We hear a lot in the news these days about “diversity” and “inclusion” and it’s often best to speak to someone who is working on these issues each day to get a sense of the state of affairs. Today I welcome one of those people, Genesis Amaris Kemp, to the Mads Singers Management Podcast. Genesis is a self-proclaimed “enthusiast” for inclusivity and diversity and has a book that outlines her thoughts on the subject: Chocolate Drop in Corporate America.
Genesis and I started the episode talking about passion and I shared how fortunate I was to have stumbled across my passion via a great boss. She was such a great manager that I ditched my planned career path to study management so I could become as good as her. One of the problems I run into when I chat with people is they aren’t getting out there often enough to find their passions. Pro tip: you’re not going to find your passion sitting on your couch.
Part of being a great manager is being able to give feedback, but it’s also the hallmark of a great employee to be able to take feedback. I’d love to say that I was a natural, but it actually took me years to be able to just say “thank you” and thoughtfully consider what had been shared with me instead of just getting defensive and resentful, which of course led to total lack of productivity on my part.
Part of the “feedback” that the corporate world has been receiving is the need to be more inclusive and diverse in the workplace and in leadership roles. This has even led to a quota system in Norway that mandates that 40% of the seats of boards of publicly traded companies must be held by women. That’s actually been discouraging to friends of mine who earned their spots before these quotas. I also recently fielded complaints from those who looked at our speaker list for the SEO Mastery Summit: “Why aren’t there more women?” We simply didn’t have a lot of women apply. Genesis and I talked about the relevance of quotas, the importance of making sure there’s a wide range of individuals of different ethnicities and cultures in given businesses, and the need to ensure that those individuals can see a path for them to rise and spread their wings, to not just be seen, but be heard.
The trap of “checking the box” or “tokenizing” diversity is always lurking, even in our subconscious, so it’s worthwhile to challenge our assumptions and look to improve our workplaces for ourselves and our team members. Enjoy this episode with Genesis!
- Genesis gives us her definition of passion – 1:45
- Mads relates how a great boss changed his career path and allowed him to stumble across a passion – 3:20
- Mads reminds us that hearing feedback isn’t always easy – 7:30
- Mads goes on to warn against the defensiveness that is almost a reflex when hearing negative feedback – 10:30
- Genesis defines diversity, inclusivity, equity, and equality – 12:40
- Mads underlines the high stakes of hiring in a small business – 17:35
- Mads shares his own challenges in finding female speakers for a conference he runs – 22:55
- Genesis warns of “check the box” syndrome – 28:45
- Genesis also warns of divided employee resource groups (ERGs) – 29:30
- Mads reminds us that mentors love to help those who are passionate – 37:30