Identity at Work: What does being marginalized mean?

hi good morning good afternoon good evening wherever you are in the world we’re so glad that you’re joining us today uh my name is Alexandria I am one of the co-founders of job disruptors uh the disruptors and Jasleen is my co-founder here we also have our guest Kathleen and I’ll let them both introduce themselves in just a moment a little bit about me if you’re new here I am an executive leadership coach and the co-founder like a set of disruptors it’s job board and Community meant to serve those from underrepresented communities to find companies that they can thrive in Joseline you want to introduce yourself yeah I’m Jasleen I am a certified career coach and I focus on women in the tech industry and co-founder of the disruptors and so today this month has been all about amplifying and uplifting black voices it is Black History Month and today we’re talking about identity at work so what does it really mean to be marginalized in the workplace I think we all have sort of a mental model of what this means or what it could mean but we really want to have a thoughtful conversation about this because there’s a lot of nuance to this topic and we’re so excited to have Kathleen on here I’ve met Kathleen once before but I felt like I’ve known her forever because I’ve been following her on Tick Tock at KMJ diversity we’re both Tick Tock creators and love the content and we wanted to invite her into this space to have this conversation with us and so Kathleen would you like to tell us a bit about yourself yeah sure um my name is Kathleen Johnson uh pronouns or she her and I am over on Vancouver Island uh Sangeet Nations land and very happy guest here and um I am originally from Calgary Alberta I was born and raised there my parents are West Indian immigrants from Grenada they’re both from Grenada and came here the first wave of Caribbean immigrants back in the early 70s I’d like to say late 60s early 70s so yeah we’re kind of a Legacy Family to Calgary Alberta and um yeah that’s uh me in a nutshell a really quick nutshell okay so let’s get into it shall we so the first question I wanted to cover is really what is the history of Black History Month so really how did it start how has it evolved do we really need one or you know and what should we be doing during Black History Month should we be only looking back or is there more to it that’s a great question uh it’s funny because every year this comes up and I think it particularly came up last year when Kanye West was saying enough of black history we don’t need to look back anymore we need a black Futures month not a Black History Month um so it wasn’t always a month uh it started an African-American Carter G Woodson started it and it was a week uh and then it blossomed into a month and then different countries started celebrating it so Canada the UK um I believe Australia might I don’t think I’m 100 on that but different countries started celebrating it for the month of February um and February wasn’t chosen because it’s just the short end of the stick um so to speak the shortest month so they just threw February at us it does have significance uh for who founded it so um there is a reason for it being when it is um but yeah I I think there’s a case to be made for both um and uh I’m always a fan of History because I think it’s just essential to learn not only not have not to repeat bad things that or things that we’ve done in history that don’t serve us very well now but also to just be that thankful to just be grateful and remember who came before you and who paved away especially uh when you’re talking about a traumatized population um like the black diaspora it’s important to remember who actually you really sacrificed their lives for where we’re at today so I think it’s important to look back but also there’s a case to be made for looking you know ahead and and or in the present and seeing what black people are doing now that contribute to science or you know health or any kind of innovative field um what are we doing now and so there’s a there’s a case to be made for both but I think saying don’t look back is uh it is is not a message that um that I support for our people especially because a lot of us don’t know our history at all because we were cut off from it yeah I think that I really like everything you said there like I do like the forward movement and being able to look into the future but the other piece of so many don’t know the history right and that being important and that connection and Anchor Point being valuable and centering for a lot of people if you had one thing that you wanted to share with people that maybe push back on that that don’t want the History part what argument would you make or maybe argument as more aggressive than we would want to be there but like what what would you want them to connect to to understand the importance of that history uh well number one no other no other culture is uh are told not to look at their history we don’t say to we don’t say to Chinese people oh don’t look back we don’t say to South Asian people oh you don’t want to look back we don’t tell any other group that um and so I think that’s one thing I would ask is why why do you want black people not to look back is it because it’s painful for you if it’s too painful for you then that’s another thing and that’s something for you to unpack for yourself but I don’t think it’s something necessarily um like blanketly applies to the whole diaspora that no we shouldn’t look back yeah it makes me really think of kind of parallels with the indigenous Community um Kathleen and I are both in Canada and so we refer to this body of work as Truth and Reconciliation with the indigenous Community I’ve heard the word reparations moved a lot in the black community from a U.S perspective and so I’m hearing that it’s both it’s we look back we honor those who came for for black folks to honor the people who paved the road for them going forward and for for our us non-black folks what are we needing to honor in terms of Truth in terms of so that we can move forward in a place of Justice in a place of equity and so I guess what I’m hearing is Black History Month should be both yeah I mean it’s it’s important to I mean it is named Black History Month um so I think it is a special time for us to uh you know to