UX Nights

The State of Equity 2021

Exploring equity in the design industry, performative corporate allyship, and the great resignation

Video Transcript

Jamie Chow: So as Steven said, we’re going to have a great conversation today talking about the state of equity.

We’ll do a quick introduction of our organization. And then we’ll jump to Q&A but periodically, if there are questions we’ll help monitor some of the questions in the chat and we’ll populate it in the end.

And for those of you that are new or returning, our organization is QTBIPOC design. We’re empowering LGBTQ and QTBIPOC designers and designers-to-be with education and mentorship and networking opportunities. We’re happy to have you here.

Steven Wakabayashi: Awesome. And so really excited to have a conversation with a few panelists from earlier this year to have a group discussion on all things equity and like Jamie mentioned, if you have any questions that come up, please feel free to throw them into the chat. And we’re more than happy to include those as a part of our conversation today.


Steven Wakabayashi: And so with that, Jamie, we’ll put you in the backstage. I’d love to introduce the speakers one by one. And as I call on you, if you want to do a quick intro of your name, your pronoun, and a little bit of what you doing, what are you working on at this time? Krista, you want to go first?

Krista Rime: Hey, everyone, I’m excited to be here.

My pronouns are she or they. I’ve been in tech for over 15 years and throughout that and big tech I experienced of being the only one. And, you know, I think through these last couple of years, we’ve all kind of sat back and figured out, like, how can we make a difference? And so I left big tech and now have my own startup, CRUITx, where I focus on connecting diverse tech talent with inclusive companies.

Steven Wakabayashi: Amazing, next Maurice.

Maurice Cherry: All right. Hi everybody. My name is Maurice Cherry and my pronouns are he/ him. Currently located in Atlanta, Georgia. Let’s say currently I live in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently I’m a creative strategist at a French based startup called Orbit. Outside of that, I have a podcast called Revision Path where I interview black designers and developers from all over the world.

I also co own a production company called Cultural Algorithms. And what else am I working on right now? I’m working on finishing up a year. We’ve got a couple more weeks left, so that’s what I’m working on.

Steven Wakabayashi: Awesome, welcome. Welcome. Thanks. We have Real.

Real Canty: Peace, people. Real Canty. I am a UX Design Researcher at Google where I co lead the design of equitable experiences and outcomes as part of the engineering, the equity engineering team.

I am, I’m in San Francisco right now. I’ve been out here for about two, three years. And outside of that, just doing work in the community, building family, and working with the junior designers and researchers to help them come in, step into these companies. But being able to leverage their private knowledge, private experiences and bringing that to the fort, bringing that to bear on all the problems and interactions that they have within these companies.

Steven Wakabayashi: Awesome. Last but not least Ube.

Ube Urban: Yes. Hello everybody. Welcome. And thanks for everybody that, that showed up, you know, this means a lot to the panelists and Steven and also myself. If you don’t already know I’m originally from Hawaii traveled to San Francisco and now currently reside and Atlanta.

I go back and forth between the two for work primarily and sometimes entertainment and fun. When I go back to the west coast I’m a Senior Design Interaction Designer. So, yeah, pretty much just disrupting within corporate identity and consultancies and, you know, just trying to give us a voice within a place where we are unheard.

So yes. Welcome everybody and thank you very much.

Steven Wakabayashi: Welcome, welcome. And then myself, Steven Wakabayashi pronouns he/ him and I’ve been in the tech space for way too long, and I’ve been seeing so many other shifts where over the past more than decade plus, and just seeing what things are moving. And today we’ll be helping to moderate the conversation with the amazing speakers.

And so the first topic is really about the state of DEI and just where things are at with world. And all of us, we got together a little bit, a few weeks ago to chat about what we want to talk about today.

Recapping the energy of 2021

Steven Wakabayashi: And the first topic that I want to talk about is just the energy of this year. Last year was the start of the crazy, crazy pandemic that we all know. And this year is year two. And it seems as though we have a new variant coming up and just so much is happening around us where we don’t know what’s in store for us in the future. And as a part of it, a ton of just burnout, fatigue. And so I want to just start from there, just like from each and every one of the speakers, just your perspective on just burnout and fatigue and the energy that’s coming out of this year.

Maurice Cherry: I mean, I’ll, I’ll start it off. I mean, 2021, I feel like it’s been a year where everyone has just been very. tense you know, like when you have like a tense muscle, when you’re like waiting for something to happen. I feel like that energy has prevailed throughout the entire year, as it relates to us, trying to see how things may get back to normal because of the coronavirus and then with the vaccines, and then just seeing how the public and government and such a react to all of this, I feel like it’s been a very tense year.

And so now as it sort of getting into this kind of home stretch of 2021 closing things out yeah, the burnout is real. The burnout is real. Like I’m completely burnt out at work. Luckily this is my last week and then I’ve got the next two weeks off, but I am ready to do nothing. I’ve got like a month of shows to catch up on.

I am burned out.

Ube Urban: Yes, yes. I think we, we all are. And you know, I’m mainly burnt out from the amount of awareness that I am brought to from organizations and selling that authenticity and perspective through a true lens, I should say. You see a lot of organizations trying to make this shift for DEI and inclusion, and everybody has a different perspective on things, you know, Basically allocating a forward direction.

What does that mean to each individual? Let alone the organization and business segments? Let’s just say it’s not really aligning with forward momentum. It’s more of a trend that you see. And a lot of companies are doing this to check the boxes, but are they doing that well? Are they, you know, maximizing and reaping the benefits and getting top tier talent because it’s the latest and greatest.

Yes. But there are those like myself and those on the call that can see right through that, you know, there was one moment where you had, you know, work life balance. What did that mean? You know, we would promote that mental awareness and balance and lifestyle, even though we didn’t stand behind that.

And you’re starting to see a lot of those trends and development. And so, you know, having that ability to not only do your job as a professional on a day to day, but, you know, playing your own personal cards, depending if you’re an executive room, if you’re a client facing or even if you’re, you know, just being yourself and trying to recharge, you know, a lot of times it’s, it’s hard to be polarizing on a, on a daily.

So, I’ll, I’ll pause there and put that out to the open.

There was a lot in there. I know it’s a lot to unpack.

Krista Rime: Yeah. I think I would agree. Yeah. That the burnout is definitely real. So I started this, this year coming into this really energized but not knowing how many barriers I would encounter. And just really not, I don’t think I emotionally prepared myself enough.

I talked to hundreds of different candidates hearing their stories here in their situations and just hearing the roadblocks. And I think I consider myself kind of emotional sponge so taking all that in and seeing how large of an issue in equity within tech really is. My background has been data and analytics, so I’m a numbers person, but now those numbers are real people.

Right. And trying to purvey that to my clients to others that these are real people’s lives. And it just takes a lot of energy to keep that momentum going forward. And also to keep a focus. I’m trying to put them actually change systems. Right. And that takes a lot of effort because our current systems, I feel like.

I think what Lou alluded to more is patchwork performative, right? They’re not even set up for us to systemically usher in diversity and be inclusive. We it’s just not capable right now. And so we can’t fail. We’re gonna work on these systems or we’re going to rebuild these systems. We have to build new systems and that’s going to take a whole way of thought, a whole new way of leadership and a lot of courageous people.

Real Canty: Yeah. I think, you know, I’ve seen a lot of people wrestling with new uncertainties that were introduced in this space. Right. And so, you know, the signals that the people are getting, that they were getting from companies, right. How do we make sense of, because in many cases, the, the situation has changed.

So I, more people are getting, I know more people who are getting hit being recruited, getting interviews, but what does that mean in today’s today’s climate, especially following them, what we, what we learned last year, right? Like what’s the, what’s the intentionality of that underlying, you know, this increase in the interviews is increases in screening.

Right. Is that, is that genuine? You know, what does that mean? Because I don’t know if we’re still seeing, I don’t know what the hiring trends are. For those of us who identify. Historically marginalized communities. So I’m not sure what that is, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty there what’s changed in value, right?

So some people feel like last year, I wasn’t getting this kind of attention this year. I’m getting more attention. Nothing’s changed. I didn’t pick up any additional education. I haven’t worked any, any, any, any, anything more substantial than what I was doing before. So where is this coming from? You know, the question or the, the issue around moving into equity, we have to, we have to press for definitions, how we operationalize equity in food, whatever, whatever the purposes are that when companies are throwing out these terms and they’re at such a high level, and this is like w w we have an equity initiative, we have inclusion initiatives.

What does that really mean, operationally at a number of different levels? What does it mean for brand? What does it mean for you? What use of experience in product development, all of these required, specific and focused definitions of how it is that you intend to operationalize and solve for your equity problems?

Right? There are multiple problems within a company. It’s not as simple as getting people in a company or building products for a number of different types of people. It, it varies within companies and the companies have to operate, deal, deal with DEI and equity at a number of different levels. So we have.

Increase our witnesses. This becomes something that is pointed to serve us. We have to be more, more focused, more demanding around what it is that these companies are talking about. These words that feel good to us. We have to push that feeling of whatever that feeling is. We need to push that to the side and let’s get down to, what do you actually mean?

What does that actually mean for, for the communities and what does that mean for the future? What does, how does that fit within a future vision for your company?


Steven Wakabayashi: Yes. And also the energy of burnout is not just us feeling it, where we also see adage in the summer of this year of how companies who had signed on DEI pledges in the height of activism completely just drop out with no word, no notion to anyone whatsoever.

And they’re independent organizations who are doing assessments of these numbers and holding the agencies and other organizations accountable, seeing them just slip away. And so energetically, just in terms of the forward progress of activism, we’re starting to see a lot of people truly see how much work it is.

