I had the pleasure of attending the lunch and learn Entrepreneur Series and collaborative event at Palette Community, in Schenectady on July 19th. It was a joint collaboration between Palette and Hone Co-works to bring together a panel featuring my mentor, Jennifer Massey, President and Founder of Integra HR, and Sujata Chaudhry, CEO of Tangible Development. The panel focused on workforce engagement and was smoothly moderated by Khamali Brown, who asked thought-provoking questions that opened my eyes to new perspectives.
Seated among an exceptional group of business individuals, I had the opportunity to absorb the valuable advice and knowledge shared by Jennifer and Sujata. The conversation began by delving into the panelists' backgrounds and the driving forces behind their inspiring careers. The responses from Jennifer and Sujata were overwhelmingly motivational, setting a positive tone for the rest of the lunch and learn session.
Among the many interesting takeaways, one idea that truly stood out was the concept of "brave space versus safe space," introduced by Sujata and elaborated on by Jennifer. A safe space, as they explained, is where we feel comfortable sharing small personal details and fostering connections with our colleagues. For instance, a Monday morning team meeting might start with a light-hearted conversation like "this weekend has been crazy, my cat has bronchitis!" Sharing such details with coworkers creates an environment where we feel connected and at ease around one another.
In the brave space, we confidently address and discuss conflicts, as Jennifer emphasized that conflict is a normal aspect of any workplace, despite the negative connotations associated with the word. Establishing this brave space is vital for workforce engagement and accountability. However, it's important to note that a "brave space" can only exist when there's a foundation of a "safe space" first, creating a balance of comfort and constructive conflict essential for the organization's growth and engagement.
The event provided not only valuable knowledge from the discussion but also a fantastic chance to connect and network with a diverse and inspiring group of individuals within the business community. Engaging in conversations with such accomplished professionals left me feeling truly inspired and motivated.
Moreover, the Palette space itself was unlike anything I had experienced before. It stands out with its unique and inspiring atmosphere. It's no surprise that it serves as a hub for creativity and teamwork, as I found myself drawn in, feeling like I could happily spend endless hours there.
The combination of the panel discussion, the interactions, and the Palette space made this a memorable event. I want to thank Jennifer for allowing me the opportunity to attend such an event, and to the Palette Community for being so welcoming. I hope that I can attend events like this in the future to continue to expand my network and further my inspiration as I enter the business world.