People’s United Center for Women & Business encourages participants to find hope, resilience and healing during adversity

T

he People’s United Center for Women and Business recently hosted a webinar focusing on the need for hope, resilience and healing. Kiku Jones, co-director of the center and associate professor of computer information systems, opened with remarks on how to move forward from systemic racism.

"I truly believe to my very core that we were put here to love one another and when we see someone we love being harmed, we must act," said Jones. "Which is why we are working with other organizations to offer this platform and to bring speakers together to have open discussions on racism, diversity and inclusion."

She said that she believes the community is ready to for true change and that the mission of the People's United Center for Women and Business has not changed.

"This has everything to do with women and business," said Jones. "Anti-black racism permeates every facet of our lives and it has gone on for too long. It needs to be identified and discussed with action taken to eradicate it."

Trish Kelly, professor of management, and Nicole Davidson, adjunct professor of business, moderated the discussion on advocating for positive workplace cultures through an optimistic approach that encourages people to think, reflect and increase self-awareness.

"We're asking you a lot of different questions to consider," said Kelly. "These questions are just a guide in your reflection, your experiences and how you’ve navigated change and uncertainty in the past."

The interactive webinar asked open-ended questions in which participants were able to answer using the chat feature. It began with a poll about how participants are feeling and what their definition of resilience is, followed by an exercise on hope, then an exercise asking participants to consider how they have handled change in the past.

"The last couple of months have been a constant, fast-paced evolution of how we live our lives," said Davidson. "We are figuring a lot out in this short period of time."

Participants were challenged to think of what wouldn’t have happened if a door closed on an opportunity. Following the brainstorm, they were placed into virtual breakout rooms to introduce themselves and discuss the doors that have been closed on them and the doors that have opened from those experiences. Another breakout session focused on thinking about the people who have helped them open doors to opportunities.

"Once you understand that resilience is a strength, it’s one of the top needed skills in the workforce today," said Kelly. "Being able to be open-minded is going to help you with future challenges."