Ep #72: Interview with Dr. Camille Broussard Wise

 In Podcast

In today’s interview, Kris talks with Dr. Camille Broussard Wise, a scholar-practitioner of leadership, management, and advancing diversity and equity. A passionate social justice advocate, she holds a safe space for inquiry and growth while also equipping leader-learners with tools to facilitate their own growth and accountability.

Biography

Dr. Camille Broussard Wise

Dr. Camille Broussard Wise is a scholar-practitioner of leadership, management, and advancing diversity and equity by meeting leaders where they are and skillfully guiding them to an understanding of blind spots they didn’t realize they had.

A career public administrator and organizational development consultant, Camille brings, and is excited to share, a wealth of knowledge in operationalizing equity within and throughout organizations and companies, starting with their leaders. During her tenure she managed teams of upwards of 200 employees, overseeing budgets in excess of $30M.

Utilizing competencies honed while attaining her doctoral degree in Leadership & Management, Camille stays abreast of current and emerging research and movements that she incorporates into her role as both college professor and advisor to dynamic leader-learners. We are so honored to have Dr. Wise as an Advisor to the Kris Plachy Coaching Group and for our clients in The Founder’s Lab and private coaching programs.

A passionate social justice advocate, she holds a safe space for inquiry and growth while also equipping leader-learners with tools to facilitate their own growth and accountability.

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. The distinction between racism as a system and being a racist.
  2. The importance of educating yourself.
  3. De-center yourself and your feelings.
  4. Having empathy for someone else’s perspective.

Featured on the Show and Other Notes:

  • I’ve hired a diversity advisor, Dr. Camille Broussard Wise, to work with me, and she will also be working with all of my clients. Go here for our course on Conscious Inclusion for Female Entrepreneurs.
  • The How to Manage Virtual Employees Course
  • The Q2 Pivot program – because I think quarter 2 is going to be the groundwork for the rest of the year. This includes 14 lessons. The first lesson was about leadership stamina. This is part of the Founder’s Lab and part of the one on one coaching program I offer. Go to www.krisplachy.com/join.
  • The Founder’s Lab. The Founder’s Lab is doing well and getting busy. We may have to limit enrollment. You have until the 3rd week in July to join us. This is my private coaching program for female founders who are generating more than 7-figures in their revenue. It’s a complement to the Entrepreneurial Management program (with Brooke Castillo) and is part of the work you get as a client of mine.
  • Reply to any of my emails or go to Instagram or Facebook and let me know how I can help. What are the top things that are on your mind?
  • Get on my subscriber list here.
  • I read reviews on the show! If you like this podcast, please leave a review. Go to your podcast app and find the reviews section. Thank you!
  • Go here to book an appointment with me.

Subscribe by your favorite method and my podcast will come right to you!

Podcast Transcript

Kris:

Hey. I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million-dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Kris:

Hello, everybody. Welcome, welcome. I’m super excited to introduce to you a new member of the Kris Plachy coaching group, Dr. Camille Broussard Wise. I am going to let Dr. Wise do most of the talking about her experience because she’s going to do a much better job illustrating that. But I will say that she’s a scholar practitioner in the field of diversity and inclusion. She has a tremendous amount of leadership and management experience, which I’m super excited that she can bring and fold into the conversations that we have with our clients.

Kris:

And as a member of the team, Dr. Wise is helping me with my business. And she’s also going to be advising the members of The Founder’s Lab and my one-on-one clients on matters related to conscious inclusion. And we’re doing this podcast in advance of a course that we’re going to be presenting and offering out to the world here shortly called conscious inclusion for female entrepreneurs.

Kris:

And if you’re interested in getting on the waiting list for that, just go to inclusiveentrepreneur.com and add your name. And we’ll make sure we notify you of all the details as soon as it’s available. But it’s coming soon. We’re going to put this out into the world relatively soon. So, you don’t want to miss out on that. So, without further ado, welcome, Dr. Wise.

Camille:

Thank you, and good morning. Thank you so much.

Kris:

I’m so glad you’re here.

Camille:

I am too.

Kris:

Yeah. So, please, just to get us started, tell us a little bit about you, your background, your experience, all those things.

