Jackie - 00:00:10:
You're listening to the Diversity Beyond the Checkbox podcast. I'm your host, Jackie Ferguson, certified Diversity Executive, writer, human rights advocate, and Co-Founder of the Diversity Movement. On this podcast, I'm talking to trailblazers, game changers, and glass ceiling breakers who share their inspiring stories, lessons learned, and insights on business, inclusion, and personal development. Welcome to the Diversity Beyond the Checkbox podcast. I'm Jackie Ferguson. Plot twist, friends. Today the mic is on me as we celebrate our 100th episode. Your host today is Dr. Bob Batchelor, critically acclaimed author, influencer, and director of PR and publishing at the Diversity Movement. Hi, Bob.
Bob - 00:01:01:
Hello, Jackie. So happy to be flipping the switch today.
Jackie - 00:01:05:
I know. I'm excited to get to talk to you.
Bob - 00:01:08:
I know, and I just got a little tingle. I'm so excited. The anticipation, the usual thing people do in these is start with the background and we'll do some of that, but I want to start with the fun stuff.
Jackie - 00:01:22:
Bob - 00:01:23:
Is there a reason why TDM's colors and USF's colors are very similar?
Jackie - 00:01:31:
Well, I like the USF colors, and so in choosing those, that probably was an unconscious influence
Bob - 00:01:39:
Subconscious little thought in it.
Jackie - 00:01:42:
That's right. And I love that both of us are graduates of USF and Tampa.
Bob - 00:01:49:
We are, and that was why I asked. So, listeners, I'll just clue you in if it sounds funny today. We'll fill in the backfill when we need to. Another thing that I know, which is fun fact about Jackie Ferguson, is that she is self-described, a mildly arrogant cook, and I want people to understand what this means.
Jackie - 00:02:10:
So one of the ways, Bob, that I just wind down from my day, and it makes me feel close to my grandmother, because my grandmother, I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen, is cooking. I put on some music and I can make pretty much anything. I love making my grandmother's old recipes. I love Italian, I'm getting into some Asian flavors, so I can cook pretty much anything I taste, which is fun. And I love to cook. It's been something I've done since I was probably eleven or twelve. And still where I go to relax, wind down.
Bob - 00:02:49:
Now, when you were eleven or twelve, like, we're Gen Xers and we both strongly identify as Gen Xers.
Jackie - 00:02:56:
Bob - 00:02:56:
When I was eleven or twelve, it was cooking out of necessity. Was yours cooking out of necessity or joy or a little bit of both.
Jackie - 00:03:03:
So when I was about eleven, my grandparents retired and then moved in with us. And so my father, who grew up in Western PA in a poor household, didn't use a lot of flavor, right? So it was basic salt and pepper. And so when my grandmother came up, my mother would cook, but my father would also cook. My grandmother came up and she's using all these flavors and trying new things and all these southern recipes. So it became like an experiment to me that I'm still experimenting with.
Bob - 00:03:40:
Yeah, it's interesting growing up both poor and in Western Pennsylvania, which I can equate to. I remember eating buffalo wings in college. Of course, who didn't? But I didn't ever put the sauce together because we didn't like Tabasco. Like what's this rich people have tabasco? I've never even seen this stuff. So that must have been a culture shock.
Jackie - 00:04:01:
Yeah, certainly we had a handful of spices and things. My mother would pull out additional spices, right. Because she was a cook. My grandmother taught her how to cook, but not a lot of spices used. And so it was cool to get the experience of cooking different flavors. And I love Southern food. I'm here now in the south, although I grew up in New York, but love Southern food. It's comfort food. Yeah.
Bob - 00:04:36:
And I know you mentioned your grandmother there, you mentioned your parents. I know how important family is to you. I know how important heritage is to you. So tell me more about the influence of your grandparents and particularly your parents.
