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Episode #247 // Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Check-In with Erica Courdae | Being Boss


Emily Thompson 0:10
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (or DEI for short,) has been a big topic this year as continued uncovering of the world’s unjust systems and deeply ingrained biases took place around the world with a spotlight at pointing right here at us in America. Six months ago, we were all prompted to pause and take a look at ourselves in our businesses, the systems that we’re building to make sure we’re not perpetuating the harm that’s lingered for centuries, so that the new world we build actually fully aligns with the values that we claim to honor and uphold. Welcome to being boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I’m your host, Emily Thompson. In this episode, I wanted to conduct a D I check in with my friend Eric core day, in an effort to not slow down the conversation about the continuously important topic of building lives and businesses that support the kind of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that I believe is paramount to being a good human and growing a responsible business. Erica cor de has dedicated her life to expanding how others interact with the world through powerful conversations. As an entrepreneur and certified coach, her work is frequently focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and perfect ally ship and imposter syndrome. This work has taken her across the country onto stages and into communities as a key speaker and educator. Erica also has a podcast Paul’s on the play, which features open conversation and dialogue on the topics of her work and more. Her support and leadership facilitates engaged conversations within six figure communities, international podcasts and live events to connect people and create change. You may recall snippets of Erica in Episode 236. Our recap to the make time to shine conference, and members of the community will recognize her from her presence in that space. But today I’m excited to have this conversation with her here to fully introduce you to her work and to give some insight into how you may be able to continue your efforts and being an anti racist and and building anti racist organizations, even when the social media call for effort has calmed down. But before we dive in, here’s a word from our sponsor.

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Emily Thompson 3:36
Erica, welcome to Being Boss. I’m so glad to officially have you here.

Erica Courdae 3:42
Thank you. I’m glad to be here. I’m like I get to officially like hello people. I’m here I love you. I’m so I’m so happy.

Emily Thompson 3:50
This is gonna be a ton of fun. We had you you are kind of unofficially here several months ago because you came and did a couple of sessions with me at the Being Boss conference this spring and then in our little roundup episode, you made some appearances. But this will be our first I guess real recorded conversation for the podcast. And I can’t wait for everyone to be introduced to you and what it is that you do but also just like just hang out with you because you’re fun.

Erica Courdae 4:22
Oh, thank you. I’m excited for that. And I’m going to agree that right back you are fun, which is why I highly like like conversation with you just give so much. So I’m like yes, please. Thank you.

Emily Thompson 4:36
Right Well, and I’m very excited to be having this conversation with you for a multitude of reasons. But especially for you and especially now I think having this conversation is going to be a really good one for both of us because we’ve had plenty of conversations behind the scenes but we haven’t had like we haven’t really been able to dive in for the purpose of like, of sharing this and providing value to other people like you just some internal chats that are happening. So I’m excited to really see what we can pull out of this for the benefit of all of the bosses because I can only imagine it’s going to be a ton. I’m excited I really am and being able to pull out those key pieces that really make impact that a conversation, I’m always here for that. So let’s do it. Let’s do it. Well, to get started, I would like to hear from you. Because I haven’t even heard this story. I would love to hear from you how it is that you got into dei coaching? What did that path look like? And what made you sort of take that leap?

Erica Courdae 5:40
Um, well, I’m gonna step back I, I have been in the beauty industry now for almost 23 years. And so I’ve spent a lot of time in proximity with people paying me to put my hands in their hair and listen to them talk to me, for a stretch of time, and so I’ve spent a lot of time relationship building and allowing people to feel comfortable and vulnerable with me. And I’ve learned over the years what it looked like to hear what people said, but actually didn’t say that reading between the lines. And I’ve heard a lot of conversations that did include things like, you know, I’m a black woman, and you know, I’m high ranking and go in a government agency, and yet I don’t feel comfortable to wear my natural hair, like I don’t want to be undermined. I don’t want to deal with any nonsense with it. And I’ve had countless conversations with people in this way. And I hit a point A few years ago, where I was like, wait, coaching, oh, this is a whole thing. You mean, I’ve been doing this for years, and I haven’t been getting paid for it. Wait, wait, let me let me fix this. So I went and I took my, my classes, and I am a certified coach. I am also an ACC level. So I’m an ICF. Coach as well. So I’m not somebody that just said, I’m going to be a coach like no, I actually went and did my shit to actually say that this is what I do. And it really put me in a place of learning some of the other ways that I can do this intentionally, and to as much as possible to to do no harm, because when people open themselves up, there’s a lot of moving pieces there. And I think it’s worthwhile to acknowledge that when there’s no knowledge base, there’s no awareness of what can happen, things can can go, you know, bad or they can go wrong. And so it was really important to me to do something that was going to make an impact. And I had a coach that was like, you know, D is your thing. And I was like, Oh, well, no, you’re right. And so I looked back and I realized that, again, it was a part of the conversations that I was having. It was a part of me as a black woman that grew up liking whatever music I liked, dating whoever I liked, being friends with whoever I liked, and knowing what that looked like, being someone that was black and had some people that assumed what type of hair I did or didn’t do. I knew what this was from all of the sides. And then stepping into doing it intentionally continuing the education side of it and realizing Oh shit, like I need to do this. Like I felt the calling for it. And so when everything kind of shifted this year, and George Floyd was murdered on film, I was like, I hate that this is happening on the heels of a black man being murdered on film, however, was fuckin born for this.