Camille:

So, a little bit about me. I am a native of San Francisco, born and raised, and recently became relatively recently a transplant to Sacramento area about maybe 17 years ago. So, this is the second home for me. I am a career public administrator, is how I would describe myself. I started off in nonprofits in the Bay Area, community-based organizations, running programs, a lot of programs around what we’d call diversity and equity work now.

Camille:

So, working with girls who we formerly called at risk but are now referred to as at promise young ladies, and teaching them about their own boundaries and physical and emotional safety, and educational goals, and expanding their horizons, especially if they lived in disproportionately impacted communities with violence and poverty, et cetera. So, getting them out of the city and experiencing whitewater rafting trips and other opportunities, college tours, et cetera. And I worked for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office for about seven years.

Camille:

And similar, there was a policy advisor there around children, youth and family issues, community liaison. I think I just was always steered into this work. I guess it’s something I actually gravitate toward. I had gotten my undergrad in psychology and thought I wanted to be a therapist. Well, no. Actually, I saw Silence of the Lambs like everyone. Let me tell the truth. And I wanted to be Clarice. I thought I’m going to be a double major. And then, I saw how long that was going to take me to get out of school. And I thought, “Never mind.”

Camille:

So, I just got the psychology degree. And I thought, “Okay, I want to be a therapist.” And so, that’s the work that I geared myself toward. And then, I thought, “Well, I like working with populations that are disenfranchised and empowering them, and educating them.” And so, that’s where I focused most of my work. And I moved here, got married, started a family, moved here to Sacramento and worked briefly with the county with homeless populations.

Camille:

And I thought, “I really like this work, working with the folks who are considered disadvantaged, but I’d like to work on some systems change, not just directly with the folks who are being impacted, but those systems that impact them.” So, I started to study that some more, went and got my master’s in public administration, and learned a little bit more about systems, and about how things work, and how things are setup, and how to run things effectively like social services, et cetera.

Camille:

And then, I started working with the city, with the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Parks and Recreation at the time, and learned a lot about community serving and how to run good administration, how to manage a lot of money, a lot of grants, a lot of different funding sources, learning how to navigate in a political world, learning a lot about leadership. And so, I thought, “Well, I think I’m going to pursue this doctorate thing.” I mean, I want to be an educator.

Camille:

Because having gone through grad school and thinking, “I like this systems change stuff. I want to learn a little bit more about that and be able to teach that.” So, where my focus had been mostly on the most affected, I thought, “Well, I want to focus also on those that affect others.” So, my interest was in higher education. And I pursued my doctorate at Drexel University and learned a lot about systems change and structural inequalities, and how we ended up having some of the societal ills that we do have.

Camille:

And I found my niche area in diversity and inclusion, specifically around my dissertation topic of career paths of women of color in the community college system and how they become presidents of universities. And what I found what’s most interesting is that their career trajectories were so different, and their lived experiences were so different from their White male colleagues. Just the microaggressions and the macroaggressions. And sometimes, just blatant racism and the balance of raising a family, and the forces of sexism, et cetera.

Camille:

And so, then, that really piqued my interest in critical race theory, which then talks about race being central. It actually comes out of the legal system, but race really being central to the disparities that we experienced and we see in the society. Then, I thought, “Well, let me read about that some more, and let me understand that some more. And how do people come to learn what they learn? And how does that affect what they do?”

Camille:

And if you are a public administrator, or in this case an entrepreneur, or a teacher, or a leader, how does what you know and think, and how you’ve been educated, and what ideas you’ve come along to acquire in your lifetime? How does that affect how you do your job, especially in the public realm? So, that’s how we got me here.

Kris:

Which was perfectly set up. And I love the way that you just said that, only because it’s such a great segue into what I want to say next. But first of all, I don’t want to minimize the work that you have put into the world to influence change, make change, and in doing so, by really understanding the mechanisms behind the results that we have, right? So, your example of homelessness, you can see a homeless person and have a judgment about that.

Kris:

But there’s a whole system in that person’s life for whatever reason that propelled and got them to this result, right?

Camille:

Correct.

