Stretch Yourself: Network Beyond Bias with Amy Waninger

Jen interviews Amy C. Waninger to talk about the importance of broadening our experiences and networks. Is your professional network as diverse as the workforce and community around you? If not, you could be missing important opportunities.

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About Amy C. Waninger

As a leader, speaker, author, and coach, Amy C. Waninger is passionate about helping others achieve their full potential at work. Amy is the Founder and CEO of Lead at Any Level LLC, which helps busy professionals develop skills in leadership, diversity, and inclusion, and career management. She is the author of Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career. Amy holds two degrees from Indiana University and is a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. Her other credentials include several insurance industry designations and a World’s Best Mom coffee mug.

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Transcript

[00:00:00]:06 – [00:00:19]:04

Jen: Hello and welcome to the third pedal podcast. I’m your host Jen McFarland. On this episode, I interview Amy C. Waninger to talk about the importance of broadening your experiences and networks. Is your professional network as diverse as the workforce and community around you? If not, you could be missing important opportunities.

[00:00:19]:04 – [00:00:23]:13

Jen: This is one episode you don’t want to miss.

[00:00:23]:13 – [00:00:44]:21

Ann: Welcome to the Third Paddle podcast recorded at the Vandal Lounge in beautiful Southeast Portland Oregon. Why the third paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck up in business shit creek. Management consultant Jennifer McFarland is your Third Paddle, helping you get unstuck.

[00:00:44]:25 – [00:00:47]:04

Jen: I’m joined today by Amy C. Waninger. As a leader, speaker, author, and coach, Amy C. Waninger is passionate about helping others achieve their full potential at work. Amy is the Founder and CEO of Lead at Any Level LLC, which helps busy professionals develop skills in leadership, diversity and inclusion, and career management. She is the author of Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career. Amy holds two degrees from Indiana University and is a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. Her other credentials include several insurance industry designations and a World’s Best Mom coffee mug.

[00:01:28]:00 – [00:01:30]:00

Jen: Hi Amy welcome to the Third Paddle.

[00:01:30]:08 – [00:01:31]:28

Amy: Thank you Jennifer so glad to be here.

[00:01:32]:03 – [00:01:45]:22

Jen: Yeah this is going to be so awesome. I haven’t had a lot of authors on the show yet so I’m pretty excited to talk to you about your book Network Beyond Bias. So let’s just lead off with what led you to write the book.

[00:01:46]:01 – [00:02:28]:29

Amy: Yeah. So you know I’ve been doing Diversity and Inclusion work on kind of a volunteer basis for a long time and I’ve always had a passion about this topic and like back to childhood event. What I wanted was some book for me a working professional to say OK I’m all in on this diversity thing but what can I do about it? I’m not you know I’m not a big corporate executive I’m not a you know I go to H.R. policy you know public policy. But this is important to me what can I do. What impact can I have? I have looking for that book and it didn’t exist. And I read a lot of books along the way. And I thought, the book I want doesn’t exist. Maybe I should be the one to write it. And so I did.

[00:02:29]:16 – [00:02:31]:14

Jen: Oh that’s great. How long did it take you to write it?

[00:02:31]:26 – [00:03:24]:28

Amy: Well so there are always that in my opinion there are always three answers to it. How long did it take to write your book? So the first answer is my whole life because everything I have ever learned had to be filtered and packaged into or out of this book. Right. So you take everything you’ve got up to that point and you were all that in there. The second answer is I started a blog at leadatanylevel.com about let’s see, June of 2017. When I started my blog and I was able to repurpose some of that content re-edited in the book so from that standpoint it took about a year from the time that I actually opened up a word document called bookdraft.doc. It took me about four months. So but I had a really good coach that helped me go from a blank page to a finished book. So it was great.

[00:03:25]:06 – [00:03:53]:28

Jen: Oh that’s awesome. That’s just I just appreciate the process. I know that you know it’s one of my goals to write a book and I think for a lot of people they have aspirations so it’s good to hear that it’s possible and that you can take your whole life and your blog posts and kind of roll it in there. And then also the coach part I do think it’s important to have a coach for a book. So why are you so passionate about this work? You kind of touched on it a little bit but you talked about it as a topic but there’s also the work behind that.

