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Making Open and Safe Spaces for Our Voices to be Heard

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

I've spent the last 20 years living and working in countries as an elite immigrant in Organisation Development and Internal Auditing. Despite being “The Foreigner”, I was fortunate enough through luck, culture and politics to be welcomed, accepted or sometimes just tolerated for the valuable skills and experience I could bring along.

Nonetheless, we are privileged to be amongst those who have the choice to travel or remain. To be with others who make space for our voices to be heard and have our words listened to. How lucky we are to have people who recognise us or know our name – our “self”: How special we are to rise above the sameness of such labels as “The Germans”, “the Vietnamese”, “the Jews”, “the Disabled”, “the Homeless” – the “Identity” of another.

Deeply moved by recent news, I’m ever more convinced of how important for voices to be heard. My thoughts stay with the families and communities of those who have lost their lives to hate crime and neglect. Lately, the 39 migrants slowly dying in the back of a container lorry. They only had each other to listen before every voice was silenced by the cold and disappeared into the dark: Hopes lost of embarking at a place they believed to bring a better life and a bright future in another country.

Reflecting on the theme for the NTL Community Day, I could find some solace and a way forward in our approach; “Generative Engagement; “You grant and generate voice. You listen deeply without judgment. You share in ways that others can understand and accept.”

How important it is then as Organisation Development professionals to honour the responsibilities that our privilege and luck bring along; in doing so, make open and safe spaces for voices to be heard. You are welcome here.


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