Let's Get Uncomfortable - She Runs It
Thought Leadership

Let’s Get Uncomfortable

By Lynn Branigan

So this is the month of May, of course, and all instincts suggest my message should focus on Mother’s Day. I love being a mother. I love having my mother still in my life. And I am so glad I have had that kind, wonderful, fun lady in my court every day. To all of you – those who celebrate moms, or are moms, or simply care like a mother – Happy Mother’s Day.


What I want to focus on instead in this message is something I learned during an event that She Runs It hosted in April in Chicago: our Multicultural Bootcamp. We program these bootcamps pretty regularly, and as per usual the one in Chicago was at capacity. I started the day by encouraging the crowd to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.”


But something happened at the Bootcamp. After I told everyone to be comfortable being uncomfortable, I sat in the audience and found myself growing more and more uncomfortable as the day progressed. Speakers were having very sincere conversations about how it is still intimidating to wear their authentic hairstyles to work, and how corporate insurance programs are not designed to provide trans people some of the basic and unique healthcare they need, and how return to office can be harder for people from diverse (from me) cultures, because their home is often the only place they feel truly safe. And so much more. None of it was comfortable. It was painful.


As I considered my discomfort, I realized it was cavalier of me to suggest that being uncomfortable should or could feel comfortable. It’s not, and frankly we need the discomfort to fuel our knowledge and inspire our actions. The pursuit of DEI in our industry is hard work, and we need to lean into the truly meaningful and very challenging conversations that will help us make meaningful progress.


She Runs It will continue to do the work. We will give a microphone and a spotlight to people with stories and insights and ideas to share – even if those stories are difficult to hear. We will continue to recruit companies in our industry to join the #Inclusive100 consortium; to measure their progress through Seramount’s Marketing, Media, and AdTech Inclusion Index, because only what gets measured gets done; and to participate in the powerful dialogue that occurs during every #Inclusive100 roundtable conversation, because those can also be extremely uncomfortable.


We should all be very uncomfortable with the uncomfortable realities that persist in our workforces and workplaces. And we should listen, learn, and act to create cultures and environments in which an employee population as rich and diverse as the consumer population we serve can thrive and grow.