Right. And especially for many of our allies Not being able to come to the table and meet us there. And the next topic I want to go into is a little bit on the side of recruitment and the impacts that’s happening in that space. I know Krista you’re very familiar with just the ebb and flow of all the people getting hired or people leaving corporations at this time and wanted to get a little bit of your insights as to just the feel of the burnout across the industry.

Krista Rime: Yeah. I mean, we’re under the great resignation where one in four people will have quit their jobs this year. People are looking to upscale, rescale and then companies are struggling to find talent. And companies are just really trying. I don’t remember who alluded this earlier, maybe it was Real that a lot of people of color, marginalized groups are getting attention from recruiters.

Right. And that’s what I’m in. I recruit, I have a little bit different hiring process. I don’t deal myself as a recruiter, but I view myself as a representative of my candidates and the talents that I work with. And so what I like to do is screen the companies that I work for and make sure I’m placing my candidates and an environment that’s healthy.

When I’m speaking to my candidates, I get the response of like, wow, like this is completely different. I feel safe where with other recruiters is kind of predatory, right? They’re just trying to tick those boxes, not really understanding the needs of any candidates and pushing them through a process.

And typically that process ends up with you being put in a work environment that could be detrimental in many ways. And so I’ve talked to many candidates who are like, yeah, I went to this company it was they promised all these things and nothing. And so they quit, which I feel like people are more empowered now to just quit.

And they were not putting up with this. And so I think this goes back to, we really need to build a new system of how we manage all of our talent. And I feel like we are on the verge of changing from a corporate, a business driven workforce to more shifting powers in the hands of workers.

And if we all just unified more and understand the collective power that we have, we can see real change in how these companies are treating us. I specifically working in tech right now but I’ve been reading trends in other industries like medical. That’s going to be a really big industry.

That’s going to be hit hard by the pandemic. And you’re going to really read, think about how you treat workers retail service industry, another big area of just people not being treated fairly. And so, yes, there’s a lot of recruitment going on. Is that making the situation better? It’s creating some opportunities, but not allowing people to show up as their self and work at their full potential and companies aren’t yet supporting individuals to work at their full potential.

Steven Wakabayashi: Those are our frontline workers. Are people stocking the grocery shelves? Are people treating all the sick people? Are people delivering the millions of millions of Amazon boxes that are all delayed right now? And just so I, I think at least for myself, it was a really big reckoning to recognize how many people are just so severely underpaid and really holding up for society.

Krista Rime: Yeah. I mean the Time person of the year you Elon Musk, right? How many civil lawsuits are against employees or moving company like locations for tax purposes to pay even less taxes. And so I think collectively, we need to push back of having people like of the year who are harming large communities and really looking at them and say, we know we want better.

We deserve better.

Ube Urban: Yes. Well said just taking a take, taking it all in, but yeah, I mean, you know, to, to piggyback off of everybody’s points, you know, like really establishing that continuity and, you know, within the field, not only what then tech and whatnot, you try to strive for being empathetic for your consumers. Right.

And let alone your clients. But if you’re not us that establishing that holistic wellbeing within the business segment, within your teams, it’s very much like a dog-eat-dog, you know, lack of collaboration. And it’s really hard to like strive for excellence, you know? And that’s what I try to strive for.

But at the same time, you can only do so much as an entity of one. And yes, you’ll find a lot of allies that you can, you know, help leverage and encourage others. But you know, the long and short of it is that we are within different environments. You know, we’re not holistically impacting or bringing the true selves collectively, you know?

So like when we’re broken apart and we’re in this fragmented system, you know, how do you bring. Again, the authenticity, the empathy, you know, and not just through the work, but like also just having that realistic lens and having the ability for people to sympathize with that. And you know, I’m more in big tech and you see a lot of migration striving for sustainability, digital transformations, and it’s interesting and why I needed to really take that in that’s the frontline workers are not part of the conversation when they aren’t a foundation.

And to make that a reality and surface that to the executive levels, you know, I wish they would just wake up, you know, because there’s been many calls where. I really have to lay out and provide a definition of, Hey, we’re not just doing the UX, we’re not solving a particular customer segment, but we’re also trying to analyze these oppressed systems, you know, and pretty much in the industry, just call it a pain point or, you know, a friction point when it’s out of your control, but at the same time, it is in your control and help bringing people’s perspectives to bring that to fruition is it’s, it’s part of the battle and it’s something that I’m truly passionate for.

But at the same time, you have to pick your battles because you can’t push for that every day. You know, because at the same time you’ll be gaslight and you know, you’ll be benched or let alone terminated. You know,

Maurice Cherry: I can speak a little to, I guess, recruitment and such, although this is probably the first year in goodness, maybe like a decade or so. I haven’t been in a position where I’ve like been interviewing to actively hire someone, but I’ve worked with a lot of European tech companies this year, earlier in the year, I was working with a startup based out of Amsterdam, working with a startup based out of Paris.

And it’s so interesting that the diversity kind of conversation from the European end, cause they don’t. They have large, at least at the two places I’ve been at, they’ve largely looked at the whole DEI thing as a wholly American issue and not a industry issue that affects us everywhere. That’s been a very kind of interesting pill to swallow at both of the places that I I have been at.

But I have to say, you know, sort of speaking to what Krista mentioned earlier about the power being back in the hands of the worker, like you’re seeing so many companies now start to form unions. I mean, even larger companies, parts of Amazon are starting to form me. It’s hard to Starbucks is starting to form unions.

So the power is definitely now with the worker more than ever. And they are the workers now, you know, frontline or what have you are quick to say, you know what, I don’t, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this now. No, that necessarily means that they know that there’s more opportunity on the other end of where they’re at, but they certainly don’t want to put up with what’s going on right now.

And I think that sort of speaks to what I said earlier around kind of just the tenseness of, of how the year has been like nobody’s putting up with the bullshit anymore. Like they’re, they’re tired of it. From the recruitment. And I guess here in the states, I mean, I have had certainly some recruiters that have approached me that have wanted to sort of tap into the audience that I reach out to through revision path.

Almost on like this kind of like woe is me story, like, well, as you know, And the UX field, there’s just so few, you know, black designers and we just don’t know where to find them. And I’m like, you told me for like, you know, it’s such an interesting kind of, I don’t know, viewpoints kind of looking at it that way, but certainly the power now is more with the worker than ever.

And what I’ve seen interestingly enough, and maybe this is, this might just be because I spend too much time on certain parts of social media, but I’m seeing a lot of people that want to get into tech largely for the perks and the salary. Like they see that, oh, you can work from home and make six figures and this, this and this, but nobody really talking about the other issues that you have to put up with, if you are the lone employee of color, or if you are the loan, you know, queer employee or something like that, and how you have to deal with certain microaggressions over slack or email that you’ve may not get in person like navigating that whole thing.

So it’s a, it’s an interesting time with, with all of this that’s happening at the moment.

Krista Rime: Maurice, my husband is Dutch.

So spend a lot of time over there. And you mentioned that even in the workforce, like diversity, isn’t there, like what is this diversity equity inclusion it’s because their government has protections. So companies aren’t even allowed, you know, to discriminate. That’s why there’s just so many protections throughout society for people to not be harmed.

I mean, just different hate policy, discrimination policy. A gay person with beat in Amsterdam and all of parliament for a week, walked in hand in hand and solidarity of that person, like off of that one incident for a week, all like everyone walked hand in hand up to their work together to fight against hate.

And there’s like lots of examples, not to say that there’s not racist people there. Cause I’ve been there. There are.

But there are protections.

Ube Urban: They’re open about it too.,

Krista Rime: They’re Dutch, they’re open about everything. But there’s protections and I feel like, well, our government fails us on so many levels. Right. But that’s just a really simple thing to do is put more protections and accountability in place. For marginalized communities.

Steven Wakabayashi: Absolutely.

Even just like the demographic too of Europe is just really different.

I largely plays a part. Yeah. Real.

Real Canty: Yeah, no, they have a Krista, correct me if I’m wrong, but they have a. At points too even just data, data collection, right. In the, in the PII that they can collect. So they can’t, they, so they’re not tracking those data, which could also pose different types of problems.

Right. Because they’re not, if you don’t have the data, then you can’t look at the distributions of your, of your workforce and it’s difficult. It makes it challenging to systematically address any problems, any disparities that, that, that are observable. I look at in that, you know, in that, seeing how that works in, in, in Europe, it made me think about some of the things that, that happens across, across the globe really and colonize colonize states and colonized countries, right?

Where over time we see images of us that are derogatory. And we say, we move all of that. Get rid of that. Like Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny had to, we used to have some of the braces, these tropes inside of it’s, it’s called spoons. And we saved get rid of it. And it’s, you know, several things are happening with that, but losing memory sort of in the future generations, as they begin to grow, they don’t have a memory of that.

But we also, when we, we, we make it difficult. I think society systems begin to follow those trends. And when they start to follow those trends and they make it difficult for us. And make it difficult for us to draw connections between people and what’s happening. So what you see inside in companies where you do have this intention of improving experiences and quality of life for workforce, but companies are struggling to be able to draw connections between data and, and, and the different groups that they’re looking at they’re looking at.

Right? And so it’s hard to, it’s hard to solve problems for people when you can’t actually touch the people, whether that’s through numbers, systems that systemically you’re not able to able to actually move anything because it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a challenge to say, oh, we’re going to change this for this group of people because you can’t connect data to those people.

Right? So some of the things that we’re asking for some of the things that are in play it’s because this is so new for us solving these problems is relatively new. We’ve been struggling, but I think we’ve been struggling about, we go, we go into the design talk. We’ve been struggling about how to frame the problem, how to, how to actually provide shape to the problem.

