Talking About Tough Decisions, Personal Challenges and New Opportunities
This morning, we hosted our first ever RAHM Digital event, where four LGBT+ leaders from Germany, the UK and Hong Kong shared about their experiences of and attitudes towards the current crisis. Together with over 45 participants from RAHM Community, we developed learnings that we’re excited to share with you here!
First up was Ludger Ramme (President of CEC European Managers), who wanted to discuss the current complexities in Europe. He outlined his role in the CEC, an organisation who represent managers across Europe. Their role is particularly crucial right now, as they are the bridges between thousands of workers and the central management structures of companies.
Being a manager in this crisis means having a responsibility to take care of the people you work with – and ways of doing this have to be innovated, as there can be no more face-to-face meetings for a while. Ludger stated that how we lead is changing. The corona crisis will be perceived as a big enabler of change; fundamental challenges help you to have new ideas, be more open to change and more willing to listen to others.
Adam McCann is the CEO of Diversity Role Models, a charity focused on LGBT+ education, pro-inclusion and anti-bullying. The crisis has had challenging impacts on his team, and he talked about the quick decision-making the situation necessitated: he was faced with a choice whether to attempt to pivot to digital, or to put operations on hold for the rest of this school year. Diversity Role Models was projected to have its largest year in terms of income and delivery, but with schools no longer functioning, the prospect of requiring employees to create digital strategies in less than a week – at a time when pressure was high – seemed far from ideal.
Adam discussed the importance of taking decisions for today – in such an evolving situation, none of us can know for sure what the right move is. It’s necessary to make sacrifices to ensure that our organisations can continue their work once things get back to normal. Strategies and priorities are likely to be impacted – one of Adam’s main takeaways from the crisis is that it’s important to work smarter, not harder. For example, to generate income Diversity Role Models are focusing on existing relationships with corporates.
Annabella Da Encarnacao, former CMO of Asana Rebel, had a different perspective on the current situation to share. With years of experience in marketing and the start-up scene, Annabella had recently been searching for a new job, and had accepted one just as the crisis started – and caused the offer in question to be rescinded, as start-ups went into survival mode. She gave us a candid, honest description of her own experience with this emotional rollercoaster and struggle embracing her new status.
In terms of job searching, Annabella emphasised that one should prioritise themselves and explore the possibility of discovering new professional avenues. She’s also been attending a free online course she heartily recommended to RAHMers – https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being – about wellbeing.
The last speaker, Kenneth Kwok, Founder & CEO of Global Citizen Capital, gave us a brief explanation of his experience as a founder, and the role accelerators play in the business world. Noting the absence of LGBT+ founders, he gave concrete advice to future leaders, encouraging them to take advantage of this time to pivot. Change and disruption also contain opportunity. People often struggle to network when working a full-time job, but now many have extra time to broaden their horizons.
Kenneth shared eight main steps that aspiring founders could follow:
1. Think big – if someone gave you one million dollars today, what would you do to turn it into ten million in three years?
2. Join a start-up – this could be as an advisor, intern, or volunteer
3. Join local business associations
4. Webinars - network, get accepted, and participate
5. Look at ideas in other countries and localize
6. Take online classes
7. Upgrade your LinkedIn
8. World Pride Day HEROES - sign up!
Kenneth’s advice was perfect for RAHMers who have a deep passion for community building and a talent for connecting with others as leaders. Part of leadership is adaption and adjustment – and so Kenneth’s team have partnered with a procurement company, sending masks and protective gear to frontline healthcare workers across Italy and the UK.
The event received really positive responses from participants, with comments in the chat supporting points the speakers made or adding their own perspectives. Johannah Illgner gave a special thanks to Annabella for her “very inspiring view on the crisis. I love the approach of putting oneself first. We usually don't take time to focus that much on ourselves.”
If you were there, we’d also love to hear from you – please do comment below with anything you discovered or found particularly valuable. And if you couldn’t make this event, don’t worry, you can sign up for the next one! Outsmart the Crisis Part 2: Trial and Error with LGBT+ Leaders is next Thursday at 10am CEST.
If you’re a LGBT+ (future) leader, apply now to join the RAHM Community!