51 episodes

Welcome to Inclusion Catalyst, with your hosts Mickey Desai and Julien Geiser. We bring diversity leaders to the table to hear about current issues in diversity and inclusion, deconstructing complex social justice issues to showcase the best practices in our workplaces and our communities.

Inclusion Catalyst Mickey Desai & Susan Cooper

    • Society & Culture

Welcome to Inclusion Catalyst, with your hosts Mickey Desai and Julien Geiser. We bring diversity leaders to the table to hear about current issues in diversity and inclusion, deconstructing complex social justice issues to showcase the best practices in our workplaces and our communities.

    Thriving in Transition

    Thriving in Transition

    Today on the show, Julien speaks with Alana Beard. A philanthropist and entrepreneur, Alana utilizes the power of business and sports to shift how women and girls experience opportunities. 
     
    She is the Founder of Transition Play, a talent firm that specializes in helping women athletes live prolific lives across their personal, professional, and public domains beyond the game. Alana is the Founder and President of the 318 Foundation, a nonprofit committed to improving college, career, and life outcomes for young women in underrepresented communities through the 318 V.I.S.I.O.N mentorship program. Alana is also leading a bid to acquire the rights to a WNBA franchise.

    Best known for her storied athletic career, Alana won Championships at every level, from high school to the WNBA and internationally. She was the first woman basketball player to have her jersey number retired at Duke University, a four-time WNBA All-Star, and an integral piece in leading the Los Angeles Sparks to a WNBA Championship in 2016. At the back end of her career, Alana won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Awards in 2017 and 2018. She retired in January 2020 after 15 years. 

    During and after her time in the WNBA, Alana found success as a small business owner, start-up founder, mentor, and advocate for female athletes in corporate America. After her retirement in 2020, she served as a Senior Associate at Silicon Valley Bank.
     
    Today we discuss:


    The resilience of elite athletes and how their value on the court or field translates powerfully into value in corporate spaces.
    Seeing is believing—the importance of representation and setting the pace for those that follow after you.
    How inclusive leaders can support elite athletes in their transition and the power of instant feedback. 

    Our host, Julien Geiser, is the Director of Corporate Support at Greatheart Consulting. Greatheart develops inclusive leaders for courageous cultures by focusing on practical behaviors that can help build relationships of trust and accountability across all aspects of identity. To learn more about their work, visit www.greatheartconsulting.com.

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to our tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to their tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    • 33 min
    Addressing Youth Mental Health: A Grassroots Approach

    Addressing Youth Mental Health: A Grassroots Approach

    Today on the show, Julien speaks with Ashanti Branch. Ashanti is a key-note speaker, advisor to the US Surgeon General, a Fulbright Fellow and 4x TedX Speaker. His work with youth has been featured at SXSW, on CNN with Lisa Ling, on the Kelly Clarkson Show, and in the documentary about American masculinity 'The Mask You Live In', which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Ever Forward Club (EFC), a non-profit organization that ensures underserved students graduate high school by addressing the underlying causes of dropout rates and youth violence, and providing grassroots solutions like mentorship, safe spaces and emotional tools.

    Formerly a math teacher and raised in Oakland by a single mom on welfare (his father died just before he was born), Ashanti found his passion while tutoring struggling students in a school with a majority of African-American and Latino students. It broke his heart to see 40% of them want to drop out at such a young age. By fulfilling deeper emotional needs to feel safe, seen and heard, EFC has helped 100% of its student members graduate high school, 90% enroll in higher education, and 0% incarcerated (compared to the national incarceration rate of 8% for black males, age 20-24). Ashanti’s work is crucial as we are now at an unprecedented inflection point with youth, with this being the first generation in history expected to live shorter lives than their parents. Youth mental health has been identified as being in a state of emergency by the US Surgeon General.

    Please help Ashanti get the word out that help is available. You can start today by checking out his Million Mask movement and completing your own mask!

    Today we discuss:


    The youth mental health crisis in the US and the role communities and organizations have to play in solving it.
    Why healthy masculinity is critical to the health of our society, especially as it relates to the socialization of young men.
    The debilitating power of the “masks” that we live in, how to break free from them, and how to support those we love in doing the same.

