Circle of Life
Disney movies have taught me that the circle of life isn’t about who eats who on the food chain. Rather they have taught me that the circle of life is a journey of self-discovery, ending up back where it began but with a new outlook.
In the Lion King, Simba ends up back in the Pride Lands.
In Frozen, Elsa ends up back in Arendelle.
In Finding Nemo, Nemo & Marlin end up back in the Great Barrier Reef.
In Wreck it Ralph, Ralph ends up back in the Fix-it-Felix Jr game.
In all of them, the characters return to where they began with a whole new perspective that they now know was within them all along.
Just last week I realised that I have been on my own circle of life journey to end up back where I began too. I was speaking at the HindSight Forum on the topic of improving problem solving capabilities as a competitive advantage in technology, and how I use diversity and inclusion to do just that. I could go on about that particular topic, and I did for an hour twice last week, but the topic itself wasn’t the subject of my circle of life. Whilst sharing what I have learnt, what I have done and what I do now, I realised that I have come full circle to understanding that it all comes down to me and the personal choices that I make in every moment in every day.
Let’s start at the beginning of this particular circle of life. In a conversation back in 2011 with my manager he pushed me into the realisation that maybe I was a role model for other women in technology. I didn’t know what to do with that new found realisation then, but knew that I had a role to play in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce and that there was some personal choices to be made.
I set about doing different things, some worked, some not so much. Eventually in 2014 I created and launched NAB’s Connecting Women in Technology program aimed at creating sustainable change for women in technology. It was immediately and incredibly successful, and through this process I learnt more about diversity and inclusion and that what I was doing wasn’t even half of the equation.
I learnt about the differences between diversity and inclusion, most importantly that when I had diversity in my teams it could only be of use as a competitive advantage if the diverse voices and views could be heard. In 2015 I introduced an inclusive leadership program to NAB. Through that program, through working to become that inclusive leader, and working to inspire others to do the same, I have realised that being an inclusive leader is simply about the personal choice that I make to be inclusive in every moment in every day.
So after six years I feel like I have come full circle, back to where I began, understanding that I have a role to play in creating diverse and inclusive workforces and that there are personal choices to be made, but armed with a whole new perspective on how to do just that.