Jackie - 00:04:53:
Yeah, so when I was about eleven, my grandparents moved in with us when they retired, which was such a blessing. They were just awesome. And so I got the experience coming from being biracial and coming from an interracial household of my father being white, my mother being black, and then multi-generational, multi-regional. My grandparents were from the south, my parents were raised in Pittsburgh, and then I grew up in New York. And so all of these different influences and perspectives I was able to see firsthand, which really helped me on my diversity journey, because I had already experienced how to understand the way people view the world, which is based on their lens and perspective. And it's different when you come from different generations. It's different when you come from different backgrounds and ethnicities. And so understanding how to listen and understanding how to communicate well was something that I learned early. But I would say, Bob, I got very different things. Certainly I got love all the way around. But for my grandparents, I got that unconditional grandparent love. Right. No matter what happened, I was the best. I was amazing. And that was such a blessing for my dad, I would say he was an engineer. And so order and process and responsibility, which is so important to who I am as a person. And then for my mom, I would say sacrifice, self-sacrifice, and raising her children and caring for her aging parents and my dad before he passed away. And I think the influence of all of those people are the best parts of me.
Bob - 00:06:51:
That's interesting. And for listeners who wouldn't know this, we share that because I grew up in Western PA and you spent so much time there, I'm interested, and this is totally personal. So listeners, just bear with me. Your dad's poorness, growing up in Western PA becomes an engineer successful? Did his Western PA ness result in him being kind of stern, or did he overcome the traditional kind of Western PA? People are stoic. They keep their cards close to their chest. They're not very giving of compliments. You have to earn. How is your dad, how did that manifest in him?
Jackie - 00:07:38:
Yes. And the funny thing is, Bob, so I have a sister and a brother who I love dearly. Each of us thought one of the others was his favorite because he would only compliment us to another sibling. And so it wasn't until much later, when he passed away, actually, that we realized that he was talking well about each of us to another sibling. And so, yeah, he was an amazing, talented engineer. He worked at IBM for his career with early computers. So we had computers before most people had home computers. Because of his patents and his work at IBM, he responsibility first. He enjoyed talking, but he was the authority on almost every subject.
Bob - 00:08:39:
I'm kind of familiar with that feeling. I know it's good and bad. I guess. Let's go from your past a little bit to some family closer to you. And I know how important your daughter is to you, but I would love to hear. One of the things that I love about your story is that you contextualize everything as a journey, and it's such a wonderful way to look at life. And your daughter is now on her journey, and so I wonder how you feeling how you feeling having a college student? How are you feeling about having a daughter in today's world?
Jackie - 00:09:21:
Yeah, so Diana is my only child, and so when she was born, my life revolved around her. So everything that I did, jobs that I chose, were to be a mother first, and that was my choice. But being a parent of a college student, she's 21 now. I have to fit into her life, and that's weird. Diana, please FaceTime me this week. I'm tired of the text.
Bob - 00:10:00:
As a parent of college student, I can agree. Right. Just a text me back.
Jackie - 00:10:05:
Bob - 00:10:05:
And if I FaceTime you, answer the phone.
Jackie - 00:10:08:
Exactly. You have not gotten a FaceTime this week. I try to go, she's in Charlotte, so it's not very far from Raleigh, but I try to go see her as much as I can, because I don't get the time anymore. I used to be she was the center of my world, and I was the center of her world, and now not so much. She's still the center of my world, but I just have to wait. Right. And so she's such an incredible young lady. She's hardworking, she's athletic. She's kind. She's very thoughtful. She interns with the diversity movement in the marketing department, which is really cool. And I call her my broke best friend. Right. Because she's someone I love hanging out with. I love experiencing new things through her lens and she's the reason why I work hard. She's the reason why I do everything that I do.
Bob - 00:11:07:
Yeah. And I like that. Knowing Diana. Yes. Thoughtful. Yes. Kind. And it's not a far stretch to see where that came from.
Jackie – 00:11:16:
Thank you, Bob.
Bob – 00:11:17:
It's a great aspect of your being a wonderful mother. So let's talk about the guy who's always the elephant in every room, that crazy. Life partner, husband love Donald Thompson. What about this guy?