And so when we, when we have conversations about it, even within companies, these people don’t know. And I don’t mean it is. I don’t mean it in a, because I’m talking down to people, but look, these are, you go to school to be an engineer. You have no sense of how this impacts. And for us to imagine that these people should have the expertise, that’s just setting us up for foot, foot, foot false for a fall, right?

So we have to one acknowledge that people are just ignorant. They really ignorant in the sense that they have no knowledge of what the problem is, and who’s going to do the better job of framing the problem. I think that’s what, when we come in. And so, you know, Maurice, when you talk about the what’s happening right now with the, with the workforce and, and unions being formed, right, that’s being formed to solve a particular problem.

And so either powers in the people with respect to that particular problem, we need more power to the people with respect to these problems, right? And that means us speaking with young people. I don’t care how young they are, but by the time they get ready to move into the workforce, they should feel empowered.

They shouldn’t feel empowered to help frame the problem to come in and even, even market themselves. I’m not sure, you know, Krista how, how this, how this, this, this would vibe, but people coming in as a value for those of us who have been entrenched in most just through our everyday lives inside of what the, the general problem is and how can we now begin to systematically parse and give shape to that, that problem space. So that when we do go to these companies that are looking for more, the experts that they, we can begin to frame, that we can begin to take those lived experiences, codify them in a way that enables him to have value in that when they’re coming into these companies.

And when they enter into the companies, they have voice, they, our perspective, there’s a lot of value in what we’ve lived in, the suffering that we’ve, you know, we’ve collectively had within our communities. We should be able to leverage that.

Krista Rime: Yeah. You mentioned about like data collection and just even how we collect the data, we really need to fit back and really take a look. It’s a lot of, there’s a lot of bias in how we collect data and then we’re analyzing and making decisions upon that. I love how you talk about embedding in DEI into groups of the company.

I feel like DEI now is its own group. It’s siloed, which is easily. You can shut it down. So I have an industrial organizational psychologist as one of my advisors. He knew nothing about tech, but he knows about adverse impact. He knows about equality, like all of these things. And I talked to them sociologists and I am proposing that we put IO, psychologists and sociologists within the product development teams and embed that in.

So we have truly inclusive and equitable product development and employee growth. It can’t, I don’t, I personally don’t believe that DEI can be, it’s just its own separate group. It needs to be embedded.

Ube Urban: Yeah, absolutely. And it needs to be taken seriously too. I feel like we’re just. Where we’re plagued within this environment of really leveraging our political self, you know, and this is why we are hot in our market, especially for recruitment.

Like my email has not seen so many messages and, and awhile, but like, it’s crazy the amount of availability, not just within north America or Southeast, but around the whole world, you know, like, yes, we have that globalized community and yes, we’re popular again, but essentially how do we build that trust and rapport, you know?

And I think when, once we get to a point where it’s taken seriously and it’s not an organization, or you’re not constantly voluntold to join, you know, this is a huge pain point that I always have to Stonewall pretty much as I am and this and this overall organizational environment, you know, I’m just trying to navigate as the quintessential professional.

And of course I can’t shake this off my skin, but, you know, You can flow amongst the, amongst your peers. You can have that natural belonging, but essentially they want to pull you in to be that representative, especially when you start holding these, you know, senior, you know, lead manager, essentially, you’re not just representing, are carrying the torch for yourself and the communities that you embrace, but rather you are pretty much the puppet for that company, you know, and I’m not going to paint that brush stroke across all organizations, but I’ve seen that more of what then corporate identity.

So how do we navigate away from these oppressive systems?

Steven Wakabayashi: Maurice, did you want to add some thing? Saw you unmute?

Maurice Cherry: Oh, no, I was I was just sort of agreeing with with what Krista was saying earlier. I mean, I don’t know the, the whole, the I mean, first of all, I just feel like the whole DEI conversation at this point with us approaching 20, 22 is just so played out and tired and to speak on the fatigue.

I mean, I’m often put in a place either at the place that I work or through what I do with my podcast, where I ended up being somewhat drafted as like. The DEI person or the DEI consultant or the DEI expert. Like I had a conference, for example, they reached out to me, they wanted me to speak. One, it was, it was during Black History Month. Two, I would have been the lone black speaker. Three, they weren’t paying. And four, they asked me if there were other people of color that they could recruit for the event.

And I just said, nah, I’m not, I’m not doing it. Good luck on the event. But it, it, it is tiring. I mean, so it’s an, a part of my company, someone not even looking for this, you know, I’ll, I’ll give them this anecdote and hopefully to stay in this group.

DEI, almost always kind of tends to be this like weird oversight that eventually ends up getting put on people of color and other marginalized people that work at the organization to kind of feed their, their, like the heralds of, of diversity. And it’s like, that’s not in my job description, I’m not doing that.

How do we navigate these spaces?

Steven Wakabayashi: And that was one of the questions that came up was how do we navigate these spaces, especially when we’re the lone person of color or the lone queer person or whatever identity we encapsulate. Do you all have any advice on just how to navigate spaces when we are put in the spotlight as a DEI experts?

Maurice Cherry: I’ll I’ll, I guess I’ll, I’ll keep talking, cause this is something weird, some of where that has happened at the current place where I’ve worked. So like I mentioned, it’s a French startup. And before I started there, I was very clear. Like I told them, like, I don’t want to be the only black person that works here.

Like I’ve worked at other startups where that was the case. And I asked them a lot about what they were doing around like diversity and equity. Cause they’ve mentioned that one of their like top things is like ensuring the psychological safety of their employees. And I was like, well, how do you do that?

And they couldn’t really answer the question which kind of was a bit of a red flag. I think a quarter of their company were, was, were black peoples. And I said, okay, you know, I’ll, I’ll sort of see how it is. It’s interesting. Sort of the, and I would imagine this happens in other international countries as well, where like the diversity is it’s, it’s different, I guess, across the diaspora.

So I am not the only black person that works there. There are six other black people that work there. But I’m the only African American that works there. So the other black people that work there are French Africans and they’re split between Paris and Beneen. And so, well, the company looks at all of us as like black people.

We are not the same. I know this just from socialization, like just trying to carry on conversations, but like, we’re not the same, but also they’re sort of touting this to other people. Like when they go out and recruit, like go, we’re such a, like a diverse company, because a quarter of our, our workforce is, is black.

And what does this look like? And to that end, there’s nothing internally that we do or foster or, or anything that would make that really a selling point for anyone outside of just looking at skin color. So I don’t know, I’m still napping.

Ube Urban: Yeah, it is. Yeah, totally. And, you know, honestly in order to, to navigate and to prevent stress, you know, depression and going back to being burnt out you have to be hyperdynamic and flexible and you know, this resorts to having the ability to play your deck, you know, switch through your cards and, you know, I, and it’s hard, especially for me to, to put that out there, but within these spaces where you don’t see your other self or there’s no values alignment, you know?

Okay. Yes, politically. Yeah. We do have a, a skewed spectrum that aligns, but you know, you can’t just put us all in one bag and you know, like what Maurice was saying, you know, these, these KPIs are the new synergy of the market, you know? Oh, Hey Lou bay, if you’re in here, can you build a dynamic team, a team that is diverse.

Diverse of thought and you know, what they really mean. I mean, especially when it’s coming from me, I’m like, I not sure if you’re constantly addressing these moments because I’m on your team or you think I’m going to basically activate and encourage that conversation. And to be honest, I don’t want to have that self-promotion within that perspective, you know, I want to be treated and basically upheld to a degree of my work ethic and me as a professional, but there’s always this.

Yes. And, you know, and I am very ethnically ambiguous and sometimes sexually, you know, have a lot of ambiguity, especially towards your quintessential, like American and, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of friction there just trying to understand each other as human beings, you know, let alone trying to understand people within the professional market and human beings.

It just brings a lot of social experiments that, you know, I could go down the list of, of a whole bunch of awkward moments that still exist in 2021 that are surprisingly, still surfacing, you know? I’ll pause there and open it up to the panel, but yeah. Yes.

Real Canty: I think there is. So when we enter into these spaces, we come from different experiences. And so when we arrive with different degrees of, of readiness to take on these challenges to bear the burden if we, if we so choose, right? So I think first off is you have to figure out how do you want to live?

You know, do you, and I mean that in a sense of what, what are you willing to have companies pay you for, right? What are you, what is your, what is your role? What are they, what are they paying you for on paper? And then that additional piece that there, that they may be trying to throw on us. It’s how do we sit them down and say, listen, this is a thing, right?

This is not just, you just got, we, this is a thing, and this is the cost of it. We need to stop valuating what this, all that is costs, you know, for these companies and learn how to negotiate, learn how to, how to, how to, how to, how to put that in front of us as something that maybe I, in fact, maybe I, maybe I actually do have know how to solve your problem, but in order for you to get that, you’re going to have to pay for that.

Right? This is something that, and so it’s, it’s not always, you know, this boat and I’m the only one in the room. Sometimes it’s the audacity of you. We have a business relationship. This thing is actually really personal for me. Right? I’ve got cousins, I’ve got aunts, uncles, all of them have been negatively impacted by these systems and your processes.

And here I come, I’m bringing you a skillset. You’re paying me for that skill set. We agreed what this was, what the relationship was going to be. And now you’re throwing is some of the site expectation, additional expectation on the side. And you expect me to just give, give that up. I got, we have to, we need to talk about that.

