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045: How to Build an Anti-Racist Business with Trudi Lebron

Creating an anti-racist business in 2021 is critical not only for your bottom line, but for the long term health of your business. In this episode, we have an honest conversation about how to face and integrate DEI practices into your online business.

What does it mean to be an anti-racist?

Being anti-racist means recognizing and working to eliminate racist structures, policies, beliefs, and everyday practices in all levels of society and its institutions–including in your own business if you’re an entrepreneur.

Whether you’re a coach, consultant, or any other type of small business leader, building a business that is striving towards anti-racism and prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion is of utmost importance in 2021. While the work isn’t easy or simple, we need to question how our standard business practices are perpetuating systems that no longer serve us.

It’s not just something you do once, but a daily practice that you commit to long-term. It’s about actively working to create meaningful change in spite of the history of injustice that has typically been seen among marginalized, underrepresented groups within the workplace.

What is Diversity, Equity + Inclusion (DEI)?

DEI is not just a theoretical framework, a set of values, or a worldview. It’s also a set of policies, accountability practices, protocols, and behaviors that ensure the actionable steps are taken to create equitable environments.

DEI is about creating unity and a space where people can be successful no matter what kind of life experience they bring. These includes honoring all of the ways that we have different identities, including race, gender, age, ethnicity, life experience, education, industry, abilities, and more.

Equity is not the same as equality; equality is everybody getting the same thing. Equity asks, “how do we treat people potentially differently so that they can get to the same place that we want everybody to get to?”

DEI also includes more qualitative elements of someone’s experience and outcomes, for example: how do people feel when they’re in this environment? Are they supported in a way that allows them to be successful?

Listen to today’s episode if you’re ready to up level your leadership as an impact-driven entrepreneur!

How to build an anti-racist business in 2021

Trudi Lebron, PhD (ABD), is a diversity, equity and inclusion coach who teaches individuals and institutions how to build successful, anti-racist businesses. In the past seven years, she has grown her company, Scriptflip, into a multi-six figure machine for helping others maximize their social impact.

Trudi is the host of the Business Remixed Podcast, has been featured in Forbes and was recognized as one of the Hartford Business Journal 40 Under 40 Leaders in 2016. She lives in Hartford with her two children.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) actually means
  • What a “default business culture” is and how it can crush your business
  • How to navigate hiring, salaries, and company culture through the lens of DEI
  • What matters the most in anti-racist practices, and how to do this in a genuine – not performative – way
  • Where most people fall short with their DEI work

Subscribe and Review

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.

Links + Resources Mentioned in this Episode: 

  • Calling all female entrepreneurs with an existing business or a blog who are ready to scale to the next level! If you want to grow in a way that doesn’t require you to sacrifice your health, your wellness, your relationships, your family, your spirituality, selling your soul, burnout, or working out of alignment – then my brand new program called the Success with Soul Incubator is for you! This program is by application only. If you feel the call, go here to get the process started.
  • Imagine how your life would change if you could work with your body and its cycles – not against it? That’s why I created my Mindful Planning Printables, to help you tune into your body, hone in on the work you truly love, prioritize your most pressing tasks (and let the rest go!). Go here to get your copy and start learning how to flow WITH your life, instead of against it.
  • Visit Trudi’s website here, join her Equity-Centered Coaching Collective here, and follow her on Instagram @trudilebron
  • Follow me on Instagram @katekordsmeier and @rootandrevel

Related Episodes:

More Ways to Enjoy Success with Soul

Frequently Asked Questions about Anti-Racism + DEI

What is DEI?

DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. DEI is vital to creating and maintaining a successful workplace; one founded on the principle that all people can thrive personally and professionally.

What is Diversity?

Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. In the workplace, that can mean differences in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and socioeconomic class. It can also refer to differences in physical ability, veteran status, whether or not you have kids — all of those are components of diversity. Diversity is not just about our physical, visible differences, but also diversity of thought.

What is Equity?

Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. In order to ensure equal possible outcomes for all individuals across the organization, equity requires that employers recognize barriers and advantages. This is the crucial difference between “equity” and “equality.”

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. This means that every employee feels comfortable and supported by the organization when it comes to being their authentic selves.

Kate Kordsmeier 0:01

Welcome back to the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your host Kate Kordsmeier. And today we are tackling a subject that has been on my heart for a while now. We're talking about how to build an anti racist business and 2021 today, and thankfully, we've got the beautiful Trudi Lebron to help us navigate this conversation. So Trudi is a PhD and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion coach who teaches individuals and institutions how to build successful anti racist businesses. She's been featured in Forbes she was recognized as one of Hartford business Journal's 40 under 40. And her company script flip helps others maximize their social impact. So today, Trudi sitting down with us and talking about diversity, equity and inclusion, and how entrepreneurs particularly in the coaching industry can start to have open and honest conversations both with their communities, with their teams, and most importantly with themselves. Now, you'll notice in this episode, I asked Trudi lots of questions for tactics and tips and strategies and some of those real tangible things that we can do. But ultimately, this is about the deep internal work that all of us no matter what your race, your gender, your age, your background, this applies to each of us. Contrary to what some of the bro marketing methods many of us kind of grew up on. What Trudi is really doing is helping us stop choosing between doing good and doing business. You can do both. And in fact, Trudi wants to help more people have successful businesses so that we can have more resources to invest in our world changing efforts. So if social impact and leadership and creating a team culture that you can be proud of or on the top of your mind, I think you will love this episode. Let's do it. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier x journalist turned CEO of a multi six figure blog in online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity, and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts 1000s and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kate and other experts, you're in the right place. here's your host, writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm and sushi connoisseur, Kate Kordsmeier. Trudi, welcome to Success with Soul. I'm so glad to have you.

Trudi Lebron 2:48

Thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Kate Kordsmeier 2:51

Yes. Oh my gosh. Okay. I was just looking at your website to before we started chatting. It's so beautiful. And every sentence is like, chills.

