Being Your True, Authentic Self

Adobe For All.

Joe Buchwald captures an engaging conversation between Donna Morris and Tan France.

by Donna Morris

posted on 09-25-2018

This month, we held our inaugural Adobe For All Summit — with 1,200 employees from across Adobe who expressed personal interest and a passion for advancing diversity and inclusion. The summit brought to life our vision of Adobe For All: creating an experience and culture where our differences make us stronger, where everyone can contribute and do their best work, and innovation can thrive.

We had an exceptional day packed with insights and diverse perspectives from keynote speakers, culminating with an interview of Tan France. For those of you not familiar, Tan is one of the fabulous five of the Netflix award-winning series, “Queer Eye.” Being a celebrity and a well-known fashion expert, a common bias might be that Tan would be highly opinionated and maybe even difficult to connect with — this was far from the case. He was kind, humble, and completely approachable.

Throughout our conversation, Tan openly shared the personal challenges he faced coming out to his London-based Pakistani Muslim family, and his immigration struggles that took him from London to New York and back to London — all destined to find love, happiness, and finally home in Salt Lake City. Our time went from being an interview to a rich, open conversation between friends (or in my case a “wannabe” friend) — inclusive of the hundreds of employees in the audience. His openness created an intimacy that allowed people to ask personal questions and his advice on acceptance of being their true, authentic self.

In closing, I asked Tan what advice he would give to those who are struggling with acceptance. He was quick to say it is difficult to put it into a single sound bite, and instead gave us these three things to consider:

  1. Don’t expect everyone to be on your timeframe — allow people the time to accept you for who you are.
  2. Don’t feel like you need to edit or alter yourself or to conform to what is required of you based on what/who you represent.
  3. Know it’s so much more in your head than you think, just be you.

He closed with a call to action for all of us: Do all you can to support and help others be their true selves.

As our audience rose to give Tan a standing ovation, it was clear they had been personally touched by this one person’s journey. Following the summit, many attendees shared with me the incredible impact this 40-minute conversation had on them — at work and in their personal lives. It gave them the courage to be and allow others to be their authentic selves, and they were grateful for the day’s experiences that highlighted each person’s part in achieving a diverse and inclusive culture.

The vision of Adobe For All goes far beyond the Adobe walls — it is a much broader and powerful force that celebrates acceptance combined with inclusion to realize the true promise of diversity and inclusion in our global world. It is not only how we treat each other, but how we treat our customers, our partners, our family, and our friends. And it is only when we allow everyone to be their true, authentic self that we unlock their full potential — where innovation, creativity, and passion can lead to something greater than our original blueprint could have imagined.

We have created something very special here at Adobe — it is something to celebrate and extend to the communities in which we live and work, making them better for all!

Topics: Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion