The Fix with Michelle King
Dear White Friends : Melvin J. Gravely, II

Dear White Friends : Melvin J. Gravely, II

July 14, 2021

My friend, I do not believe you are a racist.

My friend, I realize you do not need to care. You do not need to learn the cultural norms of Black people as a prerequisite for your career advancement and access to opportunity. You do not need to understand my fears and perceptions to keep yourself safe or to have social mobility. You do not need to consider my journey or think critically about how the construct of our nation was built nor how it’s supporting your success while it constrains mine. Your future is not predicated on me, how I feel, or what I think of you. You sit in a different position than I do. Yet, when you ask me what you can do as a first step, I emphatically say: just care enough to ask the question.

These are the words of Melvin J. Gravely, II from his forthcoming book about the racial divide in America, Dear White Friend: The Realities of Race, the Power of Relationships and Our Path to Equity. As a CEO and civic leader, Melvin speaks to his white colleagues, many of whom are uncomfortable talking about race, without judgement to offer a different perspective on race relations and equity.

In this episode Melvin joins us to share how we can engage in race issues and become empowered to be a part of the conversation and the solution.

Your Permission Slip: Managing Mental Health at Work - Melissa Doman

Your Permission Slip: Managing Mental Health at Work - Melissa Doman

July 7, 2021

Thanks to the pandemic our working lives seem to be in a constant state of change, with more uncertainty and new challenges arising almost on a daily basis. As lockdown eases, we will have to adopt new ways of working yet again. 

Across the country people are being called to return to work and go back to normal but what is normal? The pandemic raised awareness of the importance of managing mental health at work, which includes talking about the mental and emotional challenges we face, or the stress of integrating work and home life or the difficulties of navigating the lack of social interaction in a virtual working world. The new normal includes workplaces, where physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of employees is the primary concern of managers. Long gone are the days when managers could sweep these issues under the rug. The post pandemic workplace is human. 

In todays episode Melissa Doman, Author, Organizational Psychologist, Former Clinical Mental Health Therapist and Mental Health at Work Specialist will be joining us on the show to share why the pandemic has given us a permission slip to be human at work and how we can use this as an opportunity to improve our working lives. 

Diversity in Dance : Ingrid Silva

Diversity in Dance : Ingrid Silva

June 30, 2021

Earlier this year, dancers from around the world spoke out against racism in ballet, standing in solidarity with black French ballet dancer, Chloe Lopes Gomes. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Chloe reported that she was repeatedly told she didn’t fit in because of her black skin, that she was pressured to wear white skin makeup and in rehearsals was told her mistakes stood out because of her skin colour and that she couldn’t have the white veil her white colleagues would have, because she is black. In April, the BBC reported that Chloe had received €16,000 and had her contract renewed, in an out-of-court settlement with Berlin State Ballet which has also pledged to work to build a culture of openness. In a news interview with NBC, Chloe called for the ballet world to tackle elitism and the limited access for racial minorities both amongst dancers themselves and in the audience which is, also, overwhelmingly white.  

Did you know that research has found that racial discrimination may actually be affecting the way genes are expressed, leading to increased levels of dangerous stress hormones? In an article in Dance Magazine, Dr Erlanger A Turner, PhD says that the stress of experiencing or witnessing racism and discrimination can take a psychological toll, linked to increased stress, lower self-esteem and risk for mental health difficulties like depression. He points out that for Black dancers, this toll may make it difficult to effectively practice their craft due to lack of energy or motivation. 

In today's episode we are joined by Ingrid Silva, the famous ballet dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company and an advocate for diversity in the ballet world.  Together we will be unpacking how to overcome racism in dance. 

Women Don’t Get The Same Feedback As Men And It’s Hurting Their Advancement - Dr. Laura Hamill

Women Don’t Get The Same Feedback As Men And It’s Hurting Their Advancement - Dr. Laura Hamill

June 23, 2021

Feedback is part and parcel of working life. We give it, we receive it and mostly we hope that it is positive. Giving and receiving feedback is an art. Knowing how to respond or provide feedback is important because when done well feedback enables performance, engagement, sense of belonging and collaboration. In short knowing how to give feedback is a critical skill for surviving and thriving in workplaces today. But there is just one major problem, feedback is a gendered phenomenon, specifically the type of feedback men provide to women.

