In a world where the voices of women and underrepresented groups are often sidelined, it takes remarkable individuals to pave the way for change and empowerment. Lola Onipko, Consultant and Women’s Economic Empowerment Advocate, stands out as an inspiration. In this exclusive interview, we will dive into why is it important to acknowledge your own qualities and celebrate your achievements, why Lola became the #IAmRemarkable facilitator and what is it about and much more. See for yourself:

What is the #IAmRemarkable initiative? 

#IAmRemarkable is a global movement that empowers everyone, especially women and underrepresented groups, to celebrate their achievements in the workplace & beyond, while challenging the social perception around self-promotion.

It is all about breaking the bias. Imposter syndrome. Stereotypes. Culture. For many reasons, lots of us feel uncomfortable sharing our achievements. By amplifying stories and research on the transformative power of self-promotion, IAR wants to inspire every single person to share their accomplishments, because sharing our achievements has a positive impact on our well-being, self-confidence & motivation. For our careers, sharing our achievements can be critical to our progression and growth. It can also inspire others who may learn from our stories.

At the heart of the initiative is a 90-minute workshop, that aims to improve self-promotion motivation and skills and challenge the social perception around self-promotion.

#IAmRemarkable was founded by 2 Googlers in 2016 as an internal initiative but it quickly grew across borders and organizations and now the community includes over 2 500 active facilitators in 180 countries with over 550,000 workshop participants.

Why did you decide to join this initiative? 

I was incredibly fortunate to have a mentor in the Equilibrium, who recognized my passion for empowering women and inspired me to become a facilitator. As someone who has struggled with impostor syndrome myself, I know firsthand the overwhelming lack of confidence that can come with it. In the past, I have avoided risks and missed out on great opportunities because of this.

As I have learned and continue to learn how to be more confident, I have often wondered why, despite being well-educated and well-traveled, I still felt a lack of confidence in the first place. Looking back, I believe that if I had more female role models growing up and a supportive network of women and men who encouraged me to take risks, fail and learn from my mistakes, I would have had bulletproof self-confidence today.

Now, as a mother of two young girls, I am more determined than ever to do all I can to empower other women around me. IAR is a great opportunity to do just that.

Besides, becoming a facilitator coincided with the war in my home country Ukraine. Whether on the battlefield or in the rear, all Ukrainians now have a front of their own. #IAmRemarkable has become my symbolic front. I believe that empowering Ukrainian women during these difficult times, helping them to celebrate their achievements, build their confidence and resilience, and continue to grow personally and professionally despite the challenges of war can play a significant role in achieving our Victory.

What does it mean for you to be a facilitator? 

Being a facilitator means making a positive impact & contributing back to the community. I see myself as a catalyst for empowering women to recognize their worth and potential. Being a facilitator allows me to contribute to a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable society, which aligns with my personal values and beliefs.

What is your most powerful experience from the workshops?

One of the most powerful experiences I’ve had as a facilitator of IAR is hearing the personal stories of Ukrainian women who have shown incredible determination and resilience despite the struggles of war and the difficulties of resettling in a new country. These stories have truly humbled and inspired me.

The group exercise that we do during every workshop is incredibly powerful. It never fails to create a deep sense of connection and support among the participants, and I can feel the energy in the room shift as everyone comes together to share their accomplishments. Through this exercise, I have seen participants gain a newfound sense of pride and confidence in themselves, and it is a truly transformative experience.

How should participants prepare before the workshop and what should they expect?

No prior preparation is necessary. A positive attitude and an open mind are always welcome.

In this workshop, participants can expect to learn about the importance of self-promotion in both their personal and professional lives. I will invite participants to reflect on their own beliefs and challenge the social perception around self-promotion. We will explore some of the key research underpinning the initiative. Then we will engage in exercises and learn several tools to develop the skill of self-promotion. Usually, participants report that they feel inspired and more self-confident as a result of the workshop. I hope that Equilibrium participants will feel the same way.