Kris:

And that doesn’t mean that people aren’t responsible for their result. But it’s also to understand that there’s… I love the way that you talk about systems. And that’s part of why I’m super excited for you to work with all of us. Because I think a lot of people, at least in my experience, at least initially, especially right now with such a heated discussion and disruption around race and social justice, people are quick to make assumptions and personalize.

Kris:

And I like the discussion around systems because I think that elevates us all too, first of all, place where we can find neutral ground. But then, we can all affect that in a different way versus just me feeling I’m getting attacked or [crosstalk 00:09:12], right?

Camille:

Right.

Kris:

Yeah. It’s so good. So, what I love about what you just ended though is you said, “I just got more and more curious about how it is that people come to learn what they learn and then how they know what they know, which then affects what they do as leaders.” Which is really the running thesis of the work that I do with all of my clients as well, right? Understanding that the thoughts that you have trigger how you feel, which trigger the actions you take, which trigger the results that you get.

Kris:

And so, when we start talking about inclusiveness and being consciously inclusive, can you say a little bit about why that matters as a leader and what we need and mean on a broad level?

Camille:

Yeah. I think that it’s very difficult to have been raised in this country and to not feel the effects of White supremacy. And I want to separate that from symbols of it, blatant symbols of it, like racist symbols, et cetera, White supremacy in that White is right, and it’s the norm. Not in White supremacy in just the violence of it, but that’s the norm, right? So, when you see a little doll, it’s a little White doll. So, like for instance, growing up, if I saw TV commercials, they were always White.

Camille:

There was never any diversity. I was born in the ’70s, and there was never any diversity at all on TV. But that was the norm. Whereas, it was saying something and making a statement if you had a Black family or an Asian family, or a Hispanic family. That meant something. And It’s very interesting because it meant something a lot to me to see that. To be starved of any representation of myself was really impactful.

Camille:

So, it’s very difficult to be raised in this country and to not think of White as the norm. It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult to be raised in this country in our education system where how does the saying go, the victor tells the story? I forgot that.

Kris:

Something like that, yeah.

Camille:

Something like that, some cool saying.

Kris:

They own it also. They own it.

Camille:

Yes, they own it. They own it, and they get to tell it in their version. And so, if all of your history is all of the inputs and the impact of White males, and there’s a few little sprinkles of two or three women, and they’re all White women, and the only history that you learned about Native Americans is that they sold their land for some beads, and Black people were slaves, that’s where they started, and that’s their only contribution.

Camille:

It’s very difficult to not have a very narrow and even racist view of the world because of the way our educational system works and how we perpetuate that. So, it’s important to reeducate oneself. And when we talk about conscious inclusion, a lot of what we’ve learned has been unconscious and passive. It’s just that’s in the textbook. These are the materials that we got. These are the videos that we’re watching for school.

Camille:

We’re celebrating Thanksgiving and glorifying it, and making it this wonderful thing about family and love, when historically, that’s not how Native Americans feel about it. We’re just going to always celebrate Christmas. You learn about other religions, but that’s more philosophical. That’s not central. So, when you grow up in this country, you just accept that as the norm. You don’t question that. This is what it is. So, you don’t really know the impact that that has on you.

Kris:

And that’s where we would enter that term of unconscious bias, right? That’s where we don’t even know the biases that we have. Because to your point, and I know this is your term that you shared with Michelle and I a couple weeks ago are intellectual nutrition. Everything that we have been consuming through our brain has just programmed that perspective and without intention, right?

Camille:

Right.

Kris:

I think it’s so important as listeners who are listening to what Dr. Wise is saying is, when you hear the word racism, you have to recognize what happens in your body. And I think for a lot of White people, it’s like, “But I’m not a racist.” And so, I think that distinction between racism as a system and being a racist, and the way that we think about what a racist is, like we all have this I think stereotype avatar of the “racist”, and that’s not what I am.

Camille:

I’m not rude.

Kris:

Yeah. Then, we just deny presence of it. And that is not going to help us socially and as a community, and as a society, and as humans if we just shut it off and say, “That’s not me.” We’re willing to have that I think that conversation that you’re having, which is, “Can we just look at the whole thing and look at what this has been for 400 years and not take personally and get defensive, but just look at it?” Honestly. Very true.

