Month: August 2020

Stacey A. Gordon Talks Mentorship and Empowerment with Betty LaMarr

My guest this week is Betty LaMarr, founder and CEO of EmpowHer Institute. Betty’s nonprofit organization works to empower girls from 7th grade through high school by way of mentorship, training, and social/emotional support. With more than 100 mentors from a myriad of disciplines, EmpowHer Institute is helping these young women broaden their understanding of the opportunities available to them.

In this interview, Betty shares her inspiration for starting EmpoweHer in 2003, including a story about mentorship that altered the course of her own life. She also explains how the normally in-school program has pivoted in response to 2020’s social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought about more opportunities and important conversations for the program’s 400 participants.

Finally, Betty and I discuss the joys of being a mentor, and how going virtual this year provides a platform for women outside of the Los Angeles area to speak into the lives of these young girls, empowering them to dream bigger dreams for themselves.

Stacey A. Gordon Talks Design Thinking as a Catalyst for Innovation with Saleema Vellani

Innovation strategist Saleema Vellani sat down with me this week to discuss design thinking, a creative process that focuses on empathy as a way to better understand a problem before working to develop its solution. Put more simply, it is the process of innovating solutions by first shifting our own mindset.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we’ve seen how challenging it is for people to change their thinking in order to change their behavior. For some organizations, the idea of moving past the status quo to a more inclusive workplace may seem insurmountable, especially with the negative stigma that sometimes goes along with “required diversity training.” Saleema and I discuss how interactive design thinking workshops are a fun and creative way to get teams thinking differently about innovation by changing their individual approaches to problem solving.

A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, Saleema believes that true innovation has to start with the individual. In her upcoming book “Innovation Starts with “I”, she explains that innovation is more than cutting-edge technology and out-of-the-box thinking–it requires the cultivation of a self-awareness that empowers individuals to unleash their inner entrepreneur and truly make an impact. To learn more about how design thinking is just one of many tools that lead to sustainable innovation, I share how you can pre-order Saleema’s book, which is scheduled for release this December.

Simply Good: BLM Positive Impacts

Seven years ago, #BlackLivesMatter was founded in response to the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer. What initially started as a homegrown mission to eradicate anti-black racism and state-sanctioned violence has become a global movement that strives for freedom and justice for black people around the world.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been steadily growing since its inception, but there’s something that feels different about this point in our history. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, the rallying cry for the end of systemic racism is ringing louder, and more people, businesses, and those in positions of power are listening.

The following articles are intended to showcase some of the progress that’s being made as a result of the BLM movement. In addition, if all you know about BLM is what you’ve heard in the news or seen on social media, we hope to also challenge you to learn more.

Visit Black Lives Matter to understand their mission and see the whole picture. While you’re there, check out the #WhatMatters2020 campaign, an effort to mobilize BLM supporters to vote for real change this November. 

PS – My book UNBIAS: Addressing Unconscious Bias At Work is now available! UNBIAS is a tool to create healthy, inclusive, and equitable workplaces. Order your copy here.

Free Resources to Combat Bias at Work


Here you’ll find a list of resources from LinkedIn Learning — now available for free — that review current thinking and best practices on essential diversity, inclusion and belonging topics such as bias, allyship and accountability.

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Tentative Agreement Would Ban Chokeholds, Neck Restraints by Minneapolis Police


The Minneapolis Police Department will ban officers from using chokeholds and neck restraints and strengthen the requirements for officers to intervene if a colleague is using excessive force under a new deal negotiated between the city and the state.

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No-Knock Warrants Banned in Louisville in Law Named for Breonna Taylor


The Louisville, Ky., Metro Council has voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants. The legislation was titled Breonna’s Law, in honor of a woman who was killed during a raid on her home earlier this year.

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Confederate Statues Are Coming Down Following George Floyd’s Death – Here’s What We Know


The death of George Floyd is leading to the removal — by protesters in some cases and city leaders in others — of contentious statues that have riled some residents for decades, if not longer.