Not only do women get different types of feedback to that given to men like a number of professional women I know who have been given the feedback to “smile more” in contrast with another who was advised to be less friendly if she wanted to be taken seriously, but another study published in a Harvard Business Review article finds that managers tend to give female employees softened, less honest feedback on their performance. 

In particular, the article states that women are systematically less likely to receive specific feedback tied to outcomes, both when they receive praise and when the feedback is developmental. In other words, men are offered a clearer picture of what they are doing well and more-specific guidance of what is needed to get to the next level. 

In this weeks episode we are joined by Dr. Laura Hamill. She is an organizational psychologist and Chief Science Officer at the Limeade Institute. Laura unpacks how to be more effective at giving and receiving feedback, having difficult conversations and overcoming gender bias when it comes to the type of feedback we provide to women. 

Overcoming White Feminism. How to be an Anti Racist Ally : Sophie Williams

Overcoming White Feminism. How to be an Anti Racist Ally : Sophie Williams

June 16, 2021

The barriers faced by racial and ethnic minority women are significantly more complex than those which face white women. In the 2010 journal article “Women and Women of Color in Leadership,” authors Janis Sanchez-Hucles and Donald Davis argue that women of color face the compounded effect of “gendered racism.” They cannot separate the multiple aspects of their identity. This means that women of color carry a heavier load because they experience both sexism and racism, as well as the interplay between these forms of inequality. Their research finds that African-American women experience greater negative stereotypes because of the combined impact of racism and sexism and are more likely to experience discrimination, prejudice, and unfair treatment when it comes to promotions, training, advancement, and support. This compounded disadvantage is associated with increased stress and lower self-esteem.

And, of course, women of color are not a uniform group, there is a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds that individual women may identify with. This is further differentiated when you factor in age, sexual orientation, religion, and physical or mental ability. The more identities a person has and the more these differ from the stereotypical ideal worker standard, the more likely it is that they will experience the compounded effects of inequality. 

In today's podcast we will be talking to Sophie Williams. Sophie is the author of 'Millennial Black' & 'Anti Racist Ally' . She is also a TED speaker and Racial Equity Consultant and Activist. In this episode we will share how we can move beyond performative allyship and become real success partners at work.

Great minds don’t all think alike: Rob Austin

Great minds don’t all think alike: Rob Austin

June 9, 2021

Despite the saying, the thing that makes great minds so great is they don't all think alike. Increasingly companies need people who can solve complex problems, innovate and create in new ways precisely because they don’t view the world in the same way as many others do. 

The term “neurodivergent” describes a person who thinks differently to the dominant social norm - or “neurotypical” person - because of individual differences related to a cognitive condition such as Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD. 

That's why companies like SAP, Microsoft and Google have invested in hiring people who are Autistic or otherwise neurodivergent. 

But not all workplaces value or nurture different ways of thinking and within the 20% of the global population which is neurodivergent, it’s estimated the unemployment rate is over 80% . 

If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us it’s that work accommodations can be made with great success. Businesses need neurodiversity to outcompete their competitors. Making targeted accommodations to create more inclusive work environments for people who are neurodivergent can unlock one of the world’s largest untapped talent pools. 

In an article for HBR, Rob Austin,  professor of information systems at Ivey Business School in Canada who studies neurodiversity in the workplace, shares that although many companies are just beginning to realize the benefits of neurodiversity, SAP’s program, which is four years old, is already paying off in terms of increased productivity gains, quality improvement, boosts in innovative capabilities, and broad increases in employee engagement.

On today's episode Rob joins us to unpack what neurodiversity is and tell us why organisations need neurodivergent people now more than ever.

Welcome To The Post Pandemic Workplace -  Anna Meller

Welcome To The Post Pandemic Workplace - Anna Meller

June 2, 2021

As countries begin to ease lock down restrictions, a lot of employees want to know what will the post-pandemic workplace look like? For many office workers remote work is here to stay, whether they like it or not. Companies like Twitter and Dropbox, have moved to almost complete remote working with no signs that this will change. 

According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, roughly half of U.S. professionals believe their companies will allow them to telecommute at least part of the time after the pandemic.  That percentage is even higher in industries including tech (73%), finance (67%) and media (59%), that see flexible work as the future.

While the pandemic has shown us that flexible working is possible, surviving and thriving are not the same thing. While working from home can reduce company costs, and increase employee productivity, it also increases  employee stress as boundaries become difficult to manage, and there is pressure to always be on. 

