2020 forced me to change
In 2020, due to a company decision to pivot the business model to 100% digital, combined with the effects of the global pandemic, I was made redundant.
For the last four years I had been leading a forum that connects CEOs, senior executives and board members with their peers. I designed meetings that equipped senior professionals with everything they needed to address challenges, drive strategy, perform at the highest level, and create positive change. I am particularly proud that during my four-year tenure I turned what was a declining event into one of the most successful professional forums in the sector.
So it was a real crashing down to earth moment to suddenly find myself made redundant after all that hard work and success. But maybe, it was also exactly what I needed to happen, because for a long time I had already felt that a new type of peer-to-peer networking organisation was needed for the affordable housing sector. Especially as a result of all the new challenges 2020 was presenting us all with.
2020 forced us all to change
This year alone, businesses have had to make major changes and navigate unpredictable obstacles. The COVID-19 pandemic brought global shutdowns, health scares, and economic crashes. The level of uncertainty surrounding the spread of Coronavirus led to tough decisions and a test of leadership to keep companies afloat.
Another major event this year was the Black Lives Matter protests. The death of George Floyd in America sparked the spread of mass protests against police brutality and racial injustices experienced by Black people. Millions of people around the world took to the streets to protest. This captured the attention of many businesses and executive leadership teams who needed to re-examine their own roles in perpetuating systemic racism in their own organisations. All too often we have seen companies hastily publish solidarity statements or roll out corporate ‘diversity initiatives’, when internally they’re not actually able or willing to live by them or see them through. This reduces these efforts to some sort of diversity box ticking exercise.
Diversity isn’t a box to be ticked. It should be lived and breathed by every organisation. It should be reflected in recruiting, hiring, training, and promotion practices. Chief executives can no longer simply pay lip service to inequality, and must instead acknowledge their own failings and move to transparently tackle racial discrimination head on.
It’s time for something new
It’s time to go beyond solidarity statements and instead commit to action, and accountability to dismantle the racial inequities in the workplace.
It’s time to have honest and authentic conversations about diversity, or lack of.
It’s time for innovative housing executives, operating in what has been one of the most challenging environments in recent times, to come together and openly discuss leadership issues.
It’s time for Connex Leadership Networks.