reflect on the past um and mention mention of course what we’re doing now and what’s ahead of us but um yeah I think it’s a time for us to really sit with this is what came before us uh what were we doing before we were even enslaved what where where were we at what are our you know foundational heritages from Continental Africa and that’s really what I usually use this month this time for is um to look back and say well what what will we do what were we doing before we got here um and so yeah I really like to dig back and I’m very interested in you know um language and dress and architecture and and culture from which we’re we’re an ancient we’re an ancient people uh so there’s a lot to reflect on at this time of year yeah for sure I want to talk about what it means to be to have sorry to be a part of a marginalized identity at work and what that means and how that might look would you mind sharing a little bit of your thoughts on that sure um it shows up in a lot of different ways um I think we’re all familiar with the term microaggressions um so it shows up in these uh smaller more subtle ways a lot of the time overtly as well of course but a lot of the time it’s more subtle so it might be a comment about food you brought for lunch um it might be a co-worker asking you about your hair um oh you had it this way last week and now it’s this way or can I touch it or how do you do that what do you put in it um it can show up as people talking over you in meetings um or taking what um taking something an idea that you had and saying that it’s their idea and um you know all these little kinds of ways uh where it shows up it you know can show up in we’re finding there’s a lot of stats on pay gaps that a black woman earns 60 cents to what a white man earns on average so these things are starting to be Unearthed and they’re starting to show that there are real consequences that people pay for being black at work um that are you know kind of goes beyond irritants or or minor annoyance it has real implications in in people’s lives and so I’m just kind of thinking about that in terms of what that does to someone in the workplace and so as a black woman or as you know a black employee in an organization where these microaggressions are taking place and you’re kind of thinking you know I might want to go somewhere else but is it going to be the same in this new organization when we’re thinking about this how do we navigate that to really understand the truth of what’s Happening

um yeah that’s uh that’s something that um like are you asking for how does the marginalized employee navigate that and impact that both I think both like how does the employer know that this is happening in their environment and then also for as a black employee how do you how do you manage that burden and how do you what do you do about it I guess is the is the is the question yeah um I think first an employer from that standpoint they have to create an environment of safety um so that people can come forward when something is bothering them um or when something more Insidious is happening um and that may indicate a systemic issue they won’t know because a lot of black employees feel like they’re they’ll face repercussions uh for coming forward they’ll just get labeled uh an upstart or a troublemaker and put back in their corner and so um I think that that safety aspect um that psychological safety aspect to The Knowing yes I can come forward and for the employer to educate themselves on these issues that black employees face we all have the same internet um so you know educate educating themselves is is good too because sometimes if you go to what I what I hear a lot is yes I can go to my leader that safety is there I I feel like they’ll they’ll be receptive and they’ll understand to a degree but they might not believe me or they might not know that um asking to touch my hair is a big deal and so they’ll be like oh we’ll do you know did you talk to her can you can you just and so then the onus is placed what back on um the person that’s faced the injury um to rectify the situation for a coffee have a conversation with them um and that’s not something everybody’s comfortable doing um so I think there needs to be real things that are in place that kick in when something like this happens a real policy or a real action plan um that uh you know can take that burden off of the marginalized employee and and um and for something to actually be done about it because a lot of people just don’t say anything because they’re like that nothing’s gonna happen anyway um so I’m just going to quietly quit and when I find something else um I’ll move on and yes I mean it can be a game of why would I leave because I’m just going to find the same thing wherever I go um it’s always been like that anywhere I’ve been um you know but you do pay that loyalty tax as well um so people just kind of you know navigate these things by making moves when maybe more money comes up or a different position comes up that maybe is better for their career um but yeah I think there is that level of apathy that why bother it’s just the same everywhere yeah and that’s like that’s really one of the reasons why we do what we do at the job disruptors is because we want to help employers have that mindset in terms of understanding the environment because they might not even notice the symptoms because the psychological safety isn’t there to begin with and they’re not coming forward people are not feeling safe to say these microaggressions are happening or you know even just the way we’re doing work the way we’ve set it up it’s it’s just not conducive to supporting black folks folks in that environment and I love that you um said that about putting the onus back on to the employee because I think as Leaders we’re always trying to motivate and coach and develop our employees into being you know Future Leaders and so part of that is we say okay well you need to give this feedback and here I’m going to coach you on how you can give that feedback and and exert your power or authority but when we do that with marginalized groups we are ignoring the invisible power dynamic between leaders and even peers that are not black so if there is that sort of white supremacy kind of mindset or behavior that is happening in the organization and you don’t feel safe even if like and so I can speak to