[00:00:00] Jackie Ferguson: [00:00:00] Welcome to Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox, brought to you by The Diversity Movement, where we discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion topics with leaders that make our world a more welcoming and supportive place for all. We can't wait to share with you what's coming next. But in this compilation episode, we're looking back on the conversations we've had with DEI leaders from season two as we get excited for the next season coming in June.
Also, I wanted to let you know about a couple exciting updates from The Diversity Movement. First, we have a new podcast called Winning with Diversity where our VP of business strategy, Shelly Willingham, talks DEI through a business lens, specifically in the first series, how you can think about DEI while working in a startup. Go check that out on any podcast app, and we'll have a link in the show notes.
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite moments from Diversity: Beyond the [00:01:00] Checkbox.
Bernadette Smith: [00:01:01] You know, it really comes back to this feeling of wanting to keep people safe. And I don't know where, like, you know what sort of baggage I have around that, but that's, you know, that's something that's really big part of who I am is, is wanting everyone, everyone in this world to feel like they have the freedom to walk through the world with dignity, whatever that means for them. So that means however they might express themselves, whatever diversity dimension is part of their identity. They should have the freedom to just be themselves.
My goodness. It's really not a big ask. Right? Or at least it shouldn't be. Um, but I feel really passionately about that. And so a lot of the things that I talk about related to diversity and inclusion are truly about including diverse voices. Who are your customers? Including diverse voices among your team members. How do we [00:02:00] get there? And again, it comes back to being a pragmatic idealist. I can certainly tell you the why all day long, why it's so important, but when I'm giving a speech or leading a training, it's about how can we get there and practical steps. Let's break this down. Let's keep it simple because really treating people with dignity and respect is not rocket science, but, but how do we get there and how do we get there systemically? What are some of the systemic changes that we can make together to truly allow more people to feel included.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:02:41] Why is showing diversity and storybooks important to you and so important, in fact, that you start a business dedicated to making these children feel seen.
Mike Vaggalis: [00:02:51] Yeah. That's a really important question. It's sort of gets it our why. And, and so I appreciate the question.
You know, The short answer is because I [00:03:00] became convinced that our worldview, when it looked at. Man, the way that the world is and the way that I think most of us, I think that the world should be. I just saw a gap. and the more they explored it, the more convinced I became that, we could build a company that, that would fit that void and can really make a.
A tangible difference. When I was a kid, I, I was just always taught the truth that every person matters. That whatever you look like or sound like, or however you think, whatever, whoever you are, you matter. And when I was a kid, I just remember believing that truth the same way that I believe two plus two equals four and.
Yeah, it was crazy, Jackie. I remember I was thinking back, earlier this week, and I just remember in elementary school, I'm like second or third or fourth grade and learning about the civil rights movement, and it just, it [00:04:00] rocked me to learn that, you know, that like, there was this little boy who was. My good friend, just one of the guys.
And he was this little African American boy. And I remember having a conversation with my parents and saying, how is it that some people in the past and worse, some people today would view him as mattering less than me. And then later, later in life, I ended up becoming a Christian. And my core worldview.
Helped me to put some rationale and some words, and I think, you know, just some truth behind that. Beliefs that that I had always had. And I just believe, like to my core, every person is made in the image of God. And because of that, we all have intrinsic worth when I see anybody, but particularly kids who.
Either a told by other people or just come to believe that they don't matter as much because they can't see themselves [00:05:00] represented in the content that they consume or the books that they read. It just breaks my heart. And when I saw that this, any different keeps taking tales can really make a tangible difference.
It wasn't a question of like, should I do this? It was, it was like a moral imperative of I can't not do it. okay. This is just something that I feel really called to do, so.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:05:25] And Cynthia, can you tell us with the focus that you've had to have to reach your level of success? Where does that come from in your background?
Cynthia Barnes: [00:05:35] Ah, I had parents who knew. That anything was possible. If I was willing to put forth the effort and the hard work to achieve it. So my father was a sales or not sales. He was a Sergeant in the air force and he sat me down when I was about six years old and he said, send me, cause you know, everybody in the South is named middle named Mae.
