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 to share or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started. Greg Brinkley is America’s number one coach for black government professionals. In his combined 27-year career with the state of California and the Social Security Administration, he has led, consulted or been a significant contributor to countless successful teams. He is a two-time recipient of the SSA Regional Commissioner’s Team Award, as well as the prestigious SSA Commissioner’s Team Award.
He’s an entrepreneur and the founder of Greg Brinkley Enterprises, providing coaching and leadership services for success-driven black government executives, leaders and employees. He is also a coach, motivational speaker, and leadership trainer certified by John C. Maxwell. He and his wife live in the Austin, Texas area. And Greg and I have been friends for more than 30 years.
All right, I have the pleasure this week of having Greg Brinkley join me. I’m so excited to have this conversation with you, somebody I have known for literally decades. And I am so excited to learn so much more about you. It’s amazing how you can know somebody for decades, and then they write a book and you learn so much more about them.
Greg Brinkley: Right, exactly.
Melyssa Barrett: So it is truly a pleasure to have you here.
Greg Brinkley: Yes. It’s a pleasure to be here with you, Melyssa. I was looking forward to this. Like you said, we go back. Comfort zones are not supposed to exist, but I feel comfortable being able to talk with you and just get into even more of what we’re about right now in terms of what we’re doing. So I’m excited.
Melyssa Barrett: Yeah, this is cool. So, well, coming from The Jali, everybody always has a story. So I always like to start with you telling your story about how you got to where you are because you have literally transformed your life, in terms of working. And when people say and think about government workers, they typically don’t look like you or they don’t act like you. And you have transformed a lot of that. So tell us a little bit about Greg and how you got to where you are.
Greg Brinkley: Alright, I’ll start with just my career. I started back in 1993. I was at the California Department of Social Services. It’s referred to as Disability Determination Service. We help with federal disability claims. So I came in as a permanent admin, which means that I was not allowed to work 40 hours a week. I could not be full time. I had to work 39 hours or less.
Melyssa Barrett: Oh, okay.
Greg Brinkley: So I was limited to getting my foot in the door. I took the test as an office assistant and got on with the DDS in Oakland. And I got in working in the mailroom. And as I like to tell people, I was in the mailroom not handling the mail.
Melyssa Barrett: Okay.
Greg Brinkley: Yes. I was in the mailroom, but I was not on the machines, I wasn’t on the sorter or the machine that seals. No, I wasn’t on any of that. I was opening pouches of incoming cases. And when the cases were done, this is before computers were in place in the State Departments, that I would take the actual physical cases, put them in mail pouches and run them up to the stockroom. So I was living like Chris Rock in [inaudible 00:05:57]. I had the cart going up the aisles, delivering [crosstalk 00:06:02]
So I was able to cross-train, while it was in the mailroom. I cross-trained doing tech-closure, actually inputting cases and closing them out in the system. I was near to becoming support staff person where I was actually working with certain analysts, doing their clerical duties. And I took the test. During this time, I got back into college, and I was at Cal State Hayward because that’s what the school is called, Cal State Hayward. I don’t care what anybody says.
Melyssa Barrett: Note to everyone, it’s now called Cal State East Bay.
Greg Brinkley: Don’t let them tell you that. So I got back in to the PACE program, which was a program for people who were working in the mornings, and then went to school at night. So I was doing that for about three years. Finally, I got my degree, a bachelor’s in human development. And I used that to parlay into becoming a Disability Evaluation Analyst. So I was an analyst and did that for approximately four years. And then I went to work in Silicon Valley. I left and worked with a company called Edify, Edify Corporation. I was doing tech support for them. But the grind of the commute and early hours and traffic just got to me and I ended up coming back to the state to my old job, but I was able to progress to the senior level of disability analyst. I did that until 2006, and then I transitioned over to the Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit.
And this unit was a multi-agency office, that focused on disability fraud. So another side of the cases were actually involved in looking at people who were applying for disability, but for some reason, they were involved or suspected of committing fraud, and some were at fault. So I did that for four years. Then I got over to the federal DDS, which was a federal component. So I was working in Richmond, California, and I started on the ground. And so I was on a [inaudible 00:08:32] pole at the DDS in Oakland. Went to CDI, and I was on a [inaudible 00:08:37]pole again, at the federal unit. But working way up the candidature, became a team leader, became the senior team leader. And this was a quasi-supervisory role.