even in my career um there have been cases where even um you know I I don’t want to share too much personal information from my experience in HR but okay let’s just say we’re a marginalized group was in a more senior position um receiving microaggressions from subordinates and and so I think it’s it’s important to say okay we’re looking at these hierarchies in the power structure but there are invisible power structures that are part of society that underpin that and so how are we how are we switching from coach or leader to Ally to to help make the the environment safe and and not put the onus back on the person who’s experiencing the microaggressions yeah I think um you’re not an ally because you took a workshop um that’s a progression and it’s a journey allyship is a journey and acknowledging where you’re at goes a long way with marginalized folks like if you just say hey I don’t understand why this is a problem but I’m going to educate myself on it because it’s obviously an issue for you and I want to make sure that you’re safe and that you’re comfortable I think just even a statement like that just honestly saying yes I’m the boss and I’m supposed to know but I don’t know um but I’m going to I’m going to educate myself and I’m going to find out how to help you but basically I believe you um I think there’s uh you know I I just even in my own language I’m trying to move away from saying lived experience to live reality because I think there’s um a lot to be said for for that in the sense you can’t deny someone’s reality but you can deny their experience because an experience could be relative and so I think the part that’s missing and that the part that leads to allyship is belief like when somebody comes to you and says something are you gaslighting are you saying you know are you sure are you we have been black our whole entire lives we’re sure there there’s no there’s rarely a time where we pull out um the the quote unquote race card arbitrarily like we know um so I think that’s that belief Factor uh goes a long way um and for for us to navigate certain things I think it’s um you know I really I really don’t know if I mean again being aware of placing the onus on somebody marginalized to navigate um it’s it’s just shifting and Shifting the culture is a leadership responsibility um and so you know and when people say things like well why is everything about race are you sure we didn’t make everything about race so I mean to make that clear as well is um I just want to show up and do my job you know I don’t want to have to navigate this stuff so I think just um you know yeah knowing who uh the burden of proof is on knowing who the onus is on to to to rectify wrongs or to shift culture is is a Leader’s job and and so I think that um putting that just in its proper context and placing it on the shoulders it should be on it’s a skill set um and I realize um you know for a lot of folks they haven’t ever talked about race in their life and in 2020 all of a sudden everyone it’s the Hot Topic um and not only marginalized folks are having this discussion now um so it’s new for a lot of people but it’s not new for us and so I think having that dialogue with each other is really important and being honest and brene brown talks about this a lot being vulnerable and folks saying hey I don’t get it and us saying I know you don’t get it but please listen to me and please believe me um I love that I think that believable part right Paramount foundational right just when I talk to people we talked a little bit about this last week right intention doesn’t equal impact so it doesn’t matter what your intention was if somebody tells you that something impacted them in a way believe them I mean like that’s the easiest thing that you can do and then remove yourself from it like oh I didn’t intend to do that that doesn’t matter that you didn’t intend to do it it had an impact and you’ve been given an olive branch and an opportunity to learn to grow and to do different and the other thing that I want to highlight when you said as a leader I should know but I don’t and I’m going to go educate myself if you make that statement do it you have to follow through on it like don’t just say it and then never do it because that will have way worse implications and ripple effects and just like highlighting you should be doing it anyway and if you say it make sure that you actually follow through on doing that because it is your responsibility as the leader to change and adjust culture and to educate yourself because you’re the one who’s setting the tone and whether you like it or not people are looking to you to set the tone if that’s uncomfortable I get it and yeah leadership position and often it could be that ego that’s getting in the way and so think about that for for anyone who’s listening if if this is uncomfortable work for you it could be that your leadership style is to be the fixer it could be that your leadership style is to always have the answers and so think about where that’s coming from and so it’s coming from a good place but just because it’s coming from a good place doesn’t mean it might not have a bad impact so as Leaders we need to be agile we need to be you know our style needs to suit the situation and the need and so I love Kathleen all the things you said be honest be vulnerable I believe you powerful statement and how do we create safety for you and and take some time to think about that because you might not have ever been asked that question before and so as a leader your employee may not have ever been asked that question before and so they may need some time to think about it because they’ve just been coping and they’ve been you know putting up boundaries reason they were like what I didn’t even think that this was ever anything you know that would be pitched to me and so be patient with that understand what safety looks like and to Kathleen’s Point start Shifting the culture and so I love that we’re having some comments come in so as you’re watching this if you have any questions please put them in any key takeaways that are standing out for you put those in the comments so um Christopher says he’s got to go but his key takeaway is belief love it and we have another user that says I created a piece of content about lived experience in regard to expanding our definitions of diversity and now