This Christmas, I learned that my aunt went on a date with Harvey Weinstein.
It was back in the 1970s. Weinstein was a student at State University of New York at Buffalo, and my aunt was a bank teller at a local branch. The whole thing was unremarkable, and she never gave it another thought until Ashley Judd spoke about her experiences with Weinstein in The New York Times.
When I heard my aunt’s story, my jaw dropped. The crazy revelation started a family discussion about the #MeToo movement. There were five generations of ladies around the dining room table. All of us were college-educated and accomplished individuals. None of us had very good things to say about what it’s like to be a woman at work. Some of the men in my family had experiences with harassment and abuse of power, too.
This experience made me think about the thousands of men and women who were also going home for the holidays and having #MeToo conversations with their family members. Maybe they don’t have an aunt who went on a date with Harvey Weinstein, but they probably have siblings and cousins with first-person stories of abuse and harassment at work. Or they have their own stories, which they bravely told loved ones for the first time.
The #MeToo movement is the most important story of the decade, and it touches all of us. There’s a breach of trust when powerful people behave selfishly and put their needs ahead of the workforce, and it takes a movement to fix it. That’s why WorkHuman is hosting a historic #MeToo panel.
Moderated by Adam Grant, this panel will highlight the topics of sexual harassment, respect, and equality in the workplace. Participants include Tarana Burke, Ronan Farrow, and Ashley Judd. The goal is to provide ideas and solutions so that HR leaders and organizations can drive change and build cultures where everyone feels safe and empowered.
And, make no mistake about it, change starts with HR.
Human resources professionals have an opportunity to shape the conversation about harassment in the workplace and to build cultures based on humanity, connection, and trust. WorkHuman will host the historic #MeToo panel and also provide a forum for HR leaders to connect and learn from each other about how they are handling this global discussion and how they are ensuring that every single employee feels safe and respected.
Now that the #MeToo movement is here, there’s no going back. If you believe that we share a common sense of purpose – to put people first, to treat everyone with respect – we’d love for you to join us in Austin on April 2-5, 2018. We can’t have a critical conversation about the future of work without you.
Laurie Ruettimann is a former Human Resources leader turned influential speaker, writer, and entrepreneur.