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Episode 48:

Love as a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy with JeVon McCormick

We’re back again this week with a crowd favorite: CEO of Scribe Media, JeVon McCormick. This week, we really dive into diversity and inclusion in the corporate workplace. We talk about what it is and what it isn’t as well as what it helpful and hurtful in business. You won’t want to miss this one.

Speakers

Feel the love! We aren't experts - we're practitioners. With a passion that's a mix of equal parts strategy and love, we explore the human (and fun) side of work and business every week together.

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Jeff Ma
Host

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MohProfile

Mohammad Anwar
President

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ChrisProfile

Chris Pitre
Vice President

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Frank Danna
Director

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JeVon "JT" McCormick
President and CEO of Scribe Media

Transcript

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Jeff Ma
In this week's episode of love as a business strategy, we have a returning guest. JeVon McCormick is the CEO of Scribe media in the last time he was on the show, things got uncomfortable, but in the best kind of way. This time he joins us to talk about diversity and inclusion from his unique lived experiences. And we open up some very real discussions. There is language in this episode that may be unsuitable for younger listeners. But hey, if your kids are listening to business podcasts, maybe they can handle it. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome to love as a business strategy podcast that brings humanity to the workplace. Before we begin, I want to remind everyone to check out our best selling book. And since you found this podcast, it'll be easy to find the book, it's also called Love is a business strategy. It's not your typical business book. And just like this show, it's laid back real and honest, everyone on camera is holding up their copy of the book right now. It's fantastic. So go check it out on Amazon or your favorite retailer right now. But hey, as you know, we're here to talk about business. We want to tackle topics that most business leaders shy away from, we believe that humanity and love should be at the center of every successful business. I am your host, Jeff Ma, and I'm a director at Softway, which is a business to employee solutions company that creates products and offer services that help build resilience and high performance company cultures. I am joined today by many people, starting with Mohammad Anwar, President, CEO of software. Hello, Mohammad.

Mohammad Anwar
Hello, Jeff.

Jeff Ma
And then Chris Pitre, vice president. Hello, Chris.

Chris Pitre
Hello.

Jeff Ma
And Frank, my fellow director. How are you doing?

Frank Danna
Hello, Jeff.

Jeff Ma
There are five people here. If you're watching us on a video, there's five people when you see all five of us that can be only for one reason. It's because of course we have JeVon McCormick in the house. I cannot get anybody to step out this episode. We all right. We had to we all showed up, CEO of Scribe media. And if you haven't seen the first episode of JeVon was on pause this, go watch it or listen to it and come back. We had an amazing time. We had a blast. I made him promise to come back. He has lived up to that promise, JeVon, thank you for joining us once again here on the podcast.

JeVon McCormick
Gentlemen, this is let's let's burn it down.

Jeff Ma
Come on. See we're already warm. This time. We just picking up where we left off. But we still gonna do an icebreaker. All right, okay, we're still gonna do an icebreaker. And this time, you know, we're gonna definitely save JeVan for last on this one. And I'm gonna start with Frank. Frank. Are you ready? Well, I'll get the same questions. Everybody else. This is hard for you and easy for everybody else. Frank, what did you get in the most trouble for as a kid?

Frank Danna
When I was seven years old, I decided to raid my grandmother's pantry for flour, and I grabbed a bunch of flour. And I put it in a big bowl of water. And then for some reason, I walked around her house, and I like splattered it on the couches, and I don't even understand the why that happened or anything else. But I remember my grandmother walking in and just freaking out because there are these splatters of, you know, flour and water mixture everywhere. And she had to hire professional cleaners to come and clean her entire house. And to this day, I do not know why I did that or why that happened. But that is the that is the thing I got in most trouble for when I was a kid.

Jeff Ma
And it feels like Levi, your son has actually brought that karma full circle 100% back to you in the way he's anyways. There's another story that okay,

JeVon McCormick
Frank was getting his Jackson Pollock boy.

Chris Pitre
Sure,

Jeff Ma
Chris, you're up next. What did you get in most trouble for as a kid?

Chris Pitre
As you can probably imagine, my smart mouth was the thing that got me in the most trouble. So much so that there's a story that I don't even recall. But everyone in my family reminds me of wishes there was this one day, you know, we were getting in the car. And it was me and my sister and an older cousin and my mom. And my sister was taking a really long time to get in. I don't recall this at all. But this is the story that I get told. And you know, she was taking her sweet, precious time and I was apparently in a hurry. And I just turned around to say, Candace get your skinny blank in the car. And it was like the a word right? And my mom just turned around and gave me a backhand. So the mouth and she had this like big ring at the time. And so everybody just calls this like Christmas tea. Right? Like, I don't remember any of this happening. But I've been told that this is like one of the most memorable sort of like discipline situations but also smart about situations that I've been in.

Jeff Ma
So what I'm hearing is she hits you Hard you got a concussion and don't remember this this

Frank Danna
oh my gosh, this

JeVon McCormick
You got it. You gotta say it the way Chris's mom would have said it boy I'd slap the memory out of your $$$.

Chris Pitre
And it went, I don't recall this. It was everybody else remembers us. I was like, I don't know if I just suppressed it. I don't know if I got hit that hard. But I don't remember. But I saved up the next day.

Jeff Ma
All right. Well, Mohammad, you are next, what did you get the most trouble for as a kid?

Mohammad Anwar
I think I got in trouble quite a bit. But the one that stands out to me, I think that I remember and had the most impact on me was I was visiting, you know, family, friends home with my family. And I came back home with that a toy from their house that I just decided to take back with me. And when I got home, I showed it to my parents. And my parents were like, Where did you get that from? Like, I picked it up from their house. And that was it. That was my lesson on what the stealing mean, and what I've done and how I need to go back and return it and face the consequences of it. So that's it. Actually, I've I've never that's your worst. That was

Jeff Ma
no, that was so weak. We've all done that

JeVon McCormick
did you did you didn't you get an a$$ wippin' or something?

Mohammad Anwar
I get an a$$ whippin' but I do remember that feeling of embarrassment and thing was just the shame was just horrendous. That's all I can tell you. That's how I remember it. Like that was enough.

Jeff Ma
Thank you Moh, it's such a just a goody, goody. I will share mine as well. I usually don't do this but mine was mine was I will never forget it. I was very young. But I was obsessed at the time with the garage door opener. I'd always be the one I was like when we pull up from home. I wanted to be the one to open the garage doors are old school just manual kind of pressey little thing. And then I did that regularly in one night. We were pulling in and I decided to press clothes while we were halfway into the thing the door came down and crunched the car broke the garage door and the roof of the car. And I mean it was I don't Yeah, I don't even I also blacked out Chris I have no further no further memory. No further memory from that. JeVon you're up what did you get the most trouble for advocate

JeVon McCormick
man so okay this sucks cuz you guys are kind of making me be that person. We we've all met this person before where you tell them you've been to Disney World. They tell you they've been there three times are you tell them you got on the roller coaster all grown eight times. So you guys are making me be the I've been three times person. Mine was four. We talked a little bit about this last time. Mine was for fighting back my against my dad's prostitute and she called the police on me. And then they took me to juvenile that was what I gotten the most trouble for she she was hitting me I got tired of getting beat. I fought back. She was white. They call the police Guess who goes to jail. So that that was the worst now outside of that because you know, you can chalk that up to like some criminal s**t. I was playing with matches one time. And my mom caught me. And my mom didn't discipline me. She says, she said I'm gonna tell your dad. And I remember this. I remember saying to myself, wait a minute. I can't even get him to come pick me up. What's he going to do? And so I was like, Okay, cool. You tell him you know, I was like, he's not gonna show up. I'll be damned. I'm like, okay, you can't show up when it's time to pick me up but you show up for an a$$ whooping?

