Melissa Center and Tanny Jiraprapasuke have combined a passion for storytelling and a commitment to empowering marginalized voices to make an impact in the workplace.
Their business, Whole Self Systems, is a socially and culturally-driven training company seeking a better future by activating equanimity, diversity, and compassion in a business setting. While the company wasn’t intended to be a direct response to the #MeToo movement, Whole Self Systems offers a new kind of communications training that empowers women in the workplace and poses a solution to both male and female insecurities that have arisen in the current political climate.
When leadership comes from a place of only seeking status and profit, it often results in a profound imbalance of values. According to Melissa, “It’s this hierarchal imbalance that perpetuates toxic masculinity culture, the 1% issue, and the silencing of sexual harassment in the workplace.” By training emerging leaders and their teams to better communicate with each other, Whole Self Systems endeavors to change the outlook of the current corporate paradigm. Where manipulation, greed, fear, division, and deceit once prevailed, Melissa and Tanny intend to replace it with trust, consciousness, generosity, service, and most importantly, empathy.
“We want employers and employees to see other people as people,” Tanny explains, “and not just as a dollar sign or production machine.”
The need for improved communication is especially urgent due to the demands of our modern world. “Firstly, technology removes accountability. People can say whatever they want to each other without immediate interpersonal feedback,” Melissa says. “Overall we are losing our internal compass for person-to-person communication. The more we rely on our devices, the more we lose touch with the ability to recognize and respond to each other’s needs.”
Using their backgrounds in Mindfulness and Empathetic Storytelling Technique (TM), Melissa and Tanny help clients cultivate this internal compass and relearn a lost element of humanity. The mindfulness component brings awareness to thoughts, emotions, and in-the-moment experiences. This allows space for the individual to respond compassionately, versus reacting irrationally.
“At the end of the day, everyone wants to be seen and heard,” Tanny concludes. This is what will lead to a happier and more productive workplace that inspires creative innovation.