Inclusion International Womens Day 2024
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Insights on Inclusion from Innovators for International Women’s Day

What is inclusion?

As we embrace the theme of “inspire inclusion” for International Women’s Day 2024, Lioness turns to the community of female entrepreneurs and thought leaders at Innovation Women to glean insights and wisdom on what inclusion truly means and how we can all inspire it in our spheres. 

Inclusion is…

Inclusion is representation in communication 

Tonia East Phanor emphasizes the importance of inclusive communication, highlighting that true inclusivity goes beyond mere presence, ensuring that any communication leaves room for every voice. Specifically, Phanor wants everyone within a line of communication to feel like their opinion matters.

“When I do trainings on creating inclusive communication,” Phanor said, “I want to see that everyone feels heard. Inclusion is not only about having a seat at the table, but a voice that is valued in the discussions at that table.” 

Inclusion is platforms for unity 

Marcia Daszko views creating bonds and connections as inclusivity. These bonds, created by putting diverse people with similar interests in touch with each other, are a result of an active effort to bring people together. Through her actions, she demonstrates how inclusivity can be fostered through intentional relationship-building. 

“Inclusion means creating an environment and opportunities to bring people together, to connect people,” Daszk said. “I refer people to each other and create new potential business relationships.” 

Inclusion is celebrating diversity 

AJ Lauer‘s approach to inclusion emphasizes the importance of recognizing and celebrating diverse ideas and identities. By bridging the gap between knowledge and heartfelt commitment, she advocates for a workplace culture that fosters a sense of safety and freedom for all. 

“Inclusion means that not only are diverse people present in the room, but their ideas and identities are acknowledged and celebrated,” Lauer said. “I help build inclusive climates in science and technology workplaces. I do this by helping leaders connect what they know in their heads to their hearts. Diversity and inclusion are good for us ALL—not only for the bottom line but for each of us as humans.” 

Inclusion leads to better business Ideas 

Paulette Jackson views inclusivity as a gateway to welcoming ideas, visions and conversations from all individuals who share common interests. In her business endeavors, she actively seeks and provides consultation to nurture creative and artistic growth. In addition, Jackson strives to remain open to new perspectives and ideas. 

“Inclusion to me means to welcome ideas, vision, conversations and creative thinking from all people and entities who have common interests and values in order to achieve the same goals,” Jackson said. “In my business and in building my brand, I seek and give consultation in many areas of my creative and artistic vision, to grow and be open to new ideas and perspectives including my own.” 

Inclusion is a standard of listening and responding to diverse viewpoints 

Career counselor Becky Berry and her clients explore inclusivity through work visualization. For Berry, inclusion is a culture that not only hears but respects every voice, creating a standard of listening and responding that honors diverse viewpoints, highlighting the foundational role of inclusivity in fostering open communication.

Berry said, “My clients and I dig into this as a part of their work visualization. We all agree that inclusion means that people feel safe speaking up because every voice is heard and respected. There’s a standard of listening and responding that respects different points of view. Everything flows from that.” 

Inclusion is hearing, valuing and belonging 

Entrepreneurial growth means a commitment to inclusivity that is evident in your core values. Creating an environment that values and celebrates diversity is transformative for your customers, team and work culture. Everyone should be heard, valued and respected for their contribution and perspective.

Inclusivity is our commitment

Inclusion is more than a buzzword—it’s a commitment to valuing and celebrating diverse voices and perspectives. As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2024, let us take inspiration from these remarkable leaders to inspire inclusivity in our communities, workplaces and beyond. 

Related Events

Celebrate International Women’s Day 2024 with Lioness! Join our networking event virtually on March 5, 2024.

Interested in meeting more female speakers while celebrating International Women’s Day? Attend our Special IWD Speaker Friend Friday on March 8, 2024, hosted virtually by Innovation Women.

About the author

Jessica Zang

Jessica Zang is a student at the University of Chicago studying Economics and English Literature. At school, she writes columns for the newspaper, contributes to the fashion magazine and is part of the Women in Business organization. Outside of school, she loves reading, hiking, making her own lattes, exploring the city and any type of arts and crafts.

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