June 28, 2016

Boardroom Poetry: The Whisper.

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I dream of talking business in poetry and poetry in business.

To me they are one and the same—you can’t have one without the other.

In my experience as a scientist, I believe that the work of a poet and of a scientist is the same: both seek for truth and ask us to broaden our awareness, to become more conscious.

As a business executive, I see also the relationship between poetry and business. Poetry through the visualization of thoughts, experience and emotions brings diversity of meanings all co-existing in the mind and hearts of the readers and of the author.

Poetry brings a desire for resolution and for closure. It is this exact desire that is the common ground with business.

We know—and science has proven—that beyond logic and reasoning, factors like emotions and intuition are critical to what we do and how we make decisions. The old business model that generally leaves emotions out of the boardroom—and often coincides with women being seen as too emotional to climb the latter—doesn’t serve women or men in a healthy way.

I visualize a new business model that incorporates this feminine nature as part of leadership instead of shaming emotions. My vision and mission is to empower women as leaders, bringing a proactive, feminine point of view instead of the traditional, more “male” model. To me, the workplace is not about conforming to men’s or society’s labels; women need to participate in the process of creating a new model and naming it for ourselves.

Poetry helps the connection between rationale and emotional; feelings and emotion are evoked through image and sounds; insights and metaphors broaden our language, improve interaction and stir imaginations.

All of these things are important in the workplace as well.

I have myself experienced the power of poetry to develop a more acute consciousness and empathy. It is how I understand the world, myself and the interaction with others. It has been my personal journey to become more inclusive. I believe that to create new stories, we need to enter the story itself by paying attention to what goes on inside of us.

I write poetry to hear the “inner.” So I now ask you to Lean back and listen to my inner Whisper talking poetry.

The Whisper

The tiny little Whisper inside

I made a career out of not listening to it
Until it broke me free
Under the big sky of Montana,
Nowhere to hide from the truth
That nobody knew about me:
I run a manufacturing plant and I hate it.

I am a scientist,
An executive
I lean into success
I lead from behind and beside
I am a business woman
At the top of her game.

But my Whisper saw something else
She saw me dying
Dying to fit in the boy’s club
Dying to prove my worth
Dying to move the needle, move faster, move forward.

I couldn’t hear the Whisper that was dying to be heard
Until a quiet moment in the middle of nowhere,
Where the Whisper didn’t need to shout to be loud:

You are not a business woman
You are not a woman in business.
You are a woman whose business
Needs to become
Working in a new way.

And so here I am gathering a chorus of Whispers
Women of science, of art, of politics, women of business
Whoever you are, wherever you are, however you got here
What happens when you lean back?
What does your Whisper say?
What poetry can we make together?




Author: Fateme Banishoeib

Image: Gabriele Forcina at Unsplash 

Editors: Renée Picard; Caitlin Oriel



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