Purpose-Centered Leadership with Sharon Gill and Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace with Betty Ng

Having productive citizens as an ROI is one of the best forms of altruism any organization or business leader could aim for. Sharon A. Gill, the Founder of Sharon Gill International, has been transforming poor people into more productive versions of themselves. With her advocacy, she shares how she trains leaders through purpose-centered leadership and explains why she mostly works with and empowers women in her training.

Being an expert in diversity and inclusion, Betty Ng, the Founder, and CEO of Inspiring Diversity or ID, talks about how we can overcome challenges while making our way to the top. Betty supports women climbing the corporate ladder, especially in technology-related environments. Through her book, Po-Ling Power: Propelling Yourself and Others to Success, she talks about her inspiring life journey with her mother and their common approach to propel themselves and others to success.

TTL 604 | Purpose Centered Leadership

 

I am so glad you joined us because we have Sharon Gill and Betty Ng. Sharon is a purpose-centered leader, entrepreneur, consultant and keynotes speaker. Betty is the builder of inclusive, collaborative high-performing organizations and author of Po-Ling Power. We are going to talk about so many interesting entrepreneurial and collaborative consulting and leadership-oriented things.

Listen to the podcast here:

Purpose-Centered Leadership with Sharon Gill

I am here with Sharon Gill, who is the Founder of Sharon Gill International where she offers purpose-centered leadership training. She has quite an interesting background. Welcome, Sharon.

Thank you so much, Diane. I am happy to be here as well.

This is going to be fun and you are welcome because I am very interested in what you have done. Your focus on purpose-centered leadership is something that I am interested in. You also have in the past been the founder of a not for profit. You have a legal agency. I want to know your background that got you to this point because I know you have done a lot of different things. Can you give us a little bit of a history?

It is my background that has brought me to this place and sometimes when we are on a journey, we do not even see what the end results would be. For my own journey, I can tell you the reason why I am still passionate about purpose-centered leadership. It’s because I have been involved in leadership both on the non-profit side and on the for-profit side. For profit side, my husband and I started a law firm in 1997. We launched it on our own. He is an attorney. I have always had a business about growing in and I love working with the people, working with the client. I was the COO. I handle all aspects of communication, motivation, momentum, training, etc. Even when we began our firm, as a small firm just one year in, we tried to identify ways in which we could impact our community. I came to this country when I was twenty and Wayne came when he was eight years old. We have always felt very grateful to what we have accomplished here and it was mostly through education.

When we began our firm, one of the things that we decided we would do is to reach back into the community and offer scholarships to kids who are in high school going off to college. Even as low as elementary school scholarships where we would have the school identify a kid who was doing well, and who was in their last year of elementary school. We would give as a reward, money for their library at school to promote reading and then some money for the kids to do middle school shopping. We will always try to find ways to reach back and help students who are as fortunate and who are having financial difficulties whether it is for college or something in high school. That was our background. I will tell you after running the law firm for about four or five years, I felt that there was more to life than making money. This was my personal struggle. I had just got back from Dartmouth and I was still an executive MBA. There was a one-week program and I came back feeling, “I am going to take my company from $1 million to $10 million.”

The ROI that donors would see is getting productive citizens back into the community. Click To Tweet

I had the formula. I had a week intensive of Stanford and Dartmouth professors pumping in business sense into us business owners. Shortly after, I came back and I felt like, “I don’t know. This all seems a little meaningless to me.” I went on a personal inward journey of praying and fasting. I am pretty much asking God to reveal his will for my life. I am like, “God, why don’t I feel good? Why do I feel like there is something missing? I’m making good money. I had a good experience here at Dartmouth, but why do I feel this way?” After a period of fasting and praying, I retired from my law firm within a three-month period. I retired and I stepped into the community. I partnered with a church and I was allowed to get some space in a 300-square-foot room.

