The last two decades of technology innovation have opened up a brand new awareness for humanity – or at the very least, for me. An internet-connected camera and computer in everyone’s pocket and the platforms to immediately share their experiences across the globe have expanded my awareness beyond myself. I feel like I can see the world through so many people’s eyes in a way I never imagined.
This awareness, coupled with the challenges that we all experienced during the isolation of the pandemic, has led me to reflect on the person I am and the person I aspire to be.
And while that is an ongoing process, I see the direction this awareness takes me, and realized three people in my life have courageously been moving that direction their entire lives.
- My mother, Michelle Conway, taught me to stand up even when it is uncomfortable and people are going to be challenged by that. She showed me what it means to be yourself no matter what, and to cut through the bullshit and keep learning. Looking back, she was also showing me what it really means to give a piece of yourself so that others can learn and grow.
- Stable Kernel’s Chief People and Culture Officer, Jami Sieder, taught me the value of inclusion and how to build an environment where people are at their best. She has had a vision for what people can accomplish together when they are given the foundation to do so. She has researched and honed – and stood by and protected – that vision to bring it to life in a meaningful way to so many people.
- And, my wife, Neely Conway, taught me to see the world outside of myself and recognize everyone’s journey. She is always seeking to understand more. She boldly puts herself out there to make sure that everyone’s perspective is heard and consistently turns her words into actions that inspire others to see the greatness in themselves.
I think what I’ve learned from all of them is that we are not just individuals. We are all connected. We all rely on each other – every person on this planet. Our words to each other and our awareness of one another matter. A lot. We have to share our voice so people know we stand with them. We have to own our mistakes. We have to talk about the world we want to see. We have to be vulnerable with each other, so we can grow together.
These women have always had that sense of awareness and connectedness – something that I needed shoved in my face by technology. They’d tried to tell me and I didn’t listen – I put on a cloak of denial to protect myself from my own insecurities. They’d always had the courage to move down that path even when the whole world, and me, were telling them they were wrong.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I want to thank these three women – and all of the brave women in my life – for teaching me what they are about: unwavering courage, vulnerability, and authenticity in the face of challenge. And while I’m not as courageous as they are yet, I have finally realized I’ve had the role models to guide me there all along.
Written by: Joe Conway, CEO and Founder at Stable Kernel
Stable Kernel is an innovative business solutions team dedicated to a human-centered approach: with our products, with our data-driven process, and with our people. We build strategic and impactful products and services that enable our industry-leading clients to reach their greatest potential.
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