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Best of 2022: Martine Kalaw on Black History, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Being a Stateless Immigrant, and How to Build Bridges of Belonging in Corporate Organizations
Episode 12225th January 2023 • A World of Difference • Lori Adams-Brown
00:00:00 01:01:41

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Martine Kalaw's compelling mission is to empower Human Resources professionals to make Diversity, Equity and Inclusion accessible in the workplace, but her journey as a stateless and undocumented survivor reveals the irony of empowering managers to support marginalized communities while also risking Tokenism.

You will learn how to use team building activities and mental health support to help empower marginalized groups to reach their full potential.

"It's not lip service when especially when you've got metrics and you also can identify the return on investment when we adjust those metrics and we improve the metrics."

Martine Kalaw is a speaker, consultant, trainer and author with a decade of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and tech startups. She helps develop people and increase performance and productivity as a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant.

Martine Kalaw, a stateless and undocumented survivor, grew up navigating through a number of different communities. As a result, she was able to gain an understanding of different perspectives, which inspired her to create her own enterprise, Martine Kalau Enterprises. Here, she focuses on making diversity, equity and inclusion more accessible in the workplace. Martine realized that those in marginalized communities often feel a deep loss of dignity and aloneness, so she encourages them to build a team of resources to help empower them. This team should include a mental health practitioner, a technical assistant, a mentor, an ally, and the right attorney. Through her work and her book, she focuses on providing resources for those in marginalized communities and upskilling managers to understand the power and influence they have in

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. What strategies can be used to make diversity, equity, and inclusion accessible in the workplace?

2. What is the importance of having a team of support to empower individuals in marginalized communities?

3. How can managers use their influence to create a sense of belonging and access in the workplace?

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Chapter Summaries:


[00:00:02]

Our guest on today's show is Martine Kalaw. Martine is a speaker, a consultant, a trainer, and an author. She brings more than a decade of professional experience working with Fortune 500 companies and tech startups. She'll be speaking about leadership around diversity, equity, and inclusion with an emphasis on belonging.



[00:01:45]

Martine Kalaw was born in Zambia and his family is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He spent seven years in removal proceedings, deportation proceedings. Now he's created Martine Kalaw Enterprises to support human resources professionals in making diversity, equity and inclusion accessible in the workplace.



[00:06:03]

The author has a book that provides more tools for individuals who are undocumented or stateless. She says the first thing is get a team. Second is having a technical assistant, a mentor, an ally. Third is having the right attorney who builds you up and is your advocate.



[00:14:12]

Dei: I felt like these conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion are going way over people's heads. The bridge is human resources and managers. Dei: The way that you make it accessible is through upskilling managers.



[00:21:17]

Martine: Why should companies do more than just appear inclusive? She says bottom line is really the compelling factor. To appeal to the market that you're trying to appeal to, you need a whole team. This really becomes a business imperative if your sales numbers are down.



[00:29:05]

LZ: How can we have companies and organizations that really create places of belonging at work? LZ: It really starts with human resources or the equivalent working with managers to incorporate that into their management development. Building of trust is what allows people to start to feel like they belong in the organization.



[00:35:06]

There are little things that we can do as managers to establish a sense of belonging. Consider this for many of us, we work at organizations that are global. And acknowledging those little things is part of building inclusion. It's certainly now where employee retention is causing us to have to rethink.



[00:42:04]

The World of Difference podcast is all about acknowledging the differences among us and bringing those to the table. People from different marginalized spaces experience different biases, different ways in the workplace. By asking a question, managers can start to acknowledge how each person is different.



[00:47:32]

We're about to head into Black History Month in the United States. Do you often find that people make assumptions about you, that your black history is kind of a particular way? And is that a conversation that's been challenging for you to navigate at all?



[00:54:30]

Start with compensation and equity and all of those things. That's much more powerful than these grander gestures. If we could make that go forward this year Black History Month, it would be a gift to all of us.



[00:56:09]

Martin: I found myself connecting with parts of Martin's story, even though I have not lived anything close to her life. Martin: It's important in the aspect of creating empathy, which is one of the strategies around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Please follow her writing and her work and reach out to her for consulting.



[00:58:03]

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are real key to the attrition rate right now. Companies doing this well are doing a better job at retaining employees, making better decisions. Martine Kalaw can come in and consult with your organization to help you grow and do better.



[00:59:30]

Michael Fosberg will talk to us about his story where he was a 32 year old man who had been raised to believe he was white, and at 32 years old realized he is black. We're going to talk about the conversation of race as a social construct here during Black History Month.




Martine Kalaw is the CEO and president of Martine Kalaw Enterprises, LLC; a consultancy focused on learning & development, human resources, and diversity, equity & inclusion for corporations, organizations, and nonprofits. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration focusing on immigration law from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and has authored two books, Illegal Among Us: A Stateless Woman’s Quest for Citizenship and The ABCs of Diversity: A Managers Guide to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As an organizational development expert, Martine has single-handedly built and executed onboarding solutions, management and leadership programs, global mentorship programs consisting of 400+ employees, and designed and customized training for Macy’s, Xaxis, Wheels Up, and Education First. Martine transforms the implicit biases of working professionals and leads “heavy” conversations related to race and legal status. She specifically focuses on unconscious beliefs towards blacks and immigrants through workshops and seminars while also equipping companies with training to up-skill new managers. Martine partners with global professionals to implement learning and workforce development strategies and solutions incorporating race and biases, manager training, and inter/intra department communication. Her soft skills curriculum is popular with late-stage startups experiencing pangs due to a merger, an acquisition, exponential growth, or a sudden reduction in business.

