matters to you then don’t give up. And in, in talking to people in the organisation in seeking sponsorship from senior stakeholders that that really helps.

And create that community of people around you that would be willing to support. Along the way, and be prepared to educate that’s what I would say, because this is something that is still quite new. I think it will be new for a long time. As you can see the topic is so huge that really there’s a lot to a lot for everybody to learn. But the challenge, and fighting the good fight, is a wonderful thing. When you can, you know, to get involved in and we have seen, you know I have seen personally seen great success in the employee resource group that you know I’ve been involved in in Hong Kong and driving policy change but it has taken hard work in educating stakeholders and educating human resources. So don’t be surprised by the fact that you may, you may need to do that. And it is part of the good fight it is part of the you know the in a way that is the positive thing about this and be prepared to do it and be prepared to and be open to, to the challenges.


Ruth – So let’s also accept that as you’re doing this, you’re gonna get some things right, with the best of intention, you’re gonna get some things wrong.


Emily – Yes. Yes.


Ruth – And I think, I think, subjects like this. Occasionally we can be so afraid of what happens if I make a mistake. But most fortunate, get this wrong. So maybe sometimes it’s better not to do anything. Rather than fail, and I think that’s often the case in a lot of things we’re afraid to go through what we want. Because what happens if I fail, but I think on something like this. I think sometimes people got I don’t know quite where to start. And I don’t want to go Yeah, I just don’t want to put my foot in it.


Emily – I would say to. I would say to that, to, to not to not be afraid. That sounds very powerful. But I think, to not underplay the importance of ally ship. What I have found and through experience is that, and I’ll use the example again of the sort of LGBTQ plus work that that I’ve been doing. People in those communities have reached out and spoken to me and said, we would never have been able to do this alone. If it hadn’t been for you as an ally supporting us all the way. It would never have, it would have never have happened. So for every you know kind of hesitation that you have. Think about that one potential person that you could impact and change their life. You know, or do something that would mean so much to them. More than we could probably imagine. So, yeah, I would say. It is sometimes a bit frightening. But, but don’t underplay the power that you have as a human being.


Ruth  – I think that is a worthy reminder that we, we need to get to just that small thing could have a big difference.


What would you say would be one of your key realisations on your leadership journey. What would you say has been a really pivotal thing that’s helped you to be the leader that you are today?


Emily – I am constantly learning, and almost every day, I have realisation moments. So it’s a very hard question to ask. And 2020 has been such a transformative year for everybody I think because of all these forces that are going on at the same time, this sort of, I always see it as this battle between dark and light going on you know the one minute we have, you know, a vaccine for COVID the next minute we have, you know, a tear for lockdown for everyone in the UK and it’s, you know, all the flights are banned coming to Hong Kong so it feels like this. You know this big sort of challenge and I feel like that is as for me as a person, as a leader, it’s, it’s, it is really making me feel part of this whole transformation of the world I’m thinking about reading these things every day.


I think if I look back to my biggest realisation was about 10 years ago when I was managing a team I was very new and newly promoted. And I was going through a leadership course at the time. And I was really excited about this leadership course, and every time I would go away on this course, I would then come back and try to execute the things that I had learned in that course. And as part of that course I also received a 360 feedback, it was the most in depth, 360, I’ve ever received in my career up until that point. And I remember going back to the training with my other colleagues that were in the training and the 360s were in front of us and all of us had a discussion about the 360. And what feedback we received, and everybody was like, Oh, you know, I’m a great boss and I take them out for a gin and tonic and I’m loved and all this stuff. And then when it came to mind. I was pretty tearful because basically, I was considered a horrible boss that had no time for other people’s opinions that had. I think one one phrase was it’s her way or, or the highway. And so, I was really gutted because it was not the person that I thought I was. I felt really sad because I was so passionate as well about. I was really just discovering diversity inclusion, but I was really passionate about being an inclusive leader, and really working hard on my behaviours. But somehow, that wasn’t translating into how my team had felt. So it was a massive realisation because I guess I just had not really stopped to think and be more self aware. And that allowed me to be self aware.


But it also allowed me to think about feedback and constructive feedback, and how we engage with people in general. And over the last, you know, since then, I’ve been working really, really hard on my self awareness. And as you can see, hugely involved in a lot of diversity and inclusion efforts. So, since then my career has progressed significantly. And I’ve done some amazing work with amazing people on the other side of the world, including working on values and behaviour charters that the teams that I’ve left behind still use to this day. And it makes me really really proud to see that work, and to see how everybody is living up to those standards, and it’s just, yeah, it’s a, that’s my story really, I’m not perfect. I have my challenges. And then I’m always working on I have to constantly challenge my own stereotypes, which is you know what I was discussing earlier but but certainly the self awareness has increased. And I’m just super excited about the future. I really think that despite all the challenges this year that we have all been living through what will come through will be really positive things, and we will probably look back on 2020 and be eternally grateful for what it brought to us.


Ruth – I think you’re right. I often say that when there’s this level of disruption chaos devastation transformation that it is disorientating to come through something as intensive, as we’ve had this year. We will look back and go wow we needed, we needed that. Because we wouldn’t be where we are today. Otherwise, maybe that’s just my eternal optimist, that kind of wants to see the brighter side of so much. Wonderful word crap.


Emily – Me too, me too.


Ruth –  I love the way you talk about the fact that you know you’ve got teams that are still using the values and behaviour the charters the things you’ve done with them. In other words, it is sort of realising the impact that we have that self awareness is key because we have an impact as a leader within the room that maybe we weren’t aware of the fact that we’re having, and we leave legacies. Sometimes we don’t think we leave legacies but sometimes we don’t leave the best, the best smell in the room. Part of that leadership growth is about going well you know what I want to I want to leave a better legacy, I want to I want to do more with my time on this planet.



Emily – And that’s where that wonderful book which you introduced to me the meaning revolution, you know really comes into play, none of us want, you know, a blank gravestone we want to, we want to drive. We want to have left something meaningful in the world.


Ruth – Emily it has been a pleasure to chat with you. I have learnt more about diversity and inclusion. So my understanding of it is expanded.  I reckon that we could, there’s more questions I could ask you, we could talk about this for years and you said you can do a one day workshop just on one of questions, but I’m going to turn around and finish here, so thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.


Emily – Thank you so much. Thank you. Such a pleasure.


Thank you


Ruth – So I hope you all got as much out of this, as I have, in terms of your provoking some thoughts, maybe on what you can do regarding diversity and inclusion, what you can do it doesn’t necessarily matter what your organisation is doing, but maybe giving you some food for thought on what you can do, going forwards.


And until next time, go and be the difference in leadership.

2022-01-18T14:28:42+00:00By |Leadership, Podcast|
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