The Power of Inclusion & Owning Who You Are: An Interview with Jennifer Brown
In this conversation with author and diversity and inclusion expert Jennifer Brown, we dive into how we can discover our power and authenticity by owning the specific aspects of who we are and what sets us apart.
Jennifer is an award-winning entrepreneur and dynamic speaker. She is the founder, president, and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting (JBC), a strategic leadership and diversity consulting firm that coaches business leaders worldwide on critical issues of talent and workplace strategy. As a passionate advocate for social equality, she delves into the “business case for diversity” and helps businesses foster healthier, more productive workplace cultures. With over a decade of experience consulting to Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, Starbucks, and Capital One, Jennifer is a highly sought-after expert on changing demographics—specifically, communities of identity such as women, people of color, and LGBT individuals.
In this interview, we discuss Jennifer’s new book, Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will To Change (2016), a highly informative source that inspires each and every one of us to embrace the opportunity that diversity represents—while empowering advocates to find their voices and be a driving force in creating organizations that resonate in a fast-changing world.
[Tweet “If you you’ve had to be a chameleon because of your identity, know that this is a strength.” —@jenniferbrown]
From discussing our society’s changing attitudes toward diversity and inclusion (such as the 60 gender descriptions you can find on Facebook), to the reality of the challenges that many minority groups still face, Jennifer talks about how diversity can help us get clear on both our personal values and our company’s values. She also encourages people to begin having the larger, more difficult conversations about diversity—not simply by preaching to the choir but seeking out the voices that we may have been unconsciously shutting out.
At the end of the day, diversity fosters qualities of resilience, resourcefulness, and emotional intelligence. As Jennifer explains, anyone can begin a conversation about inclusiveness and diversity—and, in the business world, more sophisticated companies are desperate for diverse talent. I hope you enjoy and learn from this conversation as much as I did!
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1:24 How Jennifer got into teaching businesses about diversity
3:27 Jennifer’s LGBT identity and desire to be a teacher of the lessons of her life
4:30 What diversity and inclusion mean, and why they are beneficial
6:45 The importance of being specific about our identities
9:12 Feeling seen, heard, and welcomed will let us do our best work
10:30 The challenges and blind spots organizations face when it comes to implementing inclusion and diversity
13:09: How one authentic person has the power to make a difference
17:20 The hard conversations we need to have about diversity and inclusion
21:15 Unconscious bias and how it impacts us
23:13 Ways that employees and team members can advocate for themselves when they don’t feel supported
26:15 How to start a conversation and take a leadership role in diversity to build your voice
27:00 Flip the script and own your stories: why being a minority in any sense of the world can give you what you need to excel