Embracing psychological safety

Article 09 February 2022

In September 2021, our Financial Controller, Bee Joshi, was invited to be part of a panel discussion hosted by the World Bank Group focused on minority-owned, women-owned businesses. It was the first time Bee had ever done anything like this. Here she describes her feelings of stepping into the unknown and how the psychological safety blanket around her, helped her through.

Recently I was invited to be part of a World Bank Group (WBG) moderated virtual panel discussion amongst vendors. The procurement team had reached out to Sheppard Moscow as a representative vendor as we are a women-owned business and we have enjoyed a mutual fruitful partnership of learning with the WBG for over 15 years. 

Being asked to participate on a virtual panel with peers, by the corporate procurement group, was an honor as we completely support the inclusion efforts of women-owned / minority-owned businesses by the procurement team. I was proud to have the opportunity of representing Sheppard Moscow on this platform. Being with Sheppard Moscow’s Finance team for over 10 years and having enjoyed many client procurement interactions including forging relationships amongst the WBG procurement group through a variety of projects, I was well placed to represent our business. Upon reflection, I have to say my participation was one of my most memorable work accomplishments, having never done anything like this before! 

As a business, at Sheppard Moscow, we are always reminded about psychological safety and this was one time where I could see my psychological-safety blanket unfolding, and enveloping. When the query from the bank came in to my managing partner, she immediately shared the opportunity with me, encouraging me to take up this opportunity. My unforgettable response was indeed ‘yes’ and I witnessed my emotions being a real mix bag of excitement and trepidation. However, nothing ever done in half measures with regards to our client interactions or our enabling of each other, a small team was quickly formed around me; and they were my support structure as I prepared to be a speaker and together we began by exploring how Sheppard Moscow could inform this audience.

My biggest reflections was how I felt the arms of Sheppard Moscow and the WBG supporting me from the start, offering me clear advice and help as I prepared.  Having been with the business for a while, I had some knowledge but my long-standing female partner team offered further background to our relationship that enriched my contribution. Both my FD, Daren, and fellow ops team member, Jen, were on hand (virtual and in-person) to sense-check my thinking and content.  My psychological-safety blanket had all four corners and seams intact – that sense of belonging and trust were truly felt; my environment was safe to participate in; and feeling part of a team – collaborating at all levels of our business.  I recognize that with this all in place, I was able to offer my ‘best-self’- more creative, confident and with a new skillset that I can leverage in the future – what an experience!

If you are inspired to find out more about psychological safety, here are two articles that might be of interest.

The Psychological Safety Blanket and why it matters for individuals and teams.

The role of psychological safety in building trust.  


Sheppard_Moscow_Headshots_151.jpg Bee Joshi