Emily Thompson 8:43
I agree with that. What I’ve heard from you and and even hearing that story it’s so it’s so similar to so many I will say creative entrepreneur in this sort of context. But really those like really purpose driven entrepreneurs, you know, it’s something where you start doing the thing that is offered to you or maybe not even offered to you. I feel like that’s even a little more. A little maybe not passive. Ooh, I’m gonna today is gonna be a fun day with my words guys, I can go ahead and tell you, right you go into doing hair, you go into the beauty industry. And it ends up being very windy and you end up sort of getting these little nuggets these little sort of these like breadcrumbs right that lead you down the path that puts you in this place where now not only do you have the understanding of what it is that you want to do next, but you also have this like these little proof giving and and you know expertise giving situations all along the way that whenever this happens, you’re like oh, noted and ready for it, which I think is for me, that’s like the most proof in the pudding. Right is like you have been trained For this in the most non conventional ways possible, probably. But now that you’re here at all makes sense.

Erica Courdae 10:07
Absolutely. And you brought up something important because so often people think that a training that has been co signed and justified by somebody else’s piece of paper with the signature on it is the thing. And that’s not always the thing. Now, for me, I did not want to add to the noise of so many people that love to just pick up a title and say I am. And at the same time, this was something that I had literally been doing for years. And so understanding what relationship building look like listening to people and hearing what maybe they don’t even realize is a thing for themselves, being able to create connection, and understanding those pieces of what’s next. And what are the additional pieces that you can’t bottle. When you haven’t been a living expert in something. All of those things contribute to making me who I am as an individual, a business person and the way that I approach coaching and consulting because this is not, this does not come in a book.

Emily Thompson 11:17
No, and this is a joke, but not. And you literally have the practice of patience and self control that is required to hear hard things from people and literally not pull their hair out.

Erica Courdae 11:29
Yes. And that’s a whole thing. Everybody does not have the temperament for this. Like, it’s a whole thing.

Emily Thompson 11:36
For sure. For sure. Okay, then tell me then what it was like to just sort of maybe even from the multi passionate, creative point of view, like what was it like for you to make that transition? And are you like still in that drill? Like, are you still in the transition? Is it something you want to transition into further? Are you good, where you are now? Like, what is the situation look like between you and your, your work in the beauty industry, and then your work in the DEI coaching space.

Erica Courdae 12:06
So I definitely am still in both. And there are not a small amount of clients that I have that I will still do hair for. I don’t take a lot of new people because I’m like, No, truth be told, I make more money not standing on the chair. However, that is where it’s not about them, just the money because I do really enjoy the connections. And I’m very fortunate to have clients that do help to keep a certain amount of a pulse, I guess on some of the things that are happening. I have clients that you know, like, you know, work with Capitol Hill and things like that. So I have people that I’m able to feel like, okay, okay, I’m having this conversation, I know what’s happening, and it keeps me connected. But it’s definitely much more of the coaching and consulting. Now the interesting thing would be once we get let out of captivity, we’ll see what happens. But I’m fortunate that I have something that you know, it is a privilege for me to be able to work from home and do this. And at the same time, I really do want to step more into the fact of I want to bring more of this into the beauty community. I love this community dearly. And it is segmented and segregated, and so needs a swift kick in the ass. And I am willing to do it. But there’s a lot of things there that I would love to be able to provide more coaching and consulting to leaders and and brands around this. And I’m fortunate that I have a few now and I see how much me having that expertise in that area really does help to see what needs to shift. I mean, I remember going to beauty school and being like you’re not teaching how to do hair that was like mine. And when I was an instructor I used to teach at a Paul Mitchell cosmetology school. I specifically gave everybody the exact opposite of what they were the Asian girl got the white girl, the black girl got the white girl, the white girl here, go go do this natural hair go do a relaxer. Like I purposefully said I’m throwing you fully out the water that you will flap and figure out how to get back in or we’re gonna have to go back but we’re we’re in a teaching environment and I want you to learn what you don’t already know. And so I know where the disparities are because there’s very few places that I haven’t worked and touched in the time that I’ve been in that industry. So to say that I don’t want to come in and completely shake that shit up. I’d be lying.

Emily Thompson 14:39
And who else is poised better to do that?

Erica Courdae 14:42
I know right? It’s me. Of course it’s me.

Emily Thompson 14:44
it is you. it is totally you. Oh, I love this for you. I had not. I had not considered that path for you. But you saying that like I felt I felt a full body? Yes. From just from knowing what I know and what it is that you want to accomplish, I think that would be such an it because one, it’s an industry still ripe for a big mix up, right? And you are so well entrenched in both of them that you can just walk in there and show them how it’s done.

Erica Courdae 15:19
Exactly. Exactly.

Emily Thompson 15:22
Or at least have them question the way it has been done.

Erica Courdae 15:25
And that, to me is one of the most powerful things of what I do with anybody. I don’t need to tell you what to do. I’m not even here to tell you what to do. I’m here to ask you, what can you do differently? Why not? Just consider differently.

Emily Thompson 15:41
And that’s the power of it, for sure. And even if anyone hasn’t anyone listening to this has not listened to, let’s see if it was Episode 245, an episode that I did with Sally netherwood about leadership. But what Erica is saying right here right now is basically in practice exactly what Sally was saying about being a great leader. So there’s that little nugget. Okay, I want to talk a little bit, then I want to move into how things have shifted for you in really the past year. So in the DEO coaching space, in your work, in particular, how have things changed over the past, I’d say 12 to 18 months, though, I know that a lot of changes going to be there in the past six.

