How can we… turn our values into action? With Veronique Porter

How can we… turn our values into action? With Veronique Porter

Join us for one of my favourite conversations on the Public Love Project as we interview Veronique Porter on turning our values into action.

Veronique is a Black, with a capital B, cis-gender woman who founded Ampersand Workspace to turn race and gender theory into actionable steps.

She speaks on the nuances of race and gender in American society to help shape our mindsets and enact anti-racist and gender-inclusive values within our daily lives and communities.  Veronique capitalises on her years of experience as a Black American woman, background in International Development, and research in American studies and culture.

She loves horror, reality shows, & pop culture, her wanderlust is real, and the loud laugh is definitely hers.

Work with Laura Hartley:
Web: www.laurahartley.com
IG: @laura.h.hartley

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Check out this episode!

Veronique Porter – Ampersand Workspace

TRANSCRIPT: Please note transcript was generated automatically and has not been edited. It may contain mistakes or errors in transcription.

[00:00:00] Veronique Porter: We manifest how we wanna change the world in different ways, but everybody has their role and it all interplays off of each other. So find your thing, that’s like, this is what I wanna offer. This is my energy and expertise that I have to give. This is my superpower. This is the lane that I want to be in.

[00:00:16] Veronique Porter: And then in that lane, You gotta lean into the discomfort.

[00:00:20] Laura Hartley: I’m Laura Hartley and welcome to the Public Love Project. This podcast is all about re-imagining and remaking the world, creating the conditions for social healing and collective thriving. Each week, we dive into topics around resilience, social change, birthing, and more just, and regenerative world and how we can use our head heart and hands in action. Before i introduce today’s guest and topic though i have one request head on over to apple podcasts or spotify wherever you’re listening and hit subscribe rate and review it helps us work to reach new listeners.

[00:01:00] Laura Hartley: Today’s guest is Veronique Porter. Veronique is a Black with a capital B cis-gender woman who founded Ampersand Workspace to turn race and gender theory into actionable steps. She speaks on the nuances of race and gender in American society to help shape our mindsets and enact anti-racist and gender inclusive values within our daily lives and communities.

[00:01:23] Laura Hartley: Veronique capitalises on her years of experiences as a Black American woman, her background in international development, and research in American studies and culture. She loves horror, reality shows and pop culture. Her wanderlust is real. So is mine. And the loud laugh is definitely hers. So welcome Veronique i am so excited to have you on the show

[00:01:45] Veronique Porter: thank you so much, Laura. It is really cool to be here and I feel low key honored

[00:01:49] Laura Hartley: So turning race and gender theory into actionable steps. I love this because you know, it’s so clear about what it is and for so many of us, , we hold these values, but turning them into reality and actually using our values to remake the world is.

[00:02:08] Laura Hartley: It’s a struggle sometimes. It’s how do we take it off the page and into real life. But, before we kind of dive into this conversation, I’d love to hear a bit about you and how you came to be doing this work.

[00:02:19] Veronique Porter: So I often say that I’ve been doing this work for some time now and Ampersand workspace is me trying to launch a larger platform that

[00:02:31] Veronique Porter: allows more people than just like those who encounter me or my intimate circle to experience this work that I’ve been doing. Right. So going kind of from, you know, intimate referral base to like, all right, let’s do this officially. Let’s do it full time. And let’s launch this bigger platform. And so I, I do identify with that.

[00:02:50] Veronique Porter: I’ve been doing this for some time now. Whether it’s through formal or informal means but a lot of what I was hearing after George Floyd’s death was [00:03:00] that people were ready to kind of make change. Right. They were reading the books, they were listening to the podcast. They were trying to listen to their BIPOC friends, their queer friends.

[00:03:10] Veronique Porter: And they still were like, I don’t know how to do this. Like what now? What, how . And I get that because across the board, Theory and practice. There’s a gap. There’s always a gap. You know, when we were talking about what you learned at the university, what versus what you do when you go out into the professional world or what you learn at home versus real life, there’s always a gap.

[00:03:32] Veronique Porter: There’s always a learning curve. And I think people feeling like they’re ready to make moves. They’re ready to make change. They’re ready to transform. They’re ready to be better, but not knowing how is a, is a real place of authenticity. And I wanna help with that. I, I wanna share what I’ve been learning.

[00:03:48] Veronique Porter: I wanna share what I’ve been doing. I wanna share the work that I’ve been doing to kind of help bridge that gap and. There’s clearly a big need in that regard. So I really wanna kind of move the needle and kind of mix impact from this is just something we believe in versus this is something we live. Mm.

[00:04:06] Laura Hartley: I love that. That resonates so much as to how do we, yeah. How do we take it? Just from our vision and our minds, and actually embody the change that we want to see. Where did your background come into this? You know, I know you have a background in international development. You mentioned that, you know, friends used to come to you for this kind of advice, where did this interest first spark for you?

[00:04:26] Veronique Porter: I mean, honestly in America, right. You know, I can say I went to, I grew up born and raised in Chicago and Chicago is one of the most diverse cities in America, but also one of the most segregated . Everybody’s in their own little pockets. And so I didn’t experience the fullness of Chicago when I was there.

[00:04:45] Veronique Porter: And so I went to school in the middle of nowhere, Iowa in America, and it was an eye opening experience. Right. And so literally just trying to navigate the world of this is who I am. This is where I come from versus the world that I’m in now. And all these people from all over, I went to this really cool liberal arts institution.

[00:05:03] Veronique Porter: And there were folks from literally everywhere. And so what I’m learning in class versus what I’m seeing and the experience that I’m bringing in, I was trying to reconcile that. And I was, you know, having these deep conversations about what it was like to be a deeper minority than I even was before. And maybe didn’t realize.

[00:05:20] Veronique Porter: When I was in Chicago in these all black neighborhoods and these neighborhoods that were at least of color and, you know, would sporadically interact with white folks. And so that’s kinda, I think where it was born is just kind of reconciling my own experiences, my own identity, trying to mesh, you know, the book learning and my experiences and other folks experiences and how we relate it to each other.

[00:05:41] Veronique Porter: And it’s just, it, it continues to build like this is ironically enough, something that I enjoy. You know, when I was in college, I literally studied American studies. So really digging into the cultural intersections and all these ways in which things play into our history, our present our future and it’s [00:06:00] even, you know, when I was in international development for like almost a decade, those are the things that I was doing on the side.

[00:06:06] Veronique Porter: These are the conversations that I’m having about race and gender. These are the books that I’m reading. These are the articles that I’m reading. It was a lot of what I was posting about all over social media, particularly Facebook, cuz that was the social media of the day. And so I was literally, this is what I was engaged in.

[00:06:21] Veronique Porter: And so yes, of course I was like full on about this international development life. But when it was time to pivot away and I was thinking about, what do I enjoy? What do I do really well? What can I sustain? What can I offer the world? It’s not just my experience as a black woman. It’s, it’s literally all of, you know, this research that I’ve done informally and formally, right?

[00:06:41] Veronique Porter: It’s all the conversations that I’ve had. It’s all the events that I might have moderated or panels that I sat on. It, it, it was the culmination of that. And I was like, you know, now I have something to give. . And I know that I have these skills of being able to navigate and meet people where they are, cuz you know, we’re all on this journey in one way, shape or form, whether we’ve acknowledged it or not, or whether we’re stagnant or not.

[00:07:03] Veronique Porter: And so I’m constantly working on my journey. I’m constantly having these conversations with others about their journey. I’m constantly reading and researching about that. Why not? Relate that information to folks in a way that hopefully speaks to them that resonates to where they are in that journey.

[00:07:21] Veronique Porter: And hopefully help get them moving in a direction that they feel not only good about taking, but actually like putting it into practice. Cuz it’s not something you just arrive at. It’s it’s something that takes time. It’s constant. You’re not just woke and that’s. It’s done. And so I can acknowledge that in my life.

[00:07:38] Veronique Porter: This is the work that I’ve been doing with those that I know. And I just really want it to kinda alter the world. I think that is part of me in service to the world that we’re living and me as a global citizen, this is what I have to give. And I think I see everything literally everything through the lens of race and gender all the time.

[00:07:55] Veronique Porter: I can’t turn it off. And so let’s use this expertise. Let’s give this expertise to those that might not be as keen or might not be as sharp. With their lens on race and gender.

[00:08:05] Laura Hartley: I think I, I experienced something very similar that a lot of the world, I relate back to the ideologies of capitalism and patriarchy, you know, and how, how are they playing out in the systems and the beliefs and the structures that we have today.

[00:08:20] Laura Hartley: I wanna dive right in here with, you know, this question of what does gender and racial justice have to do with,, causes or. Actions like the climate crisis, , very often when we’re going into things like climate activism is a really good example. You know, we tend to think of these issues as separate somehow, but they’re not they’re interconnected.

[00:08:43] Veronique Porter: Right? Yeah. I agree. there’s so many different levels in how they play in. And in part, even the idea of like climate justice, it’s not just like, oh, let’s talk about climate change. Let’s talk about the ways in which the environment is moving along.

[00:08:55] Veronique Porter: The justice part of it is really speaking to the idea of like, there’s [00:09:00] something that is imbalanced and we need to correct it. And so for me, that’s really. When I’m speaking of climate justice, I’m speaking of the ways in which there are communities that are more deeply impacted by the environmental changes that we’re experiencing.

[00:09:16] Veronique Porter: Have been disrupted from their commune with the earth and thus are causing deeper and more harsh impacts of the ways in which the climate is changing. And because of the way in which our societies are set up and more often than not discriminate against oppress, systemically, keep black, indigenous.

[00:09:36] Veronique Porter: Other folks of color women, femmes people who are under the expectation of conformity of gender, especially female gender. The ways in which our societies usually oppress these folks means that climate is also going to like be a multiplier. It’s gonna have a multiplied effect against what they’re already dealing with.

[00:09:56] Veronique Porter: So to make it more concrete, for example, when we talk about these are the effects of climate change, or this is what’s gonna come, you know, food is gonna be harder to grow. The sea levels are going to rise. Temperatures will rise. These things already right now disproportionately impact indigenous folks and women, or those that are supposed to be under the expectation of conformity towards female gender.

[00:10:23] Veronique Porter: Right? So non-binary folks, trans folks, anybody’s gender expansive, if you will. They are already experiencing more of those things right now. So it’s already there in that level, right? But then on top of that, those sorts of communities, those folks, they’re concerned about climate more so than I think some of the other folks who don’t feel it right now, like the urgency, the anxiety, the angst

[00:10:49] Veronique Porter: is bigger, more pronounced, more at the top of the mind for those communities. Cause they’re already feeling it. They’re already experiencing it. And then to make matters worse in an American context, I can’t speak for the world, but I imagine it applies black folks, indigenous folks, other people of color.

[00:11:07] Veronique Porter: They are literally experiencing more impacts from environments pollution, sea levels, rising, all of that. They’re experiencing more of that than what they actually produce. So not only are they disproportionately feeling it, they’re disproportionately feeling it relative to how much they’re actually polluting the environment or relative to how much they’re producing co2 emissions.

[00:11:34] Veronique Porter: So it’s, it’s just unfair. It’s, it’s unfairly stacked against those folks. And we can’t talk about how do we move forward in a better way. We can’t talk about how we, you know, fight this, how we fight climate change, how we get everybody on board. If we don’t get everybody on board. So we have to listen to those that are most impacted.

[00:11:53] Veronique Porter: We have to listen to those that are it’s top of their mind. We have to listen to those who have unique knowledge like indigenous [00:12:00] communities of the land to see how we can get back into commune with the land. So for me like it, this is not something you can talk about climate justice without, including how race and gender play in because of the ways race and gender play into our societies.

[00:12:16] Veronique Porter: But the way those communities are automatically more deeply impacted.

[00:12:21] Laura Hartley: The way,, we can often see, you know, these, these systems of patriarchy and white supremacy playing out very much in the voices that we listen to in who we prioritize. That the very fact that we need to have a conversation about, including other voices kind of says that there is one mainstream voice and one mainstream ideology through which we view the

[00:12:42] Veronique Porter: world mm-hmm

[00:12:45] Veronique Porter: And I think too, we’re coming up with solutions. If we’re not inclusive. And like you said, who we’re listening to, who’s in the room, who’s doing the talking. Then those solutions also don’t meet the needs of the folks who are left out. So if the only folks that are in the room are more privileged, then the solutions are more technologically advanced and more privileged and might do more harm than good.

[00:13:07] Veronique Porter: As opposed to folks who are already trying to navigate those impacts. Without the resources without the knowhow or, you know, the book knowhow, right? Without the recognized authority, cuz they have authority without the recognized authority. And so if we’re not including everybody, then we’re really leaving all these voices out of the room who can provide us realistic cost effective solutions for their families, for their lives, as opposed to the ones that are doing the speaking, the ones that are giving themselves the authority to.

[00:13:39] Veronique Porter: To be the authority all that matter, you know?

[00:13:41] Laura Hartley: Before we, we look at how we translate, these ideas and knowing these voices matter into action, you know, it reminds me that. This is a very US context, but I’ve heard this same conversation in Australia and this same conversation elsewhere, , I think it was Hillary Clinton was asked question a couple of weeks ago around whether activist causes such as trans rights should be prioritized on a Democrat platform.

[00:14:06] Laura Hartley: You know, and her answer was basically, well, if it’s not gonna help us win the election, then no. And this is a really common experience. We see the same thing here. But coming back to this , idea that somehow trans rights or women’s rights or whatever it might be is different to democracy.

[00:14:24] Laura Hartley: Just wondering if you could like talk a little bit more on this intersection and , how important it is to address.

[00:14:32] Veronique Porter: Yeah, for me, the, the root of like trying to move towards climate justice or to solve some of the issues that like we’re seeing pop up over and over again, around capitalism, around .

[00:14:44] Veronique Porter: Our policies and our politicians not aligning with the people is leaving out the people, right? Like they think like Democrats in the US, for example, think that capitalizing on identity politics as they like to call it, which is just, you know, people’s lives and their intersections. [00:15:00] They think that capitalizing on that.

[00:15:02] Veronique Porter: only around election time is going to get them to win. And then they forget about it the whole time they’re in office. And then they come back around to it. We have to be in alignment with each other. So like your example of a politician saying this doesn’t help me in this moment, in this moment. So it’s not helpful.

[00:15:19] Veronique Porter: They it’s so myopic, they’re not seeing the bigger picture, right? It has to be community based and we have to be in alignment with each other. including the needs of each other. So as a politician, for example, if I’m a politician, I serve the people that is literally the goal is to serve my constituents, to serve my area who voted me in to serve them.

[00:15:46] Veronique Porter: And so to dismiss part of those people who I serve and say like, well, that’s not gonna help me in this moment and that’s not necessary. That’s why I think our society as a whole, our global society is in the situation we’re in. We’re only thinking as far as we can see, we’re not having vision for the future.

[00:16:08] Veronique Porter: And the future literally has to include us all. If you start leaving people out or you only include them when you need them, you only include them in the moment. Then you really lose sight of this like holistic picture. So climate justice, even if America is the only one who’s putting out all the, the pollution, it affects everybody.

[00:16:25] Veronique Porter: And so we all have to be, it just can’t be, I want my things and I want this life because not only does it come back around on me, The effects from the rest of the world. Also come back around on me. Tenfold. We’ve seen that with the pandemic and like vaccines. We’ve seen that in the ways that you know, we’re so interconnected and our financial markets, if one financial market’s having an issue sooner or later, we see other

[00:16:50] Veronique Porter: financial markets, having issues. We see other people going into recessions or having inflation we’re we’re all, especially this day and age, more than ever, we’re all interconnected. We’re a global society. We’re global citizens. And so we can’t just say like, well, because I can’t see how I think what really, what here Hillary Clinton is saying is I can’t see how trans issues are going to help me in the moment.

[00:17:16] Veronique Porter: and because of that, she dismisses trans folks when trans folks have literally not only the same issue she does and then like 10 times more. So being able to see trans folks in their issues actually helps propel her more and not to mention they are people who she would serve if she were moving forward.

[00:17:34] Veronique Porter: So it’s, it’s very limited view to only think of right now, this moment, me, my family, my community. We have to go broader than that. We have to think of who’s excluded and why, and how is that going to relate to the world, bigger communities later. And even if we don’t wanna see bigger communities, it will come back around to you and your family and your community.

[00:17:57] Veronique Porter: So I have to look beyond [00:18:00] me in this moment to make sure that I’m gonna be okay, 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road, that my children are gonna be okay. That my community’s gonna be okay. So I have to look bigger cause either way it still comes back on. So I have to do that work.

[00:18:12] Laura Hartley: That, that we’re separate and that our issues are separate and that we can deal with your issue down the line. Once we’ve dealt with this one.

[00:18:18] Veronique Porter: Yeah. You just wait.

[00:18:19] Laura Hartley: You said there that identity politics is really just our lives and their intersections. I think that’s really an such a, such a unique and important way to frame it. .

[00:18:30] Veronique Porter: Yeah, cuz I think we’ve made again, totally American context here, but like when we talk about American politics. They love to say identity politics

[00:18:39] Veronique Porter: when they’re talking about literally elections. There’s Americas and Americans, and then there’s black voters and then there’s Latino voters. And then there are trans voters, and then there are LGBTQ+ voters as if there’s no black, LGBTQ plus voters as if there are no, you know, we’re all Americans.

