By Ellen McGirt
March 10, 2017

Last night we celebrated our 100 Best Companies To Work For list, and I wish you could have all been there. The big takeaway: The human stuff is what makes the difference. Leadership is about courage, openness, transparency and the heart. It was an inspiring night.

It was particularly wonderful to meet so many of you and learn more about how you use the work we do at raceAhead to make your own companies better. I want you to know that I see you, and think about how you’re doing every time I press send.

As we go into a well-deserved weekend, I wanted to share this short video that describes an interactive theater program starring a diverse group of women combat veterans. It’s helping them to work through their experiences with war, trauma, and their treatment while serving in the military. As I watched, I was reminded that there are extraordinary stories inside the people we encounter every day.

Jasmine Johnson, a U.S. Navy veteran, is one of the performers. She served on an aircraft carrier, flying F-18 jets, dropping bombs on people daily, a fact she shares with an air of casual sadness. She talks about feeling isolated. She has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic trauma and bipolar disorder, and the stigma worries her. But it’s been a treat, she says, to connect with other women veterans. “In the military, there’s like a reverse camaraderie when it comes to women,” an unspoken understanding that since men were the power, sticking together was counter-productive. “We want to assimilate and integrate with the men, so that they don’t look at us like ‘oh look at those girls over there,’” she says. Working together, they’re finding peace through sharing their stories.

The women also express some anger over familiar workplace issues: being overlooked for promotions, ignored in decision-making, rendered invisible. Although I’m not sure that interactive theater could really take off at business conferences, it might not be a bad thing if it did. Sometimes art is the only way we can stand difficult truths. More art, better life.

Have an artful weekend. I’m grateful for all you do.

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