Coaching Skillset for the Evolving Inclusive Leader: Jennifer joins Dr. Pamela Larde from The Institute of Coaching

Jennifer Brown | | , ,

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This episode was originally recorded as a webinar and features a conversation between Jennifer and Dr. Pamela Larde from The Institute of Coaching. Jennifer discusses the evolution of the attributes needed for effective leadership and what coaches should know about the evolving inclusive leader journey. Discover how coaches can help influence, impact, and support the leaders they coach in building the new and evolving competencies that they will need to lead effectively.  

Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:

JENNIFER BROWN: I think for coaches, we've got to apprentice ourselves to this topic. We need to be more than skin deep on, for example, the top microaggressions that are experienced by different communities of identity, likely that we don't carry. So we haven't experienced those things, right? And maybe we have, but maybe we're coaching across difference. So my homework would be for all of us to be listening for the things that happen, the biases, the microaggressions, the things that are said or not said. The experience of someone in a system that wasn't built by and for them.


DOUG FORESTA: The Will To Change is hosted by Jennifer Brown. Jennifer is an award-winning entrepreneur, dynamic speaker, best-selling author and leadership expert on how organizations must evolve their cultures towards a new, more inclusive workplace reality. She's a passionate inclusion and equity advocate, committed to helping leaders foster healthier and therefore more productive workplaces, ultimately driving innovation and business results.

Informed by nearly two decades of consulting to Fortune 500 companies, she and her team advised top companies on building cultures of belonging in times of great upheaval and uncertainty. And now on to the episode. Hello and welcome back to The Will To Change. This is Doug Foresta.

This episode is our last Will To Change episode of 2022, and it features a conversation between Jennifer and Dr. Pamela Larde from the Institute of Coaching, as Jennifer discusses the evolution of the attributes needed for effective leadership and what coaches should know about the evolving inclusive leader journey. And Jennifer talks about how coaches can help influence, impact and support the leaders that they coach in building the new and evolving competencies that they'll need to lead now and into the future. All this and more. And now onto the episode.


DR. PAMELA LARDE: Oh, hello everyone. It is so good to see you all today. I am thrilled to engage in this conversation with Jennifer Brown. And let me just quickly introduce her. You'll see her full bio on our website, but she is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, author, and diversity and inclusion expert who is deeply passionate about building more inclusive workspaces where more of us can feel welcomed, valued, respected, and heard.

As the founder and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting, JBC, a certified woman and LGBT owned firm, Jennifer and her team design and execute inclusion strategies that have been implemented by some of the biggest companies and nonprofits in the world. She is also the bestselling author of two books, Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will. And this came out in 2017.

Actually it's three books, right? Because you have another one, How to Be an Inclusive Leader, Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive. I have that as 2019, but you also have another draft of that that just came out October 2022.

So that is a fresh version. And I failed to introduce myself. To those of you who do not know who I am, I'm the director of education. My name is Dr. Pamela Larde, director of Education here at the Institute of Coaching. And so it is my pleasure to engage Jennifer in this compelling conversation today. Welcome, Jennifer.

JENNIFER BROWN: Aw, thank you so much Pamela. I'm looking forward to this and I'm already seeing a lot of wonderful greetings going on in comments. So everybody please interact and bring us your questions and comments and thoughts.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: Yes, it's good to see you all from all over the world. So I first and foremost want to know, I always ask this question of people who get into this work of diversity because it is not easy work and it's kind of like who would volunteer to do this? So...


DR. PAMELA LARDE: But how did you get into this work in the first place?

JENNIFER BROWN: So the work chooses us.


JENNIFER BROWN: We do not choose it, I think. So it's sort of, we are voluntold. But some of us, look, it's the only thing we can do. Right? We're so passionate about it and we can't imagine doing anything else. And if we're fortunate enough to figure out how to make a "Living" quote unquote on it, I feel very lucky. But it has not been easy, particularly before the pandemic and the summer of 2020 and all the years that I was in this space, which is now almost two decades I've been in the DEI world.