Trudi Lebron 3:03

Thank you. Yeah. Right. We like worked really hard on it.

Kate Kordsmeier 3:07

Well, it looks awesome. And I just have to read this one line from it too. Well, it's not one line, but it's this one section. And I just think it's so it's so relevant. So you say look, the world is experiencing several co occurring crisis's, or crises, social uprising for racial justice, a global pandemic widening wealth gap climate crisis. Our world and culture are shifting right now. And we need to question how our standard business practices are perpetuating systems that no longer serve us.

Trudi Lebron 3:39

Oh, yeah. Good. That is good. Right? I wrote that. Oh, man. You're good.

Kate Kordsmeier 3:45

It's so important. And I mean, those situations, of course, are anything but good. But I feel like we're starting to have the conversations that need to be had and raising awareness and getting people to wake up. And I know you're you've been a huge part of that. So I'm really grateful for the work you're doing.

Trudi Lebron 4:03

Thank you.

Kate Kordsmeier 4:04

Yeah. How did you how did you get to be doing this work in the first place? Tell us hear your story here.

Trudi Lebron 4:12

Sure. So I was doing, you know, I came from the nonprofit industry and I was doing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work for a very long time, at least since 2008. Okay, before it was trendy, before it was trendy. Way before it was trendy. Yeah, it was like going into schools and talking about, you know, diversity in schools, educational inequities. anti bullying work at that time. That was like a big part of the work. Because when I started doing it, you couldn't say things like, white supremacy in a room full of teachers, like you just couldn't be like you couldn't even say the words. That's how long ago it was. Right? The field has come like, just so far since then. And so I'm so I've been doing it for a long time. And then somewhere along the way, I decided or realized, like, I confronted the fact that the nonprofit work that I was doing was not gonna pay me enough money to actually like, you know, do things that I wanted to do, like buy a home and, you know, take care of my kids in a certain to a certain standard, like, it just wasn't working. I didn't see I couldn't see that happening in the nonprofit industry. And so I was always side hustling, I was always like, consulting on the side picking up like little, you know, trainings and things. While I was working full time, and going to school full time, you know, just all this envy and a mom and all relax. And yeah, you know, just straight up more. Yeah. So of course, like many of us, who are entrepreneurs and coaches and find ourselves in the industry, you know, I started listening to podcasts, and I started, like, you know, like doing some searches on, you know, how to start a business. And of course, I ran into all the information about like, building a list and having an opt in. And you know, and so I started really getting into this world of entrepreneurship and personal development, and really fell in love with it for so many reasons. And also realized, especially in the face of my reality, like living in an inner city in Central Connecticut, or from Hartford, Connecticut, working in inner cities, in schools, I noticed the stark difference between the communities that I was from and that I had been working with, and like the coaching industry, and just how wide it not just how wide it was, but how much like how the conversation around diversity and equity and inclusion was just not happening. like everywhere else in my life. Like, we were confronting those conversations, I was going into, you know, insurance companies and schools and nonprofit organizations, and everyone's trying to solve like, how do we not just like increase diversity? But how do we tackle equity? How do we make sure that people's lives are improving, and it was like this industry was in a bubble, and like, I did not know that these other conversations are happening in the world around them. And, um, I decided I wanted to, like make that my mission to, you know, have these conversations. And so I would go to all the events that I could and, you know, start building relationships online with people and start telling people like, Hey, this is something you have to be thinking about, I started writing about it, I started, you know, me and a friend of mine started a podcast called destiny, how that works. That was a couple years ago. And yeah, I just, that's how I that's how I ended up here. Just because, you know, it was part of my experience, and I saw an opportunity. And I was like, man, if the coaching industry and entrepreneurial space, tackled this, the opportunity for transformation, I think is significant. I think what's more significant than like, for me, but way more impactful than the work I had been doing. And even in school districts, because the how long it takes for institutions to change that are like public institutions, like a school or a nonprofit or a big company, versus in the coaching industry, which is really led by a bunch of entrepreneurs who can kind of learn something, make a decision, really integrate it, and we can start to change quick. I just fell in love with the work.

Kate Kordsmeier 8:41

Yeah, amazing. I love that story. And it's I mean, in some ways, it's so unique, of course, and then in other ways, it's like the classic. I took my experience, I saw a gap in the market. And I just think, yeah, that's, that's the way to go. So

Trudi Lebron 8:59

when we talk about D AI, I feel like the first thing everybody thinks is about race, which of course, is part of that. But can you talk about what some of the other things that di encompasses that maybe don't have to be strictly race? Yeah, to me, it's everything like absolutely everything, race, you know, all of all of the ways that we have, that we have different identities, so race, gender, age, ethnicity, experience, like life experience, education, industry, like all of these ways are ways that we're diverse, right? Diversity, Equity and Inclusion together really asks people to look at not just creating spaces that are diverse, but really also creating spaces where people can thrive, where people can be successful no matter what kind of life experience they're bringing into, you know, into a space into a company into a community. Unity. And so it really encompasses everything and what we try to teach our clients and you know, folks who who follow our work is that when you approach your work with a lens for diversity, equity and inclusion, when you're on a journey around anti racism, it changes. Like it impacts every part of your life, it impacts your business, it impacts your relationships, it impacts how you how you show up at the grocery store, like it really, if you really take it seriously, you start to understand that we all have a responsibility to each other, you know, like we that humans, right, we all, we could decide that we want to live in a world where we are really all connected. And we're the way that we show up, impacts other people, and that we can, that we can contribute to making. I mean, this sounds a little cheesy, but to making the world a better place. Right. And and that's the big goal. But it has We do that by small interactions, right, by the way, we show up in our work, by the way that we train people, by the way that we coach people by making sure that the outcomes that we promised to people as entrepreneurs, that those promises are available to everyone that we work with.