Yeah, in unlike Jeff and Chris. I remember it. Yeah, so there you go, man.

Chris Pitre
plenty of other beatings. Just FYI, I do remember plenty of others. But that one is the one that I can't forget it because I'm always reminded of it.

Jeff Ma
Gosh, well, the award goes to JeVon. You win with multiple, multiple stories that man,

JeVon McCormick
like I said, I'm the three time Disney World person.

Jeff Ma
Well, JeVon, when we last talked. We only touch very lightly at the time. I think someone said DNI and I know that's a term you don't like and we said why not? And we wanted to dive. further into it, and we just, you know, this is a whole thing to unpack here. And so we thought it'd be great to start there today. And maybe you could start us off talking about diversity and inclusion, I'll say the whole phrase and, and tell us why. You know, why do you have a problem with the term DNI? And where does that sit for you? And what you know, what are your passions around this topic?

JeVon McCormick
I feel that as a society for the most part, people will try to say they they've shortened it into an acronym, because it's easier to say, No, what's easier to say is when you say diversity, that's hard to say because now we're talking about minorities. Now we're talking about gays now we're talking about we there's a whole lot that goes into diversity. And that's a tough word to say diversity is for me, is all of us here old enough to remember you were always taught don't talk religion, in politics in the workplace. No, diversity is on the list to don't talk diversity that that that has been a rule for years, you think because that's a very uncomfortable conversation, because you've got to address the big a$$ elephant that Oh, wow, there's only we've got 2000 people working with this. And there's only eight minorities? Oh, yeah, diversity is kind of hard to talk about right now. So I feel that when you shorten it, you are making it easy in that in the, in the sense of, well, it's just a hard word to say no, it's not diversity, inclusion, sour to say, you know, it's a mouthful. No, terpil. That's why you don't want to say it. So I just I cringe every time I see it, written D and I, d and I, or I hear people say me, come on, say the word. But yeah, that I, it just rubs me the wrong way. Because I know why people are shortening it. Maybe not everybody, but the great majority are shortening it because it is a very difficult conversation to have.

Jeff Ma
Yeah, absolutely.

Chris Pitre
And JeVon. Also know that you have some thoughts about diversity, separate from inclusion and how they connect or intersect or in certain situations, but I would love to hear you sort of go deeper into sort of what it means to one have diversity, but then what does it mean, to include that diversity?

JeVon McCormick
Well, so I I've said this, you I believe we said the last time we were all together, one diversity doesn't have a finish line. You know, it's it's continuous, you know, it's just it's like payroll, it didn't stop. Gotta keep writing the payroll check. So it's a way of life in and we should stop treating it as a mission. You know, because a mission has a end goal. You know, if you're in the military, what's our mission? You know, you have an end goal. Diversity has no finish line, you just keep going. It should just be a part of your life a part of your culture, in a part of our country, there shouldn't be no separation of Oh, we finished. But more importantly, here's here's what you're seeing right now in society. Oddly enough, here we are all together and what the the George Floyd University was, what, two days ago yesterday, two days ago, I think. And it's interesting, because now everyone's talking about Okay, what what oxygen actually has been done in the workplace, what have we done as a society? And you've got all these people out there companies touting what they've done to attract diversity, you know, diversity and bring in candidates, but no one no one's talking about what is it like for diverse candidates, once they make it into the workplace? What's that look like? You know, no one wants to address the fact that, and I'll speak before for myself. I you all know, I'm the old man here. I remember working at places, and there may be two or three other minorities in the workplace. And you strayed away from those minorities because you didn't want to be marked as a troublemaker. And so you you wanted to fit in, because the playbook was you had a certain name, you went to a certain school, you come from a certain background. And so if you didn't fit into that, that playbook. You were doing everything you could to try to assimilate and fit in and you didn't want to associate with the other minorities because they're forming the group. They're troublemakers, and so no one talks about that. But you know, here's something we had inside scribe. So we hired one mixed race woman, she's half white, half black, and she's gay. And we hired a another black woman. And they wanted to test the culture. And so we had a zoom call, and they wore their head wraps. So in the black and black community, a lot of black women will wear head wraps for their hair to keep it moisturized, keep it in place, whatever. Well, in corporate America, they both said it, you can get fired for wearing a head wrap. So they wanted to see what would happen. So they wore their head wraps to a zoom, call it here's what happened. Oh, my god, you're here wrap is so beautiful. And they were taken back like, wow, you all really are doing a different they were accepted. They were welcomed. No one looked at them crazy. And that's a very unusual thing from corporate America, where you're looked at different for why are you wearing a head wrap on a zoom call. And so those are just different elements that take place inside that people don't talk about. Last one I'll share with you all that we just went through this is this is powerful.Because let's let's be honest, on the other side of this, right now, when everyone is saying diversity, most people most are talking about black people. That's what that's what the majority of the diversity word is addressing right now. But no one's talking about what is it to be Middle Eastern? What is it to be Hispanic, Mexican, Latino, no one's talking about that this has been very black focused in me being half black. I'll call it what it is. But here's something that just took place with us. So we did we were doing our interviews. And I'm always the last person that interviews candidates on site. I'm the last person they speak with. So before I went to walk into this interview, I asked one of our tribe members Rosalia. I said, Hey, Rosalia, how much time should I spend in here? And she goes, Oh, no, no, She's good. She's gonna spend spend some time she goes, but I have a big concern. And I go, Okay, stop right there. Don't tell me. So went into the interview interview went great, loved it. She's phenomenal. But I walked out and I said, Hey, Rosalia. What, what what's the problem? Would you say she goes, Well, I'm a little nervous that you wouldn't want to hire her because of her accent. So she's Mexican, and she's got a heavy accent, you know, in she'll, she'll say things like, instead of saying chair, so she'll say, share, instead of saying Shenmue, she'll say chimu. And so roselia that culture of the Mexican culture, especially here in Texas, Rosalia was concerned that she goes, we hire her, I'm nervous. She's, she's great. She can do the job. And I said, hey, what roselia if we have anyone who dares says something about her accent, if we have a client and author on the phone, who dares say something about her exit, will either fire the tribe member or fire the author? I said, That's bulls**t. We're not going down that path. So she's going to be a phenomenal tribe member, she's going to be a great addition to the tribe. And we're gonna hire her and Rosalia lit up like, Wow, it because that's the part that people aren't talking about in corporate America, when it comes to diversity that happens there that that happens, where people who have that type of accent don't get hired.