He [00:06:00] said to me, send me, I've got some news for you. And I want you to take this seriously. And I knew that when my father was speaking in that tone, he was serious. So he grew up in the Jim Crow, South segregation. So keep in mind what I'm about to tell you is through his lens of how he viewed things growing up in the segregated South of Georgia.
So he sits me down and he says, send me, you have two strikes against you. You are a black girl. And I said, yes, I know daddy. And he said, what that means for you? It's for the rest of your life. You're going to have to do things twice as hard to get half as recognized. Now, remember, this is his lens that he's looking through.
So I said, okay. Yes, daddy. And then he said, while I'm at it, I guess he had more to say while he was on a soap box, he said there are three types of people in the world. Those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen. And those who wonder what the hell happened. He said. So basically what I'm trying to say to you [00:07:00] is work really hard, harder than anybody else and work and make things happen.
So that's where it came from from age six.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:07:09] That's amazing. It's funny, Cynthia. I had the same conversation with my grandfather. Who's
Cynthia Barnes: [00:07:17] yes. Yes. I
Jackie Ferguson: [00:07:19] literally said the exact same thing. You have two strikes against you and you've got to work harder than anybody else.
And a lot of us have had that sit down conversation with our parents or grandparents.
Um, and you know, because the playing field is not level.
Donald Thompson: [00:07:38] I have a friend of mine, his name is Jeremy, and he is a hardcore serious Republican and still to this day. But Jerry and my friends, so we've maintained a relationship, facebook, we call, we talk every now and then. He was on the ground at the rally in Oklahoma, in Tulsa. Okay. And so they were talking about all the reasons [00:08:00] for the small crowds or big crowds, whatever. And I said, "Jeremy, what happened on the ground?" He says, "Well," he said, "I think the city of Tulsa didn't want there to be a big crowd.
So they kind of held us in line a little bit longer so people would go home. Like, there was some shenanigans going on." I said, "I can believe that, right? Does - that makes sense. You're on the ground, this is what happened. And I said, "Jeremy, were there radical protestors?" He said, "Nah, man," he said "Everybody's full of shit."
He said "There weren't any radical protesters." He said "There were people screaming Black Lives Matter just like we were screaming Make America Great Again. But like, we were all representing our troupe or whatever we wanted to do, but there was no radical protesters." The point is what we're all being fed from all these different networks is designed to keep us at the most heightened sense of anger towards one another so we forget that our leadership in Washington doesn't even work for a living. They don't even work except genning us up to stay pissed off.
Grant Willard: [00:08:58] In the last few weeks we've [00:09:00] used the word riots. I was coming of age in the sixties. I remember Rodney King.
We've not seen riots. We've seen a little bit of - I've seen isolated vandalism limited breaking and entering because folk were letting off a little bit of steam or some horrific things that have gone on recently and for 400 years. Letting off a little bit of steam. Not riots. Not destruction . Burning cardboard in the street.
Big flames is not destruction. It's just what - we're just - the media, which is supposed to be the fourth leg of the democracy, is just feeding us this stuff to keep us at edge 'cause they sell a lot of stuff that way.
Julie Kratz: [00:09:40] No one likes to admit they had a leg up, right? No one wants to think, Oh, everyone, the myth of meritocracy is alive and well, especially in American culture.
Well, I worked hard to get to where I am. I earned it every step of the way. Yeah. And that road might have been a lot easier for you. And I can identify with this. For [00:10:00] example, I, I was not a fan of the privilege work until recently I work of course, but I used to say things like, well, I grew up poor. Or I had a single mom growing up.
I didn't have things, you know, I had to work really hard to get to where I am. Well, there was a lot of privilege actually in my story. I was not poor. We were not in poverty. I did have food and I did have shelter. I just didn't have the things I wanted. I had the things I needed. That's not poverty.
That's not poor. You compare notes with somebody else and you become, really becomes really clear your privilege. And even saying that, most people that are very poor don't even know i t , know any different. And then I, yeah, I worked hard. I got into college, I got a full ride scholarship.