And then, in 2014, they established what’s called a Fraud Prevention Unit, there are only three in the nation. So my branch chief selected the unit to Dallas, and my supervisor and myself to be the people to head up the Fraud Prevention Unit. So I was the team leader. And we worked on a lot of class action suits, and a lot of data mining and data crunching and looking at cases with a fine tooth comb that were more global in scope, in terms of a number of cases or tough criteria that met the level or the threshold of looking at what was actually fraud or not. So that’s about all I can say because I’m still sworn to secrecy.
Melyssa Barrett: I understand. Working on the risk side. I get it.
Greg Brinkley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). From there, I did that until 2018. And my family and I decided that it was time to relocate. So we relocated to Austin, Texas, and I transferred over. It was a hardship transferred to the Austin Social Security office. I took a drop in grade and a drop in pay to make the transition. In that office, I was for the first year, not even performing the duties of my job. I was doing mostly a lot of data entry and filing paper cases and taking social security applications, people who were applying for social security cards. And it wasn’t what I thought it would be, because it kept pushing me back to training.
So I finally got into training. And that was pretty much my coworker and I were basically lab rats with a lot of other people around the country, because they were onboarding a new training system. So we got on the training. And we just felt that we were not in position, but they said, “Hey, you’re going to work these cases.”
Melyssa Barrett: Wow.
Greg Brinkley: So I did that for three months, and then COVID hit.
Melyssa Barrett: Oh.
Greg Brinkley: So now, everybody’s still working, and I didn’t have the level of support that I needed. During this time, I was already training to become a coach. I joined the John Maxwell team back in 2018, and I’m still with them. And went to training, and that’s how I met up with my mentor, Christian Simpson, who is a big, doesn’t anybody can touch him, as far as coaching. He lives and breathes this. It got to a point in the office, where it was just an untenable situation. Teleworking, getting frustrated, because I didn’t have the support. My mentor at the job, she was tired of it herself, it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t really anybody’s fault. It was just-
Melyssa Barrett: It’s the government. I know.
Greg Brinkley: It’s the government, right. It got to a point where my wife and I were like, this is not going to cut it. And she supported me in branching out in and making the transition into entrepreneurial work. So I left on July 4th, it was Independence Day. My last day of work was the Fourth of July.
Melyssa Barrett: I love it, I love it. You were thinking ahead with that one, for sure.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah.
Melyssa Barrett: And now, you have authored a book called Uncivilized. I saw it on your Facebook page. And I was like, I have to order it. And it’s really an interesting book to me, because you focus a lot on how government workers behave, and you talked about what to do to help them. But you talk a lot about government workers, who in some cases, I know, people think may be uncivilized in their interactions with them. But you go through a lot of different profiles of workers, which, coming from the corporate sector, both private and now public, having worked at VISA, I found a lot of the profiles very similar to what I see in the office. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s specific to government, but certainly what you’ve seen, I could relate to on my side.
Melyssa Barrett: So you talk about the scatterist, the reality show wannabe, all of these different things. And you look at it, it’s like, that’s true, people are kind of… They can be put into a little bit of a box. But in some cases, we put ourselves in the box, right?
Greg Brinkley: Yeah, absolutely. And I wanted to make sure that I conveyed in the book that I was not immune to that, either. I was the person slept at the job. I can remember when I was in training as a disability analyst, and I was sleeping during training sessions. And I remember distinctly my branch chief called me in. Actually, the training coordinator called me in, my case adjudication chief called me in. And she was really cool, but she was like, “Hey, Greg, are you okay? Because… ” She was really cool about it, but everybody else was like, you better get your act together, and so on. So the branch chief called me in, and I’ll never forget. She said, and I quote, “Sleeping on the job as a fireable offense.” I just looked at her. And I said, “Really? They have to stash everybody.”
Melyssa Barrett: Oh, no.
Greg Brinkley: That’s in my mind, I didn’t say that. But there’s people putting pallets under their desks, sleeping and taking naps, but yet-
Melyssa Barrett: You’re calling me out.
Greg Brinkley: Right. But I also know that, and I think I put something in the book that management tend to have long memories. When you are seen or perceived a certain way, that just does stay with you. As a matter of fact, when I left to go to Silicon Valley to work there, one of my co-workers told me the [Redfin 00:15:13] coordinators said that there are some people who left and it was good because they weren’t really good analysts anyway. And I said, “Oh, really?” So when I came back-
Melyssa Barrett: You had a point to prove.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah. Remember me?
Melyssa Barrett: Oh my god.
