Ever been in a situation where you wanted to throw your hat in the ring for something — a big project at work, say — but you held back? That feeling was all too familiar to Rochelle Alexander, a marketing manager at Simply Business, an online insurance company.
“In the past, I’ve shied away from taking on leadership responsibilities for big projects, even if I knew deep down I’d do a great job,” she explains. Then a few months back, she volunteered to lead what would eventually be the winning team at her company’s annual hackathon. What was it that encouraged Rochelle to take on such a high-profile role? “I attended an #IamRemarkable workshop and it was completely transformational,” she explains. “It’s like I’ve been given wings that have allowed me to fly.”
Rochelle is just one of many women at Simply Business who have taken the workshop, which aims to make participants feel more comfortable speaking about their achievements. In fact, Bea Montoya, the company’s COO , estimates that almost half of female employees have participated to date. “It has been transformative for us as a company and for me personally. We had our first workshop just 10 months ago, and in that short time we’ve seen an increase in the number of women who are challenging themselves and taking center stage,” Bea says. “And even after the workshops are over, participants are continuing the discussions — for example, some of them set up a Slack channel where people share tips and resources.”
It’s like I’ve been given wings that have allowed me to fly.Rochelle Alexander
While there have only been a handful of male participants so far, they too have found the workshop to be eye-opening. “When we were asked to think about all of our achievements, I struggled,” recalls Josh Kirkbride, a manager in the company’s resource planning team. “I’ve quietly struggled with confidence issues for years, and the workshop made me realize how bad the problem has become.”
It’s feedback like this that has encouraged Simply Business to look at rolling out the training to both men and women, points out the company’s UK CEO, David Summers. “#IamRemarkable by Google can help anybody who is struggling with confidence, and we’ve had positive feedback about the workshop from a huge range of people. It ties in with our focus on diversity and inclusion, and has really helped underrepresented groups get their voices heard.”