Global Reflection – Ep.35

Colorful Communication – Ep.34
November 3, 2021
Becoming Agile – Ep.36
November 17, 2021

Head of Global Reflection at UniWorld Group, Douglas Freeman explains how companies can transform theIr DEI practices. Freeman offers his advice on leveraging DEI business plans and methods used to disrupt traditional decision-making.

Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around diversity, inclusion and equity. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special share, or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started. Douglas C. Freeman is the president of the Global Reflections and Inclusive Leadership Practice. The diversity and inclusion division at UniWorld group incorporated, a global multicultural communication and advertising firm. Global reflections is a sophisticated line of client offerings that provide corporations with a deep portfolio of holistic diversity and inclusion best practices, customized to the client specific business needs. Mr. Freeman and UWG have completed diversity and inclusion projects for some of the world’s leading organizations. From Disney and major league baseball to Morgan Stanley and the European union commission in Brussels.

Mr. Freeman has served as vice chairman of the United Nations gender equality experts panel, was named a 40 under 40 business leader by the New York city network journal, and is a former board trustee of Georgetown College, US educational partner of Regent’s Park college, Oxford university, and he recently served on the Dean’s alumni leadership council at the JFK school of government, Harvard university. He holds a master’s in public policy degree from the John F. Kennedy school at Harvard university, an MBA essentials credential from the London school of economics, along with a bachelor of arts from the University of California at Berkeley attended Harvard University on a Woodrow Wilson fellowship, completed his graduate degree, focused on international trade and finance and received top grade for his master’s thesis work. He is a two time British Columbia under 19 rugby all-star, two time Canadian universities all Canadian, and was selected for the Canada under 21 team as a rugby all-star.

He is the son of Emmy award winning conductor, maestro Paul Freeman, the first African American to lead a Canadian symphony orchestra. Please join me in welcoming Doug Freeman. All right, well, this week I am so excited to have Doug Freeman here with me from UWG, and before we start, I want to publicly thank you for being so very supportive of so many people, but for me personally, because you are such a mentor to others.

You truly walk the walk and lift as you climb, so I really want to thank you for your encouragement. You’re certainly one of the reasons that I’m so interested in this work and you not only understand kind of your own ability to use your wisdom, but the power of your own network, so I just want to thank you for what you’ve done for me and for what you do for everyone else around the world regarding DEI and the environmental, social, and governance aspects of it, so thank you, and we will celebrate you today, Doug.

Douglas Freeman:  Oh, that’s very kind. It’s such an opportunity and good blessings to be here, so thank you so much for inviting me.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah, no. So one of the things I usually start out with is just, can you give us a flavor for how you started out? Because I know you’ve been doing DEI probably longer than people have been saying DEI.

Douglas Freeman:  It has  been a while, so I guess they could say I’ve had a bit of a circuitous route, some zigs and some zags, but been very fortunate throughout. I started out as an undergrad. I started out initially on the east coast and ultimately transferred and finished my degree locally in the Bay Area at Cal, and I was a Poli sci major and economics minor. With that degree, I went to New York city. A friend of mine was at NYU law school. I visited him and was very impressed by the city and the vibrance. The diversity and the culture of the global nature of New York, and I just wanted to experience for a summer. At the time had the opportunity to work at what’s now Verizon, it was the local Nynex telephone company, and one of my bosses referred me into my next job, which in investment banking, at an organization called chase security. That is now JP Morgan chase.

And I worked in turnaround investment banking for organizations that were in dire straits and a fair amount of work needed to be done to pull them out or at least to gather whatever assets could be gathered from those organizations. From there, I went to public policy school, I didn’t go business school. I was fortunate enough to have a fellowship. I went to government school in the Boston area, and then I got a master in public policy, came back to New York, and I switched over to consulting. I worked in Deloitte consulting strategy group, focused on communications and media, and at the time I was going on that first wave of internet companies in the late nineties and one of my colleagues from graduate school, was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and he started an internet company in England, and he set up an office in New York, so I had the opportunity to move from Deloitte, to this internet company in my late twenties.

And of course I knew nothing about what I was doing in sales and business development, so I had to learn very quickly. There were four of us running an office of four to six when I started, and within six months there were over 70 of us in the same New York office, so we grew very rapidly, of course, March 2000 hit, and the internet bubble burst. We were very fortunate to actually raise funds in Europe, and that allowed us to continue operations. After that fundraise, they closed New York office. That ended that sort of, I want to say first wave of my career, and started me on a second wave, and after that, I didn’t want to go back to consulting and banking. I wanted to try something on my own, and a good colleague of yours, Melissa Linda McGee. I met at a trade show, and one of the biggest trade shows and I reached out to her and I told her I’d be in the bay area.