Chris Pitre
Ya know, why I completely agree, I have seen stories heard of it, you know, and I think you bring up an excellent point and an excellent conversation, actually, this is going to be a longer conversation cuz I'm not going to let it go. But yeah. But when we talk about inclusion, I do think that there is less emphasis and less budget around that. And everyone invests in that diversity, hiring and recruiting and all the attention goes there. And then people do show up, and it's like, what is this? And, you know, either find coping mechanisms or leave, right, and yeah, the, the unfortunate part is that, you know, being a minority or a marginalized group, as you mentioned, it's not just black people, and that's typically where the conversation veers and or it creates tension among all the minorities where who's getting the attention, darling? And then you have the struggle Olympics between them and right, and everybody's vying for the same attention. And the whole big picture is missed, right? Because it's a mission it's not a way of life. Right? It creates that tension among the minority groups, right? Because everybody's fighting for the same pot of money, the same attention the same sponsors the same sort of influence right and there's not a there has not yet been space mentally, as well as physically for everyone to exist as well as be included in conversations and decisions in the promotional velocity within the organization. And everybody enter or typically exits where they enter Right, as a person of color or minority, whatever role you're hired at, you find it to be just one or two levels above that before you have to leave and go and actually take your next jump. Right, as we look at sort of the majority counterparts that you might have, you know, they they grow, like they have a mentor or some advocate, you know, this was like, oh, man, we, you know, provides me my son, right, like, pulls them up, and, you know, gives them a promotion because an opportunity, even if they fail, they still don't pay the cost of that failure, like others do. And it's, it's something where, unfortunately, in organizations, we start talking about this, you know, people shut down because like, so you're calling me racist? Are you calling me right? And it's like, I'm not saying I'm saying any of that. What I'm saying is, like, what I'm saying is that our experiences are different. And there is something that's driving that difference, and we haven't yet untapped it, we haven't uncovered it, we haven't gotten to the bottom of it. And I know, for me, when I was first promoted, this is before Softway. I was the only black person, right? I got promoted to director, and the VP of the organization did not want me to join the director meetings. So our conference rooms were fully glass, so you can see through so everybody could see, wow, the directors meeting, but Chris has said now, you know, at the cube, like what they would come and say like Kristen should be in that meeting? Shouldn't you be in that meeting? And I'm like, Yeah, like, you know, I think they're waiting, right? Like, you try and sort of shrug it off. And then I finally confront the VP. And he's like, oh, it will make everybody else uncomfortable. If you were to join that meeting. I mean, yesterday, you were just this, and now you're, you're at their level. So it's gonna take a while for them to adjust. You know, I'm like, that's wrong, right? Like that. You know, like, what the hell like, Who does that? Like, where does that mentality come from? And if they're uncomfortable, whose problem is that? Right? And so you have sort of this situation where, even if you get that promotion of velocity, there's still going to be that question mark of, am I actually allowed to sit here? Can I actually use my voice? Can I actually have a platform? And I think that's unfortunate, but that's still sort of the battle that is raging in the diversity and inclusion space, especially on that inclusion side.

JeVon McCormick
So it remind me all I feel with Jeff is coming on. It's coming on. Talk about Dante right last time on our call. Okay, do you guys do you know who Dante right is right.

Jeff Ma
Okay, you're already you already one foot in? Let's do this

JeVon McCormick
. All right. Let's do it. Let's do it. Did you all see when the Derrick Chauvin? The trial was going on? That kid Dante right got shot, like right down the street from when the trial with it the same week? It was going on that in the title and the timeframe? Yes. So people lost their minds on me when I brought this up in a good way, because a lot of people weren't thinking about this. All right, all right, because we're gonna get a lot of comments on this one. So here's what happened. So Dante right was was shot and killed when we saw that. Here's the narrative. Another black man shot and killed Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin trial going on George Paul, you know, all of it. Another black man shot and killed it was it was in the media was in in print blogs everywhere. And then I was watching the news. And I saw Dante Wright's parents. His mom was white. That was black. And I was like, interesting. They keep referring to him as a black man, another black man shot because the narrative that needs to be kept is another black man shot. He's mixed race. So here's my problem with this. We have gone out of our way as a country just bent over backwards. We have put planes in the in the sky that are sky writing that Kamala Harris is mixed race. We have screamed at globally first mixed race VP. Why doesn't Dante right get the same respect to be called mix man was shot and killed. His mom and dad are white and black. We've gone on and away from Kamala Harris. So why can't we go out of our way for Dante right to be referred to as mixed race man shot and killed? And it's little things like that, in my opinion, that keep this this this cycle going, where we claim we want to bring change, we claim is is that we want to see things done different in I'll even go a step further. We're running around pulling down statues and I'm not saying we shouldn't think it's a good thing. But here's my problem. We do some very surface s**t in our society. So we've got a problem with syrup bottles. We got a problem with statues, we'll say Kamala Harris is mixed race, which he is. But so it was Dante Wright. But here's the thing, when America references a mixed race person as black, the reason they're doing it is because there was a rule back in slavery, that was written a law, that if you have one drop of black blood, you're black. And if we're truly trying to write our wrongs in this country, then we need to do it holistically, and not on the surface level of Oh, tear down the statue. Oh, Kamala Harris first mixed race, bro, okay, well, then let's be consistent in our efforts and not pick and choose where those efforts benefit is as a society, because it's a good photo op, or a good piece for the media.

Chris Pitre
. So I agree.

Mohammad Anwar
I was just gonna say so. I mean, this is this is a challenge. Right, JeVon? So how do we solve this problem? How do we make sure that there's a real solution to these issues? Because you're right, we can just go solve this by pulling down statues. I mean, we can't like go do those drastic things, and then hope that it all goes away. So I want to ask, like, what have organizations has done in the last year, especially I focused on the business side, because I feel like we have the most influence from Right. I mean, besides chump, you know, thumping their chest and saying, look, we hired look at us, we want a DNI award and so forth. Like, what, what real difference have they made? Right? I want to I want to know, like, I don't know, I guess I'm asking. Not because I think you know, but I'm like trying to create this debate here. So how do we solve this problem?

