Lean Back in the era of Lean In by Fateme Banishoeib

We continue to present you with testimonies of the participants of the '3 Min Pop Up Talks'. This time we ask Fateme Banishoeib to tells us about her experience with the Pop Up Talk and also her idea.

"I dream of speaking business in poetry and so I did when given the opportunity for a 3 minutes talk at TEDx Basel last May. A bit frightened and with my heart speeding I stepped on that red dot on stage to talk about something very dear to me; create a more inclusive workplace.

I could feel a lot of emotions as I recited one of my poems and unveiled a part of me to the public. I trusted those emotions, knowing that when we profoundly believe in a message the voice comes out naturally. We become the vehicle for that idea to spread and reach others’ hearts and minds. Emotions play an important role in what we do and how we take decisions. My goal for those 3 minutes was to make people feel my message rather than understand it only with their mind. It is through poetry I hope and wish to evoke emotions that will enable us to become more inclusive.

My mission is to use poetry to change the old male business model. A model that does not serve women or men. Blaming corporate culture or the old boys’ club is not going to bring any real change. As women we have the responsibility to name ourselves for ourselves and to do so we have to re-learn how to listen to our inner whisper. I invite you to end the struggle of not listening to your whisper and return to your truth. It is going to take each of us doing something in our own way to create the diverse and inclusive workplace we so much crave for.

My inner whisper told me to stop talking in somebody else’s voice. I did not need to be more confident, more assertive, more anything. It asked me to tell my story of something more.

I now ask you to lean back and listen to my whisper talking poetry."

The Whisper

The tiny little Whisper inside
I made a career out of not listening to it
Until it broke me free
Under the big sky of Montana
Nowhere to hide from the truth
That nobody knew about me:
I run a manufacturing plant and I hate it
I am a scientist
An executive
I lean into success
I lead from behind and beside
I am a business woman
At the top of her game

And my Whisper saw something else
She saw me dying
Dying to fit in the boy’s club
Dying to prove my worth
Dying to move the needle, move faster, move forward

I couldn’t hear the Whisper that was dying to be heard
Until a quiet moment in the middle of nowhere
Where the Whisper didn’t need to shout to be loud:

You are not a business woman
You are not a woman in business
You are a woman whose business
Needs to become
Working in a new way

And so here I am gathering a chorus of whispers
Women of science, of art, of politics, women of business
Whoever you are, wherever you are, however you got here
What happens when you lean back?
What does your whisper say?
What poetry can we make together?