Kate Kordsmeier 11:18

Yeah, totally. So and I want to talk about all the pieces of it. So I don't mean to be like skipping over red, or any other parts. But I think one thing that stood out to me is, this is a conversation I've been having for a couple years now. But specifically, it really ramped up in this past year. And I've seen people talk about equity in a way that I hadn't really thought of before. Like, it's not just about hiring people from all different backgrounds and skin colors and gender, you know, all of that. But that there's even this pace of like how you figure out how to pay your team and bonuses and profit sharing and making it equitable across the board, like things that I was like, Oh, I never even that didn't even cross my mind as being something. I think I especially what in the middle of this social justice uprising, it's easy to just like go to that obvious place. But then I think there's kind of like smaller things on the back end, do you find that as well?

Trudi Lebron 12:21

Yeah, what we what definitely what we try to get people to understand is that that first piece of what you what you name like hiring, you know, having more more team members that come from different backgrounds, having an audience that is more diverse, that is only diversity, right? That that is really focusing on just diversity, and diversity only speaks to the variety of differences you have, whether that's on your team or in your company or in your audience or wherever, right? It Right. It doesn't speak at all to the quality of the experience that those people are having, when they're with you or one the other, hey, Equity and Inclusion speak to those more qualitative elements of someone's experience and outcomes. That is about how do they feel when they're there? Are they supported in a way that allows them to be successful? and equity isn't about treating everybody the same? either. That's equality, equality is everybody gets the same thing. Like everyone's equal equity is, how do we make how do we treat people potentially differently in order so that they can get to the same place that we want everybody to get to? Okay? It is it's not just a like a theoretical framework. It's not just a set of values or a worldview. It's also a set of policies of practices of accountabilities of protocols and behaviors, like there's a whole set of real actionable ways of being that support, you know, that kind of create environments that are equitable.

Kate Kordsmeier 14:03

Right. Okay. So one of the things that I saw on your website, too, is you talk about how we can get into this default business culture, and how that default can really crush your business. So tell us more about what does this mean, and how do we avoid it?

Trudi Lebron 14:20

Yeah, so default business culture is just really profit driven, you know, decisions that serve the entrepreneur first, and sometimes only. And we have been, we've been in a practice of that. I think that the, and I, this is something that was very attractive to me at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, right? The idea that like, Oh, I could only work four hours a week and make a lot of money and you know what I mean, what, and, but then you look at what that actually requires, right? And you start to you know, things like outsourcing sourcing work for very little for lower than minimum wage in the United States, right, for example, for paying people as little as possible, keeping a super lean team having contractors versus employees, and these things start to bump up for some of us, right, certainly for the folks who I work with, they start to bump up against our values, and bump up against where, you know, like, where we sit around our politics and what we envision as like, justice, right. And so some of those decisions now are in conflict with what we believe is right, you know, what we believe contributes to a world that is making progress around pay economic equity and, and workplaces that are healthy, right? And so then, and now you, you confront like, Oh, I can't make those the kinds of decisions because those kinds of decisions are only about me and I can't live. That doesn't get us towards liberation, for all, like liberation, for something right, total flexibility and freedom for some. So this other which again, perpetuates systems of oppression which perpetuates economic inequity, like all all of these things. So we can choose and more I think more people are making this choice to do business in a way that is fully values aligned, that is creating or contributing to, to creating a world. And yeah, a world where people have jobs that they can count on where people are paid well, where people get benefits where people get paid sick time, you know, all of the things that I think that the coaching industry, personal development world are a little bit insulated from some of those conversations that are happening around minimum wage and paid leave, for example, because we think that we're forced, for whatever reason, we think that because we work online, you know, we don't have like a workplace where people have to go and report to that we're exempt from those conversations that are happening, you know, that employers are happening, that our employers are having and employees are facing at, you know, your neighborhood, grocery store, for example. Right, like we're not, I don't think that we should be opting out of those conversations. I think, the asking where do we sit in that conversation? Because Yeah, we're training especially for those of us who work with other business owners, who potentially are hiring other people like, what, what's the example that we're creating?

Kate Kordsmeier 17:43

Right? Okay, I'm so glad that I asked this question, what what you've said is spurred so many other thoughts for me, too, because this is something I'm in a group coaching program, you know, it was $20,000 to be in this program. So it's not cheap. And it's a lot of business owners who are in this coaching industry, you know, most making multiple six, seven figures, but are just starting to hire and we've been having so many conversations around hiring and pay and all this and it's so much of what you said is like, things. So one, one thing I'm thinking as you know, you I read, I started my entrepreneurial journey by reading a lot of books, and most of them were written by white men. And a lot of them talk about like hiring Filipino VA for $3 an hour.

Trudi Lebron 18:32

Yeah, don't even get me started. Yeah.

Kate Kordsmeier 18:38

Okay, so full disclosure, I've never done this. And there's no judgement if you have if you're listening, and like this isn't to shame anybody. But I think it is important to have the conversation because I always just felt like, even though people could say, the cost of living there is just so different. It goes so much further. for them. I was just like, I don't feel good paying somebody $3 an hour or $7 an hour, or whatever it is. And I feel like you're I couldn't really explain it, but you're starting to put some words to it. And I feel like this is helpful. So I'd love to hear more. I would love to get you started on this conversation. Yeah,