JeVon McCormick
I don't know that there's it? Well, here's the thing. I love this, because we're talking about love as a strategy. And we all know, especially in business, there's never one thing. There's never one thing. And so but we do know that if we all get together right now we have an executive meeting, we say, look, our profit margins have to get to 15%. We're going to find a way that we're going to keep saying that every meeting, Hey, 15% 15% 30, whatever it is, we're after that profit margin. We're going to keep beating it until we start and you're going to start to see a tick up. Oh, here comes here comes and I feel like with with diversity, and I said this back when the George Floyd murder first happened. It's got to be consistency. We have a tendency in this country to swing the pendulum so hard for what's the new hotness, what's the new initiative, and then it falls off in you look no further than Ferguson. Remember Michael Brown for two weeks, everybody was pissed off burned down the the city or everything, but then it went away. And then that was it. And so the the key for me the number one word, and it's sad, because it's the biggest word that I feel that is missing in our country is consistency. We're not consistent anymore. Everybody wants instant gratification. Everybody wants it right now, think about the gym. If somebody wants to lose 30 pounds, we have the audacity, we want to go to the gym at two o'clock in the afternoon. And we want to lose that 30 pounds by 4pm. We're a society that people are like, I don't want to wait till four, I want to lose it by three. And it's, but we're not consistent anymore. Everything's instant gratification. Everything's the next swipe everything. And so with diversity, I don't believe there's one solution, it's going to take multiple things of consistent effort consistently talking about it, bringing it up showing that attention of here are the things that we need to address this need to make anybody right or wrong. But these are the things that we need to address just like the Dante Wright thing. When I said that people were shocked. They're like, wow, I never thought of it that way. I know. I know that. And so those are the little things that we have to show. You can't just celebrate Kamala Harris's mixed race because she's the first female vice president. If we're going to do that, then let's be consistent all the way through and show that same respect to everyone that can she get the same respect to be called mixed race, his mom's white, his dad's black, they should get the respect. They had a mixed race son, show them respect.

Mohammad Anwar
Sure. So I i think i think consistency is one thing and I agree with you, but I also think that we're not really looking for the right solution to be consistent with, right like we're missing the point where we're doing all these things for the wrong reasons. We're doing it to superficially show off. We're not doing it for genuine reasons of bringing about change. We're not we're not like if they're going on social media and broadcasting look at us, we've hired a DNI officer. We won this DNI award, then is it really being done for the right reason? Yep. I don't care. Like, to be honest, you wonder freaking consistent on social media. I'll tell you that, and bulls**t. Yeah. So I think I think consistency aside, I don't think we're even looking at this problem the right way. I don't think we're trying to approach it the right way.

JeVon McCormick
I do believe there are some people who have you all us here describe us here on this call. I also believe that diversity has to be called out holistically. And what I mean by that we were in a meeting the other day, it was our diversity call as a tribe. And we had a gay, half white, half black woman in the room, we had a black woman in the room, we had a gay white woman in the room, we had a white woman in the room. But I shocked everybody. When I said this. We also had a white man in the room, who had just come out of the military, he spent eight years in the military, he was an officer, we are his first civilian job he ever has his hat. And I call this out to people I go, and you know what, he's part of diversity too, because we've never had that. In a lot of people are so just white guy, you're not included. And I'm like, hold on, hold on. Don't Don't swing the pendulum so far to where now we're trying to exclude people. It's like, we want to punish for some sh*t that was going on out now. all white people have to pay and I'm like, that's, that's such bulls**t. It Mohammad. Here's another one. So, Chris, tell me if you're understanding me when I say this. I personally cannot stand. I've seen this several times, a white person will come to a black person and ask to be educated about the things they don't know. And I've seen some black people say, it is not my job to educate you, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, wait a minute, you can't bitch because people are trying to, you don't understand me, you don't understand what I've been through. And now they're trying to understand and then you want to be mad at that to know, it's like, you have to educate with the best intention. Because I'm not going to go to the level of how I've been discriminated against, or people who didn't care about my background, how, if someone is truly coming to me seeking to learn, understand, then I have a responsibility to educate them and teach them. I can't just turn you away. Yeah,

Chris Pitre
no, I completely agree. And I've been in those situations, overheard those conversations, and I'm like, What are you like? everything that you've been asking for is about to happen. Now you're like, oh, how dare you ask me to write it like they turn it into this thing that it's not meant to be. But personally, I've always felt like if someone is that brave and courageous to come and say, I know, I need to know this, and I don't know where to go or how to start or whatever. Like That is my responsibility. But also, it's an honor that they trust you enough. Right? Right to start there with you. And I think that there's a lot of people and it's not just black, it's like anytime there's a difference, and someone is sort of ignorant or not as aware of what happens in that culture. Whenever someone's willing to submit themselves and say, like, I don't know, any I can you help me? I don't, right. It's just almost like when you go to a foreign country, you can't speak the language, right? It's like, you have to ask, you have to get someone to show you what to do, how to ask how to speak, where to go, all of those things. And when you have, you know, we have those folks that turn away or just like are repulsed, because you dare ask them to help you. You just wonder like, what, what mindset? Do you have to have to have that reaction when someone who is clearly in need is coming to you of all people, clearly there's something that they trust about you? Clearly there's something that they see in you clearly something they believe about you that they would open up to allow for that type of, you know, input, you know, control or information to come, right, because when you educate people, you ultimately are in control. Right. And I think that's, that's a deep topic to get into. We can talk about weaponization.

JeVon McCormick
You see, Christian set up a part three, you see that,

Frank Danna
you know, I'm sitting here and I'm listening, I'm thinking to myself, I'm gonna try not to get emotional, but people are so unwilling to see the value of diversity. They're so unwilling to see the unique attributes of different people's perspectives and lived experiences. JeVon what I love about you so much is that you are an executive who doesn't have an on off switch. You are you and I was with a an executive over the weekend. Multiple multi hundreds of millions of dollars technology organization. And he was sitting there making fun of someone who's going through a transition. Because all he does is he shows up to work to make sure that he doesn't have EEOC violations and HR doesn't come and complain. And so he'll flip that switch, and act the way he needs to act in order to not be seen as insert title here, right. And then as soon as that turns off, he'll speak about them behind their back. Yeah, he'll he'll make fun of the pronouns, he'll make fun of the identity, he'll make fun of the individual. And the problem is, when we don't have leaders that truly care about the humanity of the person, then you are not able to build real inclusion. And I'm so frustrated by the fact that there are so many leaders in corporate America, it doesn't matter what type of organization we're talking about, that do not see the value, and decide that what they're going to do is instead of learn and understand, and try to connect and build bridges across difference, there, they would rather just pretend to care. And then when they leave work, what they talk about on the golf course, or what they talk about, in conversations with their good old boy network is discrimination and hatred and vile. And it needs to be called out. I personally, I believe that the more leaders that see the that try to create an empathetic connection with people, the more value that brings like when the stories you just told us about you in the room, bringing more inclusive behaviors to your team, showing them different perspectives of how to look at things from different vantage points and angles, that is so inspiring, because you're showing them how to see the world in a unique way that values collaboration and identity. And it's so refreshing to me, number one, and number two, I see such a massive necessity placed upon leaders to understand the impact and the reality that diversity inclusion plays. That's all I was gonna say, I just want to let it let you know, like it's

JeVon McCormick
let's get one for free. Well, listen,

Mohammad Anwar
I I want to I want to talk about that a little bit. Like, let's talk about I agree that those behaviors and those acts are, you know, horrible. But I think just calling it out ain't gonna fix it. No, I think we have to figure out how are we going to influence these leaders deeper to change, but how do we make them change? Do you think calling out is gonna all of a sudden one day they're like, Oh, I got called out. So I'll change No, they'll turn the switch on even more,

Frank Danna
that'll fade just like a statue being torn down. It'll fade it'll fade out of memory when they're when it's not in focus.

Mohammad Anwar
Or they'll learn to keep the switch on the whole time.