[00:19:01] Veronique Porter: But if we’re segregated out in our minds, then American is code for a white American, and then everybody else has their own little group. And that doesn’t work because everybody has intersections. I’m not just black, I’m not just a woman. I’m not just an American, I’m literally all of those things and more.

[00:19:19] Veronique Porter: And so, yeah, we have to realize that it’s just, we’re all just people and we all have various intersections. We have women of educated status. We have women that are educated informally. We have men that make a lot of money and are this, you know, income tax bracket. And then we have non-binary folks that are in that same tax bracket.

[00:19:40] Veronique Porter: Like there’s more that connects us than not, but we can’t like put ourselves into neat little boxes. it has to be the intersections because we all have them. We literally all have various intersections. That’s what makes us unique. But it’s also the things that connect us to each other. So we’re just people, you know,

[00:20:00] Laura Hartley: this can also, you know be overwhelming when we’re starting to look at you from, from an activist perspective when you’re trying to work and you have this cause that you you’re really passionate about, you’re trying to get past to then also work with all the layers and nuances and complexities that we’re now aware of.

[00:20:18] Laura Hartley: It can be challenging, , in recent years is this idea of performative activism. It’s a really common topic. And I, for me, I actually think a lot of what we call performative activism isn’t necessarily meaning to be performative.

[00:20:29] Laura Hartley: I think it is the lack of experience in translating values, from thoughts and knowing to actually living and doing and being I’m curious, like, do you hear it more from you? How do we deal with that overwhelm of doing all of this? While also translating it into action.

[00:20:47] Veronique Porter: Yeah, I, I love that you brought that up, cuz I think that is a key thing to keep in mind that people are trying, right.

[00:20:54] Veronique Porter: Even when they’re being, we consider quote unquote performative it’s cuz they’re trying [00:21:00] right. And sometimes it’s a win and sometimes it’s a fail and sometimes it’s somewhere in between. For me personally, one way I, I try to navigate this is I always have meet people where they are. Right. So I’m not expecting you to know.

[00:21:14] Veronique Porter: Things that I know, or I can’t like be like, well, you don’t know these things, so clearly you haven’t done enough work. There is a difference between someone expecting other people to do the labor for them, other people to do the research for them, and then just regurgitate to them what they need to know in that moment.

[00:21:32] Veronique Porter: That’s completely different than this person just doesn’t know, or this isn’t a part of their vocabulary. This isn’t a part of their experience. They haven’t encountered this yet. And I think it’s just hard to know that if you don’t know the person. So the second part for me is where I, for me, the magic happens in individual conversations or group conversations, because you can really start to like dig into this.

[00:21:54] Veronique Porter: so like when you’re on Facebook or any social media at this point and like fighting with folks in the comments that like you don’t know, and like you couldn’t read their tone and you don’t know their experience and you don’t know where they’re coming from. Then this just becomes like an arguing match, as opposed to like we’re sharing information, or I’m trying to understand where you’re coming from, or I’m not judging you.

[00:22:14] Veronique Porter: And I think not only is that easier to read in tone and body language in conversation, but the point is. The point is different than like I’m gonna shut you down or I’m gonna check you or I’m gonna make sure you know, that you need to come correct. Next time nobody benefits. Nobody wins. Nobody grows. So interactions, whether they be professional, whether they be in an organization, a sports team in your family, those sort of like more intimate settings is where the magic happens.

[00:22:45] Veronique Porter: People can be introduced to things online, but like real transformation is not gonna happen in the comments in the DMS even right. So that’s the other part. And for me too, even in this this interview, Of course, I think these big picture things I’m always trying to like give an example. I’m always trying to make it concrete.

[00:23:03] Veronique Porter: I’m always like I can talk these big picture things with you because we’re on the same page about a lot of this. We do have a lot of the same background. We’re doing a lot of the same work, but to everybody listening, like they might not be on the same part of the journey. They might not have some of that shared language that shared experience.

[00:23:19] Veronique Porter: And so if I’m doing a training or workshop, like it can’t just be generally, like, let’s talk about race because that means nothing, right? Like I have to dive in a little bit more, . It has to be more specific. Let’s talk about the language and communication we use about race and new terminologies.

[00:23:36] Veronique Porter: Let’s talk about how to be an ally and what that can actually look like. Let’s talk about this thing that just came up in pop culture and how people have all these opinions about it. What’s yours. What experience are you bringing? What lens are you looking at that through? . So when I say meeting people where they are, it’s those intimate connections.

[00:23:53] Veronique Porter: And it really is saying, let’s talk about this specific thing, because then that can start like the wheels turning [00:24:00] when you can apply it to other things. So across the board, I think it’s really hard. And, and again, this is why I started Ampersand workspace about theory towards action, because we can take these big picture ideas and people are like, yes, I know racism is wrong.

[00:24:15] Veronique Porter: Yes. I know that like the gender binary are really restricting even for me as a CIS woman or a CIS man, so we can acknowledge those things. But then when, soon as we start to get into the nitty gritty, we get lost and you’re right. It’s overwhelming. It’s uncomfortable. So it’s really about digging into the details, specific examples, specific experiences to unravel and unpack some of what we’ve been taught.

[00:24:38] Laura Hartley: Yeah. And you know, a lot of this unlearning, it feels really uncomfortable when we’re doing it bad. Mm it’s not always a fun experience.

[00:24:46] Veronique Porter: Definitely not. definitely not. And I say to people all the time, like, of course it feels counterintuitive, but you have to lean into the discomfort if you’re doing it right.

[00:24:56] Veronique Porter: It’s gonna be uncomfortable. You know, you and I talked about how, you know, no matter how many times we’ve spoke in front of other people, you know, we, some of our intersections are like speaking at a summit together and that sort of thing. So it’s not like we’re brand new to this and yet. There still can be nerves.

[00:25:10] Veronique Porter: There still can be apprehension. There still can be a little angst. And that’s just how it goes. So if you’re doing something for the first time in an environment like we have today, where like everybody is on display, everybody’s being judged. Everybody’s being called out, canceled, evaluated on how good or bad they are.

[00:25:29] Veronique Porter: You just wanna freeze. Or you don’t wanna do anything at all. And if you are coming from a place of privilege, and this is not to make excuses for like people and privilege, and I have certain privileges as well, we all do. But in a situation where you might be coming from privilege, If the alternative is to be canceled or to be called out or to be, you know, like called a Karen or whatever, you don’t wanna do it.

[00:25:52] Veronique Porter: You’re like I could just keep doing what I’m doing. I’m fine. I’m trying to be good. And again, I’m not making excuses for those folks. I want them to do better, but we also have to provide full feedback and not just CR like full out surface level critique. We have to call people in sometimes we have to give people grace, we have to give ourselves grace.

[00:26:11] Veronique Porter: That you gotta lean into the discomfort and sometimes you’re gonna make a mistake and hopefully you learn from it,

[00:26:17] Laura Hartley: which you know, is a great question that you led us into there, is, what is the impact of your cancel culture and call out culture when we’re looking to turn our values into actions, because as you were saying, , when you have privilege and then you’re like, well, if I say the wrong thing, I’m going to be canceled or people won’t like me, or I’ll be judged or I’ll be excluded or whatever else.

[00:26:35] Laura Hartley: It’s really hard to do that. Yeah. Is there a place for cancel culture and call out culture? And if so, how does it intersect with this?

[00:26:44] Veronique Porter: Yes and no, there is a place for it, right? For me, I’m always more nervous about doing my work with my friends and family, cuz I’m gonna have to see them again. So I’m invested as opposed to somebody, I just meet on the street if they like don’t like me [00:27:00] or don’t like my work or have critique.

[00:27:02] Veronique Porter: and like, for me, that, that holds less weight. However, in a public context, I can see how that’s definitely more pressure. And, and it’s not the same as like, oh, well, I don’t have to see them again because you feel like your, your public image has been tarnished. And so I think what needs to happen is we need to take in.

[00:27:24] Veronique Porter: What’s useful to us as far as critiques, as far as feedback, and always be open to it. Right? Even if it’s hurtful, even if it doesn’t land the right way, even if it doesn’t sit the right way, I’ll often say you have to sit in it. So I’m gonna give an example, cuz again, I feel like I’m talking to you like up in the air, but like if you throw around, if you call somebody a racist.

[00:27:43] Veronique Porter: It is gonna hurt them to their core. And people will be more offended about being called a racist than whatever they might have done to evoke such a title. Right. I’m gonna tell you right now, I think all people are taught white supremacy, are taught patriarchy and we have to all and learn it. Women non-binary folks include.

[00:28:05] Veronique Porter: right. And so I too have included in that, even though I’m a black woman, I was taught white supremacy. I was taught these tenants and I have to unlearn. And so if somebody called me a racist today, tomorrow, the next day, I’m gonna say, oh, what do I do? Because to me the power of the word, if we’re thinking about an anti-racist world in that we have to acknowledge, we’re all racist to a certain extent.

[00:28:30] Veronique Porter: Cause we’re all taught. So it is not to remove blame, but it’s to say, this is what we’re working with and we have to unlearn it and learn something else. We have to learn the anti-racism. So knowing that I am on that journey, knowing that it is a journey and I never arrive. Even with the work that I do, even with, you know, me immersing myself in this, even in me, constantly trying to invoke this journey.

[00:28:52] Veronique Porter: If somebody calls me a racist, I’m not gonna be like, I can’t be a racist. I’m a black woman. I can’t be a racist because you know, I do this work and clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about now. Reverse racism doesn’t exist, but not to go on a tangent. The idea that like, I can’t be racist or that I can’t perpetuate the tenets of racism

[00:29:12] Veronique Porter: is not quite true. And so if somebody says that to me, I can acknowledge that, you know, reverse racism isn’t a thing. And also say, where is that coming from? Is there anything in that that hurts that, that place that they’re coming from? Is there anything in that, that my behavior actually did dictate that was aligned with something that was racist.

[00:29:33] Veronique Porter: I can sit and evaluate. as opposed to just being like, oh, how dare you? I would never, look at all the work that I’ve done. Look at my resume, look at my skin. So, I mean, I think we really do, when I say lean into the discomfort, when I say we have to like, hear what is useful and throw away the rest that’s with any critique that is with any sort of feedback that you get.

[00:29:54] Veronique Porter: And I’m not saying open yourself up to attack, but when things happen and that’s the kind of feedback that you’re getting, [00:30:00] that’s the kind of conversations that are happening around. And I’m also not saying people are fair often either, but you have to evaluate it to know if they’re being fair or not.

[00:30:09] Veronique Porter: You have to evaluate it to know if the critiques are landing or valid or something you can change or update. And if you automatically go on defensive, you close out any of that helpful feedback, regardless of what form it comes in, regardless of if it was gentle, regardless of if it was educational or helpful.

[00:30:28] Veronique Porter: If you’re defensive, you shut all that. . And so I don’t think that there’s ever a place for, you know, rape threats and death threats. I don’t think there’s ever a place for folks to just generally attack people and comfort people because they disagree with you. But when you’re being called out or called in, there’s nuance there, but they’re kind of the same thing.

[00:30:49] Veronique Porter: If you’re being called out or called in, if you’re being canceled. You really gotta listen. And one more example, not me, but Lizzo. Recently Lizzo released an album, a song, both. There’s definitely a single that was out there. And she used a word in the song that she did not realize was a slur or at least derogatory towards disabled folks.

[00:31:12] Veronique Porter: And folks called her out and not very like, oh, Lizzo, could you change this word? They’re like, yo Lizzo. I thought you was my girl. And you coming for my community. Like you used this word and you said that you were like for the people, what is this? Like, they very much said like, you need to, like people literally said to her in exact words, do better.

[00:31:31] Veronique Porter: And so instead of her saying as an artist, like, oh, I poured my heart out into this and my intent wasn’t to do X, Y, Z. She was like, oh, I didn’t know. Let me change that immediately. She literally went, she issued an apology, a heartfelt apology, not talking about her intentions, not talking about how she’s a good person, not talking about how she really is for the people she says, of course, I’m.

[00:31:54] Veronique Porter: because I’m for the people. Let me just say right now, I’m sorry. And know, I didn’t mean that in the offensive way. And because of that, let me show that in my actions, she rerecorded, rereleased the song after the apology. So even though she got harsh critique and immediate swift call out, she was like, that’s not in who in line.

[00:32:13] Veronique Porter: I wanna be. She listened and didn’t critique the tone of how they said it. She didn’t say, oh, my intent XYZ. She said, Let me change that real quick. I am sorry. Let me change it. So she listened to that feedback and then put it into action.

[00:32:31] Laura Hartley: I think that is the perfect example. Actually, I was reflecting on her doing that not too long ago.

[00:32:35] Laura Hartley: And she did that so well, but it really, it requires us to have this sense of, , that our, our worth and our identity is not necessarily based on other people’s approval, either. Because if it is that’s immediately where we’re like the whole reasons we shut down, we go, oh my God, I’m not a bad person.

[00:32:54] Laura Hartley: You know, I, I’m not a racist. I’m not. We need to have that separation and to be able [00:33:00] to say, actually, oh, you’re right. Okay. Where can I, you know, separate my identity and my wellbeing, my worth from this comment and go, okay, I’m learning, I got this wrong. Where did I mess up?

[00:33:11] Laura Hartley: And that’s exactly what she did, but that separation is sometimes challenging,

[00:33:15] Veronique Porter: Think. Mm. Yeah. And I think, especially for somebody like Lizzo, who literally. She is at the whim of the public, right? Like if we buy her albums or go to her concerts or repost her stuff or whatever, our interest in her gets her paid.

[00:33:31] Veronique Porter: And so she does have to, to a certain extent say, yeah, I do care what these people think, but not for the sake of like, like you said, like separating herself, right? Not for the sake of me personally. But for the sake of like, I want to be in alignment with who I say I am. And I think there’s where the distinction really lies.

[00:33:49] Veronique Porter: Right. And you’re right. Instead of not looking at like, this is my external view and I wanna make sure it’s pristine and perfect and I never make a mistake. So you all see me this way. And I think social media trains us to like do that more than ever, but this is what we put out into the world. This is what we’re showing to people.

[00:34:06] Veronique Porter: Instead. I think it’s really about alignment. Am I living in the integrity? Am I showing the values that I say are important to me? Am I doing the things that I say are meaningful? And that includes the community that you’re in, right? Like, are you respecting that community? Are you keeping that community in mind when you’re doing these things?

[00:34:26] Veronique Porter: So it’s less about like being perfect and like this public image of yourself versus like an alignment and in your integrity and your values. Mm.

[00:34:36] Laura Hartley: So how do we do this? Where do we start? If we are in a leadership position, in a movement, in an organization, in a company, and bearing in mind, the term leadership has, , so many connotations to it, of hierarchy and these things that we’re probably looking to break down How do we start translating these values into tangible actions? Where do we begin and how do we also reimagine and redefine leadership while we are doing that away from, you know, the kind of patriarchal structures we’ve been sold. .

[00:35:05] Veronique Porter: I think I’m gonna tackle the second part of this question first in that, like, we have to reimagine leadership first in a way, because for me, for example, I think a parent is a leader, right?

[00:35:17] Veronique Porter: You’re literally shaping at least one, if not multiple young minds to be adults global citizens in the world, that’s literally your job as a parent. So that also is a leader, right. And I think oftentimes we think of leaders in this very small box things we associate with men, we look at those sort of things as leaders and what we want out of a leader is not aligned with how we see them.

[00:35:42] Veronique Porter: So I think we need to start seeing the ways in which we are playing roles in our community. And which one of those are leadership roles, right? Are we parents, are we leading organizations, in church, in our communities? Are we the ones that take the lead in [00:36:00] directing our friend group to events and cultural activities?

[00:36:03] Veronique Porter: There are so many ways that leadership attributes, we all have them within us and that we’re all doing it. And we just have to recognize that. And so if we do that, then that means we’re talking about all of us and how to start is really about how you see yourself as a leader. So if I’m a parent, for example, I wanna start and how I’m raising my child. What kind of tenants do I wanna manifest into them?

[00:36:28] Veronique Porter: What do I wanna teach them? What do I want them to show up? As in, at, in the community, at school, with my friends and is that allowing them to be who they are is that allowing them to see others for who they are is that, you know, so it’s, it’s really about picking your thing that you feel passionate about, that you wanna put your energy into.

[00:36:51] Veronique Porter: And again, in the ways that you show up as a leader in your life and then unpacking how you want to be in alignment with that and what that might look like, and that’s different across the board, which is why it is hard to give, like, For me, I always find it hard to give these blanket statements. Like, well, just listen to the like queer people in your, in your life and just listen to the black people in your life.

[00:37:11] Veronique Porter: Of course you wanna listen to their experiences. Of course you want to understand where they’re coming from, but what if you don’t have those folks? And what if you have been, or you think you have been listening to them and still not doing enough? It really is about saying, in what ways am I a leader in my life, in my community, in, in my job.

[00:37:29] Veronique Porter: And. Am I aligned with what I think and feel am I putting that into action? And I think that’s where you start. That’s where the research starts. That’s where, you know, the, the small tweaks in your behavior starts and it can be big or small. It’s probably should be small, cuz that’s how we make habits.

