“I am a woman, I'm also biracial, queer and neurodivergent,” shares Dannie Lynn Fountain. Intersectionality is the appreciation of the interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender. It is also the understanding that these can overlap for the individual—to create unique, meaningful experiences and identities, as well as interdependent systems of discrimination and disadvantage. This understanding has been foundational to Dannie Lynn’s journey.
Dannie Lynn is a Senior Software Engineer Sourcer at Google, Global Inclusion Lead for #IamRemarkable and author of Ending Checkbox Diversity. She first experienced an #IamRemarkable workshop in 2018 during a Global Pride Google event in Poland that focussed on the many ways underrepresented groups are marginalised. “I remember being impressed by how a 90-minute workshop could create that safety and empowerment through sharing.”
With #IamRemarkable, I’ve gotten to put each of my identities on the table.
As soon as Dannie Lynn returned to the US from Poland, she felt driven to bring others the opportunity to practise safe vulnerability and instantly signed up to become a certified #IamRemarkable facilitator. Today, Dannie Lynn leads #IamRemarkable workshops herself, creating inclusive spaces in which people can build their workplace confidence and self-promotion skills.
Inspired by everything she’s learnt on her own journey, Dannie Lynn has made it her personal mission to raise awareness of intersectionality. Individuals can often find that one part of themselves—such as cultural expectations instilled during their upbringing—often conflicts with more recent acknowledgements of their identity.
#IamRemarkable has helped Dannie Lynn process her own experience. “I’ve gotten to put each of my identities on the table.” In turn, she’s now empowered to hold space for others’ unique stories. “Honouring the fact that other individuals have different experiences is significant. There's absolutely no one who can share your exact same perspective. It’s important to acknowledge that.”
Honouring the fact that other individuals have different experiences is significant.
Back when Dannie Lynn first came to #IamRemarkable, participant figures were at around 20,000. In just four years, that’s shot up to over 350,000. This growth has enabled Dannie Lynn and the #IamRemarkable team to help many, many attendees build their self-promotion skills and get more comfortable celebrating their achievements. “Individuals often realise they’ve been doubly harmed—firstly by not self-promoting, and secondly because the environments they’re in hold them back from self-promoting.” Being a facilitator has strengthened her own skills too. “It’s about repetition. You can't attend a single self-development event then magically have the super power of telling your story. Self-promotion is a muscle you need to continually build.”
It’s about repetition. Self-promotion is a muscle you need to continually build.
Dannie Lynn has come a long way since attending her very first #IamRemarkable Google workshop in Poland. Fortified by all that she’s learnt, she’s now firmly focussed on shifting mindsets and sparking change. She's even taken on a new role within #IamRemarkable, as the Global Inclusion Lead. The ability to influence the way #IamRemarkable has expanded to support all marginalised identities has been a tremendous opportunity. Looking ahead, she sees #IamRemarkable as playing an impactful role in helping to create more inclusive workplaces. “#IamRemarkable encourages internal recognition of the things that make us tremendously unique and provides the starting point for how to advocate for ourselves at work.’’ And what about businesses? She stresses organisations must strive for proactive inclusion: “It’s so much more than a space at the table. It’s an opportunity to have as enriching an experience as anyone else in the room.”
Dannie Lynn’s advice for anyone thinking about becoming involved in #IamRemarkable? “Take the leap. #IamRemarkable is about taking an active interest in your own life. You’re flexing the muscle of speaking about why you're remarkable—in all different capacities.”