The Role White Women Play in the Workplace (w/ Julie Kratz)

Zach sits down with Julie Kratz, a highly-acclaimed inclusive leadership trainer, to talk about the role of white women in advocating for racial equity and inclusion in the workplace. Julie is also a TEDx speaker, an executive coach, a certified unconscious bias trainer, and an author, having written multiple books. Check out the links in the show notes to connect with her and to listen to her podcast, Next Pivot Point!

You can connect with Julie on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Check out her website, You can find her podcast there!


SPEAKER 1 0:10

What’s up, y’all this is Zack we live in corporate and do something a little bit different. I’m really excited about this. You know, the reality is that we have a ton of content, right? A lot of content because we have plenty of people that want to be on the show. And everything can get aired, as soon as we record it. So you know, we have a bit of a vault every you know, show that you know, has a vault. And so we’re going to let some stuff out the vault for Christmas, because we love y’all. And so what you’re about to hear is a conversation from our vault, as a part of our 12 days of podcasts campaign. This is one of those shows, make sure you check it out. I’m really excited about whoever you’re about to hear. Before we get there, I’ll tap in with Tristan, and I’ll be back.

SPEAKER 2 1:01

What’s going on y’all? It’s Tristan of lay field, resume consulting, and I’ve teamed up with living corporate to bring you all a weekly career tip. Today, let’s talk about the importance of getting things in writing, aka having your receipts. When I started at my current job, my boss said you really like to get things in writing, don’t you? And while that question is rhetorical, the answer is, yes. I’ve been burned in the past. So I’ve learned from my mistakes. And I wanted to make sure that I always had something to refer to getting things in writing ensures not only that everyone is clear, but that you’re also covering yourself. There’s so many times where getting in and writing comes into play, but I’m going to focus on three. Have you ever led or been on a project where people weren’t clear on about their responsibilities? That is the worse. But imagine if you put everyone’s duties in writing and distributed them out to the team. Some of the confusion wouldn’t happen. And even if it does, there’s more accountability as everyone was made aware of who was responsible for what and had the opportunity to question. The next situation we’re getting it in writing could come in handy is during a meeting with your boss. Sometimes these meetings are scheduled and sometimes they’re not. But either way, I always suggest sending a follow up email summarizing the topics of discussion. No matter if you were discussing a new project you’ll be taking on getting their approval for PTO, or even talking about your next sales incentive. If they don’t respond, you’ll have a record to refer to at any given point in time, and it puts the onus on them to correct anything you may have misunderstood. Lastly, I know when you get that verbal offer for a new job, you want to quit your current job right in that moment, but do not until you receive that offer in writing. I’ve seen this go wrong one too many times with candidates just like yourself ending up burned. You don’t want to have to retract your resignation and end up looking like a fool. Also, make sure you get any contingencies like a signing bonus or 90 day bonus and writing to so you can hold your employer to it. There’s so many instances where getting it in writing can not only help you out but really could save you from so much turmoil. Do yourself a favour and start documenting things a bit more so you can pull out those receipts. This tip was brought to you by Tristan of lay field resume consulting, check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at lay field resume or connect with me. Tristan lay field on LinkedIn.

SPEAKER 1 3:25

So we have Julie Kratz, Julie Kratz is a highly acclaimed inclusive leadership trainer who’s led teams that produce results in corporate America for nearly two decades after experiencing her own career pivot point, Julie developed a process to help them and leaders create their winning career game plan. She also has a podcast called next pivot point. Now she’s a TEDx speaker. She’s an author, right? So she has written books, like lean, like an ally through corporate America are proven strategies to facilitate In conclusion that is her most recent publication. And, yeah, we’re thankful to have her Julie, what’s going on how you doing?

SPEAKER 3 3:59

Thanks for having me.

SPEAKER 1 4:01

So let’s just get right to it. Right. So like you’re a white woman in this space. And I’m seeing him I get it. You’ve been doing it for like 20 years. Let’s talk a little bit about like, how you got into this work? And how race forward your work has become over the years?

