How to Use Inclusive Language in Your Small Business

As a business owner, you know that there are a lot of elements that have to remain in balance in order to ensure business success. Between acquiring clients and keeping your finances in check, things like the culture of your workplace can easily fall by the wayside. Many leaders do not recognize the importance of fostering an empathetic and diverse culture, yet diverse workplaces are 35% more likely to financially outperform homogenous ones. So working on creating an inclusive and supportive workplace is just as important as any other part of running a business.

How can you create a more inclusive workplace culture? A great way to do this is to demonstrate empathy in the way you communicate with your employees. Not only does this mean being understanding and helping them thrive professionally, but this also means understanding that your intentions cannot always be accurately conveyed. Even if you don’t mean to say something that offends someone, it’s still entirely possible to do so. That’s why it is important to educate yourself on the words and phrases that exclude others.Continue reading

Finding Women in the Information Systems Environment by Beata Green

Beata GREENThere is a marked gap between the number of male and female students enrolled in computer science in schools. That means very few women are entering into a computing career. Moreover, this is a concern, because the lack of women in information systems careers can actually slow down the economy. Not only that, but the risk trickles down to companies who are missing out on the more diverse teams that studies say will make their businesses more successful.

There are a host of benefits to acquiring female talent, one being better returns. Women, when placed in general leadership positions can offer far higher returns to shareholders and investors.

The fact that there are fewer women in information systems means that they can be very difficult to find, let alone attract for a business. However, there are ways to locate the talented female coders you seek.

Explore Different Networks
Do you currently know any female developers? If you don’t, chances are you won’t be able to use your existing networking channels to find them. Instead, try and connect with individuals from other networks, and explore your opportunities there.

Support and Encourage Existing Female Talent
Are there women who are already working for your organisation that would be a good fit in the developer role? Identify the strengths and qualities you want in a female developer, and then set about finding and interviewing them. Ensuring that potential female developers feel supported and encouraged will help them to feel more comfortable with new challenges.

But the challenge lies not only in finding women to work for your company; it will also require a change to the way your existing company culture is structured. It also requires you to effect a change in how women developers are perceived by those who already work for your company.

Change Your Company Culture
If you are currently working with teams of male coders but want to harness female talent, a culture change will likely be necessary. Many business owners believe that new female team members will simply adapt to the existing company culture. However, this won’t be beneficial to the new team member or to your business. To make any team member feel welcome, you must understand how they communicate, and then learn how to communicate in their language. That includes new female team members.

A Non-Competitive Environment
A non-competitive culture can provide far more benefits to your company than a competitive one. When everyone is on the same playing field, individual talent can be utilised far more efficiently. This kind of environment places importance and value on all team members, and can present a much more welcoming place for coders of all genders to work.

Don’t Change the Focus for Female Interviewees
Believe it or not, talking about the work-life balance your company offers will not impress female interviewees. A woman engineer, coder or developer will be interested in the challenges they will be solving at your company, just as male interviewees would. If you have a set of especially difficult challenges that you are dealing with, put the spotlight on these at the interview.

Some studies suggest that even simply removing any gendered pronouns from employee communication before handing it to your team can be enough. When management shows no gender bias, it can set an example for employees. Although this may seem like a simple solution, it can go a long way to communicating to existing and potential employees that you are interested in talent, regardless of the gender from which it may originate.

Beata Green is Managing Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.

Simply Dream Your Own Dream by Madalina Bucheru

madalina_bucheru_blog  KWBeing from Eastern Europe (Romania) always gave me a special view of the world, and pushed me to move forward. Eastern Europe is a wonderful place for vacation trips, river cruises and short 15 seconds bits in the news… For me, as a journalist fresh out of college, it was way more: it was my battle ground, the place where I would become someone, make a difference, have my voice heard. Well, it turned out that was not the case, as getting a decent job in any kind of media would actually be reduced to just two simple basic skills: copy and paste! So there I was, after 4 years in college and working at small newspapers, completely lost and confused on whether journalism has actually a voice in Romania. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a job posting within a nonprofit. And that was the beginning of my own dream.

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patti-headshot-199x300This article was originally published on and is published here with permission from the author Patti Fletcher.

Get your mind out of the gutter. The F word I am talking about is feminism. My mother is a feminist, but I am not sure she knows it. She will after she reads this article. And my father, well, the same goes for him: feminist. My father might be most shocked to learn that not only is he a feminist, but he also raised me to be one.


Heck, I didn’t know I was a feminist until a few years ago. It won’t be hard to imagine the shock at my claim. My father is the last person who might come to mind when the word “feminist” is spoken. I remember him responding to the topic of feminism when I was younger with gems like “if women want equal rights, then they can open their own damn doors.”  Awesome.

Resurgence of feminism

From the recent NYT article, The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In, to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In mania, to outrage at women breadwinners, to entire HBR’s dedicated to the phenomenon of women in power (honestly, I could go on and on), the resurgence of feminism seems to be everywhere.

I have had far too many arguments with people about what being a feminist is or is not. I don’t want to have another one. So, let me set the record straight with this nice narrative from the author of Wonder Woman, Debora Spar:

“Feminism wasn’t supposed to make us miserable. 
It was supposed to make us free;
the challenge lies in recognizing that having choices carries the responsibility to make them wisely,
striving not for perfection or the ephemeral all,
but for lives and loves that matter.”

Freedom + opportunity = feminism

My father is a veteran. He retired after 25 years, serving in most branches of the US Military. My sisters and I never took our country’s freedom for granted. My father taught me that freedom is gained from hard fought wars. Freedom is earned, often with bloodshed, and should never be taken for granted.

My mother was raised by immigrant parents. Her father ruled the roost. Men held the power and women followed the rules. Men were free. Women were not. My mother didn’t agree with that mentality. She went to business school and trained to be a bookkeeper.