That is that piece of, you know, how comfortable do we move, but then there’s a need for, for juniors coming in to get their weight up. Right. So, you know, as a term, right? So if you, you know, sometimes if you see people and they’re going to go away and they’re going to do like a long, long stretch, they’re going to do a long bed.

And before they go away, they say, I got, I got to get my weight off. Right. And it’s, there’s a new problem coming, coming up. But in order for you to be ready for that problem, you have to be ready. You have to be able to survive. You have to be able to live. Right. And so part of this is so it’s so complex and is, we’re just dealing with a lot of the psychological politics and complexities that.

We trip over, right? If we’re not prepared and understand how to, how to negotiate spaces, how to turn people on their heads and then get to a space where we can start to solve some of, for some of these other problems. Talk about number one, just DEI, lumping that all together. As one thing, you don’t have the expertise to talk about one of them.

Now you’re trying to give somebody else two additional constructs that may be related, but you expecting these people to solve for all of these problems that are truly societal problems. And you’d want to pretend that you’re going to solve for that in this company. We’re not a single expert on hand, right?

And the, and the expertise is not in, it’s not in studying it. It’s not in writing about it. It’s in solving the problem. So this is where, you know, we even go a step further. And even when you reach into people who have written a lot in published, all types of articles and books, that’s not the problem that was solving for that just seems to describe the problem.

What we’re looking for are people who have expertise in the solution, right? Evidence that you, anything that you enact, any intervention that you have, any design recommendation, et cetera, will lead to a change. That’s where we’re lacking and companies are focused on the wrong part of the talent, part of the problem.

And so they just think they can look at us. You know, you look, you look like. From from that space that needs help. And you understand what we’re trying to do to come away. And, you know, we’ll give you, give you a little extra, here’s a new hat wear that. And that’s not, that’s not what we’re looking for, but we have to be more strategic about how it is that that we move through the spaces and how we, how we educate people around us.

You know, it for them, it’s sometimes that people, even people from Eastern Eastern Europe, right. Have a different history than people from Western Europe. If we don’t understand that, then sometimes we don’t know that we’re talking to people who have generations of histories, of being oppressed, right?

Because phenotypically, they might look different. So when they come over here to the United States, they come over to the west, we look at them like you don’t, you don’t know what you’re talking about. We don’t want you in the room, push them out the room. And these people are looking like, what are you? Now I’m stuck because I really don’t relate with this group.

I don’t really relate with the oppressor, but I certainly, I know I relate with the oppressed, but you’re telling me I’m not part of this conversation. And those people, when we talk about. Sometimes they’re not allies. They just might look like they should be allies. That actually the people who need to be in the room helping to solve some of the problems.

And so when I say that we don’t understand the space, it’s not only the people in power. It’s the people who have been, who are part of the system who were thinking the way that the people in power want us to think. So we still have to get around and navigate through all of that.

Steven Wakabayashi: Oh, that was powerful. So many nuggets there. Yes. Krista.

Krista Rime: Yeah. How to navigate these spaces. So I worked in a lot of big companies, like Paypal, Nike Expedia. And I was the only one, but I was also in product. So I was working primarily in these groups with a lot of Indians, which was a completely different dynamic for me.

But I would say we talked a lot about, you know, educating others, informing, standing up, but I would say just protect yourself first, right. Creates space in between you and your agitators. For me before the pandemic, I worked from home as much as I possibly could because that was the space that I could create.

So even when I felt microaggression, it wasn’t quite as close and personal. So there was some meetings where I knew like I’m taking that from her. I’m not showing up there just to protect myself come up with a support group, which I did. I got to talk to others and bent and get that support. When, when things at work were not going my way things like that.

And so I would really encourage people to create space. You do not have to pick up the torch for the company. It is not your responsibility. You just because you’re in a group, doesn’t mean you’re that expert many times I’m on the Uber do not contact list. I’m like quit contacting me because I would point out you treat females like crap and you treat people of color like crap.

And you want me to go into your engineering org? And the recruiter is like, well, you can start your own black group. I’m like, no, this is not my problem. And quit calling me. Cause I kept having recruiters calling me. I’m like, this is not the environment I want to go into. And how can I work at my full potential still where I’m supposed to be educating in carrying the torch for your company on, on equity, you know, rights.

And so. My view is just to push back and protect yourself at all costs until you can get in a true environment where you can thrive. And there’s a lot of people working on that have actual solutions. So I got into this game, I’m not a DIY expert at all. I built products and I got sick of people saying like, we have a problem.

And so I’m building a solution companies like to run off of playbooks. If you just give them a playbook and tell them what to do and show the value, they’ll do that rather than saying you need a more diverse and equitable workforce. Well, why? Right. Well, you know, you can add $570 billion to the U S tech market by creating diversity and equity.

Okay. Now I have your attention, like how right? And things like that at the bottom. Like all these companies, the bottom line is money in diversity will give you money. And so solutions need to be end to end for companies like how we build a product. We need to build a solution like this and then show the value.

So then people don’t have to try and navigate these spaces. They can just exist.

Ube Urban: We have that, that validation of feelings or even just sense of self is, is interesting because I’ve also seen an uptick within the compensation, you know, there’s, you can cross sell your identity and add 30% more on top of what you take home and is that worth.

That sounds horrible when I say it aloud, but like capturing the importance of a view and your culture and your identity, and, you know, for a fact that it is a red flag, you know, and that’s the underlying premise of what we’re talking about. Like real, pretty much put it out like, okay, we are worth X amount, but like when you do sign that offer letter or you do make that transition and to a healthier environment, whatever that means and whatever the organization is trying to promote, again, it reverts back to that values alignment, you know, and everybody’s accountability and governance around, you know, equitable lack of trends.

Just, just lay out the current state, don’t see what the future vision is. Don’t put a metric on it, don’t measure your customer performance and our caters or your KPIs or whatever you measure. Because you see a lot of this qualitative, quantitative perspective and money being poured because you’re getting an output from that.

You know, if they were to bring anybody on this panel and to their company, That’s not just pain for you as a single resource that leverages their recruitment, you know, and it gives the ability to say, Hey, we’re in an inclusive environment. You know, look at we, we care, see, look there, there’s obey and look at all the people you brought in with them, you know, and again, you’re being, you’re being captured to be voluntold.

And this is essentially another form of drinking. The Kool-Aid, you know, it’s just those identifiers. They’re just, they hit the soul, you know, it’s one thing to adopt the organization, but how do you adopt somebody that just brings their full self to the table? You know, what does that mean when somebody does not have that ability to comprehend what that looks like or what those interactions are?

Excuse me. That is the importance of valet.

Steven Wakabayashi: First thing I was thinking, you’re like, I feel guilty for asking 30% more. I’m like, we’re already making 30% less ask for more, you know, I

Ube Urban: guess we’re breaking, we’re breaking even.

Steven Wakabayashi: And it’s just and, and the quote, this was just around how, especially when we put ourselves almost on the train tracks, right.

To save the whole train, coming down the line. I go back to this quote that came up this year. And one of the support groups that I was running, which was, we don’t have to put ourselves on fire to keep other people around us. And we oftentimes put ourselves in the position of lighting ourselves, igniting ourselves, throwing ourselves down on the train tracks in order to save oncoming traffic.

And what ends up happening is when we all do this in our own little spaces, we all become subject to this larger white institution that cannibalizes each and every one of us for the sake of whether it’s performative activism or lazy activism. And that’s also been one of my red flags. So the other part is how do you identify right?

Companies who aren’t equitable. And first and foremost, I look for just lazy activism. People not knowing what are they doing for what purpose. And so, you know, just like poking at some of the questions like, okay, well, why are you putting the money? Why into this specific organization, why are you investing into these things?

And oftentimes you’ll quickly realize a lot of people don’t understand exactly what they’re doing. And that’s also a recipe for disaster, right? We’re seeing so much money being poured into DEI. But unfortunately right now it’s going to specific institution, specific individuals specific. Spaces that aren’t doing the work, but are really great at marketing, right.

Or really popular because they have a book or they have a huge social following and companies have just been flocking for this lazy performative activism. And so that I’ve become much more cognizant of as red flags to just be wary of. And if that’s, this is just right on the outside, what exactly is happening on the inside, in the belly of the beast?

And one thing that was coming out of our conversation too, was just what, as it pertains to just work. Right? So we’ve talked about the workplace and hiring practices and the people let’s not talk a little bit about equitable work. All right. And this came up a little bit in our conversation of just how even thinking about products that are equitable and how are we designing and developing it.

And going back to Krista for this one, you had mentioned a lot of your upcoming work and also a little bit about some of the initiatives that you’re really interested in coming out of next year. Could you share a little bit about that and talk a little bit about how that might impact the future of our work in that.

Krista Rime: Yeah, and Real is also an expert at this here around inclusive product design. I got connected with I’m a member of the Equity Army who is creating standards about how to follow inclusive and equitable product design and making sure it’s accessible and usable by everybody. And I envision it taking standards like this and actually rolling them into agile.

So we will have inclusive agile development. So everybody on the whole product development team can know how to develop inclusive products and then be held accountable for it. And so with just the platform that I’m building there will be trainings that you’ll be able to take and how to have inclusive product development.

I’m a big part of that will be the design aspect of that. I’m going to be following the Equity Army standards. Following that. So, exciting because it will hit every aspect of the product development. I’m a big area. I would say focus would be on algorithm and algorithm designs because currently with how we are building algorithms and a lot of our products we’re using historical data and that historical data is filled.

It’s just racist, straight up. A lot of it is in a lot of bias. And so as product developers, as data scientists, data engineers gathering all this data, we really need to also sit back and think about a more equitable way of collecting it. And the more non-biased way of collecting data, and that might mean delaying product development while we collect data, instead of, you know, using historical data like a lot of applications will ask for your location based off your location, you can figure out zip code we’ll America is segregated by zip codes, right.