SPEAKER 3 4:15

Yeah, yeah. And I appreciate that question. Yeah, I did. I like to say I served 12 years in corporate America. And I think through those experiences, having some really incredible opportunities to lead teams and develop people, the things I love to do. It was just so stark, you know, back in the early 2000s, back then, just how non-diverse it was. You know, I remember my first moment really being confronted with things weren’t equal, like everyone had told me that they were that myth of meritocracy was very much alive. And I was confronted with that, and looking at you know, a big fortune 50 company I was working for, remember looking at their org chart. Having this moment of Hmm, all of the vice presidents, all of the group presidents, all of the board, pretty much all white men, and you just thought, Hmm, I don’t really see myself reflected in this, I’m not sure how long are fit into this. And, you know, that happened pretty early. And I remember it was one of those things you just can’t quite shake. And it continued, you know, I went back to school, I like to say check the boxes did all the things you’re supposed to do to fit in and corporate America, get your MBA, you know, have these development assignments and these stretches I do these things to develop people around you and lead projects and critical parts of the business. And after 12 years, I just remember thinking there has to be more than this, like this whole dream of success is corporate America and climbing that corporate ladder, it has to be different for me. And that’s really when I pivoted and started my own business next pivot point, six years ago, really, with the intention to help women. And I’m a white woman. So I thought, well, how can I help people like me that struggled with things like I did, I kind of had to figure out how to be a leader how to be inclusive with my team. So that was really much the platform for the first few years, really focused on diversity, but much through my optic gender lens. And I want to say three years ago, I had this moment where I was working with a woman of color, my friend, Erica, who’s a black woman. And we were putting together an event. And I remember as kind of, you know, thinking about who we were going to invite and who I was going to invite, she was invite, you can imagine the list look like? And I thought, huh, why are all the people I’m inviting white women business owners that also our mothers, you know, just like me, basically that affinity bias was just clearly in my face. And at that moment, I realized that I needed to do better. And the tremendous amount that I was learning by working with folks that were different than me. And one of the that event that we put on was phenomenal, because we had so many different individuals coming together from all different backgrounds, all different perspectives, races and ethnicities. And I thought, Hmm, maybe they see me this time around ally ship can a man and his allies at the time when I was focused on maybe that’s much broader, maybe I need to be a better ally, for others. So that’s the journey I’ve been on over the last few years. That’s that was really a couple of epiphany moments along the way. But realizing we all have a chance to be there for people that are different than us. And we really need the majority group included in the conversation so that we can help that we can all help carry this forward.

SPEAKER 1 8:06

Yeah, I’d love to like hear more about your perspective on like the role you believe in responsibility you believe white women have in an equity, right? So like, which I think is obvious. If you listen to live in corporate, it’s like I have, my position is I think its best so that way, I’m bearing the lead. Like we’re being emotionally honest, I can just like tell you like how I feel so. So I might my challenge. And my often like genuine frustration is that white women get grouped together in statistics around like inclusion, equity, and like diversity, pledge representation numbers, and it’s like, it’s not historically accurate, or it’s not as believe it’s intellectually honest, to include white women in these spaces in terms of like, like, and I get, I do realize that patriarchy is very real, I recognize that white women have unique challenges that men of all colors do not face. At the same time, I also believe, again, like white women are not in the same tier of oppression that certainly black women are and more black men. Right. So I’m trying I just I’m curious, like, your perspective on that. And like when you talk about the next pivot point. And also just your own perspective, like, how does it inform the work that you do?

SPEAKER 3 9:26

Yeah. I appreciate that question. And I think lumping gender into the diversity conversation has always been a challenge. And you’re right. I mean, if, if we didn’t have a patriarchy where was still, you know, 80%, white male LED and corporations and government, I mean, pretty much anywhere you look, I don’t think we would put women in that conversation, or 50% of the population. We’re not where we want to be with positions of power with influence with wealth by any metric however, we do have right now more white women CEOs than black male CEOs. I’m a no women of color CEOs. And so it is interesting to kind of think about the dynamics and these things are always changing. And to think about how you include under without minimizing the other dimensions of diversity, think is really important. And one of the things I like to point out early is, there are five kind of key factors. When I talk about diversity inclusion, I talked about it with gender and race are the big two, you know, that people go to, but including also folks in our LGBTQ plus community, those with disabilities, making sure that we’re broadening the lens so that it’s not just so my optic, I think, when you think about women of color, and the intersectional experiences, that’s something that’s really important to point out that white women certainly cannot understand what it’s like to have to two dimensions of diversity, both interacting at the same time, you can’t undo your gender experience from your racial experiences. Those are both very much core to your identity. And that that was something I really wrestled with as a white woman, because I thought I understood what it was like to be a woman of any woman. And that’s simply not the case. There are different experiences that come into play and intertwined together, they’re very complex and very hard to even notice, because they’re so subtle. So they might my journey has been really digging in to one of the things I’m actively doing is diversifying my bookshelf, that’s been something that’s been core to getting my ally journey, realizing I was reading books by mostly white women, and mostly white men to thinking about how can you get better and in the stories in the great work that I’m reading by women of color right now, better understanding their lived experiences. And I think as an ally, honouring that, I will never understand fully what it’s like to live those experiences. I couldn’t empathy does have its constraints. However, how can I better learn and continuously try to understand what it could be like to be to be someone else. And when I talk about ally ship, that’s really what it comes from is not pretending you know, someone’s lived experiences not saying that I have answers. It’s rather, I want to better understand and I, I want to know how I can support this conversation in a way that’s meaningful, and take it forward. And I think you raise a really good point around white women historically haven’t done a great job of listening. Feminism has been largely led by white women. I mean, we just celebrated women’s suffrage. None are the anniversary, women of color did not get the right to vote in 1920. We don’t even know that. Not even our history books.

