Industry News

[Transcript] Inclusion and Diversity: How to Start and Why It Matters

Having a contracting company that continuously works on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging can make an internal impact for your company, as well as externally for your clients. Dr. Tiffany Reed, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) consultant for InclusionP365, shares examples of what this type of workplace can look like and how to get started on that hard work. See below for a full transcript of this recent podcast episode.

For more information, contact Dr. Reed at:, LinkedIn


So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

[introductory comments]

Stephanie Chizik: Dr. Reed, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Tiffany Reed: Thank you so much, Stephanie, for having me.

SC: Why don’t we go ahead and start by just giving everyone a bit of your background and how you got into this type of work? Then I think we’ll be able to loop that into why our coatings contractors should be interested in this type of work.

TR: Absolutely. Dr. Tiffany Reed. I use she/her pronouns. I spent the last 12 years in the higher education/education realm. Whether that is working with campus partners, campus constituents, stakeholders, students, faculty, and the community, has been really my passion. When I first started in this field, I did a lot of diversity, equity, and inclusion work from a residential life perspective. How students were transitioning on campus, living on campus with a multitude of different backgrounds, and really thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion in and outside of the classroom.

Looking at it from a top-down approach. What does our training look like for our campus leaders? What did our training look like for our campus stakeholders and partners? Sometimes, what we realized is that we spent so much of our time making sure that a lot of our students had this development around inclusion, understanding equity, understanding belonging. But the gap was they were going into the workplace, and a lot of our workplaces really weren’t thinking about diversity as a whole perspective. And then thinking of that action perspective of inclusion. I spent 12 years, whether it was doing training, helping develop diversity centers, in and outside of the classroom, working with our campus partners. Thinking about that from a socioeconomic perspective for institutions and really looking at how predominantly white institutions were preparing some of our global cities, which is our students, to go into the workforce.

I started at the University of Pittsburgh, worked my way. Now I’m at Indiana State University, where I oversee the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center as well as faculty in our Student Affairs Higher Education program. Being in and outside of the classroom, you get to hear from professionals sometimes who never had this developmental training. Sometimes it’s just going along and not realizing that workplace problems sometimes can stem from microaggressions, unconscious bias, lack of inclusive language.

About a year or so ago, I started InclusionP365. The reason why is because I want to know why isn’t being inclusive a priority 365 days of the year? We see this where companies are having their MLK Day of Service. Or celebrating Women’s History Month. Or currently now we’re going into May, and it’s Asian-American Pacific Islander month. But we realized that we were just staying at that. But I was thinking, inclusivity should happen every day. When we think about that new staff member who’s starting on onboarding, when we think about the recruitment process, and really looking at the blinders that can be happening even from the application process all the way to the board room.

What I’ve realized is that a lot of companies in the workplace field are not realizing that inclusivity, diversity, equity, and the belonging perspective shouldn't be an add-on. It should be woven through the entire work experience. Not just during the onboarding training. But how are we thinking about day-to-day conversations around current topics?

When I started my company, I was realizing — when you work with the University of Pittsburgh, that’s a very high-level engineering program, had a lot of students who were going into the workplace, but they were getting there and realizing that their companies that they were working for weren’t ready for them to dive into those conversations. I wanted to think of a company that was really thinking about bridging the gap. Bridging the gap of what’s happening in and outside of the classroom on these college campuses and really helping some of our workplace culture understand that we’re preparing these global citizens’ mindsets. So how can I help you and your company understand that the inclusive workforce is something that should start from the top down but be woven through the entire experience?

I think with this type of work that I’ve been working on is that I’ve seen a spark due to the recent event — when we think about COVID-19 and having to be quarantined for almost a year, I think if we did not have COVID-19 and being quarantined, it would have not allowed society to pause and pay attention to what was happening with George Floyd. Now we see companies like, “Oh my gosh, we didn’t have a diversity inclusion statement.” “Oh, we don’t even have this training.” It’s like now it’s become the forefront of this is what needs to be happening, but it should have already been happening. Now, what we don’t want is to make it performative allyship or performative belonging. We want it to be authentic. That’s really important for me is to help companies, to meet them where they are. This is not the opportunity — when we think about diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging — that we should shame a company for not knowing something. Or shame an individual for not understanding where they are in their social identify development. It’s more so how can I call you in, meet you where you are, and really want to build the passion around the priority of inclusivity, which is where InclusionP365 came from.


