Lesson from Diversity & Inclusion Event with Atlassian

Career, HR, Leadership, Precision Events, Women in data

The 5 Key Lessons We Can Learn From Precision Sourcing & Atlassian’s Diversity & Inclusion Event

Since becoming a mother, I have a rule that I’m always home on time to put my son to bed, every night. There is one exception to my rule, and that is I will miss putting my son to bed if I am doing something or I am somewhere that will help me be a better human being and a better mother, ultimately doing something that will contribute to my son’s character, development, and future. On the 28th March 2019, I didn’t put my son to bed as I was at the Women In Data event, hosted by Atlassian where I was learning about ways we can all contribute to improving inclusion, belonging and diversity.

The night was jam-packed with the key speaker – Aubrey Blanche, Atlassian’s global head of Diversity & Belonging, and team members from the Inclusive Foundation making up the panel.

Aubrey helped us all understand how Atlassian attracts and retains people and also her views on the future of inclusion and diversity. Basically, her’s and Atlassian’s view is that the focus needs to shift from diversity, inclusion,  brand & PR, women, and company – these are old ways of enabling equality in the workplace, and in their place what should come into focus is balance, belonging, structural change, intersectionality, and teams.

While on the panel the Inclusive Foundation really managed to pull at our heartstrings. The founder of the Inclusive foundation Dr. Elizabeth Shoesmith – “the bride who signs”,  shared her story on how the foundation came to be after her own experience of what it is like to not be included through her husband Scott Shoesmith’s hearing impairment. We heard about Amy Eddy’s experience of inclusion, Amy has cerebral palsy, Liz shared with us that Amy had volunteered all of her time and had not been paid for any job she had ever done (prior to the Inclusive Foundation). The reason Amy had never been paid was that she had never actually applied for a job because she felt the working environment could not support her physical needs due to her cerebral palsy. Raja Yasmine also shared her story as a Lebanese Muslim woman, who personally made the decision to wear the hijab and the prejudice and discrimination she has experienced, Raja’s story was very touching and highlighted that the way we all can contribute to improving inclusion, belonging and diversity is by having the courage to be ourselves.

By far this Women In Data event was the most impactful to date, we all learnt many things on the night but the key lessons I will be taking on board are:

Disability is a product of the environment.

Liz shared that on her first date with Scott who is deaf but can lip read, they met in a crowded and loud burrito bar, in that environment, Liz who could not lip read or sign had the disability. Amy’s story also reinforces this fact, if all working environments had facilities that supported all needs, Amy would be confident in applying for work.

Be yourself but work hard.

We all have a role in improving diversity and inclusion and it starts with each one of us having the courage to be vulnerable and to be authentic.

Work on what is happening on the inside.

Take time to yourself, practice being centred, remember what is really important and create working environments that foster this mindset.

When hiring people don’t focus on people being a cultural fit.

Fitting in is the opposite of belonging and does not contribute to inclusive and diverse workplaces.

Always make the effort to pronounce someone’s name as it is meant to be heard.

Atlassian believes that every name has a meaning and each person has been given a name for a reason, taking the time to learn how to pronounce their name is showing respect to that person’s culture and background moving us all closer to improving inclusion and diversity.

Thanks to Atlassian for hosting a great event.