SPEAKER 1 13:09

It’s not in my history books, we don’t talk about like the own the racism of Susan being like, we don’t we don’t have the translations, right. And so, and like we can talk about, like the lack of or like the poor, like education that we receive, but like Google is also free, right? So sometimes when I see these things, it’s just like, Man, this is just so it’s just so inauthentic as it pertains to, like, there’s certain Meta narratives that like continue forward, right? Like, you know, like black women. And I’m not a black woman. So I’m not trying to speak for black women, I just as a black man, I have a platform. So I want to at least call speak some truth to power as I see, from what from what I understand and what I’ve not read, what I read is like, black women have always been like the fodder by which other people get their freedom. And, and black men have been as well, but again, like Latin America, have that always been the means by which we understand. We get suffrage and health care, and the basic things like food jobs, like its like, it’s so it’s, it’s exhausting to me. When we don’t, we’re not intersectional. And like, we I know, people have been using that word, a lot like intersectionality. But like, to me like this is a great example of what intersectionality is, how you can use it effectively. It’s like you’re right, it is really myopic, is myopic, like when you sit back and you say, okay, what’s gender, or race? And it’s like, well, no, let’s actually if we just like, not erasing any other experience, or marginalized identities, like if you combine those two and then think about all the different dimensions in which those two, like diversity elements, like interact, like you can have some really robust conversations, right. So we talked about the gender pay gap, like we talked a lot about the gender pay gap. I mean, it’s real. We don’t talk about the fact that on average, if you look at those same statistics that white women make more than black men, right? Like we don’t have those conversations like that’s, that’s yet we’ve never had a black men’s Equal Pay Day, right? We’re just now being a black women’s Equal Pay Day. But you know, like, why are we having a black woman equal pay day there’s a lack of attention and intentionality in some of these discussions. I’m curious as like, as we think about this past year, right. So like, the continuous murders of black folks, state sanctioned murders of black folks on camera. I’m really curious about like, what that’s done to your business and like, like how it’s continued to shape the things that you do, like, what do you see your company shifting and going, like in the over the next year or so.

SPEAKER 3 15:51

Yeah, yeah, it’s been a really 2020 has been a wild ride for everybody. Big pause button was hit on diversity and inclusion in the spring, the pandemic. And then as we know, George Floyd in the events of the summer certainly brought it right back into the forefront. So it felt like to me, if you’re driving a car down a diversity, inclusion road, it was Let’s go, we’ve got goals this year. Let’s go, Wait, stop, pause, let’s not go anywhere. And then no, now let’s hit the accelerator as fast as we can and catch up centuries of inequality. And then, of course, as we sit today, in late summer, that conversation is sparked again, and continues to spark with increased tragedies. And it’s so unfortunate that social change takes tragedy, oftentimes, for it to happen. And I think where we’re at right now, and especially for my audience in corporate America that I work mostly with is we’re grappling with, you know, we did the corporate statements in June, we made the donations to charitable causes. We supported our employees doing these activities maybe over the summer. And now what because this doesn’t seem to be going away. And that’s intriguing to me that we that white people still think that this will go away somehow. The complacency, especially in C suites, some of the most challenging conversations I’ve had have been. We can’t prioritize this year. It is important, but we don’t have a budget, which to me means that’s not important. You would never not fund anything else in your business. That was important. And those are really hard conversations to have. But I would say overwhelmingly, what I’m seeing right now, is people coming into the conversation and staying there. And they’re not sure how to stay Ray because they read the books, you know, they listen to the podcasts, they watch some TED Talks, they listen to podcasts like yours, they feel informed. But saying something in maybe showing up at a protest or being vocal on social media isn’t something I personally feel comfortable with. Not me personally. But white people in general have told me this. And I don’t know how to show up in corporate America, likewise is wrestling with how do we continue to accelerate this conversation when we’re not diverse? In in? The question I like to ask is like, why is this important to you? Why is diversity equity inclusion important to you? You haven’t defined that you’re not going to do the hard work required to make it happen? And the answer, overwhelmingly that I’m getting in strategy sessions, and I’m leading leadership teams is it’s because of what happened this summer. That’s why we care about this. And honestly, I’d love to hear your take on this. I prefer to be honest about that. Like, let’s be honest, that that you needed a wakeup call to understand that racism still exists. Let’s not pretend we’ve always cared about this when you didn’t. You didn’t.