And so. The irrigation is being brought into, you know, housing. If you want to buy a house, if you’re applying for a job, you know, all these things that are we’re using programmatic decisions based off of racist data. And so how do we collect the data in a new fashion to not build our sins offline that have been historical for hundreds of years.

And now that we’re bringing that into our digital worlds. So that’s another area I’m passionate about is inclusiveness and building out algorithms.

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. And Real you as well working on some stuff over there at Google to build equitable products.

Real Canty: I think the, you know, one of the shifts that have has to happen is, you know, when we’re designing, we see the future, but we have this lens where we’re able to see what is this. We get to a point where we can start the bill with the solution, build a future that we see challenges with. W we have to address with product development is, or how do we see the equitable experiences and outcomes, right?

That’s what we’re designing. So when we’re talking about equity, thinking about these experiences, how do we, how do we see that? How do we see what those are and how do we. Measurement strategies that enabled us to provide confidence around those decisions that we’re making so that we can begin to scale that.

Right. And that becomes a model for us to then apply it in a number of different use cases without the measurement piece. And it gets to, you know, it gets to us just building on good intention, right? Like we hope that this is leads, leads to equity, equitable experiences. But I think what I see in a lot of models is a lack of a measurement plan measurement strategy that goes into that.

I don’t even know what those, you know, a lot of times it’s, it might be quantitative, but you know, we need to think about what are the experiences, because often the equity is there’s certainly measurement the equity that we can have in terms of that we can quantify. But a lot of it is experienced too, that we can’t have.

So, the example of, of Pokemon. What’s the Pokemon when they go out to the AR?

Steven Wakabayashi: Pokemon go.

Real Canty: In that, in that, in that, in that situation, there was articles about, out about that. It would talking about the disparity and being able to train and get new Pokemon based on where you live. If you live in an area that had a lot of parts. Then you were able to build your train and get a lot of Pokemon.

Well, you know, what do you, what are you measuring there? Right with, to me, the measurement is, you know, and it’s, this was discovered, this was a, someone who lived in Los Angeles. I believe they went to another neighborhood and all of a sudden they’re like, wow, I didn’t even know that this, we can get this many, that kind of experiments.

We need to be thinking about those, that part of the, of the experience and how do we, and how do we give value to that? Right? So sometimes we’re working in places where, where engineers and the culture just doesn’t embrace those types of measurements, the sentiment, the emotional, the socio-cultural aspect, those dimensions, and, you know, and that’s something that we need to, it’s going to require a shift in our thinking, but measurement, where’s the measurement plan.

And we’ll always want to know if the talking about impact. I want to know how are you going to be able to see the impact? How will you observe the impact and how will you be in ensure that what you’re doing actually led to those, those changes or improvements or enhancements.

Ube Urban: Yeah, absolutely. You know, and that, that topographical like embedded view of these industries, you know, we all know it’s very insular until they accept who we are, you know, and really embrace that society. Professionals have imperfections and insecurities, you know, like this is a real thing. Like you don’t just go in and you’re a superhero, or you’re expected to be a rockstar if there’s no representation within these vertices.

And, you know, you have that, that individualistic attitude, you know, pretty much what we’re talking about of this new kind of mid middle upper class providing, providing that framework, you know, whether it’s having your digital profile or making sure you have X amount of beers within the industry, or even using specific programs, you know, there’s just such a high demand, you know, for, for establishing this, this individual with them, the professional space, you know, and there’s been many times, can you believe this?

Everybody where I had to share my credit score in order to get hired. Like, is that possible? Like this, what?

Krista Rime: For nonfinancial institutions.

Ube Urban: Yes, exactly. Yes.

Krista Rime: Cause I’ve done a for fun when I’ve been applying for financial institutions, but that’s crazy.

Ube Urban: Yeah. Yeah. Financial, that makes sense. And if I have like a fence or client that, that doesn’t make sense, you know, I could understand going through an additional background check depending on the requirements, but to know how much, you know, equity as attached to your name or what loans you have extended, or whether you have a mortgage or if you live in a nice area, you know, how do you benchmark it?

What is your demand? And, you know, we see these profiles being established everywhere, and it’s hard to go pass that red tape when there’s so many blockers for these, you know, these individuals, and this is another part of why you need to have these cards, the cars aren’t just, Hey, you know, I have to play my race cards.

You have to play your financial cards as well. And you have to have that in order, but how are you supposed to know that when people don’t know that until they apply, you know, Yeah, it, it, it it just baffles me these like internal frustrations where I’m trying to get in the talent, but I can’t get them because they have a seven, 10 credit score and the requirement is seven 20, you know, or they don’t have 18 years as a junior designer, like, come on everybody.


Steven Wakabayashi: You haven’t used Figma for 12 years yet? Get out of here.

Ube Urban: How long have you been in UX? My answer longer than UX is existed.

Krista Rime: I came across the job post that was requiring 15 years for social media management.

Steven Wakabayashi: They invented Facebook. Yes. What about you Maurice? Any thoughts around building equitable products? Does that come up for you in your workplace?

Maurice Cherry: You know, it’s, it’s interesting cause I mean, I work as a, as a creative strategist and so I kind of ended up being, particularly for these tech startups.

I’ve worked for them kind of like their in-house creative expert. And oftentimes when I started, it’s very clear, just like the fact that they have no foundation, no culture, they have an idea of sort of what they want to be in the markets. And they sort of have a plan on how to get there. They just don’t want to spend a whole lot of money or put a whole lot of resources into making that happen.

It’s it’s almost like they just have it on a, to do list is like a pipe dream. Like one day maybe we will accomplish this. I can give an example for, for one place. I worked. So I actually I’m startup. I worked for I started back in December of last year, actually about a year ago. And they’re like, yeah, we really want people to know more about our product in the, in the in the market.

And so we want to create some podcasts that really sort of talk about what the work is that we’re doing. And I’m like, well, I know how to make podcasts. We can certainly make that happen. And it’s one of those things where they’re super excited at the beginning. And then they see just how much work it takes.

Because a lot of these startups that I’ve worked before are pretty early stage. So we’re talking 25 people or less. So there’s not really a, a staff to do these things. I’m kind of doing everything by myself, with vendors and such like that. And you can see them just kind of like losing interest as the project goes along.

And then once the project actually does launch, they just don’t even want to touch it. They don’t want to publicize it. They don’t want to do anything with it. They’re just like, oh, that thing is out those podcasts that you worked on three months ago. Oh, that’s nice. Oh, what are we supposed to like tell people about them.

So they listened to it. Nobody listens to podcasts. Why don’t you want me to make podcasts? If you don’t think anybody’s going to pay attention to it, you know? It’s sort of, I guess they figured it’s like the cool thing, but really what it is is that dressing for these early stage startups, it’s like they’re investors or the VCs are telling them, you need to do this because they’ve already put it in investment.

And so they’ll say you need to spend more money next year on marketing. And they’re like, oh, well, what do we need to do for marketing? We could do these things like where I’m at right now. They want to make a magazine, like from scratch, like I’m, I’m Kadija James in the first season of living single building flavor, like from scratch, talking to printers, ISBNs bought licensing, you name it.

Right. And we’re like in the middle of the project right now, we’re about to, we’ll probably launch sometime. And I think late January, early February, but I can already tell right now. And I don’t know if it’s just because of the holidays where they’re like, oh, do we really want to do this? Do we really want to put the work in for this?

And then oftentimes with me, because I’m coming in as a one as a black person, but also most of these startups are fairly white. Why people really don’t like being told what to do by a black person in a senior role. Like. Also complicates the type of work that I’m trying to do. It’s like, well, this is what you want as a company.

You want this product in order to make that happen. Other people that work here have to be on board with that. But if they’re not going to be on board with that, because they don’t want to listen to the black guy, like, I don’t know what you want me to do about that because the success of this project hinges on the fact that we all work together to try to make it happen.

And if they feel like, oh, well Maurice told me these things, but I don’t really, I’m not really paying attention to that. Okay. That’s going to affect the sort of final end result of the product when it comes out. So I’ve been the products that I’ve been making largely I’ve been media products, which is interesting when you just think about representation like they, for them, it’s like a very easy like diversity talking point, like, oh, we made this new media product and it’s by a person of color and it’s featuring other people of color.

Like we’re just hitting all the marks, but no, not really. It’s just something for them. I don’t want to say that necessarily throwing money away. Although in some instances it does feel that way. Like they get so excited about it. And then once they see the work that has to be done for it, they don’t want to do it because they, they thought it would be easy because these are like software engineers and they just figure, oh yeah, you’re going to make a process.

That’s easy to just sit down and start recording. Like, no, there’s a bunch of sentences to go into it. So. I dunno, I feel like I’m rambling a little bit here, but in my particular viewpoint from working on these sorts of products, I’ve often kind of thrust in these teams with no structure. They have an idea, and I’m sort of the one that sort of puts all the structure together to try to make that happen.

And then once it starts happening and it gets to the point where they’re going to have the product, they don’t want it anymore. Like the shiny toy they’ve lost, its luster, you know?

Ube Urban: Yeah. That’s a, that’s a constant problem with our, you know, what the dysfunction of our interactions, you know, they’re, they’re all homework assignments and this happens endlessly, no matter if you’re doing research initiatives or you’re working on, you know, a digital migration to a web experience or mobile, or they’re like, Hey, you know, put a person of color, but a same sex couple that will do it, have somebody with a mask, you know, and you’re just like, this is these, this is not how consumers thing how the work is way more strategic.

