Cascading Leadership - The Show

Advancing Inclusion Through Technology, Community Engagement, And Personal Growth

February 02, 2023 Jim Season 3 Episode 5
Cascading Leadership - The Show
Advancing Inclusion Through Technology, Community Engagement, And Personal Growth
Show Notes Transcript

Jiquanda Nelson was the guest on this episode of Cascading Leadership. She is the CEO of Diversity Window, a technology organization that focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is  a mother of three, a distance runner, and an avid community activist. She also serves on many boards, including the PTA president. Jiquanda discussed her background and origin story, which included her passion for wanting to help the younger generation navigate organizations and environments where they may be the only one that looks different. She also discussed her role as the ultimate hype woman and how she likes to make people feel seen and heard.

Jiquanda shared her experience growing up in a small, diverse town where she was the only black student in the gifted program. She had many friends and was a very sociable person, but still found it difficult to fit in at times. As she grew older, she understood how much her different experiences had shaped her. She realized that the education experience of black students was different and that they often did not get the same opportunities or access to resources as other students. Through her experience, she was able to learn the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion and how it can create a more equitable educational system.

Jiquanda grew up in a family that emphasized the importance of taking care of the community. This mentality has been with her throughout her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and she feels it is her responsibility to speak up when she sees someone suffering. Family has been an integral part of her views and values, and has been the foundation for her work.



 Exploring the Origin Story of an Ultimate Hype Woman and Diversity Advocate


 Reflections on Growing Up in a Small Town and Experiencing a Culture Shock at a Historically Black College and University


 The Impact of Family on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work


Conversation on Experiences of Growing Up and College Life at Florida A&M University


Reflection on Working with At-Risk Youth


 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategies with Jiquanda Nelson


Mentorship and Sponsorship: Keys to Advocating for Yourself


Conversation on Communication, Feedback, and Managing Upwards


Conversation on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategies for Business Success


Conversation on Building an Effective D&I Program


Conversation on the Benefits of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace


Building an Inclusive Organizational Culture


Key Leadership Takeaways for Career Advancement


Heading: Creating a Space for People to Show Up at Their Best: The Importance of Doing the Work to Understand Experiences

Music Credit: Music Credit: Maarten Schellekens - Riviera

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[00:00:00] LB: Welcome everyone to the latest episode of Cascading Leadership, the show. I am your host, Lawrence Brown. Normally my co-host, Dr. Jim, as folks know him, I would be with me, but he is not with me today. So I am having the distinct honor of working with the one and owner, Quanda Nelson, did you wanna tell us a little bit about.

[00:00:20] LB: Yes. 

[00:00:21] Jiquanda Nelson: Thank you so much. I'll be so excited to be here. That's so bummed to miss Dr. Jim. He's amazing. But I'm just really a big fan of the work that both of you are doing. I'm really excited to be here. Thank you for having me. I wear many hats. I've been trying to brand myself as the ultimate hype woman.

[00:00:37] Jiquanda Nelson: I like hype people up. I like making people feel excited about being here, that their value. Seen that they're heard. I don't have the technical title for that yet, but that's who I am overall. I'm also c e O of Diversity Window a technology organization that focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

[00:00:55] Jiquanda Nelson: We believe in data First. We do other services, but I'm sure I'll have time to talk about [00:01:00] that later. I'm a wife of 12 years. I'm a mom of three. I'm a distance runner. I am an avid community activist. I am a very broad board server. I serve on many boards. I'm PTA president. I wear many hats. So that's a little bit about 

[00:01:18] LB: Awesome.

[00:01:18] LB: We are definitely happy to have you. The audience doesn't, we go a way back and so it's a lot of fun being able to have the conversation with you today. I'd like to start with, as we always do with our guests, is the origin story and , what is the origin, what is the background of 

[00:01:34] Jiquanda Nelson: Jaquan?

[00:01:34] Jiquanda Nelson: Thank you so much for that and I, I really resonate with that question and hearing your previous guests on the show. Cause I think you hear a lot of themes along the way, especially when it comes. To wanting to help this younger generation navigate organizations or environments where you might be the only, the other or the different.

[00:01:53] Jiquanda Nelson: And so that, that's really my story too. I grew up in a very small town north of your suburb, and the [00:02:00] town itself was very diverse. However, I was in a gifted program as the only blacks. Students actually there was a girl who was biracial and even I've been processing that most actually, most recently.

[00:02:09] Jiquanda Nelson: Cause she and I are still friends and I feel like I need to have this conversation with her. But I feel like her identity wasn't as much of an topic as mine was, being the only blacks. Student, I'd love to use that example and I can start out the gate with that. Especially when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

[00:02:25] Jiquanda Nelson: Cuz people think it's just about more people of color or more women. And those are the only kind of outside perspectives that happen. But that's really not the case or that something terrible has happened. And so for me, I didn't really have terrible ex. Experiences. I had lots of friends. I'm a very sociable person.

[00:02:41] Jiquanda Nelson: I probably was the most sociable person in the class, so I was friends with everyone. But there were those times where I really didn't feel like I always belonged or fit in. Had to find different ways to make sure I did fit in type, the music I listened to, et cetera. I took that et. Experience and I didn't understand how much it shaped me at the time.

[00:02:58] Jiquanda Nelson: Cause like I said, I really didn't have [00:03:00] like terrible experiences because of that. My community was very much those students that looked like me, et cetera. What I did learn from that experience was that our education experience was different. As a young kid I didn't have the language for it. I wondered why my class got a chance to go to these wonderful kind of field trips.

[00:03:19] Jiquanda Nelson: Experiences or where we had the opportunity to create this astronomical event for Space Night where we had to vote on astronauts and it was a big production and it was only our class in our program. I wondered why kids across the hall or like kids right next door to me in my same grade didn't get that same educational experience.

[00:03:38] Jiquanda Nelson: Now that I'm older, realizing like these programs are designed, of course we're gifted children, but there's a lot of barriers for who can access them. That was a defining moment in my. That I didn't even recognize at the time. Then I graduated, went to college, went to Florida a M University, always got a shout out.

[00:03:54] Jiquanda Nelson: M P M U, Rattlers, and that was a culture shock for me. So here you have this black girl [00:04:00] named Quanda, okay, by the way, who goes to historically black college and university with many types of black people and have a culture shock because I had never been around this many people that looked like me, and it was the first time that I.

[00:04:14] Jiquanda Nelson: The other, it was the first time that I was part of this dominant experience and I had to like, and then the other thing outside of that was I was a small town girl navigating what I thought was a big town where my friends from like Jacksonville and Tampa and Miami, they thought Tallahassee was country.

[00:04:31] Jiquanda Nelson: And that's when I realized that my town was country, because I'm like Tallahassee that. Two malls as considered country. I always tell this story. I call my parents. I'm like, I think Zion that sitting in my town, I think Zion is considered country and my dad is, y'all had tractor day for senior week. What did you really think?

[00:04:48] Jiquanda Nelson: I'm confused and they just laugh. But what I learned from that ex. Experiences. When you are, when you're so used to your kind of framework and your experience and your perspective, it takes you to get out of that. It takes you [00:05:00] to see other people's experiences, hear other people's experiences in order to realize like, oh, hey, there's was this thing called life then my small town.

