My professional journey has taken a meaningful turn this year. In the newly created Head of Allyship role here at Bloom North, I have been helping our brilliant female committee think about how we create a fair and equitable industry that benefits us all.
The definition of allyship (from the Old French word “alier”) is to unite and combine - so for me, Allyship is about a renewed collective effort to create the future we all want.
As we rapidly reach the year end, I wanted to pause and reflect. I want to share some of the lessons learned from working so closely with the many inspiring women around me. And to also remind everyone why an equitable future is absolutely something we should all be seeking.
Learning from my Female Colleagues:
Working alongside such a talented bunch of female colleagues has certainly informed my own learning. These women bring such a wealth of experience to the table, not to mention their warmth, generosity and motivational voice notes when we’re up against deadline!
They have shaped Bloom North into an industry leading body that is creating a massive ripple of change across the industry - and I’m so proud to play my small part in it.
Our female speakers have dazzled with inspiration too! From navigating challenges with grace, to leading teams with resilience, or being unapologetic with personal branding, it strikes me that these women know how to flex their style and approach to meet any given situation. It has been inspiring to listen and learn to such positive stories.
It’s also reminded me of the brilliant women in my social circles and in my family. I try and learn from them as best I can. Here are just a few of my lessons;
1) Sharing my worries openly. Not allowing them to fester.
2) Listening, not fixing. It’s amazing how powerful this can be.
3) Doing what I say I’ll do. No more false promises.
As men, we don’t always find some of these things easy, but as an Ally, I’m here to try and do things differently.
As the Head of Allyship, my role extends beyond supporting my colleagues - it is about being an active advocate for gender equity. Allyship, as my good friend Lee Chambers told me, is a verb, not a noun; it requires intentional actions and a real commitment if we are to truly amplify the voices of others.
At Bloom, we have driven a collective understanding of why this matters in our “How To Show Up As Allies” event. I want Allyship to not just be a title, but to be a lived experience for how people operate.
The term “reciprocal Allyship” was mentioned by one of our panellists, and this really resonated with me ie. we must ALL take time to listen to the perspectives of others who may be different from us. We must always make time to champion each others efforts and give one another a voice.
I love how much I’ve learned about myself on this journey. Through my training with The Other Box I’ve been forced to reassess my assumptions and biases. These challenging moments of discomfort have been eye opening for me.
I have started to refine my professional approach and build my network much wider, to get clearer on the challenges faced collectively. I’ve started to understand the deeper complexities surrounding gender equity, so that I can step up the work into next year.
The Broader Impact:
Our commitment to gender equity extends beyond the immediacy of Bloom North and our local network. It is a ripple that extends across our interactions, projects, and, ultimately, the broader communications industry. By taking time to foster our own inclusive organisations, we are not only shaping our immediate environment but also contributing to a larger narrative of progress and equality.
So, let’s not just make gender equity a goal; let’s think of it as a worthwhile journey we all must undertake. Helping those around us (and yes men, I’m looking at you!) to embrace diversity. Educating ourselves on marginalised groups and what we can do to turn the tide. Listening more to our colleagues and not just the loudest voices in the room.
Let us carry these lessons into the future, building a professional landscape where everyone has the opportunity to shine.