I got the big corporate job and did the corporate thing. And, you know, I think there was a lot of wanting to believe that I tried hard, that I earned what I got and I did, and my road was easier. Right. And had I had a disability, it would have been harder for me had I not [00:11:00] honestly had a good parent. I didn't have two, you know, fully participative parents, but I had one really good one. I believed in me and said things to me. Like I see you doing amazing things someday. Like you believe in women. I,see you supporting women in your career. I mean, just to have somebody like that in your life.
And that's a huge privilege that I had, even if we didn't have money and resources. So I think unpacking this privilege thing to think, Hey, where are the instances that I had a lying up and where might I be able to use that to help others? And this is again, the chance to be an ally. The more privilege you have, the more you can help.
That this is great. If you look at it that way as like, instead of like, Oh great. I didn't deserve to be here. Oh, I have to, should give everything back? Like that's not the narrative that's helpful. Instead, yeah, you might've had an easier road to get to where you're at. No one's mad about that, but can we make it a little easier for other people to get there?
Geoffrey Moore: [00:11:57] So if you look at the leadership of tech [00:12:00] historically, it's been engineering, it's been, yeah, it's been math majors in engineering. Since you have science and technology, it's not been it's history, majors and English majors, language majors and arts majors and whatever. But when you look at diversity inclusion, equity, and inclusion, that is a social phenomenon.
And it requires a lot of social skills, particularly because. You've got to get outside of your own group, group centricity, we're all group centric. We all have a group of people that, that are like us, that we interact with. And then there's others who are not like us. And we have the sort of boundary and the tendency, if we're not careful is well, I'll just work with the people that are uncomfortable with, which are the people like me and I won't work with everybody else.
And what diversity equity inclusion says is, well, Hey. Okay. That's why you're, that's why you're not going to get more diversity, but, but B of you're putting yourself at risk. If in fact, you need to connect with a diverse world in order to be successful. And [00:13:00] so increasingly as we're trying to do to engineer social change, whether it's around education or healthcare or social services or, or consumer products or whatever it is, we have a very, very diverse world and we can't find ways to connect our enterprise to it.
Christian Charrette: [00:13:17] So I think the most common misconception about most atheists is that they're angry people and that the only reason that they either stopped or never believed in God is because, um, You know, something bad happened to them when they were a kid or in church, or they're angry at church.
People on those things are probably possible reasons. People might choose to leave their faith or, or challenge their beliefs. But you know, the people that I talked to, um, mostly have. Intellectual problems with spiritual faith and it's, and I find them very earnest people. Um, you know, which I would consider myself a sincere person.
I sincerely believe where I was taught and I sincerely don't believe it [00:14:00] anymore.
Robert Davis: [00:14:00] Ironically, the question is, is if you believe it or not, Chris is getting just about the same kind of heat, because most people want to say Christians, why are y'all so judgmental now in all honesty and all candidate candidness, there are some judgmental Christians.
I just happened to not be one of them because I, I try not to put myself in a place just because you know what I believe as far as, you know what I stay in known as far as God in the word, I don't want to be in the place where, okay, now I'm sitting here as the high judge, because . Believe it or not. Some Christians aren't even judgmental against other Christians.
So, and definitely against atheist. Cause I've seen it. I've heard it, I've seen it, but, but like Christian said, if you can get to a place where you can, where you don't get into a back and forth shouting debate match. And if you, if you sit there and listen, that's the key hearing each other and listening, you'll be amazed what can come out of that conversation.
And, uh, and ironically, uh, Jackie asked me to be on this. I'm just finding out that people that I've known for years [00:15:00] are atheists.
Raven Solomon: [00:15:02] What I talk about in one of my keynotes is this idea, this trademarked concept of a Led Language. And so if you're familiar with the Love Language, then you know, that Love Language is nothing but the way in which you best receive Love or give Love. It just kind of depends. Some people have a Love Language that's different than the way that they receive and give.