    Our host, Julien Geiser, is the Director of Corporate Support at Greatheart Consulting. Greatheart develops inclusive leaders for courageous cultures by focusing on practical behaviors that can help build relationships of trust and accountability across all aspects of identity. To learn more about their work, visit www.greatheartconsulting.com.

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to their tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    • 42 min
    Sunset Racism: A White Anti-Racist’s Take

    Sunset Racism: A White Anti-Racist’s Take

    Today on the show, Julien speaks with Jamey Harvey. Jamey is a technologist and white guy from Washington DC who in 1999, with a collective of multi-racial friends, founded the 2020 Project. Their goal and commitment to one another was to be accountable to each other for pursuing the end of racism in the United States by the year 2020. Though the group dissolved in the early 2000s, Jamey has successfully founded multiple tech organizations and the 2020 Project’s founding principles have underpinned his leadership and work. Today, we’re talking about the intersection of racism and technology and why white men, like Jamey, who benefit from compounding privilege and occupy many positions of power are instrumental in dismantling and sunsetting racism.
     
    Jamey is the CEO of Agilian, a business and technology consulting company that empowers clients to solve complex technology transformation challenges with agility and elegance. He's a veteran innovation architect and change agent and has 25 years of technology innovation leadership experience in both startups and the government ecosystem. Jamey was the chief technology and ERP architect for Washington DC. His startup experience includes online gaming, social networking, location based mobile apps and blockchain development.  For all the success he’s enjoyed in his professional career, Jamey feels still very much like the aspirational entrepreneur that in 1999 thought the end of racism might be just two decades away. Underneath the salt and pepper George Clooney styling lies a man who owns his white privilege and works actively to fight racism, discrimination and genderism through his organization called Sunset Racism.

    Today we discuss:


    Why an end to racism should be possible, normalized, and not viewed as some aspirational and unreachable goal.
    The pervasive and problematic persistence of white fragility and why white folks need to be holding each other accountable for dismantling systems of oppression—wherever they exist.
    The origins of the race as a technology concept and why exploring it as such is critical to effectively address and sunset it.

    Our host, Julien Geiser, is the Director of Corporate Support at Greatheart Consulting. Greatheart develops inclusive leaders for courageous cultures by focusing on practical behaviors that can help build relationships of trust and accountability across all aspects of identity. To learn more about their work, visit www.greatheartconsulting.com.

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to our tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    Inclusion Catalyst invites you to become our next guest host. Learn more here: http://inclusioncatalyst.com/join-us-as-a-guest-host/

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to their tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    • 35 min
    Financial Equity & Inclusion with Sid Pailla

    Financial Equity & Inclusion with Sid Pailla

    Today on the Inclusion Catalyst, Julien is joined by Sid Pailla, Founder and CEO of Sunny Day Fund, a fintech and financial inclusion company that wants to achieve financial security with dignity for 142 million American workers. They are revolutionizing the way that Americans save for emergencies and support employers in establishing financial security as a competitive employee benefit. As of June 2022, 61% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, a dire statistic and indicator of our overall societal health and well-being. Leaders like Sid are working to address the stress and burden that financial insecurity places on employees and the disproportionate impact that members of marginalized communities carry.
    Sid is the Founder & CEO of Sunny Day Fund®, which partners with employers to make saving for emergencies and immediate financial goals easy, accessible, and rewarding. Sid is on a broader mission to normalize emergency savings as a benefit for hardworking Americans, three quarters of whom lack the basic three months of savings on hand. Sid also advanced research on building inclusive technology driven by behavioral economics principles – and applied that research to water and telecommunication systems in India and South Africa. As part of this work, Sid founded HiComm, which expanded fee-free, SMS-based international group messaging to 14M South Africans. HiComm was the primary case study for Sid’s PhD in Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia, where he also received an MBA, and MS and BS in Systems Engineering.