[00:37:46] Veronique Porter: But it’s, it’s really about digging into what does my life look like and what are the changes that I wanna see.

[00:37:52] Laura Hartley: I love that. And It always reminds me when I was growing up my mother who was big on values and living our values in different context, but same principles. And she used to talk about our thoughts, our words, and our actions that the three have to be aligned.

[00:38:07] Laura Hartley: I love that. Cause I think that’s kind of what you’re getting to there.

[00:38:10] Veronique Porter: Absolutely. Absolutely. One thing. It was one of my new year’s resolutions. I’m still working on it. Is that. I often say you guys, we all do we say dudes, we say, bro, bruh, you guys. And I think we don’t even put any worth into the idea that like everything that is general can be masculine, but not the other way around.

[00:38:32] Veronique Porter: I can walk into a room full of folks that I know are CIS women who identify is she her hers and be like, Hey guys, and that is normal. But the reverse could not be true. I could not walk into a room that I know, identify as CIS man, and go, Hey girls, how’s it going? Hey gals, they were looking me crazy.

[00:38:58] Veronique Porter: So this idea that we automatically [00:39:00] default all things, male and everybody else, everybody else is other. So for me, I was like, I gotta put that into action. Right? This is what I’m talking about all the time. This is literally, you know, I say I’m manifest in the world. I’m trying to be more inclusive, even in my language.

[00:39:12] Veronique Porter: I really gotta stop saying you guys. I don’t say bruh. I don’t say dude, but I do say you guys. And so I. I definitely say it less now, but when I do say it, I also of course, correct. Right. And that’s what you gotta do. You gotta course correct every time until you just take it out. What do we

[00:39:28] Laura Hartley: say instead?

[00:39:29] Laura Hartley: Cause I’m the same. I say, Hey guys, a lot. And I’ve also been trying to work on this and there’s certain things, you know, Hey folks, you know, I’ve definitely found, but like it is so intrinsic to how we speak and to,

[00:39:39] Veronique Porter: and to our language. Cause it is been ingrained for so long. Right. And so this, when, I mean like unlearning, I have to unlearn how to say something else besides you guys, because literally that’s.

[00:39:49] Veronique Porter: I’ve learned to do over, all this time that I’ve been on earth. Everyone is always a good one, right? Hey everyone. Folks is also a good one. One I love the most, it’s a very American one. But it’s a y’all because , I

[00:40:03] Laura Hartley: love y’all and I’m really, it is so American. It’s so niche, but like

[00:40:07] Veronique Porter: it, it’s a great term.

[00:40:09] Veronique Porter: Let’s make, y’all a thing, you know, how other languages like French, for example, French has the vous. So the Spanish. There is a way to refer to group you and in English, we don’t have a group you do, y’all have a group you,

[00:40:23] Laura Hartley: when I was learning Spanish, I was like, group you, what is group you, like, I didn’t understand it.

[00:40:28] Veronique Porter: Mm mm. In English, we don’t have a group you that I know of. At least I’ve asked a lot of folx. And I’ve lived in a couple places. We don’t have a group you. And so I love a y’all. I really am trying to make y’all a thing.

[00:40:40] Veronique Porter: I’m gonna

[00:40:40] Laura Hartley: join you in that. I have a couple of last questions for you the first one, you know, this show is called the public love project, but I really believe that, when we’re talking about love in public spaces, what we’re talking about is justice.

[00:40:54] Laura Hartley: What we’re talking about is regeneration. What does justice mean for you when

[00:40:59] Veronique Porter: you said all of those things? I was literally like in community. It has to be in Community. It has to be. And we saw that in the pandemic in America where we struggled with this because we’re such an individualistic society. It’s all about me and mine, me and my family, what I feel and that community view we can do any of that change any of the love without the C.

[00:41:26] Veronique Porter: So I really see in order for us to move forward in justice, we have to always ask, who’s in the room, who’s excluded, and why? Because you always miss out on a richness when you don’t have diversity. We see it in cooking. we see it in our community.

[00:41:48] Veronique Porter: Like you need a diversity of folks to offer perspectives and experiences and viewpoints and lenses different than yours. And so we’re talking [00:42:00] about justice. We can’t be just towards anyone if we’re still actively excluding folks, we can’t create a new and better world if we still haven’t aligned the ways in which we’ve messed up in the world we’re in now.

[00:42:16] Veronique Porter: So it always has to come back to community. What does your community look like? What does that mean to you? Who’s excluded and why? And one thing you, can’t, it’s a question to ask, but you can’t ever know fully is what are you missing by not having them there. And I hope that like, fear of missing out keeps us asking who’s excluded.

[00:42:35] Veronique Porter: And why, what are we missing?

[00:42:39] Laura Hartley: FOMO, but in a good way. Exactly.

[00:42:41] Veronique Porter: Yes, yes, yes. .

[00:42:42] Laura Hartley: And as we’re looking to really remake the world from, as it is to, as it could be, what would be the one piece of advice or the one, which is so hard to do, it’s so hard to translate our work into like one piece, but what is the offering or the piece of wisdom that you would want to give to help us remake the world .

[00:43:01] Veronique Porter: Yeah, I think in some ways we’ve hit on it, but I do wanna reticulate it. And for me, in a nutshell, it’s really about finding your own lane or superpower. or whatever way you want to offer your energy and expertise to the world. So you have to find that first and figure out, you know, people manifest our, our work in different ways.

[00:43:24] Veronique Porter: We manifest how we wanna change the world in different ways, but everybody has their role and it all interplays off of each other. So find your thing. That’s like, this is what I wanna offer. This is my energy and expertise that I have to give. This is my superpower. This is the lane that I want to be in.

[00:43:40] Veronique Porter: And then in that lane, You gotta lean into the discomfort. It has to be about constant unlearning and relearning, which we’ve already said is not fun. Doesn’t feel great. It’s not comfortable, but it is so necessary in order for us to kind of break some of these unhealthy habits that we have in order to be more inclusive and to realign for something better, we have to realign for something better and being in alignment with yourself and your integrity and your values.

[00:44:09] Veronique Porter: you’re always gonna need that input from community and the support from the community in order to change the community. So, yeah, that’s the thing. Find your lanes. Okay. And then constantly grow, learn radical growth and learning, and never forget that it’s not an individual journey. It’s all in relation to what’s happening in the world.

[00:44:30] Veronique Porter: What’s happening in your community. Use that love and support and sometimes critique in order to move the chain.

[00:44:37] Laura Hartley: Okay. I love that and I love your work. So thank you very much Veronique so much for coming on to the public love project. I’m gonna have your links to your Instagram, your LinkedIn, your website, all in the show notes.

[00:44:48] Laura Hartley: So please everybody check them out below. Thank you for coming onto the show.

[00:44:52] Veronique Porter: Thank you. It’s been an honor. Really. I appreciate it. I love your work as well. So I, this is great being here and being in [00:45:00] alignment with you and in community with you for this bit of time. I really appreciate.

[00:45:04] Laura Hartley: Right back at you.

[00:45:05] Laura Hartley: Everybody, I do love it when you’re able to suggest guests or topics. So please, you can check out our website at publiclove.enterprises. Send me an email, or you can find me on Instagram, @laura.h.hartley.

How can we… lead from the feminine?

How can we… lead from the feminine?

Today we speak with Amanda Louisa on leading from the feminine.

Amanda is a sustainability specialist, feminine leadership coach and recovering lawyer. She helps corporations and women harness the power of feminine leadership to create thriving and resilient organisations, paving the way for a better future.

When she’s not trying to revolutionise how we treat the planet and women, you can find her with her two cats or cooking up a feast for family and friends. If you like this episode, you can download her free cheat-sheet to regulate your Nervous System.

Amanda’s Course, Ditch the Overwhelm, has a 10% discount code using PUBLICLOVEPROJECT.

Follow Laura Hartley

Learn more about coaching & cultural wayfinding: www.laurahartley.com

Follow Laura on IG: @laura.h.hartley

Follow Amanda Louisa:

Insta: @theamandalouisa

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-louisa/

Website: www.amandalouisa.com.au

Check out this episode!

Amanda Louisa – Feminine Leadership

TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Please note transcript was transcribed by technology and has not been edited, therefore may contain errors.

[00:00:00] Amanda Louisa: And if they’ve been under stress and duress, which a lot of our parents have been our nervous system gets calibrated at a level that is

[00:00:07] Amanda Louisa: finding stress kind of natural and normal and being still feels very disruptive. It feels uncomfortable because we’re not used to it. We’re not used to understanding that stillness is safe. I think nervous system work is such a key part of being able to recalibrate as a society to be okay with the stillness to be okay with not keeping up with the Joneses and to start shifting that mentality of thinking we need more in order to be successful.


[00:00:34] Laura Hartley: I’m Laura Hartley and welcome to the Public Love Project. This podcast is all about re-imagining and remaking the world, creating the conditions for social healing and collective thriving. Each week, we dive into topics around resilience, social change, birthing, and more just, and regenerative world and how we can use our head heart and hands in action. Before i introduce today’s guest and topic though i have one request head on over to apple podcasts or spotify wherever you’re listening and hit subscribe rate and review it helps us work to reach new listeners


[00:01:14] Laura Hartley: Today, I’m speaking with Amanda Louisa. Amanda as a sustainability specialist, feminine leadership coach and recovering lawyer. She runs a coaching and consulting firm that helps women in corporations Harness the power of the feminine within themselves, their structures and their systems. Her passion and purpose is to create a more holistic corporate culture where the feminine is integrated into how we do business and political systems.

[00:01:40] Laura Hartley: She’s currently writing a book, which is not only a call to action for the next generation of female leaders. It is a step-by-step guide to sustainably transform the current paradigm so welcome to the show amanda …

[00:01:51] Amanda Louisa: Thank you for having me on Laura.

[00:01:53] Laura Hartley: So I, I love what you say there in your bio about transforming the current paradigm.

[00:01:59] Laura Hartley: And I’m curious to start our conversation here about where you would say we are as a world. What is the current paradigm? That we’re in and that you’re talking about.

[00:02:10] Amanda Louisa: When I talk about the paradigm that we’re in, we’re in a very colonial patriarchal kind of culture. So our social understanding, our social societal norms, our cultural practices are very much based on the patriarchy where the masculine is favored as the predominant energy are not necessarily healthy masculine because a healthy masculine integrates some of the feminine energy into it.

[00:02:35] Amanda Louisa: And. What we have now is a social structure. The way our institutions are organized, the way our politics are organized, the way our legal system is organized very much favors the energy of logic, strategy and just driving forward, but not necessarily with an integrated understanding of the collective.

[00:02:56] Amanda Louisa: So it’s a little bit more on the [00:03:00] internally facing kind of selfish side. So. Everything that we do is under this umbrella of you know, if, if it doesn’t fit into this certain box it’s ostracized. It’s the other. So a lot of the feminine qualities I’ve noticed, especially working in very male dominated fields are Kind of not demonized necessarily in some cases they very much are, but they’re definitely devalued.

[00:03:27] Amanda Louisa: So things like our intuition our understanding of our collective wholeness. Aren’t prioritized in the way we make decisions and the way our political systems function is very much about the individual more than the collective as a whole. So there’s, there’s a lack of balance currently.

[00:03:47] Laura Hartley: And of course, I imagine this.

[00:03:49] Laura Hartley: What leads to some of the crises that we see today, like the climate crisis or some of the issues we have with our environment with ongoing discrimination, with unjust policies, you know, where would you say this is leading? Because you’re a sustainability specialist. So I imagine there is a link here.

[00:04:04] Laura Hartley: Would I

[00:04:04] Amanda Louisa: be right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I think the way we make decisions at the moment is so focused on keeping the status quo as it is that we’ve kind of lost sight at the, of the fact that, , in the last, probably 50 years, we’ve lost 60% of our biodiversity. And when I talk about biodiversity, I’m talking about various species that enable our ecosystem to work the way it works.

[00:04:26] Amanda Louisa: And this means that, you know, we get clean water, clean air, food that’s actually nutritious soil. That’s able to produce. But we’ve homogenized a lot of our food and that impacts the way the soil works and it impacts the way biodiversity works. It means we’re using more chemicals. It me, it it’s such a we look at things in boxes and we categorize everything at the moment.

[00:04:48] Amanda Louisa: So the way our science. Works the way our understanding of the world is structured. The way we’re even taught at school is put everything in a box and categorize it. And when we do that, we compartmentalize everything. But that takes away from the feminine energy, which is one of oneness and integration.

[00:05:07] Amanda Louisa: Everything is connected. So if we look at things in certain boxes, we can’t see the bigger picture, and when we can’t see the bigger picture, we can’t see where we need to go. So we’re shooting forward in a very linear direction, instead of understanding this integration of how humans are connected to the entire world that we exist in.

[00:05:26] Amanda Louisa: We think we are separate from it, but everything impacts everything else. It’s all interconnected. So as we’re witnessing, you know, biodiversity collapse and the climate crisis increasing. We’re witnessing this in, in so many other areas, we’re witnessing it in societal collapses. We’re witnessing it in, in increasing wars, based on resources, look at Ukraine, right?

[00:05:52] Amanda Louisa: Like it’s all integrated. And the more we understand that the more we can make decisions on wholeness and on, [00:06:00] on integration, which is it’s so vital so that we can actually survive.

[00:06:04] Laura Hartley: Everything is connected. I want to step back and understand a little bit about how you came to work in this space because you call yourself a recovering lawyer.

[00:06:16] Laura Hartley: So what is a recovering lawyer and a sustainability specialist. And, and how did you end up working in the space of feminine leadership?

[00:06:23] Amanda Louisa: So by recovering lawyer, I used to be a lawyer. I was working in the corporate sector. I started my career as a lawyer and it was one of those careers where it was work hard, play hard.

[00:06:35] Amanda Louisa: I was working 80 hour weeks. I was caffeinating to survive and I was coming home and drinking half bottle of wine just to wind down cause of the stress of the, of the job. It was very competitive. And I noticed that I just didn’t like who I was becoming working in that field. And a lot of my outside of work hours, the little that I had, I was spending on environmental issues, environmental causes.

[00:07:00] Amanda Louisa: I felt I always have been very connected to mother earth, nature. I’ve always had a very spiritual connection to the land and I’ve it was where my passion lie and from there. I thought, okay, well, if I’m spending all this extra time, the little that I have outside of the law focused on sustainability, maybe I need to, to work in that.

[00:07:24] Amanda Louisa: So I, I requalified, I did my master of science and sustainability management. And started working in in environmental sectors. So I started my like environmental career in the mining and resource sector, which was very interesting cuz I live in, in wa and wa is just a mining culture. It’s a, it’s a mining community.

[00:07:43] Amanda Louisa: So That’s where I started and it grew from there. And as I, as I, grew my career in the sustainability field and the SDGs started coming out and I started looking into that. One of the key aspects of achieving the 17 U N sustainable development goals is empowering women. Women are the key to unlocking the 17 UN SDGs.

[00:08:08] Amanda Louisa: That comes from the UN. And, you know, we live in a world that we’re in 2020 and they there’s still a lot of gender. inequity and you, we still have so few countries with female representation. It’s a, and this is the case,

[00:08:26] even

[00:08:26] Laura Hartley: in boardrooms, right? I mean, we’re not seeing equity.

[00:08:30] Amanda Louisa: Absolutely. No, there’s I think 5% of CEOs globally that are women. And there’s so much so much research that demonstrates that when women are in leadership roles, when women are allowed into spaces of decision making power, the decisions that are made are far more integrated and whole, and the actual, commercial aspects, the return on investments are significantly bigger than when it’s just predominantly male or homogenized boardrooms of, you know, [00:09:00] the 1960s.

[00:09:01] Amanda Louisa: So. It’s smart business, it’s smart decisions, but we’ve got such a, a misogynistic culture. It’s so integrated into our thinking into the way our systems work, into the way our promotional systems work, that we don’t actually have a lot of diversity coming through and it’s from the, the recruitment point all the way to the promotion point, you’ve got these systemic issues that are unconsciously biasing women, and then women of color on top of it are even more biased.

[00:09:31] Amanda Louisa: So we don’t actually have the diversity that we need to create the decision making skill sets that will allow for a more sustainable, just and equitable world.

[00:09:41] Laura Hartley: I, I remember reading this stat. I wish I could get it right. I think I’m gonna get it wrong here. But I think that there are more men at a C-suite level or at an executive level called John than there are women overall.

[00:09:53] Amanda Louisa: I remember that stat. Yes.

[00:09:55] Laura Hartley: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So there’s more, there’s more men called John with corner offices than there are women full stop. Yeah. So, you know, this, this is an incredibly male dominated world that we live in. Ah, and you know, coming back though, to this idea, I’d like maybe to understand a little bit more about, you know, you’re talking about the UN sustainable development goals and women being at the center of this and particularly, , equity, gender equity.

[00:10:19] Laura Hartley: So. We often see this as work for someone else, you know, it’s it, that is something that the government creates. It’s something that big business creates, , what is our role? What is our role as individuals? What is our role as employees or participants in a community? How are we all supposed to be creating this.

[00:10:40] Amanda Louisa: When we empower women to regulate their nervous system. So in, in my work, what I’ve seen is so much of the time we’ve integrated these beliefs about ourselves as, as women from childhood about our place in the world and, you know, see her be her, right. We don’t see a lot. Women who embody feminine qualities and leadership roles.