So but my, Pamela, my original story that I usually start from is I, in my twenties, I wanted to be an opera singer and a performing artist. And but unfortunately, through training for that career, I hurt my voice and I had to get surgeries and lost my voice and had to kind of coax it back. But it would be, it just, over time I realized, it just would not be able to sustain me to do eight shows a week for months at time all over the world. And it was a big heartbreak for me.

But a door opened as it always does with life and sort of ushered me through some suggestions by friends and mentors into the world of organizational development and org change and leadership, which I think I know will resonate with everybody listening here. And I discovered the world of the whole discussion about how organizations change and the humans in those organizations and what each of us is evolving to and how we impact those systems.

And we didn't have the wording for a lot of what we have today back then, but I just loved this whole question of sort of reaching our potential in the professional sense. How could we be the most of who we are? How could we play to our strengths? How can we contribute? And then what gets in the way of contributing? And hence the sort of pivot into DEI.

And also, I'm a member of the LGBTQ plus community, so I've been out for almost 30 years. But closeted, closeted, closeted over a course of many, whether it was performing or corporate. It was not the times that are now. And even now, many people are still not out in their workplace or in their professional world, so. But back then it was terrifying and you really felt that your ability to work was on the line and be valued and be included.

And so 20 years down the road now, I run this TNI firm that we've had for 20 years and have an incredible team and we get to focus on building cultures of belonging for organizations where more of us can thrive and that are more representative of all of us and sort of really reinventing the workplace and what, our relationship to work and what does that even mean. And so it's a beautiful opportunity to use my voice just not as a singer. So that's the punchline. Hindsight is 2020.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: And I've had a chance to read your most recent book. And it's interesting because that is not the story I expected to hear in terms of why you got into this work around voice. And so what a intriguing, what an intriguing theme in terms of how you lost your voice, but you found voice and then found ways to bring voice to other people.


DR. PAMELA LARDE: So it's really this beautiful story that leads into where you, I just, that is not what I expected. So as I said, I have read the book and Rhonda Ellis has commented on there and she said she really loves it, so she's gotten her hands on it as well.


DR. PAMELA LARDE: And so anybody who has not, definitely get your hands on it and maybe we can add a link to the chat in terms of how to get it. But tell us about this book, How to Be an Inclusive Leader. So this is an update to the previous version that was released in 2019.


DR. PAMELA LARDE: Now the world is very different now than it was three years ago. Little did you know when it came out, so many things were going to happen. And so how has the world's changes changed your book?

JENNIFER BROWN: Oh my goodness. Well, being able to write a second edition over the period of 2019 to 2022 is what a gift and a challenge to pack in everything I wanted to change and to update in the book. Right? But, and the PS second editions, I don't know what happens for other authors, but people have just, have run to this new edition because I think they loved the first one and there were elements I wanted to keep.

But I wanted to sort of re-look at and keeping that structure of the inclusive leader continuum, which I know that we'll talk about in a moment, which is that theory of change, right? That way that we evolve, the way that we progress in our inclusive leadership. But the meat on the bones, right? The tissue was so different, the context is so different, everything has changed.

So I added chapters on privilege and advantage, which I really have been burning to do because I speak about that a lot on stage and I'm trying to redefine that concept to be in a more helpful frame that's more actionable for people. For all of us, not just some people and not others. So I wanted to add content, I wanted to update the stories, I wanted to make it more specific and really ask more of the reader.

I think I was a bit gentle about it in 2019, but some of the gloves came off over the course of the last couple of years because I think we've all collectively gone through this up-level, this awakening, this eyes being opened, this heart being activated, this, "Okay, I have a pair of hands, what do I do with those hands? What is my contribution going to be?"

And I think we find our reader in a very different place, in a place of paying attention, in a place of wanting to be more, and in a place that's asking more how, not just why is this important? Why are we even talking about it? Now Pamela, I won't lie, I still encounter the audiences where it's a lot of skepticism.


JENNIFER BROWN: And it's just unbelievable to me that you could be living in this world the last couple of years and say, "Why is this important?" But there's still a bit of that. But the vast majority that I get to work with now, we are trying to create what's next together. We're trying to figure that out.

