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The only woman of colour?

Woman of colour

There has been an increased drive for DEI in many organisations and as such, those of us from historically marginalised backgrounds are now being recognised and rewarded with Leadership positions. Whilst this is great and progress in the right direction for DEI, these spaces are often still filled with majority groups in terms of education, ethnicity, gender etc.. so for those in the minority it can feel daunting to ‘sit at the table’ let alone actively participate.

You may feel like you do enough to survive these situations but how would it be to not just survive but to thrive? I like to think of it as being at a dance, you can embrace your difference and use it as a superpower rather than something that makes you hold back so, rather than loiter at the side of the dancefloor, why not jump on and show your moves instead? Here’s how with 3 top tips:

1. Know your value and value your difference

You have your perspective, your experience, and your background. You are there for a reason. Your point of view informed by your background, your knowledge and your unique life experience all matter and they are all valuable. Take some time to craft your brand story, and be very aware of what makes up your personal brand. When you take time to do this you become clearer about the value you bring to the table and it gives you confidence and momentum to allow yourself to be visible for all the right reasons, and to make the impression you want to make.

2. Use your voice – Speak up and take up space.

It might feel like the easy option to sit back and let others speak so as not to get things wrong or draw any further attention to yourself, but this can be demoralising and disempowering. Your voice matters, your point of view matters and your perspective is unique, share it. To help you feel ready to do this, where possible get the agenda for the meeting in advance, notice the areas where you have expertise or a point of view. Prepare your main points and questions that you may have and speak up in each meeting. You can also put yourself forward to lead on projects or initiatives, this is a great way to network, get to know people better and showcase your expertise and knowledge, it can also present great learning opportunities.

3. Take care of yourself

It can be exhausting to feel alone in your professional environment, remember, no one is an island and building a network and a community counts. At work, find mentors, advisers, sponsors and cheerleaders who can help you navigate situations with advice and wisdom, encourage you and support you to lift you up and tell you the hard truth to help you grow and develop. Outside of work, build your community, surround yourself with those who you feel you can be your full authentic self with, those who really see you and understand your background, where you’ve come from, who want to see you rise and are with you every step of the way.

And finally, when you get that promotion remember to take your place, take up space and shine.

About the author: Jessica Rogers is an Executive Coach and Leadership Development specialist, with clients from Retail, Public Sector, Charity Sector, Global Law Firms, Financial Sector and Universities.  She has wide coaching experience with people at all levels, the common purpose is finding joy and purpose in work.

This blog has been kindly repurposed and you can read the original here