Trudi Lebron 19:14

there are definitely people who hold that worldview that you know, paying people in other countries, you know that they should be that they're happy to have the $3 an hour and that I think that plays into so much of that like white savior ism and not just white but like Western, right and you don't have to be white to hold that worldview or to perpetuate that practice. But that you know, that there is some kind of like, a lead ism around our or savior ism around our ability to be like, oh, we're just going to pay them and they're going to be so happy and their life is going to be so much better. Like there's a little bit of that that always makes me a little like, uncomfortable but what's more, with More than that is like, we live in, you know, in especially if we're in, you know, talking in the United States context, right? We are in a moment where people are losing their jobs, right? Because they cannot go to work. And I just think, now, this is my belief, this is not like a fact, you know, I try to distinguish between, you know, what things I believe, and, and kind of my worldview and what and what we know, is that is an actual hardcore fact, what I believe is that if you are making multiple six figures, seven figures, and you can hire, like, locally, right, like you can create a job in a world and in a country, where every day people are losing jobs, and our unemployment rate is like, through the roof right now. Why, like, I feel like we have a moral obligation to keep that to, like, hire someone here like to create. And yes, that's gonna cost more. It is cost more. But if you're already making that sort of, like, if you, you know, I'm not saying that you're just scraping by and you know, you're at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. I'm saying, you know, you you could it's the difference between you profiting $200,000 or $250,000? Like, come on, create the job? Like, I just think that there is, I don't know. Yeah. Yeah. I don't think that people and I think the more people are making that choice, I think that more people are confronting those things. And that's what I mean, that default pattern is keep all your profit, you know what I mean? Like, make as much money as you can. And capitalism

Kate Kordsmeier 21:56

to the extreme, like capital. I'm, like, all for capitalism. I think it's a beautiful tool. But it doesn't mean there are not limits

Trudi Lebron 22:05

to like, Yeah,

Kate Kordsmeier 22:08

exactly. So okay, so let's say you even go Alright, well, yeah, I'm gonna create the job here. I'm gonna hire locally. Now. Now this group, we're having this conversation where it's like, Okay, so then what are you paying these people, because some of these are entry level jobs, some of them are a little bit more, you know, senior level, or, you know, department level, managing whatever, even if it's a super small team. And there's some people in the group, and this is people across all different races and backgrounds, too. And some people are saying, like, $15 an hour is where I start. And then there's other people saying, like, I just, I can't sleep at night paying somebody $15 an hour, like, I need, at least like 30 or $40 an hour. And then other people, you know, are bringing these different opinions in where they're saying like, Yeah, but you're the, you know, some people will say, Well, I feel bad. Like, here I am coaching people how to make more money, and then I'm trying to get people to work for me for like, 20 bucks an hour. And then somebody else say, Yeah, but you're taking on all the risk, all the stress all the expenses of being the business owner. It's it's different. So it's kind of balancing this like, Okay, what can I afford? what feels right, what feels good? And, you know, what makes financial business sense as well.

Trudi Lebron 23:25

I think that though, there is no perfect answer to that question, because it's so specific to a particular business. Right? And not just how much money is that business generating? But what are the fixed expenses? You know, like, what, what's the revenue history. So I'll give you an example. I have a team where we have been on the conservative side, even though I want to pay people a lot more. We are on the conservative side around our salaries, but we make up for I think we we make up and we're in conversation, always with our team, about like work conditions. So people will have a lot of time off that they can take and the very flexible schedules. And so the the environment is, you know, that's part of the benefit. But the reason that word being on the conservative side is because we had an explosive year last year, and it's not responsible to just base our projections this year on something that happened last year when it hasn't been repeated yet. Right? Right. So we're adjusting and increasing over time, right? Because we're just like, making sure that we have because also you take on an employee, you have a kind of, there's a responsibility to have them with you for a while. So you don't want to be like I'm gonna pay you $100,000 and six months later, you're like, actually, we can't afford you because right that our sales goals, so every business is really unique. But I do think it's a good practice to have like an institute like a minimum that you have a company Minimum Wage and you're like, nobody's gonna make less than this dollar amount. I'll throw this piece of the conversation and just to for people who are really interested in what this what this conversation looks like for people who are kind of equity, social justice practitioners, right? So some of the things that we're grappling with, from an equity that and this is like all theoretical and you know, just kind of like people are figuring out what's the best strategy is an equitable approach to compensation is actually that you're looking at where people live, right? So you might not have a company minimum wage, or you might have, or maybe you do, but you're also factoring in, I'm going to hire this employee who lives in New York City, their cost of living is different, they need a higher, you know, they need to make a little bit more than if the same employee lived in Alabama for the cost of living is lower. And that sat for some people, that sounds pretty radical, like, Oh, you can't have like the same job and pay different. But again, people who are doing deep thinking around equity, those are the kinds of things that we're grappling with equitable to have two employees who live in different places and to compensate them the same like, yeah.

Kate Kordsmeier 26:24

Yeah, their perspective into that, too, is like, well, you're not forcing them to live. And so then, yeah, I mean, there, I've, I've had the same thought where I was in talks of hiring this one woman who lived in Canada, and she was like, well, it's, it's much more expensive here. I was like, well, it's not really my problem. I, you know, like, you gotta have that thought of like, I'm not telling you to live there. You could I live in Atlanta, come down here. Right? You know, so.

Trudi Lebron 26:52

So these are not the you know, and that's why I say these are deeply personal. Yeah, this right. So some, someone might choose, okay, we're gonna have a company minimum. And that's our, that's how we're implementing our equity practice here. Another entrepreneur might say, actually, we are going to look at where people live and have kind of like a sliding scale around that that is connected to cost of living for where someone lives. And that's how we're going to execute equity. Like, it does not that it doesn't matter. But what matters most is that you're in a practice around it. And whatever decision you make, and that whatever decision you make, I use this expression like you can hold it right, like you understand why you've made that decision, because people might push back. And so like, you want to make sure that whatever you decide, you're you're clear on how that connects to your values, how you're going to implement it. You know, what your kind of standards are around it. That's what I mean around the policy and practice piece. It's not it's way more than just a value system. Right, right. All right.

