Undoing Systemic Ignorance – Ep.28

Navigating Our Neurological Levels – Ep.27
May 13, 2021
Reaching DEI – Ep.29
June 2, 2021

The founder of Bluford Consulting, Tanya Bluford shares strategic steps for undoing racial prejudices and how to heal from the impact of systemic racism. She also shares her opinion on where DEI should start within a company and why maintaining open communication assists the cause.  

Melyssa Barrett: Welcome to the Jolly 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.

Tanya Bluford is the founder of Bluford Consulting LLC. And she’s passionate about creating enterprises that excel, because they’re committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has 20 plus years of working with both small and large national companies in the organizations, in the DEI, and leadership development spaces. In working with organizations across the country, she knows all too well how a lack of intentional and strategic efforts to create work environments where all can thrive, can affect the ability of the company to achieve it’s mission. Ms. Bluford brings to her consulting practice a wealth of experience from both the for-profit and not for profit sectors. 

Tanya believes that companies, institutions, experience change and growth in the DEI space one heart at a time. Successful DEI practices thrive when individuals can have honest, and thoughtful dialogue, and allow themselves to be vulnerable for the sake of learning and expanding their worldview. Once we can see the world from a different perspective, we can make decisions, develop practices and create policies that are truly inclusive. Tanya holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Laverne, and a master of science degree in counseling psychology from California State University, Hayward campus. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters. I am so excited to welcome Tanya Bluford with Bluford Consulting LLC. Thank you so much for joining me this week. 

Tanya Bluford: I am thrilled to be a part of your podcast. Thank you very much for the invitation. 

Melyssa Barrett: It is of course my pleasure. And I can’t wait to talk to you, because I know you’ve been working in this industry for a while, but why don’t you… Can you tell me a little bit about how you even got into this line of work? 

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. I often tell people when they ask me that question, that this line of work chose me, I didn’t really choose it. And that isn’t to imply that I don’t enjoy this work or I’m not passionate about it, I am very much so, but it’s just been a part of my life. So I was born in a very small town in Louisiana, and really in my formative years, I didn’t have a lot of racial exposure. I was cared for by family members while my mom worked, and really… It wasn’t until I left the cocoon of my family, if you will, and we moved to San… Not San Francisco, but California and I soon became the only African-American person in class that I began to see that, “Things were a little bit different.” I mean, people always ask me, what’s your nationality? What are you at? Which really stunned me because I had never been asked that until I got into school. So it was like, “Well, what do you mean? What am I, I’m a girl I’m human. What do mean?”

Melyssa Barrett: All right.

Tanya Bluford: And so then I got… Obviously I did figure out what they were talking about, and when I would say I was black, people would say, “Well, you’re really not.” Yeah. I really am. 

Melyssa Barrett: I love when people tell you what you are.

Tanya Bluford: Exactly. And then people would say things like, “Oh, well, you’re not black like them.” And again, it had limited experience, I didn’t know what black them was. Were they saying, well, I wasn’t as dark as them? Or did they mean something else? I was just really naive to that whole space, if you will. Interestingly enough, I went to school all through high school here in California, but I spent a lot of time in Louisiana with my family, particularly my grandparents, loved my grandparents to death and really wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. So if I wasn’t in school, I was there. And before I started school, I spent a lot of time there. So I really felt that Louisiana was my home and that’s where I belonged. So when I turned 18, I wanted to go to school, a college in Louisiana. And so I went to a college in Northern Louisiana, and had an experience there that really changed everything. I mean, it just really rocked my world. 

So while I was there, long story short, there were several different cafeterias on campus. And the cafeteria that I ate at was typically a cafeteria that many of student athletes ate at, and a lot of the freshmen ate at, with the exception of on the weekends, on the weekends, all the cafeterias were closed with the exception of one. And so that one that was open on the weekend was the one that I went to, because I was in the dorm and I was there seven days a week. And so there was always this interesting dichotomy between the two cafeterias, as stupid as that sounds, one has salt and pepper shakers, and one did not. They have a little tiny packets of salt and pepper. And I know this sounds stupid, but bear with me. I love a lot of pepper, love a lot of spice, again from [crosstalk].

Melyssa Barrett: Louisiana. [crosstalk].