Greg Brinkley: But it just brings out the idea that, first, we all have not been stellar employees. At some point in time, we all have dropped the ball. But the point about the book is understanding that there are people who are in the cycle of thinking that shifts in there, they don’t ever make the shift. They’re not self-aware enough to say, “Hey, I’m shooting myself in the foot in my career, I need to get my act together. I need to do something different. I need to surround myself with different people.” Some people make that shift. And that’s when we see a lot of these personality profiles really become ingrained. And from the outside looking in, it seems as though there’s no help for these people, when in fact, it ain’t so.
Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. Well, and you talk about, and I love some of the names, I mean, the sit and spin arsonist, I’m like, Oh, my God, that is too hilarious. But I think one of the things you talk about in there is who I associate with. A lot of people think it won’t affect their career, who they’re associated with. And you’re talking a lot about whether we see ourselves in some of these profiles along the way. But to some degree, I don’t know that you always know who you’re associating yourself with, which ends up becoming the political nightmare of, oh, well, you’re aligned with Greg, so we’re not going to promote you or do this or that.
And you actually have the opportunity to create training and be that bar of excellence in a lot of ways, when clearly you’re saying you had to overcome some things within your own mindset in order to transition. So I mean, how do you think people do that? I know, I said a lot in all that. With other people affecting your career, and then the mindset that you have to have, how did you make that adjustment?
Greg Brinkley: Well, I think it comes from a core that we maintain. A lot of people get away from their core, and they lose their way in getting back to that. But I would venture to say that most people come in, I think, I’ve mentioned this in the book. Most people come into government with great intentions. They want to establish themselves, they want to promote, they want to get the benefits that come with government work, and they want to have some significance. So there’s not too many people that come in, just rolling in with some stank attitudes. They actually come in with the best of intentions. It’s just that sometimes government work has a way of making you forget where you came from.
Melyssa Barrett: Well, yeah. And I was going to say, so knowing that there’s… I’m assuming representation isn’t the issue in the government, I know you specifically talk about blacks in government. I mean, what is that, as you talk about your own transition, eyes are on you as you’re making that transition?
Greg Brinkley: Yeah. Yeah, that’s another layer. And I think, that it’s so important for African Americans to realize that they don’t have to sacrifice their blackness. It’s important. You have to be authentic. And, for me, I needed to come to a realization that I am who I am, I know what I bring to the table. I know what skills I have, I know the skill set that I’ve developed, and it was showing itself in different [inaudible 00:19:27]. I didn’t come into government having all of this. I had a pretty good base, but I started to build on that. And I also had to be aware of my blind spots, and know exactly what it is that I needed to fix or what I needed to adjust so I can be put in the best position. And for us being in the kingdom of God, that it’s important to recognize that there is someone in some ways protecting you from, in some cases, yourself, that you’re not shooting yourself in the foot or doing more damage to yourself.
There are people that are being positioned as a beam for you. And they say things, or they do things, or they looked out for you in certain ways, and that’s what I was able to do. I had a couple of great supervisors at the DDS. I had one great one at the former government. I had an excellent one at CDI. I had people who worried about me, the ones who saw the diamond in the rough, and who positioned me to excel, to trust my judgment, to utilize my talents and gifts, and they respected me as an individual. They actually didn’t look at me as just any old person. Along with other people, they actually had a level of respect for the people that they were responsible for leading. So I was blessed to have people who were really able to say, “Hey, I know what you bring to the table. If there’s an opportunity for us to work together, I want to work with you.”
And that helped me understand what I needed to break away from. So I wasn’t locked into the mindset of feeling entitled. And I also didn’t get into the mindset of dwelling in feeling marginalized, or undervalued, because I’m a black man in a largely dominant white, and female environment. As far as the branches I was involved in. So I think, it was important for me to appreciate who I was, what I brought to the table, use the help that was given to me, and then decide that I wanted to branch out into a newer version of myself, despite what others, including some black folk, wanting to see it from me.
Melyssa Barrett: Amen.
Greg Brinkley: They didn’t want to keep me down, but they wanted to just try to put me in the bus. I can go down the road and give you examples of them. But there had to be some value by the counsel of co-work.
Melyssa Barrett: Right
Greg Brinkley: The values that I knew that I have, and I had to build on that along the way.