[00:05:08] Jiquanda Nelson: I have a 

[00:05:08] LB: question. You mentioned your dad and a little bit about community and family as being. First community. What was your origin story, like your family environment in that community? What was that like and how it evolved to 

[00:05:20] Jiquanda Nelson: school? Yeah, no, thank you for that. I grew up with both my parents and my father was in the military, and my mom was an entrepreneur.

[00:05:28] Jiquanda Nelson: She had her own salon in different services for women. They grew up in Flint, Michigan, which was a very thriving community when they grew up. My dad's experience was a little bit different. He grew up like in the housing project. And he wanted to get out, have a better life for himself. He had his own apartment at 16, got his own car.

[00:05:47] Jiquanda Nelson: How that's even possible. My mind can't even process. Cause I was definitely not that mature at 16, but then eventually graduated, went to the military. They wanted to make a better lives for themselves. They settled in this area, which they really liked. They thought it would be great [00:06:00] to raise a family and.

[00:06:02] Jiquanda Nelson: Some of the kind of experiences that I remember that probably shaped me and thank you. I probably should talk a little bit more about that cause it really did shape me just as a person and our community. Not everyone grew up with both of their parents and I didn't realize how much that meant or what that looked like.

[00:06:17] Jiquanda Nelson: As a matter of fact, A childhood friend just got married this past weekend and he gave a shout out to my dad and my mom, but mostly my dad. And he's without you actually like telling me or giving me the playbook, I was able to see what it's like to be a husband, to be a dad, to care for your family to do whatever you need to do to provide for your family.

[00:06:37] Jiquanda Nelson: We had that experience and we were, the house people came to if they needed food or I remember my mom taking kids to practices because they didn't have a ride. Some people didn't have a car or their moms were a single mom trying to work. I learned this concept of it's not just. The world is not just you and you are not solely responsible for you.

[00:06:57] Jiquanda Nelson: You are actually responsible for [00:07:00] everybody in your village. I truly grew up with the village mindset, and that also came into play when if I was doing something wrong in the street, I saw my parents' friends or something like that. I knew they could yank me up just as much as my parents could, or that phone call would be made to my parents.

[00:07:14] Jiquanda Nelson: I really had. Experience of what it looks like to bear the weight. I hate to even use that term, but it is your responsibility when the next person next to you is not doing well. It is your responsibility to speak up when something is wrong with someone else and not just you. I think that comes with me as I do my diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

[00:07:32] Jiquanda Nelson: And while I'm so passionate and while I wanna. Push it along because if I'm seeing someone suffer, whether that's an organization or community, et cetera, it is my responsibility to do whatever I can to help support them. 

[00:07:44] LB: The recurring theme is that family plays an important role, and I think that what's interesting about your family is the impact.

[00:07:49] LB: To your immediate community that your parents had Also in shaping that, it sounds like you inherited the whole idea of taking care and being responsible for others, right? That was [00:08:00] something that became a part of the organic experience. I wanted to dig in a little bit about being at F A M U when you.

[00:08:05] LB: Describe to me, like when you said you feel like a fish out of water, even though you were around people that look like you as part of the dominant culture, how does that, I'm gonna 

[00:08:13] Jiquanda Nelson: give you a visual. Okay. Of first week, I, there are a couple days early, everyone's rolling in. Along the week, I'm waiting for my roommate who I now find out on the other end was, Terrified of going away to college, but was being pushed to.

[00:08:27] Jiquanda Nelson: So she literally came like the first day of school. I didn't get that bonding time with her and we're absolutely like still best friends to this day, but I meet two gals from Tampa and just the way I talk and the things I'm talking about and. The language that we're using is like two different languages.

[00:08:41] Jiquanda Nelson: Okay. And then if you go in my room, now that my roommate is here on my side of the room, it's like Justin Timberlake, NSYNC posters, like just plastered all over my room. And then my roommate who's from Jamaica originally, the Jamaican flag, Bob Marley Ross and it, the contrast couldn't be [00:09:00] different.

[00:09:00] Jiquanda Nelson: And Even the culture in which I identify with at the time was not like all the other gals in my school for me, because although I grew up in a diverse, how much of my experiences happened with white children because I was in the gifted programs and then of course I had certain classes, right?

[00:09:17] Jiquanda Nelson: AC chemistry and things like that. And so just the way I identified and the way. Experience culture was a little bit different than most of the students that I was around. And then you get into things around again, this idea of community, which I think is so rich in the black community. It's an unspoken theme where it is like, Hey, you go hang out on the set, or.

[00:09:37] Jiquanda Nelson: They're different groups. So fraternities, right? Where you find your family and your fraternities and sororities, you find your family. I didn't pledge, but I was a part of a modeling rou and I did a mentoring program. And so it's just all these different pockets of community that's so deeply entrenched in our culture that I had never experienced in that way before.

[00:09:57] Jiquanda Nelson: Outside of church, I had really not had that [00:10:00] experience like in a school setting. So that was really interesting. And then I think the notion of me. Small town gal, right? So I'm meeting all these people from Miami, different countries, different islands, and I had just experienced that before. So I'm learning different foods and like why did I not know I needed this in my life?

[00:10:19] Jiquanda Nelson: And it just what it did for me. And then because I studied Spanish and it's so interesting, this concept of minority of our volleyball team. The minority, most of the minority students at our school, because we had a really good volleyball team. Most of the students came from Peru and other countries, and they were the minorities.

[00:10:37] Jiquanda Nelson: They were there on scholarships. So I was in the program and engaging with these gals from Peru, learning about different experiences I never would have experienced before. And again, it really fostered, I'll say my curiosity about people and their experiences and what that looks. And holy crap, it's different.

[00:10:56] Jiquanda Nelson: I would say there's 

[00:10:57] LB: two as a public service announcement, for those of you that [00:11:00] may not be aware for a couple of things that I'm just referencing, the rich culture at Historically Black Colleges University, which Florida a and m University is, I also attended Grambling State University. And then I graduated from Bowie State University.

[00:11:12] LB: And which completes side note is that I'm so excited to hear all the different things that are happening for the HBCUs that are taking place. So one of the definite positives that has happened post George Floyd, but it is a very rich culture and the fraternities and sororities are very important a part of that.

[00:11:26] LB: And the troops and the bands and all of the other things that help us to Yeah, that help us to have that growth as young people. So you tied in that, who you developed into in college. Plays a large part in who you are today. Share a little bit about your journey to where you are today and which I think is a very interesting one cuz I, again, I know parts of this as well, so excited to, to hear this.

[00:11:49] Jiquanda Nelson: Yeah. Oh my goodness. Again, I think it really stems, which is when I'm talking about my career, I really need to start talking about that family piece a little bit more. But I definitely think about the experience that [00:12:00] I had in Element. School kind of being the only in, in the group, even if nothing wrong is happening.

[00:12:05] Jiquanda Nelson: Cuz sometimes, especially now, when organizations think about d e i, all they think about is, oh my gosh, we don't wanna look racist, we don't wanna look sexist, we don't wanna look all these things. And it's, let's take a step back because yes, it's that, but it's also how do we create this? Space where everyone feels like they belong in your workplace or on your board or in your space, and that's where a lot of the challenges actually come in.