Kris:

I didn’t even know. You’ve talked about Kwanzaa a few times because it’s all been about Christmas. I didn’t know Kwanzaa was a thing until I was probably in late 20. I didn’t know it existed. Which I can feel terrible about or I can be angry about, or I could just acknowledge like, “Okay, I didn’t know it existed. But now, I do.”

Camille:

Yeah. And what’s interesting about that too is that even for lots of African-American families, Kwanzaa has been around I want to say since the ’60s, I didn’t grow up celebrating that as a kid. I didn’t really learn about Kwanzaa until I was probably I want to say maybe freshman year in college, really. I think-

Kris:

That’s about when I was 22.

Camille:

Afro studies class. That’s the first time, right? And so-

Kris:

And I took that class in San Diego State. So, we went to the same college, y’all. We might have even been in the same class, I don’t know.

Camille:

We could have been. We might have sat at the same chair. Who knows?

Kris:

And you know what’s so interesting? I have to say this because that was my… and I remember saying this to a friend of mine. That was my first experience being a minority.

Camille:

That’s interesting. And [crosstalk 00:15:55].

Kris:

Being in my Afro-American studies class in San Diego State University, I was probably one of three White.

Camille:

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Kris:

And I loved it. Because I think ever since, I’ve been always weird. Like, “Oh, this is interesting. Let’s try it.” Right? But I did. I mean, because that’s been my focus, is to try and be as understanding and to listen, because I can’t understand what it’s like to be you as a young girl. And when you tell me you were starved of finding something that represented you in the world, that is so heartbreaking to me.

Camille:

Yeah. And that is represented but celebrated, right? Because I never saw anybody with my hair. I have curly hair. I’ve never saw anybody with my skin tone. Even when Black Barbies first started coming out, her name was Christie, and that’s the first time-

Kris:

What’s wrong with that name?

Camille:

Nothing, but it is Christie, was her name. It was just a melanated White Barbie doll. No, she didn’t have, not that we only look one way, but there were no full lips. There was no width in the nose. There was no different texture of the hair. I mean, we come in all sizes, colors, but it’s hard to represent all of us in one doll for anybody. But she literally was the regular Barbie but just dark brown and with dark hair. And so, when you are constantly starved of any… I mean, look at how many girls suffer from self-esteem issues.

Camille:

That’s across the board no matter what your demographic is, right? Imagine never seeing anything or anybody that looks like you. It doesn’t affirm you. It’s like find your name on one of those keychain racks? And you’re like, “Yes, there is a Kris. Yes.”

Kris:

Actually, there never was… I just want to point out that there was never a Kris with a K ever.

Camille:

See? So, when you found it, if you found… because you’d be like, “Yes, that is a real name. Yes, it’s worthy of being printed.” I know that’s how I felt. And it was interesting, is that even though my parents were pretty as they say, I would say woke, more like the intellectual types, right? We had all the W. E. B. DuBois books. We had the Angela Davis books. We had the literature. But in the practice of our everyday life, it wasn’t super Afrocentric.

Camille:

So, when I got to college, probably around the same age around you did when we took that Afro studies class, here’s where some of the differences and where our experiences can outline what racism does. It was interesting to you, and all of this learning and in this requirement where I get to be the minority, and it’s fun and safe, and cool, for me, it was infuriating. It was learning my history for the first thinking-

Kris:

Oh, my God.

Camille:

Well, these Black folks that I know, that’s our rite of passage, is you get to college and you get angry. You get angry because you’ve never learned anything else other than we were slaves. That’s where our history starts. We were slaves. Or not even talking about the context of slavery on the African continent and how transatlantic slavery, which is what we experienced here, and in the Caribbean, is different than the slavery that was practiced in Africa. There’s no such thing as good slavery, but it was different.

Camille:

And so, when you’ve been excluded from history, it’s exciting to learn. You’re like, “Well, wait a minute. Has this always been the case? Because I never learned that.” We contributed things and we invented things. And we had towns burned down when we thrived. And we had medical experiments done on us without anesthesia. Like, “Wait a minute, I knew none of this.” So, it’s exciting. But it’s where you feel like, “Oh, this is cool on the minority.”