Jackie - 00:11:36:
So the funny thing is, Don and I work together other years and years ago, way before we were married. And so I kept my maiden name, and we don't make it a thing in the workplace, because he casts a big shadow. And I wanted to find my own space and have my own credibility. I wanted to be known as Jackie and not Don's wife. And so now that I have that a little bit, I'm totally cool and comfortable talking about it. But, yeah, he's a great guy, and one of the reasons why I fell in love with him is his thoughtfulness and his care for other people. And so, yeah, he's a lot of fun. We laugh a lot, and we're working towards the same goal, which can be challenging at times when we're sitting at the dining room table and do not agree on something, but we try to separate the personal and the professional, which so far has been pretty good.
Bob - 00:12:42:
I'll tell you a quick story, which I think is interesting. Somebody called me about ten days ago on the phone. We were talking, and the person said, a business partner of TDM, and said, Bob, I don't know if I should ask this or not, but are Don and Jackie married? And I'm like, yeah, it's not a secret.
Jackie - 00:13:04:
Bob - 00:13:05:
And this person just said, I was reading Don's book, Underestimated, and he mentioned Jackie, and I was thinking, well, that's a hell of a coincidence. And then the cloud, the fog lifted, and the person was like, oh, okay. But they needed that confirmation. So it's interesting.
Jackie - 00:13:27:
Absolutely. And that question has been asked a lot of times, and I've gotten the confused look trying to put those pieces together, which is actually fun for me, like watching that thought process evolve. But, yeah, again, I just wanted to establish myself as an individual. I've spent so much time behind the scenes in some of my other roles and previous roles, and so just being able to stand on my own was important.
Bob - 00:13:57:
In my own case, when I joined the Diversity Movement, I don't think I ever told you this, so I'll say it publicly for the first time. I listened to you before I ever met you, and before I even knew who Don was, I had listened to the podcast.
Jackie - 00:14:13:
Bob - 00:14:13:
So I knew your voice. But I think at that point in my life, I didn't have time to do much research. Usually I dig into people and things that I spend time doing. And I was trying to look back. I couldn't figure out which episode was the first one that I had listened to. But it was long before I joined the Diversity Movement. When I joined the Diversity Movement, we have a spreadsheet that lists everybody's name, address, birthday, what they like, that kind of thing. So I'd already interviewed I knew Don fairly well. You and I kind of hit it off right away. I'm reading that spreadsheet. I see Don's address, actually, because it's alphabetical. I saw your address first, and then I'm scrolling down through, just looking at everything, and I see Don's, and I scroll back up, and I scroll back down. I scroll back up, and I scroll back down. How could you not know this? I know that I won't be the last one either, but it's an interesting kind of AHA, moment for people. But the power couple of DEI, the power couple of the business world, the power couple of Raleigh, certainly the power couple of Apex, North Carolina. I dig it.
Jackie - 00:15:29:
Bob - 00:15:30:
So let's look a little bit you've mentioned your family so much, talked about your background. How do you then go from where you were specifically into DEI? Because it's such an important focus. You've devoted years to it. Now it's the centerpiece. It's the centerpiece of so much that you've accomplished. So I think that'd be an interesting how did you make that transition?
