By Jacob R. Robinson (he/him)
“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.”
Today, we are pleased to bring you seven key takeaways from season one of our Amplifying Diverse Voices podcast. We launched this special project in early 2022 to facilitate bold and provocative DEI/EDI conversations with special guests in our space.
To our guests: We thank you again for your support and contributions as we continue to drive forward important DEI/EDI conversations locally, nationally and internationally. Every step counts.
Listen and share our podcast: https://aleaderlikeme.podbean.com/
1. Nothing good happens in the comfort zone.
Getting out of your comfort zone can motivate you and boost your visibility, a topic that Miriam González Durántez, founder of Inspiring Girls International, talks about in our first episode.
Rahul Sood also mentions taking strategic risks, especially in relation to NFT’s and the metaverse. His approaches are effective as he recently raised more than $40 million for his NFT robot fighting game, MechaFightClub (MFC).
You can get out of your comfort zone by placing yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable, such as speaking at more conferences, increasing your participation at events and even launching the start-up you’ve been dreaming about for years.
Reflect every month or quarter to measure your progress.
2. Leadership is in behaviour, not necessarily a job title.
Think of a leader you admire. Why do you admire them?
Perhaps they are decisive, good communicators and have empathy, to name a few. Their job title is probably not the first thing that springs to mind. Their behaviour is what stands out.
Simply put, behaviour from leaders drives cultural DNA which flow through every vein and artery of an organisation. Have a look at what leaders and organisations are doing, not just what they’re saying. Are they inviting and listening to marginalized communities? What do their boards look like?
When questioned about their DEI/EDI mandate, do they get defensive, or do they instead lend an empathic ear and apply the feedback? Jefferson Darrell talked about his experiences with racial battle fatigue (RBF) and how it inspired him to launch Breakfast Culture, helping organisations cultivate diverse and inclusive workplace cultures where everyone feels that they can perform to the best of their abilities, resulting in peak performance and improved business results.
3. Greater representation is crucial.
In addition to modelling behaviour, seeing people who look like us in leadership positions can create feelings of relatability, which inspires us to achieve. Driving DEI/EDI from the top-down will continue to be an important piece of developing greater representation.
Pocstock is a growing global stock media platform that unapologetically focuses on people of color. As Derrick Larane points out, pocstock hires for diversity and creates intentional cultural experiences around their international leadership to further increase representation.
In addition, Danielle E. Norris, SCMP speaks about improving literacy skills of Black youth in Canada through her Love of Literature Book Club. It is Canada's only non-profit book club for Black children and teens ages 7 to 18.
4. A supportive community helps a million.
Supportive communities often embody representation. Finding and engaging in such environments empower you and provide the necessary strength that you can draw upon during difficult and trying times. Our podcast with Shalini Gupta reminds us that a confidential and trusting space creates meaningful impact that can deliver benefits in the form of promotions, endorsements, awards and confidence we may not have had before. Dr. Anita Sanchez, author of The Four Sacred Gifts – Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times, also discusses the power of healing and finding your purpose.
Note: Our FLIGHT program also offers a place of belonging and celebration of achievement.
5. Data-driven decision-making will be instrumental in driving change.
Did you know that half of all trans-people with disabilities in Canada do not have stable employment? Most are underpaid or feel that they cannot speak up about their needs. Our podcast with Jade Pichette discusses it all in detail, plus solutions to breaking down systemic barriers.
Discrimination, whether intentional or not, causes trauma and baggage. Understanding data is a good first step to identifying appropriate solutions.
6. Meaningful allyship creates ripples and subsequent waves.
To dismantle systemic barriers, racism and discrimination, allies and advocates can contribute to conversations and appreciate the significance of listening to other people’s points of view. To start, Adena J. White, APR of Blackbelt Voices advises us to proactively exercise diversity and meaningful change all year round. Don McPherson, U.S. College Football Hall of Fame quarterback and feminist, also examines similar topics, including aspirational masculinity, from a male lens.
Calling out the performative is necessary to achieving meaningful allyship. Priya and Advita discuss this in their 4 A’s of diversity webinar.
7. Remember: you have the power of 10,000 women behind you.
Even when applying all the above, there will often be pushback in the form of microaggressions, especially if you’re a woman of color. Don’t let these faze you – be unapologetic in your strides. Olivia Bussey advises us that “when doors are opening, don’t just walk through them – fly. When you are the only ‘different’ person in the room, you not only stand as one, you stand as 10,000 of you.” Remember this. Today, Olivia continues to change the narrative through strategic engagement and initiatives with other U.K. educators.
Also, remember to speak to yourself with kindness. Mubashira Farooqi reminds us that being kind to ourselves is necessary to “give us the confidence and strength we need to accomplish our goals.”
We can be the change we want to see. Let’s apply these seven takeaways to get us closer to where we want to be. We would love for you to stay tuned for season two of our podcast, as we continue to Amplify Diverse Voices.
A Leader Like Me is an empowered community that supports underrepresented people to build courage and confidence in their work so they can continue to thrive. Our Nest Community is a safe and supportive environment for women* of colour. It includes monthly Insight Sessions to provide information and inspiration while our monthly Group Coaching creates a needed space for members to share their challenges and opportunities, failures and success authentically with leaders like them who share their workplace experience.
For more about us, visit: https://aleaderlikeme.com/
*We welcome non-binary and transgender people of colour who can relate to and benefit from the women-of-colour experience.