[00:11:04] Amanda Louisa: So we see a lot of men as leaders, but we don’t see the, the same I guess strength of women coming into leadership roles. So when it comes to ensuring that we embody this energy as we go up the ladder. If we can do the self work, if we can really focus on integrating our own energies, integrating our shadow aspects, learning to love the parts of ourselves that society has told us are not worthy.

[00:11:32] Amanda Louisa: Shameful don’t have any place in a board room or in a decision making field, if we can really embody and integrate that and then step into those leadership roles embodying that energy. We’re not only showing other people that This energy has the power to make strong decisions, and we don’t need to become masculine in order to be a leader, but we’re also enabling us to make decisions in those, in those settings.

[00:11:57] Amanda Louisa: From a point that is more [00:12:00] connected to wholeness, to integrity into to ensuring that there is a better outcome for the whole in those decision making rooms.

[00:12:10] Laura Hartley: And what is this, you know, we’re talking about masculine and feminine energy, right. But obviously that is not necessarily dependent on gender, but what exactly is the qualities of feminine energy.

[00:12:21] Laura Hartley: So when you’re talking about embodying feminine leadership, what is different about that to traditional leadership that you see today? So

[00:12:28] Amanda Louisa: traditional leadership is often characterized as focused, determined probably a little bit more domineering. When we think of leaders, we think of these like really strong masculine types that you know, show no emotion.

[00:12:43] Amanda Louisa: They walk into the boardroom, they’re forceful. They might be a bit aggressive, higher on the risk taking side. And the feminine will be more vulnerable, more honest, more integrated, more intuitive more compassionate. You’ve got qualities of community and collaboration as opposed to competition.

[00:13:05] Amanda Louisa: And it’s not that competition or strategy or forcefulness is bad. It’s about integrating and balancing that with compassion, with vulnerability, with honesty, with humility. And when you have a leader that balances both of those qualities, we make decisions that are more integrated and whole, because we are whole.

[00:13:27] Amanda Louisa: So we are not making decisions based out of fear or out of our ego. We’re making decisions from a place of connection.

[00:13:36] Laura Hartley: Do you know Jennifer Armbrust and SIster? Okay. So they have amazing work. It’s essentially a feminist business school. And their idea is around reimagining the kind of masculine capitalist economy that we have, which has so many of these traits.

[00:13:52] Laura Hartley: Capitalism is an ideology as much as it is an economic system and into a more feminine and feminist system and what that would look like, you know, with these traits of collaboration and cooperation and sharing and gratitude. So there is this work, it sounds like both at the individual level of how we’re approaching this, but also at the collective.

[00:14:14] Laura Hartley: Yes.

[00:14:14] Amanda Louisa: Absolutely. Yeah. At the individual level, it’s really about healing the intergenerational trauma we have as women. It wasn’t until the 1960s that we really started stepping into into the workforce in a more integrated way. And even then we were so Kind of belittled as we came into the workforce and we’ve been told that we need to play the game according to masculine rules, in order to get ahead, we need to, you know, just own parts of ourselves that are feminine in order to be taken seriously.

[00:14:42] Amanda Louisa: So being able to heal that intergenerational trauma of being silenced for so many centuries. And there’s so much research that demonstrates that we inherit trauma for at least three generations. And even if we’ve not experienced the trauma of, let’s say grandmother, That [00:15:00] trauma runs through our system is in our DNA.

[00:15:01] Amanda Louisa: It’s in our genetics and it’s activated. And obviously with epigenetics, we know that we can activate and deactivate our genes and we can heal and integrate that in a way that makes sure that we don’t pass that trauma on, but we are also not operating out of that trauma when we step into positions of leadership, when we are seen, when we are, asked to use our voice, because for so long women, haven’t been allowed to use our voice.

[00:15:25] Amanda Louisa: So that’s on the individual level. When we go into a collective level, as feminine beings, being able to , lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. You see so much of , our TV and our, our social cultures, that kind of pit women against each other. Think of things like the bachelor, right?

[00:15:42] Amanda Louisa: Like women are always kind of pitted against each other and breaking out of those social constructs, being able to say no, you know, I rise by lifting others is such an empowering mindset shift. And it takes a lot of work because even as I was coming up through law school There was such an element of competition between the, the women that I was working with.

[00:16:05] Amanda Louisa: And, and you could see that because again, You have so few women in leadership roles that you almost feel like you need to step over each other with your stiletto heels to get to that, to that level. And that’s not true. So, you know, there was this whole kind of mentality of you need to pull the ladder up behind you because it’s a competition.

[00:16:26] Amanda Louisa: But what I’m seeing now, working in the field that I’m working in, working in, you know, as a, as a feminine leadership coach, as well as in, in my sustainability role, We’re lifting each other up more, we’re collaborating more. We realize that by paving the way we’re enabling a, a mass movement of, of, of women to come through and make the changes that we need to see in, in the world at the moment where we’re, we’re such a tipping point of change.

[00:16:53] Amanda Louisa: And we can see that there’s such a, a resistance from the old patriarchal structures. You can see the decisions of the Supreme court in the us as a part of this like suppression movement. But change does mean a little bit of chaos before we can get to that re calibration. So yes, the, the old archetypes of the patriarchy are trying to claw us back, but there’s such a movement forward and we’ve got so many allies as well in the, in the masculine and in men coming forward to support the openness of women into businesses, into politics, into decision making roles.

[00:17:26] Amanda Louisa: So , that’s also important to note and to celebrate.

[00:17:29] Laura Hartley: And you know, what, what I’m hearing in, in that description there of, we’ve gotta pull the ladder up behind us, that there’s not enough opportunities is of course this scarcity. Oh, you know, that, that there’s not. And the, the scarcity is so embedded throughout our culture.

[00:17:46] Laura Hartley: It is so embedded throughout society. And to me, I, I think it has so many roots in patriarchy. It has so many roots in capitalism, but where is this link between, you know, scarcity and we’ve gotta get ahead, patriarchy, and then [00:18:00] of course, Productivity and overworking because, as a recovering lawyer and you and I both work in the burnout space, we both had our own experiences here.

[00:18:09] Laura Hartley: Burnout is very real and this sense of overwork is very real. It’s like, where are the roots of this? Where do we start to unpack this?

[00:18:17] Amanda Louisa: It’s such a shame based culture, right? Like we keep seeing. And I think it’s, it’s gotten worse with social media because we see everybody’s curated life and all their win

[00:18:28] Amanda Louisa: plastered everywhere on our feeds. And we’re constantly be show being shown people, living a life. And obviously we internalize this, this as, oh, we’re not doing enough. So we need to do more to get ahead. We need to keep striving and we need to keep pushing. We need to keep doing, and if we’re not doing it, we’re not living at that kind of point of, the Joneses. We’re not keeping up with the Joneses. We’re we’re not good enough. It’s it’s about us. It’s about how we’ve come across. And you see that in a lot of cultures, right? Of the whole idea that if you are not getting ahead, if you’re not living the life you want it’s because you are doing something wrong.

[00:19:05] Amanda Louisa: Not because it’s a systemic issue because the actual reality is we don’t all start off at the same, start line. People of color, women , marginalized groups transgender people we all have different starting lines and to be honest, white men are privileged. They have a head start in the world already.

[00:19:30] Amanda Louisa: Acknowledging that and being able to say, okay, well, we don’t actually all have the same starting point. We’re all starting from different points. And there is no, there’s no equity at the moment. We can’t say it’s somebody’s fault that they’re not where they wanna be.

[00:19:44] Amanda Louisa: It might be because they’ve started like three steps behind and they’ve had more barriers to get ahead because of the unconscious bias that’s riddled within the system. Mm,

[00:19:56] Laura Hartley: knowing that we’re all starting at different points though. How do we still start to unpack this? Because you know, let’s say you or I recognize, or somebody else recognizes that perhaps they’re not like that.

[00:20:07] Laura Hartley: Number one, starting gate, . So they’re, they’re not gonna be necessarily, in the same place. Once we understand that still, where is one, the mentality that’s still driving in that sense of, okay, I’m still, I’m still in this race I’m just further behind. Yeah. And kind of getting out of it altogether.

[00:20:26] Amanda Louisa: Well, I really think it’s about allyship. So when it comes to, working in businesses for people who are perhaps a little bit more on the privilege side and they can recognize their privilege, whether it’s, you know, white women or white men or, women who’ve, who’ve gotten ahead in their industries.

[00:20:45] Amanda Louisa: Being able to recognize those microaggressions, the unconscious biases, they might be in the boardroom in the meeting rooms and being able to call it out, but also facilitating and advocating for other colleagues [00:21:00] who might be from more marginalized communities and groups. That’s really important.

[00:21:06] Laura Hartley: And, and for us personally, with overwhelm and stress, and it’s so hard to, to kind of step out of these cycles of I’ve gotta be working, I’ve gotta be doing more. And particularly anybody who’s in business, anybody in activism, you know, activism like, these crises are so urgent.

[00:21:23] Laura Hartley: So we get caught in this hustle mentality, where do we still start to go actually how do I still do the work? But step out of this completely. How do I step out of the race myself?

[00:21:37] Amanda Louisa: , I think it comes back to understanding that rest is part of the productivity cycle and we’ve forgotten that we think that to get ahead, we need to constantly be striving.

[00:21:45] Amanda Louisa: If we look at nature I think that’s one of our biggest teachers, everything is in cycles, especially feminine energy. Cause we have a 28 day cycle for the most part it’s around 28 to 35 days. And the masculine energy has a, a 24 hour cycle. So the masculine energy testosterone based people have an energy that lasts for 24 hours.

[00:22:09] Amanda Louisa: And so they have a productivity system that’s able to output quite steadily, whereas the feminine energy or people who menstruate, we have 28 to 35 day cycle. We Follow nature cycles a lot more. We have four seasons and rest is part of that season. Being able to just have the time to recalibrate to go into our rest cycle is so, so, so important because it gives us the time to process.

[00:22:37] Amanda Louisa: And it’s amazing when we do take time for the pause The ideas, the energy, the movement that comes out of it is incredible. Like, even if you think about winter, the fellow season, that has a place in the cycle, right? Like if we didn’t have winter and give the land rest, it wouldn’t be able to be as productive.

[00:22:54] Amanda Louisa: And we can see that happening now in an earth based way. We continuously use the soil and it’s to the point where the soil’s been stripped, bare barren, and we have to use all these chemicals to try and renourish the soil, but we’re still not getting the same nutrients out of the soil and into our food system as we were before.

[00:23:13] Amanda Louisa: So if we think of that as human beings, we’re so productive constantly that we’re filling ourselves with alcohol, with TV, with all these external things, to try and fill up our depletion. But it’s not helping us be more productive. So we were very similar to the earth. And, and if we can compare that and understand that, and again, this comes back to indigenous cultures and understanding, and their understanding of the, that ancient wisdom of our connection and our mirroring of the planet we live on.

[00:23:42] Laura Hartley: So how does this look for you? Right? Because you know, it’s, so I think so many of us more and more are aware that you’re right. We are cyclical beings and we live cyclical lives and there are seasons and there is a time.

[00:23:55] Laura Hartley: And I think part of that is acceptance. Of that, of [00:24:00] accepting that there is a season and yet there’s also the contrast or the tension with living in a world that is not designed for that. . So how do we navigate that? How do we hold that tension there?

[00:24:13] Amanda Louisa: I think finding safety within our own nervous system is a key part of that.

[00:24:17] Amanda Louisa: So being able to rewire our nervous system to be okay with the pauses, we’ve grown up in a society and with parents whose nervous system you know, we feed up as children until the age of seven. We’re very much, you know, mirroring our parents’ nervous system. And if they’ve been under stress and duress, which a lot of our parents have been our nervous system gets calibrated at a level that is.

[00:24:41] Amanda Louisa: Finding stress kind of natural and normal and being still feels very disruptive. It feels uncomfortable because we’re not used to it. We’re not used to understanding that stillness is safe. So I think nervous system work is such a key part of being able to recalibrate as a society to be okay with the stillness to be okay with not keeping up with the Joneses and to start shifting that mentality of thinking we need more in order to be successful.

[00:25:08] Amanda Louisa: We’ve got such a wasteful society. We’ve got so much waste, especially in the Western world. If you think about our food systems and the amount of of food that put into landfill, even think about your own fridge and the way we kind of discard things so easily. You know, do we actually really need as much as we think we do?

[00:25:29] Amanda Louisa: Probably not. And I’m hoping in a lot of ways that forced us to slow down a lot and to see that we don’t need to always be out there doing things find happiness sometimes just that stillness, that ability to connect with our own family and our own people is so much more nurturing and re-energizing than, you know, being out at various cocktail bars, doing whatever the life was before, before the pandemic hit.

[00:25:56] Amanda Louisa: So hopefully it, it showed a lot of us who experienced that stillness isn’t necessarily a bad thing and that we don’t need as much as we think we do.

[00:26:06] Laura Hartley: And where do we start with that safety? Creating safety in our bodies and our, in our nervous systems, you know, our body is really the unconscious, right?

[00:26:13] Laura Hartley: It’s where our unconscious lives. So how do we start

[00:26:16] Amanda Louisa: creating safety? There it’s a lot about tuning into our bodies. A lot of us are very disassociated. I think especially the feminine is dissociated because our bodies have become our enemies. We kind of grew up with this idea of what our body is supposed to look like.

[00:26:32] Amanda Louisa: And as feminine we also carry the trauma of past generations where our bodies have been used against us in a lot of ways. You know, being in our body can feel really unsafe. So one of the key aspects of reclaiming the feminine power is being able to befriend our body and to really step into our, full body.

[00:26:52] Amanda Louisa: A lot of us live from the head up, right. We don’t really connect into what’s going on in our own self, in our own body. So [00:27:00] part of that is, a lot of work that comes down to tuning into various parts of our body and, and tuning into what feeling lives within those parts.

[00:27:09] Amanda Louisa: So how often do we actually sit still and, focusing on. From our toes up, up through our, through our whole system and tune into, the energy that’s sitting there. Do we feel tension? Do we feel sorrow. Do we feel a bit of numbness and what does our numbness tell us? It’s a slow process.

[00:27:28] Amanda Louisa: And I think a lot of us go into this work or looking for a quick fix because that’s just the way we’ve been programmed. But we have to remember that we’ve got centuries worth of trauma and conditioning that we’re undoing. And it just, it is, it is not gonna happen overnight, but it is a process of like really falling back in and reconnecting with the various parts of ourselves that we’ve lost touch with everything from our womb to our stomach, to the energy that moves in our heart space.

[00:28:01] Amanda Louisa: It’s really, really about just befriending slowly, those parts that started to ignore or kind of demonized or yeah. Made the enemy.

[00:28:11] Laura Hartley: Yeah. And when we’re talking about leadership, You know, I know a lot of this conversation, here we’ve talked about structures as they are. We’ve talked about the corporate world and, business as it currently exists.

[00:28:24] Laura Hartley: But a lot of this audience also, are change makers or way finders and people looking for a different way, or they’re people working already in slightly different spheres, but we still have this idea of leadership that carries through. And so when we’re starting to, To do this work, to connect with our body, to understand that there are cycles to look at what a more feminine or feminist leadership might actually look like.

[00:28:50] Laura Hartley: What, what is their bringing opportunity for? What actually has the space to emerge out of that?

[00:28:57] Amanda Louisa: I think a lot of that will be First in understanding that leadership doesn’t mean your title. So your job title, doesn’t make you a leader. It’s how you influence the energy of the room around you.

[00:29:10] Amanda Louisa: So, a good example I have of this is in my previous role, I had a manager who was very highly stressed. She was overworked and we were under resourced, which, you know, is, is the norm and sustainability, especially. It’s one of the most under-resourced departments. And she started micromanaging me, which I don’t do well with.

[00:29:33] Amanda Louisa: And I could have easily internalized that moment or that energy, and it could have become a big confrontation and made the relationship very uncomfortable. And. Which is an old trauma response. Instead I recognize because I’ve done the inner work that she was coming out of her own trauma and that the micromanaging was her sense of safety and control and how she was managing me.

[00:29:59] Amanda Louisa: Wasn’t a reflection [00:30:00] of my performance and my work. It was her own internal monologue that gave her sense of safety by trying to control every aspect of the work that was happening in, in our team. And just that shift of me looking at that as, okay, well, it’s not about me. It’s about her shifted a lot of the energy of that relationship.

[00:30:20] Amanda Louisa: I was able to not come at her from an energy of aggression or frustration. I was able to hold a space because I’d done the inner work. So understanding that when we start doing this work as individuals, whether we are you know, a manager or a team member, We can really shift the energy in rooms and it really comes back down to us.

[00:30:43] Amanda Louisa: So imagine if we had change makers and leaders and you know, people coming into, you know, entry level roles, who’ve done this sort of work who really understand themselves their own triggers, their own nervous system and how they react to people and are able to come in to the organizations they’re working in from that place of real.

[00:31:05] Amanda Louisa: Integration and understanding and how much influence your energy can have on the people around you, because it doesn’t matter what level people are at because that’s a social construct, right? It’s imaginary, we’re all human beings. We’re all equal. And the only thing that influences things is our own energy.