I’m changing the wording to lived reality thank you for that all right and so um what are some of I think we already talked about some of the pitfalls like we talked about ego and not being vulnerable but what are maybe some of the other pitfalls that we haven’t talked about that we need to avoid when it comes to how we view Black Talent that’s a great question um I think it’s to remember that uh there’s not the black community there are black communities and whereas individual and varied um as anybody else we’re a republican we’re Democrat we’re you know we’re um we’re in the lgbtq community as well as being black we are disabled as well as being black so we’re um as varied and as um you know dynamic not one-dimensional as anybody else [Music] um and so I think in approaching uh every black employee with the same broad brush we all have different experiences we’re all from different countries with different cultures [Music] um so just uh allowing us to uh bring that into into a space um when you’re considering Black Talent um consider them uh as they are and and just as what they’re presenting and give them room for that um and not uh you know those those stereotypes and those biases that that creep in about what um a black uh perspective employee might want or need don’t assume that um and and just hear what hear from them these are my needs um this is what would make me happy at work this is what would make me feel feel fulfilled at work it’s it’s as varied as it is for any other group yeah I love that don’t make assumptions because I feel like stereotypes can go like even when they’re when we think they’re positive stereotypes right we think it’s a positive stereotype because we’re like all black people need help because they’re a marginalized group and all you might be thinking they all need a mentor they all need right and so if we come from this mindset of treating like if you said it’s black communities there are nuances within that and so you’re still like I think this is where where some people get tripped up with it it’s like you you it almost furthers that power Dynamic when we say okay you’re marginalized so when we start treating people that way we say okay we are going to think about race as a construct in the workplace and what that means and so now we’ve actually gone the other way and and have started creating behaviors that might you know where you might say okay you need help I’m going to assign you to this Mentor but did we ask whether this Mentor feels safe for them did we ask what their career goals are and what they want and so really treating them with that respect of of that you would any employee it’s it’s it’s still it’s still about good leadership and it’s not about making things you know feel like special treatment but being aware of your biases so that you’re you’re removing that barrier for folks is it do you think do you feel like that’s accurate to kind of what you said yeah yeah and and also to um you know like like I said just ask them what are what does success look like to you um what does that feel like for you and how can we support you in that and yeah I think just really not assuming that um you know somebody that’s uh that’s black in your organization is going to want with the next black person in your organization wants and um that you know I think the main thing too is to keep in mind about um Talent of color is that you know don’t expect us to show up like you expect white men to show up we’re going to show up differently and you know that’s where the stereotypes come in like because I I’m very soft-spoken actually I I’m not a kick the door down take up space kind of person um that’s not my comfort zone uh and I find that I have to actually navigate that um and it’s come back on me like oh you don’t you don’t you don’t speak um enough in meetings or you don’t I’m a listener and when I say something um I’m informed when I say that when I when I speak um I don’t like to just talk just to hear myself um but I find that’s a stereotype that’s come back on me a little bit and so just let us show up how we how we show up you know give us that space we’re not all going to show up the same way or a way that you you know like I said that’s more in line with um it with how mainstream uh society would like us to show up or recognize this oh this is how a black woman’s supposed to show up and you know it’s like no just just get to know me and let me show up as as best for me because that’s when I’ll do my best work yeah I love everything you’re saying there right like I’m a whole human in front of you and as a leader allowing your team members to be that whole human and I love what you said about just ask right it’s not that hard all of this work around and like oh if I do this this and this and attempting to make these wide policies when you could just have a kind conversation and you could just meet that person exactly where they are in the moment and allow them the space and ability to speak for themselves we talk a lot about empowering people at work and oh I want them to be empowered for this and empowered for that then Empower them to think for themselves by asking what they need and what they want and then believing them and doing your job as a leader to follow through on making those things happen and I know that we haven’t always had that as a normalization in the workplace of like oh asking what do you need to feel fulfilled what do you need to feel motivated or any of those things but if we’re shifting into a new center of leadership that’s human first like ask and then follow through like it seems a lot more simple to me but yeah I don’t know that this is why I have been pushed to the the outlying of leadership for a long time so I’m really glad that we’re moving to a human first Leadership Model but you were also talking about normalizations right and patterns and the systemic thing and I want to highlight the white supremacy in that and specifically the patriarchy white supremacy in that how do you think that that has shaped what we see as normalizations in the workplace and which ones would you want to push back on the most initially like almost like a domino that you can push over to make some big changes Ah that’s a great question um yeah I think a lot of our patterns are just old you know they’re just formed off of what is valued um in terms of