Camille:

I felt like this is the most awesome experience to have all of these White people in this class.

Kris:

Oh, I bet. I bet.

Camille:

And could feel like we all share the same experience. We can all relax. You can ask your questions. You can talk [inaudible 00:20:32] space. So, that was really the first time where I was able to feel that and to understand that. So, I think your experience and my experience is I don’t think unique. Yeah.

Kris:

I think impactful.

Camille:

I don’t think it’s unique.

Kris:

No. And really powerful the way that you just talked about that, so enlightening. I don’t know. But yeah, I can’t find I can’t find the right word. So, this is what happens in my brain, Camille, is I’m like, “Okay, it feels huge.”

Camille:

Yeah, it is huge.

Kris:

I think it’s so big. And even when we look at all of the experience that you have and the different groups that you supported, and the movements, where do we begin? So, let’s find us our little place here. So, people listening to this podcast, for the most part, are female entrepreneurs. So, I’m a female entrepreneur. And I’ve got six, maybe 25, maybe more employees. And I’m recognizing if I’m White, that maybe I haven’t had an awareness that I want to start to have. Or even if I’m a Black entrepreneur, I think the needs are very different.

Kris:

But I would like to know, from your perspective, just your opinion, for folks as you say, what do I do? What’s something I can do? Because when I listened to you, I get inspired and overwhelmed at the same time, because I feel like I want to have an impact. But where do you begin? Do you start in school? Do you start in kindergarten? Right? Does everybody have to go to school? What do we do?

Camille:

I would say, well, ancestor, Arthur Ashe, said, “Use what you have. Start where you are. Do what you can.” Right? And so, I think educating oneself. And here’s the thing. This is the time right now where folks are giving you bookless, on Facebook. And folks are really trying to find ways to monetize this education, which a shame. Listen, if that’s what you do, you sell books. They are important, they are important. But I think there are a lot of people who are creating these bookless of things to educate yourself.

Camille:

It’ll be an individual choice. I mean, some folks are learners and want to read and just get that in their spirit, similar to you, think about being an entrepreneur, which is a self-starter type thing. You had to figure that out for yourself or get the assistance of Kris Plachy coaching, how do I do this? How do I support myself in it? But these women that we’re talking about are leaders and self-starters anyway. So, no one handed them anything.

Camille:

They thought, “I have a purpose. I have a mission. I know what type of impact I want to make in the world. I want to do something I’m passionate about. So, I’m going to learn all I can about it, and I’m going to do it.” Or they thought, “I don’t know anything about it, but I’m just going to do it and leap in. Be first and figure it out. Build it as I fly it.” So, I think, for me, the first impact, depending on how aggressive you are about learning, is to educate oneself, right?

Camille:

There are tons of booklets out there. Really simple, very practically written. They have academic underpinnings, but they’re not written in academic language. So, they’re very practical, very easy to read. Being a fly on the wall in social media groups and listening to other groups, right? Listening to what other people say. And I think what’s most important as I talked about how everything in the world has always been centered to this cishet White patriarchy in books and et cetera, that’s always been what’s been centered.

Camille:

I think the most important thing that people who are not Black can do to learn about this is to decenter yourself. So, when you talk about feelings, put your feelings on the back burner for a second. And if you feel you need to do that privately so that you’re not in a group and you don’t feel like that, do what you need to do. But decenter yourself and your feelings for a second. And when you-

Kris:

Can you say what that means? Can you explain that? Because that’s something that people are talking a lot about, but I don’t know if people really understand it.

Camille:

So, what I find is that often when people… because I’m an educator, I don’t know if I mentioned that, but I’m a college professor. And so, what I find is most difficult for folks to learn about racism or any ism or phobia, is their own emotions, and you talked about that, right? And a concept called cognitive dissonance. That if I hear something that’s opposite of what I’ve always believed and I’ve always anchored myself in, that gives me such physical and emotional anxiety that I reject it, because I just, “Nope, I don’t want to hear that.

Camille:

That’s some BS. Then no, I’m not dealing with that.” But if you are White in this country, you’ve always had your history centered. Always, always. And it’s always been comfortable and safe. And so-

Kris:

What does it mean? Like when you say centered, I hear you say like it’s the truth?

