123 – Supporting People of Color with Lisa and Simone – Karen Yankovich

This week’s episode of Good Girls Get Rich is brought to you by Uplevel Media CEO and LinkedIn expert, Karen Yankovich. In this episode, Karen discusses with Lisa Brathwaite and Simone Craig what we can be doing through a #BLM lens to support people of color.

Lisa Brathwaite is the marketing copywriter and content consultant for Uplevel Media. She helps people create and craft their stories for conscious connection. 

Simone Craig is the CFO of Uplevel Media. She owns an accounting business, and she also is the host of the A Mind for Money Podcast.

#GoodGirlsGetRich

We want to hear your thoughts on this episode! Leave us a message on Speakpipe or email us at info@karenyankovich.com.

About the Episode:

It’s a sad reality but even in 2020, racism still exists. As it’s been brought into view for all to see in recent weeks, are you struggling to find just what to say or do in your personal and business response? 

If so, you’re not alone. At Uplevel Media, we wanted to have an open, honest conversation about how #BlackLivesMatter aligns with us individually and in our company.

It’s important that we at Uplevel Media make the time to take stock to ensure we’re being inclusive, not exclusive. In this episode, Lisa, Simone, and I share our perspectives on issues you may be grappling with in your sphere of influence. We also examine Uplevel Media to see how we can help our clients create and feel welcomed in inclusive spaces.

We’re dedicated to walking the walk, not just talking the talk—but it does start with a conversation. Listen in and join us.

Episode Spotlights:

  • Where to find everything for this week’s episode: karenyankovich.com/123
  • Introducing this episode’s guest, Lisa Brathwaite and Simone Craig (3:48)
  • Lisa’s introduction (4:47)
  • Simone’s introduction (5:35)
  • Where Uplevel Media stands (9:49)
  • Lisa’s experience with Uplevel Media (12:41)
  • Simone’s thoughts on the challenge of racism (16:43)
  • Having values (19:46)
  • The richness of diversifying (26:05)
  • What Uplevel Media should be addressing (28:00)
  • Incorporating diversity (35:37)
  • Closing thoughts (46:24

Resources Mentioned in the Episode:

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Read the Transcript

Karen Yankovich 0:00
You’re listening to the Good Girls Get Rich Podcast Episode 123.

Intro 0:06
Welcome to the Good Girls Get Rich Podcast with your host, Karen Yankovich. This is where we embrace how good you are, girl. Stop being the best kept secret in town, learn how to use simple LinkedIn and social media strategies, and make the big bucks.