output in terms of performance um in terms of like I said what do we think of when we think of a successful person you know um and moving towards like like for instance um bringing in those cultural values that people hold that might be more might resonate more with them like a lot of um marginalized folks are from more communal cultures they’re not from cultures that are as individualistic so um how do you speak to them in terms of you know team goals rather than individual individual goals um I think that kind of would speak to them more instead of yeah showing up as this this is about me this is about where I’m going in the organization this is about you know just me me I think there’s that really that really resonates with a lot of folks um that come from more communal situations where it’s like you know maybe you I don’t know maybe you have more open knowledge sharing and and and knowledge transfer and it’s not gate connect you know um and and maybe you think about ways to bring people along with you when you get a promotion like what does that look like um you know and so I think you know that that mentoring piece that’s a communal uh value that can be adopted you know how do we bring people along um job sharing is something that I’ve really come to to like and um you know how do we Shadow and job share and and and and share and bring folks along it’s it’s not um I mean that’s that’s a part of the white supremacist I find model is there’s only enough so much to go around there’s only so much power there’s only so much resources or only so much knowledge there’s only so much money there’s a so it’s uh it’s it’s it really becomes a hoarding situation where um sequestered and gate kept because if I share with you I’m giving up something for myself [Music] um you know I think that is a part of what really needs to change and what I’d like to see completely dismantled because it just winds up being um displaced that it does cause environments to be very psychologically unsafe for everyone you know when you think like you have to watch your back because you know somebody’s coming for your job or somebody is going to is working on tearing you down or I mean how does that feel going into that every day so and there’s really no need for it because it’s evidence shows that teams function better when you know that’s taken out of the equation um and so yeah I think that comp that high level of competition aspect um would would we would do well to get rid of that and and like how do we how do we you know Foster Talent nurture talent and and help people to thrive um in a less competitive way yeah I love everything you said about the scarcity mindset right like that’s not helpful for anybody and everything that you just talked about having that shift away from the scarcity mindset and more into the community modeling is helpful for everybody the the system that white supremacy has set up like it’s not good for anybody and so upholding it is just harming everyone so being able to dismantle that and move into that collaboration move into that teamwork move into we’re all here together and we can all solve the problems together like I don’t know we would become Unstoppable in a lot of ways I think it’s so hard because like we’ve got this sort of copy paste culture of okay so we’re starting a new business and what does that look like by virtue of the typical organizational structure that in itself creates a scarcity mindset because you have fewer positions of power at the top where we’ve got you know lots of entry level and I hear this a lot from my clients too because I think the communal aspect for women women of color of you know all sorts of intersections that we do value collaboration in feminine culture we are conditioned to be interdependent and so definitely more so in certain cultures than others but as a as a whole this has been proven to lead to more Innovation lead to more productivity but how can we do that differently how do we shift towards maybe a flatter structure and also just not looking at just the structure because I have seen and worked with organizations that have moved to a flatter structure but the behaviors are still very much hierarchical command and control behaviors so think about okay what are the behaviors we need as a company to include all of our employees but also what are those behaviors that are going to get us to thriving in the future in a new way it doesn’t have to be the tried or true and true you know sacrifice and you know scarcity and command and control we have evolved as a species we know better we can do better we don’t have to be working from that emotion no brain where we see everything as a dichotomy we can access our more our higher level thinking and and come up with Creative Solutions and so I love this conversation because I feel like it’s I mean it’s it benefits the black community but it benefits everyone right and I think that’s what we need to do a shift on leaders is um and one thing we talked about with Tony um last week from racial Equity insights was that Spotlight I forget what the other one was but the model of okay where are we putting the focus on in terms of the work so yes so can you speak to that Kathleen a bit because like I think you know we’ve got a lot of organizations that say oh no we have ergs we have you know this and that so how do we need to think about the work that needs to happen I think we need to I mean I I’m such a big fan of the internet maybe I shouldn’t be so much because I’m hearing about unhealthy it is but um eggs were once unhealthy too so you know how you use it