Kate Kordsmeier 28:06

If you're listening to this podcast, I assume you're a female entrepreneur who is ready to soulfully scale their business. But tell me if this sounds like you, you're ready to sustainably grow a profitable business aligned with your soul's purpose that brings in multiple six and seven figures on autopilot. You want to leave the masculine model behind and bring more feminine energy into your business, avoiding burnout and overwhelm, and you value personal development and self care just as much as online business strategy. If you're nodding your head along with me, then my brand new program the Success with Soul incubator is for you. My goal is to help you become a calmer, more confident entrepreneur who knows that what you're doing is actually helping people making a positive impact in their lives. And in your bank account. You can have both and you can do it without selling your soul using cutthroat bro marketing tactics, and without pimping yourself out as an influencer are spending hours on toxic social media. If you're ready to become a holistic CEO who has the time to do what really matters, whether that's taking care of yourself with wellness and spiritual based self care, or spending time with your family or simply resting and just effing relaxing than the incubator is for you. This is unlike anything I have ever created. And it is seriously one of the most exciting projects I've ever worked on. I cannot wait to be your guide and stepping into this next best version of yourself. This program is by application only. So if you feel the call, go to Kate to get the process started. If you've got any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram and just lie down into my DMS. I'm @KateKordsmeier

Why do you feel like I mean, there's some obvious I'm sure but why do you feel like running this equity centered business is so critical to entrepreneurs bottom line and and their goals?

Trudi Lebron 30:09

I think that what, what we're gonna find more is that people and we're already seeing this is that consumers are making more conscious decisions about who they're investing with and who they're spending with, based on the values that the entrepreneur holds. So I think we're gonna see, and I'm sure that people are seeing this already, you may even be, you may even have gotten some of these questions where clients or potential clients will email or they'll be on a sales call, and they'll ask, like, what's your policy around XYZ? Or what's your position on Black Lives Matter, or any antiracism work like, people are gonna, that's, I think that's gonna get more common one. And so people are going to be more held more accountable to what they say, by their clients and communities and audiences. The second part of this is that your, if you're going to scale and have a team, you want to have a team that stays with you, that is, you know, fully expressed at work. Your there's just so much, there's so many articles that talk about workplace culture, and how really good dei plans and execution of those plans result in a healthier work environment, which leads to more creativity and better problem solving. And, you know, and that ripple effect of that means that you're making more money, you're losing less employees. So you're spending less time recruiting and training people, you're retaining people, not just your team, but your client culture, company, culture is such a big indicator of like the business's success over time, and I think that people are gonna have to really confront that, again, as the as our culture shifting, we have to be shifting.

Kate Kordsmeier 31:58

Yeah, for sure. And it's interesting, because I mean, of course, it's true across all sides. So for example, like I've taken some stances on Black Lives Matter and support of Black Lives Matter. And I've had people on my list, unsubscribe, oh, yeah, they unsubscribe, all lives matter, some bullshit like that. But here's the thing that I want to say is, it's really made me think I've been asking myself some of these questions just internally to is like, do I believe that all businesses, anybody that I shop, from a grocery store, a coach, you know, who I watch on TV or whatever? Like, do I need to agree with everything that they say in order to be a conscious consumer? Because I also feel like there's a slippery slope there of like, is, can't there be room for lots of different voices and opinions?

Trudi Lebron 32:59

Yeah, I don't think that we need to agree with everything that, you know, what every single thing that a person believes. For me, it's more about where the where are the boundaries, right? Things that we that are our hard nose, you know, right. So, for example, I work with a lot of clients who are hiring staff, I walk people through hiring processes, creating job descriptions, interview processes to hire people that are going to attract more diversity, and that are not just attract more diversity, but attract a client pool or an applicant pool, that is going to be a good fit for your culture. Uh huh. And one of the things that I tell people is that you're not looking for perfect answers, you're looking for red flags. And so you know, like, when we asked someone, you know, not that you would say, in an interview, what's your position on Black Lives Matter, for example, but if you were to ask someone that it's not that you're looking for this perfectly scripted, you know, like, 100% answer, like people might be like, I don't really know a lot about it like that there are people who are there, right? And should we be telling people you have to be politically active in order to, you know, work here or

Kate Kordsmeier 34:21

then or not?

Trudi Lebron 34:22

Right, but you definitely are looking for an answer that's like, well, I believe all lives matter while I treat everybody the same, or, you know, I have a black friend or, you know, like, you're looking for those kind of red flags that indicate that this person hasn't done any work. And that may be it that in a company that is prioritizing this, that they made them, you know, lagging behind,

Kate Kordsmeier 34:50

right? Yeah. No, I think that makes perfect sense. And let's let's kind of move into this hiring discussion because this is definitely something I know everyone listening has questions about. To is, so first, how do you attract a diverse pool of applicants? Because I think that's one thing I've heard a lot of entrepreneurs say is like, well, I put the job description out, but ever been at applied

Trudi Lebron 35:10

was white. Yeah, yeah. I get that all the time. I hear that. I'm sure. Yeah. So the the answer to that isn't very straightforward. Unfortunately, it's not like, Oh, just do this, and this and this, and you'll have, you know, a diverse applicant pool. It really starts more with this internal work around, have you unpacked your own identity? How are you even clear on why you don't have that app, that diverse applicant applicant pool in the first place? Right, like, let's look at that. So we actually start there with people like really getting clear on what are what are your values? What have you put out there? Are your values being? Are your values clear to people? Is it clear that you well? Is it clear whether or not you can have an environment that's diverse and hold the safety of that space? Because if you haven't thought about that yet, you shouldn't be thinking about whether or not your applicant pool is diverse, you need to be thinking about, you know, have we done the work internally, to make sure that we can hire anyone, and that they're going to have a, that they're going to have an experience? That is, that is a great experience, that we're prepared to support them that we have cleared, you know, we're clear on our policies around micro aggressions or how we handle you know, like how we handle social, like social uprising, right? And how we respond. I've had clients just in the last couple weeks, lose employees or not, not that I've had clients, I've had potential clients people, because they've lost employees, like black and brown employees, because of how they responded to things happening around the attempted insurrection. And you know, because of how they showed up in the world, they lost employees. Yeah. So if you haven't done some of the internal work around, like how you show up and where you stand, and are you prepared? And have you thought about some of these things through then, that that's where you should start. And we can talk about, what does your what's your public profile look like? What's your interview process? What does your job description say? Are you making explicit requests? How do you? Are you just putting your job description on Facebook and hoping that people apply? Or like, what's your dissemination plan? You know, there's a lot of steps to around hire, like really good hiring practices, right?