She had some strategic business issues to discuss, and we were able to spend a considerable amount of time together, and she was kind enough to give me a consulting engagement, and I worked on an e-commerce strategy report for visa around B2B e-commerce portals and the possibility of visa actually making a considerable investment in one of those portals, and once the competitive landscape and analysis and financial forecast and ultimately the recommendation given the [inaudible] nature of March 2000, a whole list of other factors was to not proceed, and that would’ve been an eight figure investment visa was looking at, and of course that was the right call at the time. I think I got a little bit of credibility from that, and continued to work with Linda and the visa team over multiple years. So I’ll stop there.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow, and fast forward to now you are the president of the reflections practice at UWG, which is the longest standing multicultural marketing agency in the country. And I love the fact that you all call it the reflections practice, because it’s like looking in a mirror, I guess, when you’re really exposing where everyone is, on kind of the DEI spectrum. I know you speak to chief diversity officers and CEOs all the time, and everybody’s kind of in a different place when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, belonging. How does someone get started? How does a company really kind of get started? What’s your kind of advice to them?

Douglas Freeman:  We have, as we can imagine had a lot of companies that have gotten started particularly in this slide last 18 to 24 months, and there’s been a lot of pressure as well to get started from internal forces and external, and so for a while, we have to reflect on practice, Melyssa, for that very question, because how you start will dictate, believe it or not, how you finish, and the more important [inaudible] if you finish effectively and you reach your objective, so we wanted to provide a simple formula for people so that they could have comfort in knowing what to do in that situation, anywhere in the world, any size, any organization. And we call that the three As as in apple, and the first a is around assessment. You really need to determine and get baselines using your organizational data and other data points.

Where is your organization around diversity, inclusion of talent, culture, and marketplace and supply chain, community, and philanthropic investments and stakeholder engagement. Where do you really stand? And get data to lay out where you stand. Not conjecture opinion, but heavy quantitative and qualitative data points. From that analysis and data collection and baseline, you’ll be able to prioritize your top actions, because what really has transpired for the bulk, not the heavy majority of organizations, in the last 24 months is that they didn’t do the assessments. They went straight to action. They just started councils [inaudible] and they didn’t build a strategy and they didn’t have any data supporting that strategy, and so it was based on conjecture and opinion and gut feel. Unfortunately for diversity, that cannot be the driver because everybody’s got conjecture, opinion and gut feel, and there’s no real compass to guide you to what to do and what can be the most effective and what be the most efficient utilization of your resources and time.

And as a result, when you’re in action mode and nothing else you’re doing a bunch of activities over a year or two people get frustrated and that’s what’s happened. You have diversity councils and ERGs that have had 80% drop off since mid last year. So that’s the second A, action. The third A is accountability. You need to have accountability [inaudible] to those actions. Not just metrics accountability. You need to be able to show as an organization that you’re committed to diversity through thick and thin. Through restructurings and the bad times, as well as the good. The strength of an accountable organization around diversity means that when things are tough, diversity does not go by the wayside, is not the first thing cut. In fact, it is usually kept or expanded, because people have done well around it. So those three A’s are really where [inaudible] as foundations from people’s strategic directions.

Melyssa Barrett:  That’s fantastic. And clearly, how you start out with that assessment, if it’s not deep enough, if it’s not broad enough, I connect the dots to what your effectiveness rate is going to be. And then in terms of UWG, because I do feel like, having gotten to know you a little bit, UWG has a little bit of a different perspective that you bring to the table, when you think about diversity, equity and inclusion, because I think a lot of companies feel like this is an extra cost center, and you really bring in a perspective in terms of being able to craft opportunities from the DEI work. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Douglas Freeman:  Sure. When we do our assessment work, you’re absolutely right around the data. There are typically one to two types of standard data for assessment. One is your organizational data. That’s employee engagement surveys and focus groups and interviews and exit data and HR metrics, turnover data, recruitment data, performance evaluations, and a whole host of other area that you utilize and you compare and contrast based on different demographic categories. If you see that your Latina category or Latin female category has a 30% turnover rate and the rest of your organization only has 10, with a Delta of 20 percentage points, you know that there’s a fundamental breakdown, so that’s why we compare and contrast our demographic areas across the data to see if there are disparities or differences that are gaps, that are strategic challenges that need to be addressed and have real business impact.