ruining my life they’re so expensive right now yes but um I think that we need like when you talked about just going back to a second like when you talked about lateral structure and it can’t just be structure it has to actually manifest in behavior [Music] um yeah I think I think that’s something that is really important in terms of Shifting things um if I’m answering your question is that who did considered knowledgeable and why are they considered knowledgeable why why because uh somebody has a Masters or a PhD why are why is their opinion given more weight than somebody else’s who obviously has lived it yes and I think we even tend to do that in our own communities you know why should somebody listen to me uh more than somebody who’s actually gone through something you know because I have again uh markers of I have a degree I have markers of what is considered um criteria for being allowed in space in certain spaces um so I I think I don’t know if I’m answering your question no I think you are I love what you said that about how we give weight to people who have that degree or that standing and it kind of reminded me of something you said before because you said um you know we didn’t make everything about race like white supremacy as a culture has been like okay we I’m not white I don’t know why I’m saying we but whiteness because I mean whiteness as a construct we we’ve all kind of got a relationship with that and it has been about studying the other right where whiteness is centered and everyone else is an other and so I have this degree and I’ve studied all these cultures but it doesn’t matter that degree that you hold it will never give you the perspective of the lived experience and so when are we giving when are we waiting the the data and how are we looking at where that data is even coming from and we’re going to talk about that next week in terms of using data um on this anti-racism journey but really looking at it from a lens of why are we only rewarding you know this this sort of this mindset of elitism or whiteness centered in the work and so because when I said you know what do we do about the work I think that’s the thing whiteness needs to be centered as the work instead of instead of putting the onus on black folks or other marginalized groups yeah because I mean I think every marginalized person goes through this you knock yourself out trying to um you know like I said meet up check all the boxes uh degree um speak English a certain way um look a certain way dress a certain way mannerisms a certain way and um it still doesn’t matter at the end of the day you know because you still face what you face and it’s frustrating because you’re like I knocked myself out trying to show up as a white man and and and and still um and you know so I think that it speech Just speaks to also the communal aspect of how a lot of marginalized cultures function it’s not a lot of time it’s not the person with the degree that you go to for a perspective or for advice or for a level set it could be your auntie it could be an elder it could be somebody in the community that’s regarded as a knowledge keeper um and and so letting more of that in um you know would go a long way to understanding things and de-centering um de-centering that that white construct that Perfection aspect yeah you know I just find that that’s one thing that I love about when I Retreat back into my culture is uh I don’t have to be perfect yeah I can actually just you know I I’m I’m worthy of love I’m worthy of relationship I’m worthy of connection and I didn’t have to say something perfectly I didn’t have to show up perfectly yeah um in order to receive I mean the definition of perfect what does that mean this perfect mean is that by definition whiteness is that by definition like professionalism that’s centered around whiteness like where what does perfect mean and is it perfect if it’s inauthentic that’s kind of perfect it doesn’t exist yeah and so that’s the cruel irony of it because we’re all chasing something that doesn’t exist anyways you know um so you are going to knock yourself out and get burnt out and get frustrated and angry and all kind of exhaust your efap package or whatever you got going on because it’s not attainable it doesn’t exist so um yeah I think just divesting from that uh is is a really huge piece to moving forward in corporate cultures oh and I want to expand on that specifically right moving forward healing and creating better in the future so how do we move away from what we currently have the constructs that we currently have and moving more towards truth and reparations

um I think we have to uh realize what actually it’s going to take and be willing to do it and that’s a scary place um I think um the needle was shifted for us in 2020 it was abruptly moved and that’s the place it needed to go um to be quite honest with you um but institutions are are they ready for that kind of bold shift no um for the most part no um so it will be more gradual but um what it really what it takes is is a big push because for from from a black standpoint um and James Baldwin says it perfectly is um what exactly am I supposed to keep waiting for um you know my my grandfather waited for it my father waited for it I’m waiting for it my children will be waiting for what exactly do you want us to keep waiting for

um and so I think in in the workforce now we’ve never seen so many generations in it at once we’ve got even gen Alpha coming into the workforce now behind gen z um but yet we still have uh Gen X or folks like myself and Baby Boomers in leadership and there’s an expectation on with the younger worker that’s like I’d wait for what what exact why can’t you do this tomorrow um and so we owe them an explanation in that regard yeah because how how much more and how like how much more are we asking them to wait for and why and they want that answer yeah and you know what are you waiting for like what what is this like fork in the road that all of a sudden now we’re gonna turn and things are gonna be great like what is what is this Landmark that we’re all looking for and I love your I love your connecting the pandemic to this because the pandemic forced us into this communal mindset of we need to take care of one another and you felt that resistance and that was where it was like we can’t wait for this it’s happening now we have no choice and so how do we that’s the question that’s coming up for me now is how do we create the urgency how do we create the urgency without having to have you know some other world event happening like how do we how do we start doing that within our organizations yeah I think it’s um I I I mean I’m not a fan of elaborate business cases and I think too many business cases I think we lead with that foot in this work and we say well okay I’m not going to appeal directly to their heart and mind so I’m going to make a business case for the business cases have been proven 20 more uh teams are 20 more productive um when Dei is integrated into you know business practice that’s out there um I I think you know you’re not going to unless like I said unless