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Its time to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“Melanie Chah-Peel… Chap-pah-Chahp-Uhl… Melanie C. Is Melanie C. here?” Growing up, my last name never fit on any forms, it was shortened to its first letter, and sometimes completely changed. Now, I go by Mel and am part of the AMAZING Employee Experience and Social Impact team here at Mimecast.

On any given day you're likely to see me dashing through the office setting up experiences that help drive our culture and create great memories. This can vary from supporting our Employee Resource Groups with lunch and learns, bringing in external Diversity, Equity and Inclusion experts and speakers, and providing foods from around the world to close out Global Diversity Awareness Month.

Ultimately, my work is centered around creating experiences that all can enjoy while driving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives. But here’s the reality, while I love what I do, it can be draining and sometimes exhausting, especially as a person who’s had to be at the forefront of advocating why her voice matters… her whole life.

Latina. First-Gen. Low socio-economic upbringing. These are only some of the ways I chose to identify, others include sister, friend, and ally. Just by looking at me, you could probably only identify one of the descriptors above, Latina. I’m short, have darker features and when you speak to me, I sometimes embed a little “pero like” in my statements. Because of this, I’ve been disrespected, belittled, and sometimes ignored in my professional career. Here’s the truth, my story isn’t unique and others who are reading may feel a sting inside because they relate. If you haven’t ever felt that way, well, there is nothing wrong with that, but maybe it’s time you ask yourself why.

When I joined Mimecast in 2022, we were in the midst of rolling out a Self-ID campaign. This was the first time I experienced an organization asking me to self-disclose personal information that I didn’t know if I’d want people to know. What was the information going to be used for? Who would have access to this? Would I have another target on my back? As if I needed another reason to stand out! Regardless, I filled out the information and months later I’m glad I did.

I'm not saying that self - disclosing resolved all challenges - but it opened doors. I’ve had the chance to connect with so many Mimecasters that care, that want to learn, that want to make a difference. I self-declared because while I know change might not happen from night to day, it’s helped me build my network and find my community at work.

At Mimecast, during Global Diversity Awareness Month (October), our offices will be buzzing with events, experiences, and learning opportunities. I encourage you to get involved in your organization's Employee Resource Groups, to have tough conversations, its time to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, it’s time to be a proactive ally. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. Pa ‘rriba y Pa ‘lante. Up and at em.

Biography

Melanie Chapilliquen

Global Employee Experience & Social Impact Specialist, Lexington

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