Camille:

It’s the truth. It’s central.

Kris:

It’s the truth.

Camille:

It’s central. Yes, it’s-

Kris:

Yeah, central. Yeah.

Camille:

It’s written. It’s the norm. It is what it is. This is exactly how to happen with the Native Americans. This is how it happened. This is exactly, yeah-

Kris:

And I believe it to be true. So, I don’t even see that I’m centering, right?

Camille:

Correct. So, for instance, even when we talk about the word, minority, like they’re off in a margin. They’re off smaller, then minimalizes it. Because when we talk about mainstream, we’re talking about White people. And then, we talk about special interest groups as some other folks who are not White.

Kris:

Central.

Camille:

Right, cisgendered heterosexual White people. And so, it takes some putting your ego to the side, suspending your conditions. And the point I was trying to make about students is they want all these conditions to learn about racism, “Okay. First, I have to feel completely safe.” Right? I don’t attack students, but I’m going to give you the truth. So, I don’t attack, but folks want to feel safe. They want to not feel any guilt, no blame and no minimizing of their accomplishments.

Camille:

This is for a lot of people here when they hear about White privilege, no one is saying you didn’t work hard. We’re saying that you likely, probably definitely, did not experience the same aggressions, and slights, and legislative roadblocks, and financial roadblocks and societal roadblocks that other people did. It doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard. So, if you can decenter yourself in that your feelings, your ego, your conditions for safety, all of these things to learn and to have some empathy for someone else’s perspective, it’s basically putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Kris:

Yeah, but like literally.

Camille:

Literally, literally. And-

Kris:

I think that’s the work, right? And I know that for sure. For me, how do I touch this in a way that I can really feel it differently than I have when it feels like it’s happening outside of me? It’s just, you can’t. That’s the work, I think. And I believe that’s the work. I believe this is part of my operating system as somebody who is in leadership and also teaches it, is that I think you have that responsibility.

Kris:

If you are going to be in a position of power and influence, I believe you have a responsibility to access empathy at a level that you truly can feel and understand what other people are experiencing and going through, because that’s what activates, to me, response. If I just see it and I noticed it, and I say, “Oh, that’s sad,” or “Oh, that’s hard,” it doesn’t activate anything. It’s sympathetic, but it’s not the same. So, here’s the way I think a little bit, and you tell me if this is centering, because it might be, and I’m okay with it.

Camille:

And I’m ready to tell you if it is.

Kris:

Just tell me. I feel like we’ve gone, like when White women went through the evolution of Gloria Steinem and all of that, and even still the way that some of that is happening today, there was this core revelation though that women had, White women, that men really didn’t know better than they did. That they really did have an advantage that they didn’t have. That they really did always get more access and it still happens now.

Kris:

I follow all of these founders groups for women, and men get all the funding, and women don’t. Right? Then, if you look at Black female entrepreneurs, it’s even less, right? So, it’s like Black female entrepreneurs get the least amount than White women, than men. And I’m overgeneralizing, but that’s really how that works, right? It’s like that thing that happens when you realize like, “Oh, wait a minute, he’s not any better than me.”

Kris:

But you don’t know that you’ve been taught your whole life that men know more. They’re stronger. They’re better at math. All of the things that you’ve just believed about yourself as a woman. So, again, I know I’m centering, but I’m trying to also identify that experience of like, “Wait, I could be that rich? I could be that smart? I could be that capable? I could take care of myself? I don’t need a man to sign my credit card statements?” Right?

Kris:

So, I try to imagine like for you, when I think about you as a young child and even as a young woman, and everyone, like that exposure to realizing, “Wait a minute.” And then, for us as White people to do the same thing, to take the shield off and realize, “I’ve been taught to believe something about an entire race of people, and I never questioned it.”

Camille:

Right. Yeah. And I think that that’s not necessarily centering. That’s finding an empathetic stance to understand it, right? Which is why I think this group of female entrepreneurs, these ladies know what it’s like to not have the support. And they’d likely been called bossy before anytime they showed some leadership attributes, right? They know what it’s like for people to say, “Yeah, honey. But what about your stability? What are you going to do?”

