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Taking Risks

Feel the fear and do it anyway is a commonly used phrase when trying to persuade someone to try something new. It may seem like a cliché but taking risks can actually bring great rewards.

A friend of mine has recently returned from volunteering in Asia. Someone who is normally afraid of spiders at home chose to live and work in the middle of the jungle. She slept in a hammock, had to regularly check her sleeping bag for scorpions and lived side-by-side with a whole host of dangerous insects and animals with only 12 other people around her.  The task was not only physical but mentally very challenging as well.

I’m pleased to report that she survived, and not only that, she loved it! She wasn’t the only one taking on the new challenge, people from several countries and all walks of life chose to volunteer and work together as part of a team. They went into the unknown, becoming friends with people they would never normally meet back home and putting their all into whatever work was presented to them. The results, my friend says, were remarkable and the experience will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

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Deep Breath and… Go For It

Sheryl Sandberg speaking at PBWC

“Opportunities are handed to people who reach for them. In those quiet moments when you’re not sure, take a deep breath and go for it.” Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, spoke at the Professional Business Women of California Conference in San Francisco last week.

She covered many of the topics she covered in her famous TED talk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders; among them, how men will put themselves forward more than women, even if they have the same ability.  She encouraged attendees to be more aggressive about reaching for opportunities, as women tend to underrate themselves.

Sandberg also spoke about how a doctor changed his teaching style after hearing her speak.  Read More »

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Recognition and Implementation

In Laura’s previous post, How we plan to use Cisco’s Reverse Mentoring programme to encourage Inclusion and Diversity, she talks about several aspects of the Reverse Mentoring programme, such as having an internal and external focus, the importance of being people -centric, and that the real benefit lies in the programme being win-win. For these very reasons, and many more, Cisco Belgium caught the eye of A Great Place to Work and won a Special Award for Diversity.

Many people across multiple industries are recognising the importance of Inclusion and Diversity and leveraging it to create the aforementioned win-win situations. Most recently Nicola Mendelsohn, incoming IPA president, highlighted the merit of diversity within the advertising industry in her inaugural speech on April 6 2011, but the cross-industry relevance is clear:

“Diversity of background fuels tension and creativity, and we must fight continually to ensure that the industry never becomes a place of bland conformity.

However, the answer to greater diversity does not just lie in attracting fresh graduates. That is why I would like to explore ways that we become an attractive home for those who want a mid-career change.

Some of our best, most creative people came from outside the industry.” Read More »

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Inspiring people, inspiring minds

I have a favourite quote that I re-read every time I’m feeling a little lack lustre and needing inspiration. It’s by Eleanor Roosevelt, and says: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

It’s such a positive and empowering statement that you can’t help but feel that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Inspiration really does come in so many different forms and through different people.

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Separate but Inclusive: Special Needs Accommodations at After-School Events

My colleagues are not a shy and retiring group. If they need help, I hear about it.  If I make a decision they don’t agree with, I hear about it. I hear about it in-person, on the phone, over email, over instant message and over text message. Sometimes I hear feedback from these venues simultaneously! What I seldom get is silence. But, after reading Jean Winegardner’s post about making after-school activities inclusive, I’m going to listen a little more for the silence.

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