Q: Please tell us a little about yourself, your occupation, and what a day at work looks like for you?
A: Last month, I left my company after 25 years. I have moved to the US temporarily to help my elderly mother who has some health issues. But, I am going to answer the question as if I am still working - which I hope to do soon.

I have worked in financial services for over 25 years - working for a global credit card company. I have had a variety of roles - managing out large online partnerships in Asia Pacific, working within a global team, as well as several stints as a product manager, and launching and managing products for businesses. For most of my career, I have had the privilege of working from home - even before Covid. Because I was in a global role, I would often have late night or early morning calls as I worked with my colleagues across Asia, Europe, and the US. My typical day would be working with clients to understand their needs and how we could work together to create different programs or marketing to our mutual customers. In the credit card industry, there are also initiatives to prevent against fraud, ensure customer’s online security, or other operational needs - so we would work together on those initiatives, as well.

In addition, we had lots of internal initiatives - be it sharing best practices, leveraging each other’s experiences to get further educated on key topics, and employee initiatives (often gleaned from internal satisfaction surveys) to make our company a better place to work. I was involved in our cultural diversity teams, and also loved attending and learning from our PRIDE - our LGBTQIA diversity initiative. While 25 years was on the longer side with this company, I was not unusual. Many of my colleagues had 10 plus years tenure. For me, the reason I was there for so long was that it was a great, healthy working environment with fantastic people. So I was very lucky.

Q: Before working in your field, what preconceived ideas did you have surrounding bullying?
A: I think my preconceived notion would have been that bullying could be resolved by just addressing it between the people involved and teams.

Q: How have your thoughts changed?
A: What I have learned is that for an employer, it is really important to create a positive culture in which everyone feels valued, and that their opinions and input are valued and important regardless of their position in the company.

But, even in the best culture, inappropriate behaviour can occur. So there also needs to be proactive measures in place if there is unacceptable behaviour. We had a confidential, neutral ombudsperson that one could reach out to if a person felt there was something or someone that they felt was not appropriate. We also had a code of conduct, which we reviewed annually, as well as diversity initiatives and training - it is important to ensure people feel like they belong and are included.

Q: In your opinion, what connects schoolyard bullying to adulthood? What are the consequences to that connection?
A: For the individual, one key reason for schoolyard to adulthood bullying is insecurity. The bully is often acting out on their own insecurities. In a workplace we often try to ‘develop people’ and improve weaknesses. It focuses on what we lack. I prefer to focus on someone’s strengths, and highlight those, and then in a very secure and safe way, work on what needs to be developed together. We all feel wonderful when we are praised for what we do well. I really think that positive environments where people are valued, where their strengths are recognised, foster less bullying.

But as important is the environment. I once worked with an inner city school that had a motto: “Work hard, be nice,” and that is what I strive for - both for myself, and in the teams that I work in and lead. We have to proactively create an environment where people are genuinely nice to each other, respect each other, see each other’s strengths - and create a safe and secure culture where we improve together.

Both schoolyard to adulthood bullying have insecure perpetrators that can be allowed to thrive or operate in a culture that allows them to do so. Let us work on raising an individual and the environment to a better standard.

Q: What would you say to your younger self if she was being bullied?
A: One: have confidence in yourself and your value. In a bullying situation, it can be really easy to question yourself, or let it impact your esteem. Two: have friends, allies, mentors, etc, that you can safely confide in, and go to for advice and help. This has always really helped me. I surround myself with good, positive people that have my back. Three: and this is hard - try to react in a calm, objective manner, rather than with further negativity.

I really hope that I can be a positive force - in my work environment, with my non profit, The Girls Leadership Network, and with my friends and family.


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