Belonging #StartsWithAName

SWAN is a Movement Powered by People Helping It Take Flight

How can you belong in a place where people can’t say your name?

That’s the premise of Version 1’s #StartsWithAName campaign. The Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIBs) team at Version 1 asked employees to do something simple: put the phonetic pronunciation of their name on their e-mail signature as Aoibhe (pronounced Eefa like FIFA without the F⚽!) Cantwell, our Head of Legal and Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging suggested.

But your name is so easy to pronounce! Probably, but only for people where you come from. When looking for submissions to Version 1’s name pronunciation video, a colleague who felt their name was a no-brainer was perplexed at first — very willing to help out but baffled as their name was easy to say in their mind. However, when you reassess your name with your diversity lens in hand, it can dawn on you that your name is not so simple in a country miles away.

The Important Stuff

The Fun Stuff!

Sometimes phonetic pronunciation makes it more confusing, try describing it using rhyming, objects or emojis!

Like FIFA, with no F!
Row (a boat) - Sheen (phone screen)
Mar (like Mars) - Chin (where the beard grows!)
Sri (like a tree) - hari (in a hurry!)

#StartsWithAName at Version 1

How SWAN took flight...

Filmed in our offices pre-COVID, we asked our teams to pronounce their names for their colleagues as part of the #StartsWithAName Campaign.

Belonging starts with a name. Inclusion starts with asking how your colleagues' names are pronounced.

Have you ever wondered if the colleagues who sit around you feel like they have to filter major parts of their personal identity out of their professional persona? If they check a part of their life at the door each day? How painful must it be to tolerate that sense of exclusion every day just to make a living? And yet it happens all the time. For all our talk of diversity and inclusion (D&I), we often fail to recognize that just because someone is included in our organization, certainly doesn’t mean they feel they belong.
- Anita Sands, Board Director, Advisor, Writer, Speaker & General Disruptor

Be Part of the SWAN-Certified Community

We are releasing SWAN into the wild and certifying our charter signatories in December of 2020

Contribute to the Community

We want your blogs, vlogs, videos, dances, songs – you name it! Please share any materials you have using the #StartsWithAName and we will include you in the SWAN newsletter and here on the website.

Will you help SWAN take flight?

While this initiative was started by Version 1, it is owned and nurtured by the supporters - the SWAN community. Therefore, we need you to transform into a SWAN by signing the SWAN charter. Upon signing the charter, you will become SWAN-certified and access a toolkit to roll out SWAN at your organisation.
Sign the Charter Now

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