Erica Courdae 16:29
So I think, I think let’s go to 18 months, I think around that point. It was definitely like, like, it’s kind of that point when you’re like you were passionate, you know, full flame behind you. And you’re like, Yes, all these things. And yet I was there were people that I was encountering that I was just like, you know, it’s important. You want to do what you need to do it. And it’s like, I’m not sure. And so, first of all, there were people that from the tangibles standpoint, you know, they’re literally like, what, what’s the ROI? And I’m like, there’s no ROI, right? Like, there’s no ROI on being an anti racist, just not being an asshole. Let’s go with that. So yeah,

Emily Thompson 17:14
there probably is an ROI of being not being an asshole, I’m just gonna say that.

Erica Courdae 17:19
It is. And so the thing was, is over time, I actually did see clients being able to see where that ROI was. But in the beginning, there was this place of like, you know, everybody wanted things to be so tangible, and they wanted to be able to wrap their head around it. And it felt more like a nice to have. And so it was me trying to figure out, Okay, I don’t feel differently necessarily about my message. But I have to be in a place that I allow people to come in when they’re ready. But I also have to give you the cannon fodder to understand that it was necessary. And so 12 months, I started to see that really, really shifting in a different way. Because I had hit a point somewhere in that 12 to 18 month mark, where I started getting really frustrated with people that wanted to work with me, but you didn’t want to actually do anything. It felt very, like vanity focused. And I’m like, you want to say you work with me, you want to say you’re doing this, but you’re not actually doing anything. I remember one point, I was pissed. And I felt like, you don’t want to be an action. You don’t want to do anything. Like don’t don’t come to me, I’m not that person. I’m not that person. That’s gonna be like, Oh, it’s okay. No, no. So I remember just being like, Oh, God, please. And so. And it wasn’t because I didn’t think that these people were capable of it. That just actually frustrated me even more. Because I’m like you can, whether it’s because you’re telling yourself you can’t you’re fearful of what’s going to happen with the people around you. Because there were a lot of stories of how I got the stories from people who have like, I feel like it’s gonna affect my marriage, and am I gonna send all my business away. And for some people, they did notice that shift, but then they saw what came on the other end of it. So it was getting people to understand that like, if that happens, and you realize that, would you have wanted to not done this and realize where people actually were like, is that really the preferred answer here. And yet at the same time, I can’t push anybody to do this. Because if you don’t want to, you’re not going to and that’s not going to get the impact that I’m looking for. And so I noticed things shifting, and, you know, my my again, my messaging, my marketing, like I was saying the same things, which in that sense, repetition was good because like I wasn’t flip flopping. I wasn’t trying to Flim Flam anybody like wait, this is this and then I go change it. And so like, you know, speaking at xi podcast, doing alt summit in the spring, like I had seen things that it was like people want this, they need this. They want to hear it from me and the way that I do it and

Erica Courdae 20:00
And then we got quarantine. And I was like shit. All right. Now what it because I just didn’t know. And there was so many things slated to happen. And something shifted, one being the conference being boss conference that we didn’t get to go to New Orleans, but we still did it. And I still felt like it was so impactful. And then next thing we know, things started to ramp up. And within like days, that was when George Floyd was murdered. And I was like, as a black woman, I had my own things that I had to navigate, because I saw this man as somebody’s son, and I have a son. And it was heartbreaking to watch people online having these discussions, as they watch snuff porn, essentially, because that was what it felt like. And I was so grateful that I was in a place that business really felt good. And then all of a sudden, the floodgates open. And I was like, What just happened? Everybody had urgency. Everybody realized, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know I had no idea. Or I knew, and I have to now and it was such a flood of immediacy of everybody needing you to fix them. And it was an exercise and having to answer the call and be dedicated to what I had been consistently working and doing for, again, my life, and had stepped into it intentionally years before that. And, and was very fortunate that I was I was, I was in a place that I felt really good about it. But then all of a sudden, like I hit a month where I was like, this was one of my highest revenue months ever. And how do I feel as a black woman making money on the fact that a white police officer murdered a black man on film, and that was very challenging. And yet at the same time, these are all things that I was holding at once. I’m having to have these conversations with my daughter and my son, about people marching and why they were marching. And why it was it was not the narrative that some people were trying to tell about the people that were making their voice heard, and having to have conversations with them about what it looks like to be black in America, because my husband is white, and my children are half me and have him. But they are brown clearly. So nobody’s going to ask them what you are, they’re just going to see what your skin is. And they’re going to go with it. And so I’m having to figure that out. And also realizing like, I’ve worked for this moment, and yet I’m fucking tired.

Erica Courdae 23:04
I’m exhausted and yet, I have to all at the same time. And it is a very challenging place to be to realize that you need to take care of yourself, and there is a calling bigger than you that you have committed yourself to, and that needs to happen. And how do you navigate that while the world is a captive audience, because we’re all shut down? Because we’re dying from a virus at the same time. Yet the virus that’s been killing us for generations has popped up again, is that oh, well, since you’re listening, let me remind you all at the same time. And I have, I’ve been fortunate that I have way more support than what I thought I did. In the emotional standpoint. I am somebody that advocates for therapy, go give somebody your money and let them talk to you do EMDR whatever that thing is. But I also realized that I didn’t have to do it all by myself, and that I had people that would help me and that there was some things that just didn’t need to do and that it was okay to have moments to pause and regroup. And I’m at a point right now, that business still looks amazing. And I’m immensely grateful for what I do. And I feel more rested than what I did. And I feel that there’s space for me to really make sure that I have crossed my T’s and dotting my eyes and any place that I can in my processes and things for going into 2021 because there are still a whole lot of need for what I do. And I hope that there is a point that there is no need for what I do. You eventually I don’t know if I’ll ever live to see that. But I really do hope that

Emily Thompson 25:05
Same, I’m right there with you. And even hearing everything you said after knowing like, I know, I know these things about your air guy, you see the work that you do. We’ve talked about, you know, the weight and the I don’t want to say fear, because I don’t think it’s even fear. But like this worry, I guess about like, where things are coming from and all of these things. And the fact that you’re still showing up and doing these work, and you have kids, like they’re just you are, I just need to say this to you right now. You are a fucking powerhouse.