Kris:

I’m going to take care of the kids.

Camille:

Exactly. How exactly how are you going to take care of the kids as if you’re a partner, right?

Kris:

Does your husband help you?

Camille:

Right. Is he babysitting his own children or her own children, right? And so, that’s the thing, is that this group, and I think why I was so excited, is a couple of reasons, full transparency, is that, well, I like and respect you. So that’s one thing. But your core audience is I think who will pivot a lot of change. And they already have. Have you looked at these marches and these protests out here? They’re very diverse, I’ll say. They’re very diverse.

Camille:

And I’m seeing these little kids with lemonade stands and, “Black life matter,” with the three-year olds, right? I think you’re already working with pioneers and folks who’ve had their own share of nobody handing anything to them and having to be twice as good, and having to work harder. That experience already resonates, I would imagine with a lot of these female entrepreneurs. I think they feel good for themselves.

Kris:

Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s also why we talked about this in the group yesterday, that entrepreneurs are not taught how to do anything here and out, let alone diversity inclusion. That’s not a thing. And for entrepreneurs who come out of corporate, that was always like you’ve said to me, the CYA diversity group, right? Like, “Oh, do we have diversity here?”

Camille:

We have an EEO officer to make sure we don’t get sued, right?

Kris:

And everyone dreads if they call, “Oh, God, it’s the EEO.” Something could be wrong. Yes, so that to me is the goal, is to change that. Especially if you work with me and you’re a client of mine, I believe in inclusive leadership. I teach you how to understand your mind. What I have discovered over the past four weeks in my own mind is the thoughts that I thought were true that were just ingrained, unconscious bias.

Kris:

So, it’s the collapse of your work in mind, to me, which I’m so incredibly excited about. Because of course, I do believe that the women are going to be the ones who will change the world.

Camille:

For sure.

Kris:

I do believe that.

Camille:

For sure. And yeah, you brought up the word about conscious inclusion, I think that was the original question. And then, I digressed, was to be conscious about what you include as your source of information, right? So, diversify. We were talking about that intellectual and nutrition. Diversify your inputs, right?

Kris:

Which is hard. It’s hard.

Camille:

It’s hard. And listen, that’s work. And here’s the thing. Let’s say you’re running a business, you don’t have time for all that. Okay. So, look. Here’s the thing. There are different things that you can do. And people of color all over the world are doing different things. Some people are educating themselves. Some people are signing a change.org petition. Some people are looking for political candidates who are in alignment with their philosophical stance on the world and on equity, et cetera.

Camille:

Some folks have given a whole lot of money to people doing equity work, and they don’t need to recognize. They don’t need everybody to know it right now, but they’re doing their part. So, I don’t want anyone to think you have to become a critical race theory scholar in order for you to impact any work. That’s not what’s going to be laid at anyone’s feet. That’s my passion. That’s what I love to do. And that’s the lens through which I do my work. But there are a lot of things that people can do.

Camille:

What I will say, I am not in the business of doing, is teaching you how to not look racist. That’s not going to be my lane. Or teaching you how to look as if you’re diverse for strictly economic purposes to advance your business-

Kris:

Or social media purposes.

Camille:

Or social media purposes, right? Those aren’t particular tools that I’m going to recommend to you, because they are, and we’ll get into this later, but performative versus transformative. And so, that’s the thing now where you see all these companies who are like, “We’re with Black Lives Matter.” Or they take a stance of like, “We’re here for peace and justice, and equity for everyone. And we want you to know that we are committed to helping our communities heal.” That may be just a performative piece.

Camille:

That, “Hey, we still want your money. So, please, don’t come here. Please don’t bust our windows open,” which by the way, there’s a difference between looters and protesters. “Please, don’t hurt me economically because I’m going to throw this little crumb at you.” Folks are looking for real change. The real change is in economics and in policy. That’s where the real change is.

Kris:

And that will bring this right back to systems.