[00:03:54]:15 – [00:04:51]:11

Amy: So you know there’s been a lot of times in my life where I felt different for all kinds of reasons. And I guess the thing that has always stood out to me is I want to show up now and do the best I can at heart. I want to be the best me I can be and I want to contribute and solve problems and be respected and have opportunities. And I just like everybody else. And so is I want that and I felt different. There’s probably a lot of opportunity out there for me to change the way I show up at work so that other people feel welcome and so that I can open up opportunities to other people. And you know I remember when I was a kid and I’d see the the videos you know the commercials on TV not like going into this organization or that organization or we only had three channels when I was a kid because I’m just not old. They don’t turn the dial to get to go to the other channel.

[00:04:51]:14 – [00:04:54]:15

Jen: Yeah I was the remote. “Jenny go change that channel.”

[00:04:58]:02 – [00:08:03]:08

Amy: It’s like there’s a storm you couldn’t get with two of you were stuck with there. So yeah. So you know you’d see these commercials there. And I never saw these people who were suffering. I mean I grew up in like a working class blue collar area. And you know I was privileged to in many ways right. I had a home and I had had two parents that there were my parents that we very much still do. You know there a lot of there were a lot of things about me up when you were privileged but it wasn’t over privilege like my kids are right now right. So it kind of ridiculous like the stuff that they have that I never envisioned. But I never saw these kids that were suffering as like other right. And I just saw them as like wow you know if I had been born there that would be me or if I had been born looking like this. That would be me. And so I always kind of identified with you know the sort of outsider perspectives and then you know when I went to college I am I actually came out in college as bisexual and that was a really difficult thing growing up in rural Southern Indiana. I grew up with the government ideas about you know what went on with sexual homosexuality was it wasn’t and you know I don’t think I had the word bisexual until I was like 20. I think it was you know like you just didn’t know it was it you just didn’t talk about it. And I I very acutely felt “other” for a long time and I knew why but I didn’t have the words to express it. And then when I had the words to express it, it became an even more acute feeling of otherness. And then when I got my job in I.T. you know I was a young and attractive woman and I was treated like I was an idiot because I was a young attractive woman in I.T. and I would get these comments from men in my department to be like you know I quality checked your work and you’re really analytical for a girl. And that was some of the nicest stuff I heard. And I was like This is awful. Who would want to be in this. And I thought well maybe it’s because I’m young right. But then I noticed like I’m getting older and that kind of stuff still happens and I tell a couple stories in the book about you know one guy you know telling me because he saw me reading an econ book. Oh you know. And so you know when they talk about oil and gasoline you can think in terms of purses and shoes like I did in my 40s and I’m like. What do I have to do to get seriously right. And I just I look around and I see other people that are that have that so much worse than I do because of their age or their race or their gender gender identity or their sexual orientation or you know where they come from or how they talk or what school they did or didn’t go to. And it’s not that they can’t do the work and it’s not that they can’t be rockstars it’s that they just either they don’t know how to show up in the way that it’s like that box right or they’re doing everything they can to show up when they’re still excluded. And I just I don’t want I don’t want to be a part of that.

[00:08:03]:27 – [00:08:05]:25

Amy: I want them to want to be around me and do other.

[00:08:06]:24 – [00:08:20]:01

Jen: I would say that I what I appreciated about the book were kind of and we talked about it before we scheduled the interview were some of the parallels. It’s not lost on me that we’re a couple of white women talking about inclusion.

[00:08:20]:04 – [00:09:43]:08

However I think that both of us coming from tech also know at least in one regard what it is like to be the other and last week’s show actually I talk about a couple of situations that I went through because even we talk about communicating with technology professionals all of the articles that I found were about how women need to change in order to work with the men. And I argue that that’s incorrect that we need more women and people of color working in technology for starters and that we need to work together to bridge those communication differences. It’s not a one way street. We need to understand what the perspective is of the technology professional but we need to work together to collaborate so that our projects can be better and not just make it about the women who need to be thinking about what was it purses and shoes and shoes purses and shoes. And it’s and it’s just. Yeah that’s just an example of what really needs to start to move. I’ve read a lot about people of color also having much worse situations in technology workspaces so it’s a huge work that you’re doing and I’m so glad to meet you and know that somebody else is out there passionate about this kind of work.

[00:09:43]:18 – [00:10:10]:15

Amy: Thank you. If you think about it from the perspective of people of color one of the most insulting things to me from my 10 days in and I’m going to still have a foot in I.T. and two places too. But there is like this he’d be insane around this notion of like a server relationship like master and slave relationship. And it was the by that terminology and I’m finally starting to see people say can we not call it that.