I began a food and clothing program. That is how it started. Giving food to people who are working poor, people who are having a bridge between what they mean and what they could afford. I was providing food and clothing, but then I also felt there is more than this. With my background, this is not what I am going to do. I did a component of career training where I was offering classes and I was doing career workshops bringing in the local community college to come and do a job fair and it began to grow. The resources kept pouring in. People would anonymously give me money. My first anonymous donor gave me $25,000 to expand my program and somebody came and gave me $50,000 and somebody gave me $70,000. It was amazing.

People have a hard time raising money sometimes. What was it that you did?

I can say it was vision. People give to vision, that’s was it was. My vision from the very beginning was not to enable people. It was to empower people. You had food bags and food pantries, all doing great work. My mission statement was to get you back on your feet using a holistic approach. I adopted the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. I said, “If I can fulfill their basic need of food and clothing, where they feel safe and they are secure, I can then add on to that computer classes, training classes, self-confidence classes, some counseling.” That they would begin to see themselves not as victims of survivors but, “My tummy is full, maybe I can actually learn a computer skill.” If they can learn and get their confidence up.

As a matter of fact, after I was doing the program for about three years, I started this program called the Dream Makeover where I would take three to four women each year who are the toughest candidates, the ones who are having a hard time. Over a period of three to four months, I would work with them. I have brought people in from cosmetic company. I am going to bring in dental people to work on their teeth. I would work on their goal setting. I would take them for a picture and they would be the actual guest speakers at a reveal luncheon. I would have their before picture and they would look so disheveled, tough, hard. You would see them because now they are done by hairdressers and cosmetics people who had been working with us.

Their attitude, their confidence and their goals I would work on that with them personally. They would be the speaker at this luncheon and money would come to the door at that time as well as people would see the result, the impact of investing in people. My philosophy when I was doing that non-profit was to train the community. You look at people one way, but if you invest in them and come alongside as a partner, people would rise to the level of expectation that you set for them and I would prove it time and time again. I would have success story videos, success story life. I would put on events and I would have my clients give their testimonies. People believe in that vision and so I would get money unsolicited.

TTL 604 | Purpose Centered Leadership
Purpose Centered Leadership: You look at people one way, but if you invest in them and be their partner, they will rise to the level of expectation you set for them.

 

Do you feel they have reached the level of self-actualization since you referred to Maslow?

When they became the speaker at the event, the client themselves sometimes cannot believe how far they have come because it is a journey. Working with them for even four months to get them to that point, I have to overcome so many obstacles. For example, there are some women who have never put a face lotion on, has never gotten their hair done or their nails. Because when you are in survival mode and you have children, you are trying to get food on the table. When we are able to enhance their outer appearance and their inside confidence level, then they want better jobs. When we are able to offer them computer classes and they can develop those skills, they have the confidence to go look for something better.

My goal was for the self-actualization point. Mine is maybe completely different and it is different for those people as well but for them, they have self-actualized because they have seen themselves one way and others can see themselves as winners, “I am actually somebody.” That was the ROI that donors would see. We are getting productive citizens back into the community. During that time when I was working with my non-profit, I was able to engage with a lot of corporate donors and there are two types of corporate donors. There are the ones who wrote a check and that is wonderful because they believe in that cause. They write a check and I am grateful. There are other minority who would write a check and who would also send people from the organization to come and help volunteer. They would get their skin involved more. Those corporations always had a stronger relationship because they were true partners. They were invested in the success of my charity. They were not checking a box like, they have funded X amount of charity. We are funding this charity but we are also partners. They got skin in the game. They send volunteers, came to the events, attended whatever I am doing. They kept in touch and checked in. That is to me what a purpose-centered company should look like.