you’re actually open and vulnerable and serious um and are seriously compensating people in your organization for doing this work whether they’re in official capacity or not um you have to be willing to spend money on it you have to be willing to say this is important to our organization we’re centering this work we’re integrating this work into hardcore business this is not seen as a Fluff social side piece of everybody it wouldn’t it be great if we all got along we’ve seen worldwide protest we’ve had a pandemic teach us this has to be done um and so I think it’s just that urgency um needs to be uh that urgency needs to be felt in terms of actual resources like the actual hardcore dollars you know um either one one little exercise I like to do is uh making something it’s like a reverse brainstorm I think it’s called and it’s making something worse anything you could think of human beings are fantastic at that anything you can think of that would make something absolutely the worst case scenario and then working back from that until you get to the best place um and I think if we think about where we’re headed and how if we keep going on this trajectory where that ends I think it’s very um desirable I think it becomes more desirable to say oh I don’t want to go there so um let me work with some more urgency and see how we can work back from this if you don’t have that expertise in your organization Outsource it yeah you know look at look outside um there’s a lot of people that want to contribute and they’re they’re perfectly willing and able to lend their voice to whatever it is that you need to get done in your organization so get creative and pull in some voices if you don’t have it um if you don’t have the budget for it you know you just don’t have that in your organization but all you got to do is look around the room and I ask that question who’s not here yeah do you need an elaborate business case yeah to that piece about Outsourcing because something came up to for me that was a potential risk of that how do you Outsource the work and still integrate the accountability and education because I think often what leaders do they say oh I care about this I’ve been told I need to invest here’s the training here’s another training I’m done I did my job so how do we Outsource it but still have that shifting culture that you’re speaking to um yeah I think don’t keep the outside person outside of of you know your goals and your vision um there’s a way you I mean Outsourcing is just they’re not a part of the company as in their title or their position or what have you they’re not a paid they’re not on the payroll in that way but um make them a part of your plan and and you know make them feel like their voice is essential in you getting where you need to go um and that again speaks to structure and um you know who’s allowed to have a voice because that person can be a great conduit between Community Voices that you need to hear maybe who’s even accessing your services and um having that expertise and training to get you where you need to be um so yeah because they’re they’re outside and you’re Outsourcing it doesn’t mean they have to remain on the periphery of what you’re doing

so Outsourcing but bringing them in making sure that they’re part of the organization understanding truly what your gaps are and making sure they they have exposure to to the reality yeah like don’t get don’t gatekeep make sure they have access to reports they need to have or company history or you know let them in in that way and give them access to what they need to have access to to help you solve your problem and what I heard in that is like partnering with them like choosing a partner to help and support and move forward because yeah you don’t know what you don’t know and so having an outsourced resource that has been doing the work is in the know can partner with you to help yeah open up doors it can be in good move sometimes as well because um it depends on the level of uh intensity or what’s going on in your organization sometimes there’s horror stories where the environment is just so intense that anybody doing this work inside might face their own repercussions or backlash for doing it um so it’s not always a you know quite often it can be a good idea to have somebody that’s not a part of that culture um and doesn’t have you know that that won’t face those repercussions in the same way um to come in and be a neutral kind of uh party to the to the work it’s kind of some some in some cases you need somebody that’s as much a mediator as a neutral mediator as much as a facilitator hmm yeah I love that a neutral mediator and to just bring them in and make them part of the process because I think it’s interesting because I feel like like there it is a process to even partner with someone right because it’s you don’t know all of your gaps yet they don’t know all of your gaps yet and I think so the risk is when we jump to oh we got to do something so I think we want to have the urgency but not urgency to just run out there for any sort of training or any sort of performative action if you didn’t listen last week we go into detail on that episode about what that means to be performative and so if we’re really being authentic that means truly understanding your gaps as well and making sure that the interventions and the people that you bring in are able to to get give you the solutions to create that shift because that’s a huge change management piece and I think leaders who have been like seasoned leaders understand that anytime you create any change you know even when there isn’t like these invisible forces against you it’s still it’s still there’s going to be resistance and so you need to have urgency you need to have the vision you need to understand the gaps you need to partner you need to put money toward this because if your skin is not in the game like you’re not going to you’re not going to stay the course and you’re not going to start to see that shift it’s not going to work and that’s when you start hearing oh gei doesn’t work well how much money did you put into it did you invest if you can’t expect people to work magic in your organization and you don’t give them a budget yeah and sometimes and sometimes it is a budget and then the training re-traumatizes marginalized folks because it’s really it’s not it’s not it and