And each of us are a unique role that we play from all of who we are, all of the ingredients of our own identity and lived experience, visible and invisible. And I think each of us, many of us at least are asking, "How do I get into the arena from the sidelines? How do I activate? What do I say? What do I do? And also, how do I not get stuck in perfectionism? How do I not get afraid and hesitant because I'm going to say the wrong thing or I'm just learning, or I feel very vulnerable in not knowing?"


JENNIFER BROWN: And that's an okay place to be. As long as you're putting one foot in front of the other, I think it's a beautiful place to be, to sort of have that awareness and then to be holding ourselves accountable for that next step, whatever that is. And there's no magic replacement for building this new habit, which is inclusive leadership. It's a competency.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: Absolutely. And what I love most about your book is the concepts that are critical to this topic are there, the unconscious bias. And you break down all the different types of unconscious bias, which is really great.

But your delivery is so practical, plain English, easy to understand, and even in a lot of ways, non-confrontational for people who are really sort of at the beginning of this process and really just need to understand the basics.

And so and then, and I, we're going to get into this continuum, but as people grow in advance, there's opportunities to challenge yourself at the level in which you are. So I would love for you to talk a little bit about this. It's what you call the inclusive leader. Is it leader or leadership continuum?

JENNIFER BROWN: It's a leader actually.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: Yeah. Okay. So the inclusive leader continuum. And from what I see, it's a really practical approach to competency for leaders. So can you tell us about that? It's really the grounding for your book.

JENNIFER BROWN: It is. It is. So coming from the world of organizational development or OD, I think we think a lot in models. And models have made a huge impact on me. So I tried to create one that spoke to my own journey and this kind of iterative, one step forward, two steps back, oh goodness, now I know what I don't know and I need to go back and learn that. Or Oh, I tried that and I think I need to regroup and adjust.

And so it has four phases to it, unaware, aware, active, and advocate. And I named these because they felt, relatively, they simplified something that can be very, I think mysterious or overwhelming for people. Look, as leaders, we get stuck or frozen, I think in the overwhelm. And this last couple of years has been an inordinate amount of information, perhaps new for some people.


JENNIFER BROWN: It's a new thing to consider, deeply consider on biases, deeply consider how, for example, privileges have sped us along. Not that we haven't worked hard, but that privileges have been the wind at our back and that maybe that same wind is not felt and experienced by others. Right? And so these are some deep, deep reckonings.

So I think that what I really wanted to do was to say, "Hey, you're okay. First of all, maybe you're not hearing that from the world, but that we, in any of our identities, we can all be learners. We are all various places." I think too, some of us, we're never done. And those of us that think that we have all the answers and that everybody else are the clueless ones, is that's never accurate.

Right? I'm in the LGBTQ community and I'm learning so much every day about gender identity and pronouns and non-binary identity and other, especially how younger LGBTQ plus identified humans are changing the landscape and updating the language. And so even within our own communities of identity, there are these generational differences and this continuum that exists in a way.


JENNIFER BROWN: Within our identities, let alone as we're crossing identity and trying to, we're just beginning to learn about abilities or neuro-diversity or mental health challenges. So I wanted us all to be humble. I wanted us to meet in a place where we could agree on kind of the markers.

And then I wanted to demystify it and sort of weaponize it too, to say, look, as long as if you're not uncomfortable, you're not leading. So the progression of leadership, of course, is to growth, to push, to stretch. And my expectation is that we are stretching ourselves. It is that we are putting ourselves in the unfamiliar, we are creating new conversations. We are talking about new and different things. We're opening doors, we're stepping into that unknown.

And we are coping with the awkwardness, the not knowing, the battle in ourselves with perfectionism, I think, and really the want to stay safe. Right? I don't want to go there. I don't know how this is going to turn out. I don't know whether I'm going to be competent. The business world I exist in rewards competence and expertise and command and control and always having the answers.

