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Kathy Martinez, Senior Vice President, Disability Segment Market Brand & Strategy for Wells Fargo & Company, joins the program to share her unique diversity story and how she came to be aware of and involved with efforts to create a more just and equal society. Kathy reveals why creating more accessible products and services ultimately benefits all consumers and why it makes good business sense. She also discusses misconceptions that leaders often have when it comes to workplace accommodations and the return on investment that comes with accommodating the needs of all employees.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- Kathy’s diversity story and how she discovered her own truth (2:30)
- Kathy’s earliest experience with social justice (10:15)
- Some of the unique strengths that diverse talent can bring to the workplace (19:30)
- How Wells Fargo created an industry wide enterprise accessibility strategy (20:30)
- How the ADA has benefited all members of society (24:30)
- How leaders can support diverse talent in bringing their full selves to work (31:00)
- The need for “courageous conversations” in corporate America and what that looks like (32:05)
- The 3 biggest obstacles that prevent persons with disabilities from sharing their stories (33:40)
- How companies need to shift their thinking regarding workplace accommodations (34:45)
- What needs to happen for the workplace to evolve and become more inclusive (37:30)
Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:
JENNIFER BROWN: Welcome to The Will to Change. This is Jennifer Brown. My guest today is Kathy Martinez.
Kathy is senior vice president and head of disability and accessibility strategy at Wells Fargo.
Kathy joined Wells Fargo in March of 2015 from the U.S. Department of Labor, where she served as the assistant secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy.
A graduate of San Francisco State University, Martinez speaks and publishes on a wide array of topics related to disability employment, including the emergence of disability as an essential component of workplace diversity and inclusion, and the importance of expectation in ensuring youth with disabilities grow up with an assumption of work—a topic on which Martinez, who herself was born blind, offers compelling and personal perspective.
Kathy, welcome to The Will to Change.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Thank you so much, it’s a pleasure to be on your podcast.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes.
KATHY MARTINEZ: I’ve listened to so many of them.
JENNIFER BROWN: Well, I am excited to have you. I have been in your life, watching you from the audience many, many times before I really got to know you recently in the Wells Fargo context, which we’ll talk about later.
You are such a unique leader with such a unique story—a powerful story—and such a cool job. We’re going to get to all of that in a moment. You’re such a great teacher for all of us who want to be allies to the disabilities community, and also acknowledging that many of us will have a disability at some point in our lives as well.
You’ve really taught me as a practitioner, a person, an advocate, and currently an ally. I wanted to thank you for the role you’ve played in my own education.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Absolutely. Welcome. I am one of the leaders of your fan club as well.
JENNIFER BROWN: I love that! I’m so honored. I’m so honored.
Kathy, I know you have a rich and fascinating personal story about growing up, your own identity, and finding your voice in multiple respects. I’ll let you elaborate on what that means. On The Will to Change podcast, we say everyone has a diversity story—even those you don’t expect. You have multiple stories, it probably depends on the day which one you’re most keenly aware of, thinking about, or perhaps feeling the challenges around.
Take us back to where you grew up, the family you grew up in, discovering your truth, living with your own identities and what that meant for you in the early days.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Well, my family is originally from New Mexico. They moved to California. So I primarily grew up in California, in Orange County California, to be specific. I always say that I escaped from behind the “orange curtain.”
JENNIFER BROWN: You know, you and I have that in common, Kathy. Me, too.
KATHY MARTINEZ: No way!
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes. I don’t know if we’ve ever talked about that. (Laughter.)
KATHY MARTINEZ: Oh, that’s another podcast.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes, it is.
KATHY MARTINEZ: I was very lucky in that I had parents—my parents are both Latino, they’re from New Mexico. They didn’t realize I was blind until I was pretty old. I was close to eight months old when they realized that I wasn’t responding to the things that kids respond to when they’re babies.
Needless to say, they took me to as many medical appointments as they could. At that time, there was an eye clinic at the UCLA Medical Center called the Jule Stein Eye Clinic. I’m not sure if it still exists, but I was lucky enough to go there just because they realized in a relatively short time that I would never be able to see.
So after getting over their disappointment and their guilt—my parents are Catholic—they realized, “Okay, well, she’s not going to see, so we can’t focus on a cure. So let’s focus on how she’s going to survive in the world.”
My parents were told not to have any more kids, but being the Catholics that they were, of course they had more kids. And the next child they had was also blind. Now, many people say, “God, that’s horrible.” But for me, it has been a blessing. My parents went on to have two more kids who were sighted.
We have six kids in total, so I grew up in a very large Latino family. The two middle kids are blind, and for me, my sister Peggy has been my touchstone my whole life because we could compare experiences.
I think that a lot of people see, “Oh, my God, this family has two blind kids, what a disaster.” But in a way, like I said, for me, it’s been a blessing, especially because we both went to public school. And very often, not always, when kids go to public school, they are often the only disabled child in their school. Also, to make a connection to the LGBTQ community, they’re often the only child that’s disabled in their families. There’s a lot of culture that doesn’t get shared.
Peggy and I were able to share the experience of learning Braille, we were able to share the experience of how to do things without seeing. We were able to share experiences when we would go to recreational programs for the blind. We were able to read books together as kids. We had each other to compare notes with.
I was very lucky. My parents fought pretty hard for both of us to go to a mainstream school. I began my mainstream educational career when I was five years old. And that was quite a—I hope you don’t mind if I use the phrase “eye-opener,” but it was really quite an experience for me.
Before that time, I’d been mostly around people that knew me, relatives, and people who knew I was blind, people who had to look out for me. But when I went to school at the age of five, there were 20 kids in the class that had never met a blind person, had never had that experience. After many questions and some bullying, but I dealt with that only because I have a big family and that’s how you grow up, right?
JENNIFER BROWN: That’s right. That’s right.
KATHY MARTINEZ: I want to say something about the kids. After many questions, they got comfortable with me and I was part of the group.
The thing about kids, if they’re around disability from a young age, it becomes part of their standard operating practice, right? So they accepted me as a peer. They figured out how I could participate both in class, and more importantly, on the playground. In class was very structured, I had a support system. We had what we called the visually impaired instructor who supported people that were blind that went to mainstream schools in the area.
The most important thing is that the kids figured out and helped include me in things like foursquare, baseball. I came home with a lot of knots on my head, but the main thing was that I was a part of the group. And I think that’s important because it speaks to the work that we’re doing today. If you build in accommodations and build in the attitude that disability is a natural part of the human condition, and we might have to do things differently, but there’s still possibility for somebody to contribute. I lived that, the kids that I grew up with—you know, it wasn’t a perfect life, but it was a good life in that they saw me as somebody worth working with, hanging out with, being friends with, fighting with. I was just “one of the guys,” or “one of the women,” or whatever you want to say.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes.
KATHY MARTINEZ: That was a great foundation for me, in addition to my family, who really did believe that Peggy and I had to participate in everything that the family did—including chores, which of course we did try to use our blindness to get out of, but my parents were much smarter than that.
JENNIFER BROWN: There you go.
KATHY MARTINEZ: And my dad would make us do things. One day he had me come out with him and said, “Okay, we’re going to mow the lawn today.” And I said, “Well, I can’t. I’m blind.” I was about six years old. I said, “How am I going to do it?” He said, “Well, you have to take off your shoes.” Fortunately, it was a push mower, it wasn’t a power mower. And I got to feel the grass when it was long and then walk up and down and feel the grass when it was short.
JENNIFER BROWN: Of course.
KATHY MARTINEZ: That’s what we did. I think the neighbors were about to call Child Protective Services. (Laughter.)
Partly, I think he did it for my benefit, but partly he had a good sense of humor, and if he meant to freak out the neighbors, it worked.
JENNIFER BROWN: And you inherited that, by the way. We get to enjoy his legacy of humor.
KATHY MARTINEZ: It’s good to have a sense of humor, right?
JENNIFER BROWN: It is, you have to.
KATHY MARTINEZ: That makes all the difference in the world.
JENNIFER BROWN: It does.
KATHY MARTINEZ: I was encouraged to try things. I was encouraged to fail. I was very interested as a kid, a teenager especially, I was interested in social justice. We lived near Strawberry Fields, and I would hear people when we would walk back and forth from playground to home because it was the days where you didn’t come back until the lights went on.
I would hear people arguing about how much they picked and how much they were going to be paid. I was very taken by the desperation in their voices and the meanness with which I heard how they were treated.
I got involved in the United Farm Workers youth movement. And at that time, I was trying to figure out who I was. I was a blind Latina stuck in Orange County with no transportation. Everybody else was learning how to drive.
After I explored my “Latina-ness” and was very fortunate to learn how to speak Spanish and get that under my belt, I decided that I wanted to identify with my “woman-ness.”
I joined the women’s movement. Unfortunately, the ERA had lost by then, but still, it was very powerful. I was very interested in equalizing the playing field for women because I saw so many times as a child my mom being discriminated against, both because she was Latina and because she was a woman. So a lot around financial issues where she couldn’t get credit cards. I saw her being one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever, ever met, and was brilliant and practical and a humanitarian. I saw this person get discriminated against over and over because she was a woman, so I was very involved.
And then I had the good fortune to move to the San Francisco Bay Area, and it was right around the time when there was a sit-in in San Francisco to protest the fact that the 504 regulations had not been implemented. And those are regulations related to the Rehabilitation Act. And there was a protest, it was the longest protest—this was the longest federal building takeover in modern history. People with disabilities took over the Federal Building for about 28 days in San Francisco and in other parts of the country, but in San Francisco, it lasted for 28 days.
I happened to be in the Bay Area then, and I got a flyer in Braille, which I’d never received ever any kind of political information in an accessible format.
I went to the event and I couldn’t go into the building for a couple of reasons while I was in school, but I met people, I met so many allies of people with disabilities and such a diverse group of people with disabilities themselves. And it was the first time I had really seen a cross-disability effort. So that really sold me on the spot.
I thought, “I am a Latina, I am a woman.” I had come out as a lesbian by then, and I’m a person with a disability. And I have to reconcile all these identities. At that time, and still really, people react more to my disability than they react to my other identities.
That was my initiation into the disability rights movement. I’ve had a number of jobs. I led the World Institute on Disability, as you know, then I graduated to the government as an assistant secretary, and currently, I work for Wells Fargo Bank.
JENNIFER BROWN: Look at that. Wrap that up in a bow. It’s incredible. You just said it so quickly, but I’m sure it was not easy. You make it sound easy. You bring so much to the table that I’m sure everybody who has known you has thought about bigger and bigger things for you.
It’s so fascinating to hear about the early days of the women’s movement from you, and to hear how you layer on your ethnicity, your gender, your sexual orientation. And then to say, “What people experience or notice first about me is my disability.” That’s so important for all of us to be mindful of all of the intersections of our identities, and which are visible and which are not visible, which is the other interesting thing you and I talk about all the time. What can we downplay or cover, and what is obvious?
I know that diversity in the disabilities community, it’s been such an education for me to reconcile that there are many similarities, actually, between the disabilities community and the LGBT community in terms of if you have a concealable disability, and if sexual orientation is also concealable, there are ways you can “cover” through your career that you might believe, rightly or wrongly, help you make it through from an acceptance perspective.
Do you have memories of trying to cover the identities that you could cover? Were you aware of doing that? Or were you just all out, all the time saying, “This is who I am, take it or leave it”? I think I know the answer.
KATHY MARTINEZ: I wish I could say I was out all the time, but I wasn’t. I could cover being a lesbian. Of course, I went through the phase of saying I was bisexual. I didn’t bring it up a lot in certain situations if I thought it would keep me back. But then I began my employment with the World Institute on Disability, and I should say that I did move to the Bay Area, which was a big, huge weight off my shoulders in terms of coming out.
I was very careful around certain parts of my family that are still very discriminatory against the LGBT community. But I would say after the early ’90s, I’ve been out.
I did serve on a couple of boards for the Bush Administration, and I came out to them, too, and said, “Look, you should know this.” And they said, “That’s fine. We prefer if you didn’t, quote, advertise it,” which I usually don’t do. And I didn’t. But if anybody asked me about my living situation, I was certainly honest.
Even when I was working on the State Department Advisory Committee or as a member of the National Council on Disability under the Bush Administration, I was still pretty honest about who I was. But there was a time in my early 20s where I was really afraid to come out in certain employment situations because, as my mother said when I came out to her, “Oh, my God, why are you choosing this? You’re blind, you’re Latina, you’re a woman, why would you pick this too?” She thought I was on some kind of oppression Olympics or something. I was trying to compete for the oppression Olympics. (Laughter.)
But we got through it. I’m out. I’m very lucky to be out at Wells Fargo. I was out as an assistant secretary, I was out in my work with the World Institute on Disability, and really I was out. If anybody asked me, I was very honest about my situation when I worked for the Bush Administration. So, yes, it was a road, a path that I had to traverse. And I had to accept myself. I was afraid when I really knew that I was a lesbian because I thought, “Oh, my God, what else am I going to have to deal with?” But it is who I am. I’m very happy that I was able to come out and live the life that I’m living.
JENNIFER BROWN: And find a company that is, frankly, just so amazing for the LGBTQ community. I believe deeply in Wells Fargo. I’ve worked for the company for years, as you know, and have supported growing more LGBT leaders and helping people make that shift in their own thinking about themselves as beautiful and talented because they’ve been in a marginalized place in their lives. I love that conversation that we get to have with LGBT leaders. They are very inspirational people because of struggle and because of challenge. I know for myself, it’s developed things and forged things, maybe in painful ways, that now I count as some of my strongest attributes. It’s been such a gift. It enables us to go forward and be effective leaders because we have a degree of empathy and understanding that goes beyond a leader that has enjoyed a little more privilege. It’s an inspiring set of people—diverse talent in corporate America right now.
Kathy, I wanted to ask you: Wells is relatively new to having a disability segment strategy as a company. I know that you’re really in charge of that currently. They have a disability network, it’s a team member network, which is employee resource group. They call people with diverse abilities. Tell us what motivated the company to move into this space and what are you most excited about or proud of in the way that the company is deputizing you and handling its approach from a talent perspective and also for the marketplace perspective?
KATHY MARTINEZ: Well, that’s a very good question. I’m very happy to answer it. First of all, let me say that I came to Wells Fargo in March of 2015, but before then, there had to have been work in the accessibility space.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes.
KATHY MARTINEZ: I have to say, they were one of the first banks that adopted the use of accessible ATMs in the mid to late ’90s. They have been very good about providing documents in alternate format. For example, in the old days, some of us would get these raised-line checks where we could feel where the lines were to be able input information or sign, and then we would get our statements in Braille.
A few years ago, I was hired to basically develop an enterprise-wide strategy. So Wells Fargo merged with many banks, there were many different ways of doing things. None of them were wrong, they just weren’t really coordinated.
I will say, there are numerous team members at Wells Fargo who are committed to the concept of accessibility. What I’m proud of is that we were able to launch our Enterprise Accessibility Program Office in 2017, and the purpose of that office is really to guide the overall enterprise-wide strategy with the various lines of business and functional organizations so we’re all moving in the same direction.
So when it comes to developing standards, for example, making a PDF accessible. Are we still going to be using PDFs in the future? Just to bring the various lines of business together as one centralized conversation, to develop an enterprise-wide strategy so we’re not working at cross-purposes with each other.
