Event Recap: WIN LDN x Huge, Showing Up as Your Full Self
WIN LDN partnered with Huge LDN and The Hobbs Consultancy for our most recent London event on the topic of Showing Up as Your Full Self. The event brought together over 40 members of the fast-growing WIN LDN community to discuss the power and challenges of bringing your full self to work. In a mixed presentation and breakout format, attendees discussed how we, as women in innovation, have an opportunity to change the way that our workplaces think about diversity and inclusion by modeling the courage to be imperfect, embracing vulnerability, and setting boundaries for individuals and teams.
Diversity and inclusion are top priorities for Huge, where the culture is all about 'Be honest', 'Embrace the unknown', 'Take chances', 'Ideas over egos', and 'Give a shit'. For the event, Huge partnered with Roxanne Hobbs from The Hobbs Consultancy, an inclusivity expert and European lead for Brené Brown’s Daring Way, who set the stage by explaining why and how inclusivity is needed to enable true diversity to flourish.
Too often, diversity is reduced to a quantitative discussion focused on numbers, quotas, and identity breakdowns. However, inviting diverse voices to the table is only the first step. To create truly innovative and creative environments, we must create workplaces where diverse perspectives are actively encouraged and championed -- workplaces that embrace difference, foster belonging, celebrate imperfection, and respect individual needs and unique lived experiences.
The Inclusion Manifesto
1) Have the courage to be imperfect and give yourself the permission to fail, take leaps, and build connections in the process.
Asking for help is a strength - it shows that you are secure enough to admit that you don’t know everything.
Create ways to talk about failure and make it okay - have your team share a “fuck up of the week” at team meetings or in safe group channels.
It’s okay to apologise - not apologising inhibits team learning and creates unsafe environments in which people don’t feel they can make mistakes. However, don’t apologise for sharing your opinions, stating facts, or simply to diffuse a situation in which your voice or expertise is not respected.
2) We can’t innovate unless we are vulnerable - it’s time to let go of our pre-conceptions that vulnerability = weakness, oversharing, and that it’s possible to opt out of vulnerability. Modeling vulnerability comes from the top.
Share stories of failure with your teams, including ones that don’t have a happy ending.
Make it okay for everyone to express their opinion, even if it’s not fully formed - this will lead to better decision-making.
Make alliances across your teams and with peers in which you “consent” to opening up.
3) Setting boundaries is an essential inclusivity practice that creates space for individuals to be their true selves.
Start by assuming positive intent and that boundary violators may simply be oblivious - but make sure to clarify.
Find the right opportunities to push back on language that sets women back, even if it’s with other women - e.g. “girls.”
Use teams as a unit of change - collectively set boundaries as team norms that everyone commits to following and respecting. Use humour to your advantage, ie., if someone talks over others or exhibits aggressive behaviour in team meetings, they’ll be asked to wear a neon hazard vest.
The core of innovation is the willingness to try what’s different and new. Yet the mindsets that we apply to our work often aren’t applied to how we work with each other. Our industry has a long way to go before it can truly consider itself to be diverse, in a way that reflects the broader population that we are innovating for. Creating inclusive workplaces is the first key step, and we can lead the way.
Roxanne from The Hobbs Consultancy is hosting two upcoming workshops to help examine the armour we often put on as female leaders (such as perfectionism and people pleasing) and work through what stops us from truly showing up:
Written by Justine Lai. Edited by Malina Keutel and Lisa Cousins.
Photos by Sesh Vedachalam.
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