so I mean we’ve got three people here who can help you figure that out and so reach out to us if you’re unsure because you know we want to make sure that the interventions that you choose are really going to work absolutely really and you really want to do it and you know it’s going to be difficult yeah yeah it’s okay we’ll we’ll hold your hand through out we’re here to support all the way through but anything anything worth doing is challenging yes and and it’s and it’s worth it’s it’s worth the effort it’s something to be proud of and it’s something that really stands out in today’s world it wasn’t it wasn’t valued as much in society like I I still think you know the values are rooted in white supremacy and patriarchy but it’s starting to shift we’re starting to see that Tipping Point I think especially with Gen Z you see that like they like to your point Kathleen they’re like what are we waiting for why like what like if we keep waiting it’s never gonna happen it’s becoming a business necessity like there isn’t a choice anymore right like there isn’t and so like that’s nice because they will be forced into it but you can just do it you can just volunteer you don’t have to wait until you are absolutely forced to do it I think just engage in the work yeah so we only have four minutes left and I want to be mindful I want to hear a little bit about Kathleen the book that is coming out that you’re writing tell us more about that yes um it’s uh coming out this year um it’s called hard talk getting good at diversity and inclusion and it’s a part of divesting from that Perfection so um I shot this around with uh people that I bounce creative ideas off of and they said well what about mastering uh diversity and inclusion and I said I’m I don’t know about you and maybe it’s the pandemic maybe it’s just exhaustion I’m done I’m done mastering things um and so I I just thought what if we just start with the basics because I found a lot of people not understanding basic terminology um not understanding how things play out on a very ground level and so we’re trying to have all these Advanced discussions and interventions and workshops and yet we’re not understanding simple things um and so a part of that urgency that we were just talking about is is great but at the same time it’s causing people to dive in head first and then hit hit their head in the bottom of the uh yeah um so how do we actually start to have these conversations in a more uh thoughtful um and respectful Progressive manner rather than just diving into uh kind of be performative so oh yes that’s what the book is about I love that let me know when it’s out because I will definitely read it and I feel like that is a trap that I fall into because when you’ve been close to this space or close to this work there’s an unintentional gatekeeping of Dei yeah as well like even just saying Dei like Dei stands for diversity equity and inclusions some people call it EDI some people call it dive some people like it’s it’s it I love that like just really getting to the basic terminology the where do I start and divesting from that Perfection because that’s probably going to move the dial more than a lot of these other things that seem more complex yeah yeah a lot of people don’t want to do something because they expect they have to show up perfectly and so they don’t even start mm-hmm yes and I think that also comes from that patriarchal mindset of you know not being it’s not a safe space to make mistakes and so we’d rather not try we’d rather not go there we’d rather just focus on what we’re good at instead of getting uncomfortable yeah exactly well in our last few minutes I want to invite anybody who is listening to this if you have a comment or a question add it into the comments wherever you’re watching it whether you’re on Facebook LinkedIn or YouTube we do get notifications we will come back and respond to them uh even if you are watching this after the fact we still see those comments coming through and we can continue to generate really helpful powerful conversation in this right the conversations and the basics and understanding and just reach out because we definitely want to respond um we will have a tip jar coming for Kathleen chill provide us with a link because no those are the tips are sorry so so Kathleen so we we mentioned on the last episode of her transparency we don’t have the budget yet to pay our speakers and we do not want to be part of the problem of not paying people in this space for doing the work so Kathleen has um given us a link to donate to her favorite charity she’s on the chair of the board at odihi foundation and so we’ll put the link in the comments and you can make a donation so if you found value out of this conversation please donate to Odi yes thank you for the correction and no we’re taking that over I appreciate it yes uh other pieces uh if you are listening to this on uh our podcast make sure that you follow and rate us so that more people can find it make sure that you share it out with anybody who you think would find this valuable as well we want to reach as many people as possible and if your company is in a moment where they’re ready to do the work and needing help you can reach out to us at the disruptors at we are offering a free Dei evaluation right now as well as Kathleen who is a Dei specialist and either one of us is more than happy to help and support you along those those lines yeah and so you can follow Kathleen on Tick Tock and Instagram her handle is at KMJ diversity I will put it the link in the comments as well after this there is also a link in the comments to our Black History Month resource that we created um Kathleen’s links are actually in there as well also please don’t forget to get that download that’s something that you can have as the work that you need to do as an individual or as a leader have that saved not just for black history month but go back to it from time to time to really you know have a place where you can kind of do a deep dive and and follow you know whatever it is that you feel like you need most In This Moment absolutely thank you everybody for joining us and we’ll see you next week where we talk about bias in bias out what is Equitable data use look like so thank you all we’ll see you soon thanks Kathleen thank you

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