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Reddit Names Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel as Alexis Ohanian’s Replacement


Reddit has named Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel to its board of directors. In addition to running the well-known accelerator, Seibel also co-founded the live streaming company Justin.tv before it transformed into Twitch.

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How Black Lives Matter Changed the Way Americans Fight for Freedom


Freedom fighters around the globe commemorate July 13 as the day that three Black women helped give birth to a movement. In the five short years since #Black LivesMatter arrived on the scene — thanks to the creative genius of Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometti — the push for Black liberation from state-inflicted violence has evolved into one of the most influential social movements of the post-civil rights era. 

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New DE&I Roles Spike After Racial Justice Protests


Job openings for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) roles surged after the nationwide protests that followed the death of George Floyd in late May.

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SHRM Names Blue Ribbon Commission on Racial Equity


Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Racial Equity have been named as part of Together Forward @Work, a new multipronged initiative of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Launched this week, the initiative is focused on addressing racial inequality in the workplace.

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Starbucks Flips: Employees Can Now Wear Black Lives Matter Attire

 

After a torrent of social media backlash Thursday evening following a report that employees were banned from wearing clothing or accessories that mentions the Black Lives Matter movement, Starbucks announced Friday it not only would allow staffers to don BLM attire, the company would make 250,000 specialty shirts supporting the movement.


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Stacey A. Gordon Talks Diversity, Inclusion and Careers With Creighton Taylor

This week I was joined by Creighton Taylor, founder and CEO of Guided Compass, a technology platform that he fondly refers to as “eHarmony for students and employers.”

Creighton and the Guided Compass team have developed a systematic approach that matches students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with resources, tools, and opportunities in a vast array of industries. 

Never before has there been a better time for people to make their own path. Unfortunately, issues of access still create a chasm between individuals and the means to do just that. In this interview, Creighton and I discuss how Guided Compass and other organizations are working to bridge that gap by providing tools and resources (often free or low-cost) to help people upskill and enter the career path of their choosing. 

Creighton also shares a practical experiment that he believes will not only help companies understand the foundational benefits of a diverse workforce, but will also provide valuable data that helps other businesses and industries move forward in developing a culture of trust and inclusion in their own workplaces.

Stacey A. Gordon and Yasmin Marrero Discuss Coaching

Leadership and Empowerment Coach Yasmin Marrero set aside some time this week to talk about the mission and process of personal and professional coaching, an inquiry-led process of self-discovery that empowers others to actualize fulfilling lives. With a background in neuroscience, organizational change, and leadership, Yasmin provides one-on-one coaching, as well as workshops and group counseling based on a client’s needs.

During our chat, Yasmin explains the importance of asking the right questions to help individuals define success for themselves, and then guiding those people toward goals that are based on their own values. We also discuss how coaching is different from mentoring, and how investing in oneself can be wholly transformative on both a personal and professional level.

Yasmin is so committed to equipping people with the tools they need to succeed on their own terms, that she even provides a free offer for anyone who wants to learn more about the coaching process. Learn more at iamyasminmarrero.com.

Stacey A. Gordon Talks With Erica Moore-Burton, Esq.

This week I had the chance to talk with Erica Moore-Burton, Esq., founder of Round Hill Legal Search, a Los Angeles legal services placement firm. For more than 16 years, Erica and her team have connected a vast network of legal firms with highly-qualified candidates to fill a wide range of legal positions.

In this video, Erica discusses the specific challenges that underrepresented minorities, especially women of color, face in the legal services industry. She also provides a fresh and innovative approach to the interview process, one that enables candidates to present their best selves without battling misconceptions before they even sit down.

Many firms are looking more closely at their employment metrics and how to retain diverse individuals, but the work of increasing awareness and changing perspectives is ongoing. I believe that there’s something different about the current environment, that the call for diversity and inclusion is resonating more than before. When people look back on this moment in history, what will they say about your company’s response?

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