[00:31:23] Amanda Louisa: So we can create massive change by just shifting the way we come into, into situations, how we come into meetings. And I think that’s really powerful and something that we need to talk about more. It’s not about your title. It’s about your energy.

[00:31:39] Laura Hartley: So this is really relational work that we’re talking about.

[00:31:42] Amanda Louisa: Absolutely.

[00:31:42] Laura Hartley: Yeah, because a lot of the time when we’re experiencing conflict or politics or any of these things in an organization that kind of gets seeded between people, these tensions or these kind of micro violences that, that we feel between each other. You know, there does seem to be this sense that we don’t feel safe.

[00:32:01] Laura Hartley: You know, we don’t feel a sense of belonging that we felt very often a sense of our identity attached to what we are doing or what we’re worth. This constant need to be producing. Would you say this is kind of potentially where it’s coming from as well, so that this lack of safety is related to this always need

[00:32:18] Amanda Louisa: to be producing.

[00:32:19] Amanda Louisa: Absolutely we feel so. Pressured to constantly be on. Even though we have a lot of talk about flex work arrangements, the reality is the people that are promoted are still the people that are sitting at their desk from, you know, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM. So even though there’s a, there’s a lot of lip service paid to rest and mental health in, especially in the corporate.

[00:32:44] Amanda Louisa: Sectors nowadays how this translates in terms of promotion and ability to earn more on your earning capacity is still very old school patriarchy. It’s still very much like, no, not really. Like if you are not working at the desk, [00:33:00] then. If you’re not online, if you are, if you’re working from home then the reality is you, you don’t seem to get ahead as fast.

[00:33:10] Amanda Louisa: So we are pressured to continuously produce or to continuously perform. it’s a very, very integrated part of, of I think how we function and how we think we’re supposed to. Mm. So,

[00:33:25] Laura Hartley: When we’re looking at this paradigm of the world as it is, . This podcast is all about remaking the world, how can we remake the world together?

[00:33:34] Laura Hartley: So I think to almost remake it, and I think what you’re articulating here is this vision of a different way. And actually there’s a different form of leadership. There’s a different form working that we could embrace one that is much more regenerative and much more embodying of nature, but I’d love to hear a little bit from you about this vision.

[00:33:52] Laura Hartley: You know, what is your vision of a more, just a more regenerative, more equitable

[00:33:56] Amanda Louisa: world? Oh, I I would love to see a world where no matter your gender identity, no matter your cultural background, you’re treated as, as valuable to the decision making spaces that, that exist. I’d love to see a more holistic way of making decisions, ones that really allow for intuition ones that take into account, not only the economic viability of an option, but also the environmental and social impacts.

[00:34:38] Amanda Louisa: We have a model where we pay lip service to the triple bottom line in sustainability, which is environmental, social, and economic. But the reality is the economic decisions, the economic outcomes of that decision still takes a lot of weight. And I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that we haven’t really Valued ecosystem services that are, are given to us from, the environment or from social connections, those aren’t valued as highly.

[00:35:05] Amanda Louisa: So a world that I would love to see is where we really understand the importance of connectivity for human beings, for our mental health, for our own wellbeing, for our soul. And that things like talking about our you know our values or talking about things like our, our respect of the earth, our integration with the earth, our connectivity to the earth isn’t considered root because it it’s such a Western paradigm where we see ourselves as separate.

[00:35:37] Amanda Louisa: And it’s so integrated. All decision making that we devalue anything with Eastern medicine or indigenous cultures that, that see this interconnectedness. So how beautiful would it be to be able to make decisions that are holistic, that integrate the indigenous, the Eastern ways of, of understanding our our place in the world, as opposed to only [00:36:00] looking at it from a in a Western kind of aspect, I would love to see.

[00:36:06] Amanda Louisa: Holistic decisions, decisions that really take soul into account. Because I think we would make such a difference. We would see the world, not as a competition, not as a resource, not as a a thing, but a living being .

[00:36:21] Laura Hartley: Mm, I love that. You know, I, I think one of the things that you’re articulating there is that there’s more than one way to be human.

[00:36:29] Laura Hartley: And, very often in our culture, we, we tend to think there’s only one way to be human. And you know, the world is the way it is because humans are inherently bad and this is just what it means to be human, as opposed to actually, this is a complete cultural paradigm that doesn’t actually apply or hasn’t historically applied to large swaths of the world.

[00:36:47] Amanda Louisa: Absolutely. I don’t even know how to articulate this at, at this point, but we are so programmed to, to see the world in a certain way. And because I was raised in, in Western culture, in Western society, I didn’t realize how integrated and how different other cultures were in their view of where humanity sits.

[00:37:10] Amanda Louisa: In the context of the earth. We kind of have a pyramid right in the west where humans are at the apex and then everything else falls underneath us and where the hierarchy and the hierarchy is everywhere in society. Right. Whereas I think a lot of indigenous cultures are really more of a circle.

[00:37:26] Amanda Louisa: You see humans at the center of this interconnected ecosystem, interconnected web of life. And if we could integrate that belief system, that understanding more into how we make decisions into how we view the world. If we see ourselves as just one small part of an in incredible web of life. How much more powerful would our decisions be?

[00:37:47] Amanda Louisa: How much less would we be prioritizing selfish outcomes as opposed to holistic outcomes?

[00:37:55] Laura Hartley: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a reframe of our mindsets away from the, the colonial paradigm. so many of us have inherited.

[00:38:03] Laura Hartley: Amanda, I know you’ve got some workshops coming up.

[00:38:06] Laura Hartley: Where can people find out

[00:38:08] Amanda Louisa: more about you? Where can people work

[00:38:09] Laura Hartley: with you? What are you currently offering? What would you suggest?

[00:38:13] Amanda Louisa: So you can find me on Instagram. I’m @theamandalouisa. And I’m also quite active on LinkedIn. So you can find me the same name, Amanda Louisa. I have a new offering coming up in September.

[00:38:27] Amanda Louisa: It’s called ditch the overwhelm. So if you’re interested in some of this nervous system work that we were talking about today about, how leadership can really be about how we show up. This is the perfect workshop and it really dives into understanding how our nervous system works.

[00:38:45] Amanda Louisa: Understanding the four states of overwhelm that we go through, which is fight flight, freeze, and fawn, and how to actually work through those with like really easy to do exercises that will rewire your nervous system to a sense of more [00:39:00] safety and calm. And when you’re in that space of safety and calm, it’s so much easier to make decisions not only in your personal life, but in, in your business life.

[00:39:08] Amanda Louisa: I would love to, to offer a 10% discount any of your wonderful listeners who would like to join me on that workshop. That is

[00:39:16] Laura Hartley: wonderful. I thank you so much for coming on the show, Amanda. It has been really great to have this conversation.

[00:39:22] Amanda Louisa: Thank you so much, Laura, I have loved having this chat with you.

[00:39:25] Amanda Louisa: It’s it’s such an important, issue at the moment and it’s such a turning point. So I love the work that you are doing and the influence you are creating as well.

[00:39:34] Laura Hartley: Thank you so much. And for anybody listening, who wants to join that workshop, all the details will be in the show notes. You’ll also find a discount link in there for 10%.

[00:39:42] Laura Hartley: So please go check out Amanda Louisa. That is all we have time for in today’s episode. I do love it when listeners suggest topics or guests. So please head on over to our website. publiclove.enterprises Send me an email. Otherwise you can reach me on @laura.h.hartley.

How can we… lead from the feminine?

How can we… make change from the inside out?


Today we speak with Brian Berneman.

Brian is a wellness coach and facilitator, who has helped hundreds of people around the world lead more balanced and meaningful lives.

With a background in neuroscience and more than 15 years of experience teaching and practicing yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and different healing modalities, Brian is able to synthesize modern scientific knowledge with ancient wisdom to help his clients get the results they desire. Brian has empowered people from all walks of life to realise their full potential and enable them to live a stress-free and meaningful life.

Committed to conscious lifestyle practices, Brian founded Conscious Action, a movement of people inspired to live more intentionally.

Learn more:
About Laura, coaching & cultural wayfinding: www.laurahartley.com
Follow more on Instagram: @laura.h.hartley
Join the email circle: http://eepurl.com/g9tPRP

About Brian:
Conscious Action NZ – Website
Brian Berneman – Website 

Check out this episode!


TRANSCRIPT: Please note this was auto-generated and has not been edited, and may contain errors.

[00:00:00] How do we work with the systems when we are the systems? And we are the ones that are perpetuating that system?

[00:00:07] If I change, if I don’t want to play by those rules, and then slowly we all start to do that the system changes by itself.

[00:00:17] Laura Hartley: I’m Laura Hartley and welcome to the public love project. This podcast is all about re-imagining and remaking the world, creating the conditions for social healing and collective thriving. Each week, we dive into topics around resilience, social change, birthing, and more just, and regenerative world and how we can use our head heart and hands in action. Before i introduce today’s guest and topic though i have one reqAuest head on over to apple podcasts or spotify wherever you’re listening and hit subscribe rate and review it helps us work to reach new listeners.

[00:00:59] Today’s guest is Brian Berneman. Brian is a wellness coach and facilitator who has helped hundreds of people around the world lead more balanced and meaningful lives. With a background in neuroscience and more than 15 years experience in teaching and practicing yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and different healing modalities. Brian is able to synthesize modern scientific knowledge with ancient wisdom.

[00:01:23] He has empowered people from all walks of life to realize that full potential and enable them to live a stress , free, and meaningful life. Committed to conscious lifestyle practices brian founded conscious action and movement of people inspired to live more intentionally

[00:01:38] Welcome Brian.

[00:01:40] Brian Berneman: Thank you, Laura so much for having me here and a pleasure to be speaking with you again.

[00:01:45] Laura Hartley: one of the things that I’m really excited about with today’s conversation and that I love about your work in general is that you work at this intersection of inner and outer change, but before we dive into what this space is and how we begin to work with it, I’d love to know a little bit about your story.

[00:02:03] And what’s brought you here into the work that

[00:02:05] Brian Berneman: you do today. Definitely. Thank you for that. I always think that it’s really important to know a little bit of where we’re coming from on, on our learnings. So. I’m going to go first a little bit back towards the beginning. So I was born in Argentina. I grew up there.

[00:02:23] I was. Part of or I am part of a family that is Jewish and all of my family escaped at different times from, Europe. The latest was my grandpa. Escaping from PO on the second world war. So I grew up in a Catholic country, but already within a different culture. So that was always an interesting thing of my childhood and little by little, my parents started to get interested more in spirituality and that meant that they were starting to get into the esoteric teachings of Judaism.

[00:03:04] And then through that, they started to get interested in energy and Tibetan Buddhism a little by little, by the time that I was a teenager. My mom and my dad, they were starting to live differently, or we would do things differently at home as an example. We stopped having dinners with a TV, and we just went to only like just talking and small few different things like that.

[00:03:31] And then little by little, my parents would recommend us to read some books around spirituality or what self-help books would be. And then they would invite us, me and my siblings, if we wanted to go to any kind of the classes or to a healer or anything like that. , I was.

[00:03:52] Quite a regular kid. I was into sports. I was watching way too much TV. I was like on internet back when it was dial up. And none of that, I was all the time online. And I was super shy and super stressed out,. And then. I started to say yes to these things, that my parents were inviting me and my siblings to go.

[00:04:17] And I think I was the only one that was really going to everything . I was like, why not? I’ll I’ll try this out. There was something in there that I felt drawn to. I remember as an example, the first day that I went to a Tibetan yoga class, Felt so different than anything else that I have ever experienced in my life.

[00:04:38] And for the first time I was able to feel my feelings. I was able to feel energy in a different way. And also I had a recognition that I knew this. And that has been a huge part of my path, the Tibetan Buddhist teachings. And at the same time, I started to get more into energy. I was feeling the energy and I was like interested in it.

[00:05:03] So my mom asking if I wanted to have a Reiki healing. And he went and I was like, oh my God, this is amazing. I want to learn this. And I ask the, the person that was the healer that ended up being my teacher. If he would teach me how to do it. And he had some connection with guides and angels and he just closed his eyes and he said, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:05:29] I’ll teach you. And I was like, oh, okay, cool. How does this work? Like how much is it? And he’s. I’m just being told that for you, it’s for free, because you’re going to help a lot of people in the future. And I’m like, okay. wow, cool. So I, I start to get into all of this parallel to everything that I was doing.

[00:05:48] So I was still, like last few years of high school then university started working as a journalist. And then I decided at one point. That I wanted to move away. I wanted to explore the wall, but also I was a little bit tired of living in Argentina and everything align. The relationship ended.

[00:06:11] I finished all of my studies. And then I decided to finish working as an journalist and I bought a one way ticket to New York and I was like, let’s see what happens. I’ll see you later, you know, start off when you adventure.

[00:06:26] And so. To make the story a little bit shorter. I lived for a while in New York and then in Miami and then I moved to Germany and when I was living there, I finished my contract.

[00:06:40] All that I was doing there was working in marketing and expert in the world and experiment myself. I was like 22, 23 years old. And I was like, okay, I don’t wanna do this anymore. They wanna go to an office and have to work during. Selling like something that wasn’t aligned to, to who I felt I was.

[00:06:59] And I was doing my Tibetan yoga practice as I was doing by myself. And I remember that the first class ever that I did my teacher, she told me about this retreat center in California, where part of the money that was. That we paid for the classes was going there to support these teachings. This is the only place where they taught this in the world.

[00:07:25] So I was like, oh, I wonder, you know, how does that look like, can I actually live there? So I contacted my teacher, in Argentina and she said , oh yeah, you love it. But the process is not that easy. They don’t take in anyone. So I was like, okay, what do I do? And she was like, just message them.

[00:07:41] And I will message them as well. I ended up a few weeks later, living there in the middle of the mountain in a Tibetan booth retreat center. And that was a pivotal time in, in my life because I was able to a, for the first time in my life living in nature. Because I have lived in big cities all of my life.

[00:08:04] So I started to get a lot more connected to nature. I had the time and the space to practice and to go deep into my understanding of the teachings as well as the work that I was doing there. So we were practicing and working and the. Was all about the veteran Buddhist culture, keeping that culture alive.

[00:08:27] So we were making books, we were running retreats and running workshops and classes, and a lot of different things, both in person there at the retreat center and online. And one of the biggest things for me during that. Besides my own personal understanding, that was huge. Like those years that I lived there, my understanding went like so quickly because I was able to have so much time and space.

[00:08:56] And also because of all of the work that we were doing and the way that we were doing work as a way of bringing the teachings alive in every day. It’s one of the biggest things that I took from there to them being able to, to share with people how we can actually be during our everyday life, regardless of our circumstances, regardless if we are working nine to five in corporate, something that we love, something that we don’t using every single moment of our day, as a way for us to be present connected and to be able to.

[00:09:30] To deepen our awareness or to expand our awareness and to be able to, to understand more about ourselves and others. After a few years living there, my. Visa renewal wasn’t accepted. So I had to live from one day to the next and I ended up here in New Zealand where I’ve been now for the last seven years.

[00:09:53] And it’s been wonderful. Just being able to now share all of this. And one of the things that I remember so much that one of my teachers told me one day is what do you love? You want to share? And I love doing this. I love. All of the learnings that I have, I learned the different tools and the techniques that I’ve been able to learn throughout all of these years.

[00:10:18] And it’s, it’s so beautiful to be able to share them with the world and with whoever resonates, because I feel like everybody should know. These things and not everybody will resonate with each of the techniques or each of the tools, but just to be able to have a way of connecting with themselves so they can connect to others.

[00:10:42] So that’s as short as I could make, like 35 years of life. , there’s

[00:10:47] Laura Hartley: a lot to fit into 35 years of life. One of the things that’s really standing out for me, there is just hearing how much that time at the retreat center must have influenced your work now that sense of how do we take what is inherently inner work and actually embody it and bring it to life in the real world, which I think.

[00:11:06] Where, you know, real spirituality kind of comes into practice, but I’m curious to step back a little bit and to just also look at what were those teachings that you were looking at, what was it that you were bringing to life through that work at the center?

[00:11:18] Brian Berneman: Mm, so we had a few different things and I think that not only the way that we were working, but the purpose behind it as well was for me really big.

[00:11:29] And one of the things that I resonated a lot in terms of. Connecting with the inner and the outer. Because we, for the first while that I was there, we were making books for the Tibetan to give back to the Tibetan, bud monks and practitioners. In the Himalayan region. , a lot of the teachings were lost when the Chinese invaded and a lot of the books were burned.

[00:11:59] So a lot of people didn’t have access to teaching. So one of the ways to keeping the teaching alive is to actually have the teachings available and to do that and to work with all of the techs and to the energy that they had and to be able to. Work. And this was just , my way of, saying this.

[00:12:16] So we are making millions of books and, a small team of people with old machines that in a publishing company nowadays, they would have modern machines with a team of, I don’t know, 60, 70 people. We were making that same amount just by being like, sometimes during the year seven people. 20 people like for short period of time.

[00:12:42] And for me having the awareness that every single page that we were putting into those books needed to be perfect. Like they couldn’t be any dog ears, they couldn’t have any like smudges or anything because someone will be reading that book. and for that person, the experience is going to be different.