Emily Thompson 25:40
100% 150% 800% however many percentages I can give you, you are a powerhouse. And I do think that if anyone is as prepared as they can be to do this kind of work in the space and the time that you are currently doing it, it is you. So I just add like friend, a friend pat on back high five, all the things. You are a powerhouse, and I love watching you work. So yeah, of course, of course. And a couple little notes. I don’t think we ever really talked about this. But you mentioned alt summit. So I felt like I needed to I needed to bring this up. Whenever you and I met at alt summit. This was the second time we had met in person. And the second last time sadly, oh, you know, India, you and India or the last two people I hung out with before going into quarantine.

Erica Courdae 26:36
Oh my gosh.

Emily Thompson 26:37
Isn’t that a funny thing? I was thinking about this the other day, I was like going back and recalling times with friends. And I was thinking about the last couple of people that I hung out with and hanging out with you and India. You two were the last two people that I hung out with before the world locked down.

Erica Courdae 26:52
That is amazing. Yeah. Because literally, I just remember getting back and I was like, because I remember being nervous to go. But I was like, Oh, I’m going and then I got back and I’m like, I don’t have it. And I’m so glad I went because I don’t know when that’s going to happen again. And we don’t know what it’s gonna look like.

Emily Thompson 27:11
No, no, you don’t. Well, hopefully it’ll be you and India again. you and any anybody literally and Beggars can’t be choosers.

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Emily Thompson 28:04
Um, okay, there was a little nugget there that I do want to I do want to hit on and I think it’ll lead us into some other things that I’d like to chat with you about. And one of the things that you said was that people were calling you to fix them, to fix them and their businesses. And I do think that that is, I think on probably the like, more positive side of the spectrum. That is like still how it presents itself, right? It’s not how can I fix myself? It’s not what can I do better? It’s like, who can come fix this for me? or fix like, just fix me? So I would love to hear from you how it is like, how do you react whenever that is the way in which someone is coming to you around this work? And what reframe do you suggest around someone who sees their minds better perspective or point of view, or the systems that make up their business or whatever, as like needing someone external to fix them?

Erica Courdae 29:05
First of all, I think it’s a symptom of the way that so many people were taught to do business. And so they were very linear. They were very masculine. And they were very Matter of fact, in a way that like, there is a way to do it. And you just need to find that person that can do it with you in the shape. And it’s like, that’s not really the thing. And it’s not a thing for most people, let alone somebody that is sensitive. And so like a lot of my clients would identify as like HSP or you know, introverts or empaths. And so to basically go in and to have this very heavy, masculine Matter of fact attitude, doesn’t work with him anyway, and it doesn’t work with me. And so I think part of it is really just acknowledging What’s the good fit for you. And so I specifically try to market in a way that people that will kind of show up in that way as much as possible, will not make it through the gates. Like I try to kind of just like, you know, you want to call in certain things. And so I don’t set this up where like, I can be the one to do this, I’m not a monolith, I’m not here to be, you know, I’m going to fix you, first of all. So if you’re here for that, like, there’s no one person that’s going to fix, you stop looking for somebody to fix you. So I specifically try to frame things in a way that it’s understood that you shouldn’t be looking for it, but definitely don’t look at me for it. And there is no magical fix. This is not something that you come and you do this thing, this is not a three step process, this is not a, you know, go and follow this framework, and you’re good, it is not linear at all. And so it has to be someone that understands, I’m not here to fix you. So when I hear that I, you know, I will say things like, Well, you know, the way that I work, um, you know, we’re going to kind of go through the things that matter to you, and where you want to be and the impact that you want to make and the why.

Erica Courdae 31:15
But there’s no one thing. And it’s all the things because dei is not like, Oh, I’m going to you know, like a lot of people are like, oh, here’s my dei statement, which is not bad. It’s bad, when it’s ancillary to everything else, when this statement is not fused into what you do. dei is not something you do with how you do everything. And so people need to understand that, when you show up to me or anyone else that does this work, or is adjacent to this work, when you show up from a place of I need to be fixed, I just want to I just need to, you’ve missed the entire point. So it really is, yes, these are the things that I want or need to do. However, I have unlearning that I need to work on, I was taught certain things that I don’t currently believe. And I want to shift that I want to want to work through those things I am seeing where I want to do something differently. And yet, I’m scared, I don’t know how. And I’m not going to let that stop me. But I don’t want to do it alone.

Erica Courdae 32:26
And so it’s this place of I set up my messaging, or my even, you know, the podcast pause on a play when you go like I specifically try to talk in a way that it calls in a certain type of person. And at the same time, you know, if you bought up against things, you’re going to kind of hear that I’m probably not the best fit. But it’s meant to remind you that even though you need to have something that you’re working towards, you have to be willing to kind of crack open, you have to be willing to go into those things that are difficult and challenging. I sometimes will say like, if you don’t cry, I haven’t done my job. And it’s not because I make you cry. Because I do it shame and blame free from me. And it’s more because of the fact that if you’re going into the types of things that I you know, journey with people through, you ain’t doing it right. If you don’t hit upon something that you’re like, Oh, I don’t, I was taught that. And I don’t want to be there. That’s what I thought I had to do. Or, you know, where am I being quiet about it? Because I don’t want to lose clients or I don’t want to lose family? Or, you know, again, I don’t I don’t know what this is going to do to my marriage. Like, where are you segmenting yourself? So I really just find myself kind of asking people the questions for them to find the reframe. Because I don’t want to reframe it for you. Because I don’t know what this will be for you. I don’t know what you’ll experience when you go through it. And so I can’t promise you, and you shouldn’t be looking for that you should just come in saying I want to be better than where I started. Hopefully that answers your question.