And I think this is such a different, this is kind of the new way of thinking about leadership, which is that I have to know the right questions to ask. I need to be real. I need to be authentic. I get to show up now differently because we can only lead in the context of what is desired from us. We don't decide, "Oh, this is the kind of leader I've always been and therefore I'm going to continue to be because it's always worked for me."

But the whole landscape has changed. Leadership is situational. So inclusive leadership, by the way, is expected. This is expected by many people around us and particularly younger talent. So we don't really have a choice to evolve through this. But what I'm trying to do is say, "Hey, I'm inviting you to the transformation." And I know this transformation is profound because I've been studying this for so many years and it has profoundly transformed me.


JENNIFER BROWN: I don't look at myself as a leader in the same way. I am very vigilant and sensitive and tuned in to what I don't know. And I work on the perfectionism in myself. I have all of these same challenges. And so, and I also look at my identity. I'm white passing and I am white identified.

So my pass is white, but I am white, Northern European descendant. I'm cisgender. My pronouns are she her. I had tremendous socioeconomic privilege. So I think too, the thing that I'm trying to normalize or what I prefer to say, Pamela, is usualise, because I like that word better, more inclusive.


JENNIFER BROWN: I'm trying to usualise how we make visible all of the parts of who we are so that we can show what this looks like, show what it sounds like, role model it, so that we can encourage more people to step in and say, "Me too, I identify this way."

Or, "Jennifer" or "That leader made it safe enough for me to disclose these things that are getting in the way of my thriving." And we need to be listening to that as organizations and as leaders. We need to know this. What we don't know about ourselves, particularly about others and their belonging can really derail our, their ability to thrive and also organizational success.

So this is definitely one of those bottom line questions to me. It's an existential question. And therefore it's sort of to me endlessly interesting and relevant to kind of explore this with leaders and say, "Where are you? Where are you going? Who do you want to be? What do you want your legacy to be? And jump into this and see where you are and where you want to go and set your course."

DR. PAMELA LARDE: Yeah. And what you're saying about this era reminds me of something I heard Susan David, one of the founders of coaching, said that we were previously in an era of competence and leaders who needed to know everything. And now we're in an era of the heart. And that very much resonates with what I've just heard you say.

Another thing I want to point out is that your analogies throughout the book are profound. You uses, just now, you talked about the wind that sort of propels some of us forward and some of us don't feel that same wind on our back. Another analogy that I thought was really useful was of that of the Rubik's cube and in terms of how to define the concept, Kimberlé Crenshaw's concept of intersectionality.

And so your definitions of things are just very practical and down to earth. And so again, just, I just had to throw that out there. But I'm going to move to the next question. So as we do the work as coaches to continue to improve our craft, talk to me about this diversity piece and the inclusion piece in particular, and why this is so important. Because we always say diversity is important, but what are the practical outcomes that you've seen from this?

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. Coaches, I mean, let me address coaches. We are doing such important work in enabling someone to feel seen, heard, valued, have their differences acknowledged and the impact of those differences. And also probably coaching leaders, particularly at the executive level where there's the least sort of ethnic and gender diversity usually, we find ourselves coaching leaders that are really struggling about how do I step in?

What do I do? Am I sort of a bad person because of how I identify and how I was born? And honestly, this question is very alive for leaders. And I'd be surprised if the coaches tuning in here have not had that conversation. And or maybe if you're really being honest, there's a lot of sort of, "I need to lead on this, but I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how. I don't know what to draw on in myself."


JENNIFER BROWN: So whoever is across this virtual or in-person table from us that we're trying to witness, we're trying to support. I think for coaches, we've got to apprentice ourselves to this topic. We need to be more than skin deep on, for example, the top microaggressions that are experienced by different communities of identity, likely that we don't carry.

So we haven't experienced those things, right? And maybe we have, but maybe we're coaching across difference. So my homework would be for all of us to know, to be listening for the things that happen, the biases, the microaggressions, the things that are said or not said, the experience of someone in a system that wasn't built by and for them. We have to be as coaches aware that this may be happening for this person.


JENNIFER BROWN: And I'm not sure how this person identifies, but maybe if I build enough trust and I open that door that this person will share as a X, X, X, and also this.