Jackie - 00:15:58:
Yeah. Well, I've always been interested in human rights, and I've always been an advocate and an activist for many different causes. Certainly equity among women, blacks, LGBTQ+, there were lots of things that I did in my early 20s into my 30s. Professionally, I did a lot of behind the scenes stuff, right. So executive support, HR marketing, and all of those had a DEI lens, especially when I worked in HR and marketing. And so I really got to dabble in that, understand a little bit more about it. And so in 2019, when Don said we were both working at Walk West, a marketing agency, we were starting to do some courses, some digital courses on professional development and marketing, things like that. And he said we should do a DEI course because it's important for marketers to understand the inclusive marketing, which was then really beginning to emerge. And so I said, as I often do to my own peril, I'll do it right, because it was a topic that I was really interested in. And the more I started to dig into it, the more I realized I didn't know and the more I realized how much information was out there, both good and terrible information. So several of us at Walk West got certified as certified diversity executives. And I really dug in and spent, I guess it was about 1000 hours of research to complete that first course. And I was really nervous, Bob, because everything that I had done in my previous career was to make other people shine and look good and get other people prepared to be in the spotlight. And this was on me. And I was a little bit nervous or a lot nervous. And so the first client that took the course, I was holding my breath in the room with Don, and they said, It's really good, we want to buy it. And I literally couldn't stop the tears. Fortunately, it was a conference call and not a video because it was 2019. We weren't really doing video back then. Right. And I was just so happy and excited that something that I had done, that I was responsible for worked out. And so we had some clients start to take it, and then the follow up question was, great, what's next? And so that's how the Diversity Movement was formed. And then in 2020, as you know, pandemic. Right. So we're building a company now in a pandemic, and then summer of 2020 with George Floyd and others who were murdered, really created an awakening. And I think it was because we were all sitting still, and so we couldn't turn away. We couldn't ask the questions that allowed us to discount what was happening, like, well, what did he do well, why did he run? Well, all of those things that we ask about injustices that allow us to not have to focus on it, and we didn't have that opportunity because we were all sitting at home. And so the world shifted. Right. And certainly the United States shifted. And then we went from a reasonable growth plan for a new business that we were still learning to an explosion of people that needed our help. And we put in a lot of hours to get people the foundation that they needed. But that's how TDM started. And we've been able to recruit many amazing folks, you included, to work with us to make the business better and provide different perspectives and grow our offerings. So very excited.
Bob - 00:20:33:
Yeah. And I like to, when I'm interviewing people, think about what's between the lines and the little tells. So the little tell for me, one is 1000 hours that you put in 1000 hours, that's half a year full time work. And I know it wasn't six months of full time work. It was very much truncated. And then tenacious, which I think is, if you're going to find words to describe Jackie Ferguson, tenacious is one of them. So taking half a step back, your dad's an engineer.
Jackie - 00:21:08:
Bob - 00:21:09:
You went to USF, so I know you got a very creative and wonderful education.
Jackie - 00:21:12:
That’s right. Doubles.
Bob - 00:21:15:
I know how creative you are. You balance these two ideas, unlike many executives I've ever met, in terms of being both a creative spirit and a process spirit, how does that work in your mind?
Jackie - 00:21:33:
Yeah, I would say it has a lot to do with my family. My dad, again, like, you said was an engineer. And so that process and, okay, what's the next step? And just a care and concern for a professional product has to be the best. He certainly instilled. My mother was an entrepreneur, and so just watching her work was fun for me, and I was able to work with her. So understanding what that process looked like, how much time it takes, and then my grandmother once told me in the kitchen when I was probably twelve or 13, she said, whatever you do, do it with all your might. And I love that, and I think about that all the time. And so that's what I did. And it was good enough, right, to get us some good work and to help change the way that people care about their employees.
Bob - 00:22:43:
Yeah. Ding, ding, ding. My spidey sense just went off. All your might. That's a perfect title for your next book. All your might.
Jackie - 00:22:51:
God's, trying to get me to write a book, another book
Bob - 00:22:55:
I know, never ends. You also hinted to the transition from helping other people be in the spotlight to stepping out into the spotlight. And that is something that a lot of people take for granted, and a lot of people take it for granted just by never stepping out into the spotlight. So I would love to know more about how that really felt, because you're behind the scenes for years, and certainly Don is such a bright. Sure he does. He casts a large shadow. And to play in that arena, you suddenly had to become a different persona than you had been training yourself for, for a long time.
Jackie - 00:23:43:
Bob - 00:23:44:
So how did that feel?