Frank Danna
That's fair. But then but then it's then it's, you still see through it, the cracks will emerge, right? Like the facade will break eventually. And then what you have is a broken culture built off of lies and false promises. I mean, it's still it will evaporate

JeVon McCormick
You know, Mohammad, you you bring up a great point, I feel what what starts to break that and it's a very slow go. But there's and I don't mean this is disrespectful to Jeff, Chris or Frank. But the JeVons in the Mohammads of the world that have hit the CEO chair are few and far between. And so what the slow go, that has to happen is as we rise to those chairs, that that that CEO chair, then the behaviors will change as well, because I promise you what's happening right now with the person that Frank just brought up is, whoever he is surrounded by with with his, his corporate executive team, he has shared some of those racist behaviors with them. So they're gonna assimilate to how he is because they want to make sure they stay in that that circle of let me make sure I get my check my stock options, my bonus, so then that starts to trickle down, because then that next level of people are like, well, I gotta stay close to that director that VIP. And so that's the thing to Frank's point where I totally agree with when you have a Mohammad, when you have a JeVon in those chairs, the behaviors start to change. And I'm not a trickle down person. I'm a trickle up person because my role is to support the people that I serve. And so the behaviors start to change in I'm gonna go left for a little bit, but But think about this for a second. did this on the keynote recently and I said, Let me explain to What a slave plantation looks like. And I went down this path. And I started explaining what a slave plantation looks like I said, they come to work, they put in all this effort, and they don't get paid. I go, but you put a roof over their head, and you feed them a little bit. And then that way, you you keep them working in the field. I said, that's a slave plantation. I said, or is that college football? I said, because they don't get paid. I go, but they get a room, a dorm, they get fed. But they got to hit that field. And so someone pushed back and they were like, Yeah, but they get a free education. I said, so does the person they got the full ride scholarship in biology. But they're not having to work in the field, to produce revenue for the school. And in fact, for the person who got the full ride biology, guess who's paying for that the field hands that are going out to the field each day. And I said, here's what bothers me the most, I don't have, I do have a problem with it. But my bigger problem is, you're going to tell me that all the black men that have come through the NCAA football program, all the black men that have come through the NCAA basketball program, you're going to tell me that with all of the black men who have played that sport, none of them, you shouldn't have a larger concentration of coaches, assistant coaches, where they played the sport, you're going to tell me they don't understand it. They can't be coaches. And so when I look at this, and to your point, Mohammad, it is all around us, because that's a deal that's been just repeated over and over, then they make it to the NFL, and even the NFL. How can we don't have more black coaches there? I'm like, Are you kidding me? And you see some of the same recycled coaches, that you sucked at that team. And then you got hired in this team. But but the Eric be enemy who won the damn Super Bowl with Kansas City, he can't get a head coaching job. I'm like, how is this in? No one talks about this. So it's, it's all around us. It's just little pieces just being completely in, I'll shut up. It's, it's, it's constantly bringing it top of mind. Just like I said, Go back to us in business. If we say we want our profit margins to be 35%. You keep it Top of Mind, eventually, we're going to get to 35%.

Chris Pitre
Yep. And I was having a conversation the other day about like, engagement surveys. And what's interesting about engagement surveys, which you know, if done correctly, can be a wealth of information and insight. But unfortunately, many organizations no longer know, not only set them up poorly, meaning there's no self ID data. So you don't know who saying what about the organization. But also when you look at the sort of results, everyone tends to look at the majority, who 80% of our team are happy here, we're doing great. And when you talk about diversity and inclusion, it's the 20% that we should be looking at, and who are in those 20%. Right? And if they look different, are different behave different talk, like that difference is not happy at this organization. And diversity and inclusion is meant to solve that problem, not just to maintain the happiness and the comfort of that 80% and many DNI initiatives, er, sorry, diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as the social media, you know, chesst, you know, thumping is all about, look, we have 87% of our employees who are happy here. And I'm like, but you got 13% that are unhappy? Yeah, don't? Yeah, I was like, I'm pretty sure they look a lot like me. We're not talking about that, though. But, you know, that is sometimes the issue that many sort of, you know, enterprise, large, complex organizations, sort of how they handle it, and how they sort of train their brains to think if I'm over X amount, we're good, but they don't think those that are under this amount are not good. And I am meant to solve it for everyone, not just the ones who are saying they like it here.

Mohammad Anwar
Yeah, but if they if they missed their profit goal by 13%, they'd be fired. But if they missed their employee engagement survey by 13% we'r good good. Very good. Yeah.

We celebrate it on social media.

JeVon McCormick
Totally. Yeah. So social media is Yeah, that's a thing. Yeah. It's a thing. I man, there's just so much fakeness in social media. As a whole device, Christian, that's a, it's a, it's part three, it's part three.

Chris Pitre
You know, it's virtue signaling, right? Like that's the officials have given it. But you know that that idea that, you know, if we just say that we're doing good people will believe us, but we don't have to prove it. And, and, you know, I hate to call out companies, but I was reading this piece about IDEO, which, you know, in our previous sort of industry, where we competed design and digital agency background, like they were sort of a gold standard. And then you've read these articles that are coming out of from previous, you know, employees of color, and women about the experiences they had in those walls, and how open and unashamed people were in that behavior. You go back to what Mohammad said about like, that awareness of behavior, and how long do we tolerate the consistency and communication around the efforts I want to do, and sort of ignore the lack of consistency around behavioral change. Because no matter what sort of insights you get into my work conversation you want to start with, at the end of the day, the solution lies in behaviors and the individual behaviors and self awareness around those behaviors. Because if we have a situation where women say they are uncomfortable, the solution is not just to change a process, right? The solution is not just to go and hire more women, the solution is we have to change what we've been doing to make those women uncomfortable. And that takes hard work. And that's self work. That's not an enterprise process and policy that we can stand up to say, like women will therefore now be comfortable here. And that is it. Right? Like there has to be hard work. And that's individual. And you also have to sort of keep people in that lane of it's not for you to go and find out who said what, because that's typically what humans want to do is find out who said it, so I can punish them or get even or get rid of them whatever the case may be. But to say, I have to assume that everybody said this. So now I have to believe that I must change because I cannot go and punish someone or find the culprit or, you know, just deal with them. Because you don't know when you look at diverse, you know, and sort of marginalized groups who is the most vocal or who has the proper influence? Right. And I think that that is that conversation rarely happens, because most leaders do not want to do that self work. That is difficult, and many of them believe they've already done it. That's how I got here, because I did that self work. It wasn't, you know, sort of the misbehaviors that got me here. It's the it's the fact that I'm great. And I've been told I was great my entire life. And that that problem, that challenge is something that many diversity and inclusion practitioners are facing, as well as just leaders who mean well, who actually see the issue, they can get their teams to be self aware, there appears to be self aware, their direct reports to be self aware. And you know, trying to bring that about is a lot of work, especially when it's not just you that has to make those changes.

