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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”


This was something that teacher and parents used to say back when I was growing up. They taught us this to make us believe that kids cannot be hurt by unpleasant and mean things said to them. Not if you’re strong. It was usually followed up with “they are just trying to hurt you. don’t let their insults bother you.”

That was easier said than done.

I’m not sure when it changed but in the present, we now know that this isn’t the case. Words do hurt. In some cases, even more so than those sticks and stones, because they fester inside, can take root in your heart and evoke strong emotions that can come out at any time. And in this social media-obsessed generation, words are often what people use with the intent to hurt others.

Whether it is online, social media, in the work environment or your day to day lives – it is so easy to speak without thinking. It is easy to not genuinely listen and connect with people. Sometimes, you don’t even know it and the words you used in the wrong way can be hurtful and devastating to someone else.

Words have power. They can connect or divide – motivate or dash hopes, dreams and actions. Create friends or enemies. Without clarity and common ground, words can foster generational misunderstandings, inflicting harm and holding us back from societal, personal or cultural advancement. But words can also build the bedrock for new levels of progress, appreciation and humanity. If you doubt the power of words, ask yourself this: have you tip-toed around how to address a person or group of people for fear of “saying the wrong thing” or offending them?

What you say matters. It shapes your environment, your work and your life.

The Making Our Strong Communities Stronger Initiative, which includes sponsors BMC, Broadcom Mainframe Software, IBM, Open Mainframe Project, Rocket Software, TechChannel and VirtualZ Computing, believes that words matter and will address this in the next webinar. Join us on November 16 at 9-10:15 am PT to discuss “The Language of Diversity, Understanding and Acceptance.” Register here.

Moderated by Dr. Gloria Chance, CEO and President of The Mousai Group, panelists include:

  • Alysha M. Campbell, CEO, CultureShift HR
  • Michael Daubman, Director Product Management, Broadcom Mainframe Software
  • Shahed Alqadi, Project Manager, BMC Software
  • Nik Harris, Director of Strategic Outreach & Engagement, Human Rights Campaign
  • Jane Kerzhenetseva, Delivery Manager & Inclusion Lead, Rocket Software

Our panelists will openly discuss words, phrases and concepts that have entered our collective lexicon but are being met with confusion or even hostility by some, while welcomed and  celebrated by many. Where are the triggers with this new language and how can we move past what is potentially blocking progress or understanding?

Join us for a frank (and hopefully fun) conversation. Together we can prompt learning and raise awareness while taking personal responsibility for the words we use and our willingness to be open minded and empathetic towards each other. What words come to mind when you think of new terms and concepts in the public sphere?

Register for the free webinar here: