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Creating A More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Business with Heidi Duss [Podcast Ep 81]

Jul 19, 2021

In this episode, Heidi Duss drops truth bombs on why representation matters, why unique and diverse perspectives is important and three things you can do right now to be more inclusive to create a greater sense of belonging.

  • How to include more inclusive language in your marketing and why it’s important 
  • The correct way to speak to communities of color including BIPOC and the Asian Community
  • Three things you can do to be more inclusive and create a greater sense of belonging and self-awareness
  • How we can take small actions just by changing words to create a bigger impact not only in our business, but in our community

Heidi Duss is a Human Resources Leader who has built her career and expertise in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, organizational culture, and talent management. She has worked with organizations of all sizes, from startups to Fortune Global 500 companies in recruitment, insurance, finance, technology, and marketing. As the Founder and Chief Consultant of Culturescape Consulting, Heidi provides thought partnership, strategic planning and creative solutions to her clients that help foster more equitable and inclusive workplaces. 

Through 1:1 coaching, Heidi helps C-Suite leaders, across a variety of industries, get DEI right. Heidi received her Bachelor of Arts and Certification in HR Management from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She also completed Deep Diversity Institute and Facilitator Lab, and holds additional certifications in Leadership and Diversity Recruitment. Heidi serves on the Board of Directors for OPEN – Out Professional Engagement Network. In 2019, she was awarded Advocate of the Year by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber and was one of Brava Magazine's 2020 Women to Watch.

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I'm excited to, to have more conversations, learn more help others learn more. Um, so yeah, good. Uh, I don't want to, like, normally right now I would say to you give me five seconds and I'm going to introduce the podcast. Okay. But I'm not, I didn't know when we were going to start. Yeah. But I'm not because what I just said, I think needs to be heard. So, um, I'm just gonna, like, we're just gonna roll with this. So everyone welcome,

Welcome to our conversation

Because of what we just said. I don't, I don't want to cut that out. Like I just don't, which is, yeah. So we're just going to roll on with it here and I'll just do a quick intro later. And if you're listening to this, you've already heard the intro. So, but what I am going to do, um, Heidi is just shut this video off real quick. Okay, awesome. So, uh, I know that all of you listening for like the past five minutes have no idea who I'm talking to.

Well, I'm going to tell you right now, um, welcome Heidi. She is, um, I'm clicking around here because I was not expecting not to, to reintroduce the podcast. She helps individuals and organizations create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work places. And she, uh, focuses on gender equity and the LGBTQ plus inclusion, um, and that community. So I am excited to have you here, Heidi, and have this, um, I am sweating a little bit, but we're gonna do this. So let's, let's do it. So how are you? Yeah, thanks for having

Me, you know, to that. I say, you know, what, if you're not uncomfortable, you're not growing. And, uh, these can be uncomfortable conversations, but at least then, you know, we know we're in growth mode and, um, you know, other people learn from us and we learn from other

People. Yes, exactly. Exactly. Thank you for saying that. So I would love to hear, you know, in your words, a little bit of your story and, and you know, who you are, who you serve.

Yeah. So I have over 15 years experience in human resources, leadership, um, specifically around organizational development, recruitment, uh, culture and diversity, equity and inclusion. And I have a real passion for developing organizations that are helping organizations develop safe spaces for individuals to show up authentically, regardless of how they identify, right. We're not a singular identity. And we bring a lot of things from home life, how we were raised into the workplace. And, you know, I think more and more organizations need to recognize that what we do outside of work affects what we do inside work, so are at, at the workplace. So, um, what I do is a couple of different things. So I left, I left corporate America, um,

In November of 2020. So in the middle of the pandemic, you know, I was as a practitioner, as a, as a diversity equity and inclusion practitioner, this work can be really heavy and, um, isolating really isolating. And last year we had, you know, uh, many, many different things, obviously happening across our world. That is nothing new to many communities, especially our black and brown communities.

And, you know, I got to a point in corporate where I just said, you know what, I'm sick of banging my head up against the wall with, you know, performative allyship and performative actions. And I want to work with, with individuals and organizations that want to dive into the work and get uncomfortable and really make a difference for their employees. And it was getting a lot of requests, but didn't really have the autonomy to do, you know, kind of that side hustle inside gig.

So, um, so yeah, during that time I, um, was able, you know, what a privilege, right? I had to be able to leave, um, a six-figure job and venture out on my own, but I think the, you know, being an entrepreneur, right. I, everything that I've read about you were very similar.

The fact that we, we go against the grain we're disruptors, like, uh, challenging the status quo, you know, and I just got to a point where I just, um, I needed to go for my own mental health and wellbeing. And I really think that DEI and wellness go hand in hand, um, you know, during the last four years, I was also coming out as a woman and then having to educate people on the importance of pronouns and gender identity and, you know, all of these different things and, and equity and that as women, we're not a singular identity, we're, we're layered upon layered.

And if we don't call out who those women are that we want at the table, then we're defaulting to white women. You know, we need to say, we need all kinds of women at the table. Not just we need women at the, at the table. And especially us as white women need to say, if we see five other white women at the table, then that's a problem, right. We need to make space. Um, and that includes, you know, black, Asian, Muslim trans women, lesbian non-gender conforming, uh, and then all the layers that go into that as like parents and marital status and veteran status and all of that. So, so what I do, you know, on top of all that, um, it's really, you know, take that into organizations. And what I found is, um, you know, a lot of people going back to what we introed, a lot of people don't know what to say when to say or how to say it.

And predominantly this is just my experience, um, of the people that I work with are predominantly white, cisgender male and female identifying and gen X and boomer generation. And so we have one-on-one conversation. So it's inclusive leadership coaching. And in those conversations, it's a safe space to have brave conversations and really be open with, Hey, I don't know this, so how do I move forward?

Um, the other thing I do is group coaching with individuals who, you know, want to do better in their organizations and, or are leading some type of DNI initiative, because I think a of organizations put the task, the quote unquote task on their token gay person, their token black person, their token Asian person, and expect these people to take on this emotional tax and heavy lifting of educating all, all the white cisgender people, which is the absolute wrong thing

To do. Yeah. I was going to say, they've been doing that their whole life and they're

Doing it right, please. Like do the work your yourself. Um, nobody says you can't have open conversations and, and ask for perspective, but that's a, that's a default. Yeah. So, so, yeah, and then, you know, organizational coaching. So, uh, going in and really talking about the strategies, so are using gender inclusive language, um, what's the design of your building? Um, you know, at my last organization, I helped, uh, with the project build of a, a six story, uh, brand new headquarters.

And within that building, you know, I was in charge of all the art, um, selection throughout the building. And I made sure that our employees could see themselves in that art, whether it be that it was from artists. Um, it was, you know, artists of color, artists, trans artists, um, in our nursing mothers rooms, there was all different kinds of pictures of different kinds of mothers, um, you know, including a sexual and non-gender conforming.

And, and so I think it's really important for, for employees to see that, you know, in the building and then to, you know, that goes hand in hand with like representation matters and can they see themselves at the top of, of the organization. It's not enough to have diverse talent at frontline diverse talent needs to see themselves at the top of the organization in management roles, in executive roles. Um, not strictly as individual contributors.

Yeah. So I just, from you saying all that, I have like a thousand questions.

I am absolutely passionate about talking about this and, you know, I, I say I don't have all the answers, you know, and I think it's important that even us as practitioners, like we don't have all the answers and I may speak to one community or two communities, you know, however, identify, but then I'm pulling in the experts from other communities doing the work.

Um, you know, I'm a white cisgender, you know, straight passing woman. And unless I tell you that I'm a woman, you, I don't know that you would know, um, right. You know me, but, but yeah, I think that, you know, it's important to speak to what we we know and, and how we identify, and we can speak to intersectionality as well, you know, and all the layers, but it's important to pull in diverse voices and no consultant is a one size fits all. So, you know, organizations that think they can just hire one consultant to speak on all things, um, you know, that would be like, you know, the one gay person speaking on the whole gay community. Yeah. Um,

So yeah, Yeah. Just unique perspectives, diverse perspectives is really important.

Yeah. So I think, you know, for, for me, and I'm sure, you know, other audience that is listening right now, when you, you know, we're talking about inclusive language, like marketing just popped into my head and was like, oh, I probably really suck language. And when you said, you know, when you say, um, you know, a woman that it is automatically assumed that it's, you know, white, straight woman. Right. Um, and I, I have used that language before.

Like I help women entrepreneurs. I don't use that anymore. I have changed it. Um, but just, and not for any purpose only because I niche down more, you know what I mean? So now it's, I help spiritual entrepreneurs, like, and I don't even know off of that's inclusive. So for, you know, solo entrepreneurs who are doing their own marketing or who even have a team and want to include more inclusive language into their marketing. Yeah. You know, what advice would you give to them?

Yeah, I mean, right. We can't be all things to all people. Right. Um, but we can be intentional. And so even with, you know, I help spiritual women that I would say is, okay, because that's your, that is your market. But in your marketing, like imagery in your, your, on your website, having statements and images that are inclusive to all races, um, you know, including that we create an inclusive space, uh, whether it be through one-on-one coaching or group coaching that embraces all identities that fall under the umbrella of what a woman is. Right.

And so that if somebody was a black woman, Asian woman, trans woman, they know that by coming to your site, oh, this is what Janessa stands for. She is in solidarity with our community. And I can go out to your social channels and find out that you're using your voice to amplify those who are quote unquote, you know, under the marginalized women category.

Oh, her identity. And so, you know that, oh, Janessa is speaking and actively, um, speaking up against police brutality with, you know, Brianna Taylor and, and Asian hate and all of these different, um, black trans women, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's part of your brand, it's part of who you are as an individual, uh, using your voice down and right. We're gonna make mistakes. Everybody's going to make mistakes. Um, it's, it's what we do with those and how you, I make mistakes. Um,

We're human, everyone. We're human. We are.

And, you know, from, in, in being a white privileged woman, I, you know, I do know that there are things ingrained that were ingrained in me without even realizing that they were, you know, oh, yeah. Um,

Yeah. I mean, you talk about gender identity alone. It's, you know, when we were young and it's, uh, you know, the pink and blue and

Like men were men and women And Barbies and trucks and, um, and like

There was always a Ken to a Barbie. There was Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And right. I mean, gender was always talked about is Binary. Um, I mean, I don't think that I even heard that there was, you know, people that identified as something other than what they were born as, until I was probably in my twenties.

Yeah. You know, I don't even think I knew the term intersex until I was in my thirties. Um, and there's a, a great, uh, if you don't know what intersex is, it's, you know, that individuals were born with, um, identifying with both male and female hormones.

Glad you said that because when you first said it, I was like, oh, and then you were, then you let into it. I'm like, oh, good. She's going To answer for it. Yeah. And so, you know, a lot of times, um, doctors and our parents would then quote, unquote, assign the, uh, how they were going to raise the child. They were going to raise the child as male or female.

Um, can we back up for one second? So are you, are you saying that they identified as both when they were both, they had both, both parts,

But parts and hormones. There's a really interesting, and again, I don't pretend to be the expert on, on intersex individuals, but there is a very, um, there's a documentary on Amazon prime called intersection. And, um, it kind of explains it a lot more, um, individuals and the impact that it had on their parents or the doctor, you know, assigning them, um, yeah. The gender that raised. Yeah.

Yeah. Well, uh, uh, and that really falls on the parents for just, you know, they don't know what they don't know either. They're just, and you know, I talk about this all the time. They're just going by what they think everyone will. Except like,

When I think a lot of times, you don't want to be judged and they don't want their kids to be judged. So they're just doing what they think they are.

Yup. Yep. Well, and I think, you know, even, you know, 20 years ago, it wasn't, I don't know that it was as well-known, as we're talking about it now. I mean, my nine-year-old daughter knows, you know, the ABCs of LGBTQ plus plus plus, I mean, and, and we talk about it very openly in our house. And, uh, she's like my little freedom fighter. And, um, so I think it's important that we, we are talking about these types of types of topics, um, with our children, because it is the world is changing. I mean, there there's over 50% of individuals in this next generation that are going to identify within the LGBTQ plus community.

We have family members that do. Yeah. Yup. My kids. I mean, my kids are a little older now, but even when they were younger, like they knew yeah. You know, love is love. Right. So they, the family members that do identify as LGBTQ plus community where, you know, they, at first weren't completely open, like with affection in front of the kids because they didn't really, I don't think they really knew like what they were supposed to do in front of children, like their own like family kids, you know what I mean?

Right. Because right. Society tells us that it's, you know, it's okay to be straight and, and show affection, you know? Yeah. You know, with our opposite sex spouse, but, um, you know, with our same-sex partner, it's, it's not quote unquote taboo or something, you know, it's just, I don't know.

Yeah. Yes. Because again, like go, go back in history, like it wasn't taught that way. And then the, you know, people will quote the Bible and like we could get into a whole oh yeah. We could, oh yeah. I'm sure we'd have a really fun to have a whole nother conversation. Yes. But I think what it really comes, I mean, really comes down to way back in history is structuralized religion. Yeah. Like that, you know, when they

There's a lot of like religious trauma, um, uh, within many communities, especially the LGBTQ plus community, um, which, you know, I was raised Catholic and, um, didn't

Have even a fraction of the trauma that some of my friends within the community have had, but, um, yeah. So that's all, yeah. That's a deep, deep conversation.

Yes. Yeah. Um, but I guess my point being that, you know, in, in my opinion, and probably, you know, uneducated opinion that, you know, people go back and look at when, when religion was, structuralized looking at the Bible or other, I don't know if it's mentioned in other religious texts, but

That, you know, that's the, the Catholic religion, when it kind of took over, it really built the foundation for everything that people quote unquote believe today from them. Does that make sense?

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we actually live, um, directly across the street from a traditional convent, um, a Catholic school and a Catholic church. And, um, about two years ago there was a teacher and it was in the news and I came across it and there's a new teacher that had like the, she was an ally to the LGBT plus community. And, uh, she had the rainbow ring around her Facebook, um, picture. And then she had a bumper sticker on her car as an ally.

And they basically said that, you know, that was going against what the school stood for. And, um, they terminated her contract. Wow. And so of course, return, I am directly across the street from them. Um, we hung a massive like rainbow flag from our tree and I, you know, it's one thing because right. It's just ignorance and it's, um, just hate this hatred for, for somebody. I mean, she was an ally, but, um,

For S for somebody hating somebody for so much, just because of their existence, like, you don't have to understand everything. Right. But, you know, it's anyway. So I just

Have to accept it is what it is, but just, You know, be respectful. Um, you don't ha yeah, you don't have to understand everything, but, um, so we hung the flag in our front yard and, you know, we did that because one, of course there had to have been other allied teachers and families within that school that probably now too fearful to even say anything, uh, in fear of losing their job. And then to, you know, that there's children in that school that are struggling with their identity and are being taught that it's not okay to be themselves.

And that in and of itself breaks my heart because, um, you are enough and you, you are, um, seen and appreciated. And if it was just this one symbol, um, that, that a child could look at to say, not everybody is like that. Um, then, then it was worth it, you know, enough to, you know, I contacted the local news and, you know, it's like, those are types of things that using your voice, um, using your privilege, like to call people out, um, you know, it's similar to what people say, oh, you're, you know, homophobic or you're racist.

And if somebody makes right going back to, like, we're all gonna make mistakes, like let's focus on the action versus who the person is as a person. So what they did was racist, does that make them a racist? Uh, not necessarily. Um, and so if you focus on the action first, um, we can have much more constructive conversations. Um, now if somebody is just like so extreme that, I mean, we know the people we're talking, but, um, Hm.

Those aren't the people that I'm going to have a conversation with. Right. But, you know, even the, even the words I have been like, kind of like trying to come up with different words to use besides like transphobic or homophobic, because it's not a phobia, like you're just ignorant and being an,

Like, like it's not a phobia And you're uneducated.

Yeah. I mean, but those words are thrown out there, you know, it's, it's, um, it's similar to how like gender or not gender, but, um, words change over time. And so the words that maybe we used, um, like I've, I've said I'm a female woman, um, the word, like in the eighties, you know, seventies wasn't as accepted because it was a derogatory term. Um, whereas now this next generation has like really kind of taken it back and, um, you know, using, using the word to like empower them more, um, similar to, you know, referring to the LGBTQ plus community as homosexual.

The word homosexual is not, um, as accepted any more because it was more of a medical term when we look back to, um, previous generations when it comes to like conversion therapy. And like, it was like something was medically wrong, um, with a person. And so just use, you know, the LGBT, the LGBTQ plus, um, community, uh, or gay lesbian, however, somebody identifies, but just don't use the word homosexual. Um, and for, you know,

For other communities like BiPAP is, is acceptable.

Correct. Um, so yeah, so what I love this conversation, um, yeah. So what I've learned, um, and this is, again, my own journey. So bypass some people, uh, find the term acceptable. Some people don't, I think the importance of what that, uh, BPIC POC means is if you're speaking to so bypass for those that don't know, black indigenous people of color, um, BI POC.

So if you're speaking about a community communities of color, so, right, that's like an umbrella, um, there's lots of different colors. There's lots of, of different identities under that umbrella. But if we're speaking about the black community, we need to say the black community. If we're speaking about the native American community, we need to say the native American community. If we're speaking about the Asian community, we need to say the Asian community, um, you know, don't, uh, and that was, that was something that actually a good friend of mine, um, who we've become very good friends and, um, you know, another black, black female.

And we just did a talk on it actually about, um, our intersection and how she judged me as being, you know, a white woman doing this work and then understanding that, you know, no, I wasn't a true accomplice and, um, how our friendship has just grown so deeply from then, but, you know, it's important that we, we all have biases. Right. And, um, it's important that we, um, stay curious and, uh, continue to learn.

And that was something, you know, I walked into her office and we were talking like, you know, thinking, you know, oh, you know, super like educated. I knew what I was going to say, you know, this is kind of the, the, um, the theme of the talk, but then, then I said, oh, you know, communities of color. And she's like, no, that's not going to work for me. Like, if we're talking about black community, how do you need to say black community? I was like, all right, cool. Like, let's, let's have this conversation, you know? And it's, it wasn't like calling me out. She was calling me in because she knew who I was as an individual and that I wanted to do better. I want to learn and do better and not cause harm. Um,

I love what you just said. She wasn't calling me out. She was calling me in. I love that. Yeah. Yes. And, you know, we all need to do that.

Yeah. I mean, in certain, in most situations.

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, there's three things that, that I stay in order to be, you know, much more inclusive and create a greater sense of belonging have self-awareness yeah.

Be self-reflective and have empathy. Um, you know, everyone is on a different point in their journey and sometimes myself included are like, come on. Like, how do you not know this? You know, like, are you living under a rock? You know, but I also have to remember that a lot of times just based on the community we live in based on, um, how we were raised.

Um, just some people just don't know what they don't know. Um, and that's, you know, it's not, it's not fully like a DEI practitioner, consultant's job or coach to like fully educate you. But that's where, like the self-awareness self-reflection empathy come in is like, you have to take your learning into your own hands. You have to be curious enough to want to do better and want to be better and want to show up better, because it's not enough to, you know, thinking back to marketing. It's like, it's not enough to put your, put the rainbow behind your logo if that's not enough. And it's not enough for this next generation, for sure. Um,

Like a little blurb on your website that says, you know, all-inclusive like, yeah, whatever, whatever it is, it's, it's immersive. Yeah, yeah. To put it, you know, uh, integrate it into your business, not just put something somewhere or once in a while you're posting a picture of, you know, something it's, it's immersive. And it's a part of your, you know, it's a part of you.

I mean, if this is your, a belief of yours that needs to be shown anyways and, and throughout your whole business. So yeah. I mean little things, right? Like little things you can do. So, you know, think about your, the gen the, uh, the words that you're using in some of your programming, if it's gendered, if it's, uh, you know, he, she use today,

Um, you know, if you are speaking, you know, about spiritual woman, great, like then add, you know, in there, like we create safe spaces for all women, all women, um, you know, including dot, dot, dot, um, in your life. You know, I mean, all of these are not just for business, but they're, they're life lessons. Um, don't assume that somebody is married, has children, um, or even is partnered with the opposite sex. So starting to really get into your vocabulary of, of, in the habit of using partner. Um, yeah. Like, oh, do you have a partner?

And then when somebody says, oh yeah, my husband, or, oh yeah, my wife then, or no, I'm I'm no, I don't have a partner. Um, you know, you just get, get used to saying that, like, in your life, in general, you go to the PTA you go to and networking event it's, you know, or that you're, um, maybe like if you are a coach, things that you could say to even set the stage in a group coaching session.

So, um, Hey, before we get started, I want to set some ground. Um, this is a safe and supportive environment. I need you to use I statements. Um, if, you know, if people start becoming uncomfortable, please like message me on the side. But these are the things that we stand for.

Go back to your business, like mission, vision values, and essential behaviors, because those are the people you want to do business with. Right. And those are the people that want to represent you. Yeah. Um, so if somebody shows up and is completely like ranting and raving, and like, say us saying like racist comments, like no, if they can't like check themselves and be much more, self-aware, we're going to have a problem working together.

Um, like those are the people that need, need the most help, but, um, you can only go so far, um, and right. You can't, you can't be everything to all people. And that's something that like, as a highly sensitive person and empath, I have to like set boundaries for myself. But, um, but right. I, I want to, you know, help change the world. And sometimes you put your own mental health and wellness aside so that you can help other people. And sometimes that's definitely not the right answer, but something I working on, but, um, totally true. Boundaries are a big,

A big thing for a lot of, I mean, people period, nevermind just entrepreneurs, but especially entrepreneurs, because they're not putting boundaries up in their life. They're also not putting them up in their business. Um, or they're going to an extreme and they're putting extreme boundaries up in their business and none in their life. Like, there's just not a balance.

Yeah. I mean, yeah, that brings up an interesting point. Right. We, we, as entrepreneurs, Coaches, consultants, like I have a feeling that everybody has been there where it's like, somebody else expects something for free from us. And the frustration of like, Hey, this is my job. Yeah. Think of that. As someone from a marginalized community, trying you asking somebody to educate you for free, you know, it's like, it's exhausting, it's exhausting. And I mean, again, I come from it as like a place of privilege where I can hide my identity.

There's so many people that can't hide their identity, but they show up as, as you know, an Asian woman, a black woman every day. And yeah, yeah. They can't change that there there's no hiding. Um, so the emotional tax and, and, you know, feeling that's placed on them is heavy. And so that's where empathy and like our self-awareness needs to, to come play and we need to, as white individuals be doing the work ourselves.

Yeah. You had said something about that before, you know, about like, you know, doing the work or yeah. Um, and you know, you brought it up that, that, um, you know, we can, as coaches, consultants, creators, we can guide and we can try to educate, um, do the best education that we can with what we have, um, and just keep doing the work ourselves.

But I think regardless of what it is, like, whether it's something in business, whether it's, you know, educating yourselves on these subjects or any other subject, you have to be willing to put in the work. Yeah. Because nobody is going to just make it all better for you.

Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I have, so I started a program that starts in July called building belonging, and it's, it's going to be a program, safe container for people to have these conversations, but then also like if they are in corporate America or they want to implement these types of things into their business, that's what we're going to talk about and, and get deep into, you know, how to create this within your business, how to take it back to corporate organizations.

Um, and that's through a group coaching session, so I can help coach guide a mentor and we can continue that work, you know, whether it be in group sessions or one-on-one, but, you know, in, in, within that group, we already have, um, on both entrepreneurs and corporate individuals, um, joining us in July. So it's gonna be a great group. Um,

Is this an ongoing group? Like, is there Like a, so it'll be eight weeks, um, but there will be another cohort in the fall. Um, and I'm also developing a community so that monthly or biweekly, we're still kind of working out the details, but, um, that we can come together and have safe conversations. Um, we can have a safe space for brave conversations. Um, because a lot of times, you know, again, people don't know what to do, how to say it. Um, and I want to teach people how to lean into that, how to lean into being uncomfortable, because it does make a difference. I mean, yeah.

And I think the other part of it too, is at least for me that, you know, knowing, I mean, knowing that it is exhausting for, you know, marginalized to keep having to, or feel like they have to educate everybody or keep explaining things, or, you know, all of those pressures that they're feeling on top of all the other pressures that they're feeling, um, for people like me that had questions, I was like, well, I don't want to bother them with my questions. Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, there's

Tons of resources. There's tons of books. You don't follow me on, on LinkedIn. Um, follow other thought leaders on LinkedIn and Instagram. Um, you know, that's where you can get the free content because they're putting out their thought leadership, that's their free content out to people. Um, and then if you want to engage them more, that's when you, you know, say what are your rates or, you know, how can we work together? In what ways do you offer?

Um, so that we're not assuming like, Hey, can I pick your brain? I don't know how many, Hey, can I pick your brain conversations? Um, no, I don't. Yeah. Which, you know, is, is fine to a point, you know, because I am somebody that gives back, um, a lot and I want to give back in the ways that other people gave back gave to me. Um, but right, like we're entrepreneurs and my, and, and we were business owners, um, and it's deep work that some of us are doing. Um, and it's not an easy, like, you know, Hey, can we jump on a call for 20 minutes? Like

What next, everything that I, I mean, this is not a checklist. This is an, and you know, people say, well, how long is this work going to take, well, hopefully your whole life, and this isn't a one and done this isn't your health development, like self development go with it. That's part of self development.

Right. Absolutely

Never ends. Yeah. It doesn't end. It doesn't ever end. We're learning every day. We're choosing to learn one specific thing that day, or were just evolving a little bit more that day, doesn't matter in this, this is part of that self development. Yeah. And you're constantly like visiting the state of awareness, right?

Like, so I may, you know, specifically, uh, coach and consult on like gender equity and LGBT plus inclusion, but it doesn't mean that I have all the answers nor does it mean that, um, I don't have a lot of work to do when it comes to like the different be able to community. Um, and so for me, that is something that I'm, you know, educating myself on and learning and visiting, revisiting that state of awareness and desire to learn. So that first step is awareness, then it's the desire to learn.

And that those are the two spaces that I predominantly focus in. Um, you know, there was, there was a, another, you know, lesson that was taught was, you know, I have a consultant friend that focuses on a different label community, and I was helping a, a yoga studio, like with their messaging and, um, you know, developing a much more inclusive practice and all of that. And so we did some advertising and in that, um, post, you know, I said, you know, Ms. Support, LGBTQ plus community bypass community, um, it went on it. I said, it's cetera.

And she said, um, Heidi, you know, a lot of times the differently abled community gets lumped into the word, etc. And that is why there's a lack of awareness, um, around it. And I was like, that's a great, I mean, thank you for pointing that out. You know, that's what we need to do.

We need to, we need to not get so defensive when people try to call us in it's, this is a learning opportunity. And so if you are, you know, quote unquote, what you feel is called out, you know, try to use that as a, as a learning, thank you for pointing that out. I'll do better. Thank you. You know, and then go back and start researching. Like, that's your opportunity to start learning more, not, oh my God, I can't believe that they called me out.

Why didn't do I didn't do the right thing? You know, it's, it's being humble enough to know you have work to do. And even for somebody that does this work day in and day out, um, you know, having that self-awareness and reflection like constantly go back to that is, is, you know, that's, that's the way that you can make an impact.