Jackie - 00:23:46:
I was terrified. I remember, Bob, when I was at Walk West. Sharon McCloud. Who was, she's a TEDx speaker. She's an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, did a training on public speaking. And I had to get up and say what my name was and what I did at Walk West, which you think is not hard, but I was terrified, and it's all stuff I know. I know what my name is. Right. I know what I do. So it was not a difficult assignment, but I got up there and I was really scared just getting up in front of people. But Sharon was one of those people, and we all need these people that push us out of our comfort zone. If she remembers kicking and screaming because she signed me up to do a privilege walk for the North Carolina Chamber, and I'd never done a speaking engagement before, and this was right before the pandemic. So we switched from the classic in person privilege walk to a virtual privilege walk, which hadn't really been done before, and so I had to figure it out, and so I did. And the virtual privilege walk is one of our signature engagements. And people, I've personally done it, although several of our consultants do the privilege walk now, but I've done it for probably 10,000 people worldwide. I was up at night. I had written everything out. I was practicing it. Yeah, I couldn't sleep for, like, three days the whole time because I was on the whole conference and I was just petrified, and I got on there and did what I needed to do, and it was good, and certainly we've refined it. I remember the very first podcast I did, I was on with John Murphy, who's an international leadership coach and the nicest guy you ever want to meet. And he wanted to do an episode on DEI based on what was happening in the world in 2020. And I remember sitting at the table and losing my breath because I was so scared. My daughter Diana actually wrote me a note that said, relax mom, you've got this, and slid it over to me. And I keep it with me to this day. Whenever I'm feeling uncertain or nervous, I look at it. And so, yeah, it's been a long journey. And even in the podcast, Diversity Beyond the Checkbox, the first couple of episodes, I was really nervous. Spent a lot of time prepping, like, not a reasonable amount, like hours and hours and hours, but that made me feel more comfortable, and now I do it all the time, and so it's better, but I still want to do a good job. So I'm always a little bit nervous, but not, like, staying awake all night nervous. Thank goodness.
Bob - 00:27:28:
Yeah. And that's part of the journey that I was talking about earlier, this journey that you've made. I want to say that it's because you're a tenacious Gen Xer and you learned the hard way coming up that this was the way the life was going to be. You constantly had to evolve. Some people might push that under the table, but I think it's important. That's an important part of the journey. We're here celebrating 100 episodes, so let's talk a little bit about the origin of Diversity Beyond the Checkbox and how you felt throughout that process.
Jackie - 00:28:04:
Yeah, well, Don started the podcast, and I think the first season was like, six episodes, and he wanted to amplify voices in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space, and I helped him do the research. Couple of questions, although he's great at just winging it, which is not my strength. And then he said, you should take it over and again, like, Sharon pushing me out. I was like, Why? I'm not going to be good at it.
Bob - 00:28:43:
Jackie - 00:28:43:
Right? But I did it. And again, very nervous. I'm talking to people like Julie Kratz and Bernadette Smith, who are exceptional leaders in the DEI space, and I was nervous and didn't feel like I was even qualified to ask them questions, but I did it. And now I've talked to over 100 amazing people from all different walks of life and industries and business leaders and authors and influencers and so many educators and so many different amazing people that I've learned something from each and every episode. So it's been a journey of learning and discovery. But I'll say, Bob, back to Diana. It's the reason why I have to do things afraid, because I want her to be able to do things afraid.
Bob - 00:29:47:
Yeah, that's an important lesson. One of the things that you just mentioned, what surprises me and continues to surprise me about Diversity Beyond the Checkbox is the range of guests. It's not a narrow little piece of the world. It's C-suite executives, consultants, thought leaders, authors, as you mentioned, scholars, philanthropists. What does it say about you that you're able to engage so well with this various range of people?
Jackie - 00:30:23:
Yeah, well, one, I'm going to go back to my grandmother. She said, no matter who you are, I can learn something from you and you can learn something from me. And so I like talking to a lot of different people with different perspectives, different experiences, because I always learn something. I always walk away with a nugget that I keep with me. It's a lot of fun. And it also exposes listeners to perspectives they wouldn't naturally hear in their everyday life. Right. We're so busy and we're in our routine, and we have to be very intentional about breaking out of that. And I think that the opportunity to hear a conversation among two people or between two people let me use my English degree between two people that come from different backgrounds or have different experiences. It's very interesting. And you get to hear and put a face or a voice to an idea. Right. It's easy in DEI, one of the things that we overcome is taking these concepts and humanizing them. And so hearing different perspectives, different experiences, different life stories, allows you to break through the assumptions that you make about people and allows you to connect with them a little bit more.