Emily Thompson 34:12
I think so I absolutely think so. Because the big thing here I took away was that you know, di is not something that you do, but it’s how you do everything. And even think just that reframe. Like if someone comes in and they’re like, you know, let’s fix, let’s fix this system. Let’s fix, you know, how we hire or let’s fix, you know, my own discrimination, whatever it may be like it is an AI this idea that it is like a three step process or whatever, right? But it really is an adoption of an entire sort of mindset and value. Like it affects everything. It doesn’t affect one thing and won’t change one thing. It should affect literally everything. And I think what you’re even saying to is again, it’s not someone to come in and tell you to take these eight steps or whatever. It’s someone who will come in and be a mirror, Right, like you’re doing little mo know you’re doing a lot more but like, really there is this level of you’re doing little more than sitting there and having people look back at themselves, right and to see it and then see it hopefully in a new light or with new perspective. And I think that sucks for you. That sounds awful.

Emily Thompson 35:29
Which is hard to say you are such a powerhouse. And you know, we’ve had this conversation behind the scenes like on a on a Mormon metaphysical level, you are literally helping people process their own shadow. Right, when you were helping them do their own shadow work, which is like, even just saying it I think kind of makes my stomach upset. Like the idea of me going into that space. Like, you definitely have to, to thing I think you have to like really have some hardcore boundaries and practices and like all these things, which I do want to get into in a second. But I think for someone looking for this kind of thing, you’re right, like, you better get ready for some of the hardest, most insane, deep inner work to fix the whole system. And like in don’t shy away from it.

Erica Courdae 36:17
Right. Right. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, and so many people are like, Oh, it’s it’s fixing, you know, kind of the legislative piece of it, and the rules and the laws. And I agree, but I’m also, I’m a fan of the meeting place between top down and bottom up. Because I think if you fix all the things on the top, but nobody at the bottom gives a shit and they won’t follow the rules, it doesn’t matter. But if you do everything on the bottom, and it doesn’t shift the systems and it doesn’t matter. My thing is what happens in the middle. What do you do in between that, and for, for those that are in the, you know, self employed solopreneur, I employ my own team type of space, we make up more of the workforce than those that work for a company or an entity. And so there’s a hell of a lot of impact there. And people forget that they’re so focused on I want to work with corporate and this that any other and I’m like, I’m going to talk to the group of people that really doesn’t have as many people talking to them. The small businesses and not small businesses like Shake Shack, that guy, don’t get me started. Y’all, y’all took money, I would post the habit, you gave it back, but you shouldn’t get it. Um, but like that, that whole, like, Oh, I have less than 500 people per location. That’s not what I think when I think more even like a micro business. They’re not being talked to about this. And I think there’s a lot of opportunity and responsibility there for those that are employing the moms who are like, I don’t want to go back out into the traditional workforce, or I’m home and I still want to work, or I just want to do something different and it doesn’t exist out there. What are we

Emily Thompson 37:57
right? And think of the power that comes even from starting with businesses that small to where like, you know, let’s say 5% of those businesses do turn into those 500, you know, employees, small businesses or whatever. But they’ve started with this, like from that seedling level. Yes, that is where also another sort of element of great power comes into your work, right? And the effect that it then has the potential to have on more vast parts of the economy. It’s amazing, amazing work that you’re doing. I don’t if anyone here argues with that, turn this off. Now don’t come back. Don’t come back. Because, right, I did tell you and I’ll tell you again, um, because nobody has time for that. Um, okay, I want to get into then some practical things for the bosses who may still be here. After I told those to go that you can go to go, um, or honestly stay, I’d love to change your mind. I would like to talk to you about some practical ideas for bosses. And I really wanted to bring you in at this point in the timeline. Because it has been six months as of recording this and the killing of George Floyd. And so six months, six months ago, all of our business friends, all of you know everyone who has an Instagram account, whatever it may be made some sort of commitment, you know, or at least they thought about it or they thought about how they could change their business or they thought about implementing new things. Some of them may have actually started doing that. But six months later, are you still showing up and doing the work? So I would love to talk to you about what it could look like for a business owner, a boss, whatever, Freelancer I don’t even care to do a six month check in on those commitments that were made six months ago. What would you recommend?

Erica Courdae 39:52
So one of the things is I think when people at that point, were making their commitments or shifts for some people they really were made on under duress. And so now being at a place that you don’t have to feel that pressure to do it or be canceled, or, you know, do it to your own peril, just in the sense that you’re not paying attention to what’s happening in life and around you at this moment with this reckoning. So, you know, there were decisions or, you know, made and actions taken. And now you have an opportunity to say, okay, we see what’s currently happening in the US with the elections. I feel like, it’s still a question mark. It really isn’t a question mark, but some people think there is but okay.

