[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 three 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 [00:01:00] moments from Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox.
Brian "Woody" White: [00:01:06] I was a Senior Manager in a company. And the company was thinking about moving its corporate office. And everything they talked about when I went to the meeting was all about the pristineness of the environment, playing golf and all those kinds of things.
And they picked some locations and I remember saying, " I appreciate these wonderful looking places that you guys pick, but the areas you're selecting to move the corporate office is like 0.00005% Black, let alone minority in general." And you know, I brought up conversations and things like, "So you guys do realize that my wife wouldn't have anywhere to go to get her Black hair done because nobody will understand it."
My kids would be not only the only Black kids in the class, but probably in the school and [00:02:00] possibly the neighborhood based on the places you're looking at. So, when I brought some of those things up, it meant absolutely nothing. So, it's things like that, that I like to mention because those are the things outside of the work that a lot of Black executives don't know when you start moving up, it's conversations like this that just make you say, "Wow, what uh, what exactly do I do here if we move these offices?
Jackie Ferguson: [00:02:30] What do you wish everyone knew about people with disabilities? What do you want to share with our listeners about people with disabilities and what they can do? You know, how amazing and special they are. You want to talk about that a little bit?
Sophie Pacyna: [00:02:51] People with down syndrome like me, they should feel special for who they are. And they should, [00:03:00] they should embrace who they are and feel special in their own skin and be who they are.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:03:11] Sophie, that's good advice for all of us, isn't it? To feel good in your own skin and appreciate who they are. I love that. Thank you for sharing that.
Why do you think organizations are hesitant about employing people with disabilities?
Lindsay Wrege: [00:03:32] Yeah, I think that unfortunately there is, I don't know if stigma is the right word, but people see differences as scary or unknown as opposed to interesting, and I think that, that's a big societal mindset that I'm hoping 321 Coffee can be a part of changing. And so, for a lot of people, if they didn't have, or [00:04:00] don't have, a personal connection to someone with a disability, they just may not know about that whole community, you know? They don't know how to interact with someone. If they see someone who's non-verbal, they don't know how to have that conversation, which is understandable. But, I think that something that I'm excited for 321 to be a player is showing that yes, there are differences, but that doesn't divide us, and there are, are so - there's so much value in these conversations and these relationships.
And I love to see the perspective and the mindsets changing from customers that come to 321, especially because if you walk by our shop, you know, the name 321 Coffee doesn't scream anything about disability, you know? So a lot of times people come in because they see the word coffee, and they're like, "Oh great. I just want a cup of coffee."
And then all of a sudden, you know, someone's in front of them with autism taking their order, and they see somebody with spina bifida steaming the [00:05:00] milk on their latte, and they've got someone with down syndrome chatting with them as they wait for their drink, and it's just this whole diverse team and exposure.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:05:11] Sandra, tell us why you're so passionate about women being financially empowered.
Sandra Stowe: [00:05:16] I find, and I, I say this with some delicacy, because I'm not saying that this only happens to women, but I feel like women have more obstacles. So again, it doesn't mean that men don't face some of the same challenges, but in large majority, I would say women face more financial challenges.
And for instance, like what I mean by that is the most obvious, I think the one that gets a lot more air time, is really around the wage gap, right? Where women make 82 cents on the dollar for their male counterparts. And, depending upon your race, you actually might make less. So it's unfortunate, right, but it's real where just your earning power, one, is affected by that. [00:06:00] Two, and again, I'm, I'm giving my comments in very broad strokes, so I don't want to sound stereotypical, but it's just broad strokes here in that many women, you know, if they have children, they tend to take time away from their careers to rear children, right?
And it's a personal choice and it's not a wrong choice, but the potential impact of that is, at a later stage, if they decide to go back to work, if they even decide to do that, many times, they're not on the same trajectory that they once were. And so, the types of roles they're able to, to attain, and then commensurately with that is like the level of income and earning power, is at a lower level than what it would have been had they stayed in their careers, right?