Mohammad Anwar
Yeah, I think they start from the data. And they're focused on the data instead of focusing the behaviors behind the data. And so it's all about proving out numbers, showing numbers. And they've they've taken this whole thing, even like with HR and I believe HR is the solution to start solving is fun, but let's face it, I think they created the problem to begin with, by instituting systems and processes that marginalize people or exclude, you know, minorities, and so forth. So now, we're handing them the responsibility to let's go solve the problem you created. You know, I baffles me, number one, but number two, it's also like, everything is driven by numbers. It's like data. Yeah, the data is God, I understand. But there's all these behaviors behind each number, each data and you know, people are missing the point that you can't just change the numbers, you got to change the behaviors that drive the numbers, that influences that influences it and too many people are focused on making numbers look good, and forget about what really drives the numbers. And that's, that's like a big problem in the corporate world. And many people are struggling to understand the connection between behaviors and issues of diversity and inclusion. They don't, they're not able to relate how just by being a good human having the humanistic behaviors of treating everyone the way they should be, you know, they would like to be treated. The Platinum rule, as we call it, is simply the first step in inclusion. But we try to complicate it. We want to try to make a you know, big campaigns or call it out, but don't give solutions. How to solve it. Solutions isn't just like, you know, here's data to show 99.99% of the time. We didn't miss her social media posts about DNI but it's about how are we truly making a difference and no one's able to connect to to talk about it. We're talking about how leaders are, you know, not inclusive, not, you know, don't don't really value diversity and inclusion, don't understand the value of it, but really, who's talking to them about their behaviors, who's really making them understand that it's their behaviors, that they need to have self awareness around? And and approach it that way. And that's kind of where like, my head is like, I don't think we can really solve this problem until there's a change in the people's mindsets and behaviors. So

Jeff Ma
there's a there's a, there's a metric, I don't know if it's measurable. But you Softway folks, we know this from experience, that real change comes from being uncomfortable. And when I, when I look at any, like, I challenge you to find me a really meaningful or impactful change that was comfortable, right, in anything in life and business. And I think, to me, it's an easy, it's an easy measuring stick, just to kind of go back to everything we just talked about, right? Like, when you look at performative acts on social media, those are those are comfortable, like you don't have to do anything, you just you just post a saying DNI instead of diversity inclusion is, right. When you look at just when you rely on data, but don't look at behavior that's comfortable, right? Well, no. So when you when you're like, able to look at comfortability as a metric, it's easy to see, in my opinion, where change is actually being happened. And when the on off switch is being pulled. And we talked about consistency earlier. To me, we have to get consistent about being uncomfortable. Like we have to consistently get used to being uncomfortable. I don't know what that looks like, I don't have all the solutions. But I do know that when I look at, you know, a boardroom saying, Let's, let's put another $2 million to our DNI efforts, that they just go back home and, and go, you know, play golf, wherever it is, you're like, that's comfortable. They're like, great decision, we solved the problem, let's move on, that was clearly comfortable. But when you see CEOs and other businesses making real change, real impactful strides, it is hard. And it's not just hard on the people, it's hardest at the top or at the people who have to actually make a change. And we've seen that time and time again, it requires uncomfortability no matter what form that takes, and I think that's just something that's, I'm not trying to oversimplify it, because there's so much to that. But everything we've said to me just ties back to something that we say a lot. That's always like people prefer comfort over progress. You're always gonna. Yeah, go ahead. No good.

Mohammad Anwar
I was just gonna say like, but I think many people are misunderstanding uncomfortability with polarizing, because if you're thinking just by going and like, you know, telling people, you've been racist, then you're racist. And I know there's a place and time for it. But if we're generalizing it, that's not uncomfortability. If I'm coming from the opposite lens, then you could be polarizing them and distancing them even further from your goal that you're trying to achieve. So how do we bring them to that change through uncomfortability, but without making them polarized, and just a run away from it? And and I think that's the missing point like it, I think we need to find that, what is the way to make them uncomfortable, but learn, but not make them polarize and run away? And I think that's where I would say that we have to clarify that. Yeah,

Chris Pitre
that's a good start. Yeah. Yep. I think it starts with, like JeVon telling that story story on a previous podcast, the stories that he's sold so far, like, they are uncomfortable, listen to I don't know, if I just told you that. But like, your stories are uncomfortable to listen to not because they should be. Right, but because I've never lived that life. I don't know what that means. I don't even know how to ask questions. Is it appropriate to ask questions, right? Like, those those stories bring that discomfort forward. But you also don't want to stop listening and learning. And I think it's that that sort of conversation that Jeff and Mohammad are having, where when you really sort of want to get into that place of like, really, you know, helping people understand it isn't lived experiences, it isn't people sharing their story. And it's also on people understanding how to engage after that. Because when you think about a lot of these conversations, that people are having these crucial conversations, as they call them internally. No one knows how to engage after truth comes out. Yeah. But what do we do now? Like what who, who's supposed to tell us what to do? Right? Like leaders have not been trained and haven't have not been given tools. The people that are telling their stories are like, okay, everybody's quiet, that I upsets them, I get my right and so there's just this is that awkward piece, and I think that's something that we When we think about pushing people further along towards goals towards the outcomes that we seek, like that, that power, right, like after you watch a great movie, what do you do afterward? Right? It's made you uncomfortable as challengers thoughts, like, who do you do share with people? Do you write about it? Like, do you go and go back and re watch it again? Like, what do you do? And I think it's that same sort of, sort of pathway that has to be figured out for many corporates. And I think that it's contextual, meaning there's not one way to do it, right. I think it's what's best for the organization and the situation. But JeVon, you were gonna say something,

JeVon McCormick
I was to Mohammad's point earlier is well, why change will be slow is, is you all know this, we tend to gravitate to those that we have most in common with. And even if How many times have some of us hung out with a person from a different background, a different race, a different religion? And once you sat with them 10-15-30 minutes, you're like, Oh, s**t, Frank's really cool. That's it. But you went into it with a different mindset, like, I don't know their background. And, and, and so we're where we are right now, as a society. If you look at the majority of the people who are leading fortune 500 companies, the great majority are white men. And those white men got there by a certain playbook name was went to the certain schools come from a certain background. And so as promotions come about, and people start to rise to corporate America, you tend to promote and gravitate to those that you understand that you have most in common with. And I shared this with people as well. And again, another eye opener for people. It's very uncomfortable for people to be like, Oh, s**t, he's mixed race and his dad was a pimp with 23 kids, and I get away. I don't understand that and to say, you know, I don't know where my last name comes from. My mom was an orphan. You know, I got a GED. Now, I don't fall into the playbook. And so the now now you're very uncomfortable because you don't know what Okay, what do we do with that guy? And so, but here's what's funny. You can take a black person from a low income community. JeVon McCormick, you can take a Hispanic person from a low income community. Let's say Rosalia Rodriguez. And because white America can't identify with those backgrounds, you can take a white person from a low economic community that may be named Steve Smith, if nothing else, at least the people who are at the top of the food chain in corporate America, they can say okay, you're white. I'm white. Great. Your name is Steve Smith. Okay, I can help you get out of that situation and help you come up. Where is Laquanda, Martevious, JeVon, Rosalia I don't know that background and that's uncomfortable for me because I don't I don't know your your your background. And here's the last piece in my mind, they go together but other people probably Where the hell is he going with this? It's it's funny to in our country. If I say to you right now, to most people, I actually did this one stage at a keynote in one gentleman was brave white guy, a man a guy was brave. I said if I say low income communities to you right now. And I say welfare. First thing that comes to your mind. And he brought it he said black. And I said what's the second thing? He goes Brown? And I said but what if I told you that there are more white people in this country on welfare than there are black and brown people combined? In the US, is that true? And I go Yeah, it is a holy s**t. I never knew that. And in those are the things that when you again, we'll go back to our profit margins. You keep putting this stuff top of mind, you have to start breaking the mold and start calling Pete calling it what it is. No offense to my man, Brian Moynihan that runs Bank of America, but Brian Moynihan Come on Brian, you know, he Brian that known JeVon McCormick and and Penn father and it's so and I don't say that to pick on him. I'm just saying that those are the things that we tend to gravitate towards the people that we know that we're most comfortable with, in the way the structure is set up. Those individuals who reside at the top have brought along the people that they are most comfortable with, which is mainly white people. I can Chris I know you've heard this before. I cannot tell you how many times I've met mattify I even wrote a piece about this.