SC: So much of what you just said is amazing. One of the things that really sticks with me is that what you're saying, it sounds like, is this should not be a box that someone checks once and then walks away. Like you said, it has to be woven into their culture.

TR: Yes. Because when you think about the workplace culture, we say we want different people at the table. But do we know how to interact with different people? When you scroll down your Facebook group, is everyone from the same background, same neighborhood, same educational background, same workplace background? How inclusive and how diverse are we? We have to self-reflect. I always do this training where it’s like let’s do the self-work, the homework, and the work work. It starts with yourself.

Everyone has unconscious bias. Everyone has even exuded and experienced a microaggression. Everyone has blinders. Everybody knows what it’s like to be excluded about something. But the goal is, if you recognize that in-group versus out-group, how are you being intentional? Being intentional when it comes to creating spaces, brave spaces, for people to not have to bend to fit in in your workplace environment when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging? How are you evaluating your culture dynamics at work? Because if you're telling someone that they have to come in and fit into a narrative, into a box, you’re creating robots. The goal is, I want you at this table because of your different narrative. I want you at this table because you have different perspective. I want you at this table because you have a completely different background. What we have to do is — I don’t want you here because of that because I don’t want to tokenize you. I want to celebrate you, I want to hear you, and I want to believe that your narrative is the truth and not having to compare it to mine.

That’s really important when we think about having diverse workforces because we want so many people to have a different perspective, but we don’t know how to train and develop for people to adapt to difference. I like to tell people, Let’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When you think of that math class and you're struggling to get that equation done, that’s when learning happens. When you're feeling discomfort to talk about a racial experience, a sexual orientation experience — or, like myself, I am a black woman, a person with a disability, with an invisible disability. I want to be able to come in and be my full self. But I have to bring my full self to the table, and I want you to bring your full self and not generalizing someone’s identity at the table.

That’s where we have to think about everyone has blinders. How do we hold each other accountable when a blinder becomes a barrier? Becomes a barrier with promotions, becomes a barrier with engagement, and sometimes becoming a barrier within your product. When you think about the product, when you think of your consumers, your consumers are diverse. But when you think about your product, it’s how are we making sure that if I am thinking about something that I have multiple people at the table who are going to give me a different perspective. Knowing that their perspective is valued, needed, and appreciated. That’s really important.

We don’t want companies checking a box. We don’t want companies to just think, we had this happen this summer, what are we doing? I’m just so glad that companies are reevaluating their policies and procedures that could be oppressive to various communities. I’m so thankful that companies are reevaluating language that’s non-inclusive. And I’m so glad that companies are understanding, wow, we have been so blinded by the privilege of having the same mindset in the same space. We have to welcome difference. We have to. That’s where our product will continue to grow. Our product will continue to advance because we’re not just thinking about one particular customer. We’re thinking about everyone.

From the educational perspective, our customers are a wide range of different students with multiple different backgrounds, coming from multiple different socioeconomic perspectives. That allows us to have not just this belonging advancement, but it also helps to think about from an equitable perspective. How are we thinking about equitable opportunity across the board? I think it’s very important for companies who really want to advance their company to think of not just diversity, the inclusion, but also equity and belonging. Everyone wants to have a sense of belonging in their workplace where they can be their full, unapologetic, authentic self.


SC: I think you just gave a really good overview of so many things. One of the things that I keep coming back to is the why. We should care about this because we want to be good people and good humans, but in addition to that, that’s internal as far as I’m concerned. But there’s also an external why. I think you just did a really good job of touching on why our listeners should care about this, externally, is because it could have an impact on your business, on the people who you're dealing with, your customers, your clients, your products. That was such an amazing way to put that.