A passionate DE&I consultant, Martine has written for publications like Huffington Post and has delivered a TEDx talk on immigration policies as they relate to equity and inclusion. She’s also appeared on C-span.

Outside of her work, Martine contributes thought leadership around immigration reform. She’s spoken at Senator McCain’s 2006 Town Hall Rally on Immigration and the U.S. House of Representative’s Judiciary Subcommittee’s 2007 hearing on Immigration Reform. Her story has appeared in USA Today, Metro New York, and The New York Sun. Martine is also the founder and executive director of Stateless and Dreamers Foundation (SAD), which she created after her seven-year battle with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which eventually led to her U.S. citizenship. SAD provides guidance and practical tools that stateless persons and undocumented immigrants can use to navigate between lawyers and the courts more effectively.

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Transcripts

Speaker A:

Welcome to the Aworld of Difference podcast. I'm Lori Adams Brown, and this is a podcast for those who are

Welcome to the Aworld of Difference podcast. I'm Lori Adams Brown, and this is a podcast for those who are

different and want to make a difference. Our guest on today's show is Martine Kalaw. Martine is a speaker, a

consultant, a trainer, and an author. She's a develop, organizational, developmental expert, and owns a

company, Martine Kalaw Enterprises. She brings more than a decade of professional experience working

with Fortune 500 companies and tech startups. She helps develop people and increase performance and

productivity as a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant. She's written for Huffington Post, Given a TEDx

Talk, appeared on syndicated networks like CSPAN and with her company. She's spoken at companies

around diversity and inclusion and leadership at companies such as LinkedIn, bank of America, howard

Hughes Corporation, and Cornell University. She holds a Master's in Public administration with a focus on

immigration law. And she spent her early career in the public sector working in budgeting for the New York

City Mayor's Office of Management and Budget. She has a vast experience, and she's going to be speaking

to us today about leadership, and particularly around diversity, equity, and inclusion with an emphasis on

belonging. So welcome to today's show, Martine Kalaw.

Speaker B:

Hi, Martine. Welcome to the World of Difference podcast today.

Speaker C:

Hi, Martine. Hi, everyone.

Speaker B:

It's great to have you. I'm so excited for people to get to know you, hear about your very interesting

background and the work that you're doing, which is so crucial right now. So let's start with a little bit about

your background. Who is Martine Kalaw?

Speaker C:

Okay, I will try to keep it short and sweet, and if I start talking too much, just cut me off. But I define myself as

a stateless and undocumented. Survivor was born in Zambia, and my family is from the Democratic Republic

of the Congo. I grew up in the United States. New York City, maryland. Ohio. And during my journey of being

undocumented and I was actually orphaned at one point, I spent seven years in removal proceedings,

deportation proceedings, trying to fight a system and really a system that was created for people like me to

fail. Throughout my journey of being undocumented, being orphaned, putting myself through school, through

college, graduate school, I was exposed to so many different communities. I was invited into different

communities, whether being the undocumented community, right? And there are subcommunities within that,

the stateless community, which is very unique from being undocumented. I went to a prep school, boarding

school that was predominantly all white. I also, at one point, went to middle school in Columbus, Ohio, which

was predominantly African American. And I've navigated through a myriad of different communities and

circles. And so it's given me an interesting perspective, Martine, where it's widened my lens. And I just have

a more like, I think, an epistemic privilege where I understand different perspectives. And so through that

lens and through that privilege, I decided that it was time. I worked in the corporate space for about 13 years

running, learning and development departments globally. And in that work, I was doing a lot of unconscious

bias training, you know, diversity training. I realized there was more work that needed to be done and I was

able to pinpoint exactly where the work needed to be done. And so that's what I did. I created Martine Kalaw

Enterprises. And our work and our main objective is to support human resources professionals in being able

Enterprises. And our work and our main objective is to support human resources professionals in being able

to make diversity, equity and inclusion accessible in the workplace, right? That's one being able to give them

more time back because right now, many of them feel burdened by the work, the dei work. Right. And the last

piece is giving them the tools to identify the return on investment so that dei is considered a business

imperative in the workplace, so that it is part of the conversation that is had at the table with all other

business initiatives and structures. So that's really who I am and what my passion is.

Speaker B:

It's so great because your background, we can spend the whole time talking about that. And it's so

fascinating. I mean, just the DRC portion alone has just like a million questions I would ask. And then your

journey being stateless and documented, your own personal journey, has given you a taste of what it feels

like to be on the margins. And I think people who are on the margins in any way have a choice to make. And

it's will I allow this experience to help me see through the eyes and the lens of other people and help them

too? Or will it just constantly be a situation where I feel I'm powerless? And it's true, there's a powerlessness

element to that. And at the same time, you found the place where you did have some power and some

privilege, and then you build on that and a level of resilience that's really remarkable. I kind of want to camp

out just for a second on just your process. You said it was at seven years. Okay, talk about how that went,

because you talk about how the system is stacked against people meant to make them fail. So what are

some tips you have for people that might be listening, that are in that process currently?

Speaker C:

That's great. And actually I have a book that provides more tools for individuals who are undocumented or

stateless. And also, it's my memoir. Just sharing my personal journey. So for me, like in my book, and

anytime I speak about my journey, my experience, there were three specific components that supported me

that allowed me to empower myself. Right. And because the thing is, when you're in a space, whether you're

undocumented, whether you're part of another marginalized community, it's very easy to feel like you don't

have any agency, you don't have power. More specifically, there's a loss of dignity that is like, so deep

because when we think about these systems these things that are boulders that are placed in front of us.