SPEAKER 1 19:20

No, I know. I agree. You know, I think is important. I think it’s important for us to be honest, that you have to least be honest with yourself, right? I mean, I think you know, you think about you think about like the history of like race relations is like, Oh, no, it’s almost like black folks have been able to see. You know, in certain ways, black America or black people can be the mirror that white people don’t want to look into, right like so it’s like this idea of like, there’s all just shuffling like around, like the language that people use even bias the diversity of thought. Assume positive attention. They’re very like passive, like Frank, like white supremacist terms that people use to shield and kind of like cushion the racism that is prevalent every single day. And so yeah, you know, I’m appreciative of when people are honest about why it is that they care. And why it is that they like what, like, why this moment? What I am not, you know, what, what, what annoys me in these moments or whatnot, I’m sorry, beyond that what infuriates me in these moments is that, you know, it’s easy to react to the extreme violence that you see on camera, right. But it’s not easy to do is to really examine the behaviours within your own organization and examine and interrogate the ways that you uphold systems that create disparate impact for your black and brown employees. And like, yeah, that’s really like where I’ve yet to see anyone go. Anyone, like there was a really prominent tech consulting firm it, like put out some diversity data. And they’re getting, you know, they’re getting like, they’re getting applause. And pat on the back for that. And it’s like, first of all, you don’t get credit for taking the cover off of a mess that you made to the data, the data that you presented, it’s still not transparent, right. Like

SPEAKER 3 21:30

I did architect the story.

SPEAKER 1 21:32

You’re still architect, that’s a great, that’s a great, you’re still architecting this right? I think there’s a lot of that still happening right today, where it’s like, you know, because folks are scared, like, there’s still there’s still fear of litigious aversion to legit litigious risk, which, you know, is a separate discussion. But the point is, is that, like, what I’m really curious about is just like, when are we going to have the actual discussion and like, what needs to happen? So like, do all the black and brown folks just need to quit? Like, do we need to like, right, like what needs to happen, like, what needs to happen for you to actually take this series and for us to have an actual discussion about the behaviours, that you propagate the things that you don’t hold people accountable for? And the things that you turn a blind eye to, that you complicit in? Like, when do we have that conversation? Because it’s clear that, like, having these discussions, these statements, and all this other stuff isn’t really so like, what? What’s the next step? You know what I mean? Like, I’m curious when it comes to like, the discussions you’re having with these leadership organizations? Mm is like, what, what do they see as next?

SPEAKER 3 22:36

Yeah. Unfortunately, it’s, you know, a couple of things, I think that actually really work. And there’s so few case studies of this working to pull from. It said troubling as is somebody’s passionate about this, like we are to watch corporate America just continue to eat by and not do anything to not really change, like you said, systemic change, and systemic changes that are needed for people to feel fully included and feel a sense of belonging and their work, which is paramount to someone’s success. It’s not being addressed and what is happening. And this might be kind of a big step, a bridge. What I think’s happening, and what will continue to happen for the next five years is organizations. Were very surprised by what happened this summer, even the more progressive ones did not know how to respond appropriately. And I don’t think that felt good, you know, it was like, oh, we’re caught, we’ve looked bad, we can’t even make a statement because we don’t have lights to stand on with this. And I think fear. Fear is not my favourite motivator, but fear does work. And that fear of it happening again, much like it is again, surfacing will continue to surface. I don’t want to look bad. Again, I don’t want to have nothing to say, again, I don’t want to feel inauthentic and have a lawyer write a statement next time. So we’re going to do the work. So it was so that’s one, I think, an increased level of commitment. Now, that’s still not the action needed to support systemic change. But it is a catalyst for that. Second, is having long term DEI plans. So I’m starting to see this. We don’t just want to have you come in and speak this is no pre COVID. That’s all I did was come in and speak and teach people about how to be an ally rah rah, leave and wonder what happened now is diversity, equity, inclusion, Mendes, why it matters and how we’re going to go about this intentionally and consistently, not just now but into the future. That has been a huge change that I’ve seen very recently of. This is not a one-time bias training type of event or ally training type of keynote. This is an intentional series of consistent activity. And the third thing I’d offer is, we are going to hold our leaders accountable. So the word accountability and metrics have been used quite a bit in the DEI conversation. But organizations have been very slow, to show their numbers, much like the organization you were just talking about, to be public with it. Or even to have the dashboards available internally. And this is readily available HR data, it’s not hard to get. But there hasn’t been transparency. Now with measurement, just like we would any part of our business that matters, if it’s important, we would measure it, we would invest in it, having your leaders directly accountable for the representation on their teams, and that they have to get better. Even if you’re at 5% price now diverse, you have an opportunity to be better, and we expect you to be better. So when you bring a slate of candidates and or a slate of candidates for promotion, and they’re not diverse, we will challenge you. And these are the behaviours that starts to reinforce systemic change and behaviours in the employee experience that supports inclusion. So that that’s what I’m seeing now. I’m optimistic, but very cautiously. So because I agree this knee jerk reaction is exhausting to people that have been here all along.