Erica Courdae 40:37
And so I, we had somebody that actually replied to one of our own, our email blast that went out, and they mentioned how when the US sneezes, everyone else catches a cold. And so you said that to me a couple of days ago, and I have thought about it literally every day. That is 100%. True. And I just need to say that, let’s continue. Sorry, no, no, no, but you’re right. And it’s one of those things that you don’t think about the level of impact we have just with that. And so there’s really this place of everything that’s happening here. Regardless of where you are, as you listen to this, it’s likely that you are being impacted by this in some way, shape, or form, the ripple did reach you. And so if for any reason, you felt like you went into action at that point, and it’s like, okay, now I can kind of do it with a slight bit more of ease and less immediacy on it. Knowing that 2021 I mean, again, we’re hitting the ground running hard, because we still there still a lot to be done. And that was that was shown by what happened with the election. I think that this is an opportunity to reconnect with your why to literally stop and say, what, what is what is my goal, you know, if there’s something that is a bigger than self purpose, being able to be clear what that is and who it supports. And what it is that you have to do to begin to actually get there. I think it’s always helpful, just like anything else, I don’t think this is new information. But, you know, where do you want to be? And figure out now this is where I am, what does it look like to kind of work backwards, and for a lot of people have gone through kind of the analogy of, you know, come January, we’re going to have some type of, you know, shifting in power, in some way, shape, or form. And so, we know then, that in two years, we’re going to have a midterm election, three years, we’re going to be looking at who’s next four years, another transition of power. So if you feel like maybe you’re not sure if you have benchmarks with it, that can help. And so kind of looking at it like, Okay, what, what do I do? And how does that change those that have visibility? How does that support causes that need to be supported, and need people to know that they exist.

Erica Courdae 43:04
And I think if you are re evaluating what your why is, what your goal is, and how you want to get there, that I would be remiss to not tell you to re evaluate your values and make sure that they’re still aligned. Has there been any shifting? Is there anything else that you want to amplify in it? Is there anything that you feel like people need to know, in working with you partnering with you in any way, shape, or form? And people sometimes think, Oh, it’s only clients? No, it’s clients. It’s your supply chain. It’s the events that you participate in the you lend your voice or your likeness to, it’s the podcast that you go on, make sure that you’re clear so that as you’re making choices, you’re not guessing if this is in alignment or not. So while we kind of have this slight bit of common the eye of the storm, it’s kind of what it feels like, this is the most chaotic, I have a storm, because that storm is shit out there is a lie. But think about what it was six months ago, and we don’t know what’s again, like we see people that are very much like, we have dual realities happening. So it’s like we know. And so it’s definitely not what I want to truly call calm. But in comparison, it’s terrible when this is call, I mean, it’s been a shit show that is 2020. So here we are. So I think, you know, to not really go back and really look at your values. I mean, I think that’s a huge piece. And this is where, you know, and I’m going to use the gathering as an example. The Gathering wasn’t something that just came out of nowhere. The people that you brought in the voices that you were amplifying the conversations that we were having with the platform that you’ve built came from a place of intentionality you don’t do shit randomly. And so there’s something to be said about understanding what it looks like to be able to create, or to hold space or to have service offerings, whatever that is, and to know that the things that you’re doing and the people that you’re calling in, and those that are supporting you with it.

Erica Courdae 45:21
It’s happening in a cyclical, relatable, like all of these things go together kind of way. That’s a huge thing. And it does take time and space, in order to be able to say, Well, what does that look like for me? What is alignment for me? How do I get there? How does that feel? who’s involved in that? What will I not do to be in alignment? Because one of the most important things that people miss is, what will you not do? Because if you are dedicated to something, what are you not going to do? I’m not gonna go on somebody’s show. And it’s like, oh, you’re raging racist, and may not call it out? I might go on your show. But we’re gonna have a very different conversation than what you think this is. And it’s not because I’m there to be argumentative, but I’m like, I’m a I’m a pope. I’m a prod. I’m like, right? Because you have to be placated, or you won’t play placated. I said, brains, right, like, and so I think it’s important. Like, that doesn’t mean that everybody is, you know, step for children of each other where we’re all like, yes, yes. But it’s the point of like, what does it look like to say, I know what my Why is, and I’m willing to go somewhere. That feels contradictory. But I have a purpose. And I know why I’m doing it, which is where you can’t do any of that. Without their clarity. And that does require some space.

Emily Thompson 46:53
Yes. Okay. A couple of things. couple of notes here. One of the things that one of the things that comes to mind, for me, is you saying that it’s a different kind, no, it’s a more true kind of living and working with your eyes open, open your eyes, see what’s out, see what those podcasters are saying or doing or what that event has done in the past, or the kinds of people that they highlight and amplify, like, Look, open your eyes to the world. And part of that is just understanding that by doing so, you’re not going to like a lot that you see. And then you’re going to miss out on quote unquote, opportunities, because they aren’t actually truly aligned and being 100%. okay with that?

Erica Courdae 47:40
Absolutely. Absolutely. Because if you don’t you end up in that weird place of like, yeah, I mean, I see that, but Mm hmm. Then Yes, your face right now that there’s no but there’s no, but there’s no, just, that’s the whole period. Hey, like, hard stop? No, right? No.

Emily Thompson 48:00
I do also want to say, values, if anyone is listening to this, and you are a little unsure as to what it is that that actually looks like, we have implemented the ability for you to figure out your values and a number of places one of those being the being boss book, we have a whole section in the being boss book about around finding your values, you can also do, you can see some free stuff. And we even have a quiz to help you along the way at being boss dot club slash values. And it is the actually gets the second exercise in our CEO day kit, your values, because you’re like that is the foundation I see of building a business as a boss is it is that purpose driven, you’re not doing it because you just want to be a graphic designer, you’re doing it because you value a fine attention to detail, right. And that attention to detail can and should actually infuse itself into every piece of your business, not just how it is that you design typefaces, or whatever it may be. So values is very much so a core practice here at being boss. And those are some places in which you can find support and finding yours. I do want to touch base on something here that I’ve heard you talk about a lot of times, many times, and I think this is such an important part of this conversation too, especially in doing a check in, in aligning your business with your values in all of these things that you’re talking about. And that is this idea of being explicit, versus implicit with where it is that you stand in your in your values. So describe that to us. What do you mean by being explicit versus implicit?

