Aly Raisman, team captain of the gold medal winning U.S. Women’s Gymnastics teams in 2012 and 2016, spoke at the 4th annual T-Mobile Women’s Summit about the importance of self-care, believing in yourself and being an ally. “I really think about the power of using your voice and how you may never know who else you inspire by sharing your story,” said Raisman to more than five thousand employees who logged in for the event held on Women’s Equality Day. The summit was hosted by the company’s Women & Allies Network, one of six Employee Resource Groups focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives. The event tackled subjects focused on understanding the meaning and importance of allyship, intersectionality and inclusionist thinking.
On finding self-help tools and practices:
“I’m somebody where if I have anxiety it’s really hard to get it out of my head. So, communicating and venting to somebody is very helpful and just kind of getting it out of my body almost is very beneficial. But also, as you said, anxiety is normal and I think also that being said about having communication and dialogue, I think it is also important to do the work on ourselves to practice self-compassion which is very important and I think practicing self-love is something a lot of people talk about. I think we are often our own worst critic. How we talk to ourselves, a lot of times, we would never talk to our younger self or our best friend or our daughters the way that we talk to ourselves. So, I think just being aware of that and being kind to yourself. I definitely think that how we treat ourselves, and how we often would not say that to somebody else, is something I remind myself of a lot.”
On exploring your next passion:
“I think it is a very normal thing to not really know what your next step in life will be. If someone does want to change direction [in their career], communicating with people and having a support group around you is important. Find people that have been in a similar situation that can help guide you and give you advice on what they learned, whether it was something they would have done differently or something that they think you should do. I think talking to people is one of the best ways you can learn but even if you're not talking to somebody, if you can just learn from other people, there's nothing wrong with that. If you decide that you want to do something and then you change your mind, that is okay, that is part of life and so is going down a different path and figuring out what works and what doesn't. I think we are living in a time where we are kind of forgetting that, and trial and error is okay, and if you don't like it, you try something else. So, I think it is important to just do what feels right for you and do what, really makes you happy and what makes you excited in the morning when you wake up.”
On being an ally:
“Sometimes people don't know the right things to say. No matter what it is, sometimes I believe the right thing to say is, ‘I don't really know what the right thing to say is, but I just want to let you know I’m here for you and I support you.’ I think that's what makes a bond really strong is letting them know you're here for them and that's also what makes a really good leader. Being able to create a space where people feel comfortable asking questions, people feel comfortable going to you and knowing that you will help them.”