[00:10:10]:28 – [00:10:31]:20

Amy: And break into it. It’s just such a simple thing that shows up at work and you know just being able to have that conversation about what this is not okay to use these kinds of paradigms when you’re talking about you’re trying to service communicating with each other. Right. That’s that’s not the right analogy to use.

[00:10:32]:06 – [00:10:48]:23

Jen: Yes just a network connection right. I mean it you know it’s like the cables that are male female you know there’s all these paradigms that kind of come into all these gender and race paradigms that come into tech that need to stop.

[00:10:48]:23 – [00:10:59]:08

Jen: I read an article I posted on social about how you know how Siri and Cortana and Alexa are all women here to assist you.

[00:10:59]:19 – [00:11:01]:21

Amy: Yeah but Watson is a man.

[00:11:01]:29 – [00:11:05]:20

Amy: Watson is a man the really smart and really smart.

[00:11:05]:20 – [00:11:10]:16

Amy: He’s going to solve your problems not serve you up the information and ask for resurrect.

[00:11:10]:18 – [00:11:26]:20

Jen: And these are some of the ways that you can tell there aren’t necessarily a lot of women in the room. I also have always argued that Apple didn’t have one woman in the room when they named the iPad. But that’s a whole other, separate issue.

[00:11:27]:10 – [00:12:30]:24

Amy: Yeah. And you know just other ways that shows up in tech because you know facial recognition software that doesn’t recognize non-white faces or facial recognition software that says you know Asian Americans are beginning to open their eyes for the camera right because it didn’t take into account that you know their ratios of recognition were based on Eurocentric model and not. On you know a more diverse user group right. And so this is all kind of there’s just so much tied up in that. And then you know what we talk about like artificial intelligence and machine learning and all sorts of things all of the same biases go into that code too. And you know it really is kind of a scary thing if you if you just keep doubling down on the same perspective over and over and over again and you’re missing so much in terms of data in terms of you know the ability to process information and come to different conclusions.

[00:12:31]:13 – [00:12:58]:14

Jen: Absolutely. And I think we’ll find our worlds get further and further apart instead of together. And I think that that’s really the importance of your book and I really love the way the book really connects you know having new experiences with kind of challenging maybe our default actions and activities. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about how new experiences affect the brain and how that can maybe change or alter our perceptions.

[00:12:58]:14 – [00:13:44]:16

Amy: Sure. So your brain is really good at taking shortcuts right if it seems something before it just kind of slots it into that been there, done that category. And what happens is like if you imagine water running down a hill and it kind of curves a path. And the more water that runs down the hill on the same path the deeper that groove gets. Before you know it’s only half right. And our thoughts do the same thing in our brain are our thought patterns create the same patterns of synapses out to create the same neural pathways over and over and over we keep reinforcing that. And if we want to jar ourselves out of that behaviour we could choose to do things different. You know there’s at that moment in the words of Robin Williams movie stands on the desk and he says you have to see things from a new perspective.

[00:13:46]:03 – [00:13:46]:15

Jen: Dead Poet’s Society.

[00:13:46]:15 – [00:15:54]:08

Amy: Thank you. And that’s always what I think overnight when I talk about this although that’s maybe not the best example that it was you know left an impression. Clearly I saw them as a high school thing but you know if you if you don’t want to keep reading those same routines riding the same paths in your brain you have to do something different you have to choose something different. And so you know I and I talked about this a lot. You know we grew up with these identities that we that we build based on how the world interacts with us how the world responds to us in the world response to us based on who it thinks we are based on how we act or where we live or whatever. And then you know we adopt the values that go with those identities we start to judge other people based on identities and values and we start to choose experiences that are right into that. And so it just makes her world smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and more isolated like you were saying and you know if if we choose some different experience then we forget that we’re doing this right we forget that we have these patterns and so we stop and say yeah you know what I always watch football on Sundays. This Sunday I’m going to go down you know down to the theater and go to the ballet because it’s different for me and I want to be around people who are different from me or have different identities or whatever it is. And the reverse of that is also truly whatever the thing is that you always feel like I’m a football person, right, switch that and be like a person who can do other things too. And then you start to notice like oh I have a lot in common with the ballet crowd. And you know now right now I’m one of them and. And I can kind of see the ingroup there too racy like oh know that’s that’s my buddy from the valet and you know hey I like your so I’m going to have to you know boardgame Festival and now I’ve got like a buddy from the board game club. And you know and you can really tap into these different interests instead of just getting stuck in one end of things that you never knew you liked. And you know what if you find out you don’t like things that’s OK too at least you’ll have an appreciation for what they are why they’re there.