SPEAKER 1 26:26

Yeah, you know, I’m curious, like, you know, there’s a growing sentiment of black brown and white folks who don’t believe that white people should be leading the charge when it comes to this type of work. And that, like the very presence of white people doing, like DEI work is racism. Now, clearly, you do this work. I’m curious to get your perspective on like, one year perspective on that take and then to what do you think are ways that you as a white person in this space, can then also can be a practical ally to black and brown Dei, business owners consultants thought leaders on and so forth?

SPEAKER 3 27:10

Yeah, no, it’s a very candid question that I’m asked quite honestly, very often. And I’ve struggled with that. I mean, when I went through that pivot in my business and saw an opportunity to be, you know, strive to be an ally and race that well, what am I supposed to, you know, who am I to show up in this conversation? Why my skin’s white. And that’s how I start out if I do anything on race, it’s much for a privileged perspective of educating white people perspective on it. I honour that and say, I do have white privilege, right from the get go, my skin is white. And so I want everyone to know, I’m very aware of that. And I will talk from that perspective, while also my own ally, journey and tools, I know that we need for white folks to get included in this conversation. So it’s one that has to be led, I think, with vulnerability, but also with collaboration with partners. So I had him at a recently a client request, and topic of intersectionality. And I thought, yeah, you know, I’ve got content on that. I’ve read books on it. Sure. I, you know, Kimberly Crenshaw, like, there’s great stuff out there, I can speak to it. And I thought, huh, this doesn’t feel right. So, I thought, right. So I have a couple partners, collaboration partners, one of which we do a podcast for kids on inclusion called the inclusion school podcast. And I have another partner that we done racism, anti-racism workshops, last few years. And so I asked my partner, Eric, I said, Hey, I think this is one that would make sense for us to Kathryn. And luckily, the client agreed, you know, but it was just, it’s recognizing those moments where I’m being stretched beyond my subject matter expertise, or lived experiences and where I can partner with others, and be supportive there. But I get it. I had a client recently that said, you know, we didn’t want to hire Julie at first because she was a white woman. And I appreciated her honesty with that way. It was nice to know that that was a hesitancy in her decision and her team to know that we did think about race in this conversation. And my response is always this. I understand I am white, I may not be the right fit again, based on the subject matter at hand.

SPEAKER 1 29:34

Yeah, you know, my position on it is that white women, white people in this space are by function of white supremacy necessary to progress the work. So because of white supremacy, and this historically white people not listening to black and brown people not valuing their perspective as equal as their own. You need to have a white person who is As a human being, who can speak these things, on top of that, you know, there’s various levels of desire, and, frankly, just capacity in this moment for black and brown folks, specifically his mom and black folks to have these conversations. And, and so you so the support is needed? I think where I’m challenged is white folks being in charge, right? So like being the de facto voice like, that’s where I’m like, Okay, this is this isn’t real, because you have no, you don’t understand this space, you’re not able to speak to this. And frankly, you know, there’s a case for every organization that has a diverse inclusion office has been led by a white person in this moment. Like there’s a case for their for their jobs to be evaluated, because we’re clearly saying, like, a systemic failure of like this work to date, because it just has not been explicit enough. And I’m talking about racial equity, organizational and social justice, and really holding leaders accountable for their behaviour. Because if it was, we wouldn’t be having all of these like internal uprisings Company B Company like those things would not. So I think, I think that’s my position. So I’m curious, like, you know, talk a little bit about like, how you choose to collaborate, what things you choose to support, I believe that you support it live in corporates, Kickstarter, like you do things. There’s things that you give, and time and time and energy and effort that you give two different things. I’m curious, like, what informs your support of like black and brown? People? Like talk to me about practical ways that you practice ally ship and your life? In? What ways? Are you still looking to like expand your ally ship?

