Bloom exists because we want to help create a communications industry in which everyone - men and women - can achieve their potential. Last week, we hosted our first ever ‘BloomFest’, a one day conference that was designed to tackle issues that hold people back.
Here’s what we learnt:
1. Imitation is exhausting. You don’t need to pretend to be anyone else to succeed in this industry. Know who you are and be yourself with purpose and integrity, it will benefit you in the long run.
2. Phrases like ‘Daddy daycare’ contribute to a societal view that men are inept at childcare and don’t have equal responsibility. This is bonkers. Think about you can help change these views from the small things - like being less gendered with language - to the big; why not make 2018 the year you start a campaign for 50/50 parenting?
3. And on that note, we need to get more men involved in conversations around equality and diversity. There were some men at BloomFest but not enough. At Bloom, we’ll be looking at how we can bring more men on this journey. Ask yourself, what you can do too.
4. Everyone is making it up. Everyone. Even your boss. If you can find the courage to say: “here’s another way to do this…”, “I think we should…” or “what I need is…” you might be positively surprised by the reaction.
5. It’s good to be diligent but watch out for the “Good Girl Trap”. Don’t be conscientious at the expense of challenging things (yourself, the status quo, the usual way of doing things). This will lessen your impact in the workplace.
6. Be proud of your achievements. Don’t hide from them. The next time you do a good job, firstly acknowledge it to yourself (and then tell everyone else).
7. Your career journey will take you through times of professional highs and personal lows. When things get tough, slow down and listen to yourself, are you ok? Are you doing the right thing? Is your body telling you to make changes?
8. Flexible work shouldn’t be an employee perk, it should be part of your business’ structure. Hiding behind ‘clients’ as an excuse isn’t good enough anymore – clients value impact, not the number of hours someone has worked.
9. Don’t be afraid of your emotions. They can be a source of power. Channel them. And on days where things get really tough, remember that it’s physically impossible to whistle and cry.
10. Keep talking. The stories that emerged from our confessions booth were gut wrenching but also empowering. If you’re going through something difficult, chances are, you’re not the only one. Find allies, surround yourself with people that embolden you, ask questions, call things out, challenge the status quo. Everyone has the power to make a positive difference within this industry. Don’t waste yours.
Sinéad Gray is the president of Bloom and Social Media Director for Kindred.