Tanya Bluford: All right. There you go. From Louisiana, love a lot of spice. And so I would go through 20 of those pepper packets. Well, shortly before… This was probably the spring, I guess, of my freshman year, the student newspaper, there was a story that appeared where journalists, the student journalists asked the director of food services, why that was the case, why one cafeteria had salt and pepper shakers, and one did not. And the response by the director at the time was, well, blacks tended to lick the tops of salt and pepper shakers, and it was unsanitary. And therefore, since most of the athletes were black at that particular campus, and that’s the cafeteria where most of the athletes ate along with the freshmen, that was the reason why we had salt and pepper shakers, I mean, had packets of salt and pepper.

Melyssa Barrett: Packets. Oh my goodness. Okay.

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. And so I was livid and I just couldn’t believe my ears. Not only could I not believe my ears, my friends at the time, they were angry too. I mean, I wanted the resignation of the director of food services. I mean, how in the world can he keep his job stating some things like that?

Melyssa Barrett: All right.

Tanya Bluford: But my friends who were maybe from Louisiana or the surrounding area, I had more of, yes, this is bad, but what can you expect? This just is how it is. This just happened.

Melyssa Barrett: Well, and let me just ask you, what time period are we talking about?

Tanya Bluford: Now that you’re asking me to share my age.

Melyssa Barrett: Well, just give us a decade.

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. This was in 80s.

Melyssa Barrett: Okay.

Tanya Bluford: Definitely a while ago, but at that time I thought we had arrived, didn’t realize that something like that still existed. And during that same time period, I think it was one of the fraternities, it was never proven, but there was a fraternity that celebrated the old south during the spring. So they had a bunch of balls, just fun things for their members. But at about the same time they were having that fires started appearing in various places on campus about having a slave auction or lynchings. I again was absolutely furious. And so at the bottom line was, I was really upset needless to say, and I was a pretty… 

I was an activist. So I was marching, and I was writing letters, and I was doing those types of things. And my mom at the time she begged me not to, and she says, “They’re going to kill you, they’re going to hang you. You have to come home.” So I went ahead and I finished out that semester. And then I remember writing a really long letter to the president of the university saying, you know what? I will give somebody else my money. This is intolerable, and since you’re going to tolerate it, I don’t have to. And I will give my hard earned money to somebody else in order to complete my education.

Melyssa Barrett: Wow.

Tanya Bluford: When I say that shook my world, it really did, because I hadn’t experienced anything to that level being raised here in the Bay Area. And while I knew that I was treated differently than some of other family members that were darker complex than I am still, it was never to that level. And so at that moment in time, I just felt like this isn’t right, and this is where I’m supposed to be. This is the work that I need to be engaged in. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. Well, thank God that you are. I mean, I don’t even know what to say to some of the stuff that I hear I tell you. So after college, it sounds like after you got out of school, you ended up where?

Tanya Bluford: Well after I graduated from college, I ended up… I completed my bachelors degree from a small liberal arts college, Southern California University of Laverne. And then after that, I came back here to the Bay Area, and just went on my personal journey during different things, got engaged, moved to Texas, got unengaged, came back home, and decided that I wanted to get my masters in counseling. And so started my masters program at the University of California, the Hayward campus and completed my education there, for my masters degree.

And then after that, started working in the foster care system, because as… Well, I’m not sure a lot of your listeners know, but a majority of the kids in foster care, at least here in Northern California, are youth of color. And their outcomes once they graduate from the foster care system can at times not be good, well, not at times, it’s really hard for them. There is no safety net for them. And so I really wanted to change that narrative, and spent probably almost 10 years working in that industry. And then honestly, the only reason I left it was, I tell you, I had a six year old little girl that was on my caseload and she was on suicide watch. 

Melyssa Barrett: Oh my God.

Tanya Bluford: And at that point I thought, I think I’ve done what I can do here. I think I need to move on. And so I did after that, and started working at the YMCA, that’s when I took my first position at the YMCA here in San Francisco, really working in underserved communities, and providing not only programs, but also engaging the community and community building. Our branch of the Y was a very different type of branch, we didn’t do fitness programs. A lot of times people think the YMCA, they think kind of swim and gym sort of thing.

Melyssa Barrett: Right. Yeah.

Tanya Bluford: But that was the work that we did, we did truancy intervention, we did a lot of work with seniors, we’re really engaged in the community working with and helping them in whatever way that community needed. I don’t even like to say helping, because it really wasn’t, it was providing a venue and a forum for the community doing what the community needed for itself.

