Name: Carolyn Stone and Jeff Roberts
Why I Support HeForShe
As a young professional woman in the workplace, it is very important to have male colleagues and leaders who show you support in and out of the office. I experienced the importance of this support for the first time at a philanthropic networking event with my colleague Jeff.
Jeff, another male colleague of ours and I were standing in a line talking when a family member of Jeff’s approached our group with two male partners of a local CPA firm. The men from the other firm introduced themselves to both Jeff and our other male colleague. I was standing directly between Jeff and the man introducing us, however, when they got to me they both glanced in my direction and began speaking to the other two men. As I had already stepped forward to greet them, this left me feeling incredibly awkward as it was apparent that they did not believe that I belonged to the group of “PwC professionals” they had just been introduced to. As I was the youngest only by a year, the only notable difference between me and my coworkers was that I was a female.
That awkwardness shifted from me to the others in the group when Jeff stepped back from the circle and interrupted the conversation to direct the men to shake my hand and introduce themselves to me as a member of their group. I could tell that they were slightly embarrassed by what had just happened and realized they had made a mistake by not acknowledging me during the initial introductions.
Jeff didn’t realize how meaningful that small action was and what a difference it made. It was only after I highlighted what he had done that he realized the impact he had. Jeff’s attention to ensuring that I was included as a member of our team even outside of the office through a small gesture demonstrated that he and the other members of our team value the feeling of inclusiveness for everyone who works in our office.
“It didn’t really hit me until Carolyn mentioned it, how impactful that moment was for her and how appreciative she was of my reaction to stand up for her. I am proud that I was able to quickly recognize the situation and step in to do the right thing.” - Jeff
“HeForShe moments can happen at anytime and more often than not, people don’t realize that they have the ability to impact and influence the outcome of those moments. I myself didn’t realize how impactful my actions were that day until Carolyn informed me. HeForShe is about us being intentional about treating our female coworkers as equals, creating an inclusive environment, sharing ideas and learning from our mistakes.” - Jeff