Kate Kordsmeier 37:44

If you have a very one dimensional community, and you only post your job description there, then of course, that type of person is going to write, I think that's so important to to get really clear on your values. I mean, that was something that I changed. Last year was on my, on our hiring page, I added our company values. And I mean, it took me a long time to really get clear on exactly what it is I do believe in what I'm trying to do and what my mission really is. And now I mean it, it can be polarizing to people, for sure. That's fine. But I think now people would come to that and go, Oh, this is the kind of company that this is, this is what I could expect. And so if anybody's like, an all lives matter person, they're gonna go I don't want to work here. This would be terrible.

Trudi Lebron 38:33

Yeah. And then the same, but and that's the same idea with our, you know, what, when we're first learning how to be entrepreneurs, and we learn about niching down and attracting and repelling the clients that we don't want, it's the same thing for employees. Totally,

Kate Kordsmeier 38:49

totally. Okay, what about the question, I've had this one myself a couple times, too. And I know, it's just something that's come up a lot in my groups where, let's say, you're getting a lot of diverse applicants to apply. But you just end up feeling like the best fit is, I say, a white person, I say that because I'm white, but maybe it the same applies if you're black, and you're, you're always, like, leaning towards the other black candidate candidates. And we're always like, you know, like, attracts like, kind of thing. What How can we how do we know if we're doing that? Because it's just like our unconscious bias, or that sometimes the right person really is just this person. And there's nothing wrong with white people inherently or wrong with but you know, whatever.

Trudi Lebron 39:34

Yeah. So that people ask that question. And they asked another version of that question, which is like, what if I have a black candidate and a white candidate who have the exact same resume and are exactly the same like who do I choose right there is that so what what we find is that once once our once clients go through a process of really creating a new hiring system. From you know, from beginning to end, that is really looking at candidates around culture fit. And around around DNI, like really prioritizing some of these things. It never happens. Like it never happens that you have a client, like you, if you follow the process, like you can be sure that the best candidate is the best candidate and that the likelihood if your applicant pool is diverse, like is representative, the chances that the best candidate is going to be someone who's not white is just higher. Statistically, like that's not an opinion, that's just the fact like if your applicant pool consistently is more diverse, employing a very specific strategy around hiring, and you're not just like, because this is what happens often is like people are waiting to last minute, they're in a pinch, they need to hire someone yesterday. And so they just caught they just hire like someone that their friend knows, you know, that happens so often, right? If you slow down your process, and really create an equitable hiring practice, you're going to get the reference, you can trust your system, and you're going to get the representation that you're looking for.

Kate Kordsmeier 41:21

Okay, so I know this is some of the work that you do with clients. So is there like, three things that everybody should do to get an equitable system in place, or you know, what's like, even just the first step to get there, if somebody's like, I just don't know how to do this. Yeah.

Trudi Lebron 41:39

So the first step is to do your kind of personal unpacking identity work and make sure that you looked at all your policies and practices, make sure that your values are super clear, and how you want to you know how you want to show up in the world, then you're going to you craft a, you craft a job description that speaks to the culture of your company, and makes explicit work, not just explicit requests, but explicit invitations to black and brown folks, bipoc members of the bipoc community to apply, right or no other marginalized identities, trans folks, you know, there's there's all kinds of ways that you can frame that based on based on what you're prioritizing in your, in your, in your Equity Plan. So your your job description, is number two, and then your interview process is number three, making sure that you're screening for culture fit, and yet mostly culture fit, like in your interview process.

Kate Kordsmeier 42:45

Yeah. And so when you say like, inviting in your job description, I mean, you can't just say like, I want a black woman for this job, right? Or can you?

Trudi Lebron 42:56

I mean, so the there is, I'm not a lawyer. we've, we've spoken to many, you know, we've had lawyers that come through our communities. And that's actually an interesting, there are varying opinions on that. And some people say, yeah, you actually can, if you're a small business and a private business, and you're not publicly traded, and you're not a nonprofit, you can have discretion over like who you can have preference like for who you want to who you want to hire. That's not what I'm talking about in your Now, the difference is, if your job specifically requires someone of a particular identity, then you can put that in. So for example, we run, I'm going to be hiring pretty soon. For someone for another coach, that person is going to have the task of facilitating one of our community calls that's called unpacking whiteness, it's an affinity group space. Okay, so that person is probably going to be a white person, too. Because that space is for white people. We and we have other we have folks of color on our team who run other affinity group, you know, like spaces. So the job requires that, you know, that's different. But yeah, when I say explicit invitation, like, say in your job description that you're encouraging, black, brown, indigenous Latin x, y, you know, not just the standard old, stale, equal opportunity, employer payment stuck at the bottom, but like a real clear like, invitation.

Kate Kordsmeier 44:32

Yeah, I love that. super helpful. Thank you. So I know, then let's look at the flip side now is not just internally but externally. I mean, how do you make sure that your clients, your audience, you know, what are the things you can do to make sure that you're creating this diverse an equitable, inclusive space that they feel safe being and especially if you are are white.

