After the Elephant Session 2: Healthcare/Nutrition/Science Panel

Late Night Health
Late Night Health
After the Elephant Session 2: Healthcare/Nutrition/Science Panel

After the Elephant Recap: Healthcare/Nutrition/Science Panel

In the healthcare/nutrition/science “After the Elephant” discussion of “Identifying the Elephant in the Room: Critical Communications Strategies in the Face of Sexism”, Mark Alyn, host of Late Night Health Radio, moderated the conversation with guests: Elan Sudberg, CEO, Alkemist Labs, Salma Fathalla, senior director of quality and regulatory, Bonafide Health and Gabriel Paulino, chief product officer & co-founder,, to respond and discuss session two of the sexism seminar series and challenge other leaders in the industry to do some deep work to make meaningful and fundamental changes when it comes to sexism within the natural products industry. The discussion included some key takeaways and memorable moments including:

Sudberg’s surprise that the panelists shared so many personal accounts of sexual harassment and sexist comments that they deal with on a daily basis, and said that it seemed like an hour wasn’t long enough to talk about it; that they could have gone on for several more hours discussing their own personal stories, “I’m aware that these things happen, but not to this extent, and if we don’t talk about it, we would never know.”

Paulino said one of his biggest takeaways from the session was the concept of the “queen bee” or internalized misogyny, and that he didn’t realize that women hate on women too, giving women just another obstacle to deal with, “Women live in fear pretty much every day and it’s like how can you even function when you live in fear?”

Fathalla said she was not surprised by the multiple stories of sexual harassment and sexist comments, that she herself has dealt with during much of her career, and made the point, “It’s about time that we have this conversation and not just in a group of women, but also involving male figures and people from all levels of leadership.”

To wrap up the discussion, there were many ideas on ways the industry could take action and each individual could become more aware of personal actions. Sudberg said, “I’m a hugger…. but (based on the panel) I’m rethinking my personal policy of hugging, because what if someone is not comfortable saying no to a hug and suddenly now we’re embracing and that’s an uncomfortable situation for them and in the future for me? I’ve already learned something really good.”

Session Two Action Items:
Identify and call out “queen bee” behavior.
Men: create an initial expectation from the very first interaction. Avoid flirting.
Don’t gossip.
Raise up other women.
Document violations. Write down feelings.
Focus on her accomplishments not looks.
Keep social media open to partner/spouse.
Women elevated to leadership have an opportunity to change the environment.
Certify companies as “safe” places to work.
Speak up and support other women.

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