Sounds Good is the weekly podcast that hosts hopeful conversations with optimists and world-changers about the headlines we can be hopeful about — and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Headshot of Bethaney Wilkinson alongside a rendering of her book The Diversity Gap

How to Turn Good Intentions into Real Change in Your Workplace

About This Episode

The gap between good intentions and real change is a big one to fill. While many companies are interested in making their workplaces more diverse, it’s not enough to simply want more inclusion. It takes real systemic change to transform any professional setting into an equitable one and many value-driven organizations find themselves stuck at being just short of making real progress. Thankfully, that’s what our next guest is working to solve. Bethaney Wilkinson is the author of The Diversity Gap, a guide to instituting diversity efforts in workplaces.

Bethaney’s lived experience as a Black woman in Georgia has been a driving force in writing The Diversity Gap. She's spent over 10 years working with values-driven organizations to diversify their teams, serve their neighbors, and pursue social change with integrity and authenticity. She’s also the founder of The Diversity Gap Academy, an online learning platform which aims to provide leaders with racial justice education. In this episode, Bethaney shares what racial justice means to her and how people can create an inclusive workplace environment where everyone can feel safe.

Guest: Bethaney Wilkinson, author of The Diversity Gap and founder of the Diversity Gap Academy

Order The Diversity Gap (Amazon) (Bookshop) and visit thediversitygap.com

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Transcript

Branden Harvey

Bethany, welcome to Sounds Good. I'm so excited to finally get to have you on the show and just to get to catch up.

Bethaney Wilkinson

Oh my gosh, Branden. I'm so excited. I've been a huge fan of yours and of all things Good Good Good for a few years now. And so this is a huge honor. I'm really excited about our conversation.

Branden Harvey

Well, I was thinking earlier today that you have played a huge part in kind of Good Good Good as an organization since probably the first year we were founded because we launched on Kickstarter. You were originally at Plywood People, an organization that was really supportive of the Goodnewspaper. And then I came and I attended multiple workshops with you where you helped me work through tons of the business stuff. And we probably met that first year that it was founded. And so it's just been so cool to get to learn from you year after year after year.

And now to get to learn from this brilliant and amazing book you have, which we'll talk about in a minute.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

I remember the day that you launched the Kickstarter of the week, and I remember that one of your offerings was to have you come speak at an event. And I was sitting next to my boss when we were like, we're doing this. And so we invested in the Kickstarter, and we confirmed you for Plywood Presents later that year. And, yeah, it's just been really great ever since.

 

Branden Harvey

That's so funny. Yes. I mean, that was the biggest contribution to the whole Kickstarter was that tier. So I couldn't have done it without you all.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

So good

 

Branden Harvey

Talking about the book. So the book is called The Diversity Gap, and I am absolutely loving it. I mentioned before we started recording that this is the most helpful and also challenging business book I have ever read, and it is already helping me rethink the way that I want to run Good Good Good in like a completely a positive way.

 

It's an exciting journey. And so first of all, just thank you so much for writing this. This is so good. And I'm so excited for other people to get to experience this.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Oh, gosh, yeah. Those are high praises. I mean, I'm sure we'll get into this more, but it's been a labor of love and just the compilation of research and lived experiences and conversations with friends over dinner. And I'm really happy that it's finally all organized into one thing that, you know, leaders can use in their everyday work.

 

Branden Harvey

And before we get into that, I thought that it might be kind of helpful to kind of go back to before you started writing back when this was just maybe a concept you were looking at pursuing. So I'm curious. When did this idea for creating education and tools around the gap between good intentions for diversity and true cultural change come from the whole project of the diversity gap really emerged after a couple of experiences.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

So one was back in 2014, 2015. I was leading these day-long racial justice education trainings for nonprofits and faith communities in my city. People were trying to make sense of what was happening after the death of Michael Brown. Black Lives Matter movement was gaining steam. And so me and a few of my friends were like, okay, well, we have this education, we have this experience. Let's create a learning moment for others. And so I was leaving these day-long trainings. They were really powerful, really interesting.