JENNIFER BROWN: Here the things that I'm hearing, here's the things I'm invited to or not, here's the things I'm left off, here's the jokes I hear, here are the comments and here's the subtle things that happen that I'm not sure what they mean.

And to be able to hold space for somebody as they puzzle through that and what it means and what they want to do about it means that we as coaches, regardless of our identity, need to be prepared to have that conversation and hold that space.


JENNIFER BROWN: We need to lead people. We need to say, "yeah. Yes, what you're saying makes sense based on my research into this." I am forever researching other identities, always, always putting myself in webinars, always listening to different podcasts and watching things, reading books where I am, the author and the creator is not of my identity so that I can listen, I can be the fly on the wall, I can gather the lexicon, the language, how is the conversation changing.

So I think for coaches, as much as I know we need to stay in inquiry mode, we can be aware, more deeply aware of what might be going on, and we can help somebody name something. And then when we problem-solve, we're hitting the ground running.


JENNIFER BROWN: We can say, "Well, what do you want to do about this? What do you feel you have a voice? Why or why not?" Imposter syndrome is an enormous thing when you're coaching across difference, particularly to somebody who's not a straight white man. Because in systems where you're not represented from a diversity and perspective, you are going to invariably struggle with belonging.


JENNIFER BROWN: It's lack of role models, it's the microaggressions, it's the lack of, you may be the only every single day.


JENNIFER BROWN: And all that comes with that. So to the extent we can anticipate this and not put people in boxes, not assume we understand what their experience is because there's a lot of difference within the diversity too.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: Absolutely.

JENNIFER BROWN: But just knowing that that may be going on and then meeting somebody where they're at and problem-solving together is a powerful competency for coaches. And I would love to see a lot more just like in L and D, just like in other disciplines where D and I doesn't seem to be very core to the discipline. I'm like, no, this needs to be a big part of your toolkit.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: Yeah. Yeah. It makes you better at the work, the very work that you're trying to accomplish. Speaking of belonging and being the only person in the room. So I have to address the elephant in the room here.


DR. PAMELA LARDE: And that you know are a white woman, I am a black woman, you're a white presenting woman as you, to use your words. And I'm a black woman. And so there exists between our two groups a tension, that a level of tension that has strong historical roots in terms of the history of this country. And so on the subject of diversity, we might think that as long as you and I both have this passion and this interest for diversity, everything should be all good.

We should be all on the same page, we should be able to work together. But what I've seen is that black women in a lot, and of course I don't want to say this is all black women and all white women, but black women tend to yearn for a safe space. And white women who are passionate about diversity often want to learn from people of color.

And when there is this need for a safe space, and then there's this need to learn from people of color, the needs clash. And I'll give you an example. So my best friend and I are very much knee deep in this work. And at one point we were student affairs, diversity and inclusion directors at our respective university.

So we went to a conference called NCORE, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education. And there was a session that said it was about privilege and race, but it was really just for white allies. And it said that in the description that this is a safe space for white allies. And in our young cockiness in our twenties, we thought, "Why? Why just white people? That's whatever, we want to know what they're saying."

So we went in there and we sat in on the session. I'm not proud to say this, but we sat and quickly understood why that was a safe space. And because it was an opportunity for people to speak on the very things that you're talking about, the imposter syndrome, the saying the wrong thing, the... And it was there for that reason. And as we understood this, we humbled ourselves. She reached over to me and said, "I don't think we're supposed to be in here." And we tiptoed out of the room and humbled ourselves. And this indeed is a space where they do need the support of each other, so.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. I love that story. I've done the same thing. I've definitely had been pressed against the glass saying, "Can I come in there?"


JENNIFER BROWN: No, this is so important. It's some people claim that this is excluding to include, that it's just practicing exclusion again. But I really don't, I don't believe that. As an LGBTQ person, I know spaces that are where we can have the honest conversation and let our shoulders down and breathe together, be emotional together, be messy together, to be honest. To work some of these things through, I think it's so not just appropriate, it's life giving.