And after a while, after trying to move and push against these walls, some people, many people can feel a

loss of dignity, right? And so it's really important. And when I mentor individuals who are in the same space, I

say, you need a team. We all need.

Speaker B:

Yeah, we do.

Speaker C:

And this ties back to what you said earlier, which was when you're marginalized, it's easy to feel that sense

of brokenness and aloneness. And when you feel that sometimes you end up pushing people away, right.

You're downtrodden and you push people away. So what I suggest is do the opposite. Invite a team. But not

to help you to invest in you, right? And just reframing it in that way changes a person, right. It helps them

because we think of help. It's charity. It's not a quid pro quo, a give and take. There's a sense of pity. And

there's one person who might feel like they're the savior. They're helping the other person. So it's really

important. I tell people the first thing is get a team. And what is that? Who's the team? Right? The team is

really someone who you can talk to, right? Mental health practitioner, a counselor. Someone or a friend who

can just listen, because this stuff is really heavy, and there's no way that any human being should have to

contain themselves and contain all of that trauma within themselves and not share that with anyone. So

that's the first thing. The second thing is having what I call the technical assistant, a mentor, an ally, if you

will. So for me, that person was the person who sometimes liaison between my attorney and I when I was so

emotional and I couldn't process things that my attorney was saying. When we go to the doctor, right, we're

trying to understand what the Ailment is. What do people usually suggest? Have someone go with you, right?

Get a second opinion, but also have someone go with you. Because sometimes there's so much emotion,

you can't process things. And so that's really, really critical for anyone going through this. Having someone

who can go if you end up having to be in the courtroom knowing what we know about immigration, it's not

under the judicial system, right? It's under the executive system. So there isn't a jury, and you're not always

guaranteed an attorney, right? So it's really important to have someone there with you. And then the third

thing, or the third person is having the right attorney, right? An attorney who actually builds you up and is

your advocate rather than your savior. And having an understanding how to communicate with the attorney.

So that's sometimes some of the work I do, volunteer work that I do, is to help to translate things. So, for

example, person A, if you don't hear from your attorney for six months, rather than assuming that your

attorney has forgotten about you. Right. Because that just brings up elicits a lot of feelings. This is probably

what is actually happening. They have a book of maybe 30 other cases and what they're doing is they're

prioritizing. They're focused right now on the person that's actually being deported, like tomorrow. Right. This

is the kind of stuff that individuals who are in this space, in this situation, this is the support they need. Right.

And these are the things that they can do. So starting there, one, having a technical assistant, two, having

someone, a therapist to counselor, third, having the right attorney, and having a therapist or counselor that

understands the framework of immigration. So that when you go into these conversations with them, they're

not asking the very basic questions of so like, what is what does it mean? What's the definition of being

undocumented? And they don't have context because then you spend more time having to explain it. So

these are the type of resources that are needed. Sometimes they're missing. Right? And so there's a lot of

work that needs to be done to provide these tools and resources for these individuals who end up being

resources to undocumented immigrants and stateless persons.

Speaker B:

That's such great advice and obviously spoken from someone who's walked through it, come through it, and

is helping others. It's just gold. So, yeah, I think that in so many challenging issues in life, we need a team.

But for me, last year, I built a team around me of different people helping me walk through a particular

traumatic event, from a therapist that had a specialty in that area to a career coach, to a spiritual director, to

mentor. I mean, I had a whole team of people just for that. And it was much more mild than being a stateless

undocumented person trying to get citizenship in a situation that was stacked against me. So all the more so

a reason for a team. And thank you so much. That is super valuable. So we'll put links in the show notes to

anything related to that or hopefully there can be resources for people to find, like the list of therapists that

would have specialty in that area, which is really important to building a website.

Speaker C:

I have a website called Stateless, stateless and Dreamers Foundation. It's actually foundation, so I have a

website, it's still under construction, but that's where a lot of these resources will actually sit. So an individual

can go right to the website and download some of that information so that they can navigate more effectively.

Speaker B:

Oh, incredible. I know we have listeners listening right now that are going to be heading right there because

this is what our space is. We have a diverse audience all around the world, but we do have quite a few here

in the United States that are in that category that listen. And so thank you for that resource. Well, you are a

resource for many things. Today. So I want to make sure we also dig into your book about diversity and

inclusion and just tell us, first of all, why did you write this book?

Speaker C:

I wrote this book because going back to the conversation around accessibility, I felt like these conversations

around diversity, equity and inclusion, primarily in the workplace, are going way over people's heads, right?

And sometimes individuals who are in marginalized communities, including myself, I understand there's so

much frustration, exhaustion, that we end up excluding others from the conversation, not intentionally

unintentionally. We do that. And so in the work that I have done and some of the research that I've done, I've

actually had white male CEOs say, I don't feel like I'm allowed to say anything. I don't feel like I'm going to

say the right thing. So I'm just going to keep my mouth shut. And that is terrifying to me because I'm right. If

we don't get the individuals, if we don't include everyone, especially the individuals that are currently right

now dominating, driving, corporate America, white male CEOs in these conversations, then nothing really

changes. So that was one reason that I wrote the book. Secondly, in the work that I've done, building

management development programs, being part of a human resources team, I have seen and understood

the nuances and the power and the influence that managers have. The business structures that facilitate

organizations such as performance management, hiring attrition all of those things have two things in

common. They're driven by human resources and managers. And these same business structures can

influence and influence the makeup of a company, of an organization. And so therefore, that's the

connection, right? That's the bridge. Dei and all these business structures. The bridge is human resources

and managers. And so I wrote this book specifically targeting managers. But it's also a book, a reference

book for human resources so that they're equipped with the tools to support their managers and also

carrying the weight of dei. So dei doesn't change or improve in an organization because we've got an

equivalent of a diversity task force and a few people who are passionate about impassioned about it and

maybe even ahead of dei. It changes when it's filtered throughout the organization and it's part of the

business systems and the business structure.

