35th Annual Conference

March 27-29, 2023


Pronouns Matter

60-minute Workshop

Day 2

Session Code: VS-1
When: March 28, 2023
Level: Introductory
Track: Critical Employment Practices
Presenters: Laur Finley, Northwestern Mutual  |  Kisha Keeney, Northwestern Mutual  |  Tate Lockwood, Northwestern Mutual  |  Dani Studwell, Northwestern Mutual


“Pronouns Matter” is designed to educate on the importance of sharing and respecting pronouns and how it fosters an inclusive environment. Why are pronouns important? How should we use them? What actions can we all take to use language that is more inclusive? Hear how our internal session moved the bar and what hurdles we still face in creating the best environment for folks to thrive.

We had almost 400 people at our internal “Pronouns Matter” event. Of the attendees, 74% noted they “strongly agree” that they have a better understanding of why pronouns matter after the event, and 11% noted they “somewhat agree.” Some of the notable feedback mentioned the importance of attending as a people leader and how it could make them a better leader.

Additionally, folks shared what they learned with family and friends, sometimes realizing that they were more close-minded than they thought. People noted a better understanding that pronouns can be fluid and change over time, reinforcing the importance of asking. We also asked participants if they would feel comfortable sharing their pronouns on Slack and in email signatures, and the majority said yes. However, we also received comments like, “It’s not important to me as a person,” and “I don’t feel I have to,” or “No, I would be the only one in my office doing so.” That shows we have work to do.

We want to share our successes and discuss the hurdles we still must overcome to foster a productive dialogue as to why it’s such important work.

Learning Outcomes:

• Identify why it is important to publicly share pronouns or ask for pronouns from others
• Apply the strategies utilized in our internal session to implement those practices in your own workplace
• Illustrate the impact that individual actions can have in building an inclusive environment

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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