[00:15:54]:08 – [00:16:53]:15

Jen: Absolutely and I always blows my mind that the lack of curiosity around things like that because I’m I’m the I like the ballet and the opera and plays and sports and you know and crossfit and just all kinds of things and people are like is there anything you don’t like. I’m like yeah I don’t like bananas. I mean it doesn’t have to be you have to like everything but like going out and having those experiences really helps with like a more well-rounded perspective and it does bring a lot of a lot of different things in and I think it does add to like bravery. Right and one of the things that you talk about is how difficult it can be for people to start networking you know and. And so one of the things that really stood out for me was the discussion around knowing your strengths and so how important is it for people to realize their own strengths when they begin getting out there and networking and meeting new people.

[00:16:53]:16 – [00:17:30]:05

Amy: Well I think it’s really important. So the example they use around networking or from my own experience of you know I want to be helpful I don’t want to waste anybody’s time I don’t want to be choosy and salesy. You know this is not who I am. So I had to come up with a way to network that felt good to me. And so the challenge that I set for myself the first time I went to a conference which was not that long ago by the way couple of years ago which I have so many conversations I need to have now with former managers about this conference but that aside you know I had you know I have a goal every morning and I’m going to find three people I can help.

[00:17:30]:05 – [00:18:05]:15

Amy: Today and maybe it’s I collate papers for them or I pass out their handouts or I recommend a book or introduce them to someone like these are things I know I can do and I’m not going to be nervous doing them so I need to find a way to go and use what I know I can do to connect other people or where to meet other people. And so you know for some people it might be you know whatever it is that you have to offer the you that comes really naturally to you. It’s easy for you right. If you’re a writer or you’re a really good listener you’re an introvert and you process things really well and whatever that is.

[00:18:05]:25 – [00:18:33]:26

Amy: No that is not what you want to do and then find people that you can help you with that skill that maybe they don’t have that or they don’t know that they need it or they need somebody to do it with them. And that way you’re kind of coming at it from a place of authenticity and you’re you’re giving that person something they can use right then and you know that’s how you know trust and that’s how you build relationships and frankly that’s how you get people like you is by being of use.

[00:18:34]:05 – [00:19:04]:14

Jen: Absolutely. I just think there’s so much beauty in what you can see how you can be of service. Three things you can do for other people every day and being intentional about that so you’re not just going to the same buddy and helping your buddy you know helping people in different ways. That’s that’s really beautiful and I do think that it helps you get out there a little bit more. So how vital is networking for your career and your business? We have a lot of business owners listening to the show.

[00:19:04]:24 – [00:22:01]:02

Amy: So from a career perspective I’ll start there. You know a lot of the larger companies when they’re hiring they will only post jobs internally or they’ll host internally first. So if you’re not already in your chances of getting a job are pretty low. he next place they look is referrals from existing employees. Do you know anybody. Right. So who do you know in the company. And even more importantly like do they know you. Right. It’s not just here you know because they know you and they know that you’re looking into they know what you can do so they can recommend you for that job because if you don’t get the recommendation of the referral and it’s only posted internally for people like send out then if they don’t know you exist or they don’t know what you’re looking for you’re never going to get the message even if you do know them. Similarly if you’re looking to move up in a career or move around in a career it is absolutely essential to let people know what you’re up to. Find out what they’re doing and how you can help you to further their goals. If you’re a business owner it’s probably a million times more important because you know if you’re working for somebody whether you network or not as long as you get job I’m going to get a paycheck right. That if you’re a business for yourself at some point you’re going to run out of like the five people that help you get started and then you’ve got to go meet somebody else. Keep the sales pipeline. And so if if you can branch out from your comfort zone you’re out of your business very long frankly. Absolutely. You know when you own a business also like you know let’s say you’re let’s say you’re a car salesman or car salesperson I don’t want to gender that you sell cars in your area. Right. So used cars. And let’s say you are a white man who sells used cars in your town. And all the people coming to you are white men who want to buy cars. And you don’t worry about how to sell to women and you don’t ever talk with somebody a person of color because they like to talk them because like you’re really comparable to someone a white man. And let’s imagine them that like 80 percent of the car sales people in the area are also white men. So 50 percent of populations women who are going to buy their cars from. Right. And you know nearly all of the people of color right. So you’re competing for the same market as everybody else in your space. When you’re doing that and then you get all these uncontested market share to be doing you know some really amazing things and if you knew how to build trust in those areas that was real. And so you know and that’s it that’s just one little example. But if you think about OK what if I had access to totally different people than the people that I typically sell to. We’re totally different people from me that need what I’m building in the world. What kind of doors were that open for you. What kind of opportunities you create. And it’s huge. It’s unlimited of that.

