This year will always be remembered as the year of loss. Patience, rights, jobs, and the loss of loved ones. We’ve seen what we like to lose all our lives, such as going to the movies or eating out, without masks, and for fear of getting sick. But that’s the year we’re slowly losing something. What we have lost over time – the real connection and the sense of humanity.
Being forced to slow down and become more intentional with our actions has made many of us humble and made us more human. Even when the isolation of personal and professional working from home is removed, we have been able to build bridges of empathy between us through memes, virtual happy hours and stop catch-ups. Zooming in between zoom calls, virtual panel appearances and writing business plans opens the door to understanding yourself as a new leader by juggling kids, dependent loved ones and home school. I had more room to truly digest the long-standing inequalities in our society and to understand how we as individuals and corporations can be part of the solution.
This was especially true for brands that were accustomed to following strict guidelines, with clear instructions on how and where to appear and when to stay in their lanes. Well, these guidelines and safe spaces went out the window this year, when we couldn’t hide behind our carefully crafted office person, brands also had to make their authentic debut and determine their place and voice in the world – because neutral. There was no alternative.
At this time last year, the Black Lives Matter was considered controversial for many brands. But this year, racial justice has become an essential part of our corporate responsibility. Unfortunately there were multiple tragedies to build our unwanted sympathy muscle, but we are here now, many of us are moving towards justice. As a 20-year-old marketing executive and my core worker, seeing brands as proponents of genuine change in favor of real change from neutral positions on important issues is truly inspiring, reaffirming why I like this industry and the power of communication.
At a time when we were all becoming a little more humble and authentic in our daily lives, it spread to how brands had to behave. The brands that were most successful were those that were not afraid to be weak. While truth has always been at the center of brand conversation, it has never been so easily accessible.
A mother and wife – one of the career awakeners of the year – carried so many bold conversations and movements around me, expanding me as a person and elevating me as a leader. Professional veil lifting hid behind us so easily, giving raw insights into what 21st century leaders need. It was an opportunity to provide transparency as a practical tool that enables people to be effective at work and in the world. And that’s just the beginning, if we decide. We have the opportunity to run this wave for the kind of work that many of us dreamed of when we started our careers. In the words of the amazing Ruth Bader Ginsberg: “If you want to be a real professional, do something outside of yourself.”