I first met Linn Vizard nearly ten years ago when I was invited to speak at Designing Dublin. I vividly remember her curiosity and excellent Irish accent. Now, Linn is an independent designer in Toronto, doing a stellar job of asking difficult questions about our practice and the industry. Her twitter feed is a great place to be. She is the co-founder of Service Design Toronto (where this year’s SDN Network conference will be) and used to be Director of Design Strategy at Bridgeable. Here’s what Linn has to say…
This is the fifth story I’ve received. Thank you to the person who shared this. If anyone would like to talk to the writer directly they are happy for me to pass your details onto them so please message me privately.
I know some of you would like to tell your story and you don’t because you don’t have a website or a blog to put it on. NOW you do! I’m hosting stories (anonymous and public) on my blog. I can truly say from my own experience that the world will listen and be kind ❤️ Message me or tag someone who has a story the world needs to hear. (Ps. a list will do... no need for essays or eloquent prose) There's no deadline. Just know this offer is always there.
“I’m a strong girl and I know that, but I became weak and I hate that it was a man that let that happen to me.
I was vulnerable when I met him and he took advantage of that. He knew what he was doing.
He swooped me in, told me he loved me, gave my the sob story of his upbringing. He now seemed to live the perfect life. Little did I know, it was all a lie.
He manipulated me, took advantage of me and made me feel useless, silly and weak.
I should have trusted my gut. The stories never quite added up but he always convinced me otherwise.
I wasn’t alone.
It turns out there were others feeling the same. Three others. Across the world. He was working us all in exactly the same way. There’s likely more too.
We all found out about each other thanks to the bravery of one of us. I wasn’t the brave one, but the brave one added me to Instagram and all was revealed.
We pieced it all together and worked out every aspect of his life was a lie. He’d made up a career to fit us all in. Went to extremes to make this made up career seem real.
We both felt completely hurt, shamed, dirty and used. It’s horrible and disgusting.
She’s actually been an incredible support throughout this. As funny as that might be, we have both been through the same thing and understand each other.
Of course, when trying to confront him, he turned it back on me. It was all my fault. That’s what he did best.
I didn’t care. I was out, I was free. Something I knew I wanted to be but didn’t have the strength to be.
I’d lost me. But I was free again.
I’ve found me again. It’s taken time but I made myself focus on me again.
The only thing that’s still tearing me up is that I know he’s still out there, continuing this game with lots of others in his life, and no doubt lots of others girls. Yet there’s nothing I can do to stop him.
I feel helpless that and hurts.
Trust your gut. Be strong. Remember who you are.”
You can read the other stories here;
If you’ve been invited to speak on a panel, congratulations. If you are a woman or someone from another under-represented group thank you for saying yes to the invitation. I spend a lot of time working with people who identify as women who are wrestling with challenges around inclusion, confidence and equality. #upfront has been alive for 3 years now and many clients and individuals who’re preparing to be on a panel—from CEO’s to students—are all asking the same questions. Yet when you ask google how best to prepare, most of the advice is focused on what clothes you decide to wear (I can see a pattern emerging here). Here are ten things to think about before appearing on a panel.