I want to make one note right now, just for our listeners, because I think that one key important difference might be that a lot of the people coming into this industry, the contracting industry, might not be coming from a higher education stand—. Their background might not be higher education. But that doesn’t change the need and the diversity of the workforce that could be coming in straight from trade schools or straight from a general workforce, so to speak. I think — I just want to make that clarification, that just because a listener hears “higher education, college” does not mean this does not apply to them. This absolutely still applies.

TR: Yes, absolutely. It’s just this is my walk of life. Whether I’m meeting someone from the trade perspective, whether your path was completely different in not wanting to pursue an advanced degree, that doesn’t matter. You’re working every day with people. You should know how to work with a wide range of different people, and validating and appreciating, which goes back to that sense of belonging and ties directly to inclusivity.

That is some of the things that are not being — we train from customer service, but we don’t train from an inclusive mindset when it comes to customer service. That makes us have to think about how are you interacting with people from all walks of life. How are you recognizing when bias shows up? Who’s holding you accountable? That’s really important for people to know that accountability, awareness, and action are woven through the experience around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. I have to be aware of my own identity. I have to be aware of others’ identity. The action part is, if I am recognizing microaggressions, non-inclusive language, not being supportive of one community, understanding what allyship looks like, how can my company really take the next step? I am unintentionally creating barriers that can be someone’s feeling they are oppressed at work. When we say being oppressed at work, look at your policies and procedures. Was it the same type of people who helped create those? Did you have a wide range of different people with different walks of life, different backgrounds, different narratives at the table? That is how you get a chance to think — and then when you add even more diversity to your company, how are you thinking about adding their perspective and hearing their thoughts?

That’s why it’s very important when I say it’s a top-down approach. I’ve seen where your CEO, your VP, your C-suite, your managers, your supervisors — where is the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for their ongoing development? It cannot start just with our day-to-day individuals who are working on operations. It cannot just start there because what we’re pretty much saying is that we don’t want to role model the behavior. How are we role modeling inclusivity?

I always tell my staff, I would never ask you do to something that I’m not willing to do. That doesn’t mean just — that means that if I am trying to push myself into spaces where I’m going to talk about my identity, my race, my gender, ability, I want to show that I can lean in as well. Vulnerability equals strength. How are we creating this culture of empathy and understanding that your walk of life and the narrative and experiences that you're navigating is your truth. My walk of life is my truth. How am I speaking of that and understanding, like, Wow, Dr. Reed, she has to navigate multiple microaggressions every day. There’s not a day that I don’t talk about it.

SC: I was just going to say could you give our listeners an example. Sorry. Go for it.

TR: No worries. A microaggression is I can be in a room full of individuals, and they’ll continue to call me Tiffany. My name is Dr. Reed. That’s one thing. Or, if someone says, “Gosh, you're just so articulate. You speak so well.” What does that mean? Am I not supposed to speak well?

SC: Are you expecting me not to speak well?

TR: Yes. Are you expecting me not to speak well? “Oh my gosh, you're not like all the other black people.” What does that mean? Or, “Oh my gosh, can I touch your hair? I love your hair.” Then you reach and touch my hair as if I’m a pet. As if I’m not a human being. As if I’ve given you consent to put your hands on me. The most is that “We’re all human. I don’t see any color.” Well, when you say that, you erase my identity. You erase a huge part of me. You erase something that I navigate every day in every work space. I really want people to understand that microaggressions show up all the time. As I mentioned, I’m a person with an invisible disability. “Are you sure? You don’t look like you have a disability.” That’s a microaggression. If someone discloses to you, “Hey, I have anxiety or depression.” “Oh, you look normal.” What does normal mean? Or when people say, “Where are you really from?” When you even ask that question, when you think that’s an icebreaker, you are othering someone. You're othering someone as if they don’t belong.