As we enter this new phase of working life it is important to understand what the costs are especially when it comes to inclusion and wellbeing. 

On this episode we are joined by hybrid working expert, Anna Meller who will unpack what hybrid working is. What jobs can be done from home, how we can set boundaries with our workplaces, and what can we do to prepare for the post pandemic workplace. 

Heard of the Gender Pain Gap? - Dr Jen Peña

Heard of the Gender Pain Gap? - Dr Jen Peña

May 26, 2021

It is not surprising there is a gender pain gap given the distinct under-researching of womens’ health and the implications this has for medical education and training.  In the book Invisible Women, Caroline Criado-Perez points out that it has been historically assumed that there wasn’t anything fundamentally different between male and female bodies other than size and reproductive function - so for years medical education has been focused on a male “norm”. 

The doctor-patient relationship is a fiduciary one which means it is based on mutual trust and respect being a core component of good care. The more barriers there are to understanding each other, the greater the risk to quality of care. But many women do face significant barriers as a result of the gender pain gap. These include a lack of understanding of female specific health concerns and a lack of awareness of sex-based differences in the way non-gendered health issues, such as heart attacks, are experienced. Consequently women are more likely to be misdiagnosed or poorly cared for, which detrimentally impacts their health, wellbeing and life expectancy. The impacts can be disastrous. A 2016 study found that women were 50% more likely to be misdiagnosed following a heart attack.

On today’s episode we will be speaking with Dr. Jennifer Peña who is former physician to the White House Medical Unit, internal medicine doctor, Army vet, and a trailblazer in digital and telehealth. Dr. Peña will unpack the issue of gender inequality in medicine and how we can tackle this. 

The Future of Leadership - Leah Weiss

The Future of Leadership - Leah Weiss

May 19, 2021

Over the next five to ten years, jobs will change due to technological advancements like artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, 3-D printing, and nanotechnology. While these advancements will create a range of new jobs in industries yet to be created, many of today’s jobs will still exist, they will just look a little different and probably involve working with machines. Consider the field of medicine, where medical doctors are primarily responsible for correctly diagnosing and treating patients. 

In the future, it may be algorithms making these diagnoses with remarkable accuracy. Computers could be used to make recommendations about the best treatment. Artificial Intelligence could replace pharmacists, and, in some cases, robots could even carry out surgery. Doctors won’t disappear, but they won’t diagnose or prescribe medicine in the same way they do today. Their role will change as they will need to comfort and manage patients to a greater extent. Just like this example, in the immediate future, advancements in technology won’t necessarily replace all jobs, but it will alter the way most of us work. 

The parts of our jobs that are routine, administrative, and repetitive will likely be replaced by technology. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, for 60 percent of all jobs at least one-third of the activities can be automated. Like doctors, employees will be freed up to undertake new tasks in new ways, which will require new skills. 

In this podcast we are joined by Dr. Leah Weiss who is a Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer. She has focused her studies on compassionate leadership, and the positive effect it has on organizations. In this episode Leah will unpack what compassionate leadership is, how we can develop it and why it really is the future of leadership. 

 

How To Manage Microagressions - Heather Younger

How To Manage Microagressions - Heather Younger

May 12, 2021

Psychological safety, a term coined and defined by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, people feel psychologically safe at work when they believe that they can be themselves at work and they won't be punished or humiliated for sharing their identity,  speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.

In short, it is how comfortable individuals are with being themselves, taking risks and being vulnerable with their team. Having a diverse workforce most certainly does not guarantee that everyone in your organization feel comfortable or valued for who they are. 

One of the quickest ways to erode psychological safety is microagressions, which are the indirect or unintentional expressions of racism, sexism, ageism, or ableism. Like asking to touch a Black colleagues hair, pushing a persons wheelchair without asking or telling women to smile. These are all forms of discrimination that come out in seemingly innocuous comments by people who might be completely unaware. 

It is not the one off comment that has the greatest impact, rather it is the compounded effect day in and day out of working in an environment where you have to be on alert for where the next comment might be coming from. This has the greatest detrimental impact on a persons mental and emotional wellbeing because it sends the message that they do not belong. 

Given the widespread nature of microagressions, on today's episode Heather Younger, international speaker, consultant, adjunct organizational leadership professor and author of The Art of Caring Leadership shares how we can manage microagressions when they happen and build a workplace where people can be themselves. 

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