Speaker B:

Yes, I hear this over and over again here in the Silicon Valley from people working in dei, as well as just

average people working in any role in these different tech companies. But there's these different trainings,

people coming to do like unconscious bias and different things that help people understand. But there's a lot

of disconnect between the information and how it can actually play out. And then there's sometimes it feels

like there's just a lot of lip service given toward dei in the workplace. So how do you handle that type of

situation? Or what is your advice, I guess, toward managers and HR in particular, around those kind of

conversations yeah, I think.

Speaker C:

The thing is that we make di can be very complex, right? But it should be accessible to everyone. And the

way that you make it accessible is through upskilling managers. Right. These concepts around hiring, how to

way that you make it accessible is through upskilling managers. Right. These concepts around hiring, how to

write a performance review, how to look at a resume, I mean, these are processes and skills that all

managers should be involved in, participate in. Well, the only difference Dei offers is just shifting your lens

just a little bit more so it's getting the managers to understand the value of just looking at things, widening

your lens a little bit more. So manager, for example, when you think about all the work that you put into hiring

the right person and then they don't stay, let's reevaluate why that might be. What was the process in hiring

this person? What were some of the potential unconscious biases that people might have when they're

looking at hiring individuals? Right? How are you writing the job qualifications? What are some of the

common biases that different marginalized groups of people experience in the workplace with compensation,

with promotions? Right? It's just shifting the lens to show managers that this is just another layer of

management development and it's actually empowering the managers. Managers get to wear their cape,

right? They're the ones that we need. They have the widest belt in an organization. They have the influence,

right? Top down, bottom up influence. Right. They're the liaison between everyone in the organization. It's

that middle management, they influence the makeup of an organization. Right. They influence who stays,

who goes. People decide sometimes studies show that people sometimes might be unhappy in an

organization, but they will stay. Their longevity all is tied to primarily tied to their relationship with their

manager. So managers get to remember the power and the influence that they have and the potential they

have to be more successful in increase engagement. So that's the position in which we enter this

conversation. So it's not lip service when especially when you've got metrics and you also can identify the

return on investment when we adjust those metrics and we improve the metrics.

Speaker B:

Yeah. I think, honestly, for me, it's probably for both of us, being people who have grown up and also worked

in a variety of spaces culturally and in different places around the world and that type of thing, we inherently

see a reason for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, justice, all those things, right? But I think even more

so, and maybe for people who haven't grown up in diverse situations, the bottom line is really the compelling

factor. And we have a situation where we've had the great resignation. We've had the she session going on

for a while. We have jobs out there that people are trying to figure out how to fill and maintain employees. We

also have serious issues going on with employee engagement, which I think has not gotten a whole lot better

since the when you bring in Dei to these conversations, then you have a situation where people can find

tools to actually help those metrics be better. But I'm interested in this question, just in a basic question of

why. I guess the question is more why should companies do more than just appear inclusive? Because we

see a lot of appearance of like pictures that are like, you've got a black woman, you got like the different

Latino, Native American, oh, this is an inclusive company. But then I hear reports of people, once they get

inside, they're like, oh no, that was just all on the website. It really wasn't true. So why would it be important

for a company to do more than just appear to be inclusive?

Speaker C:

Yeah, I have a whole chapter dedicated to my book where I talk about Tokenism, right? And Tokenism is

when companies have this, they appear to be inclusive and they decide. And we saw a wave of this

happening about a year and a half ago where it was like, hey, we're going to have X Woman on our board

because we want more diversity. Well, if you just have one person, this one woman, there's lack of

representation, right. And Tokenism looks like when we bring in diversity, but we still have beliefs or we still

interact or look at this person based on our limited single narrative of the group that the person is associated

with. And so what ends up happening is that it can affect that person's performance. Either that person is

working so hard to not be the stereotype, right, and it ends up hurting them, or they are like they fall into this

working so hard to not be the stereotype, right, and it ends up hurting them, or they are like they fall into this

digital narrative because the people around them won't see them outside of that. So what we know is that

that can be extremely demanding and exhausting a person's performance. And what ends up happening is

that the person might respond in a number of ways they could attrit or they might actually end up reinforcing

those beliefs on the next person that comes in. And so that is why. And so when we look at, if we actually

look at the numbers, we can actually look at the numbers and look at, well, how much does it cost to bring

someone in and train them, the recruiting costs, all of that, for them to leave a year and a half later, right?

And I think that's where we've got to start. And that's why a company should care. That's one reason they

should care. Another reason they should care is if you've got a business to consumer organization, you might

be missing a huge market just because, well, one, if you have just one person, right, and you bring in one

person to be your representative of diversity, that's a lot of weight to put on this one person. To be able to

appeal to the market that you're trying to appeal to, to be able to understand that market, to be able to sell.

So you need a whole team. So this really becomes a business imperative if your sales numbers are down.

When people are looking at companies are looking at their sales targets, what do they do? They sit down,

they evaluate where we are, where they look at the numbers, where do we need to be and what are all the

pieces that are missing and what is our target, what's our goal? I'm suggesting that we do the same thing.