SPEAKER 3 31:46

Yeah, it’s a big a big opportunity, I think, for me to take a step back and think about, yeah, where do I put my money? Right? Like, what businesses are I supporting black and brown organizations that I can support more of small business owners that I can support more of that, of course, have been adversely affected by everything this year, much more. So then, white businesses. So that is something finding meaningful ways to give to Kickstarter campaign campaigns to re-evaluate how I’m investing money. So these are things that are all kind of top of mind for me. But I would say the biggest thing I’ve learned in my ally journey is to really amplify the voice. You know, your point earlier about passion fatigue, it’s real. My friends of color through the summer, just reaching out to them and asking how they’re doing, and really wanting to listen and understand and not rely on them to educate me about things I can obviously watch and understand myself, but really out of a place of care and wanting to be supportive to them. And taking the content, whether it’s TED talks like color brave, that’s amazing, or uncomfortable conversations with a black man video series, like finding good things out there. I just read Austin Channing browns, I’m still here. Oh my gosh, like finding ways to elevate and share those resources with people in the black and brown communities that are already have great content, great ideas. If I can be a part of amplifying that and pointing white people in that direction to help them diversify, you know, the messages that they’re hearing about this. That’s huge. I think for me, as far as my goals as an ally, not to be the voice. And I think when we talk about being an ally, and what you said earlier about white people take charge of conversation. Yeah, that’s so frustrating. Here we are. Again, this is supposed to be about us. You’re like, seriously, you already have enough. And that’s not the point and ally shares power with, right, its power with not power over. So if you have power, share it with somebody give it to somebody else pass that power forward, to help them understand because I just have a different reaction. My friends of color will say when you post something, Julie, it’s very different how people perceive when you post it versus when I do not fair, not fair at all. But I can post controversial stuff and I don’t get you know, I luckily haven’t had a lot of trolling. They still do. But sometimes it just was weird. But most of my friends of color say I just don’t feel comfortable posting that or I’ve learned over the years. This was something so hard for me. Early on this summer. Bren shared a comedic element on white saviour ism. And it was just a montage that was hilarious. Just about all the things white people do to save the day you know, in movies. It was funny because it was true. And she shared it with me. And she said, I hesitated all day to hit the send button on sharing this with you. And I thought, what? Why? Why wouldn’t you want to share that with me? Of course, I would love that. And she said, I’ve learned over the years to tiptoe around white people. And that really hurt.

SPEAKER 1 35:21

Well, it’s true. Like its true, right is like.

SPEAKER 3 35:24

dissignal to others that it’s not about me to at the same time or condition based on past experiences, to not do things a certain way and to tone beliefs, like so many women of color are taught. So it’s still like, I think with this, it’s still so hard because it’s so long this journey. You know, I am still here, I just read that book. And at the end, she talks about how it’ll be several generations before we achieve equality if we ever do, and to know that we’re looking our kids in the face, knowing that they’re going to be up against some of these same obstacles, hopefully, not all, and their children will be in probably their children will be. That’s hard. And I think knowing that’s why the burden cannot fall on the most marginalized, to support the conversation about racism and about equality. That’s not fair.