Just changing words. Sometimes changing small actions can really make a bigger impact. Yeah. And it takes, sometimes it can take a while to get to that point where you're like, okay, I totally understand. You were just, you were pointing that out to me, helping me to understand and do better. Thank you. Yeah. Um, because I'll tell you, you know, even just a few years ago, I probably would have been like, oh man, you know, I probably would have even, and I don't think that it was, it would have been that I was like mad at the person or like, you know, upset at them. It would have been more like I felt shamed.

So I would kind of, you know, regurgitate that back onto the person by being like, you know, what do you know, or whatever, you know what I mean? Absolutely. Yes. That totally brings up a great point. Um, especially in corporate America because, um,

You know, my career as an HR and sometimes, you know, I'd bring up certain things of, of different employees experiences and my own too. And they would, you'd be gas lit gaslighting is. So, um, if you don't know what gaslighting is, you know, making somebody question their experience by basically making them feel bad about it. So,

You know, all like it didn't happen or like Erasing their experience and right. Like how would somebody, how to straight CIS person know that my experience as a female or another person's experience as a black female, um, that it didn't happen or oh, that could have possibly happened. Well, it did how you Felt when it did happen. Like how do they know How you felt what had happened? Yeah. We need To stop erasing people's experiences and learn from them. Um, because just because it didn't happen to you doesn't mean it didn't happen to them.

Right. You know?

Yeah. We're all going to see the same situation in a different, through a different lens. We're going to see it through our own lens. So having the courage to take somebody else's lens and say, oh

Yeah, okay.

Yeah. How can we do better the next time? Like, that's it. And you know, it does take courage to do that for anybody. You know, I mean, for, you know, you know, not that white, straight females are, are not privileged because we are, um, but even for a, a white female to take my lens and say, oh, okay, well,

Yeah. I mean, there, there are so many layers to us that there's, there's so much diversity that I can't see about you, um, that if you were to share stories with me, like that's not my job to erase your, your experience and your identity. I mean, there's, there's, you know, a lot of times people think diversity equals race and gender. Um, but there's so many more layers to it and intersectionality that's that's, that is the layers and how our different identities intersect.

So when we talk about, you know, the, the community, okay. So what about, you know, black, female and Asian female, uh, you know, black trans woman, um, and all of the discrimination that happens around that were layered individuals, um, how we were raised our religious status, our veteran status, marital, um, all of those things that we can't see to right. Affect who we are as an individual, and

Then all of the experiences that we've had up until this point. Absolutely.

Yeah. Yeah.

Awesome. Um, is there anything that you would love to add to close this out, Heidi?

No. I mean, like I said, just stay reflective, um, you know, it's a lifelong journey and stay curious and, um, just, there's so many resources out there from books to Netflix series to, I mean, just stay curious and, um, yeah. And just keep learning. Maybe

You can like, shoot me like a couple of your favorites. Um, yeah. I can do like a book and a series and, you know, just a couple of things I can put in the show notes and share. Yes, absolutely. I will. Yeah. I would love that. So thank you very much,

So much for having me. Um,

I appreciate it. And you will, maybe we'll have to dive in This conversation could go on and on and On another episode. Absolutely.

But yeah, if anybody wants to reach out to me, feel free. Um, it's, uh, culturescape Perfect. Are you on Instagram? I am at Heidi disrupting Heidi

Disrupting. I love them. And Instagram. Yeah, Instagram I'm worked more active on.

Okay, perfect. So I'll link all those up in the show notes as well. And, um, as always anybody listening, screenshot this episode tag, Heidi and I on your Instagram stories, tell us what you thought, ahas questions, DM, either one of us. Um, if you have, you know, we just want to hear from you, we want to hear what you want to know, what you thought and what you're thinking and what your next steps will be.

Or if there were steps that we talked about in here that you were like, oh, the Jake, thank you. Cause I didn't even think of that. Um, cause I know there were some for me, so I appreciate that. And um, okay. And we'll see everyone in the next episode. Thanks.


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