And you see those that are trying to concentrate more into the narrative. And don’t get me wrong. They are trying to have an impact a little bit on. You know, being more inclusive and having that, that step into universal design. But I forgot who mentioned this, you know, it’s based around the funding, you know, and this is, this is a huge problem why we are not showcasing a lot of these topics that we’re talking about.

Like, if I cannot get the team to build out, to do the research, let alone do a research initiative or a work plan that goes for, let’s see industry standards three months. And then I have to do that in four weeks. I mean, you’re just, you’re just placed in that pigeon hole where you have to produce, you have to, you know, make sure your boss is taking care of your, you have to make sure you’re a representation for, to empower yourself as a professional and being taken seriously.

You have to meet those demands. So, you know, unfortunately. You’re pulled into these, these uncomfortable situations where you don’t want to be the representative, but again, you’re, you’re voluntold, you know, and, and this is where, like what I alluded to before, it’s very insular, you know, it’s very concentric.

We just keep going around and round and you know, it, it, it’s definitely a hard battle to fight, you know? Because a lot of times he know I’ve been laughed out of a room because I I’ve used archetypes or personas that were based around, you know, trans development. Even somebody of color somebody would be like, Hey, that’s a nice story, but we’re we want to concentrate.

On just the digital platform, we don’t really care about our consumer, you know, our potential market and, and it just makes me shake my head and, you know, you sometimes want to rage quit, but at the same time, you know, that’s not the answer. And, you know, again, you have to go back into that navigation of, you know, what cards do I pull?

What do I play? And yeah, a lot of times it’s, it’s fucked up and there are many occasions and scenarios where you, you, you still can’t believe you’re dealing with this, but, you know, yeah. All the, all these situations, you know, and this is not just corporate development. So I don’t want to just point my finger at organizations let alone large ones, you know, we have these oppressed systemic, like trends that are hard to shake, you know, especially like with colorism within our own cultures, you know, how do we, how do we leverage and grow from that?

You know, how do we have acceptance of ourselves and our culture and our history, or lack of history and, you know, and really embracing. And Peerless. So when people ask, because this is, this is a thing with my work, I have to present six slides of my identity, where I’m from my makeup and I don’t have to do this, but it’s part of what I’m used to.

And I feel like me putting in the 90%, I’m the 10 is that confirmation. Okay, cool. We know what we need to know about, you know, Ruby and we got that homework assignment. Cool. Now we can get started. So yeah, I mean a lot of great points, but yeah. Yeah, I feel like I’m rambling now.

Krista Rime: And when you rage quit, it has to go on Tik TOK. That’s the latest trend is putting your, all of your videos of rage quitting.


Ways of Working & the Metaverse

Steven Wakabayashi: If it’s not on TikTok, it didn’t happen. And the last topic. This one was quite an interesting one for us around the topic of ways of working the metaverse all things digital, including our own individual identities. Let’s get into it. What, you know, just as we talk about the metaverse and just for those who haven’t heard of it just yet it is the digital reality that Facebook now, Meta and other companies like roadblocks are also putting a lot of efforts to create labeling as the new way of working digital first economy.

And so just opening up the stage for everyone here. What are some issues that you see with that and looking into the future?

Krista Rime: Well, first of all, the metaverse scares the hell out of me. I’m just gonna like, keep that real. I mean, I, my previous profession was mining everybody’s personal data and I saw how that turned out. And so bringing this to the next level of the metaverse is very scary for me, especially when we have zero regulation, right.

Our policies in the U S are nowhere can keep up with how fast we’re developing these technologies. And so I tend to my whole life people say, I just tend to go to the dark side. I predicted 2016. So I got to say haha to a lot of my friends and make your exit plan, but the metaverse is I can see it going very dark.

A lot of like, imagine the proud boys gathering in the metaverse right. That just really scares me. And

Ube Urban: It’s just another channel.

Krista Rime: Yeah. And we are already seeing the effects of our young people with Instagram. These reports are coming out now let’s throw them into the metaphoric. Right. And all of this happening when we do not have a national healthcare plan for people to get access to mental health, like it’s really hard to get access, to get help for mental health and all of this.

And we’re just I feel like we’re setting ourselves up for, for really, even bigger care in our civilization, in our communities and really reinforcing even more tribalism.

Maurice Cherry: So I have a lot to say about this because I had just, I attended a metaverse conference a couple of weeks ago that also took place in the metaverse.

So it was a two day conference and, and I mean, I had heard about the Metaverse, I think probably as most people know. Initially from the Facebook connect that happened back in October when they sort of stepped down and said, we’re renaming ourselves to Metta. And then Zuckerberg went on this whole chair about the metaverse and attending concerts and we’re in digital t-shirts and shit like that.

Sweet baby. Ray’s all of that. So the metaverse like it’s a

Krista said earlier around the regulation. The reason that people are flocking to it is because it is a completely wildly unregulated space. What we have seen over the past few years, particularly from the U S government, our efforts to curtail and put some sort of guard rails around like the big internet as it relates to, you know, Facebook or Microsoft or other sorts of companies.

I tried to put some sort of boundaries around it. The same fervor that I see with people going to the, or I want to say going to the same fervor that I see people buying into the metaverse is very similar to like early internet, like circa like 2001 as it related to online advertising. Because like the early web, like the web 1.0 was very much like research.

It was library. You logged on, you read stuff that kind of. And as web 2.0, started to come along, there was this whole insistence on like, well, what does it look like when brands enter the space? You know, I remember the million dollar homepage that people buy and stuff for $1, a pixel in this conference that I went to, someone bought a 300 square meter plot of land for $10,000.

Like, what are you going to put on it? It doesn’t exist. It exists on a server in some farm, out in the Ukraine, probably like, what, what are you going to do with that? But what I see, you know, it turns out like this lack of regulation is that a lot of people are putting stupid amounts of money into the metaverse.

Cause they want to try to stake their claim, like before the brands get there. But the thing is that these are just smaller brands that want to make, they want to say they were there first, right. In that respect. There are a host of issues as it relates to the metaphors. A lot of them we have kind of already seen because we’ve seen many metaverses like, first of all, there’s no one minute there’s like multiple metaverses metaverse services, I guess.

So what, what, and then I guess Facebook was smart and trying to brand themselves as Metta because people would sort of have that like cognitive link, like, oh, well Metta metaverse, but it must be Facebook must be the underpinning of the metaverse wrong. It’s they’re not, they’re not to speak to your point, Steven, around work in the middle of.

One thing that I sort of took away from this event or from this conference, was that like none of versus not ready for prime time, as it relates to that, a lot of these sort of digital metaverse spaces at the most in support, maybe hundreds of people on a single server some of the workplace solutions can maybe hold about two dozen people.

Like there’s not, I don’t see yet this sort of mass like Exodus or this mass kind of thing of saying we’re going to work only in the metaverse one because of that too, because the current entry point into the metaverse in terms of at least experiencing, it has largely been through these very cost prohibitive, like virtual reality devices.

You know, everybody can’t afford a 300 plus dollar Oculus. That’s a medical, sorry. Everyone can’t afford that. And granted, there are probably other options that are out there on the table, but still it’s not, I can tell it’s being normalized now because when I listened to podcasts in the morning, I’m hearing podcasts ads for AR glasses.

Like apparently there’s like some raid band specs or something that like, they run the ads with the daily and I’m like, why aren’t they doing that? But it makes sense. They’re trying to get people into the space of thinking of the metaverse as this thing, but there’s so many social issues. And when I say social issues, like, some news that sort of came out recently.

This, I think it’s like this diversity fan Krista, you may have heard of this where the there’s basically like white actors that have black avatars that are conducting diversity training as if they are.

Ube Urban: That’s what it is. Yeah.

Maurice Cherry: And it’s very easy to do in the metaverse for a couple of reasons, one largely and Bloomberg covered this probably about a couple of weeks ago, about how, you know, NFTs and people that are creating the meadow metaverse avatars and things of that nature are largely white people.

So you don’t even have people of color that are in the space that are making the different, you know, avatars and representations of who we are in this digital space. This concept’s about, you know, having a digital twin like identity theft. Now, if someone steals your credit card or something, yeah. You can call your, your bank or whatever and get that sent out.

But think about how many data breaches there have been over the past few years and how people can collect that into a dossier and make a digital twin of you in the metamours with your birth date and information and all this stuff that has to be you because who’s, who’s verifying identity in the metaverse you’re getting a verified identity on the internet.

So like there’s a slew of issues around I mean, those are just some of the kind of ones that come off the top of my head. The amount of, versus in no sort of way, ready for prime time. But a lot of people are putting money into it because they want to say that they were first in a teaser, kind of like the gateway right now for people to get into it.

Web three, which has to do with the blockchain and all of that there’s a lot of purposefully obfuscating language around the metaverse to the average person. And that is on purpose.

Krista Rime: You talk, when you went to this work the conference and it talked about the workplace that they talk about any changes in the company work policy, right? Because you’re going to have different actors in real life than you are in the metaverse. And then I also think you alluded to the early days, remember when we started doing commerce online and no one paid taxes and who was responsible.

So are you going to be able, what are you going to be able to do in the workplace and the metaverse and say, I’m not going to be held accountable one. It wasn’t me with my avatar. And it didn’t really happen in the physical, so I’m not accountable and I can do whatever I want. Yeah.

Maurice Cherry: The digital twin ate my homework.

Ube Urban: I didn’t give any two-stage authentication that wasn’t me.

Real Canty: So does this mean that. We can go. Now we can go to work. We can solve all these problems. I can actually end up in the metaverse. I can be a white man and my mother, my intonation in my, I communicate all that can be, that can be changed in a metaverse?