SPEAKER 1 36:21

Right? It’s not, it’s not Am I think, like I think about, I think about this moment, I think about like, like, so you talked about, like sharing power. I think here, I think that’s really like the biggest thing is that look for the past what I do believe right now, I’m not a sociologist, and nor am I like a trained historian, there, there are sentiments out there, which I tend to agree with that there has been a fear for centuries, by the majority of what black people will do, if they ever get so much power, like so you’ll see. And you see that, like you see, like little micro versions of that, in the workplace, when black people sit together, or go out to lunch for lunch together or have meetings together, or whatever the case is, and there’s like questions about what’s the intention of this, or, you know, y’all need to break it up whatever the case is, right? Like, that’s, that’s been an actual complaint that people have documented in terms of what employers have said to them. And I think there’s like this belief, again, that like, you know, black and brown people, marginalized people will take that power and do to others, what’s been done to them. And I think, for me, I do believe there needs to be a deeper dive on the discussion and like examination of organizational power, and a willingness to really see to that, because if you don’t see power, then you’re not going to have any change. Like, the reason why we’re at where we’re at, from a race relations perspective in this country, is because why people determine the pace of it, right, like, why people have the power. And, you know, you think about like, even organizations, you know, you look at this, you look at these datasets, organizations, you know, they don’t have representation like and I’m not even talking about the senior executive level, like, I think that that’s also a gimmick to a certain extent, to kind of avoid the more practical challenging conversations of why don’t we have black and brown people like just like the mid-level manager level, like, or entry level manager level, we don’t even have black and brown folks at that level. So let’s not, we don’t have to talk about the senior most senior levels, because, frankly, a lot of people, like there’s only like six of those spots, like a lot of those people, a lot of people aren’t going to get in those positions. So you’re like, Okay, cool. Like, we can talk about that. I’m not I’m not dismissing that, but like, you only have like, 3% representation of managers who are black and brown. And so like, they’re in like examining and being honest, and getting being willing to be uncomfortable as the reasons as to why, right? Because if you had, if you had, if that 2% went to like 20%, then all of a sudden your leadership culture would change. Right? And so like, I think, for me, it’s like, I’m always thinking about power, in turn, and in the context of Dei, Brittany J. Harris, prominent thought leader, Vice President of the winner’s group, which is a fairly prestigious, the recycling inclusion consulting firm. She said, you know, power is the silent P and D II work right, like it’s, it’s what we don’t talk about, but really undergirds a lot of these discussions and undermines a lot of these efforts. Right? It’s the hand the invisible white hand, that shifts and determines ERG’s and who sits on them that shifts and determines employee policy and practice and determines what the makeup of the of your corporations legal counsel is, which informs how they even interpret risk, and how they even interpret things to watch out for right and language. And so that that, you know, I think that’s a great point. I think I mean, to your other point, you know, as it pertains to discussion and who should own these conversations, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Black and brown people can’t be responsible for pulling themselves up by bootstraps that don’t exist. Right? Like, you know, we can’t we, you know, put the fire out that you started. We can help, you know, I’m saying, but the labour needs to fall on you. Because this is a problem that y’all made. I think, you know, this moment, as we talked about, and we talked through, like just the history and formation of this nation. I think Hamilton kind of brought this up inadvertently because Hamilton is like, really, really cool American fanfiction. But like, it sparked discussion, which I know people don’t necessarily like, all the time. But like on Twitter folks that have been in all these YouTube videos are popping up about the historicity of oppression, and like, some of them were old, but like, the algorithm kind of kicked it back up or whatever. So anyway, the point is, like, it was interesting, because folk starts, you know, the idea that like America was essentially like, a slave colony, like it was a plate like there was a when you look at the structure, information of things, economically, everything, of course, you look at Nicole, Hannah Jones is 6019 project, but just like the very structure of America was built upon oppressing non-white men and women. And, of course, exploiting white women as well. White women were in certain ways complicit in participatory in that, but like, the very system was built for that. And so like, and really, as you look at the behaviours and things of today, like there’s still an underlying fear of like, how do we keep control and power?

SPEAKER 3 41:28

Yeah, over these people? Maybe a little bit, but don’t take too much.

SPEAKER 1 41:32

Right. Exactly, exactly. We’ll give you us, we’ll give you a sliver of like this icing, but the cake is still ours. And yeah. And we control the knife and the portion sizes too. So

SPEAKER 3 41:44

Like you’re not invited anymore.