In addition to that, I’m really proud of having had the opportunity to stand up our philanthropic work. We provide sponsorships to a variety of disability organizations, and the main goal is to promote employment of people with disabilities and to promote financial wellbeing for people with disabilities. We work with our hands-on banking group, which is an educational group within the bank that provides financial information to the public.
I’m also really proud of our scholarships for people with disabilities program. We launched a scholarships program in 2016, and we just completed our second round of applications. We’re actually in the review process now.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There is still a lot of work we have to do, but I feel like the commitment is there, and the understanding that disability is a natural part of the human condition. And if we empower people by making our products and services accessible, it will ultimately help the economy.
People look at me and they see “blind woman,” right? And they would say, if you polled somebody by just giving them a picture of me and not knowing who I was, they would say, “Yes, that person deserves to be on benefits.” But the fact that I, and millions of other people with disabilities are able to work because of companies like Wells Fargo providing information in accessible format and seeing accessibility as part of standard operating practice. Not only are we off benefits, but we’re paying taxes. I often say we’re probably the only community that wants to pay taxes.
It does help the overall economy. And if you think about the ADA passed in 1990, the ADA has changed the face of society. Meaning the physical face of society has been altered. We have ramps, we have Braille on elevators, Braille on hotel room doors. Often, we’ll find accessible bathroom signs, things that help other people besides just people with evident disabilities.
We have an aging population, baby boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 people per day. Many of these people will acquired disabilities. And they’re going to be very happy that we have ramps and we have companies like Apple that have developed completely accessible products, companies like Amazon that are making all their processes accessible. I think Wells Fargo is in very good company because many companies are doing this and they see it as a part of doing good business. It’s not about charity, it’s about the bottom line and allowing disabled people to be better customers and better employees.
JENNIFER BROWN: And using the community to generate innovative ideas that actually benefit everyone, to your point about the curb cuts.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Well, the curb cuts are just a great example.
JENNIFER BROWN: Right?
KATHY MARTINEZ: I don’t know about you in New York, but in D.C., people have an aversion to stepping up the curb for some reason. So they’ll just stand in line and wait for the curb to be available.
JENNIFER BROWN: There’s less snow in the curb cut.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Well, there you go. Yes.
JENNIFER BROWN: It’s less treacherous.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Can I mention one more thing that I’m proud of?
JENNIFER BROWN: Sure.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Okay. This is really pretty awesome. I’m also very proud of the fact that Wells Fargo launched its first Diverse Leaders Program for people with disabilities. Let me explain.
Wells Fargo has a big focus on leadership development. And they have developed leadership programs—two-and-a-half or three-day programs—for Latinos, Asians, the LGBT community, and just this last year—and you were a big part of this, so I want to bring it up—we developed two programs. We developed a diverse leaders program for veterans, and a diverse leaders program for people with disabilities.
This is just a wonderful opportunity for those of us who were able to participate in the flagship program. I know that we’re going to offer it next year, so we’ll see how it goes. I just think it’s great that Wells Fargo believed in its leaders with disabilities, or as some people say, “diverse abilities,” and believe that we should be trained and encouraged and cultivated to be better leaders.
JENNIFER BROWN: I love that word, “cultivated.” I love that. When you’re outside of the power structure, however we define that, and in corporate America, I think we all have a sense of who has the power and the keys to the kingdom, who is getting the assignments or being invited to special things. There are “in” groups and “out” groups.
Wells is actually acknowledging that we need to gather diverse talent within identity groups, same identity groups, so that we can have a very honest, no-holds-barred, vulnerable conversation about the impact of our identity on our leadership. The bank understands that conversation will unleash potential in a very unique way.