Krista Rime: I’m sure there will be policy for that though.

Against us.

Ube Urban: Right. For us.

Maurice Cherry: And I’ll also say, you know, when we were sort of, when I kind of alluded to before about the multiple Metta versus the, what are the biggest issues right now with the metaverse and all these different metaverse spaces is interoperability. So there’s a bunch of different metaverse spaces. They do not all work together.

You can’t freely pass from say Fortnite to second life to what was one of the conflicts got Somnia. Moraled like, there’s no, there’s no airline Alliance for the metaverse. It’s like you have to be able to kind of log in and out of these different spaces in that way. I will say the company that finds a way to make that happen will be crazy rich.

If they find some sort of like metaverse Alliance, where they found some kind of way to have that interoperability happen it’s going to be crazy, but like, there’s, you know, speaking before about entities, there’s also this push to try to tie in a tease to some sort of real world value which I think.

That’s still sometime coming. One thing that I sort of thought about what this conference is thinking about early kind of versions of what a metaverse looks like and Foursquare like circuit 2010 was probably like a very early version of what people are trying to do now with the metaphor instrument, you have this sort of layer of real-world data on top of actual physical locations, you know, in a way that was game of five.

And it was fun. We did have some sort of like real-world benefit, like being the mayor of the coffee shop, you know, but I can go in and get 10%. Oh. So like they’re trying to sort of tie in a tease of that sort of a real world value, whether that means, you know, commerce or that means physical goods, et cetera.

But I think in terms of work, like it’s not matter versus not really any shape and imagination for, for that kind of thing, maybe for like very small teams not for any of the established organizations that I don’t think so. Not right now.

Real Canty: Is this too early, Maurice to get it for us to start thinking about.

Maurice Cherry: I don’t think it’s too early. I think now it’s probably the best time for people of color and folks with marginalized identities to try to get into the metaverse. Because as I said before, a lot of the language around it right now, it’s purposefully confusing for people to not really understand what’s happening.

But now is sort of the time to do it. There was this article I think it was on MSN or something about this artist is Canadian artists who have learned about NFTs in like a month and then managed to flip that into making like $300,000, you know, there, the certain, you know, wealth building aspects of it that are very lucrative just in terms of like being able to shape our identity.

You know, I, I think of God, I can’t think of the artist’s name, but it was a female artists black artists that said that, you know, there are black people in the future and a black people in the metaverse not right now, but you know, people of color in general, like if we’re getting it on this brown for and learning more about it and trying to figure it out, the opportunity exists now to do that, that probably in a couple of years, I could easily see like we’re being left out.

Like I, I can see the, the beginning auspices of like a second digital divide between like non-mid reverse metaphor. Whereas before it was like, are you online? Are you not online? You know, that kind of thing.

Steven Wakabayashi: And where I go back to too is just seeing, it was kind of the same thing with social media, where all of these accounts brands are making accounts because they’re staking their place.

But I’m sure we’ve heard many of these stories where people, individuals had accounts that they were running for many, many years, right. And then a big brand who has that branding or a product somewhat similar name just comes in cannibalizes and takes it away from them. And so even as we are trying to seek the ground, when we’re not in a system like Russell, you mentioned that has set rules, regulations that protect everybody, especially those who are small and not dictated by the institutions themselves, because they’re always going to go with the lowest common denominator, which is monetary gain fame resources.

We, it’s a risk. It’s a very high risk situation for all of us.

Krista Rime: I’m betting on web 3.0 with block chains. There are a lot of the people that I’ve talked to that are either in tech or trying to break into tech, I’m giving as many resources for them to learn about blockchain development. And you’ll have the whole development teams.

They will have to be knowledgeable about block chains. A lot of people are like, oh, I want to be a blockchain engineer, but you should know the technology and the best use cases. So you can go in as a blockchain expert with products you know, design with product management, with marketing and all of this.

And I feel like the more awareness we spread with underrepresented folk about this upcoming technology, we can get our foot in the door and that’s going to be meaning access to data access to be able to do these boot camps and then being able to get into companies and start building.

So, I would highly suggest looking into blockchain. You talk about Murrays, these terminologies and about if the Metta is built on block chain, right. That could solve the interoperability between all of them, yada, yada. But there’s this saying like, oh, we go to the blockchain and will it be secure?

Our identity will never be stolen and we’ll have every transaction of a little to us, but that all depends on if you implement it correctly and you have a good design. And so I think a lot of this is again being very high level of like blockchain is the answer. It will be secure and the people just take it at face value without fully being educated.

So I feel like it’s a lot of at least my job is to educate people as much as I can that I interact with that are looking to get into the space and to know these little nuances. So they’ll be able to educate others that are wanting to get into this space too. But by no means is the blockchain, the holy grail of technology.

Ube Urban: Yeah, let’s, let’s just work on IOT and getting our smart homes to right correctly. What happens to voice?

Cultivating joy

Steven Wakabayashi: So for folks that you are in the room with us, we’ll be taking questions. If you want to shoot any questions into our chat, we’d love to answer any questions. Based on any of the topics that we had chatted about for last 13 minutes of our talk. But as questions roll in looking forward to 2022 for everyone here one, what are you doing individually to cultivate a practice, moving away from burnout, exhaustion?

Are you doing anything to help cultivate joy not burnout when it’s the opposite of that relaxation more energy. And then what do you see the future going for equity within 2022?

Maurice Cherry: I think like, for me in past years, I’ve usually been pretty much on top of it. Like I try to keep a fairly public ledger of like, this is what I’m working on.

If you want me to do something that I’m not working on, the answer is no. So that sort of automatically weeds out a lot of stuff, but I really went into this year. And didn’t plan anything because I think 2020 was so much of a mind fuck because of the pandemic that 2021 happened. And I really had not taken any time to think and plan on like what the year was going to go.

I just sort of put one foot in front of the other, every single day of this year. So at least what I’m trying to do for these last two weeks, and I’ll be off work is actually really sit down and take time on and plan out what the year will look like or what I want to accomplish. I didn’t do that this year.

And I really felt like I was just kind of being tossed around in the wind as stuff happened. So that ends with part of that planning. It is kind of building in those those practices for self care or at least at the very, at the very least not trying to take so much stuff on at once. I think certainly prior to the pandemic, I was really trying to do all the things that I could possibly try to do inside of work, outside of work.

Now I very much compartmentalize, like my job has to be Monday through Friday for the eight hours they paid me and that’s it. Now, there are people at my job that like, I’ll see slack messages that, you know, when I log in the next day slack messages that come through at 1:00 AM, I’m like at me I’m turning over at that.

But just trying to be more deliberate about. Taking care of myself and making sure that I can be there for the work that I’m doing to continue it on because, you know, I don’t want to say without me, it wouldn’t happen. But certainly like with the podcast, I think I’ve made so much of an investment in that it’s turning nine in February.

Like I I’ve done so much behind that and the other work that I’ve done, that I have to take care of myself if I want to keep that going. And you know, that has to come at my own expense of no one else’s so yeah.

That’s awesome.

Steven Wakabayashi: Nine that’s a child. You have a full grown child.

Yeah. Survey 20, 22.

Ube Urban: Wait, are people like asking questions? Are they just putting it in the chat? Well, we have. Okay.

Green flags in the workplace

Steven Wakabayashi: Maybe we’ll pause for one question. There was one question that came in, which was around red flags in the workplace. What are green? What are, let me just summarize what are some red flags and green flags look for prospective companies?

And if there are any real life examples that can be provided.

Ube Urban: That’s a very difficult one to approach, you know, and that all depends on, you know, what’s important to you when you create your own best practices and methodologies. You know, to, to be honest, like you have to stay true to yourself. And then knowing the overall landscape and having the ability to capture the flag it’s not going to happen until you’re actually within within the organization.

Right. And it’s hard to really preserve these, these, these pain points or the red flags, because a lot of them are ambiguous. Like a lot of them aren’t ones and zeros. Right. And I wish it was. And even till this day, I have a lot of difficulties trying to expose those areas of, of, to me, opportunity, you know, and it’s an opportunity to not waste my personal time to not waste the time of the hiring manager, let alone the organization.

But most of the time. Organizations don’t care. And to, to have that integrity going forward, goes a lot into dismantling mindset. See, now this goes back into like being empathetic and understanding those, those personalities. And you know what people mean when you say, Hey, can you unpack that for me?

You know, when you say you have a DEI department, what does that mean to you? Where do you see the growth? What are the actionable outcomes coming from that? You know, what advice could you give me if you propose a problem, you know, and really put them in the hotspot and have it be more of a conversation.

And this is pretty much just one-on-one social interactions with other human beings, but a lot of times you don’t. T to go back to, you know, being your, your real sense of self or, you know, your authentic self. A lot of people did not propose that, you know, they, you can see right through them and it’s, it’s unfortunate that you have to interact with these people.

And a lot of people are in different situations. So, sometimes people just need a job for their livelihood. Others just need transformation for, you know, a level of behavioral, mental health. But those blurred lines are our areas of personal and professional maturity that you have to address yourself.

I could give you a bullet point view of pages, of, you know, bullet points of what to look for, you know, what is positive? What are the great, you know, outliers to look for? Or what do you really embrace with individuals? What do you value if work is in priority? Number one, which it is, and for me, it’s probably around, I would say I feel that of one to 10.

It would probably be around five, six, you know, so it’s not the priority, but. Other people value it as their priority. There are a lot of people that I’ve interacted with consultants. No matter when I turn on my computer, they’re online, they’re working. And in order to be that quintessential professional or rock rockstar, you have to put in the hours.