That is where the idea began to form as I was developing this concept. The reason why I eventually closed my non-profit is because I have been in the same community for sixteen years and the community had changed. Demographics had shifted from the working poor to seniors and seniors have a different set of needs than the working poor. Seniors need food. Their Social Security income may not be enough. They need a food pantry and that was not what I want. I had a choice to either shift the location and start somewhere else new or, after years I have done my work, people have moved on and moved out of this community. The seniors, I can transition them to a food pantry that will meet their needs and I can go on to what I believe I am called to be doing next and I chose the latter. That was after thinking about it for two years and praying about it. It was not a pleasant move and I had to properly transition everyone. My volunteers, staff and clients were all transitioned. The seniors, who are now the majority of the clients, were transitioned into a partner. We then donated what we had to the agency and they took over from there.

What led you to initially come to the United States? What led to your interest in valuing education so much to get you to this point?

I came from Jamaica originally. I came here so I could have a better opportunity for myself. It’s the same thing with my husband as well. He came here when he was younger.

It is important to give people exposure to a lot of things because that enables them to see where their interests lie. Click To Tweet

What made you both so interested in education?

Because we saw that getting on education opens a lot of doors for you.

That is expensive, especially going to Dartmouth.

The Dartmouth piece was already in business. What they were doing in that program is, they were taking businesses who were fast growing, who would achieve a certain amount of income level revenues. They wanted to pretty much use us as guinea pigs where we would tell them the practical things about what we did and they would give us a theory. They called it an Executive MBA. It did cause money, but from a business perspective it was worth the investment. It was not like I was going to be in the Dartmouth education for four years. It was more of a business education and it was a great experience. I am not sure they’re still doing it but that was back in 2002 when I went and it was worth whatever I paid. It was a wonderful exchange of ideas. It was companies from all over the country. You had to have certain revenue level, certain profile.

I am looking at your awards, Good Samaritan Award finalist, Giraffe Award winner, Local Heroes, Martin Luther King Leaderships awards, Stiletto award, Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Leadership and Business Award, 21 Most Inspiring Women in Palm Beach County award and Women in Leadership award. Do you focus a lot on women issues or you just happen to be empowering women and win those awards or is it everybody? Are you empowering women?

I will say that in my focus area, I do love to empower women. In the non-profit, I was helping everyone and a leadership training company asked me to come in and I am working with both men and women. I had a particular passion for seeing women reach their potential and that is the truth. If I had to choose, I choose that particular lane because I believe that women in particular have so much potential. There are confidence barriers, education barriers, work-life balance barriers and so many barriers that women face.

How about fear? Fear is one of the big things in then environment, the voice in our heads, technology. There is a lot of barriers that stop us from being curious. Did you find that those are some of the barriers you are saying?

Yes, lack of confidence which is part of that whole fear and doubt. This is big with women. I meet smart beautiful women and I am talking about women who are Millennials all the way to women who are in their 60s, smart and beautiful but think they are not. They cannot see for the life of them, and they are easily influenced by negativity. It could be negativity from a spouse or a parent, a script about the voice in the heads from childhood. I have seen that time and time again. I have seen this across all cultures, all race. It does not matter.

What you are talking about is exactly what I helped people work with, which helps build curiosity. How does curiosity play into what these women could benefit from?

You mean having a healthy curiosity?

Yes, don’t you think that a lot of people are holding back on their level of curiosity and they could be exploring more opportunity if they overlooked some of these things that are holding their curiosity. Do you find that to be the case?

TTL 604 | Purpose Centered Leadership
Purpose Centered Leadership: Women have so much potential but there are confidence, education, and work-life balance barriers that they face.

 

For them to be curious, they will have to have an interest. They have to know what they want and a lot of women don’t arrive at that stage. They are not even there to be curious.

Do you think it is the voice in their heads sometimes?

Absolutely.

That is what I am working on. Getting them over the voice in their head, getting them over that environment where they have been told that is not a cool thing to do or they never even considered it because somebody else did not offer it to them. How do you get them to open themselves up to that?

Before I coach anyone, I give them a self-assessment questionnaire, question to ask themselves. Sometimes it is the first time they are asking themselves a question. For example, I remember an evening in Charity Land, I would ask a client, “What is your goal for the next year?” The word goal was new. People have no goals.

Are these women in America?

