Happy September! It's almost time to say farewell to summer, and welcome the new, fall season. The Allure team and I always look forward to seeing our clients as they return to school or to a more normal routine.
This month I wanted to write about workplace equality and treatment of employees. As an employer for over 24 years, it has always been important to me to lead with my heart by showing full compassion towards others. I have such an amazing staff and it is evident that we all care for one another equally.
First, I want to share a story that I recently experienced when I was traveling to a wedding in Trinidad. I was staying at a "boutique" hotel that was well maintained by its employees.
One morning I was walking to breakfast and observed a man with a can, spraying bees off the hotel premises. All of a sudden I noticed a nearby woman who was working for the hotel screaming and crying in pain... she was covered in bees!
I ran to the front desk to alarm them of the incident. The hotel manager thought very little of my request to help the employee. In fact, they responded by saying that the woman should have known better not to work outside when they were repelling the bees.
My heart sank. How could they not care for this woman? How could they treat her so poorly? Then I thought, "Why didn't they notify the employees working outside that they were going to use the bee repellant?"
The next day, I approached the woman who was attacked by the bees to let her know my concern. She responded by showing very little emotion to the incident.
It appears that even in this day and age, people are still being subjected to mistreatment. This particular incident reminded me of the movie 'Hidden Figures'.
Hidden Figures is based on a true story of three brilliant, mathematician, African-American women who served a vital role launching John Glenn's 1962 trip around the world for NASA. The film focuses on one of the mathematicians, Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji Henson.
Johnson and the other African-American women faced many challenges working at NASA in the early 1960s. Although they were nicknamed, "human computers", and shared the same education and intellect as the other employees, they had to adhere to specific rules. One clear expectation is that African-Americans use a "colored" restroom in a separate building.
Katherine Johnson was chosen to work directly with the lead operational team for the launch. When she was assigned, she noticed that the restrooms clearly restricted her bathroom access because of her skin color. Each day she would walk a half mile from her desk across NASA campus to use the appropriately coded restroom. She does this several times during the day when she needs a bathroom break in the rain, shine, in heels or carrying multiple books and personal belongings.
Her boss, Al Harrison, played by Kevin Costner, notices her long breaks and tells her how she is disturbing the others who are working.
Johnson stands up for herself and reveals that she is walking to another building and that there isn't a bathroom she can use close by. Harrison was surprised by her response and was truly unaware of her mistreatment. In that moment Harrison, tore down every bathroom sign and said that no one should be discriminated again.
This meaningful moment is the very beginning of equal treatment in the workplace at NASA. The story is truly an inspiration to see the progression of lifting discrimination and unequal treatment in the workplace.
And even though we are still witnessing mistreatment around the world in the workplace concerning race, gender, religion, political views; there is always a start or beginning point to start growing in equality.
Thank you to my readers who inspire me to share my stories.