[00:12:24] Jiquanda Nelson: If we can start doing some of that, we actually get to some of those large kind of scary topics or issues that come along with trying to bring equity in place and stemming off the experience of being in the gifted program and then going to college and really finding my voice in terms of I love being black.

[00:12:42] Jiquanda Nelson: And that's okay to say that because before it was like, I don't. Show too much of looking black in my class because I don't wanna not fit in. Like my hair is already different, my skin is already different. My, my parents talk about different things, so it was just, I didn't want those differences to really show [00:13:00] up.

[00:13:00] Jiquanda Nelson: And so now being in a space where I didn't have to do any of that, I can just show up. I don't have to think about. Worrying about my hair. I didn't have to think about worrying about, I think I like rap music, all of these things, right? Because I was around people where it was like, this is who we are and we love it.

[00:13:17] Jiquanda Nelson: And so for me just ha having that experience. Of knowing what it feels like to be okay and love and proud of who you are, and it be in a space where you don't have to worry about consequences or being treated different, or not having to think about any of those other things, but what I'm actually here to do, you're able to show up and do it at, I learned that in college and then so what, where my life really started taking shape.

[00:13:46] Jiquanda Nelson: Probably once I got outta school, there were a couple things that happened in school, like a mentoring program at a school locally, a couple of girls, and I created this program, car Women Devoted to Change. We had a mentoring program, flowers and Bloom. And this [00:14:00] particular school, it's actually not even a school anymore cause they did the grading system in Florida and so it had an F, they shut it down.

[00:14:05] Jiquanda Nelson: But about, I think it was like 99% of those students at this particular school were free or reduced lunch. And as we know, that's an indicator. Some of the other challenges that come with students and in that experience alone, I learned about meeting people where they are. I go in with this programming that we thought was great.

[00:14:23] Jiquanda Nelson: Here we are, college students. The fact that we're even in college, despite whatever your background information is, it gives us a level of privilege to systems. To language, to education access. It gives us a little bit of a status because it's, oh, you're a college student at F M U. So we come in with this ideal of what it means to show up in the world and trying to indoctrinate, and that feels like such a strong word.

[00:14:48] Jiquanda Nelson: But if, when you think about what you think you're trying to do, try to indoctrinate students who are like, I don't even know where I'm gonna eat tomorrow. I'm not even gonna eat. Matter of fact, I'm not gonna eat once I leave this building. We [00:15:00] don't have. We are sleeping on other people's couches, and I learned so much about you can't take a program and try to fit it to people when they don't even have the basic needs.

[00:15:10] Jiquanda Nelson: I learned truly about meeting that curriculum. LB went out the door. Do you understand? I was what? A 19, 20 year old student at the time, those 12 and 13 year old kids had experience and knew way more about life than I could. Imagine, I just realized very quickly the notion of now you can give them hope, right?

[00:15:32] Jiquanda Nelson: Like I can bring hope, but I have to truly sit with them. I have to listen to them. I have to be empathetic to what they're going through. I can't be mad at the student who is struggling today. And doesn't wanna participate and may show up in a little bit of an attitude because they don't know how to manage or regulate their feelings because her father just got arrested last night.

[00:15:53] Jiquanda Nelson: I learned in that moment, when we think about even workplaces or different spaces that we're in, there are people who come to work. [00:16:00] Who come to these spaces with outside issues, that absolutely impacts how they show up. And it is our responsibility, right? Whether you're a leader, hr, whatever, it is our responsibility to think about the human component of people first before you jump into everything else.

[00:16:17] Jiquanda Nelson: I learned that with these students to like really understand them and I think we miss out on so much of that. We jump into opinion where this is my ideal, this is the way I see how it should. The kids should be doing that, or worker should be doing that without actually taking into account people's experiences.

[00:16:33] LB: There are so many things that, that I want to touch on. But before I get, just to put this on record, one of the things is that as we talk about your actual career journey, I think one of the things you call out is that meeting people where they are, I heard you say, is that you went in with a prescript for what is Yes.

[00:16:46] LB: That you were going to do. And so we talked a little bit about this before in the pre-show about how sometimes. Correlative to what companies say, oh, I think I already have the plan. I already have the idea. Without having done [00:17:00] any of The background, yes. But before we get to that, yes. I just wanna put that out there.

[00:17:03] LB: What I would like you to share with me is the part I know and any part that you wanna add to it, but this Meteor York rise from when I met Quanda. I think when we met, we were both ly involved in E R G work. One of the things that stood out when you and I first met. . First of all, you have this personality that lights up the room and very optimistic, very quick thinking, very observant.

[00:17:24] LB: But what struck me probably more than anything else was after we had a conversation was this absolute intentionality and plan that you had for the rest of your life. It felt I was just like, wow, that's pretty impressive. I'm trying to figure out. Do I know what I'm doing with my life? So that, honestly, I don't if ever tell you that story, but that was one of the things that struck me was like she has a lot of intention around what she's doing.

[00:17:46] LB: And then to see it unfold. So yeah. Let's talk about the unraveling of the 

[00:17:51] Jiquanda Nelson: strategy. I think at that point to where you met me, I had clearly, I had all of those ex. Experiences and I brought those kind of three [00:18:00] things with me no matter what role it is. And I think this I really wanna articulate this point to people cuz people think you have to be in a d E I role in order to do the work, which is absolutely not the case.

[00:18:10] Jiquanda Nelson: You can do. And I oftentimes, Help people. I would love to hire everybody. Do de I work, but the goal is to have d e I work, embed it in all of the roles within the business, in every single function. So you doing it exactly where you are actually helps me as a d e I leader, get work done. So that's a future, right?

[00:18:28] Jiquanda Nelson: Topic cuz we'll get into that. But, so in all of my roles, I wanted to create that space to belong. I wanted to build that curiosity again, what I learned in college. And then I also wanted to think about how do we do it in a way that is. Forceful on my idea of what that looks like, but actually hearing from people what that looks like and employee resource groups are absolutely a great place to do that if it's not official role.

[00:18:51] Jiquanda Nelson: I didn't have official d e I roles prior to that. I just brought it into my workspaces and then I really was able to build and develop an e r d. I also have a [00:19:00] background in community organiz. So that kind of comes into blame too. And I caught myself a corporate activist. So yeah, for the ERGs, I was a leader with the African-American Leadership Network because of course I identify as African-American, but I also really too LB saw the power and connections with other ERGs because you had this concept of intersectionality.

[00:19:20] Jiquanda Nelson: Because while I was a leader with African American Leadership Network, I was also a woman. I also resonate. Veterans cuz my dad was a veteran. I also resonated with pride because I had friends who were coming out and experiencing different dynamics around that. And then being black, other culture components come into that.

[00:19:36] Jiquanda Nelson: So I really found power in doing that. And so you have to be intentional. So what I did was I carved out a role, and I think this might have been how you and I met, I carved out a role that got me on the leadership team, which I think is so funny cause it was like right. Started at the organization and I was like, we should have a role that intentionally connects with all these different organiza, all these other ERGs, as well as local ERGs to like really build [00:20:00] this work.