The second layer of data is best practices, so that can be acquired from all sorts of organizations, all sorts of associations, particularly around diversity and inclusion, diversity research. So the acquisition [inaudible] practices to be aware of what practices are around recruiting and [inaudible] development and whole host of other areas. And then, as you move to the third area, the big differentiator is the business data, what we call diversity ROI data. We look for a subset of missed business opportunities called missed diversity business opportunities, and those are called blind spots, and the idea’s to identify, quantify, and monetize those blind spots for real monetary impact and [inaudible] impact. So, you get three tiers of data in most organizations and their business strategies. If they even do them, you’d get one, maximum two tiers.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow. That is dropping some knowledge right there, in terms of the assessments. I love that. And then, to take that process a little bit further, because I know you all focus also on kind of ESG and the environment and social impacts. Are there things that companies can think about when they’re looking at DEI as a function of sustainability and social impact. Are there ways to bring those things together so that they’re not essentially so disparate, I think in people’s minds?

Douglas Freeman:  Yeah. So there are a few of these models, you’re absolutely right. Oftentimes the largest, I guess group of kind of configurations around separate silos. So there’s an ESG department and they focus on their activities and then there’s a diversity department. The second one is a hybrid of the two where diversity is the overall department and ESG is housed within it. The third one is the opposite, where ESG is the overall department and diversity [inaudible] within ESG, and we’ve seen organizations with all three models. And so part of the first level of discussion is to figure out which model either is currently in place or makes the most sense for the organization, and then you have to figure out why one model has more merit in your organization versus another. Sometimes it’s like, oh, ESC has been around for 10 years, diversity brand new, or vice versa.

The bulk of our relationships are in diversity, so of course we have diversity as a lead and ESG secondarily. So you really have to look in the history of the organization to determine which of the three models is likely the best fit or is the current model, and why that is the case, and then sometimes you’re going to have to adjust the model with the times because ESG from an investor perspective is the hottest category of investing. So even if you have ESG underneath diversity, you may strategically decide that, that’s got to flip, because they want to see the ESG moniker as a lead of diversity one and diversity can support the efforts of ESG.

Melyssa Barrett:  Interesting. So then, because I do think that in some cases people feel like they can hire a consultant and it’s very cookie cutter. They come in, they tell you what you need to be doing, and this is how it should work in your organization. But you’re kind of saying, no, it’s not a one size fits all. You really have to understand what the culture is like, what the company is like, how they exist today, so that you can really develop more of a long term plan.

For people out there that have been kind of having to focus, or maybe the light went on 18 months ago, and they started to say, this is what they wanted to do. And now I think there’s a lot of frustration with not having results to report or not enough results, so are there things that you think that we should be looking at as a community, if you will, to try and make sure that people don’t get that fatigue, when it comes to… The work is long, right? This is not a short play, so what kind of things can you do to help folks stay motivated?

Douglas Freeman:  So you have to, first of all, frame the journey. It’s going to be a journey, but we have a framing of it, a maturity model, which we describe as diversity 5.0. A 1.0 universe is a universe of compliance, policies practice procedures, standard diversity, demographics, like EEO data. And oftentimes that universe is very sorely behind in organization, so work has to be done there. [inaudible] 2.0 universe is the workforce and the workplace, and that’s where I believe the bulk of organizations have and are currently focused, and the 3.0 universe is a marketplace. It’s customers and clients, communities, supply chain, supplier diversity activities, philanthropy, and the like. One to three is really where 90%, 95% percent of the companies that we work with, and that we’re aware of, are kind of in that ballpark 4.0 was innovation, leveraging diversity of thought, and there are different diversity innovations for business process.

Services, products, decision making, innovation. All of those areas are critical when you’re looking at diversity 4.0 and then 5.0 is a big milestone [inaudible] to that because it’s business integration. Diversity is integrated in the DNI of everything and do at the board levels to exec. New managers and individual contributors. And that’s not where the fun ends, or the diversity strategy and work ends.