Now, some people might feel like, oh, Martine, that's so callous. You're making it about numbers and money

only. Well, it's a business imperative. It starts there, but it can't remain there forever. Right. When and if you

make it a business imperative and you're looking at the numbers and you're looking at the targets, there's

going to have to be a level of authenticity at some point, right? So if you're trying to appeal to a certain

market, you're going to have to make sure that the salespeople that are working with this market understand

this community, understand and know how to connect to this community. So at some point it stops being

about the numbers. It gets real, basically, is what I'm saying.

Speaker B:

Yeah, no, that makes absolute sense and it's very practical in terms of how to start. And when we're talking

about systems that are unjust or not inclusive or where people don't belong, some of the work does just start

with very practical beginnings like that, but can grow into something with more depth and more meaning. But

when we're trying to get people all on board to bring about a change, that's the part of diversity in the system

that we also have to consider. Like you were saying, if in diversity, equity and inclusion conversations, we're

leaving out the perspectives of white male CEOs, that's a huge gap. We need everyone around the table,

diverse brains, diverse experiences. Coming at this problem where I think that a lot of early business models

that maybe we've left behind and are trying to reinvigorate a bit are the idea that we don't know what the

outcome is going to look like before we sit down to the table. And so sitting down to the table and everybody

gets a voice to speak into it, we create something that didn't exist in any of our brains separately, but it's

something much more holistic and all encompassing when we brought these different perspectives around it.

And it works really well with business if you have a market that's global because you need global

perspectives. So I think the very minimum starting there has been a place I've felt compelled to start. And I

know many other people in business have too. There's a lot of conversation and we're in a series now that

we just started on belonging. And so I know that a lot of conversations, I'll hear people say, and I've had this

in my own workplace experience as well, you might have a diverse workforce at some level, but it's not

inclusive. Or you might have one that feels a little bit inclusive, but there's not belonging. Belonging feels like

this level that's just so hard to achieve. It feels too much for a lot of people, so they don't even try. But if

you've ever been in a place where you've belonged, it's something I think we all kind of long for in our

workplaces. And I think that's part of why we're seeing the great resignation happen is the lack of belonging.

And so I would love to get your perspective on how we can have companies and organizations that really

create these places of belonging at work.

create these places of belonging at work.

Speaker C:

Yeah, absolutely. Again, I go back to it really starts with human resources or whatever companies call it,

talent, the people, teams, whatever sits best with anyone, any of our listeners. But having human resources

or the equivalent working with managers to really incorporate that into their management development, right?

So when we think about management development, we think about making sure that when a new person

starts, they join the organization. They feel like they know their trajectory of their career. They feel like they're

part of the team. Right? Managers automatically have to do that to motivate their teams. So this is what I

mean. Like, this is not we're not this is why I call it the ABCs of Diversity, my book, because it doesn't have to

be. We can take little steps and just shift our lens. So in terms of belonging, it can look like and it can start

with something as simple as, hey, manager, have you had a conversation with your new hire or with the

people on your team to understand what they envision or what their goals are? Right. In terms of their

growth, do you sit with your team and communicate what the vision is for what your vision is for the

organization, or what your vision is for the team? Do you sit with your team and support them in exposing

them to different trainings, like giving them access to different trainings? Do you allow your team members to

each feel like they have a say or that they can give input in whatever projects and initiatives that are coming?

So belonging starts with little things like I talk about in my book, like, I work for this company and.

Speaker B:

I.

Speaker C:

Was pretty senior and I was scared to go to work. I was scared to go to work. I was scared to go to work. And

some would think I was scared to go to work because I was one of three black people in the organization.

Not necessarily, because as I've told, you know, as I mentioned earlier, I've been in a lot of spaces where I

was the only black woman or black person. So that wasn't what caused the lack of belonging. I mean, that

certainly added to it, right? But I would have felt like I belonged if I walked into that office and I didn't feel like

people were staring at me because I was black or when music was playing, it was always hip hop music right

in the hallways. And there was always the N word. It wasn't bleeped out or anything, so I didn't feel obviously

I felt like I stood out. It made me very uncomfortable. Little things like that is what creates or leads people to

not feel like they belong. And when we're now in this virtual world, where a lot of offices are virtual, it's really

critical for managers to build relationships. And it's really about coaching. I mean, it's really about asking

questions. That's really where it starts. I think that's the thing. When I work with different managers around

these conversations, they're like, Well, I don't know. I don't know what to say. I don't know. Because

historically, we've made diversity, equity and inclusion like this ethereal concept. Like, you have to

understand and know what all these terms mean. So people are intimidated? No, it starts with just

connecting with a person, asking them questions. Like, how do you like to receive feedback? What's worked

for you in the past in terms of management style? Right? Are you more hands off? Are you more hands off?

These little things is what builds trust. And that building of trust is what allows people to start to feel like they

belong in the organization.

Speaker B:

I couldn't agree more. When it comes to building trust, some people have this leadership style where they're

like, trust should just be given to me. But as the manager, as the CEO, as the boss, I feel like it's a naive

perspective in a lot of ways. Because if the world ever works that way, it certainly doesn't seem to be working

that way right now.

Speaker C:

Yeah, everyone does, right?

Speaker B:

Yeah. We talk about this even as a family. Since our kids were little, we have a little trust. When our kids

were into Legos back in the day, we would say, trust is built one Lego at a time. I love that.

Speaker C:

That's awesome.

Speaker B:

Yeah. And it's like parts of it might get knocked down, but then you just build it back. That's the thing. It's not

like this perfect thing, but it's like every interaction, every time you notice someone, every time you make

them feel like they are heard and you actually do listen and you remember the things that they've told you. All

of these things build trust. And I think a lot of managers struggle there and need that kind of coaching.