 

But I kept feeling frustrated because it was like people would see racial injustice happen, and then there go to would be, oh, I need to diversify my team. And I didn't quite understand that correlation fully. I'm like that's important, but it's not solving the problem. So that was happening. And then I was also feeling frustrated because I wasn't seeing organizations transform in light of having more information. So that was one part of it, like just seeing the gaps between education and action, the organizational context. On the other hand, there was my lived experience as a black woman.

 

I have worked in a variety of nonprofit, values-driven organizations, and I was often the first or the only black person or black women in those contexts. And I was daily experiencing microaggressions and strange power dynamics. And I was having a negative experience. And so I'm like, okay, obviously, just diversifying your team. Adding a beautiful and colorful slate of individuals to your organization isn't actually getting to the root of the problem. And so my personal experience, plus, seeing that organizational gap led me to start research for the diversity gap as a project itself.

 

Branden Harvey

And you mentioned that you have gotten to work with these incredible, values-driven organizations. And, of course, Good Good Good falls under that category. Probably 80% of the podcast guests that have already been on the show kind of fall into that category. And I think you're right. I think that there are these really good intentions that we all have, where we all really do care about diversity and about creating a better world that's free of racial harm and so many other things. But there's so many ways that people can fall short of that.

 

How do you reconcile the fact that these are organizations that are doing good, they're doing their best, and they're just not quite there yet on this. Like, how do you avoid excusing that? And what is your experience as potentially the first or only black woman in these spaces?

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

A part of how I approach that particular challenge is by doing what I can to open up the stories of impact. And by that, I mean, I like to think on my best and most optimistic days. I like to believe that if people really understand how their workplace cultures are affecting other people, then they are better equipped to do something about it. And so it's really important that we find ways to understand what our impact actually is on the folks who are walking through the doors of our organizations every day, especially if they are having a racially,  if they're a racial minority in that environment.

 

And it's tricky. It's not easy. It's not one size fits all for figuring out what those gaps are and what that true impact is. It depends on the size of your organization, the culture of it. Do people feel safe? There's a lot of factors there. But with the diversity gap, I was thinking, okay, if I can create a safe container for by pop to open up their stories, then then I don't know. Maybe we can learn some lessons there. And maybe we can give leaders who have good intentions just a little bit more perspective on what it could mean for them to address diversity in a way that's more helpful.

 

So that's one way that I approach it.

 

Branden Harvey

I love that. And so you started doing research and conducting interviews, having conversations, deep diving into this. What were some of the things that you found that surprised you in that beginning.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Part of that journey on my first day of interview. And you may have heard me tell this story before, but on my very first day of interviews. So this is January 2019. I think I had two sets of interviews lined up. So that morning I had planned to interview two black women who worked in a large international nonprofit. And then in the afternoon, I had planned to interview one black woman who worked in a small architecture firm. And so in all of the interviews, I was asking the same questions.

 

Tell me about your experience here. Tell me about your organization's diversity, equity and inclusion practice. Do you feel like you can be yourself here these sorts of questions. And that morning, the two black women who were a few of the black people who worked in this organization as a whole. They said, even though our organization has a lot of work to do as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion, we have a really great experience every day. We can wear the earrings that we want. We can do our hair the way we want.

 

We don't feel like we're having a really negative experience. And so that was surprising to me. I was like, oh, gosh, these folks are fine. Maybe there's not a problem. Maybe it's just me. But then that afternoon, I interviewed this other black women, and she had the completely opposite experience. She was experiencing just a lot of isolation, really not able to do her job very well because of some of just the mental health challenges of constantly code switching, not really feeling respected, having to do extra work in order to just prove that she belonged.