I tell companies all the time, start asking, “Where’s home?” Home is different. Home brings in — wow, home looks different in different cultures and different perspectives. Your home definition is different from mine. When you ask me where am I from, you’re already insinuating that I’m not from here. You’re already making me feel like I’m an outsider. These are just a few microaggressions. Most people don’t know. Microaggressions are subtle insults with hidden messages that exude and tie into an perpetuate stereotypes. You indicating I’m articulate is as if I am an uneducated person of color.

SC: It’s the message.

TF: It’s really a back-handed compliment, and it happens every day. What people don’t understand is we unintentionally teach those around us when we don’t call in that person and disarm it. Because now I have to navigate through my mind and discern, “Did I just experience that? What’s wrong with me? Should I say something?” Now I feel comfortable enough to say something if someone says, “No, Bob is awesome. He has a good heart. No way he would ever say anything like that.”

SC: He didn’t mean it.

TF: I understand. He didn’t mean it that way. He’s a good person. Well, if we want to be cliché, everybody should be a good person. It doesn’t mean that that action didn’t happen. So I’ve unintentionally gaslit you. Now I am making you second guess your own experience. I’ve unintentionally created this anxiety. Now I’m going to shut down and work. Now it’s going to be hard for me to engage with anybody. Are you going to be thinking about that microaggression all that time?

If our goal in our companies is how do we disarm them and disarm them from a space of this isn’t a time for me to have a teachable moment. I think that’s really important. I don’t care if you're the president of the company down to the janitor. Everybody can learn. This is why — I think this is just the educator in me, is that everybody is a student. You have not arrived. No one has. Especially when it comes to being even more inclusive. I learn even more every day. I go into spaces, into companies and really try to help them understand, is that I don’t want to belittle you. I don’t want to shame you. I don’t want you to feel like you're the worst person ever. I want you to understand I need you to engage. I need you to lean in. I need you to lean into that discomfort. I don’t need you to shut down because there’s been a lot of people who’ve been shutting down due to the microaggressions, due to the non-inclusive language, due to the bias.

You recognize it’s a privilege not to engage, but the goal is I want you to recognize that and be able to say, You know what? This is a barrier. I need to move this barrier out of the way and I need to get in. I need to help be a part of the thread that is going to be woven through the entire company experience around inclusivity. I want to be a part of this impact. Just like I tell students and companies, executives, homework is every day.

SC: You said each day we should be uncomfortable, right?

TR: We avoid uncomfortability like it’s nothing. Oh, I don’t want to say anything. I’m going to let it go. By you continuing to let it go, you're teaching people that that behavior and that culture is a norm in your company.

SC: And then that’s how they’ll everyone else, too, I would think. If I’m going to treat my own people like that, of course I’m going to treat my customers and clients the same way.

TR: Absolutely.


SC: You mentioned something about “I’m colorblind.” That really made me think, too, because that was kind of the rhetoric maybe 20 years ago. A lot of people were just like, “I’m colorblind. I don’t see that.” What is makes me think is how this type of work really has evolved over time. Can you speak to that at all and where you think it’s going to be moving to in the future?

TR: I think people are going to be more recognizing what that language looks like and understanding that by saying you don’t see color, it means “I don’t see that you’re a Latin-X individual.” You're saying, “I’m dismissing the fact that you may come from a different cultural background or cultural narrative, and I’m lumping you together. I’m generalizing you.” And not realizing that my rice, being identified as a black woman, is something that I navigate every day. If I’m navigating that every day and you take that away, it’s more so you're erasing it. You're erasing my experience, you're erasing my skill set, you're erasing — because my identity is woven through my skill set. It’s woven through my narrative.

I think now we’re going to see more companies who are being intentional with their diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging training, to be able to help call in staff members to understand, No, we recognize that we have only five people of color on staff and our staff is 100 and there’s only five. We cannot continue to lean on only those five individuals to help us understand our diversity initiatives. We’re tokenizing them to speak about certain narratives around people of color. That creates burnout. It creates a space of Are you only talking to me about this issue because you see that I’m a person of color? When it should be like, No, how are we celebrating them? How are we engaging their narratives and understanding that all of their narratives are completely different? I think more companies are being even more intentional about their workplace culture and understanding that some of the language can be hurtful, harmful, and injuring to underrepresented groups.