It’s where it begins, because 5.0 is a continuous improvement model, and so the organization’s continuously improving and gaining competitive advantage over its direct competitors. Now the second part of the framing is around what’s going on for the length of the diversity initiative for impact. Diversity initiatives should be bare minimum three years. Project plan, more realistically five years. So most of our clients we describe as their plans as diversity. Diversity transformation, 2025, so diversity 2025. Looking four or five years out with specific around each year. Your first year is your data collection and building what we call the DEI business plan. Your second year is some pilots and [inaudible] Your third year is infrastructure and rollout. Your fourth year is [inaudible] evaluation, and your fifth year is moving into that integration model.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow. That’s awesome. Love it. Let’s pause for a moment. We’ll be right back. So just to kind of flip the script a little bit, because I know as you introduced yourself and went through your journey and how you are focused today, and truly your journey has not been specifically United States focused. You actually do a lot globally, in terms of the network and the mentorship and the teaching and all of those things. Are there lessons that you see that we can learn from the global stage, versus the United States itself?

Douglas Freeman:  Yeah, so there is another model which is very important from a global diversity perspective. As all of our organizations are [inaudible] seeing impact from the shifting demographics, and we take this model from the European union. It’s called the six strands of diversity and it starts with age, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and race, ethnicity, and immigration status. And with that tool, you can start to go to country and see what matters most, so in France and would probably be women and LGBTQ plus, and then that immigration piece probably third.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. That seems really interesting as well, because it’s almost like when you have different countries or even different companies, they can be focused or their priorities may different based on where they are, where they do business, and how they relate to the engagement of not only their employees, but their customers. So, I think that’s really an interesting, and with even the George Floyd murder, we saw worldwide support for really focusing on so many different stories and providing space for people. So being as a person, I know when you went through this process and your journey, you distinctively missed the entire portion of your rugby life and the rugby champion that you are. So I wonder, do you pull anything from your time in rugby for some of this?

Douglas Freeman:  That’s a really good question. And I give you so much credit because Melyssa, you go above and beyond others. That’s the first time I’ve ever been asked question about that in my professional working career, so I thank you for that question. Yeah, to put some context around that, I was almost like an army [inaudible] my parents were classical trained musicians and I was born in Dallas, Texas. I was one moved to Detroit, Michigan. My dad was with the Dallas symphony and the Detroit symphony in his first break, was on the west coast of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia with the Victoria symphony, so I was in Victoria from 9 to 18, my formative years and in particular, high school, and from gosh, almost six through 12 with one year off, due to having broken wrist, I played throughout and I didn’t just play in high school.

Some people play in club teams. I was selected fortunately in my 11th grade year, to play on the province. It would be the state all-star team as a junior all-star for the state in that sport of rugby, and I played in the Canadian junior championships. I played when I was 17, 18, and when I was a freshman at 19 years old and I had the good fortune to start the whole time at the good fortune, to be a champion in each case. So I learned a lot. I think I learned a very strong business and focal kind of mentality. When we put the [inaudible] New York Yankees, this was a business trip. We didn’t mess around. We there to be the best. When you have that focus and you have that focus, and I learned that business mentality on that team.

And I think ultimately there are a whole host of team dynamics and learning to work with people from very diverse backgrounds that are very transferable. Those are the soft skills, like, how do we talk to each other at Lunch? Or on a three hour, four hour, five hour bus? And do we just sit with same people? Do we mingle a bit? Do we stay cliquey or the group kind of engage with each other? So there are a lot of what they describe as what are now many of the skills we suggest inclusive leaders leading with empathy, putting themselves in another shoes, not having unconscious bias [inaudible] with people. Really communicating effectively. There are a lot of kids from rural areas, some kids from public schools, private schools, big schools, small schools, big city, little city, so you’re going to have to deal with that and engage people effectively and be perceptive to understand that people need to be engaged in different ways. So I think, there were some lessons learned throughout that process for sure.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow, that’s phenomenal. And it’s funny that you bring that up because for me, I felt like an army brat because my dad worked for Xerox and he was into marketing way back when. I don’t know if you remember that commercial, it’s a miracle, with Xerox. That was his campaign. It was so crazy to me back then, but we moved every 18 months because of the way that he moved and developed in the company, and at the time, of course, when you’re a child, you don’t like moving around and meeting new people every 18 months, but now it does… I notice the difference, the soft skills of being able to communicate and connect with people, which is truly a skill. You want people to feel comfortable, to feel connected and safe when you’re having a conversation, whether it’s on a business or personal level.

So I love the fact that you bring that up and especially in the United States where we may not hear so much about rugby, but it’s such a great sport for trying to understand how people work with each other, and really get to know each other as they go. That’s phenomenal. I know you are such a busy person, but I want to make sure that I also ask you a question about kind of your most impactful advice. I know you grew up in a family of people that did things first, and you tend to have that mentality of being the best, whether you’re the first or not, and being the first can be challenging, knowing that there’s a lot of firsts coming out, especially for companies. You might be the first this or the first that. Is there something you can kind of give us in terms of how can we channel that energy to be as impactful as possible?