 

There are all these different things, and she was feeling really just low. At that point. It was in the process of looking for another job. I actually think since then, she has another job where she's on a more diverse team, which has been really great for her. But I tell those two stories because they illustrate two of the biggest findings of my research. One was about the mental health impact that these toxic workplace cultures can have BIPOC who are having a minority experience and don't have the support that they need.

 

Like, the mental health toll is real. And it's felt in our bodies. And we have to do a lot to heal that. But on the other hand, for the women in the morning, I learned that there's actually a lot that an intentional leader can do to help create a more inclusive culture. So those two women, they explained, yes, our organization has a lot of work to do. But our supervisor, our direct supervisor, is incredible. She understands systemic injustice. She understands how to advocate for us. She's a white woman.

 

She's not a black woman. But she has done her work to understand how we're showing up to work every day. And so that really inspired me. I was like, okay, this is great. This means anyone can learn what they need to learn to better manage the source of team. So those are two of the big findings that really crafted the rest of my research over the next few years.

 

Branden Harvey

That is so interesting. It's also very encouraging to hear that all is not lost. Work can be done within these organizations to create that environment. And it sounds like it's a continual journey of continual progress and growth in education as well.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Yeah, absolutely. There are things that you can do. And I love -- I think it's Doctor Beverly Tatum. I interviewed her for an event, I guess a couple of years ago.

 

Branden Harvey

Was I at that event?

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

You were at that event!

 

Branden Harvey

It was such a good conversation. I loved it.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Yeah. I mean, I learned so much from her, and I think she didn't say -- she wasn't the first one to say this, but that moment encouraged me. She was like, you can't boil the ocean, you can't do everything. But what's the one thing you can do? And I think that leaders can learn about the systemic forces that are affecting their team. And they can learn how to mitigate those forces within the context of their workplace.

 

Branden Harvey

So when a leader is trying to build a diverse and thoughtful organization, what do you find that they think that building that organization looks like versus how do you contrast that with the reality of what goes into actually creating a better workplace?

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Yeah. I think leaders jump to recruitment and talent management. So they're thinking, how do I hire X, Y and Z person reflecting these demographics? And how do I just make that happen? How do I check this off of my list? And in some ways, that is important, representation is very, very important. As long as you balanced power with that representation as well. And that's another rabbit trail that we can go down if you want to. But that's where people go to first let me diversify my team.

 

I think that it's more helpful and for the long run, perhaps more important, that leaders do their own work to understand their own identities, their own stories, the biases that their parents or grandparents or communities of origin carry, and to do work around knowing what those are and maybe changing some of the way they think about those things. I also think it's important for leaders to think about how much diverse representation exists in their life outside of their workplace. I think if you are able to cultivate a diverse personal life, you're better equipped to navigate the nuances and challenges of diversity in the workplace.

 

I also think it's really important for leaders to think about equity and think about what it looks like to partner with other organizations who are trying to solve some of the bigger picture racial inequity challenges we're facing as a society. And so what I want people to understand is that it's not just about the diverse representation within the four walls of your company or organization, but it's about the big picture, because when we talk about racial equity, when we talk about racial, and then when we boil that down, even to diversity, it's a much bigger thing than what's happening in the four walls of your workplace.

 

It's a whole life orientation that we have to bring to the forefront of our minds.

 

Branden Harvey

I think that brings up an idea that I really appreciated from the book, which is you talked about how if you want to, you know, create a good environment at work, you also have to be working towards antiracism in your own personal life, in the relationships you carry, the places that you spend your time, like, all of these things you need to be thoughtful about. Can you talk a little bit about that idea of how our life outside of work affects this progress that we want to make in our workplaces?

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Yeah. Absolutely. So the story that comes to mind or the reality that comes to mind is I think of organizations where you have an executive-level leader. So CEO, maybe a board chair, and they don't have a lot of diversity on their team. Not yet, anyway. And maybe one of their first hires is a young woman of color, and she joins the team, and she is 24, 25 years old. But she's the only, quote, unquote racial diversity that you have in that organization. This is a hypothetical, but it happens all the time, actually.