Erica Courdae 49:51
I’m going to explain it and I want to I want to pause for a second and acknowledge something here. You’re seeing two people that do things that are differently And yet both of us do work around values. And so very often people are like, Oh, well, we have some things that are similar. I can’t do anything with you. And it’s like, um, then apparently you’re working with the wrong people. And you have a scarcity mindset, please go fix yourself and then come back.

Emily Thompson 50:17

Erica Courdae 50:18
I want to acknowledge that because values based work, like nobody has a market on it. And apparently, it’s happening for more people, because there’s not enough people doing it. And so that, you know, the, the concept of implicit or explicit, it really kind of started because we have a hands on values based workshop that we do with people. And when we first started with it, it really was our answer to the ideal client avatar work that just made us want to gag, not because knowing your ideal client is wrong, but because we found so many people focused on the demographics and not the psychographics. And so we shifted to kind of being like, wait, you don’t know this person, you don’t know what matters to them. You again, you don’t know what they will and will not do in reference to their values. And so in the end, I created this workshop that we do through pause on the plane, and we’re like, Ah, this name is just not cutting it. And one of our friends was like, wait, implicit, the explicit, we were like that, that thing. And so it became a cornerstone, not just because it’s the name of something that we do, but because it’s an act, because so many people are stuck in this place of, well, like, I literally would have people that would say, Well, I, of course, I feel that way. And I guess I just thought people knew and it’s like, nobody knows, but you. And so we can assume that everybody else knows what’s going on in our head in our heart. So we have to state these things plainly and bluntly. And knowing that so many of us, you know, including me, like in the cosmetology industry, it’s like, when you talk to people like politics and religion, like they stay out of it. And at the same time, there was this huge chunk of you that was left on the table, because you weren’t able to talk about who you are, what you did, and why you did it. And what you why you wouldn’t do certain things. And so implicit to explicit is going from this place of I mean, yeah, of course, I feel that way, too. So I do this, I do this for this person, this is why it matters. And I totally understand if it don’t work for you.

Emily Thompson 52:38
Right, and I can also see this, I remember having this conversation really early on, whenever, you know, things started getting really riled up and businesses were being, you know, held accountable. And so many of especially boss businesses, they were like, Well, you know, like, I know, here think they were saying, obviously, I’m not a racist. But is it obvious? Like, right, you made it obvious? Have you said that thing, and it became very clear very quickly, that you can’t leave space for assumptions in climates like this, because they’re your dual reality, which I actually think it’s like, infinite reality is happening out there, right? Everyone has their own perspective of you and what you do, or you and your business and what you do, and if you are not explicit as to who it’s for what you believe in, what those values are, how you hold yourself accountable, and others, you know, that your supply chains are focused on these things, whatever it may be, if you are not explicit, and this is a time when explicit is important, then that people are just going to make assumptions, and at least half of them will be incorrect.

Erica Courdae 53:46
Well, and it calls you to have to acknowledge I’m implicit about anti racism, because I’m afraid to say the word racist.

Emily Thompson 53:56
Mm hmm. Interesting.

Erica Courdae 54:00
Uh huh. There’s something about where are you just unwilling to say certain things like I’ve heard some people, for example, talk about George Floyd, they’ll say things like, you know, he was killed or he lost his life. And I’ve had times where I’ve said he lost his life. And I usually go back and say, No, he was murdered. Because who wants to say, I watched a man be murdered by law enforcement on a video for eight minutes and 46 seconds. But what does it mean when you don’t say it?

Emily Thompson 54:30
Yeah. Right. This is not this is not a time this year, this decade, where you should leave things unsaid.

Erica Courdae 54:40
Correct. Absolutely.

Emily Thompson 54:43
Right. Remember that situation with the taxes that was left unsaid? There are things that need to be said proven so that we can all with knowledge, move forward, not with assumptions.

Erica Courdae 54:58
Well, if nothing else, can we at least Look at 2020 as the worst fucking case study ever. Okay? Like, this is where Oh, I thought that it was understood that that’s what we do. But we have to put that in writing, or Oh, nope, I thought that it was understood that these type of people aren’t the people that we tend to work with. And that’s not how we work, we need to be more explicit about that, like, if nothing else, look at what’s happening and say, was that implicit? Or was that explicit? And how does that show up for me in life or business? Right? And what does that look like for you in practice? Like, what, whenever you are telling a business person to be explicit, like, what are you actually telling them to do? The first thing is I’m telling them to figure out what their values are and who it supports. Because if you’re, if you are coming up with the fact that you want to support black women in being able to be more visible, you know, have jobs that pay better and have more flexibility. Are you saying that? Or are you just assuming that they know that you’re in support of them? Are you saying this? Or, you know, does your imagery actually reflect that they’re welcome? They’re like, Are you saying that like, Yes, I want to hire more diversity? Or are you putting into work to actually, you know, cultivate a company culture, that diverse people can work there safely? Because you’re saying this, but what are you doing? Because it’s very, I mean, it’s just like somebody that’s like, yeah, I want to lose weight with Oreo, when the other hand, wait, wait.

