It’s okay to not be okay

Employee storytelling at Adobe is a powerful way to build empathy and inclusion. When employees share their life experiences in an honest and vulnerable way, other employees gain a greater appreciation and empathy for people different from them. This year, we will again showcase compelling and fascinating stories from our diverse employees at our annual Adobe For All internal event in September. In the lead-up, we are highlighting last year’s storytellers who inspired many across the company.

During the 2019 APAC Adobe For All Summit in India, Clare Cahill took to the stage and shared her story about the breakdown of her marriage and how it is okay to not be okay. One year later and leading up to Adobe For All Week, we caught up with Clare to look back at her experience at Adobe For All and how it has impacted her. Here’s what she shared.

“Talking about something as heartbreaking as the breakdown of your marriage was a really hard story to tell. When you’re going into work every day, you often have to dump your pain and anguish at the door and come in with a big smile, so the whole point of this story was that it is ‘Okay to not be okay.’

This will always be a raw topic, but Adobe For All gave me the bravery to talk about it a lot more, both inside and outside of work. When you go through something as life changing as this, you can feel like a shadow of your former self. Adobe is an organization that gave me the support system that I needed, it gave me a bit of space to deal with all that was going on outside of work.

I’m 15 years officially at Adobe next year and it has changed a lot. The Adobe For All mindset means in order to be a more diverse and inclusive workforce, we need all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. Twenty years ago a single parent probably would maybe not be where I am today because it would’ve been frowned upon, but people are happy to work around my needs to be a single mum as much as I need to do my job. I am very lucky to be where I am and work where I do. I don’t see myself as a minority at Adobe, I see myself as one of the team.

After I spoke at Adobe For All I had a number of colleagues come up to me and thank me for sharing the story as they had been through the same kind of thing and they were able to relate to the troubles I had. I also took the brave step of posting about my experience on LinkedIn which was one of my most engaged posts, and I have had people reach out to me recently. The most recent one was another person at Adobe who said I made them brave enough to tell their story, which I thought was amazing. I also had an external person reach out who heard about my story, and I met up with her for a coffee as she was going through something similar and she wanted to know what she was up for and I was able to help her by being brave and giving her hope.

I would say the experience of speaking at Adobe For All was life changing because it gave me the reassurance that what happened was a real thing and it wasn’t just in my head. If people are thinking about telling their story, then I say be brave and do it. The bravery will give you something back. It’ll give you the space to accept what happened and give other people hope who are going through a similar experience.”

Learn more about Adobe For All on our Diversity site.