 

So go with me here, listeners. So imagine the situation. And then there's a racial crisis happens in the news and that executive-level leader, I'm assuming they're a white person. Maybe they're in their 50s or 60s. They decide that the best thing for them to do is to internally consult with a young woman of color who just joined the team because she's there the closest access point they have to the problem. And that creates an entire world of dysfunction and harm. And just as a power imbalance because you have this person who's not trained in diversity, equity and inclusion, who's probably not trained in racial justice education.

 

And they're now tasked, probably not paid, with informing or educating the entire company or organization or team. And so I know this is a hypothetical situation, but it plays out a lot like I said. And if that executive level leader have been doing their own work to cultivate those relationships outside of their workplace environment, then we wouldn't end up with this strange internal situation where you have this young woman of color with this additional responsibility. And so when leaders are thinking about the internal culture, they need to also know, hey, do I have friends that I can call who are like my peers, my equals, who can help me fill in some of these gaps?

 

Are there places I can go physically with my body to be an environment where I can learn about a culture that's unlike my own? Are there stories that I can listen to, podcasts or books or movies, ways that I can learn about these cultural realities that are different than my own without having to depend on the folks in my organization to be my teachers? And so that's one of the big reasons I think it's important for leaders again to think about diversifying their real life, because if you can do it in your real life, it just better prepares you to do it at work.

 

Branden Harvey

That's really good, not to mention the baggage that somebody in that position can bring to that 24 year old black woman who's their employee. There may be like this white leader might be trying to work through the personal stuff of something that happened in the news as well, and trying to understand things on a personal level, which is, I think, probably entirely inappropriate in a workplace environment where this person is paid on the work that they're doing. And so you can have that outside of the workplace. Then you can work through all of the personal baggage that you're working through to.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Yes, absolutely. Because the hope is that people like your friends, you're not signing their paychecks right? And so they're better likely to be able to tell you the truth. You can deal with all of your personal baggage that comes up without projecting it onto your employees. There are all sorts of dynamics that can be avoided if you work it out in your five to nine, in your life that's outside of the workplace.

 

Branden Harvey

When you're thinking about giving power. You share this example of 24 year old black woman in a workplace who's maybe not trained in diversity, equity and inclusion. And so it sounds like you don't want to just pass that power to this person just because she's the only black person in your organization. What kinds of choices should somebody be making with what power they're passing? And is that even a decision that should be made? Maybe we can unpack this a little bit together.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

I think that if you're an organization and you're looking for where to start, I do think consultants are helpful. Honestly, I think that there are people who have expertise and it is work. It's a lift to find the right person. It's kind of like when you're looking for a real estate agent or something, you have to find the right person to help you accomplish your goal. So I do think you have to sometimes bring in external stakeholders. I think that if you're a company or organization is large enough and there is actually some diverse representation, it would be interesting to listen to your team to figure out what they think needs to happen next.

 

Not that they will have it all figured out. Not that they will even all agree on what needs to happen next. But it can be helpful to do some listening around that. And then even if the team doesn't have a ton of representation, racial representation on it, I still think the listening exercise would be valuable, because I'm assuming that you work with people who are thinking about these things, too. And if not, then that might be the place to start. And so that's a couple of things that come to mind.

 

What other questions does that bring up for you?

 

Branden Harvey

So that's already super helpful, knowing that there are probably a lot of smaller organizations like ours where somebody's getting paid for their role, but they're not necessarily getting paid to take on the weight of making larger scale decisions for an organization and shifting the dynamic of the gap. But then a company or something like that, how do you reconcile this idea of adding on more tasks and weight to this person's role when you don't have the ability to compensate somebody fairly for that increased? I almost want to say like workload, but also it's more the emotional burden that may come with it.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Oh, that's a layered question. And I actually don't know that's what came to mind, but I'm just going to talk and see where we land. So I think that it would be. So there's, of course, the ongoing learning that we do books, podcast, that sort of thing, which is important. I find that it's helpful to remind myself that I'm not trying to solve this problem alone. So what does it look like to find community partners or organizations where you don't have to to build all of your infrastructure from the ground up.

