Pt 11 – Embracing change head-on.

Understanding and empathy over sympathy.

Firstly, I want to send positive energy and love in every single one of your directions as we go into this weekend, especially my peers of colour. You are on my mind and I have endeavoured to reach out to many of you over the past days.

It has been an emotional past 7 days, I had no idea that almost immediately after pressing the button on my last newsletter, the kaleidoscope opened further following the tragic murder of George Floyd. 

I am not sure about you, but I have experienced shock, shame, frustration, disbelief, and a reminder that I have not shown up as fully as I could, as I shared in this LinkedIn post. George is not the first person to lost his life so painfully, yet it had an impact like no other, likely linked to the fact we are all seeing and sensing much more due to slowing down as we navigate the pandemic.

However this post is not about my (previous) white fragility, it is about change for good, hope, and a collective belief in better.

Some resources that may be helpful

I am fully aware and empathise that for many that share my skin hue, this has been a rude awakening with many sharing the emotions like that which I shared above previously, and this was so clear with the L&D Insight community this morning on the weekly Twitter chat. 

Put #ldinsight into Twitter and check through the comments and conversation to gain some context. I hope next week’s question is what are people moved to DOfollowing today’s chat.

Some resources that have been crowd-sourced on social media over the past days in case they are helpful for you which include:

Raising Race Conscious children

Heather Younger’s article on ‘refusing to meet hate at the door’

Minda Harts The Memo (my review for this book can be found here)

Black Cultural Archives

Vernandah’s vulnerable and poignant share on Twitter

My previous HR Zone article Waking up to your privilege to help tackle unconscious bias

I am very grateful to have an incredible global network of open-hearted game-changers in my life which has meant that I have been able to dive deep into the conversations around racism and division in a way that I have previously not.

I have to out a particularly big shout-out to my good friend Cornell Thomas who put on his amazing Positivity Summit last weekend, hared powerfully during a conversation last weekend that “we don’t need people’s sympathy, we need people’s empathy.”

Some key reflections from my multiple conversations with people of colour over the past week that I feel are important to aid reflection for us all:

  • I have never had a day in my life when I have feared that a family member may not come home – This is a regular occurrence for many black people, especially in the US
  • I have never felt the need to make copies of submitted expenses receipts due to previous experiences at work of being singled out for the smallest of discrepancies
  • I cannot remember a time in my life when two people in the supermarket have stopped talking, turned around and looked in my direction, then continued talking for a full 5 minutes before coming to serve me, barely making any eye contact
  • I never fear not looking perfect enough in case my line manager seeks to pick holes in my appearance and/or my performance

This is 2020, not 1920.

There are so many more examples that I now have an appreciation of and that I am now driven to support healing in community and I hope that you will consider joining me and others on that journey.

Truly hue-man conversations

One such way that we are planning to aid this healing is that Mike Vacanti, founder of the HumansFirst movement and I are starting some truly hue-man conversations as of next week where we shall intentionally bring together 3-5 people from differing backgrounds and lived experience to explore one another’s lived experience through a lens of curiosity, empathy and a desire to co-create better.

If this piques your interest, please hit reply and I can add you to the growing list of -people that are showing great interest in this initiative.

We as white people HAVE to take the lead on this conversation and that is what Mike and I are doing in our own small way.

Virtual events next week

Talk About Showcase

After my shame moments last week, I was grateful to be introduced some new AMAZING human beings that are women of colour with one such person being Venandah Madanhi, founder of Talk About, who is supporting #BlackLivesMatterthrough a virtual showcase of black stories of change, local leaders and ways to tackle racial injustice. 

In case you are interested, please find Venandah’s Twitter and Instagram handles.

The showcase starts at 1800pm UK next Mon 8th June and I have made my own contribution will gratefully sit on the panel at the event.

D&I Let’s Pull Up!

Vivian Acquash has kindly invited me, HumansFirst peer and friend Rishita Jones and two other new friends in the making to an open and constructive conversation around the recent social and work challenges around race and inclusion and how we can make D&I truly work. 

The live talk takes place at 1835pm UK / 1935pm CET next Tuesday if you were interested to join us.

Vivian shared a powerful and impactful live solo video which is really worth watching.

Do not miss the first 10 minutes.

Change Is An Inside Job

Things have slowed down a little over the past week with regards to the book writing process, however, I am now just one interview away from completing my 35 primary research interviews.

Without a doubt the past week’s event is more fuel for the book, especially as I had already written about privilege and the importance of connection and the interconnectedness of all things.

I can’t but help feel that my recent interview with Kimberly Davis, author of Brave Leadership, captures where we are so succinctly:

“We either a) don’t spend the time to look at ourselves as we are so busy focusing on other people or b) we are not getting real with ourselves. We paint the picture of what we would like to see and eventually be, but we are not necessarily looking at what is real and until we are willing to get real with ourselves, nothing changes”

Be kind to yourself

I share this final reflection, for you and for me.

For many, we are in unchartered waters, but together as the single, interdependent human race that we are, with courage, vulnerability, and a curious mind, we will re-build better together.

Wising one and all a restful and peaceful weekend.

If I can support you in any way, please do take a look at my website at