Speaker C:

Martine, I was going to say something else. I also see there are little things that we can do as managers that

human resources can help to reinforce to establish a sense of belonging. Right. Here's another one. I mean,

this is flipping dei on its head because I don't think people when we think of diversity, equity and inclusion,

we think of diversity categories. We. Only think of, like, that first layer, which is biological, right? Race. We

think of sexual orientation. We don't think of, like, that next layer, that layer two, that cultural, where it could

be nationality. So when I think about inclusion, a lot of times this is something that listeners like. Consider

this for many of us, we work at organizations that are global at this point, inclusion looks like when you

schedule that next team meeting, are you considering those people, the people on your team that are in a

rent time zone? And it's like:

things is part of building inclusion, making the person feel like, oh, I was considered. And even if you don't

have the answers, it's asking the questions. I know that my team members, we're all in these different time

zones, so let's see if we can figure out a way to schedule these team meetings that work for everyone. Right.

Maybe some of us can have our we can agree that you can have your video cameras off. I don't know. Right.

So that these little things, I think that we make Dei so grandiose, and we try to find ways to make these

grand gestures that we overlook the small things that seem small, but actually can go a long way.

Speaker B:

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. I mean, having lived and worked in Singapore for many years, a lot of people

that I knew there worked in banking and different things. They'd have to be they'd have to deal with. Like

when Hong Kong was going, which was like an hour different, but then also, like when the New York new

York Stock exchange was so they felt like they were always working, like they were just constantly 24/7 on

these calls. Right. And I know that some things got out of hand, especially during COVID with people working

more instead of less, all these things. So I think that there's ever been a time to reconsider how we can work.

It's certainly now where employee retention is causing us to have to rethink. And I would love to press into

this space a little bit just as a particular example, so people can have a specific example of what maybe

implicit bias looks like. Let's just take the example of being a woman, which is something both you and I

share in terms of a category, a box that we could check on a form. And so much of the workforce back in the

day was built by men for men. And then, even now, part of the reason so many women are leaving the

workforce, especially if you add in a factor of being a mom, which is another level of marginalization in the

home for whatever reason, at:

three to five, they may need to be with their kids, but then they could work later at night when their kids went

to bed. And just that flexibility we're seeing more companies be able to do. But we have managers that

onstantly make the meeting at:

like the default and they just don't ever question it. So some of those things, like, let's take the example of

what it would be like for a male manager to just open up his mind to what it would be like for a woman on his

team. How would you coach him in that?

Speaker C:

So the conversation becomes think about what the experience might look like for other people in your team,

right? Let's think about what are we not considering? I mean, it's asking the questions. Let's consider the

different backgrounds of all the different people in your team. Meaning, okay, what makes everyone on your

team similar? How are they different in your eyes? I think that's the first thing because some people choose

not to see how people are different, right? And I think that culturally and we're conditioned to not see it, it's

bad to even acknowledge that people are different. And so I think the first question really does become it's

okay to acknowledge that people are different. That's not a bad thing. That's okay because we want people

to let's embrace people's differences. That's what makes this so such a rich environment. So how are

people's experiences? How are they different? How are they similar? That's the first question, right? Then

the second question is, do you think that everyone based on how they're different, do you think that the

timing and the experience they have in these meetings are similar? Right? How could they be different? How

are they the same? And let the person really think. For me, it's not about telling people. It's really about

letting them come to their own conclusion. And usually when you open it up with these open ended questions

and allowing people to really think through, they'll surprise you, they will consider. But you do have to kind of

nudge them, right? And so, like I said, usually the reason there is oversight or people choose not to

acknowledge or that:

as one, they don't have time to consider it. That's one. Right? They may not have time or two, they don't feel

like they have permission to acknowledge how people are different because that's bad. They're going to get

in trouble for that. So that's really what we want people to acknowledge and we want managers to learn how

to navigate and assess.

Speaker B:

Yeah, that's excellent. I mean, obviously here at the World of Difference podcast, we are all about people are

different, we're all different. We're all unique, very unique and wonderful ways, right? And that's the beauty,

that's the beauty of this world is that we're all so unique and different. There's different colors, there's

different experiences. It's wonderful. And we embrace being different. And that's how we can make a

different experiences. It's wonderful. And we embrace being different. And that's how we can make a

difference, is by acknowledging the differences among us and bringing those to the table in a really flat level

of like, we're all in this together trying to figure this out. But I do feel like giving people the opportunity to think

through it, that's such a good way. Almost like a socratic method, like questioning and helping them discover

for themselves. A lot of women in the workforce, we're not surprised when we get into a performance review

and they don't focus on our outcomes. They focus on how we did it, our tone or our voice. You didn't speak

up enough, or you spoke up too much. You were too strong, you weren't warm enough. You were too warm,

you weren't strong. But we can never quite thread the needle. And so for male managers, they often don't

realize that's the exhaustion that we're facing and just helping male managers understand. When you're

dealing with a woman in a performance review, when you're giving feedback, you don't have to tiptoe around

her. She's not fragile. But you just have to understand the history she's walked through and that there are

these sexist tropes that you may be playing into with your own unconscious bias. And this will help everyone

to be free from this bondage that we all face in the workforce. Right?