[00:20:00] Jiquanda Nelson: So I did all that work and this whole entire process as it ties back to my career journey. Cause I know I wanna talk concept, but also bring back to my journey. I encounter a leader. Who funny in my one-on-ones, when I started at this organization, everyone was like, you need to check in with this leader.

[00:20:15] Jiquanda Nelson: You're gonna love them, they're supportive, et cetera. Who happened to be, I think at the time, the sponsor of the E R G. And so we ended up connecting that way. They were able to see me do this work, put a plan together, put a strategy together, engage people, get people excited. So this leader leaves the organization probably.

[00:20:31] Jiquanda Nelson: Five months after I start the organization or start at this organization, they stay connected with me. So fast forward to about two years later, this leader calls and says, Hey, do you and your family wanna move to Seattle? No. Wait, what? No, but tell me more is when you're sponsors. I didn't even know she was a sponsor.

[00:20:49] Jiquanda Nelson: At the time when you're mentors, Reach out to you. You gotta listen. Even if you something you don't wanna do, you have to listen because you know that they have your best interest at heart. They [00:21:00] are rooting for you, investing in you, advocating for you, et cetera. So I'm like, no, tell me more.

[00:21:05] Jiquanda Nelson: And so this particular role was an opportunity for me to really bring all that I had in community and corporate. In community organizing into an organization. It was Kaiser Permanente at the time. I think I can talk about organizations on here. Yeah. I've heard people talk about their organization, Kaiser Permanente, and to carve out their equity, inclusion, and diversity and workforce development.

[00:21:27] Jiquanda Nelson: Not only do we wanna make sure we have an inclusive workplace and. It's healthcare. So we wanna make sure we have equitable access to healthcare, but we also wanna get people right in our communities working in healthcare to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, which I know y'all talk about a lot, really showing up for who you're serving.

[00:21:42] Jiquanda Nelson: And it was just really a great opportunity for me because it was a culmination of all the things that I have done in all the spaces in my life and really put it together. So that intentionality got me like a really big opportu. To take my first official d e I role, my question for 

[00:21:59] LB: you is that [00:22:00] the mentorship that you had, was it formal or was it more organic?

[00:22:04] LB: And the statement that I have is that as you go from mentor to sponsor, and this is the reason I'm asking that question, is because this is what a lot of the research has shown is that these mentorship programs. Should cultivate towards sponsorship and advocacy as opposed to looking at them separately.

[00:22:20] LB: And if you could share a little bit about how the mentorship, how 

[00:22:24] Jiquanda Nelson: yours was. I was just like extremely blessed to have a leader who was doing similar to what you and Dr. Jim are doing. Like really being. Passionate about seeing people who may remind them of them or remember their first kind of early career days and know that if given the right opportunity, they are going to shine.

[00:22:42] Jiquanda Nelson: And I the jackpot with this particular leader who was very active to reaching out. Cause like I said, I didn't know much about the organization or my role, let alone all this other extras. Stuff. But this particular leader, like she reached out to me, she kept me in the loop. She followed me, made sure she followed up, [00:23:00] celebrated me.

[00:23:00] Jiquanda Nelson: I just got really lucky. But what I will tell you is that I think it's important that we are active in that space as someone who needs mentorship, as well as now of course, mentoring. But the sponsorship piece is very critical too. And you can't get that, especially when you think about some of these programs that are trying to form that aren't really organic.

[00:23:20] Jiquanda Nelson: You don't get that just by a mentorship. It has to be very intentional. So as a mentee, when I think about folks who started off as mentors, I using the term managed up or if you want to use that it's not, it should be a hierarchy, but it is. But I gave them the tools or the toolkits I'll. To advocate on my behalf without me having to say it.

[00:23:39] Jiquanda Nelson: So I think sometimes, as I think about H how do we foster these relationships that are really important? I think mentorship is very key. Hey, I need feedback, your thoughts, et cetera. But I also, when you're in this room, hey, I have accomplished this. Sometimes we're, people are afraid to brag about themselves.

[00:23:54] Jiquanda Nelson: And it's not bragging about yourself, it's you saying I did this work, I do this work. Cuz a lot of times people don't [00:24:00] get to talk about that or even show that because of a different level or role. But give them the keys to talk about your work and your accomplishments wherever they, it needs to be succinct, right?

[00:24:12] Jiquanda Nelson: It needs to be under in a language that's understood. Especially if it's someone, like some of my friends, they have jobs. I'm like, I don't even know what you do for real, but I know it's good. Like it needs to be in a language that they can speak to and you need to make sure it's relevant. This is such a sidebar, but it was a very good learning experience for me.

[00:24:29] Jiquanda Nelson: The idea of building your social capital and the intentionality in that. Saying, I'm gonna have these core relationships of people that I'm going to share with them. I'm going to learn from them. Hopefully they can learn from me. And I'm also gonna be very intentional on making sure they know exactly what I wanna do when my timeline is, or when I'm planning to do it, and what I've done to get me on my way there.

[00:24:51] Jiquanda Nelson: So if you have that leader who has a project or a role or something coming up, they might even have thought about it or they may not. Some leaders [00:25:00] are savvy. They have. Mean, even the leader who may not have a list of, you know what, I was just talking to Jaqua the other day. She has experience doing this and looking to do that.

[00:25:07] Jiquanda Nelson: So I think that's the step above even that mentorship is creating that and not again, I think, yes, it's definitely up to leaders. I think leaders have a responsibility to give back, but I also think that there's some active actions that mentees can take to build that relationship and really 

[00:25:23] LB: elevate it there.

[00:25:24] LB: There is something that, we've had a couple of different leaders on the show said things very similarly. What I appreciate is each one. Is adjusted to who? Who we are as individuals. And so what our hope is that by bringing a large a mix and swath of peop is that someone resonates with the story that's being said.

[00:25:38] LB: And a couple things that you mentioned were the idea of awareness. And so you have to have that self-awareness to know what it is that you want to achieve. Yeah. The whole idea around making sure you're communicating what that. Having common language to be able to do that and opening yourself up for saying, Hey, here's my plan, here's my strategy.

[00:25:57] LB: But at the same time, I think the other [00:26:00] part of it is, which you also mentioned it, is being open to the feedback because you have to trust people that have your best interest at heart, that they see things and can help identify. Spots that are out of our purview. That's what the person's real agenda is.

[00:26:13] LB: And the other one that's big that you talked about is we have to get away from, I think everyone suffers from this at some point in their career. I don't know what you really do. So you mentioned that like you have friends, they're doing amazing things. You know what they really do. But believe it or not, in that vertical and that managing upwards, which is not a bad thing.

[00:26:30] LB: One of the one of. Hidden things. One of the, what Jim and I talk about oftentimes is we want to share the cheat codes that oftentimes people don't talk about. Managing upwards is real. Even if you're in a flat organization. Yes. You still have to be able to manage whoever has a play in your opportunity to grow.

