Celebrating the positive despite adversity

Sometimes the weight of the stories reported in daily news bulletins can, quite simply, be overwhelming. Pestilence, War, Famine, Death … if we listen carefully, can we hear the thunderous hooves of the Four Horsemen? Fear and anxiety certainly inhibit the creative act of putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to capture and communicate the positive and the optimistic; it almost felt disloyal to fellow human beings to do this, when so much suffering was so evident on our screens.

One event this week, however, both lifted my spirits and brought back my resolution to communicate with deliberately focused optimism. On International Women’s Day, I spent a joyous hour, in my capacity as President of Changing the Chemistry, chairing an online panel for HSBC’s national Balance group, whose key focus is on diversity. The topic was ‘Being Board Ready – the how, what, when & who?’, and the purpose was to encourage the participants to believe that they could – and should! – put themselves forward for Board roles, and not be put off by any perceived hurdles. We explored the Board journeys of the wonderful participants – Kim Atkinson, Margaret McCaig, Nik Bobb and Silka Patel – and listened to advice in what turned out to be a super conversation, ably aided in the background by Susan Rowand and Brian Hunter, co-leads of the HSBC Balance group.

Key messages to emerge were how fulfilling it was for individuals to take up Board roles, how we all have something unique to bring, and how everyone benefits when we contribute to a Board – including our own employers, who gain a more motivated, more skilled, more experienced employee. We had over 80 participants, and the poll at the end showed a significant uplift in the number of people who would now consider applying for a Board role. What a success!!

Above all, though, it was immensely fun! It was fantastic to meet all the other panellists, some of whom I was meeting for the first time (although obviously, as a good Chair 😊, I had been in contact in advance, and had planned the outline and questions). I genuinely enjoy finding out about people and their journeys, and I love the thrill of shaping a meaningful conversation which has an important purpose … there is a reason why I position myself to chair meetings, panels, Boards … We laughed, we shared, we had impact … what was there not to like about that?! And it was all in celebration of International Women’s Day, the theme of which this year was ‘Breaking the Bias’.

This was a bright and energising moment in a world which can make it difficult at times to feel bright and energised … let us grasp and savour these moments, and then use them as a foundation to empower us to play our part to help create the world in which we want to live, and which we want to leave as a legacy for our children.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.