Bob - 00:32:05:
Yeah. I think it's so important what you've done. You take people I mean, everybody in the world feels time crunched, even if they're not. But you've built this podcast into Top 5% downloaded globally, and we know that it's growing, so that's only going to get better. But there's a way that you engage with guests that when I listen to you, there is a natural compassion and empathy that I think is right along with what you just said that pulls the person in, and then pulls listeners in in a way that that enabled Diversity Beyond The Checkbox to grow. Perhaps in a way that that Don's personality wasn't quite the same.
Jackie - 00:32:55:
Yeah. I think part of my background and part of my jobs historically have been relationships, and so having a 60 minutes relationship with that person that I'm engaging with is important. I want to get to beyond what they do. Right. Especially in the United States. It's always what's your name? What do you do? I want to get beyond that. Like, who are you as a person? Why do you think the way you do? And I try to do that, and I'm very grateful for the listeners that I have. I thought it was just my mom for a really long time, but it's been a great journey.
Bob - 00:33:45:
Yeah. And then when you think about the awesome responsibility of thousands of people listening to you that you're never going to get a chance, probably to meet, but they're gaining something, it's really powerful. I know it's tough to pull out specific moments because you've had so many great guests. Maybe we could just look at a couple of highlights, a handful of highlights or two or three highlights that either memorable moments or memorable guests that you feel really brought something new to the game.
Jackie - 00:34:19:
Well, offhand, I think, of Lee Steinberg. He is a sports agent that is world famous. And so I was fanning a little bit like, oh, my God, Steinberg. Right. Exactly. So that was the inspiration for the Jerry Maguire character. He was great. And for someone that's so, like, world renowned, just such a great energy and personality, and it was a great interview. I also think of Tony Lowden. So he is President Jimmy Carter's pastor and doing amazing work with formerly incarcerated and currently incarcerated individuals. His story was so moving that I've cried on the podcast, Bob, several times. But I was so emotional when he started sharing his background that I said to myself, if I break, I'm going to have to reschedule. I will not be able to get it back together. And so I was, like, carefully breathing for a strong 15 minutes of that interview so that I wouldn't cry. But so inspirational. Dr. Paul Zeitz is another he was a doctor that, in the height of the AIDS epidemic, went to Africa and just worked with people that had AIDS. And in a time where there was so much stigma and we didn't know, and all of those things he really gave of himself. And it was just so inspirational to do work like that. And then I would say, also, Dr. Sheena Mason, her background was so interesting. She has troubled background. I'm getting emotional now. But what was so cool about Dr. Mason was that she talks about racelessness, which is the idea that race is a construct and it's a social construct, and so it doesn't really exist, which really puts me in the space, because I'm I'm so good, I think, at just listening to other perspectives and being able to say, okay, well, that makes sense. Whether I agree or not, that makes sense. But this was really off for me. So I really got to put myself in the shoes of people that are hearing some of these ideas about DEI for the first time and practice what it felt like to really listen to something that was totally new. And so I enjoyed that process, but all of my guests have been amazing. And again, I've gotten nuggets from each and every guest that I've had on the show, but those were some of the highlights. And yes, I have cried multiple times on the podcast for different guests, with different guests.
Bob - 00:37:54:
And I think that's in itself, an encapsulation of how the world's changed you. And I could probably sit here for an hour and tell really bad stories of command and control bosses we had, particularly in the 80s and 90s that would curl people's toes. But here you are, the producer, the host, the researcher, the person who brings this great podcast together. But you're dealing with emotional issues, and sometimes that means you just you can't control it. It's such a different message than a couple of decades ago.
Jackie - 00:38:36:
Yeah, I think that we're moving into space where we want people to be their whole self. And sometimes that means that something that someone says touches you and you get emotional, and that's okay. Yeah. I would never cry at work right before the last few years because it was seen as weakness. But there's real strength, I think, in being able to empathize with people and as a leader, showing that you're human. It allows people to be more themselves.