Camille:

Systems, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And again, this is generalizing and oversimplifying. But racism can be both an adjective and a system, right? So, the action, racism, is a system of oppression. And there’s evidence of that, right? There’s economic evidence to that. There’s both outcome disparities evidence of that. There’s housing opportunity evidence of that. But that act can also be informed by racism, right? You discriminate against somebody.

Camille:

Bigotry is to me, more of a mindset, right? It’s a mindset. It’s beyond prejudice. Prejudice is like maybe it’s even unconscious. “I don’t know that I clutched my purse when the Black guy got on the elevator. I don’t know that I thought all Black areas were hoods. I didn’t know.” Those things you just don’t know where you are prejudice. Bigotry is when you take it the next step like, “Oh, I know it. I believe it. I’m aware of it.”

Kris:

And I teach it.

Camille:

And I teach it. And racism is the outcome of that. It’s the system. It’s the evidence of that bigotry. It’s the evidence of all those things. So, it’s big and it’s a lot, but it’s not insurmountable. And everyone can make an individual impact in so many different ways. And so, what I like to do is even say if someone were to ask me, “Hey, I’d like to have more customers of color. I have a pretty homogenous customer-based, and not just for economic reasons, but I’d also just like to attract more people of color.”

Kris:

Well, it makes for a much more powerful experience for everyone when you-

Camille:

Agreed.

Kris:

Yeah, absolutely.

Camille:

Agreed. And there’s so much strength in diversity. I know that’s some company’s tagline, I’m sure. But there is strength in diversity. Think about it. We diversify our funding streams. We diversify universities. They typically hire from within for certain ranks. But when you get up to the president rank, they want you to come from another school because they don’t want the insulated silo thinking. They want diversity in your experiences that you’ve gone to a big city or small town, or a large endowment, or had to hustle for everything you ever got.

Camille:

So, there’s strength in diversity, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.

Kris:

For me, it’s where I just landed when all of that, when George Floyd was murdered and we really were watching this tide, right? And I just kept saying, “What is humanity asking? I am a human. What is the humanity in me?” That’s to me where I have to touch. And as a leader, I believe we all have to find our voice here. And I like the way that you create space in the way that you talk about options that we’re all… I know you said the metaphor of holding this parachute, right?

Kris:

We can’t play the parachute game alone but we can all hold our little piece of the parachute, and that makes for a wonderful experience for everybody. So, take a look at your business, your life, and do what makes sense for you. And I’m using that Arthur Ashe quote, right? Where are you… I’m not saying it right.

Camille:

That’s all right. There are you. What can you do? Do that.

Kris:

Do that. Yeah, you can have an impact. And honestly, I really want to invite all of you to come to the class that we’re going to do. I think you have heard from Dr. Wise that she has a very palpable message and one that’s incredibly important, and also a lot of great insight. We’re going to create the class around questions that people have, so that we’re really building a curriculum that’s very specific to what’s in the world today, not just what we think we should talk about.

Kris:

So, I want to reiterate the importance of that. And that also, if you’re a client, in The Founder’s Lab, you have access to work with Dr. Wise, which I also think is so fun. And I am just thrilled because Dr. Wise is my friend and we’ve known each other for a few years. And we’ve had lots of great experiences. And now, we know another reason why we needed to meet, so that’s the good news.

Camille:

That’s the universe at play.

Kris:

Yes. And we’re both raising some strong girls ourselves. So, I feel proud of [crosstalk 00:42:28].

Camille:

… she’s bossy. I think it’s good because she is a boss.

Kris:

She’s the boss, and there will be a time of her life when she doesn’t live in your house.

Camille:

And then, she can boss others, and that’s okay.

Kris:

Yeah. Take it, keep it. You’ll be happy.

Camille:

That’s right.

Kris:

Okay, my friend. Thank you for being today with me on this podcast.

Camille:

Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Kris:

Oh, it’s a very powerful conversation. I’m super excited to share it with everyone. And we’ll talk to you all again soon.

Kris:

Hey there, gorgeous. Are you ready to take everything I teach you in this podcast and put it to work in your business? And really learn how to master leading your team? If so, I’d love to have you as a client in The Founder’s Lab. To learn more about how we can work together, head on over to krisplachy.com/join. There, you’ll see everything you need to know about The Founder’s Lab and how to get started. See you there.

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