My mother was a working mother before working mothers were a phenomenon. I remember hearing one of my aunts say that my mother worked because she had to work. Even at a young age I knew that wasn’t true. My mother worked because she wanted to work. Working outside of her home gave her access and freedom.

How the F word manifests in my life

Being a feminist does not mean that I don’t want my husband to open the occasional door for me. And, at work, it doesn’t mean that I would advocate hiring a less-qualified woman over a more qualified man. The implication of feminism is freedom through equal access to opportunities. Not more freedom or more access. Not better freedom or better access. Equal freedom and equal access.

Simply put, feminism is freedom through equal access to opportunities.

Whether they realized it or not, my parents showed me that freedom is something that I need to fight for and cherish. Freedom gives me choices. And access gives me the ability to make choices that make a difference. With my parents as my examples and my earliest personal champions, I learned how to fight for and earn equal freedom for myself and now for others.

I want my daughters to know the F word

I learned 10 life lessons from watching and listening to my parents. These are the lessons that have made me the feminist I am today. All 10 combined have leveled the playing field for me to make great choices; choices that have given me the freedom and access I need to pursue my dreams. These are the lessons I hope to intentionally pass onto my daughters, who take their own feminism for granted.

1.   Get a good education inside and outside of the classroom.

2.   Always have the ability to earn your own money.

3.   Always have a bank account in your own name.

4.   You will only get out of something what you put into it.

5.   Never ever quit.

6.   Ask questions even when others do not.

7.   Question people in authority.

8.   Do not look to others to define you.

9.   Accept who you are and what makes you tick.

10. Expect and demand a lot from your life.

I want my daughters to know the road my mother and I travelled on our own paths to feminism.

But, mostly, my wish for them is to live feminism through their freedom to make choices based on the equal access they have to opportunities.

Got a comment on this article? Connect with Patti Fletcher at @pkfletcher.


Patti Fletcher is Co-Founder and CEO of PSDNetwork, LLC. PSDNetwork, LLC is committed to being the first place women turn to make startup, leadership and management decisions. Patti has 15 years experience in applications, big data, and technology with global corporations and helps people and organizations transform “what’s next” into reality. 


My Story and Why It Matters by Harriet Khataba

Harriet Khataba Her story Matters.(1)

My mother was and still is my inspiration. I don’t know many women who have 6 children, work full time, and are accountants for 3 different organizations as well as a treasurer for a church. And, a devout Christian! Where did she get the time? My mum was a “superwoman” in every way to me growing up. I was always amazed by how well she handled everything in her life. She gave me the strength to live up to her example. Luv U Mum!!!

At nineteen, I moved to England. I hated it. The weather was dreadful when compared to the sunshine and friends I left behind in Kenya. I attained my degree in Business Management and Hospitality while working in various hospitality and retail companies. This gave me a lot of experience in business as well as the confidence I needed to achieve even greater… Soon after my career in retail I chose to expand myself more.  You see, my passion is dancing. I decided to work for a dance company where I thrived in key roles for the business. After experiencing the long hours and the excessive travel, which placed me in different cities every day I began to wonder if this was the life I wanted. Part of my experience  was with organizing events. This gave me a great option to work in media so I took it.

I started organizing events, which I love, as I am a people person. Eventually I found myself at BEN TV (Ethnic Media) this is funny to admit, but I didn’t know much about the ethnic community in Britain. Coming from Africa, I was so very much unaware of an ethnic culture. Working for the company really opened my eyes to this culture. Whilst working in media, I found myself inspired by a friend about so many of the differences within societies and cultures. Having a childhood from Kenya, with my friends support, I began thinking about a documentary on FGM. I started my research into FGM and its effects on the women and communities.  With this knowledge and over time I wanted to do more. I began to see how so many lives are affected by gender indifference in ways that lead to a physical and mental frame of mind that differs from yours or mine. This is how “Her Story Matters” was born.

By creating “Her Story Matters” I am providing a platform where women can tell their story, inspire others and empower ourselves to overcome gender indifference. I soon realized that there was a huge need for women to have a unique environment that will allow for us to share our inspirations.  I feel it is important to highlight and to collect many issues women face as well. It is my hope that by providing a medium for women to express whatever challenges we face together that we will become even stronger in our passions and remove our adversities together. I see a place, with Her Story Matters, where a woman may not have suffered from the same issue, but can still offer advice from another. I see a place where a business woman who is successful will support a mother of indifference elsewhere in the world. This will inspire strength and friendships across the globe.

We are sharing stories of heroes. For me, my very own hero, she is my mum. She is my own personal hero in so many ways.  As I grew up I watched my mother work hard and make sacrifices for me. I now understand just how much my mother did to help me become who I am today. I also realize this is just a very small part of what other women and other mothers go through every day. It is my hope, from the deepest place in my heart, that with your help we will give women, from all corners of the world, a place to join and to overcome any challenge through her story. I want to hear her challenges. I want to share her goals. I want to feel her passion. I want us to share her dreams. I want Her Story to Matter.

About the Author:

Harriet Khataba heralds from East Africa where she was born and raised in Kenya. Miss Khataba is educated in England in the fields of Hospitality, Retail and Fashion with qualifications in a Degree in Hospitality and Business Management. She has worked with organizations such as Merrill Lynch and Deutche Bank  as supervisor and organization management. Additionally, She has thrived in the entertainment industry as well as events in 2011. Harriet enjoys the arts as a dance instructor and she regularly organizes and acts as MC for many events. Most recently, Harriet has ventured into media working alongside with BEN TV, ethnic media, to produce youth oriented programs and promotions. And, she successfully developed a ten episode series called Trendz prior to her groundbreaking work with Her Story Matters (