Bob - 00:39:18:
Yeah. And what I like that you mentioned there is the little nuggets that you get from each person because your interviewing style is so fluid that you're drawing out the real human being. And that's so important not only to the podcast, but what we all do in terms of our own personal lives and our engagement with DEI. So I'd absolutely love that.
Jackie - 00:39:44:
Bob - 00:39:45:
So let's talk about a couple of dream guests. Are there anybody out there, any individuals out there that if you could name your guest, who would they be?
Jackie - 00:39:58:
Yeah, I would definitely say Bozoma Saint John. So she was the CMO for Netflix, and she's like this. So if you think about how Wolfgang Puck made celebrity chefs, she is like an executive influencer. I follow her on Instagram, and she has such just a great kind of I'm just myself. I'm partying, I'm going to the gym. I'm doing all these cool things, speaking at all these different places. And so I would say definitely her. I would say Jonathan Van Ness, for sure. They are just so cool. And I would say I'm not a jealous hearted person, but JVN's Blowouts are amazing, and so I just love them. They're so themselves, and I think maybe that's the thread, Bob. I would say another is the CEO of Essence, Caroline Wanga. And again, with her, I'm not afraid to share what my Insecurities are. I'm not afraid to share who I am. And that's very empowering in a time where we're just starting to move out of covering and changing who we are, hiding our full selves in the workplace. And I would say for all three of them, they're just very uniquely themselves and I respect that, admire that and would love to talk to them.
Bob - 00:41:44:
Yeah, those are fantastic options. So if you're out there and you just heard your name mentioned by,
Please call me.
Bob – 00:41:50:
Exactly. So as we're winding down, I thought, I think the Lightning round is kind of a cool concept, but I'm not going to put you on the hot seat that way. I'll ask you some questions. You take as much time as you need. Answer them short ish, but they don't have to be. Lightning round sounds good. So you mentioned earlier music when you're making dinner. What is it? What kind?
Jackie - 00:42:15:
I love this female singers that are just like big and bold, like Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey. They make me feel empowered.
Bob - 00:42:31:
Jackie - 00:42:32:
Bob - 00:42:32:
Your favorite childhood memory?
Jackie - 00:42:35:
I would have to say my parents took us to Lake George in New York every summer and so we really looked forward to it. We did it every single year growing up and just spending time with them at the lake and the fun little quirky things that we did was a great memory. Every year was very cool.
Bob - 00:43:01:
That's great. Favorite movie?
Jackie - 00:43:05:
The Godfather. I've watched it probably 200 times and it's a three hour movie. It's an investment. So good.
Bob - 00:43:16:
Yeah. That's a serious amount of time. Do you watch like, if you're scanning through the channels and you just see it on randomly on a cable channel, do you stop?
Jackie – 00:43:25:
Oh yeah, absolutely.
Bob – 00:43:26:
Just join right in.
Jackie - 00:43:27:
Yeah. And Bob, I've been watching that movie since we had to put it into the VCR. And I remember having the rewinder. I don't know if everybody was that cool, but I had a separate rewinder so I could go ahead and watch another movie while I was rewinding the 3 hours of tape on The Godfather.
Bob - 00:43:46:
I do remember that.
Jackie - 00:43:48:
Bob - 00:43:49:
I remember there being a time when you couldn't put 3 hours on one VHS tape.
Jackie - 00:43:55:
Bob - 00:43:57:
But I'm a little bit older than Jackie.
Jackie - 00:44:00:
Bob - 00:44:01:
Favorite Gen X moment?
Jackie - 00:44:05:
I think it was just at a job where someone said, I don't feel comfortable doing that. And I was like, what? What does that have to do with it? And so one of the fun things is I get to work with millennials and Gen Z now and just understanding that cool level of self-awareness and expectation that we didn't have as Gen Xers. And it's really awesome to see.
Bob - 00:44:39:
Yeah, that is it's a big difference. I was going to ask you your most outrageous Gen X moment, but I happen to think I know a couple of those and I don't want to pull those out in the air.
