1. Lessons In Leadership
  2. Thoughts from the Zeitgeist

It’s what you don’t see

Old photographs can reveal more than you might expect.

Whenever I look at old photos — some from family functions, some from a rich and fulfilling career in the events industry — I am struck by two things. First, I notice the people. My kids growing up. Colleagues who made me laugh, encouraged me, or inspired me. And yeah, there are always people I miss. 

After thinking about the people, I start to notice the other things captured in the pictures and how dated they seem. The suits and ties we were so proud of now look silly. The office furniture is clunky. The technology that I once thought was incredible has since been replaced by systems that are more efficient, effective, and sustainable.

In an odd way, a chronological flip through these photos serves to document our progress. Sure, I might feel nostalgic looking back at good times and dear friends. But I am struck by how many things have changed for the better. And I am startled by some of the things I don’t see in photos from early in my career. Women in leadership roles. People of color. People who don’t fit a certain invisible hiring code. I am reminded that the diversity our company enjoys today took a deliberate effort — and requires our ongoing commitment.

This year, Freeman has once again been honored by making the Forbes list of Best Employers for Women. It is an accolade we deeply appreciate and are delighted to celebrate. Of course, we realize it also holds us to a higher standard, serving as a reminder that there is more work to be done. We want to make equity and inclusion so ingrained in our operation that it becomes a non-issue.

In the future, I don’t care if people look back at photos of Freeman people and laugh at my hairline or waistline. But I hope they don’t see toxic lines of demarcation. I hope there aren’t any. That’s our commitment.

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