A LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITE
Positive Ways We Can Move Our Business and Our People Forward
Because of my life experiences, I have been uniquely positioned to provide information and understanding to people of power, primarily White people, to help support better communication and engagement with their employees, families, and expand opportunities to show empathy and compassion to the Black community.
Why We Are Here:
George Floyd’s death at the hand of a White police officer has caused social unrest across the country and around the world but it is also an excellent opportunity for positive social change. Personally, I am seeing interest from many White Americans who want to learn how they can help break the cycle of Black racism and social injustice. This is a key time for business leaders to educate themselves on how to have these meaningful conversations with their employees of all races. Due to my business and life experiences, I find that I am uniquely qualified to offer support in doing just that.
- I was born to a White mother and a Black father in 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Because of the culture at that time, I grew up in a predominantly Black culture and went to the historically Black Lincoln University.
- As a Black teen, I was affected by the trauma of being treated differently because of the color of my skin and that has stayed with me. It was all I knew.
- When I moved to California, I looked different than I did when I was younger and because of the culture here, I was accepted in the business community and promoted to lead large sales teams in a primarily White world.
- Since I looked White, I was accepted as such and that opened many doors.
My goal in leading discussions on this very timely topic is to use my life and business experiences topromote meaningful conversations about how we can all work better to reach a new level of understanding and learn about things we simply don’t know.
We will discuss:
- Why Black Americans feel the way they do
- Why so many young White Americans are motivated to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.
- How businesses can best meet the cultural expectations going forward.
Corporate American is at a very important crossroads regarding race relations and whether they choose to move forward and expand their ideas on this subject is an individual choice. However, now is a good time to gain understanding – it certainly can’t hurt. This is an opportunity to positively impact all employees, regardless of their race.
Unfortunately, some people are making statements that are unsupportive of dealing with systematic racism, and in this day and age of social media, it is going to hurt them. Take for instance:
The CEO of CrossFit who recently tried to link the coronavirus to George Floyd protests. As a result of his insensitive remarks, Reebok has cancelled their 10-year relationship, franchisees are leaving, the community is unhappy and sports icons are saying they won’t compete in any CrossFit challenges. He was eventually fired.
In Charlotte, NC, the head of a security company named CPI said, “Maybe our time would be better spent focusing on black on black crime.” As a result, the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and literally hundreds of other corporate clients have cancelled their relationships.
In Los Angeles, CA, the Chief Creative Officer at Agency Deutsch Los Angeles was fired after a former employee shared a screenshot of an offensive work email around casting black talent from five years ago. It was prompted by the company’s statement on Black Lives Matter.
If companies don’t figure out how to change this narrative and focus support around eliminating social injustice, they will lose clients and employees of all races and damage their communities. Since most boards and leaders of companies are primarily White, and many have no experience dealing with this, there is a strong need for information.
I Believe Now is the Time
To that end, I am opening up the discussion to support positive changes in corporate culture, messaging and hiring/training strategies. I will soon be announcing focused discussion groups with these possible topics:
- “How to have conversations of authenticity with your employees about challenges your Black employees face?”
- “Why this affects all your employees, including those of other races?
- “How do we respond to peers who are being raised with a belief that racism is normal and that everyone is treated the same?”
- “How to look at your current culture and your metrics on black representation in your organization?”
- “How do we embrace the feeling of being ‘uncomfortable’ and still communicateto reach the understanding necessary?
I’d like to end with this quote, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou
Please reach out to me if you or your staff would like to be part of this valuable and timely conversation. I value your input and want this discussion to be inclusive.
Phone: (310) 946-9287