Emma Cusdin is co-founder of Trans*formation, the UK’s largest professional networking organisation for trans* individuals, their friends and colleagues. She recently took the time to share her story we WeAreTheCity.
You have gone through a life changing transformation, prior to and during which you have faced incredible challenges. What advice can you give to our members about resilience in the face of adversity?
Wow that’s a great opener question! There are so many levels of this question although my advice is keep focused on your goal, have a plan although be aware (and be ready to flex) on what’s happening around you. Ultimately it’s about knowing what’s the truth for you, no one else except for you.
Many women suffer from “imposter syndrome”, something you lived with perpetually in your old life. What advice can you give us to overcome these often self-imposed limitations?
My advice is to really listen to your inner voice, find power especially in your doubting inner voice and make peace with yourself. Once I stopped fighting my inner voice and acknowledged my true feelings then I could move onto doing something about it.
As a co-founder of Trans*formation what can you tell us about the importance of trans allies? What does it mean and what can we do to support trans people?
Trans allies are wonderful people who learn about transgender issues, are comfortable with the issues and advocate for and with trans people. Trans allies, are for me, so special and important. It can be small steps – just calling someone my their name or using the right pronouns are small but very important steps. It’s all about positive intent.
Everybody’s networking it seems but some of us are still unsure about what it is and how we’re supposed to do it. Tell us about the power of networks.
Networks are so powerful as liked minded people can come together and raise issues with one voice. There is power within a group! Chatting with people is always great although be focused on what you want to achieve. Networks, such as trans*formation, are great places to share common experiences.
Congratulations on being shortlisted for a European Diversity Award as Inspirational Role Model. How important is it for people to have role model with which to identify?
Thank you although I am still very amazed and humbled to be shortlisted for this prestigious award. I believe everyone can identify a role model that inspires them. Whether this is someone in the public eye, a celebrity, one of your colleagues at work or one of our friends and family. Role models can inspire us so much.
Why is it so important for us all to “bring ourselves to work”?
For me this is about being at our best. I believe by bringing ourselves to work and by being authentic we perform better; we aren’t trying to be someone we are not. It takes a lot of effort (both mental and physical) to cover.
What is the one thing you could advise women to do to help them succeed professionally
I would advise anyone to be true to themselves in their whole lives and being clear on what success means to you.
What does the future hold for you?
I’m so excited about the future. It’s been so wonderful to see, over the last few years, the number of trans voices increasing and, more importantly, starting to hear them at all levels of society including the workplace. I will keep on raising trans visibility and equality at work.