I was on a podcasts I was on the cover of a magazine. Oh my gosh, listen this when you love this, I was on the cover of a CEO leadership magazine. On the cover was myself, General Petraeus, four star General Petraeus, Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, the hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman, the CEO of Anheuser Busch, me and several other people in there. So we're all on the cover of this magazine. So we're being interviewed on a podcast style, but it was live. And the gentleman that was interviewing at the time, I was still going by JT. He says, What does JT stand for? And I said JeVon Thomas. You know what his response was? Oh, it sounds like an athlete's name. Wow. So in that moment, I had a choice. Do I lose my s**t? Put them in his place? Don't get to be on the magazine. Or do I smile? Keep going. So I can get on that magazine. So I can show kids where I come from that hey, we can get here may not always be fair, we may have to bite our lip. Oh, but dammit, we can get here. Then he went on to say, Oh my gosh, and Chris. You love this one. You're so articulate. As opposed to what?

Chris Pitre
You know how many times I've heard that as feedback as positive feedback

JeVon McCormick
God, yes. You are so articulate.

Chris Pitre
I never heard you say that to so and so.

JeVon McCormick
Right. And so again, I had to sit there and even talked about it. He was like, wow, you know, with only a GED, or you're very articulate. So you can tell in that moment. He was like my God, an educated, mixed race, father of a pair, you know, his dad was a pimp. But he's, but he's articulate. He has an athlete's name. And he succeeded. What's funny, what comes next, though, is because I was articulate. I had found success. I had make a lot. I didn't make a lot of money. You let me in? You let me I was allowed to be on the cover of the magazine. And because I made it a little more comfortable for you, because now I came to your side of the table. But that's why you let me in? Because if I didn't have if I didn't make millions of dollars, if I didn't make it to the CEO chair, you wouldn't let me in? Huh?

Chris Pitre
Yeah. Oh,

Mohammad Anwar
can I just say something? So I, you know, I've, I've had my own perceptions of, you know, different races and religions and ethnicities, and so forth. So I've been blessed to have coworkers like Jeff, Chris Frank, who, and others at Softway? Who, who correct me who talked to me when I say something that might be inappropriate, or might say something that is not considered acceptable? So So I asked, like, is there is there not an opportunity where people can, like, sometimes for me, it's just ignorance, pure ignorance, or it could be my biases, all of the above. But I personally don't think I would be on this journey of learning and accepting and adapting and like, getting my cultural competency improved. If it hadn't been for the people coming to me and educating me and telling me Moh, you know, what you said, There, I understand your intent. But that's not appropriate. Or Moh, you know, when you said this thing, that's not right. You don't say things like that. And I asked, like, Who's gonna do that? In a way, you know, in a way where like, the love they show for me, they come in this, like, they take their time to educate me, inform me. And from there on, I don't get like discouraged. I'm like, first, I am a little embarrassed, I won't lie. But more than anything, I'm like, okay, I really didn't know that this is how it made you feel. I really didn't know that this I was doing this. And once that awareness is brought to me, I've tried with consistency to make sure I don't do that again. Or I aspire to change how I behave or say those things. And in fact, it's made me more vulnerable and open to go to Chris and say, Chris, can you explain this to me? I don't know what this means. Can you help me? Understand this is like, talk to me about this. The saying that I've heard on TV? I don't know what this means? Or I talked to Jeff and like, Jeff, you know, I played a game. I don't want to call the game's name on here, but like, what does it mean? I like he's helped correct me many times. So how do we get to a state of where we can get leaders to be educated informed so that they can bring about self awareness, which is maybe sometimes they just don't have that awareness at all.

JeVon McCormick
So, for me, Mohammad, it takes the the person, I've heard people say this before, you know, say, Oh my god, I didn't know you didn't want to know. So you use, you're seeking knowledge you're seeking to understand some people just don't want to know. And to your, to your point. Great, great example. So we hired an individual, and this individual goes by pronouns. And this is the first time I've actually worked with someone that prefers pronouns. And I went in, I sat down, I had a conversation, I said, Hey, I'm gonna put it on the line. I don't understand it, will you educate me? And bring me up to speed to Okay, the pronouns, and they said that they have a partner. I said, Okay, so is your partner, male, female, the in so we but what was great, this individual sat with me answered my question. And I was coming from a place of seeking to understand. The problem is, most people aren't coming at this from a place of seeking to understand and most people don't just straightforward, Mohammad, most people don't give a damn to understand a great but like I said, those leaders that are at the top, they don't, they don't care to understand, okay, what's it like, coming from a low economic community and having to rise all of these different areas, and really navigate this damn minefield of trying to get to the level? You're not you're not seeking to understand because if you were, you would actually go and ask those questions and sit down. But you only want to claim seeking to understand when they say the wrong thing, and they get called on it. And and that's when Oh, I was trying to No, you weren't? No, you weren't. You weren't. You weren't trying to get out. Don't Don't backpedal. Last one, I had someone say the other day, that literally this was like two weeks ago, older white person referenced, he said colored people and I was like, Whoa, we actually, you know, we stopped seeing colored back when they had signs and said why don't we in colored only it's, you know, now, if you want to say people of color, okay, different. But colored people? Yeah. We'll leave that one back in 1957. In so it takes people speaking up. It takes someone willing to learn and say, hey, that's on me, I apologize. I come from that error. And it also takes people to understand that there are people who come from that error who used to say those things, yet granted, they need to eliminate them. But they also have to be educated on no one's saying colored anymore.

Chris Pitre
Yeah, and their minds are so good.