SC: I think one of the things, too, I had briefly mentioned to you in the email, is the construction industry is going through a really big labor shortage, and I would have to imagine there are so many people entering the workforce who are going to be looking for this type of work. They’re going to want to work for a company that sees them, sees what they can contribute, doesn’t use them as “I’m not just there because I fill this specific profile.” You actually want to have me as a member of the team and help to change this culture. I could totally see that.

TR: Absolutely.


SC: I think you touched on this a little bit, but I want to circle back to — because I don’t want to ignore the fact that we just recently had the verdict come out about the officer — I don't know how to say it —

TR: Derek Chauvin.

SC: I try so hard. I’m like, I don't want to give him the —

TR: I understand. Because so many people say the George Floyd trial. George Floyd is not on trial.

SC: They put him on, but anyway we don’t need to go down there. Anyway…

TR: Right.

SC: That’s a whole ’nother can of worms.

TR: That’s a whole other process.

SC: Exactly. I imagine you and I could probably do a series. There’s so much to talk about. I want to just touch a little bit on — if people are going — I think they should but that’s really their choice — if people are going to start this type of work within their own companies, these types of events keep happening. Last week with the verdict regarding George Floyd’s death. Obviously, that affects members of our community in very real ways. It should affect all of us. But what can people do as leaders of their company to help foster this inclusive workforce, to help their team members process or support them in any way that they can? Do you have tips as far as that goes?

TR: Absolutely. I want to make sure I’m being very intentional because I know, when we think about solidarity, solidarity within the movement, allyship in the movement, is that it wasn’t just George Floyd. We have Breonna Taylor. The same day of the verdict, Ma’Khia Bryant was also murdered. We think of Adam Toledo, the Latin-X young male from Chicago. We also have to think of our people of color within the LGBTQ, the trans community, who we don’t hear about what happens to them. And also bringing up what’s happening with our Asian-American Pacific Islander community and how are we standing against hate.

I think it’s very important for us; it’s time to create the space to unpack what is happening. Because if you're not talking about it at home, and you're not talking about it at work, that means that you don’t have to talk about it at all. I think what some of the companies have to do is, one, create the space to first unpack what’s happening. Come in and just simply share what are your perspectives. But also letting people understand that there’s a — racial trauma and racial fatigue, it’s real. It’s real. When I think of the anxiety during that trial, anxiety and fear of that burden. I want you to put this in perspective, Stephanie. I oversee an African American Culture Center. This is the Catch 22. I’m looking for a guilty verdict because of what’s happened to people of color. But also understanding the fear if someone’s going to retaliate. Is someone going to retaliate against my center, against individuals who look like me? That’s the reality that people are navigating.

When I walk into a grocery store, you don’t know that I’m Dr. Reed. When I get pulled over, you don’t know my credentials. I could have been Breonna Taylor. I could have been George Floyd. That’s the level of empathy that we want our workforces to understand. But if you're not being intentional getting to know any and everybody in your company, then you don’t care about them as a whole as people. We have to think that we’re people. When we think about that, we have to think, Wow, there was not a dry eye when the verdict came out because it was so much built up of fear and anxiety. But that comes with trauma. That comes with the racial fatigue. Those are the spaces where I think companies have to understand it, I navigate racial fatigue and trauma by simply navigating all the microaggressions.

SC: By just being you.

TR: Just by being myself. How do you as a CEO, a company, understand that? How do you accept me and all of me and my identity? Understanding that you should not just have one person in your company doing diversity, equity, inclusion work. That doesn’t just fall on your human resources department. It is not just a person who’s able to do this when it’s available. This should be woven into everyone’s job description. When you're interviewing, how do you ask about inclusivity? How do you ask about working with various backgrounds? How do you simply ask, “What’s an area of growth around division, equity, inclusion that you may need more learning and support on?”

