There is a lot of burden—mental, emotional, and physical—that we put into this idea of perception. We're trying to manage how we’re being perceived when we step into a space.
“Whole self” for me is fundamentally showing up authentically, without burden. Without having to think, What do I say? How should I look? What can I and can’t I do? I see whole self as showing up free of those worries.
In the military, the environment is fairly constrained. There are a lot of rules involved, from how to wear your uniform to even how you can interact with each other, which makes it a bit more straightforward. There's a mission—you have an explicit chain of command structure, you work together to achieve a common objective, you take care of each other because lives depend on it.
Coming to BCG and working in client services has been very different. I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I would be perceived by others. At first, I would find myself just not sharing my ideas or showing my personality. This behavior has shifted and I am much more open, which has led to stronger connections.
Building connection with your teams and with your clients is incredibly important in the work that we do. I more fully recognize that now than I did early on in my career.
The business case for diversity has been established for a while now. It is a fact. It is a given. But now, employers were forced to address racial inequity in America head on.