So you have the wage gap and then you have that potential additional factor. And then in a lot of households, again saying this without a judgment, but husbands oftentimes still manage the [00:07:00] finances. And it's great that they're loving, trusting relationships, you know, the women are fine with the husbands doing that, but fundamentally that puts them at a disservice where they don't have a good understanding what their financial situation is. So I joke around, I say, "I'm not here to cause marital discord," and I'm not saying like, change that dynamic, but at a minimum, be educated, and know what decisions are being made, and actually know what your financial situation is.
Michael Bach: [00:07:35] I think it's, it's key to the whole mindset around diversity and inclusion is shifting from this mindset of we've got to help those poor people to, no, we've got to level the playing field so everyone can be successful. I'll give you an example. Employers for years have said, "Oh, we can't have remote work. We can't have remote work, people won't be [00:08:00] productive." And there were two groups in particular that had been asking for remote work, a great deal, women, particularly new mothers and people with disabilities. Well, let's have a pandemic to prove that we can actually make it work, and we've made it work. And now, we've got employers who are saying that they're going to have digital by default as the standard, and they're going to cut back on office space, and they're going to have people work from home. Like, okay. We've been saying for decades that we could make this work, and now that it's working for the majority, instead of just the minority, we're all about it.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:08:43] Right.
Michael Bach: [00:08:44] Why can't we make something work for the minority and then have everybody benefit?
Jackie Ferguson: [00:08:52] So let's talk about why hiring people with disabilities is good for business and why employers need to be more [00:09:00] inclusive.
Hannah Olson: [00:09:01] I love this question. This is my favorite thing to talk about. You know, disability inclusion is really, it's an opportunity, and it's not a chore, and hiring people with disabilities and illnesses is good for people and, in turn, it's good for companies. And so, the more we have these inclusive and accessible, flexible workplaces and policies, really, this is the key to helping everyone work better. And so, the businesses that actually do foster strong inclusion programs have better access to talent and they can find the right person for the right job. And so, these businesses, they have higher employee retention and, in turn, they also have the tools they need to help their employees thrive.
And so, I always love to just, kind of reiterate the fact that hiring people with disabilities is good for business, but most businesses aren't, you know - either they don't know, or they're not taking advantage of that fact. And so with Chronically Capable, we're, we're really trying to bridge that gap.
[00:10:00]Jackie Ferguson: [00:10:00] As a DEI leader, I found that people often don't have access or experience with people from the trans community.
And so they avoid conversations as to not offend, but in doing that, it makes people feel excluded and unwelcomed. Let's talk about some trans basics. What are some things that we need to know?
Jake Rostovsky: [00:10:21] It's really interesting because a lot of employers that I work with say, Oh, well, we've never had a trans employee. I don't know how to have these conversations. To which I respond, well, you've never had an trans employee that you know of. Right. It's quite possible they've not come out yet. Or they're, you know, living stealth, right. Which means that they just don't tell anyone. So already it's a bit too late for these conversations that employers are not having.
Um, But some basics that are really important to know are just to be open, honest, and always take the lead of your employee. Right? So if an employee comes out, instead of being like, well, I took this training, which is [00:11:00] good, please take trainings. But say, okay, this is what I've learned in this training. How is this applicable to you? And how can I help you? Because I could sit here and list, you know, the top five things to know when working with a trans employee and your employee will come out. And it's absolutely not applicable to that employee. In a nutshell, the great answer to that is take as many workshops with varying different facilitators because we each have our own perspective.
And then when , um, you're ready to have those difficult conversations, follow your employees lead.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:11:38] Why do you say that it's okay not to be okay when that's not how we're taught as we enter the workplace?
Alissa Carpenter: [00:11:47] It's tough. Even in my first job after graduate school- I was 22, I had my master's. I was younger than some of the students I was working with at the time. And I felt like I had to [00:12:00] compartmentalize who I was.
This is professional Alissa. This is personal Alissa. You only talk about the professional in that space. And I have to look like, and act like the people who are working there. And I was almost morphing myself into somebody. I really wasn't. And I continued to do that for a little bit, and I saw other people on other colleagues do that to try to fit in, because we say this idea of bring your whole self to work, but sometimes we really mean bring your whole self to work if it looks and acts and feels like the majority group that's there and that's not okay. Right. You're going to feel like somebody who's different. It's very hard to compartmentalize who you are, especially with everything just in general, going on in the world and we might be experiencing the same events, but are taking them in very differently based on our experiences and how our processing it.