 

But you can plug into what someone else is already doing and learn and learn there. And again, there would have to be some work to find this sort of thing. But there are so many people out here trying to address racial inequity, especially in the organizational context. And so I wonder if there are memberships or cohorts that you can join. I'm just thinking, how do we plug into other communities that have the infrastructure to solve the problem? So that whether it's you as the executive leader or someone up on your team so that they're not isolated in that experience?

 

A few years ago, when I first joined the team at Plywood People, my boss knew that I was going to have a minority experience on the team as the only black woman on the team at that point. And he proactively set aside funds to send me to a conference specifically for leaders of color. And so I knew all year that was part of my compensation package. We didn't use that language, but it was like, okay, Bethany is going to be the only black person on this team that's going to be taxing.

 

Let's go ahead and prepare to plug her into this community that will be supportive of her on her own journey. And so that maybe is slightly different than an organizational change initiative. But the idea is the same. How do we plug in the communities that are doing the work so that we don't have to build it all out from the inside? I find because I work with some clients who again, their first thought is, let me diversify my team, and I like to step back, especially after I do an evaluation with some of them.

 

And it's like, okay, your team is probably not going to diversify for X, Y and Z reason. This is probably not going to happen anytime soon. But that doesn't mean you can't find ways and to be in solidarity with the black folks in your community or in your town. So how about we get creative about how you can leverage what you do have to still be an advocate for racial equity, even if it's not again represented within your four walls.

 

Branden Harvey

As you were writing this book and kind of putting it together, what was your hope for people to experience as they were reading this?

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

I really wanted people to experience a sense of empowerment because it can be so easy to feel disempowered when we start talking about racial equity, justice, diversity, all the things. It's like, oh, my gosh, I don't know what I don't know. And there's so many things to know, and it's so tricky, and I'm going to make so many mistakes, and that's all true. Those are true things. But I do think that there is something that all of us can do in our sphere of influence. We just have to do the work to discover what that thing is.

 

And so I really want want people to feel empowered. I wanted people to maybe have a new perspective or a new take on problems that they that they've learned about. And I want it to be refreshing, challenging and refreshing. That was my hope.

 

Branden Harvey

I think one example that comes to mind for me was you spoke to this idea of how an organization when they're upholding white supremacist structures, one of the ways that that kind of happens -- I think you walk through eight examples of this, but one of them that really stood out to me was this idea of organizations will focus on perfectionism, this idea that we have to get this exactly perfect, especially in regards regard to racial justice work, or we shouldn't do it at all. And the problem with that is and this is my natural tendency.

 

You sit on your hands long enough just waiting for the right perfect thing to create, and then you're never taking action. And I actually thought that it was so freeing with in the book, you basically said, the reality is you are going to get things wrong no matter how perfect you think you're doing, like, you are going to get things wrong. Therefore, you just have to make progress and you have to continue do that work. And you've got to own your mistakes. And it was really challenging to see that problem that I know that I have experienced and then so freeing also to recognize that there truly is an opportunity for growth in that regard.

 

And I loved that. And the book is just filled with so many examples just like that.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

That makes me think of a challenge I'm navigating in my business right now. I'm doing this new thing later this fall, and I'm having to learn all of the the new things with marketing, like and how to sell it. And I'm not great at it. I'm like, I don't like sales. I'm realizing I don't love marketing. I'm realizing and I was messaging with a couple of my friends about this, and they're like, "Bethany, this is just this is just what it is. You've just got to send the emails, learn the metrics, figure out the Facebook ads."

