I believe in the power of inclusion and this is my story! It is my story because sometimes, we are afraid of the ways narratives can be changed, especially when we think that no one is looking on.
It was a rainy day conversation in 2017 that inspired my writing about the interest men had in matters that affected women and girls and were also in many instances; ready to support and inspire change.
When we believe in our stories, they can come to life, we can connect the gigantic dots and we can navigate the journey positively. Today I pay tribute to Mark and World Pulse which were the catalysts to our story in 2017. This is the story of inclusion and I invite you to take a beautiful journey with us!
On a rainy day in 2017, our World Pulse Story Award Winning Article - Not Just Girl Talk - was born. Inspired by meeting a group of men who were having drinks; they took their light moments to delve into the stories about the impact of breast cancer in their lives and their families’. This also was my opportunity to ask them about self examinations and to sensitize them about occurrences of men being diagnosed with breast cancer globally.
On that day, they were also inspired to share personal stories of their own families journeying with diagnoses and it brought us to lovingly and logically conclude that Breast Cancer was Not Just Girl Talk.
Since publishing and actively sharing our #BCNJGT story in 2017, it was evident that there was going to be a positive revolution ahead of us. Each time we shared our article, men were welcome to sit at the table and participate. This was the birth of the inclusion of men in the dialogues around Women’s Breast Health - beyond the clinical and medical settings. This was for the men, husbands, colleagues, sons and in some instances the guys who wanted to add their voices to make a difference. The Men’s Movement inside of Ms. Brafit’s Community of Awareness and Education.
In most of the bodies of work of gender-centric discussions, there is usually a sense that the key “subject matter experts” are the ones who are “directly affected” and should be involved in the majorority of these conversations - they know the pain! What we also discover, is that some folks aroud them know the pain equally or more intensely in instances.
So, the real test of inclusion was about to unfold and it was to be the most exciting journey of inclusion Ms. Brafit has embarked on to date. This one would go on to prove, that inclusion has a chance in the world and that it remains one of the key ingredients to influencing change and impact positively.
Meet Kevin, Brent, Ave and two weeks later, meet David! They are a Team of creatives from the Trinidad and Tobago - owned, Lonsdale Saatchi and Saatchi - affiliates of world renowned advertising power organization; Saatchi and Saatchi.
They were ready to amplify inclusion, using their organization and their team members, in partnership with Ms. Brafit - a Caribbean Born, globally focused Social Enterprise, focused on Breast Health as a catalyst for Social Change and using the Bra as a tool for social empowerment.
Kevin had reached out to us to pitch their dream of inclusion and we were SOLD - the intention of a partnership of advocacy and inclusion, because they envisioned alignment and deep significance.
The team came over to Ms. Brafit with notepads in hand and our instant connection meant we would begin on 1st October, 2018 and run a full month of messages, posts and fun events with Lonsdale and our organization Ms. Brafit - www.msbrafit.com - the mutual aim; to advance the dialogues around men, women, adolescent health, society and breast cancer.
It was back in 2008 when we first met Kevin Reis who was also eager to use his amazing talent in the illustration of bra images for Ms. Brafit - which also went on to win an Addy Award in 2008 - under the stewardship of Creative Director Jon Slater.
Ave, a new team member had been excited about this new collaboration because she had written about Breast Cancer for a project during her academic studies and so it was also about finding the right partnership to bring life to this new collective adventure in advocacy.
There was evidence of our synergies and a clear intention that we were going to Ignite the World, starting with our local landscapes and working outwards with an inclusive series of “enigmatic” images, passionate pledges, compelling promises and compassionate comments.
It was an immediate nod of approval from all sides and OUR adventures began!
The excitement of seeing each and every single team member from Lonsdale become part of this journey was the most heart warming of actions. They adopted the entire Ms. Brafit journey into the process of having our most intimate components become their new playground to sensitize, share and amplify our message - internally, within an organization that is constantly abuzz with deadlines and important actions and tight daily deliverables.
They adopted some of the events that we use in our promotion of education - including seminars and our fun events; we conducted our signature Comfort Matters & Beauty Beyond the Bruises - Interactive Breast Health Seminars on their production floors - filmed by their production teams. They hosted a customized version of our signature - Cupcakes and Cleavage to engage in rewards of dessert for their team members and their hard work.
The month of October, was a daily diary of actions and posts, which featured every single team member from Management to Trainee Staff.
As the month of October unfolded, we got to witness first hand, the spirit of community, the outpouring of courage and of course the inclination to build meaningful partnerships where the message is not internally focused but a measure of how taking a simple article and using it for social good can build a village that can Ignite The World and reaffirm that Breast Cancer is Not Just Girl Talk.
Thank you to World Pulse for this amazing platform for amplification and we pay tribute of special gratitude to Kevin, Brent, Ave, David and the entire Lonsdale Saatchi and Saatchi Management and Staff for this gesture of true Social Conscience and friendship beyond measure.
Original Award Winning Article - August 2017
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Nicole Joseph-Chin is a 2015 VVLead Fellow and Vital Voices VV100 Women. She is a 2011 Fellow of US State Department IVLP, Alumna of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women 2013 and a Fellow of Government of India - ASCI 2017.
Nicole is a Social Entrepreneur, Women’s Engagement Advocate, Writer, Economic Empowerment Advocate and Thought Leader in Innovation in Women’s Health.
Nicole and Ms. Brafit are collaborators in many Global Advocacy Communities and is a Partner of Safecity India and Pax Populi.
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