Melyssa Barrett: Wow, and I love the fact that so turning the tables now, when… Because you said a whole lot in that sense, when you talked about your own supervisors, and the leadership that they showed in first of all, even acknowledging you, but second of all, in creating those opportunities. And I think, there are so many challenges with people that are, whether they sit in the C-suite, or whether they’re in the government, they don’t do that. Their leadership is, I’m in this position, so you will do what I say or whatever. But it doesn’t showcase leadership. And I think, sometimes we’re always looking for advocates, or sponsorship, which you hope you get, but it’s so refreshing to hear that the leadership qualities for your particular situation had such a significant impact on you and your career.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah. But that’s not to say that they were.
Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.
Greg Brinkley: I had some that were really trying to find ways to show favoritism, some that were really more manipulative, or they just did not have a high perception of the people that they worked around, and it showed in how they carry themselves. Some are very dogmatic. Some are very combative and arrogant. I mean, I had quite a few. So the ones that I mentioned, they were really the exceptions.
Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.
Greg Brinkley: And by and large, you see this being replicated, when you see things like leadership development programs, and the same people are the mentors. And they’re passing down this mentality to the people who are new, coming in and so becoming this culture of-
Melyssa Barrett: Toxic culture.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah, it’s a culture of toxicity, yeah.
Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.
Greg Brinkley: So it’s important for us to be, in as far as government workers, for us to be mindful of how toxicity really becomes dominant influence. And it’s hard to navigate that if you are not aware of your own self-worth and potential for influence.
Melyssa Barrett: Oh, say that. Aware of your own self-worth and potential for influence. I love that.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah.
Melyssa Barrett: Let’s pause for a moment. We’ll be right back.
So when we start talking about… Because obviously, when I think of this, there’s all this pain. I particularly remember a manager I had that, I was broken. I mean, I lost all confidence in myself, and my ability to do anything. I wasn’t even sure that I even brought value. And thankfully, the organization I was with, we reorganized all the time. So, luckily, you ended up in a different situation if you waited long enough. So there tends to be a lot of pain associated, even mentally, with people trying to navigate their own careers through a lot of these potholes, and a lot of these profiles that you go into.
So are there things, from a mindset perspective, or, do you want to talk a little bit about the MPR that you identify in here? Are there things that, because I think you talk a lot about person-centered values, which, when you talk about, you have to understand your core, I go back to those person-centered values as well. So, can you talk a little bit about how, as a leader, as a CEO, as I’m looking at the culture of my company, what is the MPR, that most problematic root? And how do I help people create those person-centered values?
Greg Brinkley: They’ve got to get the book.
Melyssa Barrett: They do need to get the book. So, we’re going to publicize it. Uncivilized.
Greg Brinkley: But I look at that MPR concept, reflecting on my training as a coach, and also looking back and reflecting on the types of things that I saw from my co-workers and leaders and executives. And there’s a common denominator behind it all, and it’s ignorance. Because we’re all ignorant to some degree, that’s just the reality of life. We are all ignorant in some fashion or form. I think people don’t want to admit that they’re ignorant because they look at it as a stigma or as a black mark. Not necessarily. Ignorance is just the idea of being constantly unaware.
Melyssa Barrett: Right.
Greg Brinkley: And when you’re constantly unaware of something, you don’t know anyway. So that doesn’t excuse it. It’s just the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know. So there’s a process of learning that has to come into the picture to help the person understand, okay, I don’t… I never knew I’d learn to write before I would write. But I started writing and I’d to learn.
Melyssa Barrett: Right.
Greg Brinkley: I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But then when I started writing it, then, okay, I’m picking up on things, but I don’t have it all together. And it’s a process. So with that, this idea of ignorance is important. Especially, when you talk about that person-centered values, because it goes back to what I was mentioning earlier, if you don’t know who you are at your core, then you’re not going to be able to see yourself with a level of self respect. With a level of self-leadership, with a level of compassion for yourself.
Greg Brinkley: You’re not going to have those things in place. You’re really operating from a very unhealthy place, because now, ignorance has become so prevalent, and yet, you still want to tell yourself, “Well, I know,” though you don’t know. Because if the results are the same, then that speaks to the mindset that is unhealthy, that’s still an ignorant place, that is still driven off of emotion, and conditioning, and so on.
Greg Brinkley: So there has to be that progression from ignorance to awareness, gradually. It’s not going to happen overnight. It has to be a process. But there has to be the first step in saying, “Okay, I’m aware that I don’t know everything. I know that I have not been mindful of who I am at my core. I’m not fully aware. And every experience or situation I find myself in on a daily basis, I’m not always aware.” That takes a lot of mindfulness and also requires a lot of breaks.
So we have a lot of different things here, either from a leadership perspective of a leader, who is not aware of his or her core, will pass down toxicity without even being aware of it.