SC: I like that.

TR: We have to start thinking — those are things that — so that we can help develop our employees to know that you’re not just coming here to do a job. We want to think about diversity, equity, and inclusion from the recruitment, the hiring, the promotion, the leadership, and developing even more global citizens. How are you developing a global perspective in your employee? That needs to be everyone’s responsibility. But if you're not weaving that into the job description, your job posting, even in your hiring questions, you are unintentionally sharing with people that “this may be not be a place for me. This is place that I may not feel like they’re going to accept me.”

What ends up happening is people who do understand diversity and inclusion or who come from a visible or invisible identity of difference or just a different walk of life, they’re going to ask, “What do you do around diversity, equity, and inclusion?” If a company says, “That’s a great question” and has nothing to follow up, you can’t go back to the company community service that you do once a year because now you're associating diversity, equity, and inclusion as a part of charitable work. You could say, “We donate to this nonprofit.” Now you're associating money as being inclusive, as actually caring about diversity.

These are the things I want us to think about, is how are we responding that can even be oppressive. Those responses and some of those things are coming from a very privileged perspective. Are you having multiple month trainings? When you think about your evaluation process, how are you making sure that the language that’s describing a candidate is not deeply rooted into a stereotype? Or, how can I take up space and be a black woman who’s expressive and you not say, “Well, Dr. Reed is very intimidating.” I’ve never seen her do anything that’s — how are we challenging that? Instead, weaving that as a narrative that that person now has to walk through it. If I speak — you know, I’m a plus-size taller black woman. Now if I speak up, you know, “I’m feeling a little scared to talk to Tiffany about this. I’m feeling a little worried that she will lash out.” No, that’s loaded language. Loaded language that is perpetuating a stereotype that is centered around fear that is tied to my race and my gender.

What we have to do in our companies is be able to challenge that. To support the individual as they’re learning. Challenge and support go hand in hand. How do I support you where you may be lacking with a blinder that’s creating a barrier but also supporting you through? Okay, this is what we have to think about next. Because the oppression that you're putting on that person, now that’s another microaggression that they have to unpack. What I think some companies have to do is understand this is everyone’s involvement. I ask people and challenge people, look at your job description. Do you see anything in there about diversity, equity, and inclusion? Is there anything in there about helping create initiatives to support a multitude of different backgrounds and identities in our company? Where is your diversity, equity, and inclusion statement? When I say statement, that statement should be always discussed. It should be woven through your mission, vision, and values. Being able to — you should be able to see those words, but don’t let those just be words. This goes back to the action part. The action part is being able to re-evaluate what your company has been doing, what it needs to stop doing, what it needs to continue to do, and what it needs to start to do. It’s like a stop-start-continue exercise. There are some things that you could be doing that are extremely oppressive and it’s extremely problematic. I think those are some things to think about.


SC: That’s great. I think that that is a perfect place for people to start their work. You’ve given so many tips that people can start acting on right now. I just want to reiterate the fact that I think what’s important is — it seems like what you're saying is that this is a continual process. It’s not a one and done.

TR: No, this is a journey. This is why I say every day is homework. Every day you're a student. Every day you're going to learn something different. So we have to get out of this mindset that if I create these things, we’re done. No, even more work has to be applied.

SC: I feel like we should have a workshop with you at some point. People can go off, after you listen to this, do some homework and come back and we’ll bring Dr. Reed back on.

TR: Absolutely. Feel free. I do consulting work for a multiple different companies. If anyone would like to stay connected, they can always find me on LinkedIn under Dr. Tiffany Reed. Or my email at  Most people find me there. I don’t mind helping support not just the company — I don’t look at it just as the company. I am extremely passionate around watching you have your aha moment and understanding like, ‘Wow, I could do better.’ Everybody can. If everybody has that aha moment, and it may happen immediately, it may happen later. Think of the impact.