 

You just got to keep going and you'll figure it out eventually. But you have to invest in the process. And even though that feels excruciating, I'm like, oh, am I wasting money? Am I wasting time? Is this going to work? I think it translates in some ways to our workaround, organizational culture and diversity. We have to make these investments and we don't know what's going to stick or what's going to pan out. And it can feel really costly sometimes. But we just keep going because we don't know what's going to work until we find the thing that works.

 

Branden Harvey

It sometimes feels like there's just so many gaps in my knowledge and the work that I want to do that I'm like, I don't even know if I'm qualified to get started, but I find that it's a little bit helpful to kind of zoom out on my life and look at what happens when I'm 60 years old. I'm potentially leading another organization or Good Good Good is celebrating 40 years or whatever. What kind of wisdom would I want to have then? And having a long tail view maybe allows me and hopefully others to say, okay, well, then what are the ways that I can start to chip at gaining that wisdom and knowledge and experience so that I can be the best leader possible, the most impactful possible.

 

And again, I think your book unlocked a lot of that for me.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Yes, the long view is so important. I often think of just my ancestors and black folks who've come long before me and survived. In some ways, things are way more difficult than I've had to live through, and hopefully that I'll ever have to live through. And just knowing that things have changed in some ways brings me a lot of hope. And it's not a thing that happens overnight, but I can hope and plan and work towards a future where my children or my grandchildren are walking into institutions and they don't have to dim their white.

 

You know, they can be fully who they are and bring their best to work every day. And the people around them know how to be supportive of that. That long view really encourages me.

 

Branden Harvey

Some people listening might not be leading organizations, but they are working within organizations, and they're certainly existing within our society that is reckoning with racial injustice. And I think that one thing that I think at least everybody who's kind of being empathetic and paying attention has experienced over the last few years is this idea of coming to terms with recognizing some sort of internal bias that they carry. You read an article or a book or you watch a documentary, or maybe you just pay a little bit of attention to what's going on in your heart and in your mind and you recognize, oh, my goodness.

 

I was carrying this internal bias that I previously didn't realize that I carry when we experience that. How should we respond to that? What should we do to take essentially an about face from that moment?

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

I think it's important that we respond to ourselves with compassion and with some grace because we're human beings and psychologically, I'm not a psychologist, but I've read that living with bias is just a human experience. Like our brain put things and puts people into categories and we tell ourselves stories to help our brain literally conserve energy. And while a lot of our biases can be really unhelpful, I think rather than berating yourself or, or shutting down or letting that kind of stop you from making progress, I think it's important just to acknowledge that it's there maybe do some reflection around where it came from.

 

Where did this idea come from? Is it from me? Is it from the news ? Is it from for many of us, it probably started when we were really small, like in the family of origin that we're from. So doing some work to understand the root is very helpful. And then I do two things in my own practice. One is that I try to look for evidence of the contrary to whatever the device is. And so that just kind of helps me realize, okay, well, there's another way to see this or another way to view people from whatever group this is.

 

And I've actually experienced that other way and then to commit to in your brain saying that's not true. This is true instead. And there is some work around unconscious bias that suggests that our brains are malleable. And so when you find a thought or a perspective that doesn't serve you anymore, you can work on this might sound metaphysical or whatever, but you can work on releasing that and then adopting a new belief. And over time, your your brain does change and be gracious with yourself. But be honest and do some work around where it came from and try to replace that that lie with a new story.

 

Branden Harvey

This has just been such a helpful conversation, and I am just loving learning from you in every way. As we kind of close out this podcast episode, I would love to just ask for piece of closing advice from you on two things. One, what kind of advice would you give to leaders within organizations that really do want to close that gap between good intentions and actually bringing about positive change? And then, number two, what kind of encouragement would you offer to a person of color, somebody from a marginalized community who is working within a predominantly white workplace and maybe finding challenges within that?