Karen Yankovich 0:23
Hello, everyone. I’m Karen Yankovich, the host of the Good Girls Get Rich Podcast and I am here with a really special episode today. It is Episode 123. And I need to give you a little backstory as to what’s kind of why we’re doing this episode what we’re doing. This episode is scheduled to go live on June 8, and we haven’t recorded it yet. And that is so like, Listen, I’d love to be saying that I’m weeks ahead on this stuff. And I’m not typically weeks ahead, but I’m usually more than two days ahead. And the reason for that is you know I’ve had a lot of conversations in the last week or two around diversity and equity and justice and inclusion. And as I started looking at my podcast schedule, I was looking at it going How can I release a podcast this week that says, Here’s how to use your LinkedIn recommendations. So that show is coming, because I do think that’s what you guys listen to the show for. But I also think that because LinkedIn, and the LinkedIn strategy and the marketing strategy we do is so baked in personal branding, that we can’t not talk about this. And you know, when COVID-19 hit, I distinctly remember the first podcast episode I recorded I was still in Florida, and I came home from Florida on March 13. So I was talking about COVID-19 on my podcast before we were before we were shut down before we had to, you know, kind of shelter in place. And I because I basically what I was saying were things like if you offer virtual services to people, now’s the time to talk about it. If you think you can provide a service to people that can help them through a trying period. They won’t know that if you don’t tell them about it, right. So I was talking about that from the very beginning, and it felt really out of integrity. To not be talking about this yet, here I am sitting here a white woman as the CEO of Uplevel Media, not really doing a lot of listening this week and not doing a lot of talking yet on my podcast, I do a lot of talking. So I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do around this and what I landed on. And thankfully, I have two smart, beautiful, amazing women of color on my team that agreed to do a show with me, where we literally are going to pull the curtain back and have a brainstorm. None of us have talked about this before, on how we can incorporate these policies, not into not just into our business, so that they’re more diverse and and equitable and inclusive, at the same time, incorporate it into the work that we’re doing with our clients into the she’s linked accelerator program and into the LinkedIn profiles we write. So we’re kind of just going to see where this conversation goes. And I thought that I can’t be the only white Woman CEO that’s that is having these same kinds of issues to having trying to figure out what my voice is. I think that it’s important, my voice is part of this conversation because it is my podcast and you look, you look for my voice on this, and I’m not looking to hide behind the people on my team, but I am going to kind of let them lead this because, for me, I’ve had many, many experiences more than I am happy to even talk about where I have been confronted with my own racism. And, you know, you don’t know it until you’re confronted with it. So I surely am not qualified to lead this discussion. But, you know, I definitely want to be a part of it. So hopefully that makes sense. Lisa and Simone, does that make sense to you, you guys on board for that? Okay, they’re shaking their heads, yes, even though you can’t see them. Alright, so let me introduce them to you Lisa Brathwaite is she is the marketing copywriter and content consultant for Uplevel Media. Lisa helps us with some of the experience in our groups, and some of The emails that go out and some of the ways that we built she helps us writing LinkedIn profiles. So a lot of the work that Lisa does a lot of the copy, you see Lisa’s had a hand in. And Simone Craig is my CFO, my chief financial officer. And they are both very much involved in the day to day business of uplevel Media. But I also want to be really clear that neither one of them are coming to this conversation as an expert in, you know, advising me or anyone else on diversity, equity, justice as inclusion and inclusion. They have experience not only as women of color, but also as people that are part of my team. They know the kinds of work that we do. So that’s, that is kind of where we’re going with this and we’re kind of just going to see where this goes and take you lis take you the listener along for the ride. So Lisa, why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit to everyone here.

Lisa Brathwaite 4:51
Hi, everyone. I’m delighted to be here. Again, I am Lisa Brathwaite, marketing copywriter and content consultant with Uplevel Media. At my essence, in core, I’m a writer, and my words have taken me many places around. Well, they’ve taken me many places and opened up a number of doors for me and hence professionally, I’ve held a number of roles. But I’m just happy to use my words. I’ve helped people create their stories and craft their stories. And in a time like this, I think your words and your story and your positioning is very important. So I’m delighted to be here and be a part of this conversation. And I’m looking forward to it.

Karen Yankovich 5:30
Thank you, Simone. Tell everybody a little bit about you.

Simone Craige 5:35
Yes, so as Karen mentioned, I’m CFO for uplevel media, and my background really is in accounting. And I, I started a accounting business for myself in 2007, and then landed in the online space about 10 years ago. And as Lisa said, I think it’s an important A conversation to be having. I’m very much about my my mission, which is why I have chosen to work with Karen really is not just because I love the work that she does in the world, but it’s really important to me to support women entrepreneurs, specifically in closing the wealth gap for themselves. And just really on a on a personal note, and I guess professionally too, I’m really hoping that however we land on the other side of what’s happening, what’s really important that’s happening now that we also start to have a conversation about economic empowerment. Economic Empowerment, is the foundation for empowering communities empowering families, and so we can’t really have a conversation about changing the inequities in the world until we talk about a shift in economic empowerment and that’s where I’m really excited. about continuing the conversation, once we get through this, this time that we’re in right now that I think is really powerful and important. Oh, you have a podcast that supports people with that too, right? So tell everybody what your podcast is. And we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. Thank you. Yes, my, my podcast, my new podcast is called a mind for money. And you can find it at simonecraig.com/podcast or at amindformoneypodcast.com and it’s, it’s all about wealth mindset for women entrepreneurs.