[00:22:01]:25 – [00:22:22]:19

Jen: Absolutely. And I couldn’t agree more about how important it is for your career and your business. I mean it’s it is absolutely vital and I kind of learned that the hard way before I started my business. The importance of really even when you work in a large organization you can’t make the assumption that people know you do good work.

[00:22:23]:28 – [00:22:58]:02

Amy: I was at a conference this weekend with some college students and I felt so old. I was sitting at breakfast and we were talking and one of the young women at the table said something about you know well you know how do you network. And I study all the time and I said OK you’re going to have to find a balance because here’s the thing. So you know so especially for women and for people of color we feel like we have to constantly prove ourselves that you know it’s not good enough to earn a seat at the table we have to like actively we demonstrate that we earned it how we earned it. Why were the most qualified person to be there all the time.

[00:22:58]:12 – [00:23:05]:18

Jen: Absolutely. And that we built the table and we went out we sawed down the tree and sanded the table down and stained it exactly like it.

[00:23:05]:23 – [00:24:27]:04

Amy: Yeah. And then we built the table for someone else. And gosh darn Army lucky to sit there with them right. Absolutely. And I said So here’s the thing. I see the problem that the trap that I fell into early in my career and I see a lot of young people going into as they’re working so hard to do a good job and prove that they have the right skills to be there when their peers are not necessarily doing that right. Their peers are making sure that they’re getting noticed and says you have to find a balance between doing really good work and getting noticed because if all you do is do really really good work. The people around you are going to notice it and then use that to their advantage not to yours. So you know carve out a couple of hours a week where you go talk to people in other places and talk about what you’re working. You don’t have to be boastful or you don’t have to brag about it. Talk about a problem that you solve or you’re excited about or suddenly you know you’re working on right now that you’re looking forward to. You know we talk about a deal that you close about you know what you learn in class must be something where you’re actually talking about you in your experience so that other people can see you and I could tell she was really uncomfortable with that. You’ll get your first job out of college because of a career fair or you know players coming on site that pretty much everything happens after that is because of who knows you.

[00:24:27]:04 – [00:24:50]:01

Jen: Absolutely. And I think that that’s important of the important thing is not just that you go networking it’s also I loved the beauty of this in the book of the CHAMP network. So it’s you diversify in multiple ways so what’s a CHAMP network? And why is it important for us to build this kind of diverse network around us?

[00:24:50]:02 – [00:27:05]:23

Amy: So the concept of the champ network is is pretty simple. It’s the five people the five types of people that you choose for your professional network. So it’s not your boss it’s not your CEO right it’s it’s the people that you actually choose to spend time with. And no matter where you are in your career no matter where you sit in the company we all can have the five types of people on our network. But it’s important to choose them wisely and so I talk about the CHAMP network as a measure of depth of your network and the acronym CHAMP. Each letter in the word stands for a type of contact so C is your customer or your constituent H someone you’ve hired or helped get a job and it has to be active helping like endorsing them for PowerPoint Arlington does not count. An A isn’t associated which is basically appear somebody that you would you know somebody you’d go have coffee with or maybe a drink after work or you’re having a rough day like that kind of person. Right. And M is a mentor and P is a protege and if you have those five I call him the five critical connections for your career. And if you have all five of those you’re going to be more innovative. You’re going to go farther in your career more quickly and you’re going to have the right support network in doing so. And so you know as you’re building that out though you also want this perspective to be as different from your home as possible. What I find when I talk speak to conferences is you know there will be an academic conference or there will be no insurance conference or whatever the the industry is and they all get together and they try to solve their problems. Right. We have a problem in academia X Y and Z and they’re all looking to each other and trying to figure how to solve the problem not realizing that this problem’s already been solved. In you know like Farma maybe or you know the tech sector or publishing or you know some other industry right that they don’t have those other perspectives at the table like think they’re looking at each other. And as everybody knows the same stuff that everybody also doesn’t know all that other slightly. Yeah.