[00:13:06] , and for me having that awareness of having to be so present to be able to understand how can I actually be so focused and so aware that I’m looking, even though this is millions and millions of pages, I am aware of every single page. And, and that level of, of awareness with the speed that things were going and expanding my, my understanding of time to actually be able to look at every single page and of that with the purpose of what we were doing was so amazing that that is part.

[00:13:50] Of the, the work that, that I was doing that brought me into an understanding that also everything that I’m doing for myself in my inner work is for others. Like there’s no separation, even though. Before I thought that things were separate. And that brought me to a place of understanding this illusion that I still, every single day, like, I’m, I believe like I’m here talking to you and you are there.

[00:14:16] And it’s like, well, like from one perspective, yes, we are separate. But from an another one we aren’t, and that is one of the biggest things that I, that I took from there.

[00:14:25] Laura Hartley: Yeah. And I can also. the level of awareness you need, but also the level of care that needs to be embedded into how you’re choosing to act into all of your decisions.

[00:14:35] I can imagine as well, but, I think this is. A really important topic because very often as individuals, it’s so easy to feel powerless, right? When you’re looking at the world and you’re looking at the enormity and the scale of problems, like things are broken in the world. Things are not working the way that they should be.

[00:14:56] Or in many cases, they are working the way that they should be, but they’re not working to benefit the. how do we hold space for that? How do we hold space for the emotions that come with that, with the grief, the despair, but at the same time also actually feel empowered to do something because sometimes, you know, the problems are so collective.

[00:15:16] What can I do as one individual?

[00:15:19] Brian Berneman: Yeah, definitely. And I think that is one of the ways that, that most people. That powerless and, and, to be fair, and this is not coming from a conspiracy theory perspective, like the fact that we are separated and we have gone towards an individualized sense of experience.

[00:15:43] That means that we feel that we don’t feel as connected. We feel like what we do doesn’t matter, but everything that we do matters like both from an energetic perspective, And physical perspective here, because this is, I, I always love this. Like if 7 billion people would believe that what they do matters, then it will matter.

[00:16:04] And it just takes each and every single person to do that. But I think one of the, the key things with, with this for me is the understanding that and I took this from the Tibetan Buddhist teachings. There’s a big difference. Of how we understand our experience. So we are all, even though, as I said, we are not separate.

[00:16:27] We all have a unique experience or perspective of what is happening in the world. So for each of us, we might be looking at the same thing. And we are all looking from such a different place that we are looking at something different. Therefore, we are all experiencing it in a different way. And also if we have a different understanding how to feel our feelings and our experience, that changes the way of how we approach things.

[00:16:58] So. I, I started to get a lot in, in these teachings into the difference between feeling and sensations and emotions, and the emotions are so tied to our head, to our judgment categorization and labeling of experience. Good, bad, positive, negative. This is frustration. This is anger. This is happiness.

[00:17:22] This is whatever it is. and on the much closer and direct experience, what we are feeling is a sensation in the body, which is there’s some energy moving. And I know that there are times the emotion can be that. So for the way that I learned it, in terms of the language. Emotion is not energy. Motion.

[00:17:43] Emotion is a labeling of the energy emotion. So the feeling sensation is the energy emotion. And if I can stay with the fact that there’s some feeling now in my hand, so there’s energy moving there or there’s energy moving in my chest or in my belly, then I can actually look into. , that’s not too much.

[00:18:06] That’s not something that I want to either push away and not look at it because I cannot handle it. Or it’s not something that I don’t feel like I want to, because it’s too uncomfortable if I can stay, which is what I’ve been doing now for the last half of my life. If I can stay with there’s a feeling there, can I feel it?

[00:18:28] Can I integrate that? And can I not get stuck in the story that I’m telling myself, that is what society has been telling me or my past experience? Especially my childhood and all of my trauma and unprocessed feelings, feelings are telling me based on the same type of experience. So if I can get in that space, Then my response to life is so much different than my reactions.

[00:18:57] That if that’s automatic, that’s, I’m processed. I don’t want to look at things when I can get to that place. I feel so much more empowered because a, I am, I am completely conscious , of my experience. I am processing. I am integrating, I’m not pushing down. I’m not pushing away of my experience. And I’m able to see.

[00:19:17] Not in a sense, the false positivity, but I can see the positive side of things from, one other of the, the perspectives or the teachings that I learned and that I shared that is family constellations. We see everything that has happened. Something to be grateful for because everything that has happened brought us to this place.

[00:19:41] So my teacher used to tell me about this story of a person that they were creating. This is many years ago when sustainability, wasn’t such a big thing in terms of products. And this person was creating a company that wanted to introduce sustainable eco products and they weren’t selling. and then he said that they deal with this company.

[00:20:08] They did a constellation work. And what happened was that this person, the leader of the company, the CEO has so much negativity towards all of the companies that were creating all of this bad products for the environment that there was a block. And as soon as they were able to include that, that is what’s happening and that they were grateful that that existed.

[00:20:33] Cause now that can show us a different way. Then suddenly that company started to grow and started to sell a lot of the products that are better for our environment. And I think that when we can start to see things from a different perspective and in a different lens and to be able to be more present and to be able to choose more wisely with information with trusting our feelings, with trusting our own experience, then how things are happening in the world.

[00:21:05] Doesn’t have to be so, so challenging for us to be able to, respond in a way that is going to be of benefit.

[00:21:14] Laura Hartley: Mm. You know, which is such a big thing, but I’m really, you know, I love so much of what you’re saying, but I’m really curious what you would also say to somebody who says, how can I be grateful for this?

[00:21:23] What is there to be grateful for? Or, you know, to change my perspective on this doesn’t mean that the thing itself changes. It doesn’t mean that my pain or my hurt or my trauma. Or the injustice changes. Where is that line as well? Between acknowledging and working with the actual pain that happens.

[00:21:43] Yeah. And then not just, you know, as you kind of said this false positivity of like, oh, it’s fine. It’s like taught me to be a better person and you know what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. And no, it doesn’t kill me sometimes just hurts. Mm. So where is that balance?

[00:21:57] Brian Berneman: Yes. And, and, and, and this is always a very subtle work.

[00:22:01] This, this is something that, and this is so individual as well. Like for each of us, it’s different. One of the biggest things for me with that is that if I’m hurting. I need to acknowledge that and I need to feel it. I need to actually feel the feeling, not the idea of that. I’m hurting the story that I’m telling myself about why that’s there.

[00:22:24] I need to feel that because that’s the way that I’m going to integrate it. , and the gratitude, I think there’s of course we all believe different things are, are the meanings of words are different for me. The gratitude is not about not bringing into the space that, yes, that’s not positive or that’s not good for the environment or that’s not good for people.

[00:22:49] The gratitude is about bringing awareness and a different energy to something that has already happened and that I cannot change on one level, but I can’t change it in the way that I relate to it. And what happens with that is that, and this is one of the things like working with trauma and working with whether this trauma from my childhood or ancestral trauma that I work with is being able to integrate that.

[00:23:18] Being able to, to include that. Not to exclude that, not to push it. Why not to push it down to include that, and then how I’m behaving and how to tackle things then might look different. And that doesn’t mean that whatever is that based on my own view is wrong. That that’s not longer there, but my relationship with what happened is what changes and my relationship with.

[00:23:51] I can tackle that whether I’m paralyzed or I’m freezing or, or I want to fight it or whatever it is, like those reactions that we usually have, that is what changes being able to, to be triggered by those things. And that doesn’t mean that now it’s like, I don’t care about anything because any, everything is energy.

[00:24:10] So like you just go and destroy the earth. You just go and kill people. You just go, no, no, no. Like there’s an honoring of people, there’s an honoring of others, knowing that what happens to me happens to others and understanding that I don’t know people’s stories. They don’t even know who they are. So how can I know and how can I judge anyone?

[00:24:34] and as well, everybody that is doing something that I believe that is not positive or that is wrong. Understanding they have their own shit that they are bringing into this space. And, I don’t believe that anybody in the world is a bad person. I believe that everybody’s doing the best that they can with what they are.

[00:24:57] In this moment. So if someone was traumatized, most likely they will traumatize others. If someone is hurting, most likely they will hurt someone if someone was so suppressed or so focused on trying to going back to. Individualized life to take care of, of themselves and to be able to gather as much as possible because they’re going to die or nobody’s going to give them anything, you know, like all of this trauma that is completely unconscious, those people might be trying to do something from where they are something that is positive for them and not realizing this is actually destroying the earth.

[00:25:39] So when I can hold everyone from that lens of being compassionate towards them, it’s much easier to be able to have a dynamic there. Now that might mean that with some people it’s like, ah, I hold compassion for you, but I’m still going to hold you accountable.

[00:26:05] Laura Hartley: Compassion and accountability are, are two separate things, right? Yeah. That we can kind of hold both at the same

[00:26:10] Brian Berneman: time. Yeah. And I think that, that is one of the things, in the more conscious or spiritual world, like not everything is love and peace, not everything is, ah, it’s just energy.

[00:26:20] It doesn’t matter. As I said before, or that I feel compassionate towards all beings, therefore, you know, like do whatever you want. I have a sense of, I am living in all of these different walls, dimensions, perspectives at the same time. and my own personal work is how can I expand my awareness to hold all of those positions at the same time, all those perspectives, to be able to see you with compassion.

[00:26:51] And also if you’re doing something that I feel like it’s either crossing my boundaries, or doing something towards someone else’s boundaries, whether there is a person animals or the environment, mother earth. Then I might be holding you accountable for that. I might point that out and then I might see if you’re ready to make a change, or if we all as a collective need to make the change as well.

[00:27:20] Laura Hartley: What does justice mean to you? Oh,

[00:27:25] Brian Berneman: great question. I, I don’t believe in the punishment system as we have it. I do believe in self responsibility. I do believe in being able to own our experience and our past and to be able to, to do that inner work of forgiveness first. And if necessary during that seeking forgiveness. Not necessarily need to receive it, but seeking it.

[00:27:58] I think that that is closest to justice than a system of punishment and ostracizing people pushing them away and creating an even worse. Cycle of what we see a lot with certain communities and certain ethnicities that they’re just in, in that cycle of poverty and not education. And then going to jail and, and all of that, I, I think that that is not working.

[00:28:29] So for me, just, this is more taking responsibility and then doing something about.

[00:28:36] Laura Hartley: Yeah. And you know, this, this sense of taking responsibility, I’m really curious as well. If you can elaborate a bit more because you know, this conversation, there’s been two things that stood out to me. You know, one, we are all products of a toxic system, you’re right.

[00:28:49] There are no bad people per se. We are all products of our environment and with different conditions and different circumstances, it’s difficult to say how we might have been shaped differently. and then there’s also this issue that you mentioned of ancestral trauma, and I’d love if you could talk a little bit more on this of like, what is ancestral trauma, how does that pass down?

[00:29:09] And then, we’re looking at issues of responsibility and justice today. How does this come together? Mm,

[00:29:17] Brian Berneman: yeah, so like from a ancestor trauma perspective, I come to it more from an energetic perspective. Something that is hard to, to touch. But as well, I know from a DNA perspective thing, information gets passed down through DNA.

[00:29:36] And actually like you were in your, in your grandmother’s womb when your mom was actually in her belly, like as, as an egg. So we do have a physical connection and everything that happens to a person that they don’t process, that they don’t integrate, that they don’t feel that gets what I call it an energetic blockage, and that gets passed down.

[00:30:08] And until actually someone looks at it. then that will continue to play itself in that dynamic. So, as an example, I see a lot of of my clients with something that they are carrying that is not theirs and they are playing certain aspects. So, for example, like one of my clients that she was always getting into relationships with addict.

[00:30:32] She didn’t know why, but she was always drawn to people that ended up like the relationships ended up breaking because they were addicted to whatever substances or alcohol or whatever. And those relationships were never working. And then through doing this work, we realized that in her family, like some generations ago, .

[00:30:52] what came up during the, the session was that someone in their family was an alcoholic and because of what they were doing, they were excluded from the family physically. And what that happens is that they never dealt with it. they actually is kind of like we’re shutting the door and we are never talking about this.

[00:31:15] So that gets passed down through generations. The fact that something was excluded and not dealt with. And now few generations later, someone is actually dealing with the consequences of that. So one of the biggest things with this is that different aspects of our lives are tied to this and. I know, like there’s a lot of people that don’t believe this.

[00:31:40] Cool. Like I believe it. I have done my own personal work with this. And I do connect with it and I resonate with this. And I know from a lot of my clients that whenever we’ve done this work changes them their lives in terms of whatever was blocking. So the interesting thing with this is as well, owning that.

[00:32:05] Every single family. Like if, if we look back like we have like, so we have like two parents and like the four grandparents and then eight. And we started going back and back and back generation generation, there’s thousands of millions of people behind us. so we all have someone in our family that was a murderer, someone that committed a rape someone that was an alcoholic.

[00:32:28] We have everything in our lives, in our ancestors. So starting to see if nobody before me did any of the integration work, I need to be the one. If I choose to, I need to be the one that breaks this cycle of things continuing to be pushed forward and I can take responsibility of doing that integration and healing work so that nobody else in my family needs to deal with this.

[00:33:01] Now, the thing with how this place in, in, in the world and how everything is actually happening is really interesting. Most of our behavior is automatic it’s reactionary and it’s based on what helped my ancestors survive. So , for example, I did a lot of work with my dad’s dad.

[00:33:25] Because I didn’t have a good relationship with him and I wanted to heal that. And during those constellations that my teacher was doing what came up as well, was that by me doing that also, I wasn’t including the fact that he was a survivor. He escaped from the second world war. There’s so much resilient, you know, and to be able to take on also those qualities is so important.

[00:33:53] So when I take into account everything, then it’s so much easier to be able to see that what most people are doing. They’re just using survival mechanisms. As I was mentioned before, someone that might be a billionaire now and is destroying the earth because they’re taking the resources, all that they are doing is that unconsciously or subconsciously, they are trying to survive.

[00:34:25] They are doing that in the way that their ancestors did it. Even though now we don’t need to do those things. Even though now we know that for example, we don’t need to use the same type of systems that were set up in 200 years ago. 500 years ago is 1000 years ago. We’re still playing them out because we believe that we are surviving now because most people.

[00:34:53] Are completely living unconsciously and we don’t have enough awareness to see things differently or to do things differently. And this is where a lot of those systems that used to be how people survive. Well, we don’t need them now. So how can I take responsibility to heal that and to become more present now with what is, and not what it used to be, and to be able to move forward with that.

[00:35:22] Laura Hartley: And do you see this at a collective level as well? Like, not just for us as individuals, but some of the crises that we’re facing today is this, perhaps this collective experience of systems that no longer service.

[00:35:34] Brian Berneman: Yes, definitely. Like we, like when, when I work with this, when it’s interesting, because my teacher used to say, even though this is called family constellations, this a dynamic.

[00:35:46] Constellations or systemic constellations work. So , for example, I did a lot of healing or a lot of integration sessions with Judaism because that is what my heritage comes from. And there’s been so much trauma for Jewish people, as well as a lot of positive stuff. So I need to do the work for that.

[00:36:06] Now, a lot of the the cultures that are still going through trauma. That is still being lived nowadays. So not only they cannot even heal. What’s been before they are still playing that out now. So we, as people we need to understand, we are part of systems, whether that is our own culture, our own groups, our own ethnicity, our own country, from this perspective, we can work on so many different levels.

[00:36:35] To integrate and to heal healing us becoming whole. It’s not that we’re going to change the past. We are going to go towards a place of wholeness that we can integrate what is, and when we can see that and we can actually acknowledge it as people, then we can move forward. And, going back to what you were saying earlier with justice, for example, How does that look like?

[00:37:02] When in a sense, we all feel like we are always the target, because at some point my family was persecuted. At some point, your family was persecuted at some point. , so everybody that wants justice, even the ones that are supposed to be the ones to make reparations feel like they are the victims . So we all feel like we are the victims.

[00:37:27] From a very deep level. And therefore we are always wanting to point fingers. And if I stay in victim mode, then I’m always going to want revenge. I don’t care to who I’m always going to want revenge. That is one of the biggest things that my teachers to tell me that if you stay in victim, You’re always going to want to have revenge.

[00:37:52] If you integrate that, if you heal that, then you’re going to be able to move to a place of meeting others where they are now and not where their ancestors were.

[00:38:04] Laura Hartley: Hmm. Which when we’re talking about, you know, remaking the world and reimagining the world, I think that sounds like a powerful place that we have to start to look, are we coming at it from a sense of feeling.

[00:38:14] Victimized powerless or are we coming up from a place of actually, okay. I have agency here. Mm-hmm and I’m curious, cuz you’ve talked here about systems at the level of, you know, families, nations countries, you know, by changing our participation in a system, do we change the system? How does that

[00:38:31] Brian Berneman: work?

[00:38:32] Mm. So what, what’s a system. I, how have we internalized systems as well? Because we play to the systems, the systems are agriculture. They are, they are, they don’t exist. Like countries potentially do a little bit more, but How do we work with the systems when we are the systems? And we are the ones that are perpetuating that system?

[00:38:57] If I change, if I don’t want to play by those rules, and then slowly we all start to do that the system changes by itself. And the funny thing is that we have this sense that things don’t change and that things are permanent. From a Buddhist perspective, but also from reality, everything changes, nothing is permanent.