Speaker C:

And asking that question allows the manager to dig deeper and look at a couple of things. One, people from

different marginalized spaces experience different biases, different ways in the workplace. So it's important

for the manager to really think and be forced to think in that way. Right. And by asking that question, they can

start to acknowledge how each person is different. And secondly, we think about sitting at the we talk about

this concept of it escapes a mine all of a sudden, but the concept of intersectionality. So that also is a really

important thing. Right. Because not all women are going to have that same experience. And that's important

to get the manager and the team to start to discuss, well, what works? Why doesn't it work for this person?

Why does it work for this person? Right. We can't assume each and every person experiences biases the

same. Right. I love to use an example of the example of black people getting like I would call it a

microaggression. When you get the comment of, oh, you're really well spoken. Right. I talk about that also.

And I share how anyone who experiences a microaggression can actually navigate through it. We all have a

choice on how we want to navigate through it. So after a while, I learned that rather than being offended by

that comment, asking a follow up question, well, what do you mean by that? Right? And an open ended

question to get clarity. When I asked that question, surprising, right? People were able to follow up and

explain, and it actually was a compliment. Right. Sometimes we use a lot of jargon, is what I'm saying. But

ultimately, what I share in that example, with that example of the comment of you're well spoken, is I could be

offended by that statement. You can talk to another black person who's not offended because sometimes

people also internalize biases and microaggressions . Right. So one woman can internalize well, yeah.

Nobody, even though I have to take care of my kids and all that and work and navigate these two worlds, this

is just how it is. That's never consideration. Right. In the workplace. And they might internalize it themselves.

And then to add to that layer, sometimes it's not just a man who's the one who would say, hey, got to work at

03:00 P.m. Or whatever. We have meetings at three, whatever. Sometimes it is another woman because

she's had to internalize it. She's had to experience that. So she feels like, well, that's just how it is. And I can't

give other women an exception because I had to go through it. Right. And so I think all of those layers are

things we get to talk about in these conversations if we want to, especially with management development.

Speaker B:

Yes. That's amazing. I love the concept of intersectionality. It's helped me for years to understand the

multiple layers that can happen in a person in workspaces and all kinds of spaces. Here. We're about to

head into Black History Month in the United States. And so as someone who your history as a black woman

in America, my understanding, unless there's parts of your story I don't know yet, doesn't come from

in America, my understanding, unless there's parts of your story I don't know yet, doesn't come from

enslaved people who were brought to work, enforced labor camps and what we call plantations, and we

white watch a lot of things. And what was an act of terrorism, basically, in our history? But your story is more

of like an immigration story. And so do you often find that people make assumptions about you, that your

black history is kind of a particular way? And is that a conversation that's been challenging for you to have to

navigate at all?

Speaker C:

Yeah, that's a really great question. It just depends on how people perceive me. Right. And so it's all it just

depends. And as I navigate the world, as I navigate the US. I never know how people perceive me. Some

people assume that if you're black, you're black in the US. We've seen in a lot of instances, it doesn't really

matter what subgroup you are. If you're black, you have similar experiences of being profiled in a lot of ways.

And then there are some instances where individuals might see me, they think I have been complimented.

Right. And that's, again, it's a micro regression. It's a black backhanded compliment. Oh, you're different.

You're not like other black people or African Americans. Right. Which is incredibly offensive because I feel

like one, if you are a black person in America, whether or not you have the history, you carry that history or

not. I benefit from the tragedy, the brutality that African American people experience. I benefit from I had

certain privileges that they fought and died for so I could be here. And so as far as I'm concerned, that is part

of my history. That is part of my identity at this point. So to your point, you're going to have people that are

going to decide they're going to define you however they think it's all perception, right? But we can't worry

about that, right? All we get to do and that's the whole point of Dei is we're going to assume certain things,

assume certain narratives, assume certain identities about people. But what we get to do, if we really want to

and we are willing to, is just ask questions and learn. And what we also get to do on the other end of it is be

open to sharing if we want to. Right? We've got to create safe spaces. But as long as we're all scared of

asking the wrong question and not asking the right question and offending someone, we're not going to get

as far as we can get.

Speaker B:

So I agree.

Speaker C:

People ask me, like, oh, you don't seem where are you from? And I started to ask before, I used to be

offended, but then I started getting I get that question from everyone, right? Whether you're black, white,

whatever. And so I started to follow up with, well, what do you mean? Like, what led you to that question?

And you'd be surprised by the responses people say, because the way you speak or the way you carry

yourself, I wouldn't necessarily have thought you're American. I mean, that's kind of interesting also, just

because I thought my whole life to be American enough. But I don't know if I answered your question.

Speaker B:

It did. It helps me know you better, and thank you for answering it in the way that you did, because it helps us

know, all of us listening, how important it is to ask questions and not be afraid of them. Because we can only

get to know each other as much as we're willing to ask some of the questions. And we often get surprised by

the answers. Obviously, people look at me and just think, I've lived in America my whole life, and I really only

moved here two years ago, and I'm 46.

moved here two years ago, and I'm 46.

Speaker C:

But it's amazing, and I think it's how we ask questions, and I think that's part of the journey of dei. It's how we

ask questions, how we respond to things. When people say them, that's where things start. It's not giving

people the language. People already have the language. They're trying to use all this jargon, all this complex

jargon. Just start with questions and asking permission to ask questions. I think that's the most important

thing, because sometimes someone doesn't feel like answering and that's okay. But as a manager, you learn

that in coaching, right? If you're a good manager, you should be a good coach, and you should know how to

give feedback and how to engage in conversation. And one of the things all good managers know is that

sometimes it's not the best time to engage in conversation, right?

Speaker B:

Yeah.

Speaker C:

It's not the best time to ask feedback. Same concept of trying to uncover and learn somebody. It's asking if

it's okay to ask the question.