[00:27:06]:23 – [00:27:39]:21

Jen: Yeah. Wow. Well and what I appreciate about it too is like building that diverse network and not focusing on one thing. Something I’ve run across again and again is how women in particular focus on finding mentors as opposed to having this balanced network of people that they collaborate with and that focus solely on finding a mentor. It puts you in a kind of if you’re looking for mentors then it’s actually not a diverse network.

[00:27:39]:27 – [00:29:29]:19

Amy: And you’re right. We spend a lot of time and I’m going to speak just for a second to just the white women right. We tend to look for mentors and sponsors a lot but we don’t how to think about the places where we have privilege that others don’t. And so that’s where I have the higher or how in there that sponsorship not going to a shop that’s helping somebody move forward in their career with a real job. And you know I think we I think we tend to ignore that we have a lot of power there too. Sometimes it feels like we’re we’re always fighting our fight right. But we don’t realize that there are so many other people that have been fighting so much harder for so much longer or just as long just as hard right. And and it’s not a competition. But there are places where you have a foot in the door and someone else doesn’t. And so we can really have if we can all just focus on getting past our own comfort zone bringing in people who are different and then just like pushing people forward right. Introducing them in circles where we have connections rolling this out where you know we’re we’re cross pollinating you know our tech friends with our business friends and work cross pollinating other people from our you know our Women’s Support Network with the people from our tech support network. Right. Even if the women aren’t in tech or you know if the textbooks aren’t there that’s OK. They’re just getting that cross pollination so that everybody’s not in their own silos because that’s where innovation is going to happen and that’s where we’re really going to build some goodwill if we can you know create opportunities for people that you know we think when you don’t owe somebody something you’re just doing it because it’s the right thing to do. Builds huge amounts of trust and I absolutely love building that way. We all move forward not just one group of us.

[00:29:29]:19 – [00:29:37]:27

Jen: No, I I totally agree with that. Thank you. Yes. How do you evaluate how diverse your network is?

[00:29:37]:27 – [00:29:45]:00

Amy: Sure. So I explain this in the book and it’s more than I want to go into the pockets of real shows in them you know.

[00:29:45]:25 – [00:32:11]:26

Amy: But the the way I do this I lay it out and read. And one component of the grid is network like a CHAMP and that’s the five critical connection through your career that we spoke about. And then the the other dimension is what perspective does your network ignore. And that takes you step by step through different. You know given the demographics industry being one of them you know where you can assess are each of these people in my CHAMP network like me or not like me in each of these different dimensions. And then most people feel pretty good going into this they love this a-ha moment that I have when they sit down with somebody and they are drawn on a napkin because you know that people love to draw concept on a napkin nothing and because in these effects of the dawn of these big texts he says he’s a bit like you can only get that sweet eyes what is a drone that can easily feel pretty good about it. And then as we get into some of the more difficult topics you know because diversity inclusion can be difficult to talk about. As we get into some of some of the more you know controversial not more it’s a spectrum right. You can see their competence kind of waning a little bit. And then at the end they think well. You know. One of two things either I’ve got a lot of work to do because I realize I really don’t connect to people who are that different from me. Right. That’s that’s one response I get a lot. The second is well yeah I know all these people who are different but they aren’t the first five I thought of. And so again I say right. And so like when you’re CEO or your manager your director is making a decision about who they’re going to put on a high profile project or who they’re going to promote or they’re going to send out our big sales call like they’ve got these five people in mind that they’re rotating through to you and you’re not thinking that the people that are different from them. And so like if you’re if you’re complaining about why don’t I get any opportunity because I’m different. But then you can totally see in that moment how you’re perpetuating that as well. And I even had diversity professionals say to me well I know all those people were they just weren’t the ones I thought of. And so to me that is you know we all have these blind spots we all have these defaults and if we’re not aware of them we cannot address them. And so this is the book and the framework really help you just be aware. And it’s not a one size fits all there’s no right number for everybody. But you know it’s based on like when you look at it how do you feel about it. And if it’s not every change.