It's actually to me to find that space. So for coaches that are listening to this, finding a same identity or like-identity space for people or encouraging them to find that, whether that's an affinity group at their company, whether it is a community organization, maybe it's a author, book reader, book reading club, whatever it is, that is so critical to process things with folks that will understand outside of the view and the observation of people who it's not their conversation to have. Right?


JENNIFER BROWN: And it, like you said, it works both ways.


JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. So I think that what I'd like to see is the coexistence of safe spaces and then mixed spaces.


JENNIFER BROWN: Where allyship can be the topic in the mixed space. So for intersectional women, how amazing is it to have that be a topic and a purpose and sort of the charter of that meeting or that initiative is to explore that difference. Because you and I may be having a gender experience, but our gender experience as to, I'm assuming cisgender women is fundamentally altered by our intersectionality.


JENNIFER BROWN: By your ethnicity, for example, and mine. So and then I think our solidarity with each other, that allyship to your question about the elephant in the room, why do we not support each other more? The difference between white women intending to be allies and the way that we rate ourselves very high on that and the way that black women rate the allyship that they experience, there's a huge difference.

And this has been studied, by the way, everybody by LeanIn. So please Google women in the workplace, McKinsey's work on this with LeanIn. It quantifies this huge gap in perception in reality. So for white women and white allies in particular, I would give us, we are only an ally when someone in an affected community calls us an ally. It is something that is earned.

It is something that is defined by others, not by ourselves. We can define our efforts, but the impact, which is what matters, not the intent. And we are missing the mark. And I think it's because, we don't have a ton of time to go into this.


JENNIFER BROWN: But there's a lot of historical reasons for this. There's a lot of scarcity amongst women because we've sort of assumed this is a finite amount of resources in the world and we have to cling to what we have and align ourselves with power.

And white women align themselves with whiteness. And there's a lot written on this. We don't have time to go into it, but boy, I would really like white women in particular to be extremely sensitive, humble and curious, and invested in not just our intent. Oh, I meant this. I am this kind of, I'm a good person. I want this kind of relationship.

But really, really taking our cue from other women with whom we need to be in solidarity and that partnership and really having honest conversations like is this working? And if not, what else could I be doing?

How should I be thinking about this differently and not intruding on each other's space and feeling entitled to that space, but going off and finding our own support network so that we can do the work in community of identity so we can be ready to be allies. I don't want to lean on you, Pamela, to do all my work for me. You should not have to do that. I need to go and do it myself.


JENNIFER BROWN: And then I need to come back and be ready to hit the ground running and be your accomplice.


JENNIFER BROWN: That's what it needs to look like. So let's be aware of the emotional labor. We are intentionally or unintentionally or through just laziness or whatever it is. Be very aware that asking people to educate you is a big ask when so many of us, like I say us in the LGBTQ community, we are asked to be the spokesperson, be the representative, be on the panel, be the... Right? Carry all the water for that.

And sometimes you want someone to meet you and say, "I've done all this homework, I've done, I've really learned. And the question I want to ask is, what would make the most difference for you to lift you up, to lift the voice up, to remove obstacles, to challenge the system so that it's better?"

We, we, I need to do that work. And also be aware of how the system benefits me and it doesn't benefit you, Pamela, and I need to know what that is. I need to be very crisp on that. And that involves kind of looking at ourselves, the advantages, those tailwinds, and not hiding that, not denying it, but talking about it so that we can begin to bring that to the sunlight and let the disinfecting happen.


JENNIFER BROWN: Whew. That's a lot. I just squeezed all that in at the end.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: We are officially supposed to be done, but I'm going to just close with one more question because we have to just, I want to hear your thought really quickly on this. But as far as your experience on this journey, and you've already imparted a lot to us, but what is one of the greatest takeaways on your own journey that you'd like to impart for the benefit of our coaching audience here?

JENNIFER BROWN: I just think my own journey is the grace with myself as a learner, but also accountability. So what I give you all is to just make your work visible. I think it goes a long way. None of us is done. We are never going to be done. Perfection isn't possible.