Melyssa Barrett: Right. So whatever resources does that became absolutely.

Tanya Bluford: Absolutely.

Melyssa Barrett: Wow. I mean, that’s some great work. And then if I remember correctly, you really focused on impacting diversity, equity, and inclusion during the time you were there-

Tanya Bluford: Yeah.

Melyssa Barrett: … because of the community you were serving. 

Tanya Bluford: Yes, absolutely. I became the executive director of a branch here in San Francisco. And again, while we had a branch, a physical building, we didn’t do any of the fitness programs. We really did work again, truancy intervention, we did activities to engage the youth, we gave them places to hang out, things to do, we did preschool, really wanted to provide a voice and a place where the community could provide whatever it was the community needed for itself. And all of that work again was with people of color, not just black people, but there was a lot of API, a lot of Latin X population. The only population we didn’t serve a lot of honestly at that particular branch was Caucasian. That was a great experience, because it then put me… I won’t say it brought me back to my roots, but certainly it gave me the opportunity to engage with doing DEI work in a slightly different way.

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.

Tanya Bluford: When I started working with the Y of the USA, my role there… Their focus at that particular time was on building a pipeline. So they really wanted to advance and make their upper management level, that pipeline much, much more robust. The Y is a large international organization and is a very, very diverse organization. But the organization identified that there were other things that they need to do, and so that’s where I was brought in to serve. So one of the things that I learned from that experience was just the geography and how DEI is embraced or not embraced, paid attention to or ignored, depending on the community and depending on where you are in the country. And it really…

I often say, and I think the experience that I had in the role led me to disbelief that, really to get at the heart of DEI, and really make significant systematic and strategic changes, I think it really starts with the individuals, and it starts with the person. Because whether you are in California, whether you’re in Florida, you’re in Nebraska, wherever you are and whatever the culture is around you, it really is about how inclusive am I? How open am I to others? How often do I engage with other people? What’s my fear? How many people do I engage in that are different than me? I think once you can touch someone’s heart and have them look at the world wearing somebody else’s glasses, I think that’s when changed. That’s when there’s a shift, and that’s when real work can happen.

Melyssa Barrett: Well, I think what’s interesting about what you’re saying is, I think a lot of times people don’t necessarily know they’re not experiencing something, because I know… After the George Floyd murder, I heard a lot of people that were like, “I had no idea.” I mean, I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was like this. And so they were grasping with like, it’s like an alternate reality in their mind that they didn’t understand. 

Tanya Bluford: Yeah.

Melyssa Barrett: And so when you talk about, impacting that one heart at a time, it’s hard, I think for companies to understand how to grasp a strategy that is so micro-focused.

Tanya Bluford: Right.

Melyssa Barrett: I mean, essentially the CEO and the board of directors, or whoever the senior leadership team is, you really do have to start with one person at a time, whoever’s sitting at the table to force that type of change?

Tanya Bluford: Yes. Exactly. A couple of things about what you said, the first is that, yes, I do think because of the murder of George Floyd, and we can call it a murder because that’s exactly what it was of George Floyd, there’s been a heightened awareness to the reality that [inaudible] black and brown people have in this country. But that’s really at the extreme, I mean… And unfortunately there are a lot of those extremes, the news is just full of them. But there’s all those other things that happen that aren’t as extreme, but are embedded in our companies, our institutions, our educational, they’re just embedded. And it’s really hard to see what those are if you’re not able to, again, look at the world through somebody else’s glasses. I often hear people say, well, diversity and inclusion really needs to start at the top.

It really does need to start at the top, but it needs to… Also, I would say it needs to start at the top in a really deep level, not just the level of, oh, it was tragic how the police murdered George Floyd, that was tragic. And we’re going to put out a statement and talk about how we don’t condone that. That is really, really awful, and that’s wrong, and that’s bad. It’s bad it needs to go further. So those same executives need to think about, well, what’s the experience of people of color in our organization? What microaggressions are they experiencing? Are they experiencing any microaggressions? Why do people of color leave this regardless if they’re black, they’re Latino, they’re whatever? Do they stay? Do they not? For what length of time?

Melyssa Barrett: Right.