[00:32:12]:00 – [00:32:35]:19

Jen: I think it just builds on itself. Right. If you’re having new experiences and you realize your strengths you’re more likely to get out there and then I think that what I hear you saying is the importance of pausing like you have your default then pause and think beyond that exact room because we’re always going to have the default which is typically people who or like us.

[00:32:35]:20 – [00:32:54]:27

Jen: So it’s about going to the next level which actually leads me to the last question which is you know whether it’s more women and people of color in executive roles or industries like technology. How do you think we can begin to shift what the workforce looks like so it better reflects the world around us?

[00:32:55]:08 – [00:33:09]:23

Amy: So you know I would imagine that if it if most of today’s executives evaluated the diversity of their networks if they sat down and talked about OK who are their champs what perspectives do their network or their approach would be a lot of the more perspectives.

stencil.pinterest-5 Stretch Yourself: Network Beyond Bias with Amy Waninger

[00:33:09]:26 – [00:33:41]:10

Amy: What I want to do is I want to focus on the next generation of leaders the next generation of leaders are not as entrenched in the way things are as the current generation of leaders. So our leaders aren’t giving up anything they already have to make room for somebody else. And I want to change that mindset. I have to give something up for someone else to have what I want people to understand is when you bring someone else and you create more for everybody. Absolutely. And so I really I want.

[00:33:42]:04 – [00:35:20]:28

I want people to understand that this all starts with their network. It all starts with who they know who they bring in who are their champions for how they connect how they relate who they see as like “them” in quotation marks because when you see somebody and you think oh they’re right. You go out of your way to help them. And we’re all alike in some way. Right. That is always something like maybe you root for the you know the same baseball team or maybe you follow them like the same favorite sushi roll at a restaurant. You don’t know until you start talking but you’re going to find something in common with them that excites you and then you can figure out, oh, I want this person along with me because you know there aren’t any. You know we have this one thing in common that they have like the other 99 things that they know. I have no clue about. And I would love to learn more about that and if I can put my 99 things out there with their 99 things now we get 198 things plus the other ones are when I’m nine right instead of the same shared 100 and. You know and then if everybody’s doing that I get to hear my voice like hello like talking lovers and get all excited that if we can look at your body to recognize hey I need connect with more people who aren’t like me even if it makes me a little bit uncomfortable at first. I’m willing to make those mistakes and we want to say hey I’m sorry I blew it. Use the right words or you know I came with this little you know I feel awkward right now but you know I really do want to get to know you and you’re valuable to me back that to me is how we’re going to change this going forward because we’re going to build these leaders we’re going to bring these people up with us. Are going to bring us up as they rise and then we’re going to get them together and we’re going to be stronger for it along the way.

[00:35:21]:18 – [00:36:00]:15

Jen: Yeah absolutely. And I couldn’t agree more about the need to shift away from I have to give something up for somebody else. It’s not like it doesn’t work like that. And we we. Yeah and we inherently know that like we bring on people who are like us. We don’t think given something up right now like so why does it work that way if it’s somebody new or different that the world doesn’t work that way. And I appreciate that you’re doing so much to help bring that change and help us all raise our awareness. Do you have anything to offer our listeners?

[00:36:00]:16 – [00:36:27]:22

Amy: Sure. Well actually I’ve got a very tangible offer for your listeners and I would give you the link of the show notes. But I’ve got to say that I’m offering it’s “21 Insights for Inclusive Networking” and you can get it you know just by entering your e-mail and the links and I’ll give you Jennifer and a little secret if you actually download the e-book. You’ll also get a special gift for all these awesome.

[00:36:27]:23 – [00:36:44]:17

Jen: Yes that’ll totally be in the show notes. And please go out there and reach out and also pick up the book Network Beyond Bias, it’s awesome and we really just skim the surface. There’s so much good stuff in there. So thank you very much for being on the show.

[00:36:44]:23 – [00:36:46]:03

Amy: Thank you Jennifer it’s great to be here.

[00:36:48]:04 – [00:37:08]:04

Ann: Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast. Be sure to catch every episode by subscribing on iTunes to learn more. Check out our Web site at www.thirdpaddle.com. The third puddled podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth LLC online at www.fostergrowth.tech.

Jen McFarland

Jen McFarland is a business owner, business advisor, podcaster, blogger, and project turnaround artist. She’s helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of podcast listeners make better business decisions. Jen’s passion is helping women business owners overcome leadership and technology struggles.

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