Karen Yankovich 7:36
Awesome. So, you know, we were I was really intentional about really trying to not have a lot of this conversation beforehand so that we could really truly do it live because I do feel like, again, I know, I know where I have trouble knowing what to say where to say it, how to say it what to do, and I can’t be the only other person that is is in that situation. So one of the The things that I did when I first started, I mean, listen, I feel like I’ve been listening for a long time. But in this past couple weeks, it is different. It is just different. And I don’t know what why that is or what it is. I’m happy that it’s different. But I feel called to stand up in a more powerful way around around these topics. So I did a little poking around in my entrepreneurial friend community to find out who was supporting people like me, too. And I remember distinctly looking for this a couple years ago, and I couldn’t find it Who can help me know what to say how to say when to say it. How can I learn to be better at this as a business owner, and I couldn’t find it but now I was able to find it. And truly LeBron had a did a workshop on this called show up and serve. And I subscribed to that I didn’t get to see it live, but I did subscribe to the replay. And I listened to it once all the way through it was long, and we’ll link to that too if anybody wants to listen to that and kind of and I listened to it once already. way through. And I’m in the process of listening to the second time taking notes, because I felt like I needed to just take it in once. So I can. So here’s the here is this is this is, this is purely an issue that I’m having around this. And that is like time, I want to show up and be present for this. I want to listen to her entire two and a half hour workshop. I am in the process of listening to the E book, how to be anti racist. I’m loving every minute of it. But I also have a business to run, right? So I’m not there’s not excuses. I’m trying to manage all the time around these things. And I would have loved to come to this call already having gone through that a second time and taking notes to the whole thing. And I just didn’t get all the way there. But I did take a few and really what, what I think there’s a couple things that I think are really important. And I kind of want to start with just up level media. Right? I think that, you know, one of the things that Trudy talks about is there should never be a question about where we stand and up level media. like nobody should be able to see anything we do and have a question about where we stand. That sounds good, right? I don’t know how we actually do that. And that’s what we’re here to talk about. You know, so basically how are we baking this in? You know, we have to we have to really talk a little bit here about how we can bake this in and I guess we can start by saying the easy things like the website, but what are we saying on the website? Right, like and I and I’m truly asking you guys this question. Like, from the work that you’ve done with me and uplevel media so far, and again, I’ll be I will I need to say this because I feel the need to say this, I love that half of my team are women of color, but that happened, because I love you guys. Not because I said I want a team that’s diverse. And I’m just being honest about that. Right? Like maybe I need to be I’m not maybe it clearly I need to be more intentional about that. Right? So it was almost like I was like, okay, check. Got that one checked off. Right. And I don’t say that I’m not proud to say that but that’s just the reality is that, you know, I and you know that I listened to you guys about everything you say. But we’ve been having had this conversation before. And there’s many, many things I’m sure that may have happened over the time Lisa’s fairly new to the team, Simone. I’ve known longer, but she’s also you know, we’ve literally expanded our team a bit in the last six months. Have you seen anything that you know, right off the bat that you say? I think we should start here? Like, what do you guys think? I’m gonna let you take it away.

Lisa Brathwaite 11:19
Well, let me just before we get into that, I have to share something that I just was kind of amused at this morning that I saw on Twitter is by a comedian named Z Wei. And her tweet was right now every employer in America is terrified that their black employees will be honest about their work experiences.

Karen Yankovich 11:39
Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.

Lisa Brathwaite 11:44
I share that just to share that she’s probably right. And you’re probably not alone. And it’s it just made me chuckle I just…

Karen Yankovich 11:53
Yeah. So Lisa, here’s the thing. Like I also have to look at this and go Where’s How do I come at this then? from a place of integrity, not a place of my voice, somebody is waiting to hear my voice. Do you know what I mean? Like It Is it can’t really be about me. Right? So yet, if I don’t say something right now, that saying something as well, so so that’s kind of what I hear when I hear that I totally get with what they’re saying. But at the same time, you know, I do feel an obligation, not just morally, but culturally, you know, and that’s why we’re doing this because I really couldn’t figure out what the right method was or media was or whatever was to, to do that where it felt like it was an integrity for me. So that’s a great way to start this. And that’s awesome.

Lisa Brathwaite 12:40
Well, and And with that, I will say, you mentioned how you brought Simone and I along on your ride up level media ride because you thought we were smart, intelligent women and for me, I like working with and associating with courageous and brave women edition. And that was one of the things that I appreciated about you and that I saw on you. Because there are so many instances over the course of my professional life where I could say, I’ll be at a conference or something. And I’ll I’ll just know, someone will say, that’s just too much work to try to even engage. It’s just too much work. And so they’ll go to another portion of the room or something or other. So the fact that you’re brave enough to engage, I just want to appreciate that and tell you that that’s the fact that you were deliberate or intentional about thinking, well, maybe the podcast shouldn’t just be me business as usual on Monday, maybe I should bring in my team members. And by the way, the fact that you had to readily available that you could reach out to that you were already in relationship with as opposed to Who am I Rolodex can I find?