American women. It does not matter about their culture, race, age. The word goal is new and they never thought of it because they are in survival trying to look the next step the next day. The goal setting is fearful to some people because, “What does this mean? What if I fail?” They presupposing they are going to fail already.

Is it in low income areas that this is more of a problem or do you see this in women in general?

Both. I have seen it in low income women, who have mid income and who have husbands who have maybe have high income but they themselves have never worked. It is a fear of success.

You do not want to risk tolerance, there is a lot involved.

It is fear of success and fear of failure. Fear of success is just as fearful as fear of failure. Sometimes even more.

What are they afraid of in success? What is the fear there?

Losing relationships, losing comfort zone, losing friends, outgrowing their spouse, environment, what is familiar. That is the big one I see in women, fear of success. They sabotage their success every single time. They will go up to a point and then they self-sabotage.

Because if they become too successful, their husband won’t be good enough anymore or won’t be grounded anymore?

Relatives too, do not forget the relatives play. You have to make a decision, “Is my success worth my loss?”

Most of them say it is?

It’s not.

How do you help them? They don’t need to succeed anymore if they are content with what they are doing or what happens then?

What I try to say to them if they are married women, “Can you get your husband to partner with you? Can your success be shared? Is there anything you can include him in?” Because I am not so concerned about the relatives. It is the spouse that is the biggest block. If you do not have a supportive spouse, that can be the biggest block.

It is through those personal stories that we create that human connection. Click To Tweet

Do most of the men support them or do they hold them back?

In all truth from my experience working with women, I would say they are not necessary supported in that way.

They probably will not even recognize that they are not supportive.

It is also fear on the men’s side.

“If they get too successful, they might leave me,” or whatever.

Even worse in the faith community unfortunately.

Why is that?

I play a lot in the faith community. The culture there is more of a women’s place is to stay within the home, but it is more that a woman cannot lead a male, a woman cannot be over a man. In the faith community, it is much more prevalent. There is a scripture in the bible that said wives need to be submissive to their husband and it has taken enough context and abused a lot in the faith world. That is where there is a lot of that particular issue. You have talented women in the faith community and they will definitely self-sabotage because this is not worth all of that, this is not worth it.

If someone’s listening to this and they think they want you to help them, what do you do exactly at Sharon Gill International? If they want help, what can they expect?

If they are looking for individual coaching, I offer individual coaching services to help with the mind. I have produced a confidence course, twelve modules. They can take it online as an introduction because it talks about the mindset issues, about affirmation, about looking at your appearance. It has a lot of self-assessment prompts. It’s about working on your weaknesses, emphasizing your strength, things that you can do, how you can take baby steps.

A personal SWOT analysis in a way.

It is gentle, but it is getting you to get to that level where you can say, “I am ready to take my next big step. I’ve worked through these other issues.” I do personal coaching to help with those mindset issues, those confidence issues. I also do organization training. I have a big passion for middle managers. Many times, the managers are the issue in their company because they are not given enough leadership training. We tend to say leaders are leaders and they do all the visionary thinking and they are on the big stuff. Managers manage process and that has been the definition for years, decades. I know that from my personal research and personal observation. We know that people leave managers, they do not leave companies. The reason why is because the managers are not middle person. They are not given the proper attention and they need leadership and people skills.

Usually, it does not get embraced at the top. Do you speak on any diversity issues in organizations? Do they hire you for that or do you not need to do that? I was curious if that was one of your focuses.

Not really.

There is so much to talk about diversity and that is why I was curious if you dealt with any of that because you do help women in so many ways. All the stuff that you do is important because the purpose-centered leadership that you talk about is a lot of what I focus on. Dealing with curiosity to find that purpose and if we can find those things that keep us from being curious, we can overcome those voices and the environment impact and all the things that you and I talked about. What you do is important. A lot of people would be interested in finding out how they can reach you if they wanted to learn more about your work. Do you have a website or something you want to share?

I do, SharonGill.com.