I totally get it. Well, as I'm thinking about leadership, one day, I'm like, well, the same way that people have Love Languages, people probably have Led Languages as well. So for Love Languages, the way that you best receive Love, a Led Language is nothing but the way in which you best receive leadership.
And so I'm beginning to think about, okay, if - I'm writing a book right now about the Led Languages - and I wanted to take that concept and kind of juxtapose that against generations. [00:16:00] So what I've done is just taken a look at all that I know about generations and taking a stab at giving each generation a primary Led Language, the way in which they best receive leadership.
I think as we talk about differences, this may be a good way to just give you one or two differences across generations, but for a Baby Boomer, maybe boomers grew up in a time where, you know, authority was based on tenure and seniority. So it's really about earning your keep. It's about putting in the work and once you get that title, I know you deserve that title because you've put in the work.
And so you get a certain level of respect from me. You know what I mean? If you're in the organization. And so for a Baby Boomer, their Led Language, the primary Led Language, it's really respect. If you want to get the best out of a Baby Boomer, just because of how they've kind of experienced work in life, then you [00:17:00] have to show them respect - respect of their time, respect of their tenure, their seniority, what they bring to the table, respect for the relationships they've cultivated over the last several decades that they've, they've been in the workforce.
So, especially as a younger leader, If you're leading Baby Boomers, it's important that you show them that respect and they appreciate it.
Jason Gillikin: [00:17:22] What is one piece of advice that you would want to give to baby boomers?
It could be about anything. It could be about the way you want to be treated in a job, it could be a way - a misperception. What's one piece that you would want to give to baby boomers?
Candace Cooper: [00:17:37] I would say, check on your strong millennial employees. I think oftentimes we think these millennials are go getters, they're always wanting to, you know, go to their next and they want to be always advancing and always wanting to learn more, but sometimes they just want to be able to talk and they want someone who wants to listen to them and be able to express their feelings because we live in a generation now where everyone, you know, always has to achieve, achieve, achieve.
And if you're [00:18:00] not, you know, at the top, then you're nobody. So I think we do achieve great things, but at the same time, it's just like, we need time to reflect and to, you know, be proud of our accolades. And we need have someone who like, "Hey, you're doing a good thing." We need that support. And we won't vocalize it sometimes. Sometimes we will just keep going and we'll keep internalizing 'cause we're taught like, "OK, don't have feelings and you know, you're an athlete or you're, you know, this performer, you have to be on all the time," so they need to have that space where they can say, "Hey, it's OK to let that guard down and really just express yourself."
Jackie Ferguson: [00:18:33] As you've heard, we've had some amazing guests join us for some very important DEI conversations, and I'm so excited for you to hear what's in store for season four. And if you haven't already be sure to follow this podcast so you'll be notified when we come back in June. Until then be sure to visit thediversitymovement.com for more podcasts, articles and educational content.
[00:19:00] This episode was edited and produced by Earfluence. I'm Jackie Ferguson, and I'll talk with you next time on Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox.
Season 4 is almost here, but first we’re sharing some of our favorite moments from season 2 of Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox, hosted by TDM Head of Content and Programming, Jackie Ferguson.
Find this episode on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Find Jackie on Linkedin.
In this compilation, you’ll hear from the following episodes:
- Ask a Baby Boomer (Anson Dorrance) / Ask a Millennial (Candace Cooper)
- Entrepreneur Gabi Angelini on Gabi’s Grounds, Life with Down Syndrome, and Inspiring So Many
- Unconscious Bias in Early Childhood Education, with Kate Goodwin and Kate Jordan-Downs
- Gender Inequality and Code Switching in Sales, with NAWSP President Cynthia Barnes
- Ask a Christian / Ask an Atheist
- Generational Diversity and Led Languages, with Raven Solomon
- Ask a Black Guy / Ask a White Guy, Part 2
- Solving Underrepresentation in Children’s Literature, with Mike Vaggalis of Keepsake Tales
- Unchecking the Gender Box, Unconscious Bias, and Allyship with Julie Kratz
- Being an LGBTQ+ Ally, with Bernadette Smith