Trudi Lebron 45:01

Yeah. So this is the kind of thing that, you know, when I was early in the coaching industry I used to hate when coaches said to me, but it's true, it's this inner game thing that the inner game is a reflection of the external, like the inner game, like the inner stuff is what impacts the external. And so the the answer to that is actually not about external communications at all. It's about making sure that you're a team. Not just that, not just that your team is diverse, but that everybody on your team holds his holding responsibility for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that everybody on your team knows how their job connects to your equity, inclusion, diversity and anti racism goals. Also, that everybody on your train that everybody on your team gets, like training and professional development around these things, that you have clear community guidelines that you have, that you know how you're going to manage, especially, especially right now, like after some of the things that we've seen, are you prepared? And how do you prepare to manage some kind of like, breakdown in a Facebook community? Or in a mastermind? If somebody says something? Or if there's some kind of conflict that arises that is rooted in race or ethnicity or politics? Like how are you prepared? How have you prepared to handle that, like preparing to handle that are the ways that you start to attract like a more diverse audience, because what happens is, that internal process starts to change how you show up, and it starts to influence decisions you make in your marketing campaigns, and how you're showing up on Instagram and how you're podcasting or whatever your kind of top of funnel things are, that internal work starts to impact that. But if you start from the outside, and say, like, oh, we're gonna like change, swap out some of the pictures on our website and make sure we have more diversity in our podcast without doing the internal stuff, you might attract the diversity, but you're not going to be able to hold the weight, having that group, because now you're giving the perception that you're like this safe space and that they you're this inclusive space, but you're not like you're just, you know, you've only done some of the, the perform the more performative kind of tech tactical, technical pieces, and you're, you're not prepared. And so that's the worst. That's the worst thing that's think of the some of the bigger fallouts that we've seen in our industry over the last couple of years. That is the reason why is because people done the internal work.

Kate Kordsmeier 47:47

Yeah, yeah. So important. And I mean, that makes so much sense. And I think people too, can, you know, sniff out those who are doing it just to like, oh, shoot, I need to put, you know, a couple of brown and black people up on my website so that they know, so that I don't get called out or I you know, like, when it's genuine and when it's like, performative. Yeah.

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Kate Kordsmeier 49:06

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Where do you feel like most people fall short with their work on DEI issues?

Trudi Lebron 50:43

I think that they, I think that the biggest thing is that they treat it as a separate thing than the rest of their business. I think that, you know, they go and get this training with di training, or they they're looking for a checklist of sorts, or you know, this, like, let me tweak some things. And they think that their di work is separate from their marketing calendar and their sales process and their hiring process. And, you know, their strategic planning, they think that that's different. And it's, it's the same, like your di plan should be baked in to every decision, like, just the regular way that you do business. Right. And the biggest mistake is treating it like it's something different.

Kate Kordsmeier 51:34

So true. Okay. So a lot changed in this space last year for the better. What do you what do you feel like di looks like in 2021 and beyond,

Trudi Lebron 51:47

I think that we are gonna see more people taking on this personal journey a little bit more seriously, being willing to put themselves in, in a position where they're being uncomfortable, they're looking at themselves, they're looking at the practices that they've been taught there, he, I think there's a lot of healing, honestly, that needs to be done around people's entrepreneurial journeys, because I think that a lot of us, especially I'm finding, especially women, who are entrepreneurs who did, like you said earlier, who read all the books that were written by these, like white dudes, you know, and who have joined these masterminds that have been led by, in those similar whether whether they're led by white dudes or not, they're perpetuating that way of doing work. And I think a lot of people have made choices that are in conflict with their inner, their inner way of being like with it, that are in conflict with how they really want to be, and maybe they've made those decisions, you know, kind of coaching them and like, oh, we're gonna do this now. And then when we make some money, we're gonna like shift, and we're gonna, like, why not, when a more well known and more stable will shift and make decisions differently. I think that every time we make a decision that compromises who we are, that there's healing to be done around that. So I think that there is a lot of healing that is going to be done. Especially, especially for those of us who are in, you know, whose businesses are a little bit bigger, who have been around for a while, and who have like, learned those business practices. That's, that's, that I think, is, is coming. And I actually, I'm really excited to be working with my friend and colleague, Elizabeth D. Alto, because we were running. Oh, can you Yeah, I did a yoga class with her. She's just amazing. Um, so Elizabeth and I have partnered to do a mastermind called embodied impact. And it's like this blend of, of equity of di business practice. And this kind of like real, like healing these like business wounds, and like really like leveling up our leadership. And for you know, this is for people who are at, you know, six figures, multiple, six figures, seven figures, to take a deep look at leadership a little bit differently, and how we're showing up in the world. So I think that's a big thing. I think we're gonna see more emphasis on team building and not just team building, but amplification of team members, I think that we're gonna see especially for people who run personal brands, bringing in team members into more front facing roles, like hearing from team members on podcasts, and, you know, being pirate having people who are usually in the background being run, so that we can in order to like, celebrate, and also show that, that it's not just one person, you know, a team of people, a diverse team of hopefully a diverse team of people, guiding you and helping you whether that's on a business journey, or a personal transformation journey or healing, whatever the journey is, I think we're gonna see more of that in 2021. And I really hope that works. Just having or just seeing people making more like transparent, some of their D, I work a little bit more transparently. So they're talking about what they're doing their talent talking about the impact that that's having, not in this like performative like pat on the back way. But in this real integris sharing and just like learning, you know, learning opportunity, I think we're gonna be seeing more of that from people. Yeah.

Kate Kordsmeier 55:27

How do you feel? You know, I think I can admit that. I sometimes do feel performative when I'm sharing things like that's not my intention. And I wonder is that judges need to get over that I just need to share because it's important. And it does matter to me and not worry that some people might think it's performative. Or Yeah, I'm curious, your thoughts on that?

Trudi Lebron 55:51

Yeah, I think that they're, you know, having a little bit of a self inquiry around why you're sharing is really important. I put a post up on Instagram a couple of weeks, so I think was last week. And it just was, it just kind of reminds people that performative action is really anything that you're doing that is motivated by something outside of yourself. If you're posting something, because you're, you're afraid that people are gonna say something, or are not gonna say something, do you're engaged in a performance, right? authentically coming from you. And the other thing that I posted is really critical. medicube saying this, I probably be saying this all year, is that if you're worried about being performative, you're probably being performative. Because here's the thing, like people who aren't worried about it, like the people who are the people on Instagram that you don't know that, like, don't know you personally, they don't work with you. They're not in your communities. Like, you don't actually know these people who are paying your performative they don't actually know you. Right, we need to remember that. So yeah. You

Kate Kordsmeier 57:05

like, if you're worried about being a bad mom, it probably means you're a good mom, because Bad Moms wouldn't even worry about it.