[00:26:49] LB: And what you're also helping to do with is you're helping those individuals. So when you, cuz you talked about this too, because what I heard from you, what you said, or at least I received, There's more [00:27:00] reciprocity in this relationship. Sure. There's ebb and flow to it. When you were talking about, and we talked a little bit about this before the show, is you said something that was cause I wanna get into now the strategy and the philosophy around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

[00:27:13] LB: And you started with something that I thought was rather unique and that is, What did you say about the role and everyone wanting to be in d e I? Can you share that again because I think that's really important and then I think that kind of segues into your philosophy around D 

[00:27:29] Jiquanda Nelson: E I oftentimes, when I talk about my work and once I start doing like official, I've been doing this work my whole career, don't get me wrong, but once I started doing it officially and having a role in department and structure, I went into it telling people again, this is also a community organizing a principal.

[00:27:45] Jiquanda Nelson: I'm trying to work myself out of a job. Because true diversity, equity, and inclusion work is embedded in every single thing that we do as an organization. Every, no matter, again, whether that's a corporate workspace, a board, community, organization, [00:28:00] whatever, it is built into every single piece. And people think that they have to be in a D E I function in order to bring inclusivity.

[00:28:08] Jiquanda Nelson: Or equity or belonging into an, or diversity and belonging into an organization when that's actually not what the goal is. The goal is for it to be in every single function in every single department within your 

[00:28:20] LB: organization. One of our first meetings was when you came to my state, whenever, one of the things that you just said and that we've talked about, Angela Talton, the Chief Diversity Officer at Nielsen, she had a very similar story.

[00:28:35] LB: The idea notion of A D E I was embedded into what she did, but what she was really known for was her organizational effectiveness acumen. And so whenever she was put in charge of something, she was really amazing at it. She drove immense change, but she shared a similar philosophy of the D E I element was embedded into what her philosophy was just in general as a leader and she operation.

[00:28:58] LB: D i. What would you say [00:29:00] are some of the critical requirements for success in that space in the d e I 

[00:29:04] Jiquanda Nelson: space? Yeah. First of all, I think number one, diversity, equity, and inclusion is not activity. It is a strategy. And I think too often we go at it from we need to do awareness month, we need like all these activities.

[00:29:18] Jiquanda Nelson: Without first taking the step to build a strategy, I have to say this cuz I'm CEO of diversity windows, which is the one of the reasons I said yes to diversity window. You need data to do this. Too often folks are trying to do d e I work with without data and wonder whether they're not getting results.

[00:29:35] Jiquanda Nelson: You don't know if you're moving the needle, if you don't have anything to measure how your efforts are making an. And so when we think about even just a general philosophy, define, take the time to define what diversity is within your organization, within your space. It looks different in different organizations and in different spaces and in different teams, right?

[00:29:56] Jiquanda Nelson: Because you might have one part of your organization, which is very typical, where [00:30:00] your frontline staff is absolutely diverse. You have representation from many different backgrounds and experiences, et cetera, and leadership. It may look different, but I always tell people, you have to think. Who is missing from the table?

[00:30:13] Jiquanda Nelson: Who is missing from the space? That prevents us from providing the best service, the best experience, the best product or whatever it is that your organizational goal is? What are those barriers? And you have to connect it to your business strategy. I oftentimes talk to d e folks, or I'm coaching folks.

[00:30:32] Jiquanda Nelson: I'm like, okay, what is your business strategy? What is your goal? And that business acumen, which I absolutely remember about. Having that business knowledge of what you're trying to do as a business first is absolutely key. That is a huge misstep that people have. They, and yes, we do wanna do it to be better people.

[00:30:49] Jiquanda Nelson: People aren't even trying to be better people in their real personal lives and now you want them to do it at when they're like, but I got a job and we gotta make numbers, and we got targets. And we need to hit these certain things. If you're, if you [00:31:00] are a publicly traded organization and you have investors asking you questions, tie it to your business, look at what you're accomplishing, and then from there, say, in order to accomplish this, how do we leverage diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to do that?

[00:31:16] Jiquanda Nelson: So that is my overall philosophy is d e i is business is your business strategy. 

[00:31:22] LB: That's absolutely important and critical because, again, from an organizational effectiveness standpoint you can't be effective if you don't have a strategy. And so let's talk about being c e o of Diversity Window.

[00:31:34] LB: So tell us about Diversity Window. It's about a day in the life of the c e 

[00:31:38] Jiquanda Nelson: o. Oh my gosh. So I, I laugh because this is where my spiritual roots and foundation come into play. There's a saying that God does not call the equipped He. What's the call? Okay. Because had you asked me six months or before starting this role, hey, would you ever be C E O?

[00:31:57] Jiquanda Nelson: I probably would've told you no. Cause it's I, [00:32:00] anybody who wants to be a leader of anything, like you have to whether you agree with them or not, whether you like them, you have to give them kudos because it's like, it is, it's a big responsibility. And so I actually got to this role. I've been involved with diversity windows.

[00:32:13] Jiquanda Nelson: The very beginning, any true or wise business folks, and if you're gonna create something, you need those advisors that can help you along the way. And so the co-founders who created the platform, created the technology to really measure diversity data, wanted to hear from practitioners, how does this work?

[00:32:30] Jiquanda Nelson: Does this make sense? What gaps do you have, et cetera. And so I've been involved. Funny story along the way. I became c e o and they asked me to come on as their c e o. And the day in the life is really fascinating because now I'm on the other side, right? Trying to do this work. It's still the same work, but a little bit of a difference.

[00:32:45] Jiquanda Nelson: So now I'm able to coach people on what I've had to learn in my career on how to do effective. Productive, transformational diversity, equity, and inclusion. And now that I have the data, I can tell you as a [00:33:00] practitioner in my career, having done this work within organizations data has been, is typically a huge challenge.

[00:33:06] Jiquanda Nelson: Either you don't have it or you don't have enough of it, or some people have it and don't know what to do with it. And like I said, that was like a number one reason why I'm like absolutely behind it and makes sense. A day in the life looks like talking to people who are like, we don't know where to start.

[00:33:20] Jiquanda Nelson: Where do we even. or we've been doing this work, but nothing's really changing. We're not seeing the impact. We're still running into some of these same issues. So I can just share how we really help people. A broader framework that we use. So data first always we do organizational assess. People call them de e i assessments.

[00:33:39] Jiquanda Nelson: We look at it from an organizational perspective, cuz like I shared earlier, it is much broader than your d e I depart. So we look at what does your culture look like in terms of experiences or ways of working people's personal experiences. What does your overall business strategy look like and does it have any implication of D E I in it?

[00:33:58] Jiquanda Nelson: What is your, [00:34:00] is it in your messaging? So we look at communication. What is your talent processes look like? Again, how are you finding talent? How are. Retaining talent. Sometimes organizations are so big on bringing diversity. What about the diversity a already in your organization? How are you keeping those folks?

[00:34:15] Jiquanda Nelson: What does learning and development look like? What are promotional opportunities? Our platform actually helps organizations track promotions over time by different demographics. Why are people leaving your organization? And we look at your community partnerships and if there's any kind of reflection of diversity, equity, and inclusion in there.

[00:34:32] Jiquanda Nelson: So we do a really broad assess. Some organizations have data, some don't. We start with where we are, but that's what we believe. You have to start with where you are and be honest about it. We have many conversations with people who were like, we're doing all these things and we're just so confused.

[00:34:48] Jiquanda Nelson: You're not being honest about where you are, because that is not a strategy. Those are activities. So think about that and then again, identify goals that you wanna do as an organ, goals that you wanna accomplish as an [00:35:00] organization that are tied to your business and making a plan on what does it look like to actually get there.

