INCLUSION | 5 Steps to ‘I Belong’

Inclusion.  A word being thrown around a whole lot these days.

Organizations are prioritizing.  Governments are policy-making.  Consultants are gravitating.  My question is, what does inclusion look and feel like? How does it show up in your day-to-day life?  Keeping it real and relatable, it simply means, “I belong“.  Yes?

I’d like to discuss active inclusion:  To build inclusion, level the playing field. Here are my 5 steps to do so.

1. Ditch the titles.

One of the things I love most about PowHERhouse is that we ditch the titles. We recognize and celebrate powHERful women, period.  At our events, we encourage a healthy cross-section of women to cross-pollinate over diverse sectors and topics spanning from lifestyle to leadership.  I’ve witnessed provincial politicians deep in conversation with high-level athletes, and CEO’s intently engaging with artists.  Different perspectives are refreshing and ignite high-calibre, creative conversation – the perfect breeding ground for innovation!

2. Find commonalities.

Our commonalities unite us.  In our media work through PowHERhouse, our focus lies in the sweet-spot of lifestyle + leadership, integrated.  Quite often, what powHERfully unites women who may lead in different sectors, industries or geographic locations are lifestyle topics – the challenges and opportunities women face who crave happy, healthy, simply fulfilled, sustainable lives.

Women want to know what works.  We don’t have time or energy to re-create the wheel.  Ease, efficiency and effectiveness drive our decisions.  PowHERhouse places ultimate importance on a daily Practice (routine) dedicated to powHERful living and creates a space for women to have SOLUTIONS-BASED conversations surrounding personal experiences, best practices, tips + tools, lessons learned, proven excellence habits – not only online but also at our live events, luncheons and receptions:

  • Have you ever suffered from low iron? How did you recover?
  • Do you sleep well? What’s your secret?
  • Do you suffer from energy or mood swings? How do you even them out?
  • Are you vegan? gluten-free? sugar-free? What’s working for you?
  • Have you mastered time-management? What’s your system?
  • Do you meditate? What app or method do you use?

3. Celebrate differences.

I was watching an interview with Ethan Hawke.  He described the experience of our lives as looking through a key-hole.  You only know your experience from your upbringing with your family.  That’s all you know.  It is only by story-telling and communication (media!) that we learn from each other and our view of the world becomes expanded.

I live to bring women from different cultural backgrounds and life experiences together to learn, heal and grow.  A huge component of my work is the honouring and inclusion of Indigenous leaders in our conversations, both at our live events as well as in our media publications.  We can learn so much from the Indigenous culture.  We only have to open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, our curiosity and innate wisdom.  Up until now, Indigenous wisdom has been a huge missing piece in our growth and inclusion as leaders – but no more.

4. Utilize the ‘It’s Not About Me’ Approach

Here’s the thing:  Total inclusion is SO not “All about you.  It’s about US.

Yes, you play a role, perhaps even a leading one; but it’s just one role in a very intricate and impressive orchestra within your organization, within humanity.

When we arrive at this all-important realization, something clicks.  We become believers of The Gospel of The Other and its exponential power.  I began to explore this concept on which I’ve built my entire social impact media organization, PowHERhouse, even deeper after enjoying a Tim Ferriss podcast with special guest, Adam Robinson.  You can read my article dedicated to this topic here.

5. Put It Into Practice.

Show me!  Don’t tell me.  To truly create a culture with any depth and lasting change, we must DO what we SPEAK.

It’s great to come up with plans and strategies – a fabulous start.  A culture of inclusion is deeply ingrained in how we show up each and every day, the decisions we make, the actions we take, the roles we are modelling.

To truly lead in this area, we shouldn’t need to SPEAK at all.  Allow our ACTIONS to do the talking – on the ground, grass roots, tangible actions.  And when we do SPEAK, it is to celebrate and acknowledge the IMPACT of those ACTIONS and inspire others to do likewise.

This is how inclusion is built.

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About Charlene SanJenko

Charlene SanJenko, Founder + CEO of PowHERhouse Impact Media Group, has worked intimately with thousands of women over the past 20+ years to understand what they need to fully integrate excellence and fulfillment in all areas of their lives.