Douglas Freeman:  That question is also [inaudible] time, Melyssa, because career wise, you have to do what you do well, and you have to find out what you love, in order to do that well, and I found that providing advice around diversity equity inclusion has been the most fun I’ve had in business, I’ll say to date, but a few years ago, I knew I had, you mentioned rugby, I have a passion for sports and I’m what one could call sports fanatic. I love all types of sports. I watch a lot of sports. Sports truly is the most globally impactful and positive tool of unification in societies around the world, and it brings the world’s society together in healthy competition. You look at soccer and the world cup and the love of country, but in the love of people celebrating the joy that comes from sports.

I, a couple years ago, looked with a couple colleagues. We’re not wealthy people. We call ourselves penny ballers. We have tremendous aspirations, but we can only afford what we can afford, and we looked at things like minor league baseball teams, and we’re fortunate enough to come across, through a sports broker, an indoor football league team. An arena football team [inaudible] Texas. My colleague and I Max, went down to this location in Texas about three hours, Northwest of Dallas, and town of about 300,000 people. Arena of about 5,000 people, like a hockey arena, and the game is played in a hockey rink style. 200 by 85 feet. In football terms about half the size, about 50 yards, instead of a hundred, and we sat down at the ground level right next to the… Melyssa, I’ve seen a lot of sports.

This was arguably, by far the most exciting sports. It’s like hockey without the skates. These men are so fast, they’re flying and they’re hitting and they hit so hard, they’ll fly over the arena edge on the ground and the fans will push them up and they’ll put them back in, and it’s intimate, and it’s driven by families, all of these kids and families, just having a blast. It’s affordable entertainment, and my colleague and I, coming from a larger city said, my goodness. I think we have to figure out a way to get into this. The world has to see this, and so we tried everything. We’re still business folks, and it’s all about the numbers. We love the business model, but the numbers didn’t work out, so flash forward from 2019 to the present, an opportunity came about where that same team was not going to play in their league.

I will make a caveat that I did make a very small investment in the… I mentioned Canada. There was a pro national league, Canadian premier league opened up and I invested in an equity share, but I learned the business of sports from [inaudible] and that organization, and that league had a 200 million Dollar media rights deal. The media rights are very critical for the revenue component of a strong league and the organization that consulted them, we hired ultimately, and so flash forward to June of this year, we launched something called the AFA, the Arena Football Association. We took five teams in Texas, we played in June and July. We were proud to say we completed every game, despite one team had after players wiped out due to COVID, we still got through it. Our consultants got us a national media rights deal, was a great specialist sports organization called flow sports. A big streaming. Millions of subscribers on their platform.

And so we had that national media rights deal with other the four or five other leagues, and one of them had a national media right deal. We did it out the gate. We were sponsored by our big national brand, which very few other leagues had, and we had artificial intelligence production cameras that we imported from Israel. So, state of the art and created standardization of the video [inaudible] to our audiences, and we didn’t announce this league, and there was a reason Melyssa. A lot of even friends and family said, well, for those of you are in the sports world that know the story of the AAF, which was a very hyped up. The Eversol family started that and that failed midseason and the XFL just came out and that failed, and the AFL failed two years ago and went bankrupt. So the question was, if all these leagues, with all this money and all these minds, and I heard [inaudible] a lot of smart people have worked on this. What makes you think your league, in a pandemic, would work? We’ll just do it.

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, that’s in the power of innovation, right? Those diverse minds coming together.

Douglas Freeman:  Diverse minds coming together. A different set of eyes. A diversity of thought occurred in this really a rural area, this different kind of lens came on this league and identified opportunity. That is diversity 4.0, that occurred. So now you can see a lesson learned. The first thing you can do as an entrepreneur is figure out some kind of diversity 4.0 model lens, or otherwise.

That will yield some kind of great business opportunity for it. We don’t know where, how, but you leverage diversity 4.0 diversity of thought on a business situation to see what kind of innovation you come up with. That’s the first [crosstalk].

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it.

Douglas Freeman:  The second lesson learned from that approach is, do your homework. We didn’t move. We were sighted. We could have been a motive and purchased something. Guess what? We would have purchase a team that would’ve gone into pandemic, because we had sober thought, great due diligence, driven analysis, we came to a rational and sober conclusion, not to purchase a team. Do your homework. Base your decisions, particularly critical, on data. I know people love their gut. We don’t do decisions on our guts. Never.

