The Whisper

It all started with a writing prompt on the first night of a writing retreat in Montana.

I, a trained scientist, wrote “The Whisper,” a lyrical conversation with the multitudes, during my flight back home from the retreat. The poems came to me in an unstoppable flow of stories. After typing out the poems, I realized what had happened—I had answered the call for integration and inclusion of all my other facets.

In this mini-documentary, I share the story behind the book that changed my life. I dreamt of speaking business in poetry and poetry in business, so I did, thanks to The Whisper.

I feel a lot of emotions every time I recite one of my poems and unveil a part of me to the public. I trust those emotions, knowing that when we profoundly believe in a message, the voice comes out naturally. We become the vehicle for that idea to spread and reach other people’s hearts and minds.

Emotions play an important role in what we do and how we make decisions. I hope for you to feel my message rather than understand it only with the mind. It is through poetry I wish to evoke emotions that will enable us to become more inclusive.

I invite you to end the struggle of not listening to your whisper and return to your truth. It is going to take each of us doing something in our own way to create the diverse and inclusive world we so much crave.

My inner whisper told me to stop talking in somebody else’s voice. I did not need to be more confident, more assertive, more anything. It asked me to tell my story of something more.

“Lean Back: The Whisper”

The tiny little Whisper inside
I made a career out of not listening to it
Until it broke me free
Under the big sky of Montana
Nowhere to hide from the truth
That nobody knew about me:

I run a manufacturing plant and I hate it
I am a scientist
An executive
I lean into success
I lead from behind and beside
I am a businesswoman
At the top of her game

And my Whisper saw something else
She saw me dying
Dying to fit in the boys’ club
Dying to prove my worth
Dying to move the needle, move faster, move forward

I couldn’t hear the Whisper that was dying to be heard
Until a quiet moment in the middle of nowhere
Where the Whisper didn’t need to shout to be loud:

You are not a businesswoman
You are not a woman in business
You are a woman whose business
Needs to become
Working in a new way

And so here I am, gathering a chorus of whispers
Women of science, of art, of politics, women of business
Whoever you are, wherever you are, however you got here
What happens when you lean back?
What does your whisper say?
What poetry can we make together?

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About the Author | Fateme Banishoeib

Fateme Banishoeib is a business heARTist and the founder of ReNEW Business, a collective creative laboratory that guides visionary leaders and organizations to transform their businesses into inclusive, innovative communities. Fateme helps to create cultures of inclusion, evoke leadership in everyone, and amplify engagement. Connect with her at

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