Inspiring Inclusion this International Women's Day

Inspiring Inclusion this International Women's Day

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Inspire Inclusion’’ where we spent the day discussing the value of women’s inclusion and ways to inspire inclusion in the future. At Tommy, we are lucky to have many talented women working with us. To explore this year’s theme, we interviewed a few of those wonderful women to discuss who they find inspiring and how to foster an inclusive environment for the future. 

Included in this article is Nyka Skinder – Junior Designer, Betelhem Temechew – Finance Assistant, Elsie Loh – Designer, Siân Wong – Creative, Ariel Chia – Executive Producer. Spread across our global offices and a range of disciplines, they share their own experiences and what they hope for the future.

Hello ladies! Thank you for taking part in this discussion. This year’s theme is all about inspiring inclusion. To start off, I wonder if there are any places or communities in your lives where you feel a level of inclusion that inspires you?

Nyka – Difficult question! It’s hard to pinpoint specific places… I find any space where I get the chance to connect with other women, especially those who are also a part of the LGBTQ+ community, extremely powerful. Hearing their stories and amplifying their important messages in my everyday conversations makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger.

Elsie – I’m not sure I can call mine a community whenever I share my thoughts on tv shows or movies on Instagram, I get to discuss/analyze/fangirl/rant with like-minded people who also have different interesting thoughts, sometimes even with people I’ve never really spoken much to. They’ve even inspired some of my creative ideas!

Betty – I’d have to actually say at work. There are so many women on the team who each bring such unique perspectives, skills, and talents to the table. I think it’s great to have an office that is so dynamic & creative, it’s inspiring to be around.

Sian – Yes I think the office as well! But more specifically the work that I produce. I’m constantly encouraged to develop my own thinking and take charge over my own ideas. There’s something really special about taking an idea from your own mind and watching a team of people (on set or in the studio) bring it to life right in front of you.

It seems like you all have somewhere to go or be a part of that inspires you. I wonder what it is specifically about those places that feels so empowering?

Ariel – Well for me that place is my Church. I feel that first and foremost, it is the openness to embrace people from all walks of life and the safety net where you can share your views without being put down. It should also be an environment that is encouraging you to try again even if you’ve failed before. 

Sian – Encouragement is definitely key. Not only being encourages to have your own opinion but being able ot fight for the creation of your own ideas. Knowing that your opinion is honored and an important part of developing a project is great for building your confidence.

Elsie – I think something about the reciprocation, people actually reading & caring about my messy thoughts makes me feel seen. Especially when posting on social media can feel very fleeting/detached, it’s nice to put myself out there & have connections on similar interests.

Those are definitely qualities sound like they’d make a much more inclusive place to be a part of. And I guess, inclusivity is all about allowing people to be the best versions of themselves, which should be aim for any professional environment really. So we’ve talked about the communities you feel inspired, are there any particular people in your lives who inspire you?

NYKA – My mom!! Always!!! She has always been an incredible example of trusting yourself and standing up for what you believe in unapologetically. She has been my inspiration since day one because she has always been an absolute rock star and the most amazing and supportive mom! 

ELSIE – My friend, Niya. She’s always inspired me to do whatever I want without overthinking like an anxious little rat and enjoying the process more rather than the end product. Still working on that though.

Sian – My older sister has always been a really talented designer. She’s made waves wherever she’s worked and inspired me to do the same. She’s always been great at speaking her mind and making sure her work is valued by others, she’s someone who truly takes control of her career so she’s been a great mentor for me throughout my life. 

Betty – I’d have to choose my sister too. She has three kids, is a business owner and finished university while raising her two eldest. She has shown me being a woman doesn’t stop you from anything you want to achieve

It’s so nice to hear these positive stories of women in your lives! I wonder if there’s anyone in the public eye who’s had an impact on you?

Sian – Stephanie Sword-Williams has always been a big inspiration to me. I first bought her book ‘F*ck Being Humble’ when I was at university and it’s been a great bible for me to refer back to. She’s unapologetically spreading the word that self promotion is a good thing and finds a way to bridge self-love and agency life. She’s always been a great reminder to set yourself goals, big yourself up, challenge yourself and recognise your own achievements – her book and talks have definitely shaped my way of thinking and instilled a ‘you can do it’ attitude in me.

Ariel – I’d say the late LKY’s wife, Kwa Geok Choo. In that era, where womens’ voices were not that valued, she stood out to prove that she could be as capable as any man. Even though she carefully positioned herself to avoid direct political implications, we have heard of her achievements being the person who foresaw the water issues, and secured the water rights agreement with Malaysia. I also read that she was the one who fought for women’s rights to own property and divorce their husbands, which is really impressive isn’t it, especially in that era.

My favourite thing about her is how she is strong yet “soft” at the same time. It’s a little hard to explain but it’s like she did not have to be in the limelight or “make a scene” like some activists would do these days (no offense) but her actions and presence will be felt by many.

So, looking forward, what can we do to be more of an inspiration to others?

NYKA – I think we can be more community minded, look at life in a less individualistic and competitive way which is hard! Especially in male dominated spaces but power is in numbers and if we were kinder to each other it could go a long way to help us all flourish.

BETTY – We should share more stories of success and resilience. Showcase our achievements, especially those who have overcome adversity and made a positive impact on their communities.

ELSIE – I honestly have no idea yet. But my friend has also started posting movie reviews on her IG after I did it which makes me feel happy, and also inspired whenever I read them. Now we get to break out of our introverted comfort zones together.

ARIEL –  I feel that my openness to my past failures and mistakes and the testimony of how I overcome them would give encouragement to others. Like how other people who offer me second chances, I would like to extend the same to them as well.

Sian – I’d love to teach others more and give more lectures. I recently did a talk to design students at Norwich University of the Arts taking them through the exciting world of advertising and design and got a really good response. Having a creative job is such a treat, even at stressful moments it’s lovely to know you’re working on exciting projects for brands you resonate with and I’d love to help others find the same enjoyment that I get out of it. Surrounding yourself with creativity means you can find enjoyment in your everyday life. 

Want to work at Tommy? Check out our careers page