Frank Danna
I'm just gonna say quickly, like, I, my idea is Don't forget that story. Because I really want here. Leaders it's, it's a it's a responsibility to create a culture of curiosity, like be okay to be curious. And, and once you create a culture of curiosity, like JeVon, you're sharing so many incredible examples of this. You give people permission to be curious, and to explore and to learn. And so I, you know, I'm coming back to this position of what leadership really means and what it looks like. And if a leader is willing to say, I would like to intentionally sit down with you and truly understand the meaning behind the usage of pronouns, what does it mean to you? Why is it important to you, other people are seeing that they're recognizing the value in that. And as you build empathy towards that individual situation, it creates an effect of other people seeing it as well, it, it happens, right? So what I'm thinking about is like, man, go in with a growth mindset. Be curious, and engage with people when they look or act different than you. And when you do that, you create an opportunity for others to do the same. And that opens up relationship. And once you have a relationship with people, you realize that they're not so different, but their differences are valuable. Right? So anyway, that was my thought, Chris.

Chris Pitre
I was tell a quick story. This is actually my mom's story, but um, she tells us I tell it, but it's so she graduated in the mid 70s. And, you know, she came down to Texas from North Carolina and was an accountant and got a job here in in Houston. And you know, she was getting along fine. And one day, a white male coworker calls her outside of her name, and that word being the inward and you know, she is right, you know, But she doesn't say anything she just leaves for the day goes home. But she comes back. And just so you know, for listeners and watchers, my grandfather is an avid hunter. So when he moved her down here, he gave her his gun, right, like, made sure that she could be protected and whatnot, since he wasn't going to be here. And she, you know, got her cool, collected her thoughts and actually came back to the office and in the parking garage parked right next to the gentleman's car, who called her outside of her name, had her gun in the front seat. And, you know, the security guard at the time was also African Americans. So he let her in. Right, and seems like because it had spread around the office that she had been called that right. And, you know, just so you know, if you don't know, black people talk, so even if we don't congregate, you know, openly, we do talk. And so he allowed her in. And, you know, when the gentleman came to his car, she was in her driver's seat. And she said, Hey, come up, here. And she, you know, she, you know, let him lean in, and she was like, so I just want to let you know, if you ever have the desire to call me outside of my name, again, we might have some problems. She looked at her passenger seat where the gun was. Never ever had another issue with the gentleman afterward. And I'm bringing up that story not to use threats, but sometimes it takes that type of approach, to get people to understand what is and what is not allowed. And at that time, that was what you know, she did, and again, no issues after that. But as you brought up that story, it reminds me of that story, cuz I, whenever I hear it, I'm like, have I gotten a little bit of hurt in me in certain situations? Probably. So maybe, right. But when we think about change, and when we think about issues in the workplace, and we think about, you know, being human in the workplace, sometimes it does take those layers to be sort of, you know, disrobed and sometimes it's not comfortable, and sometimes it might feel aggressive, abrasive, or downright threatening, but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes sometimes.

JeVon McCormick
A Chris your what's, here's another one, those consistency things for me, and I'm not telling people what they should or shouldn't be called. I cringe because I believe it will, if we go back and we look at it when it started being the politically correct term to say, I refuse to be called African American. I'm half white, half black. And you know why? Because we never we never said Oh, there's so and so there. There are sweet and American there's there's so and so they're they're Scandinavian American. And I'm like, Well, wait a minute, why do I got to be labeled? And I can't just get half white, half black or white or black? So I won't use the moniker in fact Think about this. Elon Musk is African American. True he's got dual citizenship. So yeah, just for me again, I'm not telling anybody what they should or shouldn't go by but for me, I try to steer clear of what society has set up again in my mind of these these things that keep us apart from from You know, you're going to put a label on me African American we know exactly who he's talking about. Right off the bat. I'm half white, half black. I'm black I'm white. Period I'm a person in the worst question of all I get this so many times the worst question What are you I get that so minute What are I'm excuse my language you guys can edit me I'm f**king human. That's what I am. And see I am I mean, what what are you know, I don't mind if you asked what's my nationality? Okay, great. Great, fair question. But what are you seriously

Jeff Ma
think about that question a lot. Yes.

JeVon McCormick
But believe to be fair in I'm not picking on free free who's the last time you've been asked? What are you?

Frank Danna
Never

Mohammad Anwar
that's interesting. Anyway,

JeVon McCormick
there's my three cents. No.

Jeff Ma
You bought to set me off on a rant about that question with with Asians but we don't have time. So you just you just locked yourself into another episode.

JeVon McCormick
Man. You guys. This is we're about to start. I mean, a Joe Rogan, we're coming.

Frank Danna
Listen, it's needed to be I'm gonna stop talking. Okay.

Jeff Ma
You should just join us just just be regular co hosts of the show.

Frank Danna
We just we should invite you on randomly for like different interviews. We're like And HeVon's here and then you just want to take it

JeVon McCormick
awesome that would be

Jeff Ma
we'll have to hire an assistant for our executive producer Maggie just to do edits for bleeping out words, but

Frank Danna
we're just gonna put a little another he's gonna put the little e on it and we're good.

Jeff Ma
Excuse

JeVon McCormick
me right can you imagine I come home with you all you have your guests and I start talking in the person looks in they go, What are you?

Frank Danna
And then you know what to say

JeVon McCormick
oh man yeah

Jeff Ma
we'll fire them right on the spot would be like other fire casts or God cast over.

Frank Danna
Oh my gosh,

JeVon McCormick
man as you guys see as soon as I mean this with all sincerity. Man, you are doing the next level this this is awesome, too. Even even. I've been sitting here looking You know, we've got Mohammad we've got Chris, we got Frank. Jeff. I mean, this is this is how it's supposed to be done. With with love, respect, acceptance, willingness to learn this. This is this is phenomenal. I really appreciate you all allowing me to be a part of this. I sincerely mean that this is if the world our society could operate the way we are on this podcast. It would be phenomenal. The only we need we need to get get Maggie in here to get some woman representation too. But it's Yeah, this is this is great. I really appreciate you all putting this together.

Jeff Ma
No, absolutely. JeVon. Thank you, once again for joining us. It's it's absolute pleasure. I wasn't joking that when we tried to get this down to four people at a time, we were like, yeah, I guess well, I'll just jump in here. We'll do five because we all want to be here for this conversation. It's always fun. And so yeah, thank you so much. And I'll close out with thanking our listeners. gonna plug the book again, it's available on Amazon everywhere else you can find books check out loveasabusinessstrategy.com for more information. And also I love as a business strategy. The podcasts are posting new episodes every Wednesday. If there's something you'd like us to cover or talk about or feedback you have we love feedback. Hit us up a softway.com/laabs so leave us a review. Give us send us love do all the nice things tell your friends and and message JeVon on social media Tell him to come back for a third episode.

JeVon McCormick
We're gonna do like like the Fast and Furious franchise where they like

Frank Danna
and they're getting better, apparently getting better. We're gonna hit the pinnacle.

JeVon McCormick
That's it. As long as I get to be the rock. We're good. We're good.

Chris Pitre
Right? I don't know, Frank. Frank.

Frank Danna
I think the rock in the back of this book. I really do. He's in the back of this book.

Jeff Ma
Nice. Anyway. Alright folks. With that we will see everybody next week. Thank you, Mohammad, Chris Frank and especially Javan, for signing out.



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