And this is like what Maurice was mentioning, you know, is that, what are you willing to put forward? Is it that important to you? If yes. Yeah. Go ahead and work. The north of 70 hours work the mornings nights and weekends. No problem. If that’s what you value. But to me, that’s not what I value. And if that adds a denote on my, my value as a professional, so be it, you know, we shouldn’t have that relationship.

If that’s how you’re going to guilt trip me, I’m going to go on to the next and keep going onto the next. And you have to have that energy to have that ability to back how you feel and all of these interactions, because there’s going to be a lot more nos rather than being like, oh, we really embrace. And we value your, your ambiguity and your enigma.

Like, come on, come on board. Okay. But where’s the smoking mirrors. And you don’t know until we sign on the. And you’re allocated a fucked up program. And then you realize that you wasted three months and you got to go onto the next, you know, gig. So I’ll pause there. I’ll, I’ll step off the pedestal, but yes

Maurice Cherry: Piggyback off of Ube’s point, I guess, a finer point on it.

I think we all objectively know what the red flags are. I mean, we can look at all sorts of companies that do really just shitty workplace practices and center. So like red flags or wholly objective to that end green flags, I think are pretty subjective because that’s going to depend on like who you are, what you want to have out of your relationship with work.

I’ll give you a good example. One of my red flags is if any place that I worked for, they call themselves a family. That’s a huge red flag for me. Not that I have a negative connotation of family. I got very close with my family, but I look at going to work as almost like I’m a member of a jazz man.

Like I show up, I play the trombone for the gig and then I’m out, you know, I mean, that’s not to say that we’re not cordial to each other. And that’s not to say that I’m at work being like a total grump or anything like that, but I’m at work to do the work. And if you want to like have. Put pets in the slack channel and stuff.

I’m going to be like, it’s not really let me get my work done first. And then if I have extra time, then maybe that’ll be a thing that I consider wanting to do or something like that. But I say green flags on various objective, it’s really gonna depend on like, what do you, what is your relationship report?

And to that end, what are the things that are gonna make you feel the most comfortable showing up to work as your authentic self day in, day out? Those, when you know what those are intrinsically, it becomes a lot easier to sort of see those things in companies that you’re interviewing for. Cause you’ll know what questions to ask.

They’ll know what answers that you want to hear back. And if it doesn’t mesh with what your sort of personal value and belief system is, then you’re like, oh, that’s a, that’s a red flag because it doesn’t match where my green flag is for wanting to work at that place.

Krista Rime: A couple things I do to identify green flags and for my candidates. Once they get a job description. There’s easily online tools just to run through the job description where I’ll flag biases. If there’s not a lot of biases in the company. Put in the effort to write a job description that was more like inclusive for everybody.

Another thing I asked my candidates to do, if they’re reached by another recruiter is like really interview the recruiter. How much resources are companies putting into the recruiter to get this talent. So one would be straight up asking a recruiter, what is the company’s mission and value?

Right. A lot of employees don’t even know the company mission and values. So like, you know, that would be like just performative for me. Ask the recruiter deep details about the job. Well, if they say that’s something you need to talk to the hiring manager for that means you’re just pushing people like through the process ask if this is a new position being created, or if it’s replacing somebody, if it’s replacing somebody, I ask, why did the last person quit?

Right. Ask the diversity makeup. Does your company collect employee satisfaction score? If so, what is your company’s employee satisfaction score? And questions like that. So I like to, like, I would personally like really grill the recruiter to get an idea of what, how the company values recruitment.

And then with the hiring manager, I typically ask, what does a typical day look like if they say like, well, it really varies like, blah, blah, blah. That’s typically a sign that everything is on fire. All the time, right? They don’t have processes in place to easily run your business. You’re going to be putting out fires a lot of the time.

So an interview isn’t just for the company to figure out if you’re a fit. This is like your opportunity to really grow that company, to see if they’re a fit. Because again, the market is changing. Companies are desperate and you are going to be having a lot of leverage and saying no is very powerful. In my opinion, when it, when a company doesn’t match like your standards.

Real Canty: That’s a difficult question. And I’m not gonna, I’m not going to speak directly to it. So if it sounds like I’m dancing around it, I’m dancing around it. The one. Good, good. Get really good at what you do. Like just be the nicest at whatever your role is. Think it comfortable when you’re comfortable. Now you’ve got leverage.

Okay. I’m in a space. I’m comfortable. I’m good. So now when I go and I swap with other companies now, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m looking at them, I’m evaluating them and I’m bringing myself, but I’m bringing because I’m, I’m comfortable already. So now when you meet me, you just gonna, you’re going to get me the way that I’m going to work every day.

When I got. I’m going to sit on. I’m going to sit here. I want to sit when I talk, how I want to talk that right there, that any red flags that I may get, I want to know, am I going to get them? Is that giving them a red flag? Because then I don’t have to worry about anything that comes afterwards if I would have stopped in, in the future.

So I think a part of this is, you know, trying to set up who’s in control of the flagging, right? And so if we can start by getting ourselves comfortable, then we get the shift, the world around us, instead of us running around and trying to chase things in the world, we get to a point where we can stand still and we can move the world around us.

I think ultimately, you know, like for, for people that I work with, I want them, I want us to be there. I want us to have that control, that power St. Power that these people in these companies want to have. I want it for us. Right. And in order for us to get to that space, we have to bring people into our space.

Right? And I think that’s, to me, that’s the value of reaching a point where we are this pillar and we are now, the world is moved, shifting the world around us, and that’s, it’s difficult, but one get good to get comfortable. And in three, start to shape the world the way that you want to, you want to see it and be in control of the flags.

Ube Urban: Awesome. Yeah. And just take the time to read through some on my profile. That’s all I’m asking for. That’s yeah.

Steven Wakabayashi: It reminds me of a Tiktok I watched so funny where the interviewer, it was like a skit and interviewer was talking to the person. So you tell me about yourself and the person was like, well, didn’t you read my resume?

Why don’t you tell me about myself?

That’s so true.

I’m going to test you now on. Yeah. And so we are at, we are at time and it’s been a really, really great, beautiful, lovely conversation. And just want to provide just one minute just for like everyone and closing remarks, any last takeaways, and it could piggyback off of the 20, 22 question of just any takeaways for today, moving into the future for each person.

I want to start.

Okay. You wanna start.

Ube Urban: I guess, I mean the yellow square just stuck on me and I was on mute. And I wasn’t sure if you’re doing that on your end though, I

Maurice Cherry: had sounds for you.

Ube Urban: It’s a transformative experience. And, and I truly mean that, like, this is something that is forever changing. It’s as dynamic as consumers, consumers are. Especially when you’re focusing on your emotional or your motivations or grass is greener, or really trying to establish who you are as a professional.

It’s there’s so many key factors that go into that. And, and what I always try to disclose, especially during like mentorships or even professional development, is that a lot of individuals, most of society do not get to these levels, do not have their own brand. You know, everybody throws that around, you know, like, oh, what’s your brand, you know, what’s your met thought methodology, what’s your framework?

What can you pull to our organization? I always say the work, I can do that all day, but what do you have to really hold me there as an individual? Are you going to have the ability to keep the top tier talent talent? You want to go for them? Yes. You’ll pay for that and put out those compensation brackets, but are you, can you hold these individuals?

You know, and, and that is the ultimate question that I bring to the table. If I’m interfacing with, you know, an MD or some other leadership, you know, what, what is, what are you going to do to have me hang around? I know what you want. You saw my profile, you saw my track record. It’s all very prevalent, but can you really provide that sense of excellence when building a community and embracing again, that sense of self is very important.

People say it, but they don’t actually stand behind it. So yes, what that don’t get comfortable and you can’t get comfortable because if you do, the industry will just leave you behind and people get exceptionally sappy. The harder you go, you know, you think it’s hard at entry level. Just wait till you get higher and you have to play politics on top of politics.

It gets it gets a little dicey, you know, and if you want to go into some scenarios, just drop me a DM on LinkedIn.

Last takeaways

Steven Wakabayashi: Next, last takeaways.

Ube Urban: Or I got to share my LinkedIn in order to do that. All right. Thank you. Thanks everyone.

Maurice Cherry: Mine is pretty simple. I think just I think just going into next year and really, we don’t know what this next year is really going to have in store for us. So treat yourself with grace approach others with kindness, but also don’t take no shit.

That’s all.

Krista Rime: Plus one what Maurice said. And also just know that there are people out there that will support you and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask I’m one of them. Yeah, we, we can’t do this alone.

Real Canty: Yeah, that right there. I just, you know, build network, build your own infrastructure. Like see the world, get to a point where you see the world is yours. It really is yours and start to shape it.

Steven Wakabayashi: And my last takeaway is it was mentioned in a talk where we should lean more into our support systems, spaces that nourish us, find the places that cultivate joy spaces like this, where we congregate talk about the issues that are heavy on our hearts on our shoulders, but in a way that nourishes us and doesn’t take away from us.

And at the end of the day, it is okay to put on your mask first before putting it on other people. Because ultimately when we can thrive, it helps to create pathways for others to thrive as well.

And so with that, that wraps up our programming for this evening. Thank you. Thank you for a beautiful, beautiful conversation with you all.

And with that, we close this space. Have a good rest of your evening. Thank you for being with us and hope you have a great, amazing rest of your week and holiday.


Transcription by Descript

Our look back at this year and a panel conversation with speakers on topics including:

  • State of DEIA & performative corporate allyship
  • The great resignation and its impact to our communities
  • New technologies and the implication to our marginalized communities
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