Welcome to ABCDEI, a podcast that explores the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion through stories of distinct and powerful lived experiences. If you are tired of the preaching, shaming and theory about why inclusion matters and just want to create change already, then you’re in the right place. Join us as we unlearn bias, one alphabet at a time.
EP40 Inclusive practices for every body type with Pamela Shainhouse
Welcome back to a fresh season of the ABCDEI podcast. In this season co-hosts Susan Diaz and Rohini Mukerji present a 6-episode arc with in-depth episodes on different aspects of 2 core topics: intersectionality, and the return to workplace culture.
In the first episode of the arc, Susan Diaz sits down with Pamela Shainhouse, Award-winning Certified DEI&B professional. Pamela is the Founder, President, and Creative Designer of Allistyle Inc., a size-diverse and sustainable fashion line named in memory of her daughter Alli. Allistyle highlighted the need for beautiful, comfortable clothing for curvy women and was designed and manufactured from sustainable fabrics in Canada.
Susan and Pamela dive into:
📝 The need to create greater awareness around physical abilities and size diversity in the post-pandemic workplace
📝 Why labels given to physical and mental abilities by “outsiders” - like “plus size” and “ADHD” - which inherent shame, need to change
📝 Why some larger fashion corporations from Nike to Old Navy, have recently integrated their clothing lines to offer a wider size range instead of grouping any size over 14 into a tab that is titled “Plus”
📝 The importance of becoming aware of independent brands that are doing a remarkable job of creating size diverse options - like Hilary MacMillan, and Lesley Hampton, an Indigenous fashion designer
📝 The easy business case for becoming more inclusive of customers with different physical abilities: “Our dollars work too!” Pamela talks of some of her experiences at big department stores and malls, as an older adult in a mobility device
Listen to the full discussion with Susan and Pamela for more ⏩
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Pamela Shainhouse is a highly accomplished Entrepreneur and Consultant with more than 35 years of success across fashion, apparel, and professional fundraising sectors. Her broad areas of expertise include networking, brand development/management, and public speaking. Her new division, “The Shainhouse Group, a division of Allistyle Inc.” is a consultancy that specializes in the world “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI&B)” within the corporate culture. Our sweet spot is in the fashion marketplace,
In addition to Allistyle Inc., Pamela is the President of a charity, Alli’s Journey, founded in Alli’s memory to support young adults with cancer.
Pam is currently finishing her first book about her journey with her daughter and how resilience and courage keep her moving ahead.
EP39 Apologies, apathy and how to stay committed to the equity journey
We’re back with a two-parter in which Susan Diaz and Rohini Mukherji, our hosts, touch on the state of the world as it relates to equity halfway through 2022. A State of the Union on where people are in the DEI journey as it stands at this moment in history. And while some things have changed, some things really haven’t changed at all.
Susan and Rohini dive deep into:
📝 the Pope's apology for the actions of the Catholic Church towards the children of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and what lessons brands can take away from a reputation management and crisis communication perspective.
📝 Roe versus Wade and the need to avoid apathy towards huge problems of humanity that we may feel like we cannot solve at an individual or company level,
Listen to the full discussion with Susan and Rohini for more.
Ps: If you like what we talk about on this podcast, please do us a favor and drop us a 5-star rating. (no need for detailed review. The platforms only care about the number of stars you leave us 😁) Much appreciated.
EP38 Honouring your own intellectual property
Today on ABCDEI we talk about intellectual property and how to honour it, as we build in public about some of our plans for the future for the body of work we’ve build through this podcast.
But first a story you’ll find a story that was first told to us by Andrea Henry of henrybrookslaw.com
Here are some snippets 👇 You’ll have to listen to the full story on the episode.
“‘Black Girl Magic’ (the phrase) is a piece of intellectual property. But intellectual property cannot be claimed and owned by you, unless you have monetized it. So if the person who coined the phrase had even printed one t-shirt, and sold it for $10 to a friend, that would have made the phrase claimable as we understand it. But instead, the trademark or the ownership of that phrase belongs to someone who is not the creator. Why is a crying shame.”
"I think we've both acknowledged where we've been part of the solution, as well as where we have been the receiving end of discrimination. The intersection of our identities, but also the intersection of our professional experience, and then our lived experience, specifically within microaggression biases, has certainly given us grounds to have something very real that we want to protect (in ABCDEI).”
EP37 How to walk away like a Superhero
Today on ABCDEI we talk about victim-blaming, victim-shaming and so much more as it relates to the workplace.
Turn your attention to Simu Liu (the actor who plays “Shang Chi” in the Marvel Studios superhero movie) and how he walked away from Deloitte after a bad experience to become an actor and eventually the first Asian superhero in Hollywood.