Trudi Lebron 57:12

Yeah, it's like you have to be you. You can't be worried about like whether or not anybody is going to say something you just heard from you.

Kate Kordsmeier 57:21

Right? Totally. Okay. I love that. And I'm so excited to hear more about you. And Elizabeth and body thing I was going to ask you about all of this healing that does need to happen. How do you recommend people start the healing process? Like, do you have resources for people that you'd recommend or practices?

Trudi Lebron 57:40

Yeah, so what I wanted, the first thing that I that I encourage people to do is just start to diversify things that you're learning the people that you're learning from. So look at your bookshelf, look at your podcast list, and ask yourself, are you listening or learning from anyone? Who doesn't look like you? You know, like, who is not a you know, especially for white folks. Right? And it doesn't count. If all the people in your podcast feed who are black and brown folks are talking about diversity?

Kate Kordsmeier 58:13

Right, right. Yes. Like, I think that's such a big thing. There's there was this, I mean, such a trend last year, it was like, the, it seemed like the only people white people were bringing on all these people to the podcast that were a people of color, just to talk about being people of color. It was like, maybe they have something else to share.

Trudi Lebron 58:33

Yeah, what I'm, what I want to encourage people to do is think about, like, Who are you listening about your financial advice around around business, nothing to do around marketing around? operations, right, like, things that don't have to do anything with like, justice or diversity, equity and inclusion. By because when you do that, you just you're just perpetuating that black and brown folks only talk about race. Right? Right. Oh, so like, just be mindful of that. So look at your bookshelf. And I say that because everybody's like, I have tons of black and brown folks. So I'm reading white for dumping that white fragility woman who is super problematic, but I am my grandmother's hands and I'm reading on white supremacy and me or you know, like, I'm reading like, and it's like, no, like, I know, you bought all those books last year. But like, what about other? What about other things? So yeah, we're listening to one. Two, is start to start to ask yourself, start to just take a real hard look at your community. Like do you even know what the diversity looks like? Be happy to have a real honest conversation about like the work that you've actually done. If you're just following a couple of you know, social media influencers who talk about these stuff and I raised them on Instagram. That's not enough. Like, if you're an entrepreneur, you need to really be investing not just like investing money, that's what I'm talking about time and energy, like really making the commitment towards looking at all of your business operations through this lens. If you're really committed to this practice, we have it for if people are like really, really at the beginning and not ready to dive in big time, we have a membership program. That's a really, each month we publish like a learning journey for people, we pick a theme, like it's a really great way to do some of the work in a way that's like not confrontational, and not like, you know that you're not gonna feel like a spotlight held on you. And you can like ask them questions and stuff like that. So that's called the equity centered coaching collective. People are ready to take that kind of step. That's an option. But you can you can start by just taking an inventory of your own life.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:00:58

Yeah. And, you know, I'm such a practical person, I love strategy. I love like, and I tend to be, you know, a little transactional. So I'm asking a lot of these questions of like, give me your tips for this, what can we do for that? What resources but ultimately, I think, the main takeaway, and what I know we all believe is like, it is so much more about the deep inner work than anything external, any, like, if you just read this one book, you'll be healed and everything will be better

Trudi Lebron 1:01:25

there is I'm an I'm a practitioner, right? Like there is there's a lot of policy, a lot of practice, work, a lot of protocols that can be put in place that need to be put in place. But I'm always really hesitant about sharing too many of the details around that. Because I've just I have just seen what happens. I came from an industry that's all about protocol, like education and nonprofit write protocols and policies and practices. And I see what happens, it's almost more harmful. What happens when people employ the practices but haven't done the internal work, because it creates this false sense of security. And it also creates short term initiatives, right? Because you're like, oh, like, this isn't working out, like this issue happened. We weren't prepared to hold it. We're just gonna, we're just talking about this stuff. It's just, I'm, I'm interested in total transformation, which really requires that we start inside.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:02:23

Yeah. And it's hard, and it's uncomfortable. And there's like, you know, there's a lot of things that you've learned about yourself that don't feel so great. But I do feel like, if this past year has taught us anything, it's that we need to do this work. And I'm grateful for you coming on and helping us get started. So I know you shared a couple resources, which we'll definitely link in the show notes, but where can people continue following along and find you?

Trudi Lebron 1:02:52

folks can come and hang out with me on Instagram at Trudi Lebron.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:02:57

Okay, awesome. Thanks, Trudi. It was so great

Trudi Lebron 1:03:00

Thanks for having me.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:03:06

Wait a minute. I know I know you're eager to get back to your life. But before you turn off this episode, I want to share something super quick with you. I know you're probably sick of hearing other podcasters ask you to leave reviews. But here's the deal. If you like a podcast, and you want them to be able to continue delivering you free episodes every week, we need your support. If you subscribe on the apple podcast, Google podcast, app, Spotify, or wherever you listen, it makes it possible for me to continue to provide free helpful content and bring you amazing guests. And if you take it one step further, by giving us a rating and review with your honest feedback, we can improve better serve you in the future. And you could even be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Because if we don't get the reviews, we don't get the rankings. And it makes it a lot harder to continue justifying the cost and time expense of producing a podcast every week, and convincing amazing guests to come on the show. And of course your reviews are super helpful and motivating to me personally, and I love hearing from you. So on that note, we're going to end this episode with another listener spotlight. Here we go. This review comes from Deb the life coach Deb says great podcast that is both inspiring and practical. The episode with Madison Square dike was moving as she shared her story of how she overcame debilitating health issues. She shared many profound ideas for living your best life. As someone who also struggles with anxiety I can really appreciate her journey. Thanks so much Deb. We appreciate you.

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