What I Learnt from The Blueprint Diversity Training

What I Learnt from The Blueprint Diversity Training

In a small start-up environment, the presence of a new person in the office can completely alter the energy of the space – and Elizabeth did just that.

Stronger Stories is an organisation that seeks to democratise storytelling power, for all, with love. As the newest and most junior member of the team, joining straight out of my undergrad, I’ve felt a sense of relief in knowing this was our company’s mission and that people were at its heart, as many graduate opportunities cannot offer the same.

However, equality and inclusion in the workplace (and everywhere else, for that matter) are not something that can be achieved all at once. It’s a reflexive and ongoing process, which is why the work Blueprint does is so important. It’s easy to lose sight of the values that drive us at our core as we become swept up in the day-to-day; which is why this training was a rejuvenating pit stop on our journey.

The session took place over the course of a workday. Elizabeth was unreserved in her delivery of the session, deliberately drawing attention to voices less dominant in our conversations and asking us to question how and why we do things. She was never judgemental or accusatory in her approach, as I’m sure she’s become accustomed to people anticipating. The day provided us with thought-provoking exercises that encouraged us to consider new perspectives including the shared and diverse elements of our lived experiences as a team.

One activity that has been humorously revisited many times since the training was a marketing campaign for cat food. The more senior “pale, male, and stale” staff (their words, not mine!) were directed to undertake the task in one room while the more junior staff worked together in another. The conclusion from which was that the junior team’s insights were missed – highlighting the unique, inherent value of everyone in the room.

At Stronger Stories, we say that to make a change for good you need to figure out what story your audience is telling themselves already, and give them a better one to replace it. And we are no exception to this! We want to embody inclusivity and diversity of ideas and experience, but the story we have been telling ourselves as a company is that this is enough. The story Elizabeth proposed to us was one of continual rebirth and improvement, and she equipped us with the skills to critically assess what we are doing, why, and how we could do better.

As a small company, it would be easy to relent and tell ourselves that we aren’t a huge global entity like others are and so we do not have the scale of influence, so we shouldn’t bother trying to change things. But gladly, Elizabeth reinforced our belief that we have a moral imperative to always strive for better, in our work as well as how we operate as a team. It was a challenging but ultimately incredibly invigorating and motivational experience. I’m very happy to have been a part of it, and to be able to carry the tools and knowledge she has gifted us forward.