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Yeah. So I would say to a person who's leading an organization and you're trying to close the gap between your good intentions and your impact. I would say to first do a little bit of reflection around your journey so far. Where did you start? How did you get to where you are? I'm a big believer that our stories carry so much good and helpful information, and so being able to no, like, okay, here's where I'm at where was I before and then spend some time thinking, where do I want to go as a leader?

 

And then where am I hoping that this organization will go? Vision is so important and vision that's informed by the past is even more important. So I think doing some reflective work can't be underestimated also. And I've already spoken to this a little bit, but I think doing some work around your own identity is really important, like knowing how your unique set of identity markers have affected your leadership journey, your perspective, your worldview. Again, I just think that is so, it's so important that as you're building relationships and as you are working on your hiring pipeline, as you are looking for partners to help advance racial equity in your community or in the world, you have to know how you're showing up into the room and what that means for the relationships you're building.

 

And so that's my piece of advice to leaders. And that's not just for white folks that's for everyone to be doing that work is for every single human that seeks to build cross-racial, cross-cultural partnerships and relationships, so that's for everyone, specifically to people of color who are having a minority experience at work and finding it challenging -- that deep breath is for you. My first thought was like, okay, how are you breathing? How are you doing just to do a general check in because it can be a lot.

And if you are not doing well, then my encouragement would be to plug in to a community of people who can empathize and who can relate to your journey and as much as you're able to do that. My second thing that I would say to people after checking in to people of color is to just be really clear on why you're in that particular environment. And is it worth it to you? That's my next question. Why are you there? And is it worth it? And if you're there for a good reason, then what supports do you need to stay in that environment?

 

And if you find that you are there for reasons that you don't have to be, and maybe you can find employment elsewhere, then to consider doing that. So I know that was like three tiers for people of color, but I spent a lot of time in conversations with folks who are having that experience. It's important that you're doing well. And if you aren't doing well that you're able to get into a space where you're able to heal.

 

Branden Harvey

What does a better world, what does a better work environment look like? Maybe help to kind of close out this episode cast a vision for what kind of world we could be living in if we all put in the work to create this change.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Oh, wow. Big question to land the plane here, and part of me, I'm like, I don't think I've ever seen that, but that's not true. Actually, I have seen it. I haven't seen it at work yet, but I think I'm imagining a workplace where black folks possess my experience, where we're able to go to work and we don't have to code switch nearly as much in terms of the ways we talk or the way we move or the ways we lead. That's really important. I'm imagining a place where everyone from all racial backgrounds are able to not only fully embody their own cultural heritage in their story, but they have the openness to honor the stories of everyone else.

 

That would be really incredible. I'm imagining a workplace environment where power is shared among multiple different kinds of people and by power in terms of the boards of directors that exist and executive leadership teams. I imagine increased collaboration I imagine increased courage and creativity. I also imagine that institutions are leveraging their resources to continue advancing larger social causes and not being so focused on what's happening again within the four walls. Those are a few of the things that come to mind.

 

Branden Harvey

I think that's beautiful. And I think that's a really great spot to end this conversation because I wholeheartedly believe that this is possible and it won't happen overnight and to expect it to happen overnight. Well, probably not create that change. But I'm just so grateful for this toolkit that you have created and the wisdom you've shared to help so many people take steps towards that.

 

Bethaney Wilkinson

Absolutely. Well, thanks so much for having me, Branden. This has been such a great conversation, and I'm just looking forward to, I don't know, to sharing it with the world. Thank you.

Episode Details

October 18, 2021

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Sounds Good is the weekly podcast that hosts hopeful conversations with optimists and world-changers about the headlines we can be hopeful about — and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Every week, Good Good Good founder Branden Harvey sits down with the people driving positive change against the world's greatest problems. Each episode will leave you with a sense of hope about the good in the world — and a sense of direction on how we can all be a part of that good. Episodes are released every Monday.

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