[00:35:05] Jiquanda Nelson: I think that's a step that a lot of people miss. They leave it to the ERGs or they go build a committee. With no clear goals. No clear action plans that says, how will you get there? What actions will you take? Another missing piece is who is a stakeholder Who's gonna help you get there? It can. D e i leaders cannot do all of the work.

[00:35:23] Jiquanda Nelson: They are the conduit to getting the work done. But if I'm talking about talent as a D E I, I'm not over recruiting. I'm not over learning and development. I'm not over performance management. I can't, the way you really bring D E I work to life is through incentives and performance management. So if you're not building it into the expectation to work at this organization or to be a part of this organization, you have to show up in this way and it doesn't include some sort of inclusive behavior.

[00:35:49] Jiquanda Nelson: Or people aren't held accountable to when they don't show up in that way, you can't move it along. So who are those stakeholders and then what is the timeline? How are you gonna assess how long it takes? And then how do you know you're successful? So I [00:36:00] know that was like a big kind of quick overview of what it looks like, but those are key components that a lot of people miss when their d i strategy.

[00:36:05] Jiquanda Nelson: You actually 

[00:36:06] LB: segued into the question cause I think you pretty much answered how you build an effective d e I program in that layout. I think that all of those elements are correct. I think one of the things on the call outs, , I've seen some of the organizations that I've worked with is, that was always mystifying to me is that when you take on the whole idea of it being transactional is the way that I actually describe it, it transactional.

[00:36:29] LB: So what you have is, like for example, you have all these pieces as a part of your organization. Like you have amazing employee resource groups, right? And they're doing all this amazing. , but then somehow in this company that is focused on d E I, there's a disconnect from senior leadership. And senior leadership may have a whole nother strategy that they're working on.

[00:36:49] LB: And somehow there, there's not a connection that's made. And it's very disjunctive in terms what the strategy is. And to your point. And the reason is because there's not a cohesive strategy. And [00:37:00] oftentimes if there's not a cohesive strategy, and this is the part that I think this is a really beautiful thing that you.

[00:37:05] LB: is, and something that in my consulting that I do as well is this, if your d e I is broken, there's a good chance that you have other things that are broken inside that system, , because it means that, cuz you're talking about communication piece, like that's, there's been some communication breakdown there is.

[00:37:20] LB: It's incongruent with the goals and objectives. And so when you start to put all those things together and they don't add up, then you know that you have to go back to the drawing board and say, how do we do these things? How do we, have you talked about the stakeholders that are necessary to be a part of that.

[00:37:34] LB: Is when you are describing all of those elements, would you say that is helping the organization overall to put together to, to be able to tell their. And how important is 

[00:37:45] Jiquanda Nelson: that? Yes. Because when you think about the true benefit of what D e I is, again, more specifically, it looks different in different organizations.

[00:37:53] Jiquanda Nelson: It makes organizations better like period, right? From a revenue perspective, lot of research [00:38:00] done on organizations who have higher levels of diversity. Specifically in management are gonna see higher revenues, you're gonna be more innovative. Teams are more diverse teams are more likely to problem solve.

[00:38:12] Jiquanda Nelson: And there's specific numbers and I would, I don't have 'em in front of me, so I don't, I think the revenue is 19% higher. I think I remember that one teams problem solving faster because you have diverse perspectives in the room and when you think about people wanting to come and work at your organization, it makes you look better, not because you have a black face or woman or veteran.

[00:38:32] Jiquanda Nelson: On your website, it's because it resonates through the experiences and people are really bold on Glassdoor, by the way, like people are, they go in on Glassdoor and Indeed and all these ratings, like just like we see a rating on a restaurant or Yelp, as my kids like to say, we gotta leave a Yelp rating.

[00:38:47] Jiquanda Nelson: People go in on your organization if you are not doing what you're supposed to do around a lot of things, but specifically diversity, equity, and inclusion, it's becoming a common question. And candidates interviewing for wolves, I think back even to. That you have recently, I [00:39:00] think her name is Kate, and I feel bad if Katie or Kate, who's the recruiter who said that she had a, they had a wonderful experience from a candidate, I think he was a black male, and she went out on the floor and she realized in that moment is probably when she lost him, because he didn't see anyone that looked like him.

[00:39:15] Jiquanda Nelson: And so this is becoming a priority. And while again, I tell people, especially vi practitioners who get frustrated when an organization doesn't fully support it, yes, we all wanna do the right thing, but the number one priority in. Is business, right? So you have to connect into the business. And when organizations are focusing on it and it is a priority and they're telling the story, it makes them absolutely better.

[00:39:38] Jiquanda Nelson: It does just all around. And even with the changing dynamics of work of the workplace. The flexibility, the workplace of the future, as they say, supporting people so that they can work in different ways people with disabilities actually saw. I don't wanna, I don't wanna tout like we've solved this kind of problem cuz they are the most highly unemployed population, but people with disabilities were able [00:40:00] to.

[00:40:00] Jiquanda Nelson: See more job opportunities because roles are now more roles became remote during the pandemic. So they're able to work from home with their necessary accommodations, et cetera. And you think about millennials who have changed it, even though there's this divide with millennials as I laugh cause I'm on the higher end.

[00:40:16] Jiquanda Nelson: I think they're calling us to geriatric millennials, but my generation as well as this younger. Millennial population who want more out of work. It's not about the money all the time. It's not about coming just to do work. Is it meaningful? Am I working for an organization that's making a difference and an impact in the world and committed to issues?

[00:40:34] Jiquanda Nelson: Gen Z is a whole, I can't wait to get more research around this Gen Z because they're, they, when it comes to systems they will say, Hey, we don't fit in this box, and they're very vocal about it. They understand power dynamics in a way that. Didn't, even at our young age, and they're the most diverse population, I think 50% of Gen Z is in some way or another, diverse.

[00:40:56] Jiquanda Nelson: And so when you think about what that means for our workplaces, we have to absolutely [00:41:00] be ready to bring them in and keep them because you're not gonna keep them with some of the structures and the way that it is now. And so I think there's just so many areas of opportunities that organizations really need to focus on that's a benefit for the business and the people within it.

[00:41:13] Jiquanda Nelson: Jim will 

[00:41:14] LB: jump all over that because he is such A heavier proponent of the workforce, what it looks like and what are the pressure points and how we've had numerous conversations, several people on the show that talk about the way that the landscape continues to change. I think Jim would agree quickly enough to what the needs of what the actual employees are and who are really stakeholders.

[00:41:34] LB: And I think that it's that shift where we're seeing more. When you think stakeholders, generally speaking, stakeholder is someone that has some amount of. It's how some people perceive it, but a stakeholder is everyone that is a part of that system. Every single person, every and what and how they all fit and how valuable they are.

[00:41:50] LB: And one of, one of his things, if I can get on his soapbox for a second, is the idea of, now this, I wouldn't say rush, but this pressure to take people back into the [00:42:00] office. And which I find just to be remarkable from the standpoint of if you prove that you could be as successful being remote and you have all these different points of productivity that are increased lower, and even in a covid a covid kind of situation, some levels of anxiety are down.