SPEAKER 1 41:46

Exactly. So it’s not it’s it becomes like ceremonial and performative. And I think for me, what’s just getting, like, exhausting, like, so recording this episode, on August 29. So you know, it’s, it’s a particularly and I but you know, we talked about this, right, we talked about it right? For the record, I was like, Man, you were like, I don’t know, if we’re going to have this episode. It’s like, you know, and I want to have this episode, because I want to be emotionally present for this moment. I want to be honest. And I want I want us to have a frank conversation, right, I think, you know, just so much, so much loss. And I think 2020 has stripped bare a lot of the systems and things like a lot of the covers that the gentility from the things. I’ve been a president for several decades that went from my generation and my parents’ generation. My dad is 50 he turns 56 this year. And he and I had a conversation. And he was like, look, he’s like, he’s like this is the most afraid because like I grew up in I was born in 1984. I grew up in the late 60s, early 70s. Like I remember, I remember walking around in the 70s. And he’s like, this is the most possible, and like the most palpable, I’ve seen and like really felt like tensions and fears, one of the most in my life. And we talked about like, just this moment, and I think that a lot of other black and brown folks, black folks, specifically, is that this moment continues to like just highlight the jig man like just the capitalistic patriarchal, white supremacists, jig American. And like, I’m really looking forward to the day where like the systems and institutions that have yet to still, even as we speak, really make any type of internal efforts to change when those could call to account. And its bad thing for me, Julie, it gets depressing. And like, that’s why when I bring up the date, it’s just depressing, because it’s like, it seems like everyone that loves us, when I say us, I mean black and brown folks are getting taken away. And the folks that continue to oppress and wage war on us are still here, fighting grew stronger than ever. And I’m just like, I don’t understand, like, it’s just such a confusing time. And you know, I look on these major publications. They’re writing puff pieces about organizations that aren’t win write things, but it’s just more of the same, right? And so smoking mirrors and smoke and mirrors and I’m and it’s, it’s depressing, it’s depressing. And so I’m curious as to, of course, I’m not expecting for you to have this filled, carry the level of trauma or hopelessness that maybe a lot of people listen to this on carry, but I’m curious as to like, if you’ve had similar discussions, and then also like how or if you plan on like, empathizing with those feelings more when it comes to the work that you do.

SPEAKER 3 44:36

Yeah, I mean, it’s something I’ve struggled with guilt. I experience it you know, I’ll read you know, I can’t watch the videos of things that happen. It just can’t it personally is just really hard for me and I cry.

SPEAKER 1 44:52

When you say the things happy talking about black people you do.

SPEAKER 3 44:54

Oh, George Floyd. Yeah, this student Yeah. I just personally, it’s very hard for me to watch and that’s part of my approach, I don’t have to watch it, I know that. And when I do watch it, I don’t see myself in that position, right, I see myself as probably somebody that would have been recording it on the side-line. So it’s a totally different experience for me versus a black person, especially watching that video. Having said that, though, raising children living in a country where racism is prevalent, feels viscerally wrong to me. And one of the things that we do is we get emotional about it, make it about us, and I never want to do that. Right? I want to step into the conversation and honour the people that are here that are really struggling and being most adversely affected. But I feel it too. I feel the compassion fatigue. But I think, I think as far as the feud goes, and at least two things that people can really do to challenge the systems individually. And one in the feedback and a lot of the research shows, you know, voting right, informing education, things like that systemic problems start there. But I would say really think local community, what can you do in your local school system? In your local community where you have greater influence? Right, nationally, state-wide, it’s a little harder, right? Unless you’ve got a microphone like you do. I think it’s harder sometimes for people to think how I can be there beyond in a big way. Don’t think about it. So big thing about how you can lead diversity efforts in your kids school, you know, support local activities, to address redlining, systemic issues affecting black and brown people. Just get involved in your local community, you can make a huge impact their need to pepper him with information, bring him in, what if we started to see that number be more equal with women with people of color, what an opportunity to kind of go from the bottom up and top down to get to that middle layer. And education is required to decrease discrimination and increase inclusion. So educating those people, whether that’s your brother, your spouse, your friend, the white guy, you play basketball, whatever it is, I think that’s a really important point that we’re missing in this conversation is really an overt focus on white men that have the power have the influence. That’s really I think what’s missing in this conversation on the corporate side is, we’re not willing to say like, that’s where we really need to focus. That’s where the power is. How do we educate those folks?

SPEAKER 1 47:46

Julie has been a great conversation. Man, I really appreciate your availability, having this discussion and shout out to all the people out here well intentioned, leveraging their access and power to make meaningful systemic changes. We challenge every white person that listens to this, that you’re not doing not care what you’re doing. And you can always do more.

SPEAKER 3 48:07

You can always do more, I can do more. I always I always think about that too. Like we can always do more.

SPEAKER 1 48:11

I love it. I love it. No one has arrived. And so you know, it’s a journey. And I’m thankful to have you here. Till next time, y’all. This has been Zach. Peace. Alright, and we’re back. Listen, again. I hope this holiday season is treating you well. I know that the holidays are not the most joyous time for everybody. I hope that you’re able to find some peace and some restoration during the season as we get ready for hopefully what will be a better New Year. Until next time, this has been Zach. Make sure you give us five stars and then good old Apple podcast. We’ll catch y’all later. Peace.

SPEAKER 4 49:00

Living corporate is a podcast live in corporate LLC. Our logo was designed by David dawkins. Our theme music was produced by Ken Burns. Additional music production by Anton Franklin from musical elevation. Post production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion. Email us at living corporate You can find us online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and living dash Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.

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