Thank you so much for being on the show. It was fun and we have a lot of similar things that we work on. I was looking forward to this. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for having me, Diane.

You are welcome.

 

Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace with Betty Ng

I am here with Betty Ng, who is the Founder and CEO of Inspiring Diversity or ID, which helps organizations increase profitability and employee retention with a practical solution for building inclusive, collaborative and high-performing culture. She also inspires, empowers and elevates people on all backgrounds to achieve goals and to bring their whole selves to the table. It’s nice to have you here, Betty.

Thank you so much. It is so exciting to be here Diane.

TTL 604 | Purpose Centered Leadership
Purpose Centered Leadership: There are many Asians in Silicon Valley and corporate America that are underrepresented at the highest ranks.

 

I have been looking forward to this and I know you are in Forbes, Bustle, Ladders, Fairy God Boss and a lot of that. I want to talk about what you are doing with diversity and inclusion because that is such a huge topic. I do not know if you have seen all the talk in California about women on boards. They have changed the law and people are up and arms. Sometimes that they are saying they want more women on boards. I know that diversity is such a huge issue and not just with women, but people of color, every aspect of it. How did you get to be an expert in the area of diversity and inclusion?

I was a woman of color rising up the corporate ranks for over twenty years myself. My experience, my knowledge, my passion all comes from having gone through that and recognizing that despite my own success, I had a lot of challenges too. What was needed was practical solutions that could help organizations as well as individuals tackle this whole diversity with inclusion in a matter that we are all dealing with. Because a lot of times, people do talk about diversity and that is a lot of the discussion, but equally important is the conversation on inclusion.

Are you from China because I saw the Chinese background with the Arthur Andersen and Beijing connection? Where are you and your family from originally?

My family is Chinese and I was born and raised in Chinatown in New York City. I’m very much in touch with my Chinese roots. I would say that I am split down the middle in terms of being Chinese and being American, but yes, my ethnicity is Chinese.

The reason I ask is, my son-in-law works at Apple. I go to Cupertino quite a bit and when you are in Tech Town, the diversity is very apparent that it is more Asian than anything else in some respects and there is not a lot of women. It is almost a reverse of what we see in other areas. Do you find that true?

You would make that observation because in terms of overall diversity and ethnic diversity, there are a lot of Asians in Silicon Valley and it seems as though there are quite a number of Asians in corporate America. In fact, Asians are underrepresented at the highest ranks. We sled the elevator bank in somewhere but in fact when it comes to C-suite, we are not very represented. When you think about diversity and inclusion, you do not look at an organization overall. You have to look at micro-pockets, chasms and levels, and identify where there are significant diversity, where there is not, where is there underrepresentation and also with women. We may comprise of about 50% of the work force, but when it comes to occupying the C-suite in executive ranks, we certainly do not make up 50%. We are about a quarter.

We hear a lot about not just underrepresentation of Asians in upper ranks, but women definitely in top sector in general. You have quite an impressive degree. You have an MBA from Harvard and you studied economics at Stanford. You have seen some of the hardest types of training out there. What do you think it is that we need to do to get women more interested in technology degrees and technology in general?

A lot of it starts at a young age and making sure that young girls don’t feel as though they are naturally more relegated to the non-STEM areas and empowering girls to feel confident in their abilities. As we also get more role models who look like us out there, we will see an increase. It is not something that we will be able to change overnight, but if we can start younger, start embedding this confidence and the skills and the support with younger girls, start to have more role models. we will find that it will increase overtime female representation.

Since you have written for children, and I would like to get your insight on this, there is a great TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson who focuses on what was happening to creativity and he says that we are educating people out of their creativity. It ties into my work with curiosity. When they’re kids, we’re focusing on science and math, more STEM related things, but we are impacting the non-STEM related things of creativity and all that, which we need for innovation. What do we do to get the people creative and curious, but also interested in STEM? Is it much? What is your thought on that?