Speaker B:

Yes. We all have good days and bad days, and we're able to answer the questions. Well, thank you so much.

You've taught us so much today. We look forward to reading all of your writing. Let us know here at the end

where people can find you and the resources that you provide for us.

Speaker C:

Yes, absolutely. So you can go to my website, Martinecalau.com, and I am offering a masterclass for HR

professionals to come in and learn just those three things that I said, right? How to create more accessibility

to de in the workplace, how to reduce time that it takes to build and ramp up dei, and how to be able to

identify what the return on investment is for di. So that's going to be on March 3. You can go to my website

and sign up, and my audiobook will be out soon. So for the ABCs of diversity. But you can also find my book

online.

Speaker B:

Well, it's wonderful. I hope you have an amazing Black History Month where you just feel like you can

celebrate all the things, all the wonderful people that have gone before us to pave the way for all of us to

have better understanding, and that you just get to celebrate all of you this month and just enjoy.

Speaker C:

Thank you. Can I say one last thing about Black History Month?

Speaker B:

Yes, please do.

Speaker C:

A lot of organizations and companies I feel like, again, companies want to create these grand gestures

around Black History Month, which I think is wonderful, but start with the black people in your organization.

You know what I mean? Start with looking at compensation and equity and all of those things. That's much

more powerful than these grander gestures. Right. We can do that later. Start there. That's what I would

encourage for all organizations.

Speaker B:

That is great. And I just want to echo that. When we think about what a man makes in the workplace versus

what a woman, what a black woman, what a Latino woman makes, all of that information, no matter what

your company we can just look at the wide. The broad strokes of what that looks like and just if we could

make that go forward this year Black History Month, it would be a gift to all of us.

Speaker C:

Black History Month and Women's History Month. Right. So this is what let's start with home. Let's start with

home first, and then we can focus on grander gestures, but this will make all the world of a difference in your

organization. And start with the metrics to start looking at the metrics. That's where you can actually develop

your story.

Speaker B:

I love it. Thank you so much, everybody. Find her book and read it. Go to all her resources. We're linking

them in the show notes. Thank you once again, Martine Kalaw, for being with us today. It's been an honor

and a privilege.

Speaker C:

Thank you so much, Martine.

Speaker B:

You're welcome. Bye. Bye.

Speaker A:

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Wow. It's so fascinating to hear people's histories because we all

have our own story, and even though it could be really different from our own personal story, we all find

places in it where we connect with that person. And I found myself connecting with parts of Martin's story,

even though I have not lived anything close to her life and the places where she's lived. But that's the thing

about these hearing people's stories that we're trying to emphasize here on The World of Difference podcast,

about these hearing people's stories that we're trying to emphasize here on The World of Difference podcast,

especially around this Black History Month, is that, yes, there are some really important parts of Black

History that we need to understand. And it's not just generations of people living on multiple continents

around the world that we're looking at, but we're looking at individuals and individual stories. And so it's

important in the aspect of creating empathy, which is one of the strategies around diversity, equity, inclusion,

and belonging conversations. And one of those ways we can do a better job of including others and creating

places of belonging is just to hear one another's stories in a way where we truly listen and put ourselves in

their shoes. What would it be like to live Martin's life and the way that she has lived it? And would we have

made those same choices? Would we have made different choices? And so as we listen to her story today, I

hope that all of you are finding parts that you relate to and you find in common with her, and also just noticing

the parts of her story that are unique and distinct and fully her. And so those are the parts that I noticed in her

story. She's an amazing person. Please follow her writing and her work and reach out to her for consulting. At

Martine Kalaw Consulting. We're going to link all her information in the show notes so you can reach out to

her for consulting, read her books, listen to her Ted Talk, and just follow her as a thought leader in the space

that's so important. I know a lot of businesses right now are digging into what it means to create spaces of

belonging wherever you are. Because the great resignation, some people are calling it the great reshuffle,

because some people are not just leaving the workforce, although that is happening, and especially

sometimes in the area of women who are just trying to juggle it all and just find it easier just to step out for a

while. But others are just reshuffling. And maybe your workplace is one of those where you're losing a lot of

people. There's a lot of attrition right now. People like Martine Kalaw can come in and consult with your

organization to help you understand how diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are real key to the attrition

rate right now. So companies doing this well are doing a better job at retaining employees, making better

decisions. Corn Ferry did some research that showed that people, organizations that are more inclusive

make better decisions 87% of the time. And Salesforce has done some research that showed that when you

listen to the voices of your employees and they feel that their voice is heard and matters, that 78% of the

time they're performing better at work. So these are just, you know, a couple of elements that are reasons to

reach out to Martine for consulting for your business. If you're concerned about employee retention,

employee engagement, all of these are areas where she can help you to grow and do better, whether you're

in the nonprofit space, the face, government education, she can come in and help consult with you. So we'll

link everything in the show notes to Martine Kalaw and we look forward to talking to you next week on the

show. We're going to have Michael Fosberg who's going to come talk to us about his story where he was a

32 year old man who had been raised to believe he was white, and at 32 years old realized he is black. And

so it's a fascinating story. You may have seen him on CNN or gone to one of his one man acting plays that

he does where he plays all the different characters in his own story. And so we're going to have him on. You

may have seen him in other spaces, but we're going to talk to him about what that experience was like. And

we're going to talk about the conversation of race as a social construct here during Black History Month. So

stick with us. Throughout the rest of the month, we're going to be talking more about this and highlighting

different stories around Black history and just bringing in the conversation about belonging alongside of it. So

take care everyone, and we'll talk to you next week.