JENNIFER BROWN: So I would encourage us when we get comfortable being uncomfortable, the vulnerability that we love that Brené Brown talks about, but the practice of it is hard. Right? To say, "I'm learning. I don't know. Here's what I'm trying to learn and develop competency around." And share. Don't be afraid to share that this upsets you. Right? That on a heart level, you're not okay with things. You're not okay with your own choices in the past.

You're not okay with the status quo, you're not... That you are oriented around injustices and that you are personally involved. And I think if I could coach leaders to share that messiness, because that feels very... Right? That is not what we were trained to show up as. And generationally, a lot of leaders are struggling because this was not at all accepted.

And in a way, it's sort of counterintuitive, but it is, I promise, the way leadership has to look in the future is much more honest, much more transparent, much more curious, much more question asking and not question answering.

And that if we sort of do this and make this visible, I think others will feel very inspired and seen first of all, because we're all struggling and that shines a light for so many other people. But leaders say, "Jennifer, I just feel like that's not relevant." And I say, "Everything in you is relevant." Listen, because there's someone that's not feeling that they are represented.


JENNIFER BROWN: There is someone listening to you that needs to see you, hear you, feel less alone and therefore say, "I can do this. I can lead. I can be that someday." That's why we have to do it. It's not because of our discomfort that we need to avoid these moments and these choices, it's for the next generation. And what a wonderful thing to rally around. When I don't feel like it and I feel challenged and I feel scared, I say to myself, "This is not about me." Leadership is not about us.

It's actually about what we seed and what we enable and what we encourage and what we foster and what we nurture so that when we're gone, it continues to exist.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: It continues. Thank you so much for this. I need somebody to hashtag everything about you. Everything you is relevant. Everything in you is, no matter what you're bringing to the table, if you are a white male who see yourself as somebody full of privilege, everything in you is relevant. There are ways that you can contribute to this movement as well. So thank you so much.

JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you so much. This is so wonderful. We're getting a lot of love in the comments.


JENNIFER BROWN: Thanks, everybody.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: How can they best get in touch with you, your website? What is the way to best reach you and your work?

JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you, everybody. I would love to hear from you. I'm all over LinkedIn. Please join me, connect with me, say hello. The book is How to Be an Inclusive Leader, the Second Edition. So wherever you buy your books, I'll mention Amazon, but independent bookstores, I'm seeing it on shelves. I'm so excited about that. And my podcast, everybody is called The Will To Change.

So if you'd like to hear more from me and others in our community and on my team, it's amazing. We have super deep conversations just like this. And then in all the socials. So far, I'm still on Twitter at Jennifer Brown, we'll see. And then Jennifer speaks, Jennifer Brown speaks on Instagram, and like I said, LinkedIn and Facebook.

And please, if your organization needs help with all of this too, check out Jennifer Brown Consulting and my incredible team and the work we've been doing to do the strategy and the training and education sort of those deep dives into the organization and creating the change from within. We love that. I love that I can talk about this, but I also get to work with people who can make it a reality every day for thousands of employees, so.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: And this is 20 years in the making, so she's got a little bit...


DR. PAMELA LARDE: Of experience.

JENNIFER BROWN: Just a little bit.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: So thank you so much Jennifer. We've gone a little...

JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you so much.

DR. PAMELA LARDE: But I appreciate it. I think every second over was worth it, so...


DR. PAMELA LARDE: Thank you so much for that.

JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you for staying over. Thanks Pamela. Thanks everybody for everything you do.


Hi, this is Jennifer. Did you know that we offer a full transcript of every podcast episode on my website over at You can also subscribe so that you get notified every time a new episode goes live. Head over there now to read my latest thoughts on diversity, inclusion and the future of work and discover how we can all be champions of change by bringing our collective voices together and standing up for ourselves and each other.

DOUG FORESTA: You've been listening to The Will To Change, uncovering true stories of diversity and inclusion with Jennifer Brown. If you've enjoyed the episode, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. To learn more about Jennifer Brown, visit Thank you for listening, and we'll be back next time with a new episode.