[00:42:19] LB: You have pressure points. Now even with gas, that's going to be an issue for the foreseeable future. And we're thinking about all those different things and companies are still struggl. Many companies are still struggling to adapt to that. And one of the focuses of the show is that we oftentimes talk to startups, right?

[00:42:34] LB: So like diversity window, for example. And more and more of that is going to happen, especially with, I think that the Gen Z is regarded now as the Oh yeah. Most knowledgeable is the most knowledgeable generation because all they know is digital. To this access and ability to process all the information, not necessarily more than anybody else, because the human brain is what it has been for the last a hundred years, but yes, in a completely different perspective.

[00:42:59] LB: So they don't [00:43:00] necessarily need your job. And I think companies are continuing to miss that. And this is a part of that diversity. And you talked about this earlier with disability. You talked about it with, I think you touched on neurodiversity as well. Yeah. And the part that I find fascinating, this is LB soapbox right now, by the way, is right.

[00:43:15] LB: Yeah. We're talking. Like disability, the disability element of d e I can be anyone. And so when you think of it that way I oftentimes, I'm fascinated by people don't, not necessarily grasping the whole idea. And neurodiversity is really everyone. So we talk about a lot of times that it starts with humanity and then we have to work our way backwards from there.

[00:43:37] LB: And if we can do that and the goal is that it's a circular work our way. Then we have the ability to move the needle, but just doesn't seem like we I'll probably edit that out. Yeah, I just, it's just, it baffles my mind to, to be able to see that. And I think 

[00:43:50] Jiquanda Nelson: it goes, oh, go ahead. No. I was gonna say, I think it goes back to, again, common mistakes is people don't take the time to define what diversity is for their space [00:44:00] or their business.

[00:44:01] Jiquanda Nelson: Face because an example that I like to use is language access. In healthcare, there were a group of leaders who were absolutely decision makers who had the power to say yes, no, all of these things, in a room, it makes sense cause you're like, Hey, let's bring decision makers together cuz we need to move quickly, we need to make decisions, et cetera.

[00:44:18] Jiquanda Nelson: And I remember being in the room saying, who speaks more than one language? I don't think anyone raised their hand. . And I'm like, how are we, what is it? Monolingual people? Yeah. Trying to solve. A language access issue. Let's think about that. So the diversity in the room wasn't because, oh, there was a black woman named Quanda, who's the d e I leader and there's a latine, a marketing leader, or that the race piece was not the diversity that was needed in the room.

[00:44:44] Jiquanda Nelson: What was needed in the room is people who spoke multi-languages. And so too often we don't take the time to think about what it means for the space that. P t a president I laugh at that cuz it just feels so weird to say p t a president when I'm talking about d e I, but I, that's what I brought to the role we [00:45:00] had.

[00:45:00] Jiquanda Nelson: Of course, many women, can we get a dad on here? What about a single parent? Like it? It's not gonna be helpful for us to plan programs and activities if we don't even have an understanding of if I'm a single parent working and I have to drive and do all these things. So to do an event right after school at 3 30, 4 o'clock is not going to work.

[00:45:17] Jiquanda Nelson: Put the work. Even figure out what does that mean? Because like you and Dr. Jones talk about all the time, the goal is to show up better for whoever you're serving and to reflect that. Or even if you wanna grow your market, make sure you have the voices at the table making decisions, even if they don't wear the title c e o, even if they don't wear all the fancy titles.

[00:45:37] Jiquanda Nelson: So that's a another call out in terms of how organizations overlook those tiny ways that you can really do d e 

[00:45:44] LB: I work. I think that it's a great segue to, you shared a little. Before, but what would you say would be like high level are key elements to a building? A D E I, organizational culture? 

[00:45:56] Jiquanda Nelson: Yeah, I'll definitely start with the data and data looks like [00:46:00] a demographic representation.

[00:46:02] Jiquanda Nelson: Looking at that, that data, measuring your culture, there are many ways that you can do that cuz. If you have a culture eat strategy for breakfast. I know I can say that I feel like you understand that concept but culture, eat strategy for breakfast. You can have a wonderful di strategy, but if your organizational culture does not support it, it will eat it alive.

[00:46:20] Jiquanda Nelson: Trust me, I am a victim of that. Okay? Your organization has to support it and if it doesn't support it, you have to find, you have to build that into your plan. How are you gonna shape your culture in order to support your d e I efforts? Other data points are hearing person. Experiences of people. That's if you have a safe enough space that people feel like they will be willing to share.

[00:46:43] Jiquanda Nelson: Like how do people really experience their culture? How do marginalize folks, right spiel when they come to work and leave every day, right? That's a data point. Or the fact that some people are like, I don't even wanna share and I won't personally share. You will never know. That's a data point, right? So start [00:47:00] with the data.

[00:47:01] Jiquanda Nelson: Whatever data you. And go from there. Number two I've said this many times, but I'm telling you, it has to happen. It has to make business sense. It has to make business sense. It has to be proven to make your business better. It feels very, it doesn't feel very warm and fuzzy to say that, but I can tell you my operations leaders have helped me realize that it can't just be warm and fuzzy because I gotta pull people from the.

[00:47:23] Jiquanda Nelson: I gotta pull people from clients. I gotta pull billable hours to support your D E I efforts, and you can't tell me how it's gonna make my business better. It doesn't work. So you have to make sure that it makes business sense. And then you have to build along the, those are three things that I'm telling you.

[00:47:39] Jiquanda Nelson: If you can get those down, the other ones will matter. And of course, the data too is measuring success and measuring. But built along the way, you can't just go on with the plan. But I learned that in my experience, mentoring those young gals who had a completely different life than I understood. Like you can't just go on with a plan and think everybody's gonna fall in line and just wanna do it.

[00:47:58] Jiquanda Nelson: No, you have to build [00:48:00] together, build the program together. And then I'm gonna throw in there, I know you said three I think, but I'm gonna throw in there like communicate. Like some of the things that we're learning in assessments or as we're talking to leaders or people, some stuff is happening in the organization, but people don't know.

[00:48:12] Jiquanda Nelson: You have to communicate and communicate. It's not just talking at people. It's also infusing people's experiences and voices and being loud about the work so that people know and be, again, being honest about it. But hey, we know we haven't done well in the past, so we're trying to do. Here's what the plan is, here's where you fit in, but you have to communicate about it.

[00:48:30] Jiquanda Nelson: So again, number one, start with the data. Whatever that data looks like, et cetera, bus, it has to make business sense. Your plan does, your action plan does. I don't care if you focus on two major things, but it has to make business sense. You have to have the right partners and build along the way. And you have to communicate throughout, even from the beginning, even if it's, we don't know the answers, but we're trying to figure 

[00:48:49] LB: it out.

[00:48:50] LB: Yeah. Yeah. I think the communication pieces is without the communication piece, and I. A, a marketer and so maybe that's my It makes sense though. Yeah. Cuz I always [00:49:00] say this, right? No matter what strategy you have, no matter if you have the best tools known to humankind. So the reality is if people don't know that they exist, if they don't know.

[00:49:12] LB: That this is where you started. This is where we are. This is how much we have improved. Here are the things that we have done to this point. This is how we have built the business case around why it makes sense, everything that you're saying. , then it's the what's in it for me, and if there's nothing in it for them, if we can't make those points known.