Tanya Bluford: And yes, as an organization you can be very diverse, but where are you diverse? Are you diverse in specific departments? Are you diverse more so at specific levels within the organization and not at other levels of the organization? I think it does start at the very top, but I would say that it really needs to start at the top in a really deep level, where somebody is really willing to take off their glasses and put on somebody else’s, and be open to what they find. I was talking to somebody, I don’t remember who it was and it’s probably not even relevant, but we were talking about diversity, equity and inclusion, and they were talking about just how messy it can be. And I was struck by that comment. I’m like, “Of course, it’s going to be messy.”

Tanya Bluford: Not addressing it is also messy, honestly.

Melyssa Barrett: Right.

Tanya Bluford: But you’re on the other side of it. It just depends on who do you want to deal with the mess. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. Right. Like which mess do you really want to focus on? Let’s focus on one that makes us better and not worse.

Tanya Bluford: Exactly. I’m doing hundreds of years of racism, and all the systems that have been supporting racism all these years, it’s just a complicated process. And I don’t want to say that it’s going to take hundreds of years for it to be fixed, but I do think that it’s not something that’s going to be fixed overnight, but we can certainly do a better job than what we’ve had over the last decade in making things… I mean, here we are, my grandma just passed away in February of this year, she was 106 years old. 

Melyssa Barrett: Wow.

Tanya Bluford: Had she lived to August, not August, the beginning of April, she would have been 107. 

Melyssa Barrett: Wow.

Tanya Bluford: She was in her right mind up until the very, very end. Now, grant you, she was 106, but in her lifetime, just imagine all that she saw, she didn’t graduate from high school. Her husband had a third grade education. He passed away a long time ago. They were both able to send their first child to college when they didn’t have… They didn’t have a high school diploma, they weren’t able to vote. My grandfather couldn’t read, they were in the segregated south. I mean, it was really, really difficult for them, but that was one lifetime. Just one. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. It’s amazing. And I’m sorry [crosstalk].

Tanya Bluford: And here we are still talking about voter right, or lack there in certain states. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.

Tanya Bluford: She went through that, and here we are having the same conversation or a very similar one. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. Well, I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. Sounds like she definitely has impacted generations based on her own life. I mean, we are celebrating her for sure. And as I like to do, when we find and have an ancestor that has impacted us, we need to say their name. So do you want to say her name?

Tanya Bluford: I do. [Evelyn Shelton].

Melyssa Barrett: All right. Evelyn Shelton. Let’s pause for a moment, we’ll be right back. As we talk about the many things that we’re going through, and I think right now we have a lot of people talking about healing and the trauma that has really come out of slavery and all of the negative impacts from all the systemic racism, as well as all of the other things that go along with it. Are there things strategically that you think that people should focus on when they’re doing their own deep work about their own psychology and their own depth of experience? 

I was listening to a Congress woman the other day on a virtual Zoom, and she mentioned that… I want to say the way she said it was that the social justice, if they were looking at… And I believe they did a survey and we’re looking at priorities, and social justice was the second to last priority for white women, according to this survey she mentioned. And so are there things that you think companies need to be thinking about strategically? Or we need to be thinking about as we dive into the depth of our own thoughts?

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. Absolutely. I think the two things that pop in my head immediately is, educate yourself. I was listening to one of your podcasts and I forget the guests that you hug on, but you use the phrase, cultural agility, and I really liked that phrase, cultural agility. If you’re looking to expand or enhance your cultural agility, one of the easiest ways to do so is to read, and read something that is different from you or from somebody’s experience that’s different from yours. Maybe you might want to read about a different culture, maybe you want to read about a different religion, maybe you want to read a book from somebody that’s in a different country, whatever the case is, start there and educate yourself. 

And I think it’s important not to just pick up books, I also love biographies. I do think it’s important to read biographies about someone who you think you really don’t agree with, that you don’t have a lot of reverence for. And I think the reason for doing that is, again, it educates you, it enlightens you. It doesn’t mean that you have to agree with their position, it still could reinforce whatever you thought of before you actually read it. But I think we need to chip away as the us and them, wherever the us and them is. So the [crosstalk]

Melyssa Barrett: That’s that whole diversity of thought. It’s a diverse perspective.

Tanya Bluford: Exactly. It’s a diverse perspective. Absolutely.

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.

Tanya Bluford: And so just read, I think… And listen, now we have podcasts. So do that, but get out of your own mental comfort zone and do things that put you in a situation or put you around people or put a book in front of you that really challenged what you know to be true. 

