When I look back on those years, it breaks my heart to know that half (probably much more!) of the people in our industry exist as some version of me in my teens and twenties because they don’t feel safe. On a very personal level, it makes me cry for all the pain and hurt out there that I wish others didn’t have to know so well. On a professional level, it hurts all of us. How much better equipped could we be for technology changes and the challenges of working in the legal industry if there weren’t so many women and men who felt the need to hide to feel safe? How much more successful could your organization be if all of these folks felt safe enough to stop hiding their talents and ideas? Leaders, what are you doing to ensure that everyone feels safe? Are you telling them how to hide themselves better, or are you creating a space where they don’t need to?
It matters to the bottom line, it matters in terms of career development, and it matters personally to far too many people who have their own stories to tell about their own experiences in and around our industry. Listen to them. Let it hurt you to hear their stories. Let it be heavy for you to learn the truth. Let that hurt turn into a determination to put an end to it.