I think it’s imperative to know that us working together as a collective and wanting to do this work, knowing there are going to be days when I’m extremely uncomfortable, extremely vulnerable. But that means that I am growing and learning and understanding difference and understanding social identity development and understanding inclusivity and understanding people. That’s really important. You work for people.


SC: Which is what we’re all made of. These companies are made of people. We will be sure to include your contact information in the show notes. I think this has been amazing. Thank you so much. Before we wrap up, we have a short, rapid-fire round of questions that I thought I would run through and see what your brain, where your brain goes. Who is your hero or mentor?

TR: Wow. I would say my hero and mentor — is it two separate? Is that OK?

SC: Sure, this is your answer. You do you.

TR: I would say my hero is my little sister. Her name is Celestine Reed. She is a second-grade teacher in Indianapolis. Watching her navigate the virtual world with second graders and going back in the classroom. This week is Teachers Appreciation Week, so if you know a teacher, or you know your child’s teacher, or just any teacher, please show some appreciation because what our teachers went through during this COVID pandemic. But she’s my hero because she pushes me to really stay aligned in my purpose and my passion. The way you give really shows how — her students, the people around her. I admire her on a day to day. And she’s my little sister.

SC: I love that.

TR: My mentor is a very important woman who I recently just met here at Indiana State University. It’s actually two of them. It’s Dr. Kandace Hinton and Dr. Mary Howard-Hamilton. These two women are pretty much a force to be reckoned with. Not just in this field, but their work, their activism, their passion around social justice, and their ability to do the work, not just in and outside of the classroom but within the community. It’s like having conversations with them, I’m like, Wow. They’re so amazing. But the way they pour back into you, to push you to find your light. I think that’s where I have, in doing my diversity, equity, inclusion consulting work, is this is my passion, my purpose, and it’s a vision, need to be able to help others. Having mentors who support me in my field and outside of my field is so vital. Dr. Kandace Hinton and Dr. Mary Howard-Hamilton are some amazing mentors. I am so honored just to be able to work with them but also have them as my mentors.

SC: That’s great. It just kind of solidifies what you were saying earlier about we never stop learning. You said you just met them. Further proof.

TR: Yes, absolutely.


SC: What is your biggest pet peeve?

TR: Oh, that is a good one. I think my biggest pet peeve is the word can’t. The reason why I say it’s a pet peeve is because I really feel like anybody can do what they put their mind to it. It doesn’t have to look like somebody else’s. I can’t do it. No, you don’t need to do it that way. You can do it this way. That’s really important to know that there’s nothing you can’t do. You can do it the way that fits your learning style, your passion, and how you navigate things. That’s a pet peeve, is when someone’s — and maybe that’s just to me, especially when someone says I can’t do something. But I like to tell people, You can do anything. I’m a person, I do identify as a Christian, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But I definitely believe that word itself is so, it’s such a norm now, saying what you can’t do. And it’s like, Who said so?

SC: That’s such a good point.

TR: Ask the question. You think, “Oh, I can’t do this.” Who said so?

SC: Who told you that?

TR: It was like, “Oh, I don’t know.” Well. then, it’s not real. You can do it.


SC: That’s great. Last question is what media are you consuming right now? Book, TV show, movie, podcast, what have you. What’s your go-to right now?

TR: When it comes to education, I’m reading a lot of other books around church. But I think a great book right now that’s my go-to is So You Want to Talk About Race. It’s a great book right now that’s really helping companies, individuals navigate the conversations around race. I feel like a lot of us have never talked about it. Because we haven’t talked about it, how can I engage in that conversation in a very healthy, understanding manner? That’s a great book that I have been referencing and having to use all the time.

SC: I’ll link that in the show notes as well. That’s a great resource for people to be able to pull out of their library if they want to. Awesome. Thank you so much for all of your time and your knowledge and sharing it with us. This has been educational for me, for sure, so hopefully it will be helpful for others, too. Just a good place to start, if the listeners haven’t gotten a chance to start working on this type of inclusion, diversity, all these good things that we need to be working on. Thank you so much for taking the time with us today.

TR: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Stephanie.

[closing statements]