So it's very important to me to continue to get this message across that. Everything's not okay. And it's, it's ok that we're in that space and to keep growing and learning and developing it's important as professionals at any level to create spaces where people can feel valued, [00:13:00] people can feel heard and bring theirselves because you lose a piece of who you are and several pieces of who you are when you're trying to compartmentalize something.
Dr Steve Yacovelli: [00:13:12] I think with any of us "Others," there's always going to be some nuance or difference that we need to think about than kind of the "Norm," quote-unquote, or more of the larger population. I think for queer folks though, one of the things that I think is the oppor-- you know. Disney, we never said a problem, we said, "You have an area of opportunity." And I think this is the area of opportunity; is, is for us to own our authenticity and make sure that we're out.
And the latest studies by the Human Rights Campaign says still, that about 50% of LGBTQ Plus people are not out at work. And that's, I mean, that's the latest one that, they haven't brought out the next one. You know, and I'd be curious to see does the, the SCOTUS ruling from last summer about Title IX and all that good stuff, see how that plays out. But regardless, 50% in [00:14:00] 2021, half the people from my community are not out at work. And that's, that blows my mind for a couple reasons. One, why? You know what I mean? Like, and we all have our own reasons, obviously I was in that boat at some point, and I'm never going to out somebody or tell them you need to come out.
No, that's not my jam, but I do want to ask people why? Because I know when, before I, I owned my authentic self in the workplace, the jogging around a pronouns, and, "What did you do this weekend?" And, "Who'd you do it with?" You know, like, "Where's the pictures in my office or my cubicle?" You know, all that stuff takes energy. And that's energy you could be focusing on to be a more awesome leader.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:14:41] Nichelle, what advice would you give to young, professionals who are culturally diverse entering into this space.
Nichelle Pace: [00:14:51] You have to have, a level of flexibility, but you also have to be really grounded and [00:15:00] centered with people. When you work in advertising and marketing or any medium, or you're putting out content, there is a level of responsibility that you have.
To do no harm to culture, to society. You see it with, you know, this phenomenon of fake news and misinformation and all the things that are happening. You have to really be conscious about what you're putting out as a creator, what words you're writing as a copywriter and the impact that it has on people, because we have the power to communicate to millions at a time in one shot.
So as you know, the cheesy Spider-Man say goes with great power comes great responsibility, you must take on that responsibility and take it serious. You know, consumers are not just data points. They are people and people have pains, passions, [00:16:00] joys, frustrations, and you can either be a, a positive force.
With somebody in their day or a negative force, or you can make them laugh or you could make them cry. You can make them think. But everything we do is about persuasion and influence, and we do it at such a mass scale as marketers, that I take that responsibility seriously, and I try and impart that onto the next generation.
Like, don't take what you do for granted. A lot of people just want to look at the surface. Yeah. Oh, that's cool. We got to make a cool add or we got to make something that was funny or we got something to go viral, but how's that work going to be remembered in this space? What kind of impact does it have, and was it a positive experience for the consumer, for the people that are viewing that content or seeing that ad or listening to that podcast?
Like what can you leave behind that people will remember in a positive manner? And that's what I [00:17:00] try to impart on the younger generation.
Jackie Ferguson: [00:17:08] 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.
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 3 of Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox, hosted by TDM Head of Content and Programming, Jackie Ferguson.
Find Jackie on Linkedin.
In this compilation, you’ll hear from the following episodes:
- Eliminating Multicultural Marketing, with Nichelle Pace
- How to be a better leader in a diverse workplace, with Dr Steve Yacovelli, “The Gay Leadership Dude”
- It’s OK to be Not OK at Work, with Alissa Carpenter
- How to create a Transgender and Non-Binary inclusive culture, with Jake Rostovsky
- Invisible Illness at Work, with Chronically Capable’s Hannah Olson
- If Diversity is our Strength, Inclusion is our Superpower
- Empowering Women to Financial Freedom with Sandra Stowe
- How Disability Inclusion Has Built the 321 Coffee Community
- Diversity Challenges in the Housing Industry, with Homebridge Financial’s Brian “Woody” White