[00:39:22] Everything is in permanent. Therefore even though what seems to be rigid and what seems to be done permanently will change. Every system will crumble. When I don’t know how can we accelerate some things? That’s the point, but everything will change. So for the better or the worst, it will change how we can use our own experience to be part of the change.

[00:39:52] I think that that is. Being able to, to bring that sense of self responsibility, that sense of being connected to the fact that I’m not alone. And even though there’s know seven, 8 billion people, there’s lots of people. That are in different parts of the world that are taking self responsibility that are doing their own work, to be able to create the world that we want or that they want each individually.

[00:40:20] And a lot of that will actually be connected to what I want, what you want or brothers in the world want. The only thing is that because we are in such different places and geographically like age, whatever it. We don’t have as much connection. So we feel a lot of times that we are alone in this. We’re not alone.

[00:40:39] There’s so many of us, we just haven’t yet connected. So for me, from. Energetic unconsciousness perspective. We are doing the work just by me doing my own personal work. I am helping to change the system. The more people that change it, the faster that that will start to happen. The same with.

[00:41:02] Even a company when they start, there’s a few people that are going to buy the products and suddenly, there’s a point, I think now, even the experts know it like a point when there’s enough people that are buying into this product that suddenly like everybody starts to, to buy it. And. when we do this energetically, it’s the same.

[00:41:22] If I do my work, if you do your work, if lot of people do their work slowly, we’re going to change it. And the more people that are doing it, the faster it will do it. And we don’t need everyone to change because there’s so many people in the world that they are just going to do. What’s out there for them to survive today.

[00:41:39] So the ones that we are privileged enough to not have to survive today. To be able to live our lives and to be able to decide how we want to live, it’s our responsibility to be able to do something, to change things, because those other people, they are just surviving today and they might need us in a sense to do something that is going to be of much more benefit to them so that they can stop surviving and they can live their lives.

[00:42:09] Laura Hartley: Taking this responsibility for coming back to our own actions and our own experiences. where do we begin with this? I know you mentioned at the beginning, this coming back to the body, coming back to sensations and feelings. And I think we’ve actually had this conversation on your podcast that I started my work in a very similar place that I remember.

[00:42:28] I, I must have been in my late twenties when I first discovered that emotions actually had like corresponding sensations in my body. And I was like, oh my gosh, what is this? Wow. It was like, this is liberating. That’s all it is. But where do we begin this? If we are looking to start. This idea of the inner work for outer change, this inner work to help guide us into a more imaginative and more beautiful, a more just and regenerative world.

[00:42:57] Where do we begin within ourselves?

[00:43:01] Brian Berneman: Mm. We begin where we are. For everyone that is listened to this, where you are, is the place to begin. How it will look different to every single person, because I do recognize for me, it was coming back to the body, coming back to the feelings. And as you just said, coming back to the recognition, wow, there’s this other thing there for some other people, it might be actually.

[00:43:24] Connecting to their community, connecting to their family, learning about their lineage, even though they might not be working on it from an energetic standpoint or from a , feeling standpoint, just acknowledging that when, when we start to take that responsibility for our own experience, then.

[00:43:47] That is the first step when we feel like we actually matter. And what we do actually matters to the collect. Because from that place, we start to make the change for me. And this is I was recommended because it is my path. It’s coming back to the body, using that somatic experience, working with people that understand and how to actually deal with, with these things, because this is always one of the biggest things for someone that hasn’t been in touch with their feelings and with their body.

[00:44:23] It’s not that easy to come back to it. If that has been our mechanism for protecting ourselves and for surviving. So it’s not always like the go and do a yoga class and you will start to get more in touch with your feelings or YouTube something and do it. Sometimes we need support.

[00:44:41] Sometimes we need someone that is going to be able to, to guide us or to support us in our own work. I always say to all of my students at universities, of all of the things that I share, find the one that you resonate with and take that first step and start to actually live through that.

[00:45:04] And little by little, then you might be able to realize like, oh, now I can do this other thing. Now I can actually look at that feeling. Now I can go and have this conversation. Now I can actually stand in front of my parents and tell. No, these are my boundaries or stand in front of my parents, or stand in front of my housemates and tell me like, Hey, when I’m doing this, , I need to communicate your boundaries.

[00:45:26] You know, when we’re able to get to that place, then every single little step that, that we can take actually is positive. And for some people, things go like this. And for some people it takes time and it’s about being true to ourselves and to be able to be kind and compassionate towards to ourselves, to do the work in the time and the space that works for us, not comparing us to anybody else, not looking at others.

[00:45:58] Just looking at others for inspiration, just looking at others for things that I want to awaken in, in my experience, qualities that I want to embody, but not in comparison that I think that is one of the biggest things that is underway for us. So coming back to the body, coming back to the breath, coming back to more simple life like slowing down, it’s like, where are you going?

[00:46:22] To do all of these things to get stressed and not be able to eat well, not be able to move one, not be able to have good conversations, not be able to listen when we are able to slow down that changes so much.

[00:46:37] Laura Hartley: And is this the same when we’re looking to find our best actions in the world, when we are then looking to take this work out to actually help and to remake things, is that the similar process there of finding what is right for.

[00:46:51] Brian Berneman: Yeah. I, believe that everything is what resonates. so I’m going to do what resonates with me and I don’t care if other people think that that’s good or bad, I’m just going to go with what resonates. Now, I got to a place of understanding what resonates with me because I’ve done this, this work of feeling.

[00:47:08] So now it’s so much easier to recognize this resonates, this doesn’t and I’m just going to follow this now. I think that as well, To, to do this outer work, we need to recognize our interconnectedness. So your life has an impact on my life, even though I might not realize that we all have an impact on each other’s lives, we all have an impact on environment and the environment has an impact on us.

[00:47:39] I think that now there’s much more awareness, but if, if we don’t have any bees, then we cannot pollinate a lot of the food that we have. So therefore, our food system will change and therefore how we survive might change and, When we start to understand how interconnected we all are, that changes.

[00:47:57] And from a family constellation perspective, we are so much closer than we believe. Like, just think back, we might have someone in common like a hundred generations ago. So, if I can see everyone , As a member of my family, then how does that change my approach to how I treat others and how I see others and how I understand that.

[00:48:24] So whether I want to see them as family, or just the fact that we are all interconnected, then how I approach things. It’s very different and not every, not only everyone but everything. So if I connect to the waters, if I connect to the land, if I connect to the animals, then my behavior changes because I’m much more aware of my impact or our collective impact on.

[00:48:54] Laura Hartley: Okay. I mean, Brian, you have offered so much today, so I really wanna thank you for that. But I do wanna ask you one final question as well. You know, that if there is one piece of wisdom that you were to kind of succinct into a message to help us transform the world from, as it is to, as it could be, what would that be?

[00:49:15] Where would you start us to look for social healing?

[00:49:18] Brian Berneman: I would reiterate a few of the things that I mentioned in terms of coming back to the body, coming back to the feelings, integrating work from slowing down and being able to do that integrated work of our experience and our ancestors experience. As well, I think that it’s really important to be able to understand and do the work of understanding our values and the things that we stand.

[00:49:42] And then seeing if our actions are aligned to that. So if I can start to behave in a way that aligns more with what I believe in, then we are going to get to that world. We’re going to be so much closer to a thriving world than where we are now that.

[00:50:04] For some people it’s beautiful. And for some people it’s not at all. And for a lot of our animals and our earth, it’s not. So if we want to create that change, we just need to look and understand how that inner work that we’re doing has an impact out.

[00:50:22] Laura Hartley: Brian, thank you so much for coming on the show and for everything you’ve offered.

[00:50:26] Brian Berneman: Thank you. Thank you for having me and thank you for keeping on doing your work to be able to, to spread this. Not only like doing your inner work, but sharing with so many as well. So thank you. Thank

[00:50:38] Laura Hartley: you everyone. Please go check out Brian Berneman and conscious action. New Zealand. All of the details will be in the show.

[00:50:45] I do love it when topics and guests are suggested. So please feel free to reach out via my website. publiclove.Enterprises. Otherwise you can reach us on Instagram @laura.h.hartley

How can we… lead from the feminine?

How can we… remake HR?


We chat with Rebecca Weaver, the Founder and CEO of HRuprise, an employee advocacy organization that supports employees and companies with flexible, independent HR for the new world of work.

After 20 years in HR leadership at Fortune-50 companies and startups, she became disillusioned with her own profession in the wake of #MeToo, and realized just how much is stacked in favor of the company.Thus, HRuprise was born to help level the playing field for employees.

Rebecca advises fast-growing companies on how to build equitable HR practices from the ground up, and provides cutting-edge thought leadership on HR disruption as a public speaker, writer and as host of the Problem Performers podcast.

Learn more:

About Coaching & Programs: www.laurahartley.com
Follow Laura on Instagram @laura.h.hartley
Join the Pause, our weekl-ish email for changemakers

About Rebecca & HRUprise:
@hruprise on Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn

Check out this episode!


TRANSCRIPT: Please note this was auto-generated and has not been edited, and may contain errors.

Laura Hartley: I’m Laura Hartley and welcome to the Public Love Project. This podcast is all about re-imagining and remaking the world, creating the conditions for social healing and collective thriving. Each week, we dive into topics around resilience, social change, birthing, and more just, and regenerative world and how we can use our head heart and hands in action. Before i introduce today’s guest and topic though i have one request head on over to apple podcasts or spotify wherever you’re listening and hit subscribe rate and review it helps us work to reach new listeners

Today’s guest is Rebecca Weaver. Rebecca is the founder and CEO of HRUprise, an employee [00:01:00] advocacy organization that supports employees and companies with flexible, independent HR for the new world of work. After 20 years in HR leadership at fortune 50 companies and startups, she became disillusioned with her own profession in the wake of #metoo and realized just how much is stacked in favor of the company.

Thus HRUprise was born to level the playing field for employees. Yes. Rebecca advisors fast-growing companies on how to build equitable HR practices from the ground up and provides cutting edge thought leadership on HR disruption as a public speaker, writer and host of the problem performance podcast

Welcome Rebecca. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Rebecca Weaver: Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be. ,

Laura Hartley: this podcast is all about social healing and about how we can remake the world. And I so love what you do. , I’m really hungry for a change in the way that we work. And to me, this is all about, what you do and what your business is about.

But I would love to hear from you a little bit about HR [00:02:00] Uprise and how you came to be doing this work.

Rebecca Weaver: Sure. So I guess it was about five years ago now, five or six years ago, it was in the wake of #metoo, going viral. As we now know, it was not the first time that hashtag had been used, but these conversations that emerged globally sounded really different from anything that I could remember in my professional career.

I hear all these women standing up and talking about the experience they’d had. I myself was looking back at my own experiences and understanding those with new language and understanding them in a new light. And at the same time, I was also looking back as a career HR professional. At that time, I had about 15 years of HR experience.

So I’m looking back at multiple decades of HR. And I was thinking to [00:03:00] myself, my God, we have been part of the problem. HR has been part of the problem that has part of the system that was created that allowed. Misogyny harassment discrimination to take root in the workplace. And why, why aren’t we talking about that?

Why aren’t we having conversations about that within HR? I was seeing plenty of headlines at the time. That would say things like if you’re harassed, don’t go to HR or HR is not your friend. And here’s why, so there were plenty of people talking about HR. But I didn’t see any of that conversation coming from within, and at the time I was the head of HR for an advertising agency.

And so some of the creatives came together and we talked about it. We kept having these conversations at work. And so they came up with the logo and helped me come up with a [00:04:00] name. And I called at HR uprising because I was calling for an up rise within HR. And I just kept saying to the team, I just have a lot to say, I have a lot to say, and I need a place to say it.

And we decided Instagram seemed like the best place to do that. There was a lot happening at the time, especially within advertis. Advertising was having its own sort of me too moment at the time. And so Instagram seemed like the best place to do it. So I launched this Instagram account with a partner of mine from work and it just exploded.

And so the initial response, we had like a thousand followers in the first week and the initial response was so far beyond what we had expected. You know, we, we started posting, you know, pretty non HR kinds of things. We were swearing and doing all kinds of fun stuff. And, you know, calling on HR about, these are all the [00:05:00] ways that we really need to do things differently that we need to get our act together, et cetera, et C.

And what was really fascinating is almost immediately, we started hearing from non HR people in direct messages. So they were employees who started to reach out and they would say, I witnessed someone being harassed. How can I be a good ally without getting myself into trouble with HR? Or I just found out I make a lot less than my male counterparts.

Is there anything I can do about. Or I was asked to sign an NDA. What should I know? Like, although these questions that we realized, well, if you had a trusted HR partner, you wouldn’t need to reach out to HR or to someone who essentially is a complete on the internet. And so it really sent me down this path of looking at how can the question almost from the very beginning was how couldn’t I use my experience, my [00:06:00] decades of experience in HR and flip the tables, how can I use my experience to help support the employee in the workplace and pull myself out of that double bind of.

And the double bind is essentially this. You ask most people what’s HRS role in a workplace. Right. And they would say they most likely would say company culture. They’re there to be there for the employee. Right? Most of the time people would say that even HR would tell you that a lot of the time employee development, things like that.

The reality is, first of all, all of that is well intentioned and in good environments is absolutely the case. However, the reality is if ever there is a conflict between what’s best for the employee and what’s best for the organization, the organization’s gonna win out every single time. And the role of HR is there to [00:07:00] support the organization first.

And so. What I kept asking from the very beginning with HR Uprise is how can I use the experience that I have, because it is so helpful, you know, friends or family would reach out and they would say, Hey, I’m dealing with this issue. And I could step out of my obligation of the company in that moment.

And I could say here’s some questions to ask. Here’s some things to be aware of. Here’s how to protect yourself. Right. I could give them that completely unfettered advice. And so that became the question of how can we provide that on a broader. So that is ultimately what turned into where we are today with HR app price, we offer coaching.

So we have a network of coaches who have experienced very similar to mine but lots of different industries lots of different experience, types and levels can give that advice and employees don’t have to ever worry about it, getting back to their employer because it’s completely dependen.

And then in addition, we’ve started working with [00:08:00] companies because we want companies to do better. We need, we need companies to do better. And so it’s really kind of both sides to the business, but that’s, that’s where we are today.

Laura Hartley: Yes. I mean, I wanna celebrate this so much because I think this is so important and having this dual approach of working with companies as they are, but also kind of supporting people when they don’t have that access.

But I wanna step back a little bit because they found it really interesting when you said that, HR at the time, wasn’t having these conversations. And again, when you started on Instagram, that it was non HR people who were actually resonating with your message and who were reaching out to you.

do you think that has changed, but also, what was holding back those conversations within HR? Was it a lack of awareness or was it a more systemic issue?

Rebecca Weaver: That’s a great question. I, I mean, I think it’s probably a multiple things, but. What I, what I experienced I will say, like that was a [00:09:00] surprise.

You know, when we first launched and started hearing from employees, I was not anticipating how much the message would resonate with employees. And what it told me and what I have seen over and over again since then is just how hungry people are for a different approach. In the workplace. Like I would love to have a great relationship.

I would love to have someone there who truly is there to advocate for me as the employee. They’re very hungry for that. And yet the system that we have today and certainly the way that HR is structured in most organizations, doesn’t support that. In addition to that, what I would say is I was anticipating a bit of pushback from, from HR as a broad community.

I mean, I certainly knew that there are plenty of other HR professionals who would view things similarly to how I did. , I had tons of conversations with them as, or come as we’re getting ready to launch [00:10:00] HR up rise and lots of aha moments in those conversations. And. But I, but I still anticipated some pushback and I would say as a broad profession, we still have so far to go.

So, so far to go. What has been amazing is how quickly we amassed this incredible network of HR, vice coaches. So we have 80 plus coaches who signed on the majority of them signed on in the first couple months. And we’ve had to have a waiting list ever since then. That’s incredible. And so, yeah, and, and I will say it’s I wasn’t anticipating that either.

And that’s been a really pleasant surprise, and again has really shown just how much. There’s a desire within the HR community to do things differently. You know, all of these HR, upright coaches have been attracted by the [00:11:00] idea of being able to do things differently. To be able to look at their practices as policies, how we do things, give advice based on their experience that that’s really what’s drawn them into the experience.

So that part has been really wonderful.

Laura Hartley: Yeah, I’m curious as well. You know, we’re recording this interview at a really interesting moment in time. Obviously only a few days ago in the us, Roe V. Wade was overturned and. It feels like we’re possibly on the brink of, another form of revolution that we need here.

Yeah. Given your business, an HR uprising was born out of me too. Another really pivotal moment in time. I’m curious about your thoughts about this around whether companies should speak out on this issue, how we support employees, what is the role of organizations in this space that we’re facing at the moment?

Rebecca Weaver: The past couple of years? [00:12:00] Have been, it feels like one massive social movement after another. Me too feels like it was maybe the beginning of that. And then we have black lives matter and the pandemic of course affected everyone, but the social movements with black lives matter.

And now, now we’re looking at reproductive health and how that is impacted in the workplace. What I’ve said for years is that there is no such thing as an apolitical workplace. It just does not exist. And it’s really, really disheartening to me to see was I believe last summer there were a couple of companies.

That came out and basically said we’re banning all political conversation within the workplace. We’re just here to do a job and blah, blah, blah. And it’s, it’s so disheartening to me because number one, I don’t think that’s even possible, even if you wanted to. I don’t think it’s possible. [00:13:00] Number two is certainly not the ideal that we should have for the workplace employees.