[00:49:31] LB: I was asking the question earlier about the whole ID that you answered. Being able to tell the story, and this is how you craft that story, is being able to have and start with the data and go through the additional steps that you Absolutely. 

[00:49:42] Jiquanda Nelson: It's your example because this is why, right? I saw a thread I think it was Instagram and a page that I follow, and they were blasting Vaseline.

[00:49:50] Jiquanda Nelson: I don't know if you saw the recent Vaseline battle. It has that image of all these kind of different skin tones, et cetera, and it says Equitable skincare for all. So the [00:50:00] poster on Instagram is organizations need to stop pandering to black people of color. What does this mean? Limited edition.

[00:50:06] Jiquanda Nelson: Literally, dragged what? What would be the, I don't, I know that's a slang where, how can I translate drag? I can't even, that's funny. I can't even translate that right now. 

[00:50:14] LB: Yeah. I think it was certainly my. Translation of what you're saying is that there was a lot of disparaging things that were said about Yeah.

[00:50:21] LB: Thank you 

[00:50:21] Jiquanda Nelson: for that slang translation on the spot. Five bonus points for you. But yeah, they were saying the disparaging things about this organization, and it's funny because I actually have it, but what was missed due to communication and marketing? , there's a barcode. So Vaseline has done this campaign and it's a black actress, I can't think of who it is.

[00:50:40] Jiquanda Nelson: I'm not gonna say the name cause I'm sure I probably am wrong. Who has been doing this campaign partnering with Vaseline to say skincare looks different for different skin types, right around this idea of diversity of. Skin, whether it's types, tone, et cetera. So they've done this beautiful campaign, I think for the past year or so, and then they [00:51:00] published a list of different kind of skincare treatments or access to diverse skincare providers that people can go.

[00:51:07] Jiquanda Nelson: Very helpful, the type of things you wanna see in an organization. But somehow it was missed. I don't know if it was missed on particular cases, but there's a barcode that takes you to it, that says, go here to find help for your, find specific help for your skin. But if people are not equipped with the communication to be able to say that they're gonna blast you, they're gonna put you out there.

[00:51:28] Jiquanda Nelson: And luckily people in the comments were like, Hey, let's hold off on this cuz they've been doing this campaign. But if people don't know you leave yourself open to people not knowing is the same as you doing nothing. 

[00:51:38] LB: Absolutely. Absolutely. It has been an amazing time that we have shared together as is standard for our show.

[00:51:46] LB: My question for you, What would be the three key leadership takeaways that Jaa would have for our audience, and as you're CADing leadership to show? Our goal is to help move the careers of people of diverse [00:52:00] backgrounds, to move their careers further faster. And so with someone who has been as intentional with their career.

[00:52:06] LB: what would you say those three, three things would be from a leadership 

[00:52:08] Jiquanda Nelson: standpoint? From a leadership standpoint? Hopefully it translates to both, but if not, I'm happy to throw three more in there. But there is space for everyone and to do this work. And this is specifically around D ei. Is that okay?

[00:52:19] Jiquanda Nelson: Yes, absolutely. So there's space for everyone to do this work. So if you are a people leader, you have. An immense responsibility to make sure that you are caring for the human, that you are responsible for. When you talked about that humanity first, and whether that's thinking about your leadership style, how you support people, how you make time for people, how you challenge systems, if you see something wrong, how you use your voice in your space to really think about what changes are.

[00:52:46] Jiquanda Nelson: To support folks on your team or create that space for your team, you have a responsibility to do that. If you're not a people leader, you also have a responsibility to make sure that you are showing up at your best, you are being curious [00:53:00] yourself. You are speaking up, right? Sometimes there's a little bit of a power dynamic, so people who are individual contributors or folks who feel like they don't have.

[00:53:07] Jiquanda Nelson: Title, a certain title, can't do it. But you absolutely can do that work. Whether that's if you're I use this example cuz sometimes you always think about that. If you're an extrovert and you have meetings and you like to bring people together for these brainstorming sessions, but you have no agenda, no structure, anything, you're not creating a space for introverts who need time to process, who need that extra space to do it.

[00:53:28] Jiquanda Nelson: So something as simple as having a gen, everybody can create a space where people can show up at their best. That's what it is. So everyone. Face in this work and I can give so many examples around that. The second thing is do the work. You have to do this work. Personally, I always tell people the goal is not for you to fully understand or even agree, cuz I think so much of this is I have to agree with you, whatever that means.

[00:53:51] Jiquanda Nelson: That is not the case. That is not the goal. The goal is to do the work to understand people. Experiences and understand [00:54:00] why that matters to them, even if you don't understand it or even if it doesn't matter to you, but you have to create that space so that they can show up. Interestingly enough, I was driving today and I saw a sticker or a decal, I'm sorry, a decal on someone's window that said F cancer.

[00:54:15] Jiquanda Nelson: And so when I see that, of course I'm thinking, wow, there's a lot of pain behind that. I'm assuming that maybe they lost someone that they really care about. To cancer or they themselves have experienced it or it's impacting their life in a certain way. But I immediately felt empathy for the pain that person had.

[00:54:32] Jiquanda Nelson: But I also wondered when someone has a Black Lives Matter decal, what is it about that where people are just like, oh Lord, all lives matter. Instead of us immediately going to, there has to be some level of pain. For that person to feel the need to even say Black Lives Matter, that takes a lot of personal work to do to say, although I agree, all lives matter, let me at least hear about why someone feels the need to even have to say that or support that, et [00:55:00] cetera.

[00:55:00] Jiquanda Nelson: Takes a lot of work because it's scary. It may challenge a little bit of what you think, and guess what? If you walk away from the conversation still thinking, I think it's unnecessary and I still think all lives matter. That's fine. But don't bring consequence to the person or don't challenge the person or don't, degrade the person who says it and believes that is their personal experience.

[00:55:19] Jiquanda Nelson: That's the goal. So do the work, which is really hard and it can be draining sometimes too, but do the work. And then the third thing, and this is probably for more so the practitioners or leaders or folks who actually can do the work, start some. So many times we talked to organizations, so we're like, we need to do this and we need budget and we need this and you do need budget, and you need those things, but you have to start somewhere like just start please and you can build from there.

[00:55:45] Jiquanda Nelson: Because without starting, you waste so much time and you get nowhere. Focus on one thing if you have to, two things if you have to, but you have to start. Yeah, 

[00:55:55] LB: I, I would agree. And. Yeah, there you said so much. And again we're at the close of the show, [00:56:00] so we'll maybe we'll have to have a part two, but I absolutely appreciate, and I know Jim does, is what you being a part of Cascading leadership, the show.

[00:56:08] LB: For those of you that are listening, you know where to find us as far as finding out about the latest drop of the episodes. You can find us on Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and we are still waiting for Jim to. His fancy dance moves on TikTok, so stay tuned for that. I'm gonna get him to do it at some point, so we'll see how that goes.

[00:56:29] LB: But Quanda, again, thank you so much for joining Cascading Leadership, the show. Thank 

[00:56:33] Jiquanda Nelson: you so much for having me. It's been fun.