Fear of success is just as fearful as fear of failure. Click To Tweet

It is important to give people, starting when they are children, exposure to a lot of things because it is the exposure and the experience that enables people to see where their interest lie. For instance, not pigeon-hole people from the beginning, not pigeon-hole children in terms of you are STEM, you are a writer or whatever. It is providing that exposure and also the support. This may sound a little bit unusual coming from someone who is of a Chinese background. Because people often think of people who are raised in a Chinese family is having been raised by tiger moms who are very much into STEM and do not care about the softer skills, creativity and writing.

In my household, we have a very strong focus on the softer skills and creativity. It is the ability to think outside of the tradition formulas. That is where innovation comes from and enabling children to experience both and encouraging them to think outside of the box is very important. It is amazing how children can be so naturally creative, but overtime we find ourselves limiting our own creativity. A lot of my great ideas have come from my children.

A lot of that ties on the research I did on curiosity, and it peaks around age five and then it starts to climb dramatically by the time you are an adult. You had to pot them and the problem is that we start off super curious and creative, but then we lose it through. The four things I found are fear, assumptions or the voice in your head, technology and environment are all these things. You are talking a lot of environmental things and you based your book on something you learned from your mother as I recall. That is a very strong environmental factor. Can you tell me a little bit about your book because a lot of people have children and are trying to develop some of these skills at a young age with them. Tell what you wrote and how it is based on your mom.

I have co-authored an adult book with my mom, whose name is Po-Ling and the book is called Po-Ling Power: Propelling Yourself and Others to Success. A little bit more background on my mom and what she mentioned in terms of the environmental factors for me and what she role modeled for me. Back in 1975 in the heart of New York City’s China Town, my mother, Po-Ling, was widowed at the age of 32. She left the four of us to raise on a social worker’s salary. Instead of giving up, she persevered for her own purpose, her own vision for herself. She got two Master’s degrees and decided to devote her life to the community. Helping everyone from young children to senior citizens. Fast forward four decades, she had gotten over a hundred awards including being brought back to China by the Chinese government for her impact on overseas Chinese.

She has taught and role modeled for me and many others what it means to propel yourself and others to success and I realized that her name, Po-Ling, represents as amazing acronym for what it means to propel yourself and others. When I was writing this book with my mother, I would explain to my children the Po-Ling principles and my daughter who was nine at the time said to me, “Mommy, I love the Po-Ling principles, but honestly I do not think any children are going to read your book,” and at that moment I felt so hurt. I felt hurt because I am writing this book to share my stories as well as your grandmother’s stories, so that you could take those with you to your children and what not. I was hurt, but she followed it up by saying something unbelievably brilliant and creative, which was, “Who doesn’t love animals, mommy? We should write books, animal stories based on the Po-Ling principle.” That is how the Persevering Penguins, Otters for Others, Leading Lions, Inspiring Iguanas, Networking Nightingales and Growing Gerbil were born.

My son, who is seven at the time, had a great idea, “How about if these different animals come together and they must help each other to succeed?” This is what we are talking about in terms of socially emotional learning that has grounded in diversity with inclusion. When my kids came up with this idea, I was like, “This is so brilliant and diversity with inclusion does need to start younger.” At five years old, we are malleable and the people that we grow up to become very much depends on our upbringing, environment, what we are exposed to and what we are taught at a young age. Hence, we are publishing two books. One is a picture book called Meet the Persevering Penguins and Pals and the other is a chapter book called The Persevering Penguins and Pals Propelling One Another to Success.

TTL 604 | Purpose Centered Leadership
Purpose Centered Leadership: Life is never about the rationale or the mind. It’s about inspiring diversity with inclusion from the heart.

 

This is bringing to mind somebody who was on my show. He did it in his own version of a DiSC assessment of personality test where instead of DiSC, he had different animal for the different types. He used this with adults in the training world. I could see using animals even adults because it makes more people friendly, that makes it more fun to have it that way. Have you considered doing something like this in diversity training in organizations?

