Vanguard Voices is a nonprofit network with the mission to bring psychological safety to the top of workplace agendas worldwide. Vanguard Voices is raising global awareness of the issues people face in the workplace through storytelling, supporting people and companies through improved policies and processes and helping people heal through coaching. Changing toxic work cultures and restoring values and ethics at work is a key driver for the network.
Jessica Bensch, Founder of Vanguard Voices, has been working in global corporations for over 20 years. She has worked with people who have been victims of workplace bullying and mobbing.
“My opportunity to act, to change what I saw, came when my company underwent an agile transformation. On some level people were encouraged to speak up, to be bold and share their ideas. Fueled by the opportunity, I championed a grassroots, values-led movement that over time, gained tens of thousands of followers, heard shared stories of issues observed and experienced, and generated a dialogue that could not be ignored. I was recognized with more than 20 external awards for this effort. Yet behind the scenes I was the recipient of gossip, gaslighting and workplace bullying.” Bensch says, explaining her story.
As Bensch continued to speak up for herself or for others, it continued to impact her career in ways that were both tangible and hidden. This would eventually lead to Bensch being laid off.
However, despite the backlash that Bensch received for speaking her truth, she was determined to create a movement that spreads far and wide across the world and promotes psychological safety and a toxic-free work environment.
“I have a deep belief that upholding human values and prioritizing psychological safety is the right thing to do. I believe that we do not change the world simply by talking about change. We do not change the world by keeping quiet and perpetuating the status quo. Change happens through our significant yet considered actions. We make it happen by confronting our fears and speaking out our truth. Because our truth is powerful.” says Bensch.
By speaking her truth, countless others have come forward sharing their experience of how they were treated at their place of work after voice and idea or belief contrary to what is expected by organizations.
This led to the creation of Vanguard Voices in an effort to engage people across the globe and bring to light what remains ingrained behind corporate walls. Now, Bensch not only supports individuals who work in toxic workplaces, she educates companies on how to be an ally to their employees.