Kathy, I always say I’m proud of the work we do with Wells. We do the Diverse Abilities Program, we’ve done the LGBT Leader Program, and we’ve also launched the Veterans Program. That was a cool thing to be a part of as well, as somebody who’s facilitating that group through the conversation about what’s different about being a veteran and porting all of those skills from the military over into the corporate world. Where do you get derailed? What’s difficult? What’s hard to understand? How do we need to speak in a way that we can be valued by this corporate culture that wasn’t really built by us and for us?
That’s the experience of diverse talent, as you and I know. It wasn’t built by us and for us, yet we are a huge market. We have huge buying power. We are influential. We are your future leaders, and these programs definitely foster that pipeline in a very immediate, direct way. I love the ROI of these programs. We see the ROI because people are supercharged after experiencing this. They show up differently, they are more proactive around navigating their career, and I think they cover less as well around their identity. There’s a pride and alignment to people who have had some time to explore how they’ve marginalized their identities in their workplace and as leaders.
As our final question, I want to ask you: What advice would you give, knowing that people of all diverse identities cover when they come in to work on a Monday morning? We do it in subtle ways, we do it in more overt ways. Sometimes we can hide our identity, sometimes we can’t. Clearly, our gender, ethnicity, or disability is sometimes right there for somebody to have a bias about. But other times, we can hide. I know that it’s a problem in corporate America. For our listeners who don’t know, one of the really big challenges is self-identification of people with diverse identities. When you cannot declare, oftentimes, you won’t declare. You don’t check that box, you can’t be counted, and you can’t be supported in a proactive way.
We have a lot of leaders on this call. Do you have some pearls of wisdom? How do we build workplace cultures where more people feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work and identifying themselves in the paperwork that HR sends out, but also in their everyday lives with their colleagues and clients?
I know that’s a really big question, but you’re the queen of being succinct as well. What would you say, two to three points?
KATHY MARTINEZ: Well, first of all, people fear less what we know best. So people that are leading these corporations know primarily white culture best. Not everybody, but it’s primarily male.
I have a number of points to make. We have to start from the top and have courageous conversations that allow people to come out. I think there is, of course, the brave person who will out themselves no matter what culture they’re in. Obviously, we do better work when we don’t have to lie about who we are. Having our male allies, our white allies, and our privileged allies, we have to rely on them to help us begin the conversation. And then as people of color or LGBT or people with disabilities, we have to take the plunge.
I know it’s easy for me to say because I’ve done it and I know that people are on varying paths on the way to coming out, and there are lots of really good reasons why people don’t. Really, it all centers around fear. I would say that regarding people with disabilities, fear, myth, and stereotype are still our biggest barriers. It’s about what people think they know.
I’ve noticed, just being at the bank and being one of the few—out of 270,000 people, there are people who have come out, but I’m very noticeably disabled. And I notice wherever I go that isn’t a disability-specific environment, it takes people a while. They’re afraid to make mistakes. They’re afraid to ask the wrong questions. They’re afraid to embarrass themselves or say something wrong. That alone is a barrier as well.
We have to allow people to grow. Sometimes they are going to make mistakes. I know we get tired of educating people, but if we really want to change the culture of work, we have to take breaks in educating people, but come back and assume that this is going to be part of what we do. We have to allow people to make mistakes, and we have to have a sense of humor. That’s really important.
I know that in every job I’ve had where there’s not an implicit understanding of disability, I’ve really had to spend time with people. When we do that, people realize that I’m not that different than they are. They might have to help me with a couple things, but I can help them with a couple things as well. My team members at Wells Fargo see the value that I bring to the table, and that I have something to contribute to them. So many people believe that people with disabilities are “takers” or we just consume, we have nothing to contribute. But when people see us as active team members in the workplace and in our communities, they see what we have to offer. They see we have so much more in common than they originally thought, and that we have a lot to contribute, and a lot that they can benefit from.
So let’s talk about accommodations, for example, because I get a lot of questions about the concept of accommodations. I’ve heard people say, “Well, how far do we have to go?”