This is another great example of diversity with inclusion. A lot of times we undervalue our children in terms of the ideas that they can bring to the table and it is a matter of listening and being inclusive of those ideas. To your point, who does not love animals? All ages love animals and often times diversity training can be a little bit dry and people feel as though they are being lectured to and it’s not fun and relatable. By bringing animals in, you can bring almost a sense of humanity into it, more relatability and something that is not so in your face as in, “You better become more diverse and inclusive.”

It reminds me when you are looking at an animal, they are not thinking in terms of color, in terms of race. They are not thinking of female, gender type issues and that is a good way. It almost reminds me of an old Star Trek episode where they were black on one side and white on the other. I don’t know if you ever saw that episode. They hated the other side because they were black and anyone else looking at them, you wouldn’t notice any difference. You had to pay attention. It is the same thing with animals that you have eliminated that thing that keeps people thinking one way or another. I know they do a lot of painting people green and different colors in cartoons, in the Marvel world and animals do that same thing. You realize that everybody is the same.

In the chapter book version where my children go into more detail in terms of each of the animals, it does become clear they are different, but we may all have the same goal and we can leverage our differences to achieve that common goal. We do have a lot more in common than we do different.

That is something I say a lot, but it is the important point. In the working world though, why do you think we still have such issues? We are starting to see such a climate. The political system where we are getting farther apart, there is a lot more people having all these shootings and horrible things happening because everybody is seeing somebody as the enemy, our own people that we work with on day in and day out. Why do you think we’re getting more apart even though we are becoming more diverse? Shouldn’t we be getting closer together because there isn’t much differences in people?

My view on all of this is that for example, this case for diversity with inclusion is very clear. Innovation, you could tackle more market, but in life it is never about the rationale, it is not about the mind. It’s about inspiring diversity with inclusion from the heart. If you want to impact change, it has to come from the heart. What affects the heart? The heart is affected by actual experiences. For example, how has my life benefited from diversity with inclusion? In organizations, sometimes they may say, “We know there is a business case for it so let us go for it,” but if the leaders and other employees within the organization do not feel the commitment from the heart, nothing is ever going to happen. How do you drive commitment from the heart? It does often time take for one self-reflection and articulating and sharing.

We have benefited from diversity with inclusion, whether in a workplace, through our friendships or personal relationships. It is through those personal stories that we create that human connection and the heart. It is about starting to build that empathy, kindness and all those other important values and behaviors not just at the organizational level but starting from when people are young and nurturing that from a young age.

When I have trained companies, groups and teams, we found that if all the teams were all the same, they produce a far less interesting product than when you have a diverse team. The more you have diversely on the team, the harder it is for you to understand one another. That is why personality tests can be important for people to learn because everybody knows more of what they are. They do not understand the opposite of what they are, sometimes on the scales of things. If they can take some of these assessments, it can help in that respect. We need to develop the sense of curiosity, understanding, empathy. Empathy is such a big part of emotional intelligence. What you are doing ties in. I work on a board of advisors for LeaderKid Academy which is K-12 in New Jersey area. They are focusing on the soft skills on emotional intelligence and all that in K-12. Are you saying more focus in that area?

Yeah, absolutely. There is an increase in social emotional learning for sure and it is interesting that you have been focused on curiosity because curiosity is critical to diversity with inclusion. It is one of about eight different attributes that are critical to driving inclusion specifically.

People leave managers, they do not leave companies. Click To Tweet

It ties into my research on perception as well and if you understand people from a perception than your own, you have to ask questions, you have to have empathy and be interested in other people. A lot of people do not have that.

You have to want to seek new knowledge and you have to want to engage with people of different backgrounds and you want to have to learn about those different perspectives. That all ties back to the curiosity work that you are doing.

If your mom was not a tiger mom and you were able to still get into Harvard, what do you think the answer was? What she did or your whole family in general, what is the thing that made you so successful?