There are so many employees, especially those who are coming from a marginalized identity. that their very existence is political. And now as a woman, I am experiencing that as well. My very existence is political. My definition of healthcare is political where I might be able to seek the rights that I have are now determined by which state I live.

At a fundamental level that is political. And so I think we are starting to see, I have been encouraged by the number of organizations that have come out in the past few days. And even before that, there were some organizations that came out even before the official ruling to say that they are now adding that they will pay for [00:14:00] travel.

For anyone, any of their employees who need to travel to another state for an abortion, that they will pay the travel costs for that that they’re ensuring that abortion care is covered in their medical benefits, things like that. I’ve been encouraged by the number of companies that we’ve heard from.

And also there are so many more to. So many more to go. And part of what’s really, really concerning, especially based on the, the clients that we typically work with at HR up rise. What I am very fearful of is that we will quickly get to a place where We essentially have two realities for employees in, in the United States.

And if you work for a large organization where putting those kinds of benefits in place is very easy for them to do structurally versus working for a smaller business, where they tend to see many more barriers or they have more fear. [00:15:00] Around putting something like that in place. What I wanna tell businesses is it’s absolutely possible.

Even if you’re a small business, it’s absolutely possible to do it in a manageable way. And so , we could talk about that for days. It’s absolutely possible, but again, it really does require it’s gonna require so much more conversation it’s gonna require so much more education. And that will be honestly the.

The crux of the work that we will be doing in the near future with all of our clients. Yeah.

Laura Hartley: And I can see that this is one of the challenges when healthcare becomes political and is linked to employment, and then employment says, well,, this is not a political space and this is where we don’t discuss this.

You there’s a real barrier there. And I loved one of your, your quotes, which was talking about, professionalism is dehumanizing. This very way that we go to work and we’re supposed to kind of shut off our other identities to turn off all the other things that are happening to us in our [00:16:00] life.

And I’m wondering if that plays into that conditioning that, there’s a space for politics. There’s a space to talk about these difficult things and it’s

Rebecca Weaver: not here. Absolutely. It’s absolutely true. Professionalism, you know, what we have tended to view as professional in the workplace tends to do with what you wear, how you do your hair, how you show up, how you communicate, the things that you value the written word above all else.

For example, like all of these things that we tend to to say are characteristics of the professional are all rooted in white supremacy. And we don’t talk about that enough. So these idea, this idea that for black men and women that wearing their hair in a natural way is considered unprofessional. and I bet you’d be hard pressed to [00:17:00] find a black man or woman who works in a corporate setting who hasn’t been told that at least once in their career.

Right. And it, and again, I mean, think about it on its surface that we tell somebody that the way that their hair naturally grows out of their head is considered unprofessional. I mean, It, it just boggles the mind. and, and yet that has been the quote unquote wisdom right. Of the, of the professional world for decades, even things like Worshiping punctuality and, worshiping individualism over community focus or collaboration.

All of those things are, are rooted in white supremacy. And, and we have to be willing to talk about these things. We have to be willing to talk about how, whether out, whether it’s been. Intentional or not the impact, what the impact has been on our employees for, for [00:18:00] all of these years. So, yeah. Cons concepts about professionalism or executive presence.

That’s another phrase that’s used frequently, right? That’s this nebulous. But really what it means is, you know, are you showing up like a white male typically would in the workplace, right. It’s powerful, aggressive, right. And, and all of these things that we hold up as being ideal for a white male in the workplace, we punish women and people of color for showing those same ideals in the workplace.

Laura Hartley: Oh, I, you know, I’ve had that experience myself, this idea that to, to lean in, or to kind of claim your space that you need to act in, a manner, very similar to how men act and I’m particular to how white men act that you need to obey. And, at the same time, the double standards that, if you act in that way, you’re often seen as pushy, you’re seen as bossy, you’re seen as controlling, and it’s not really leadership material.[00:19:00]

Right. You know? Right. One of. The things that I love, you have a podcast. It is called problem performers. Yes. And as soon as I heard that title, I was like, oh my God, that’s

Rebecca Weaver: me. Because I,

Laura Hartley: I was labeled at problem performers so many times, like I could do my job incredibly well. I was very efficient.

I was very good at what I did, but I bucked the status quo a little bit, you know, I challenged the norms within an organization and I thought, Hey, we could do this better. We could do this differently. And very few places, even the ones that liked to label themselves as innovative were really like, oh yeah, let let’s try that out.

It was, oh, you know, Laura is wonderful, but perhaps a little bit difficult to manage her a little bit outspoken. Yes. So I’m wondering, what do you think of this? You know, how did you come up with this title?

Rebecca Weaver: that’s exactly it. That’s exactly it. It’s another one of those concepts that I think we, we have to blow up entirely.

I named the [00:20:00] podcast problem performers because all the most interesting people I know have been called a problem performer, at least once right. They’ve been, they’ve been labeled that and I too have been given that title. It’s because the, the people who are, who are pushing back on that status quo, the people who are pushing for change within the workplace.

I mean, the status quo does not appreciate that. You know, the, the folks who have retained power and I, I mean that more structurally than I do even individually, right. But the, the, the folks who have retained power for so long. Don’t like people attempting to disrupt the system you know, attempting to buck the system in any way.

And so labeling somebody, a problem of performer is one of the most classic tools that is used. All of a sudden it’s oh, well, their, their performance is not meeting standard. And here are the [00:21:00] four reasons why. And so part of it is I wanna call attention to that as well, because I know far too many people who have fallen into that trap of being labeled problem performer and thinking that it actually has something to do with them.

Yeah. This

Laura Hartley: internalization that I’m bad, or I’m not good for what I do. There’s something wrong with

Rebecca Weaver: me. Exactly. And I would say. Now most likely there’s something wrong with the system, especially if , you are fighting the good fight speaking up when you know you should , listening to that internal voice of yours.

Yeah, it is the system and that is the part that we have to continue to work to bust it down. However, we.

Laura Hartley: yeah. , and so many of us, I think, who were labeled problem performers, certainly listening to this podcast have kind of pivoted into entrepreneurship, into mm-hmm , , I run a program business for the revolution, which is about [00:22:00] how do we create a feminist business beyond capitalism, beyond patriarchy, and really disentangle ourselves from these systems, including white supremacy as well.

But one of the challenges, , we face in entrepreneurship, I think this idea that we have to do everything and we do at the beginning. Yeah. , you, you wear every single hat, but then knowing how to actually create the environment and the culture that we want can be challenging. So I read, and I wanna quote you here and sorry, I love doing this, but visionary organizations have to run on passion for years before they turn a profit.

This means that all kinds of emotional and interpersonal compromises that get made in order to keep. when the company finally gets traction and begins to grow. Many of these early benign issues morph into deep rooted toxicities. And, , I think both you and I probably run a visionary organization that runs also on passion as well as profit mm-hmm.

so curious, like [00:23:00] where do we start with this? How do we stop that from happening?

Rebecca Weaver: I think part of it, part of it is, is having to be intentional from day one. And part of what I was trying to get with that piece that you quoted is that it can be very, very easy. And we work with a lot of organizations that are at this stage too.

Very, very easy, because there are so many demands on your time. So many places, you know, you’re, you’re really trying to boil the ocean. , when, especially in the early days of entrepreneurship and what we find is that. when especially when an organization gets to maybe it’s funding opens up opportunities for hiring and they start to get to the place where they.

Engaging hiring new team members on that it can be very, very easy to go back to. Okay. Who have I worked with before? Who do I know? [00:24:00] Right. Who can come in very quickly and hit the ground running, right? These are all the phrases that we hear frequently. And the challenge with that is that by definition, you are not building a diverse team.

If that is your sole. If that is solely what you’re relying on for hiring a team. And I think it’s important to recognize how frequently this happens and acknowledge that so that we can then do better going forward. And so my, my recommendation, especially for very early stage entrepreneurs is start from the beginning.

Look, there’s a one thing that I recommend super simple. But a game changer in your mindset, which is as you’re thinking about bringing other people on board. So whether it’s team members, whether it’s contractors that you might be working with, maybe it’s a consultant you’re gonna bring in to work with you.

[00:25:00] What will this person who’s the culture add? Not the culture fit. Oh, I love that. Great. So again, very, very simple, but it can be really, really profound in just shifting your mindset to thinking about how can I bring this on? Who, who has a perspective that I don’t have, who has a skill set that I don’t currently have, who you know, has a lived experience.

That’s nothing like mine, you know, all of those things are going to add to your culture. And this is the part I don’t know that we talk about nearly enough. When you’re building a diverse team, it’s by definition, not going to be the, oh, we just slide in together. We come together and it just all fits, right.

It is not going to be that, that type of environment because who are you most likely to have that? Oh, we just slide in together. We finish each other’s sentences. Right? Those are gonna be [00:26:00] people who are very much like yourself.

Laura Hartley: Yeah. And people who uphold the status quo then as well of an organization exactly.

Are not really challenging anything.

Rebecca Weaver: Exactly. And so if you’re looking for that culture add, it will by definition be potentially more challenging communication wise. It may be more challenging for you to come together and to find your goals. It may be more challenging. Like those things may take just a little bit longer.

But it will be infinitely worth it, and you will create a much, much better product, whatever that is for your business, you will create an infinitely better product down the road. If, if those are the things that you are super intentional about from the very beginning, Hmm.

Laura Hartley: And what are these myths that we need to let go of, , in order to have more diverse hiring and to be conscious, , in contractors team members, in whatever we’re doing, because you mentioned one of them that like, we just need to hit the ground running.

, I think another one is that,[00:27:00] , it’s easy to hire within our network. It’s just, it’s so much easier. Yeah. What else, what else comes up? What are some of these thought patterns that keep us stuck in hiring, , culture fits versus

Rebecca Weaver: culture? Yeah. One that I hear frequently is, well, we’d love to hire more diverse candidates.

There just aren’t that many in our profession and, and I hear that. in just about every profession, just about every industry across the board. Well, we would love to, we just, it’s a pipeline problem. I just don’t exist here. Yeah. It’s a pipeline problem or yes, it’s a geographical problem. This is not a super diverse city or things like that.

And to that, quite frankly, I say bullshit. Is it okay if I said that on your podcast? Absolutely. Go ahead. I do. I mean, I. Throw the bullshit flag on that. Again, you just, you have to be intentional about where you’re seeking out your candidates. Again, you do have to go [00:28:00] beyond your personal networks. You know, there are tons of studies that say for those of us white people that it’s really, really min minuscule percentage of white people who have one or two true.

Friends who are people of color, like a minuscule number, shocking number, actually. And so you think about that again, playing itself out, over and over again to your personal networks. If you were going back to your personal network in who, you know, if that’s solely who you’re relying on for your hiring will what kind of culture do you think that you’re gonna be creating?

So the, yeah, the pipeline. issue is probably one of the biggest myths that I would like to debunk.

Laura Hartley: What do you think of, , the workplace as a family, as we’re often sold as well, especially when we’re looking at this diversity, right? Is it a family

Rebecca Weaver: [00:29:00] workplace is not a family and I quite honestly, I find it a huge red flag when companies use that term.

I’m not saying that. It’s funny. Cause I, I posted about this not too long ago and I don’t know that I, I think it’s probably the most comments I’ve ever gotten on a LinkedIn post. And I had quite a few people disagreeing with me, which was interesting. I even got a couple of D DMS on this one. I don’t know why they didn’t wanna be like notified or identified publicly in public.

Yeah. Yeah. I’m not saying that companies don’t have coworkers who are very supportive of each other who go above and beyond to support one another who work very well together, who collaborate well together. I think all of that is obviously the ideal and what we wanna create. However, that’s not a family.

And also I think when you [00:30:00] use the, the trope of. Our workplace is a family more often than not. My experience has been, those are the company cultures that are pretty toxic. They’re coming from pretty toxic family relationships. Many people do not have a positive connotation with family. And so I think being aware of all of, all of those things, like what I have seen is it’s far too often been used as an excuse to it’s been used to excuse really bad behavior within the workplace.

So what I would propose that companies think of instead is I would love for us to think of ourselves as a high performing sports. And so we are looking to recruit other super hyper performers. Each person has a role to play on the team. They know what that role is. They’re really clear about that.

They’re really clear about how their role, if [00:31:00] affects others on the team, we all have a singular goal that we wanna win together. Like that, to me, feels like a much healthier metaphor for the workplace than a family.

Laura Hartley: Yeah. And this feeling that, you know, how your role actually influences and supports others, cuz that’s something that I’ve also found, working in organizations is departments and roles are very siloed and sometimes you’re just kind of doing your thing, but I’m like, well, how does this fit into the broader picture?

You know, what would happen? Absolutely. If this role

Rebecca Weaver: stopped. . Yep, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, that’s really the role of a good leader. You know, is that communication bridging, bridging you know, one department to another one division to another, whatever the appropriate structure of the workplace is.

But that’s the, of a good leader you know, is really to, as I teach companies about company culture, one of the questions I get frequently is like, what is the side of a, a [00:32:00] good healthy culture? And what I would say is if you were to ask any person within your organization, what their role is and how does it contribute to the company’s success.

And if every person within the organization can re reasonably reliably answer that question. That’s the sign of a healthy culture. To me, it’s from the janitor all the way to the CEO, right? If everybody along the path can say, here’s my job. Here’s how my job contributes to the success of this organization.

Here’s how I contribute to. You know, the mission of the organization, our goals that we’ve set, whatever that is, right? However, your company defines that if each person can do that, then that’s the sign of a really healthy comp company culture. To me,

what [00:33:00] would you

Laura Hartley: say your boldest? Most beautiful vision of HR could be.

Rebecca Weaver: Mm

  1. I love that question. I think my boldest biggest vision honestly, would be seeing the entire profession changing really dramatically. I like to say like blowing it up entirely. Not everybody shares that being a beautiful vision, but I think that sounds beautiful. Really, and truly the structure of HR has not changed.

For over a hundred years. And, and I’m speaking specifically about the us, but I think this is the case for, for many Western countries. The role is not the, the structure has not changed in over a hundred years. And , I see study after study, after study there was one in just a few years ago that estimated that 80%

of [00:34:00] employees do not trust HR. And we go back to, and I, I think that’s probably pretty accurate depending on your industry or your company. You go back to our earlier conversation about that double bind. I think that’s why the other part of the problem is that we’ve continued to heap on these expectations of our HR professionals.

And I will say as much as I love to beat up on the profession, I am not here to beat up on the professionals, the people who are in the role, because they’re working harder than they ever have by and large, we’re seeing massive amounts of burnout within HR. And I think part of the problem is it was already heading this direction.

We’re continuing to heap on more and more expectations that are quite frankly really unrealistic. So we expect in many organizations, the same person who investigates misconduct in the workplace to also be the person who helps [00:35:00] decide who’s ready for the next promotion, which is an inherent conflict of interest.

No wonder nobody trusts HR, right. When we have that kind of system set. And yet now we’ve also heaped on top of that chief mask compliance officer and chief medical officer for the organization. Right. And like we we’ve now heaped work from home or work anywhere. Chief come up with our remote work policy officer for the organization as well.

And so, you know, it’s just gotten worse over the past couple of years. And so really, and truly, I would love for us to see a completely different structure. That that really separates out the, how do we support employees in the workplace and the, how do we ensure compliance? And the inner workings, the operations of the organization continues to run smoothly and we just see a complete separation of those two things.

That would be my dream.

Laura Hartley: I love that, you know, I think there’s [00:36:00] so much. More space and more opportunities and more possibilities that could come from actually, you know, separating out those roles. I want to really thank you for coming on the show today. Is there anything, any last piece of advice that you wanna offer your, our listeners who might be thinking about starting a business or running that their post capitalist, feminist, you know, business, what can they do to take something away from this

Rebecca Weaver: conversation?

I love that my best advice. I think for someone who’s just starting out honestly, is to pay attention to everything. And I , that, that sounds a little counterintuitive in a, you know, we must also be mindful, but what I mean by that is there’s so much that I think of now that has had direct impact on.

My views about the world how I run my business, the things that become really critical that started [00:37:00] as a kernel of something, you know, many, many years ago, or maybe it was someone I, that I met with who now introduces me to someone else who becomes a really key business partner ally for me.

I don’t think there’s any wasted. When it comes to following the path and the pursuit of passion it may not always be entirely clear what that will look like and how that might turn into an actual business for you. But I come back to the quote, I think it’s Howard Thurman that says Oh, shoot.

I’m gonna butcher right now. It’s a quote that says don’t ask what the world needs ask what makes you come alive because what the world needs is for more people to come alive. Did I completely, no, no, I think you right.

Laura Hartley: Okay, good. By the quote as well. You know, I agree. We need a, we need everybody in [00:38:00] creating a more beautiful world, the revolution calls, but every.

To look within and to find new ways of doing things. So I wanna thank you again so much for coming on the show today. Everyone, please go check out Rebecca Weaver and HRUprise. All of the links Instagram LinkedIn website will be in the show notes below. I love when listeners suggest topics or guests.

So please head on over to our website. publiclove.Enterprises and send me an email. Otherwise you can follow me on Instagram @laura.h.hartley thank you everyone.