Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been running an Ambassador program in various companies such as Red Hat, Kiwi, Creative Dock, SAP, NNIT and Public Group. The Femme Palette Ambassadors created a Women’s Support Group in their organizations and keep organizing monthly sessions to discuss topics such as self-confidence, personal brand, imposter syndrome, etc. In this article, we asked the Ambassadors from Red Hat-- Michaela Malatin (the Ambassador Program Lead) and Gabriela Borutova to share their experience.
Femme Palette organization is an organization we believe in adding value to the female community in the Czech Republic; thus, accepting the Ambassador program as a new venue for Female talks, shared knowledge, and empowerment was a natural step. Our experience as mentors in Femme Palette has been great, so why not support our “Alma Mater” and pursue a unique experience.
We loved the idea immediately. It was something we wanted to share with women at Red Hat. The natural step that came to our mind is to decompose the Vision statement into four themes like seasons of the year. Empower x Advance x Help x All-in-One. Now it made perfect sense. Have a yearlong cycle of sessions related to particular themes. (Each theme was designed in specific areas of women's self-development, from mentoring through self-confidence to mindfulness—the perfect starter pack for those who want to develop themselves to achieve their career goals.) And the passion and hard work for what I believe in paid off. We have not expected such success.
The half-year has been an excellent opportunity for growth as ambassadors and important psychological safety in the organization. Having a safe space for discussion is a vital component of the community and inclusion in social groups. Each topic had an extraordinary speaker. We always discuss possible speakers as the goal is to have the best quality of the content, subject matter experts in particular fields and female community enthusiasts. Excellent speakers so far are Sarka Vernerova (Authentic Leadership), Rebecca (Self-Confidence), Gabriela Borutova (Employment Branding), Michaela Malatin (Mentoring). We shared our journey on a particular topic and led break-out rooms, so the experience is more intense in smaller groups or couples.
Added-value of the program for our organization
- Inspiring women to take action and get together
- Speakers are our employees who share their knowledge.
- Women getting together, and even men joined who were very open and inclusive in discussions.
What to have on your mind when starting such a program in your organization?
- Know your organizational culture and employees. Each organization is different; thus, something that works in one might not work in another. By this step, you show the interest in understanding, what are actual needs of your internal community,
- Get in touch with the company (local) leadership and people team. It is essential to share your plan and goals with those who influence company directors and employees.
- Do research whether is not similar activity running already,
- Ask the community for support. Having a list of SMEs for specific topics or interested individual contributors will prove that you are not alone and there is much more to share. Plus, sharing is caring.
- Promote your program. It is essential not only to create the content but also to promote it until it “sells” itself.
- Be in touch with other Ambassadors. They are in the same shoes but have different perspectives from their organization (God, how much we have learned about diversity in the past six months!)
- Be patient. Nothing works over the night, and trust is more important than instant success.
- Do not worry if you have a few loyal attendees. Frankly, how many people do you trust the most? Understand this community similarly.
- Invite male colleagues. We are a Femme Palette community, however very inclusive. Allow them to see and experience the program with you. One of the biggest lessons learned is to see how many amazing gents we have in Red Hat!
It has been a journey from preparing the timeline over the year, chasing speakers, and preparing presentations. It is a great experience that gives you a scent of organizational, community, and inclusivity skills. You learn a lot about how fragile and, at the same time, strong we can be. You will discover that seeing someone open is much more than any recognition you can get. Believe that changing five people's minds is much more than having 60 people only ticking a checkbox of Inclusivity events.