    Today we discuss:


    Why financial stress and literary, and their combined effect on the workplace, are an important equity issue.
    Innovative approaches that organizations are finding to positively impact their employee’s financial health and wellbeing.
    Tips for leaders on having respectful and helpful financial health and well-being conversations with employees.
    The vision for a national strategy for financial inclusion that looks to meaningfully address and solve for current wealth disparities.

    Inclusion Catalyst invites you to become our next guest host. Learn more here: http://inclusioncatalyst.com/join-us-as-a-guest-host/

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to their tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    • 38 min
    Anti-Racist Leadership

    Anti-Racist Leadership

    Today on the show, Julien is joined by James and Krista White, the father and daughter team behind the book Anti-Racist Leadership: How to Transform Corporate Culture in a Race-Conscious World (Harvard Review Press).
    Their book is based on the indisputable premise that every leader must be anti-racist, actively seeking opportunities to create more inclusive environments through both deed and word. Centering on James’ experience as a Black executive, CEO, and parent, and Krista’s perspective as a millennial, writer, and DEI practitioner, this collaborative endeavor is a testament to the power of intergenerational accountability and to the actionable steps that leaders can take to advance cultures of greater inclusion.

    James D. White is a transformational leader with over thirty years' experience as a CEO and operating executive. As Chair, President, and CEO of Jamba Juice from 2008–2016, he led the successful turnaround and transformation of the company from a made-to-order smoothie shop to a global healthy-lifestyle brand. In 2020, he launched his own firm, Culture Design Lab, to coach, train, and lead CEOs, boards, Chief People Officers, and Chief Diversity Officers on operationalizing his diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) playbook.

    Krista White is a writer and consultant in the DEI space, focusing on work at the intersection of race and queerness. She is the founder and CEO of Kiki For The Future and the co-founder of Culture Design Lab, two DEI-focused startups. Krista is based in New York City and is a graduate of Columbia University.
     
    Today we discuss:


    Why all leaders must embrace anti-racism work and how all stakeholders win when they do.
    Why CEOs are also Chief Diversity/Culture Officers, and what they can do to ensure their actual CDOs succeed.
    Practical steps that leaders, at all levels, can take to dismantle systemic racism in the workplace.

    Inclusion Catalyst invites you to become our next guest host. Learn more here: http://inclusioncatalyst.com/join-us-as-a-guest-host/

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to their tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    • 35 min
    Cultural Humility and Third-Culture Kids

    Cultural Humility and Third-Culture Kids

    Julien and Ruchika Tulshyan discuss their shared experience of being third-culture kids and how that relates to the importance of cultural humility in the workplace. Adults and children who qualify as third-culture have a unique and sometimes incomplete experience of cultural identity formation. While they might struggle with feeling a sense of true belonging in whichever of their home cultures they’re in, they are often incredibly adept at building bridges across difference and demonstrating the kind of cultural humility that is required of inclusive leaders. DE&I initiatives and programs are now more geared than ever towards building a true sense of belonging for employees—cultural humility plays a role in achieving this elusive but critical human experience.

    We’re excited to welcome to the show Ruchika Tulshyan, the author of Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work (MIT Press). She’s also the founder of Candour, an inclusion strategy practice. A former international business journalist, Ruchika is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Harvard Business Review.

    Ruchika co-wrote a paradigm-shifting article, Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome for Harvard Business Review, with Jodi-Ann Burey. The article has over a million views, has been translated into multiple languages and is one of HBR.org's top most 100 read articles in history, as well as the top 3 articles for the publication in 2021. Best of all, people all over the world have said it helped change their relationship with the concept of imposter syndrome!

    Today we discuss:


    The perspective and power of third-culture kids.
    Why cultural humility is far more effective than cultural competence.
    “Measuring” cultural humility and the individual leadership behaviors that can move the needle on more humble organizational cultures.

    Inclusion Catalyst invites you to become our next guest host. Learn more here: http://inclusioncatalyst.com/join-us-as-a-guest-host/

    Support Inclusion Catalyst by contributing to their tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/inclusion-catalyst

    • 38 min

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