Melyssa Barrett: Absolutely. And it’s so interesting because I think a lot of times we have these big chunks of culture. When we say culture, people think black, white, they think Asian and Pacific Islander, they have native American, Latin X. Identity is so complex because when you talk about culture, you have all these intersectionalities that are… A person is not just one thing. And more and often than not, they have lots of different components of their culture.

Tanya Bluford: Absolutely. I mean, again, case in point, I am a black woman, but I’m also very fair skin. So I have had the unfortunate experience of being able to hear at times what people say when they don’t think I’m around or someone like me is around. But my experience as a black woman is only my experience. You talk to one of my sisters she’ll tell you about a completely different black woman experience.

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah.

Tanya Bluford: Not everybody is alike, we might have some commonalities, but again, that’s when I think it’s really about the heart, because you have to be able to get of your own head. I was reading something and I wish I could think of what I was reading. It was recently though. It was a quote from somebody and I’m not going to do the quote, I’m not quoting verbatim because I don’t have the quote in front of me. Basically they were saying that, most people when they’re conversing with somebody, they’re not listening to… When they’re listening, they’re not hearing what the person says, while they’re hearing it they’re actually thinking about what their reply is.

Melyssa Barrett: Right. Yes.

Tanya Bluford: That’s not communication, really sit and I think that… Real communication requires I should say, real communication requires being able to sit and think and reflect. And so I think being able to educate yourself is one of the first things that I think people can do. The other one is, I alluded to it in the first, but that is, look at your own world, and who is the part of it, do you have a lot of different types of people from different walks of life? That speak different languages, from different ethnic groups, from different parts of the world or country, do you have that? Or do you not? 

Melyssa Barrett: Right.

Tanya Bluford: Do you have a more homogeneous group of people that you associate with? And if that’s the case, well then what can you do to heighten your experience? To broaden your worldview? You might have a very narrowed view as we probably all do to some extent. Right? 

Melyssa Barrett: Absolutely. 

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. But that would be the other thing I would encourage people to do is to, get out of your comfort zone and get to know people that are very different than you. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yes. That is a great point. I know there have been several people that I’ve talked to where they’ll say, I sat down, maybe at a restaurant or a bar and the person next to me was like… I said, hello. And the person was like, yeah, we don’t really have anything in common, and then all of a sudden they were talking for hours. 

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. 

Melyssa Barrett: Its like people have this view of, oh, if we’re not alike, we have nothing in common, but yet there are so many different dynamics that come into play that can make you very connected to someone else. 

Tanya Bluford: Exactly. And I think that’s what we need to find in each other, whether it’s in the workplace, in the school yard, wherever it happens to be, it’s finding those connections because all are human. And I think once you can let go of the other stuff and connect human to human, I think that’s where real change can happen. I used to travel a ton for work. I’ve gone all over the country multiple times, I’ve spent, I don’t even want to recall how many times, I have been stuck at an airport, my flight has been delayed or canceled, I mean, it’s been a lot. 

And I often would talk to people, and I was recently reflecting just on all of those, the conversations I have had just in the last decade with people that I’ve met while traveling, and not once, I don’t believe that politics ever come up. So who’s to know what their political stance was? Who’s to know what they thought about a lot of things? But at least for what we were talking about, I mean, we were connecting, we had things in common, they saw me and I saw them, and it just makes me wonder, if we could all just connect, and be okay with whatever is on the other side, because nobody’s perfect. Right?

Melyssa Barrett: Absolutely.

Tanya Bluford: Again, we all come with our biases, we all come with our prejudices.

Melyssa Barrett: Yes.

Tanya Bluford: And in a lot of cases, it can’t go away, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t find connection and you can’t interact with them in a human way. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. And I think what’s interesting about what you’re saying is the degrees of difference are so… In the context of us, as people are so small in the scheme of things, we are actually way more alike than we are different, but there are so much focus on the differences, and we will be different. That’s one of the things that makes it so exciting to connect with them.

Tanya Bluford: Exactly. And I’m not by any stretch of the imagination thinking that, let’s just focus on our sameness and ignore our differences. The differences are valuable, they’re really, really important. And those differences as it’s been said, many times, really needs to be celebrated and needs to be something that we look for. I was talking one of my sisters last night about fingernail polish. She was telling me about a company that manufacturers clean fingernail polish, and she was telling me the brand of it. 