It was that she role modeled the behavior, the excellence that she expected instead of telling me. In fact, it is funny the Po-Ling principles, she never sat me down and said, “Betty, you need to do Po-Ling.” It was never like that. She role modeled what it means to persevere for your purpose, to help others and address influence that are out there, to lead and be proactive and driving change and action, to inspire others, to make things happen, to network, which is establishing, building and leveraging relationships, to grow by always embracing diversity, change and failure and pushing yourself to be better. It all goes back to figuring out what your purpose is and that we know more overtime, but always feel a sense of purpose and have that be your guide.

How do we as a parent not overwhelm our children if we have all these high expectations of ourselves? I know one of my daughters sometimes become overwhelmed that I did too much stuff. “I can’t do that. You don’t expect me to do all that, do you?” Attitude. I didn’t expect her to do what I do. How do we role model it without making them think that they have to?

I have a paradigm, which I have called the present paradigm and it is about what it means to be present and I applied this to being a parent. What is present parenting? One, it’s about being present. We can apply this to your colleagues as well. It is being present for others when they need you. It is about present in terms of being attentive when you are together and listening to them, hearing what it is that they’re interested in and what is affecting them and so forth. Present in terms of providing three very important presents in life.

One is the present of opportunity, which is about access and exposure. It is about providing the present of empowerment which is about helping them to build the skills that they need. It’s about providing that third present of inspiration which is role modeling the behavior. I found that by living that way and being focused on that as opposed to focusing on over programming them, it’s been a great way for me to help my kids to develop and also for us to have a stronger relationship where they feel that I am there to help empower them as opposed to force to be something they are not.

Sometimes you can give guidance and if that is something that they are not interested in, then look at this, look at that. Give them options. Some kids sometimes feel a pressure to only go in one direction because of their parents. Their family or somebody is always on this one thing and it is part of the curiosity process to see what it is that they are interested in. I know my one daughter, she did not go to business because I liked it. She went to Portuguese because she liked it and I love that. You got to find what it is that makes your day exciting. What makes you want to do what you want to do? What you have done with this book is interesting and a lot of people could probably benefit for getting this to read to their kids. A lot of people would want to know more about how they can reach you and find out more.

You can find out more at InspiringDiversity.com about the organizational as well as school and family solutions that we have. You can find me on LinkedIn at Betty Ng and I am the CEO of Inspiring Diversity. We also have social media for inspiring diversity on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and we launched our Penguins and Pals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well.

Thank you so much for being on the show. This was fun.

Thank you so much, Diane. I appreciate the opportunity.

I would like to thank both Sharon and Betty for being my guests. We get so many great guests on the show. If you have missed any past episodes, you can catch them at Dr.DianeHamilton.com. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.

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About Sharon A. Gill

TTL 604 | Purpose Centered LeadershipSharon A. Gill is the Founder of Sharon Gill International, where she offers purpose-centered leadership training. She is the Founder of the Oasis Compassion Agency, a not-for-profit agency. Oasis Compassion’s mission is to reach into the community with the love of God, feeding, clothing, equipping and ministering to people in their areas of practical need. Mrs. Gill led the Oasis Compassion Agency for sixteen years, during which time she served close to 9000 families.

She recently transitioned the Agency to another nonprofit partner as she clears the path for her next mission. She is the Chief Operating Officer of the Gill Law Firm, a law firm that specializes in Creditors’ Rights, Commercial Litigation and Collections Law. She is a non-attorney co-founder of the firm in 1997 with her husband Wayne Gill. She is passionate about empowering women and helping them to reach their full potential. She has coached and mentored scores of women over the past 15 years. She is a Purpose Centered Leader who values ethics, integrity and social responsibility.

 

About Betty Ng

TTL 604 | Purpose Centered LeadershipBetty Ng is the founder and CEO of Inspiring Diversity, LLC (“iD”), which helps organizations increase profitability and employee retention with a practical solution for building inclusive, collaborative, and high-performing culture.

iD also inspires, empowers, and elevates people of all backgrounds to achieve goals and to bring their whole selves to the table.

 

 

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