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“Stories have been used to dispossess and malign.
But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize.
Stories can break the dignity of a people.
But stories can also repair that dignity." - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I have long been a lover of stories. In the past month I've become especially aware of the power of stories to empower and humanize.
Speaking with Jackie and Charles about race, leadership, and other issues made me realize how valuable these conversations are. They inspired me to start my own podcast, and I knew I wanted mine to be about stories of grit, resilience, and connection--three of the things that inspire me personally.
And the Finding Fertile Ground podcast was born! I have definitely been drinking out of a fire hose, learning how to interview people, edit sound recordings, put everything together, and get the word out! I'm using brain cells I forgot I had. But it's been an incredibly enriching last few weeks as I interview people from across the country who have moving stories to share. I'm determined to share stories primarily of people on the margins--people of color, women, LBGTQIA+, non-Christians, and others who are not regularly and accurately represented on our airwaves, media, and film screens. My goal is to honor stories that can repair broken dignity.
You can read about my podcast here and find it wherever you get your podcasts! Please share it if you like it...and let me know if you have any suggestions for future speakers.
As readers know, I’ve been encouraging companies and individuals to take a stand on Black Lives Matter (BLM) and take actions that make their workplaces more welcoming and affirming to all people of color. In “Ten Ways White People Can Support Black Coworkers,” I remind companies, “You’ve GOT TO BE AUTHENTIC. Don’t just do it for the PR. That is called performative. Be real and mean it.” Whether you are an individual person or a brand, words are meaningless if they’re not reinforced by real, tangible goals and actions.
“Greenwashing” is a well-known term among sustainability professionals. Greenwashing makes companies and their products appear to be more environmentally responsible than they really are.
Do not succumb to BLMwashing. It’s just going to make the situation worse, and Black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) and those who care about them are not going to trust you.
Here’s the upshot: if you are not regularly listening to the BIPOC on your team (and their allies and accomplices), you have no idea whether you are walking your talk.
I’ve been working on new website content for a client, The Formation Lab, and they are an outstanding example of how to walk your talk in this work. The Formation Lab is extremely clear on its mission. Not only does it donate 10 percent of its labor hours to community organizations and disadvantaged businesses dedicated to improving equity and social justice, but it also sponsors events and donates to socially supportive community organizations and commits to providing office space and advocacy for minority-owned businesses.
Check out this powerful conversation about race in America Check out this new video podcast, "An Uncensored Account of a Black Man's Experience in America." Zonnette Jackson and Lisa Alexander interview my new friend and Zonnette's husband Charles E. Jackson II. They have an intimate conversation about growing up, parenting, and being Black in America that is sure to move you.
How do you know when you’re in a toxic environment? If you feel shaken by the way someone reacts, especially when you are trying to help, you are probably working in a toxic environment. Leaders must keep their emotions in check and always treat other people with respect and dignity...and companies that care about this will adopt a "No Asshole Rule."
Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business, dedicated to creating a kinder, more sustainable, and just world.With over 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, I am passionate about sustainability and corporate citizenship, equity & inclusion, businesses that use their power for good, and doing everything I can to create a kinder, more compassionate world.