It’s easy for teams to become set in their ways over time, falling into patterns of thinking that become hard to break from. This not only inhibits innovation; it can also limit viewpoints around approaches to leadership, collaboration, work/life balance and other aspects of work that affect team members’ day-to-day activities and cohesion.
To avoid these missteps, organizations should strive to create a culture of diverse viewpoints—and ensure team members feel comfortable and supported in sharing those perspectives. In our own efforts to create such a culture internally, WoMMen in Tech, an ongoing podcast series from MediaMonks, serves as a catalyst to kick off these conversations and give viewers access to ideas and approaches they might not encounter otherwise. You can watch teaser videos for each episode on YouTube, and catch full episodes in audio form on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
While the series is called WoMMen in Tech, the idea isn’t just to profile women in the industry. Beryl Chung, who was part of the inaugural team spearheading the initiative and is a Senior Creative at MediaMonks, notes that one of the biggest challenges the series aims to tackle is to connect with women who feel isolated in the workplace.
In a panel discussion with MediaMonks founder Wesley ter Haar, Beryl Chung, Senior Creative at MediaMonks, discussed how early in her career she had no role models whose experiences she could relate to besides her mom. “I’ve certainly noticed that the more senior I become, the more rooms I enter where I’m one of very few, either as a person of color or as a woman,” she said. As a space where women share their experiences, WoMMen in Tech serves as a resource and pool of knowledge for anyone who feels they’re in a similar position.
Opening a Dialogue
While WoMMen in Tech was originally conceived as an external content series, it’s more than just that. “Above all, we’re a team (of not just women) and a network across offices,” says Chung. “So, if someone comes to us with an idea for a project or an initiative within diversity and inclusion, we help make it happen and connect to the people who can help build it.”
Her point shows how creating such a space to exchange perspectives and ideas benefits everyone. “I think in my idea of an ideal world, the best way to have a company culture is not to have any dominant culture,” says Chung. “That’s what I would really love to see, is a place where there isn’t a mold of what that employee looks like that they have to fit in, and then they don’t feel like they have to fit this box. They can come in as their authentic self and feel valued and feel heard.” In bringing different perspectives to light and encouraging conversation, the WoMMen in Tech initiative brings us a step closer to that vision as our team grows.
Enriching Team Culture
A year after its founding, ter Haar frames WoMMen in Tech as an experiment to use digital to promote empathy—a challenge that’s taken an entirely new relevance when the majority of MediaMonks is working from home and communication has become largely centered on work across borders and timezones.
“What the internet has done is connect people, but it probably hasn’t upped the empathy,” says ter Haar. “So, you can see some of what happens when you connect people without context, what happens when you connect people without giving a clear understanding of what we expect in a culture: you get a lot of friction.”
The Shift, our internal communications platform designed to unite all of S4Capital through inspiring and engaging content that ranges from thought leadership to workplace wellness, aims to counteract those concerns. The platform’s launch coincides with the release of the latest episode of WoMMen in Tech, available for the team to watch on the platform, which features an interview with Executive Producer Nathalie Visser.
In her interview, viewers get a sense of the significant influence and the personal touch that Visser brings to the MediaMonks culture—for example, raising the idea of a company ski trip and working with fellow Executive Producer Brook Downton to establish the New York office. Now with the New York team working from home, Visser is still thinking of ways to keep the team culture alive, like monthly picnics where everyone can meet safely in-person to gossip and enjoy a meal together.
Today, her role has evolved to include integrating the various teams that make up S4Capital, helping ensure we can collaborate smoothly. “The one big portion is tooling—we’re all using different tools which sometimes makes it challenging to become more integrated,” she says. “So, we’re trying to align on that and make everyone’s life easier when it comes to working together.” Visser’s responsibilities will lay the foundation for healthy and happy collaboration throughout S4Capital both now and well into the future, bringing teams together in an increasingly shared offering—processes that benefit not only clients, but the employee experience as well.
Projects like WoMMen in Tech open up a space where everyone can feel comfortable in making themselves heard and drive change—and its grassroots origin, spurred by women who acted on the need to highlight women’s experiences, stands as a testament to how teams can build a better, stronger culture by having a dialogue. “How can we open more space to share more discussion? How can we make everyone feel included in our workspace in a way that’s constructive and not so defensive?” asks Chung. A good first step is to speak out—and to listen.
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