We have to rethink the concept of accommodations. The fact is that we are all accommodated at work. The fact is that when you go to work, many of you who are coffee drinkers expect to have that delicious free cup of coffee. You go to your office, you assume you’re going to have a chair, you assume you’re going to have a desk, you assume you’re going to have a laptop or a smart phone. These are accommodations.
So when you’re a person with a disability and you ask for an accommodation, it’s only, quote, “special” because it’s not part of the standard operating practice. So we have to change our opinion about, quote, “accommodations,” unquote, and see the tools and services that people request like screen-reading software or sign language interpreters, or raising a desk three inches so a wheelchair can get under it. We have to see these requests not as accommodations, but as productivity tools. We are requesting them as people with disabilities so that we can be productive and do the jobs that we were hired to do.
It’s really important for people to understand that we’re all accommodated at work, the problem is that accommodations has gotten a very bad reputation because it allows people to have imaginations of things costing hundreds and hundreds and thousands of dollars. But if you look at what I’m able to contribute by having a screen reader that costs $1,000, there’s no comparison to its value.
JENNIFER BROWN: Kathy, that’s so beautifully stated. Companies like Wells Fargo create all of these opportunities to intersect with people who are different, however we can create these intersections. They may be uncomfortable, they may remind us how little we know, but we will never be the same again. I was impacted meeting you and having learned from you, and also realizing how much we both can teach each other, Kathy. It’s been an incredible experience on so many levels.
I love your advice, and I want folks on this podcast to listen to what you said. What we can’t let happen in 2018 is the breakdown of dialogue, question-asking, and trusting each other. If we do, there is going to be no learning, and no evolution of our workplaces to become more inclusive. We must understand first, and then we must decide that we’re not going to give in to the more primal parts of our brain that don’t like what we don’t know and what we haven’t seen. Instead, as leaders, we need to say, “There’s so much here to dive into that will make me a better person through learning from this person,” and vice versa. That is the promise, isn’t it?
KATHY MARTINEZ: Hear, hear! Yes.
JENNIFER BROWN: Hear, hear!
KATHY MARTINEZ: To trust in evolution.
JENNIFER BROWN: Trust and evolve, trust and evolve.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Yes, trust and evolve.
JENNIFER BROWN: I love it. Kathy, I love it. I know you’re a corporate person, but where can folks read about what you’re up to, hear from you, or watch you speak? I know you and I are speaking at the Forum for Workplace Inclusion in March in Minneapolis, which I’m really excited about. Do you have anything else coming up that we should tune into to hear more of your thought leadership?
KATHY MARTINEZ: Yes, I have quite a few opportunities this year. The best way for people to be in touch with me is to send me an e-mail at email@example.com. I can share more information about different places I will be. If people are interested in hearing more about what Wells Fargo is doing, I’m certainly happy to share. I’m happy to be in touch with folks.
JENNIFER BROWN: That’s so generous of you. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Kathleen with a “K.”
JENNIFER BROWN: With a “K.” Exactly. Kathleen with a “K.”
Thank you. And I hope I’ve introduced you to a lot of new people and also what good leadership looks like on a company basis on this topic. Let’s be diverse, disabilities inclusive, and allies for more and more communities in the new year. Let’s commit to that together. And you’re really leading the way.
KATHY MARTINEZ: I commit.
JENNIFER BROWN: I commit.
KATHY MARTINEZ: Yes. I’m on board. Thank you, Jennifer.
JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you, Kathy.
- MLK Day Replay: Intersectional Panel on Civil Rights including Jennifer and other L’Oréal USA DEI Advisory Board Members
- Cancel Culture to Coaching Culture: Navigating DEI Conversations with Author and Professor Kenji Yoshino
- Healing the Plus-Size Customer and Employee Journey with Author and GORGEous Agency Founder Kara Richardson Whitely
- Owning Your Power: Jennifer Joins the Beyond Barriers Podcast
- Cultivating a Purpose Mindset in Next-Gen Leaders: Social Entrepreneur Aaron Hurst Returns to the Will to Change