In my work as a facilitator and trainer, transparency and authenticity are my most important assets. It is critical to my work with corporate partners, educators, and other nonprofit organizations that I always present my true self—even though it may seem antithetical to the way that we do business today.
In my sessions, I am clear about the mistakes I make and ask for forgiveness. I ask questions, even when I don’t know the answer. I share personal and professional stories that are relevant to the audience and will facilitate learning—even when they aren’t flattering. In past workshops, I have cried, giggled uncontrollably, and told way too many Harry Potter jokes. Once, I even tripped and fell! But not being afraid to be authentic makes me more believable. My audience knows I am telling the truth because they can see it. And my truth telling encourages them to share their truths, as well.
When I am clear that I do not know everything, participants are also encouraged talk about what they do not know. We become open to new ideas and create space for new knowledge about each other and ourselves. Allowing ourselves to step out of the “Theater of Perfect Beings” and model authenticity helps uncover this important truth—none of us is perfect.
There are a lot of people who will tell you that, to succeed, it is important to model the behaviors of those in the upper echelons of your organization. That just doesn’t work for me. Instead, I choose to model behavior that can transform organizations into more inclusive workplaces. Because, according to research, inclusivity helps a company be more innovative and more successful, which helps improve the bottom line.
On the Hardest Challenge I’ve Had to Face in My Career
I decided to shift careers about four years ago, and it was difficult to find a new role in the same business sector. When I was able to focus on the things I could take with me from my previous roles, and how they could help me expand my outlook and reach my goals, I felt infinitely more successful.