And so I went and I looked them up on the internet, and I was really surprised to see page of their website they had a hair model and her skin tone was brown. And that just really struck me because a lot of times you don’t see that. So I went to multiple pages, and multiple pages had people with hands of various different shades. And I loved that. And I thought, you know what? That’s great. You know what? I’m going to support them. It might cost me a little bit more, but I’m going to support them because they value differences. They know that polish…. I know this also sounds like a trivial example, but they know nail polish looks different on different skin tones. 

Melyssa Barrett: That’s right.

Tanya Bluford: So to have that up front and center on their website, it’s like, “Yeah, you’re speaking to me, you value differences and you are marketing towards differences. And so I think you’re marketing towards me.”

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, and hopefully we see a lot more of those types of things coming out, because I know I was even on a Zoom call. I don’t know whether it was a month or two ago. And there was a doctor that was on talking about the differences in medical treatment. And in some cases, doctors don’t know the differences between what it might look like… A side effect, what that might look like on someone who has very light skin versus very dark skin, and it can show up so different. I mean, I think there’s a lot to people just thinking outside of what they’re used to, and just being able to understand what those differences are, and really acknowledging those. So that’s awesome.

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. And I think that, once we’re able to do so, it brings a ton of value. Again to the company that it has the different models, that brings a lot of value, customers with different color skin can see what polish is going to look like on them. And that is going to make them a much stronger company. Companies that are more diverse we’ll have people around the table that come with a different lens, and that is going to make their product, their service, their whatever that much better. 

Melyssa Barrett: Yes.

Tanya Bluford: I mean, there’ve been studies and studies repeatedly that show that diverse groups form non-diverse groups many times. It’s just about how can you create those groups? How can you retain those groups? And you do that by making people feel included, which is the other part of DEI or DEIB.

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. So then when you’re talking about strategy, is there a couple of nuggets that you can share in terms of companies that are looking to do this? Or if it may be, we work at a company that is striving to be better in this area?

Tanya Bluford: Yeah. Absolutely. The thing that comes to mind and I often will post things on LinkedIn about this is really the culture of the organization. And I think that those companies and organizations that have a culture that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion are going to be much better at doing this work. And so what do I mean by that? A company that is transparent, that is known to be transparent, is going to have a much, much better chance in doing work as it relates to DEI. And it probably goes without saying, but doing… You really need to be honest, you need to be fought right, you need to elicit trust. And in order to do those things, you need to be transparent. Your employees need to know that what you’re saying is accurate, and they need to know that you’re willing to share the good and the bad.

So if you had goals that you set and you didn’t reach them, that’s fine, but don’t sugar coat it and say that you did, or we did this, even though we didn’t do this. The concept is to be transparent. I think is one of the most important things in terms of building of a culture that works. Trust is another example that was embedded in the last response, but being a trustworthy organization, do you do what you say? Do you follow up with your staff? I think that is another component of culture. I would also say the other little tidbit outside of culture would be communication. I was speaking to one of my clients recently and they’ve done a lot of work around, diversity, equity, and inclusion, which is great.

The thing is, is they haven’t shared that with their staff. And like a lot of companies these days, they have people all over the place, working remotely, even if you have an organization where everybody comes in, you have to be able to communicate. You have to be able to communicate good what’s going well, what are you doing? What’s not going well? What do you need help with? But being able to communicate what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what’s going to come next, what’s the timeline, I mean, you just… I always tell my clients, over communicate, just because you said it once, doesn’t mean you don’t need to say it again and again, and maybe again.

Melyssa Barrett: That’s great advice, say it again. Yes.

Tanya Bluford: Say it again.

Melyssa Barrett: Communicate, communicate, communicate. That’s awesome. Well, I cannot thank you enough Tanya for joining me for this conversation. And I appreciate all that you are doing in this area. And we celebrate just the fact that you were able to be called and do this work, tells me that your work cut out for you. So keep doing what you’re doing and thank you for contributing and impacting the world of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Tanya Bluford: Thank you so much, Melyssa. It was my pleasure and kudos to you too, for providing a forum for you and your guests to have really, really important, intriguing, and thought provoking conversations. Thank you for the work that you do.

Melyssa Barrett: Thanks for joining me on the Jolly Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week. 

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