“He talked about a job termination when he used to work at Deloitte and the impact that it had on him, a decade ago. With the benefit and privilege of certainly the success he's had since then, but also the passage of time, how he's reflected on how that journey took him away from a path or killed a path, let's say, to a life that wasn't for him and gave him the motivation to live the life he actually wants. I think he's well on his way to living that, which I think is really inspirational on a number of planes.”
- Rohini Mukherji
“What was happening on the customer relationship front, where it's no longer about the company, the story is about the customer, the customer is king, and all of that. That’s what’s happening with employees now. When people are talking about ‘the great resignation’, and why a company needs to treat its talent with respect. And to me, it's not a moment too soon.”
- Susan Diaz
EP36 - What does the inclusive ‘return to office' look like?
ABCDEI is back after a short spring break!
This season, we want to really feed into some of what we’ve built through great discussions and feedback. And focus on “conversation in progress”.
And this year, no conversations have been more active than the ones around the return to the office! People back in offices in some part, and we're starting to see conversations around everything from whether the dress code changed now that we've seen everybody in pyjamas! Ie: Is the suit over?
But more seriously… We spotlight an inclusion perspective on the subject. There is nuance in everything starting from how you invite people back into the office.
Do you make it a choice?
Is it everybody that needs to come in?
Is it the same rules across the board?
What does it mean for people whose lives have changed since the pandemic?
And then, once we are back in the office, how do we make sure that inclusion becomes part of the operations of the workplace, and not something that's an afterthought or a sidebar consideration?
“I think the defining philosophy going forward is how companies are going to react to hybrid work for the long haul. Repeatedly, we're seeing people put out these surveys, and how many times does it have to say 75% of the people would prefer flexible and remote arrangements before organizations will hear that feedback? It is about trusting your people to choose. Which is easier said than done.” - Susan Diaz
“There is a little bit of a fear of going first because there's a fear of getting it wrong or alienating or offending. It has to be less about the actions and more about the strategy. So if you think about inclusion or building an equitable workplace as the reasoning that drives your return to office protocol, then it's less about how many times you ask people to come in and more about communicating the purpose - ie: how are we using our in-office time differently.” - Rohini Mukherji
Listen to the full discussion with Susan and Rohini for more ⏩
EP35 How marginalized communities can take up more space
Today Susan and Rohini are getting personal.
What can we do to TAKE UP MORE SPACE? 💫💫💫
Here we are with the second of a two part-episode (Refer episode 33 if you missed part 1), in which we're talking about how to build the inclusion muscle and what are the things that go into the making of an inclusion habit.
In the first part, we looked at it from the perspective of privileged, or the person who wants to be an ally. And today, we want to look at it from the perspective of the marginalized - whether by race, gender, physical ability, or sexual orientation.
There's two sides to moving forward.
These sides are not equal by FAR.
There is however a role that marginalized communities can play in furthering (not just starting, but furthering) the education of those with privilege.
1. Consider the token opportunity
“I have to say don't reject the token opportunity.Even as little as six months ago I was approached to be a part of a diversity panel. And as part of the activities there was a mother-daughter segment doing a cook-off. And people on that committee wanted me to bake an Indian brownie. And I'm like, No, I don't know what an Indian brownie is. My brownie looks just like your brownie. It probably looks better than your brownie because I know how to bake and suddenly I was just feeling like a mascot. Looking at it from today I think to myself: That's silly! That was me getting triggered by something and I could have totally shown up and made my regular brownie and made a joke about it. Instead, I denied myself a little bit of visibility, and a fun connection with my child.” - Susan Diaz
2. Accept help
Being able to accept help, and then maybe even taking it a step further, and learning how to get good at asking for help. Don’t see these things in any way as a reflection of your ability. We live in a culture of collaboration; we can easily access the minds and the resources we need so reach out and ask for help.
“It might mean starting to be a little bit more specific with the help you ask for versus just, ‘I'm drowning. Help me.’ Take those baby steps, do what feels comfortable.” - Rohini Mukherji
3. Learn to wear the right amount of armor to ‘battle’
“Choosing the size of armor that you need for each battle is important. So if you're going into a situation where you're trying to advocate for yourself, and you need an extra day to do something that has cultural significance, that is a very different proposition than advocating for yourself where you've been systematically discriminated against for three years, and your advancement within a company has been stifled because of your different lived experience. Those are very different battles. And it's important to choose the armor that you go in equipped with to each battle. It is also about your own peace of mind and your own mental health, and sort of choosing and saving your resources for when you need them.
To dive way into those 3 actions we can each take, listen to the episode.
Timely and informative!
The hosts are easy to listen to, the topics very timely and the guests are great!
I really enjoyed the conversations
Great interesting content 👍🏻
Can’t wait for the next one..