Jackie - 00:44:51:
Yeah. I would say one of the positives, and there are many of being a Gen Xer is there's no video of your college and early 20s Shenanigans. And so I'm thankful for that.
Bob - 00:45:09:
Yeah. What's the one piece of advice you would give yourself if you were back in time and speaking to the 18 year old Jackie Ferguson.
Jackie - 00:45:20:
Do it afraid.
Bob - 00:45:23:
Jackie - 00:45:24:
Bob - 00:45:25:
Would it be the same advice or different when you were 35?
Jackie - 00:45:29:
I would say at 35, don't be afraid to make the decisions that are right for you. Yeah.
Bob - 00:45:38:
That's powerful. And I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention that you were just honored by Inc magazine as one of their female founders, the 200 female founders who are, quote, changing the world.
Jackie - 00:45:56:
I'm so excited about that.
Bob - 00:45:58:
It's such a great honor. Along those lines, and this is a compliment, but in your mind, what's the best compliment you've ever received?
Jackie - 00:46:16:
I trust you. I would say my integrity is the most important part of myself. I try to always do what's best. I'm always honest, and I care about people, and so I trust you is the compliment that means the most to me.
Bob - 00:46:43:
One of the things that I really like is that you were honored by Ink magazine in the change makers category. There were only 25 in the whole country. I mean, what words do you put around that?
Jackie - 00:47:00:
I'm blessed to lead such an amazing team that helps me change the world every day. It makes me feel really good to be able to, in my small way, affect the world and make change in the world.
Bob - 00:47:16:
And don if you're listening when you're listening to this, a raise would certainly be in order. More perks. I don't know, whatever perk she wants, because the content machine is the driver at TDM. It's the engine that roars just in case you're listening. And you don't have to be super serious on this one if you don't want to, or you can be Academy Award level speech. But what do you hope the world will look like in ten years?
Jackie - 00:47:45:
I hope that people just respect each other, value each other, and allow other people to be who they really are and embrace that. I just want people to be themselves and find their happiness and find their success and find their love in whatever realm that means for them.
Bob - 00:48:13:
That's perfect. We would be remiss if we didn't just end with talking about what's next? It's 100 episodes. It's fantastic. You've grown the podcast. It's new insights all the time. It's been a fantastic journey, but we're not anywhere near the end.
Jackie - 00:48:32:
Bob - 00:48:33:
So what's next for the podcast? What's next for Jackie Ferguson?
Jackie - 00:48:38:
I would say I don't have a specific plan on the podcast. I'm so blessed to get so many people that are interested in talking to me and having the opportunity to engage with so many different people. I just want more people to listen. I want to tell more stories and amplify more voices. For me, certainly a vacation is what's next? Right after that. I would say just continuing the work that we're doing to create a better world and better workplaces.
Bob - 00:49:14:
And this doesn't mean much to anybody, but human beings are hardwired in their DNA for storytelling. If you go back and study early humans, storytelling is a piece of that. And it's so important. And in my mind, you are a master storyteller. And so I just want to say congratulations on the hundred episodes. I'm so elated that you asked me to be part of it and I just will continue listening. So. Thank you, Jack.
Jackie - 00:49:48:
Thank you, Bob. Thanks for joining me for this episode. Please take a moment to subscribe and review this podcast and share this episode with a friend. Become a part of our community on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. This show was edited and produced by Earfluence. I'm Jackie Ferguson. Join us for our next episode of Diversity Beyond the Checkbox. Take care of yourself and each other.
In this special 100th episode of Diversity Beyond the Checkbox, host Jackie Ferguson is on the other side of the questions! Joined by critically-acclaimed author and guest host, Dr. Bob Batchelor, they reflect on the podcast’s journey, discuss the importance of storytelling, and share their hopes for the future. Get a glimpse into Jackie’s personality and hear about her favorite things, greatest accomplishments, and what’s next for the podcast. Plus, Jackie receives a surprise video message from her loved ones congratulating her on the podcast’s success and recent honor as one of Inc. Magazine’s 200 Female Founders who are changing the world.