Melyssa Barrett: Yes.
Greg Brinkley: And that’s why the leader needs to have that awareness as well to say, “Okay, I know I’m in this position, but I don’t want to be a figurehead. I don’t want to be some [inaudible 00:30:48] I want to be able to see my team or my staff, or employees in a way where they can be able to express themselves and then work to the fullest, but that requires awareness on my part. The fish stinks from the head. So I need to get myself cleaned up, and then understand who I am at my core, and be clear about my values. What it is are my values? What’s important to me, and how I present that in the workplace.”
Melyssa Barrett: Wow. You said a whole lot. The fish stinks from the head, though. That’s an interesting. I have not heard that before, Greg.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah. Well, I’ll say this, that I got this from my trainer. There’s a couple, I mean, he just drops some nuggets all the time. But one thing [inaudible 00:31:42] said, “How you do one thing is how you do all things.”
Melyssa Barrett: Yes.
Greg Brinkley: And that sticks with me. I mean, even for me, even as I look at my environment and my role, okay, that is a result of how I do the little things. This one thing[inaudible 00:31:56] and it shows up in every facet of my life. So when I start looking at this one thing in my life that I know that is not right, or not as effective, or I’m not as efficient in the spirit, then I need to reel it back and then look at how am I coaching this particular aspect of my life, because it has a direct impact on other areas of my life.
Melyssa Barrett: That’s a great point. And I think it shows that growth, right? Because if you’re able to see… I mean, it kind of gives you that hope that if I’m not doing something that I should be doing, first of all, you’re finally self-aware. And, you talked about self-compassion, and some of the things. That’s deep work on yourself. And I think a lot of times people don’t… They tend to be focused on how do I lead the team, or how do I do this for others, or how other people are acting. But it’s really deep work when you start talking about diversity, equity, inclusion, all of those things, because it really does start with you and how you perceive and really value yourself. Which is, I mean, it can be difficult, especially depending on your season in life.
Melyssa Barrett: I found myself a widow at 49. I was like, what is happening? My whole world shifted. But it was years. Now, I’ve spent years really trying to focus on who I am. Because I was part of a couple before, and now I’m not. So it’s like your mindset does change in terms of who you are along the way.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah, absolutely. And even for me, transitioning to Austin, Texas, the past three and a half years are really what I call my evolutionary revelation journey. I got there some changed Austin’s, we both know [crosstalk 00:34:05]
Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.
Greg Brinkley: And when he did the eulogy for Brother [Craydon 00:34:11], that was the title of the eulogy, The Evolution and Revolution Of The Servant Of God. And I was there. And I’m fighting back tears, because that was my experience. I was put in my wilderness. And there are a lot of things about myself that I was not aware of, or I wasn’t as aware as I thought I was. And it took a lot of work, a lot of personal work, a lot of learning how to be mindful, a lot of learning how to forgive myself, to give myself grace, a lot of work in seeking amends from people. A lot of grief work, because I lost almost 40 people in a two-year span in my life.
Melyssa Barrett: Wow.
Greg Brinkley: 40.
Melyssa Barrett: Wow.
Greg Brinkley: Different ages, different situations, different causes. There really was a wilderness wandering. And it just really points out the necessity of being able to work on you.
Melyssa Barrett: Yes
Greg Brinkley: And people, to a great extent, never get that point. There’s a saying that goes. “If you don’t go within, you will go without.” And I’m a living witness today. And I realized now that I needed to go within. And it’s still a process, I’m still working on myself. I’m not all the way there, and no one else is all the way there yet. It’s a journey.
Melyssa Barrett: It’s a journey.
Greg Brinkley: And it’s the awareness of the journey that allows you to embrace transformation as good pain.
Melyssa Barrett: Yes, good pain.
Greg Brinkley: We need that pain. We need the pain so we can learn from it.
Melyssa Barrett: Yeah, you have to work through it. And that’s where you find yourself, at least, that’s my revelation. Because I think you find yourself in different circumstances and it’s like, you wonder, what am I here for? But then, you also realize, life is so short, you have to really focus on what you want to do and what impact you want to make in the world.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah
Melyssa Barrett: So it’s awesome. I mean, I love to see that you have completely shifted your life and are doing what you enjoy. Are there other things that you want to talk about? Because I want to make sure how do people find the book, Uncivilized by Greg Brinkley?
Greg Brinkley: It is on Amazon, so they can go on Amazon and get it. They can also go to uncivilizedbook.com and get it directly from me. So those are the two ways to get the book.