Unknown Speaker 56:38
I just say, Well, me, and I have and I have to acknowledge my own like, morality and that, like, there, there are times we’re having both and but at the same time, there are some things that there’s not a both and and you can’t say, Yes, I want to support people of color, and not create a company culture with which they can safely work with you. Yes, I want to support people of color, but my programs don’t consider from an equitable place, whether or not you actually want to work with me and wanted like a great tangible example that I’ve worked on with a number of people, if you have payment plans, and you charge more for a payment plan, you’re penalizing people, for either not having enough money in a lump sum, or you’re penalizing them for trying to be fiscally responsible and not give you all of their money up front. Maybe they don’t want to put it on a credit card. Maybe they don’t want to take, you know, $2,000 out of their savings account at one time. But if they’re working with you, over the next, I don’t know, 12 months, they know that the three or 400 hours, whatever it is that though habit making give it to you. And so there’s a place to say if it costs $300. But then you divide it over three months, and all of a sudden, that’s 125 a month, why are you charging me extra money? That’s not equitable, and it has nothing to do with with race. So let’s acknowledge that my whole thing is not just about black or white, that’s not equity for anybody.

Emily Thompson 58:10
Hmm, I like it. Good tips. Very good tips. Um, I have one more question that I want to dive into. We touched on a little bit a minute ago, before we wrap this up. And that is, girl, you do some heavy work with a lot of people who need it, which is like a whole other level of heavy work, right? Like you’re not working with people who are practicing anti racism and like inner doing the work. You’re working with people who struggle with doing the work. So that’s extra heavy. Um, how do you do it? How is it that you stay cheerful as you giggle with me? Right, and grounded, and what I’ve really seen as positive in the face of 2020. And all it is brought with it? How do you stay grounded when you are dealing with everyone else’s shit?

Erica Courdae 59:04
My entire existence is an act of rebellion. I’m a black woman in America, that at a time when so many people are not doing well. I am, I am healthy, I have not lost people. And so black joy is at a premium. And I am determined to demonstrate that it is accessible, even if sometimes it’s only for small moments. And so a large chunk of it is me feeling like I have a responsibility to do this. And sometimes that looks like you know, learning more about things that matter to me. Sometimes that is meditating occasionally when I can get my brain to stop, which this morning my daughter was like oh meditate with you mommy. So we meditated this morning before we got out of bed. Sometimes it is conversation that has nothing to do with what I do. Or is not about me being there with my work head on. Sometimes it is literally laughing. And at a time when things can feel just so heavy and so unfunny.

Erica Courdae 1:00:15
Again, it’s an act of rebellion, to still make time to laugh, because I have to, I have to, because if I didn’t, then I couldn’t find my way to being whole, to support anybody else. I couldn’t find myself to a place of having love to give to my children. And so whether that’s me pulling out my tarot cards, whether that is me sitting with my large abundance of crystal that I am even currently surrounded by. Or if that is just me, making time to write, for me, like I, we put out an email newsletter last week, and a big chunk of it was a piece of my poetry, which happens to be my writing medium of choice and has been for well over, you know, more than half of my life. And so being able to find time for the things that fill me. And sometimes that’s nothing. Let me also acknowledge is not always doing sometimes it’s doing nothing. And it is being still because I don’t always do well with being still and I sometimes I’m like sick show as down. And that’s a whole thing, too. And so I have to find reasons to be reminded of the fact that there’s something to be hopeful for, because people are like, I don’t know how you do to do this work. How do you do this? And I’m like, because there’s no alternative. And if I didn’t have hope, what’s, you know, what is there to keep going for? I hope to leave the world differently for my children than what I found it. And as an entire engine with an infinite amount of gas in it. So I’m ready.

Emily Thompson 1:02:06
Erica, you’re my favorite. That was a good answer. Thank you very much. Tell us or tell the listeners how it is that they can find out more about you and all the places they need to go.

Erica Courdae 1:02:20
Absolutely, you can come on over to Erica Cordae dot com that will tell you about working with me. You can learn a little bit about what I do and how I do it. You can also find me on Instagram, you can find me on LinkedIn as well. So for those business folks out there that don’t do the igx thing I feel you come on

Emily Thompson 1:02:37
I don’t blame you.

Erica Courdae 1:02:38
No. I’ve had a little bit of my love hate. So LinkedIn is where I’ve been spending a lot more time. I also have a podcast which is Pause on the Play dot com that is myself and my business partner, India. We talk about all the things and it is essentially two friends having the conversations and a lot of it does intersect with mindset and visibility and where they intersect. So you can go in here that on Apple, Spotify, and all the places that you take in your podcast goodness. And you can learn more about that and what we do together and with our community puzzle, play the community at pause on the

Emily Thompson 1:03:13
Erica, thank you so much for coming to chat with me. Thanks so much.

Erica Courdae 1:03:17
Thank you.

Emily Thompson 1:03:17
I do have one last question for you. It’s always the good one. What makes you feel most boss?

Erica Courdae 1:03:29
saying no.

Emily Thompson 1:03:34
Guys, if you could have seen her face when she said that. I agree. I agree. That looks pretty boss.

Erica Courdae 1:03:42
People you people underestimate the whole statement. Period. Point Blank that is the word no.

Emily Thompson 1:03:50
Right? That is like owning your power in a way that few people do enough.

Erica Courdae 1:03:56
Oh my gosh, the the inability to, like claim your voice and use it. No.

Emily Thompson 1:04:04
Again, the face to face is the best part. Awesome. Thank you so much, Erica, this has been a blast.

Erica Courdae 1:04:11
Thank you so much for having me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you, Emily, and thank you for everyone listening.

Emily Thompson 1:04:18
Talking values, alignment and how to take action along with space for having conversations about anti racism and business and more is what you’ll find in the being boss community. From our access anytime community platform to our vibrant and engaging Monday meetups, the being vos community is a place for you to come talk about the hard or easy things that come up for you and your business, offering up plenty of insight perspective and expertise that will help your creative business grow and flourish and for us to feel the kind of support that bolsters your big moves. Learn more and join now by going to being boss club slash community. And until next time, do the work. Be boss.

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