What the outcome could that be? Oh, my gut says this. Well, it might say something tomorrow. No offense to the gut people out there. A lot of billionaires [inaudible] we don’t do gut. Maybe it’s cause we are black entrepreneurs and we’ve got to do data. So particularly for entrepreneurs of color, don’t live on what people tell you or hopes and dreams, data first. Due diligence, data, homework, and research. So that’s the second lesson learned. Leverage those pieces to make a great business decision, and we made a great decision in 2019 [inaudible] The third piece is, well, if the business model, particularly not to buy isn’t right [inaudible] model. Don’t be afraid.

We changed the business model. We said, you know what? We don’t want a team. We want build the league. The business model of the team was a profit model. We learned how to not lose money with teams, but we said, that’s not the value. The value is scaling that, to national leagues, so the AFA is built on a world class business model that leverages and focuses on tier two markets or markets of 200,000 to usually a million that can yield profitability, from day one.

Melyssa Barrett:  That’s incredible. Just the amount of practical knowledge that example brought, is amazing. And I’m going to repeat it. If you don’t like the business model, change the model. I love it.

Douglas Freeman:  Change the model. And so, now to the reality, then the fourth piece, quietly implement it. Do not listen to people telling you what you… This is your model. You can do whatever you want. Don’t ever listen to people say. What if we listened [inaudible] This man didn’t do it with 275 million, so why would he even bother, we wouldn’t have launched the league, but what we did say is, we will launch it quietly. On our own, we had a bunch of lessons learned, and we’ll reflect and evaluate and consider next steps to announce it. So that’s the fourth thing. Implement it, prototype it, run it, operate it, whatever that business is, get the quirks out, before you really push it out [inaudible] So the real thing is pilot your idea for real. No matter how small or how big, just pilot it. Just get it out there. See it. Do not let it sit in the idea phase, pilot it out.

The fifth piece is, if that pilot works, scale the living daylight, so November 4th, I will be announcing the league to the world at a big summit presented by ARP and JP Morgan chase, and we’ll be announcing the league and it’s 2022 season, which will have eight teams, and our goal by 2030 is to have a hundred teams, and eight major territories and division across the United States, with the ultimate goal and vision as follows, which is to be a big six sports league. So big six means there’s AFA, American Football Association, MLS, NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA. One of the big six, but here’s a catch Melyssa. We’re built with diversity at the core of the institution. No big six [inaudible] has been built with diversity, and what we mean by that is right now, Melyssa, 87% of our owners are either women or people of color. 7%. Unheard of. 87%. Coaches.

Female coaches. We’re going to have referees in wheelchairs or who may not have their full [inaudible] or some disability that’s prevented them to participate in other leagues, they will be very much participating in our diverse suppliers, stakeholders. A whole host of areas that will create access, and we will create far more jobs, particularly for black males. We will not have commoditized models where black males come in and they’re used and abused, paid a few bucks and gone, and then they’re bankrupt, which 77% of the NFL players. Our league is a league for life. Our players out the gate will be provided with career counseling, they’ll [inaudible] jobs, coaches, mentors, so that they’re successful on and off the field, during their [inaudible] league, and they will be successful contributors and model ambassadors as alumni of the league.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow. Congratulations. That is so exciting. Whoever’s listening, you’re going to have to come back and listen to it again and again, because there’s so much that you just gave us in all of that, in terms of just helping people feel, not only like they have access, but that they have a pathway for their future development, retention, there’s just so many nuggets in belonging and making sure that people have that ability to feel like they can take part in all aspects of their humanness, so I thank you for that tremendous example, and I’m so looking forward to hearing more about it, as you all launched and amplify your voices. What a wonderful way to close this incredible conversation, and again, I want to just thank you, Doug, for coming on and sharing the treasure troves of wisdom that you bring, as we really just develop a whole new world, as we think it, so thank you so much.

Douglas Freeman:  You’re welcome. Thank you, Melyssa. What a treat and honor, and I’m just so thankful to have this opportunity. We’ve done an extraordinary job of bringing in, I know a diversity of different personalities and backgrounds. If there’s any way I can be helpful and supportive or to return back would be fantastic. I’m here to serve.

Melyssa Barrett:  Thank you so much. If you’re enjoying this episode, go back and listen to Monique Nelson. The CEO of UWG, in season one. Thanks for joining me on the Jali podcast. Please subscribe, so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.