Melyssa Barrett: Okay. All right. Awesome. And then do you want to talk a little bit about some of the things that you have up and coming or give us a little teaser? Give us some teaser.
Greg Brinkley: Thank you for asking. So my company is Gregory Brinkley Enterprises. And my goal, or what I do is, I work with black government professionals to help them experience phenomenal success in their careers. So one of the things I want is I want to make sure that they know that it’s possible because I’m a living rags to riches story in government. I know that it can be done, but there’s a certain level of thinking that required that progression. And most workers don’t have that. I would say that 95% of them don’t have that. I want to make sure that for the black government workers that really want to excel, they want to become more proficient in their performance, they want to promote, they want to take hold of various opportunities that maybe in their lap or around them, I want to be able to position myself to help them do that.
So I’ve devoted myself to black government professionals. So one of the things I’m working on, hopefully within the next month or two, is to launch a group coaching and mentoring call. So it’ll be a bi-weekly call starting out. But it’s really for black government professionals to feel that they have support, that there’s somebody who’s been there and done that, and doesn’t have an ax to grind and not downed by any governmental restrictions to go there and talk about things that affect them at the job, to get some coaching, to get some advice, to help community, the people who are in the same position as them who have that commonality of being black in government.
So I want to create this community, using this coaching and mentoring event as the flagship. So that’s what I’m presently positioning myself to do. So hopefully, within the next month, I’m hoping within next month, I’ll be able to launch it, and then, really publicize it so people know that this is there for them. And they don’t have to feel like they have to go without or complain that the government isn’t helping me at all, no, now you have help, if you’re black in government.
Melyssa Barrett: That’s awesome. I love the fact that you’re doing that because community is so important. And a lot of the private sector, there is a lot of focus on employee resource groups, and being able to create that type of community to make people more aware. But I would imagine it becomes maybe more challenging in the government role, with all of these different agencies and things going on. So I love the fact that you’re like, you know what? They don’t need to sponsor it, we’ll just create our own and work together. And, we’ll create the trajectory that you want. So that’s an awesome, awesome thing. I’m so excited for you. And I hope we will be able to have you back, tell us how it’s going. And just, we can continue to highlight some of the things that are happening, both in your life and the impact that you’re making on government workers, which is awesome. Because I think everybody wants… You deal with the government in so many different ways, it would be awesome if they were all high achievers.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And that’s what I want to see. I really want to let them know that it is possible to get to certain levels. And it’s not always about being black. There are times when it is. I’m testifying, sometimes it is. Being passed over for somebody who is less qualified and less skilled and less connected as you, but they’re looking at you and see what they see and say, Oh, whoa, whoa, I don’t know if they’re qualified in that, so we’ll go with someone that he may not have everything but we could work with him. He’s a diamond in the rough. I’ve been there, several times. And I want to make sure that our people are positioned excellently so they can go in with the confidence, knowing that, hey, I bring the most to the table. If you missed out on this bull, you’re the one asleeping.
And I’ll find another avenue because there will be another avenue for me. And those avenues will still be created. And even when those avenues are not created, sometimes they will create their own avenues. So I just want to be in a position to help them any way I can.
Melyssa Barrett: I love it. I love it. Any last words, nuggets that you want to leave?
Greg Brinkley: Yeah, I will say this. Another thing that has stuck with me over the past three years, you are the creator of your outcomes. You can’t blame everybody. If you want to blame the lactose in the curb, you can’t blame the pitcher on it, you create your own outcomes. So when you’re able to understand that everything that happens in your life really centers from your level of ignorance or unconscious awareness, then that’s the starting point to really see things begin to change around you. So I knows that’s been the situation for me, it’s still changing, but that’s what needs to be understood.
Melyssa Barrett: I love that. And the base of all diversity, equity and inclusion work is always about typically, you hear talking about unconscious bias. Really, it’s about becoming aware of your own unconscious issues. So that’s awesome.
Greg Brinkley: Yeah.
Melyssa Barrett: Thank you so much for being here, Greg. It has been a joy.
Greg Brinkley: I loved it. Thank you.
Melyssa Barrett: It has been a joy. I know we’ll stay connected, and we’ll continue to connect to each other and see each other thrive. So I’m looking forward to it. And thank you for joining me for The Jali Podcast.
Greg Brinkley: Thank you, my sister. I appreciate it. Anytime you need me, let me know. I’m here.
Melyssa Barrett: Thanks for joining me on The Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week