Karen Yankovich 13:50
Can I tell you Lisa I started that way. I mean, full disclosure, I started that way. I reached out to Trudy LeBron, as soon as I heard this, and I said, I need to have you on my podcast, and she’s probably swamped and I do Today, if you’re listening, I do still want to have you on my podcast. But but that happens maybe later because this isn’t a conversation for just now. Right? This is a conversation that needs to continue. At the same time, you know, I need to be continuing to deliver the kinds of content people have signed up and download this podcast for every week to do right. So again, that’s where that’s where it comes back down to how do we bake it in? So then there’s no question about where we stand. It’s baked into everything, but we’re still supporting people in the way that they’re expecting to be supported by us.

Lisa Brathwaite 14:30
Right. And I think the bake again, starts with an awareness first and foremost, and that’s what I’m trying to tell you that let’s let’s get to a place of awareness. You can’t bake a cake. If you’re missing an ingredient and expect that you’re gonna have a gorgeous cake like you have to be aware of well, do I have all my ingredients in place and do the work to go and purchase what you might need? If you need eggs? go seek out getting eggs. You don’t have to say to someone Hey, do I need eggs can can you bring me eggs like it’s your cake. Get some eggs.

Karen Yankovich 15:01
So I’m kinda asking you if I need eggs.

Lisa Brathwaite 15:03
Well, yes, but you’re not making you’re not expecting me to bake the cake. You’re saying, I’ll bake the cake.

Karen Yankovich 15:10
Right.

Lisa Brathwaite 15:11
You know. And so I appreciate that. And the fact again, I will say this right off the top, this is Lisa, coming from Lisa’s experience so important. I just want to make that clear. I do not speak for everyone in the African or black community, because they might hear exactly what I’m saying right now and say, Oh, my God, I can’t believe she said that she should have said, so please understand that when you all don’t know when I should see you all, when people who are not people of color are challenged, to come up with the right words to say, just understand that black people and people of color. We’re not a monolith. So we face the same things of Hey, I’m just speaking for myself based on my own experience, and someone else will speak and they’ll say something and it will be their experience. It’ll be authentic, if they’re true and real about it. I’ve just coming to you with what I have based on what I’ve, what I’ve experienced. And I think that’s all we can really ask of anyone. Yeah. And then when you just come with that bravery, then we get into all the messiness of baking the cake, right, the flour on our nose.

Karen Yankovich 16:15
So I feel like that message, hopefully, is already baked into everything. Because I’ve say, almost every week on the show, and certainly in the course, this is the way I teach it. This is what works for me. There are other ways to do this. There’s probably a few wrong ways there’s not one right way, you know, so take what from this what you think works and move on. So that just ties right into, you know, into the message that I hope is baked into everything we do. And I know Simone, you are shaking your head. Yes, on that, too.

Simone Craige 16:42
Yeah. Yeah, I guess awareness too. And it and I think now, right now is it really calls for I think there’s the challenge. Again, my opinion that I think happens with Racism, prejudice is that there’s all these assumptions running underneath the surface that never gets spoken, you know, that are never like brought to light. And so I think that’s what can be powerful about this conversation in this moment is that it gives, as she said, everybody an opportunity to really say and speak, where you stand, like, Where Where are you on this like? And very specifically, you know, do you do you believe that black lives matter? Are you black lives matter? Are you all lives matter? I think that’s kind of what she’s asking is kind of, very specifically is, where do you stand? And it’s not so much about where you stand necessarily, but are you? Are you communicating that clearly to your people? And is that communicated clearly to your team? And is everybody feeling like that what happens in the business is in alignment with what it is that you believe.

Karen Yankovich 17:59
So here’s But I think about that, I think and we will get to this in a little bit. But I think that the better job we do of communicating that the better and alignment the people that we attract will be to that message.

Simone Craige 18:10
Yes.

Karen Yankovich 18:10
Because that could be a challenge as well. And I love that. I love that because I think that it’s important, but you know, it is coming. From my perspective, it can be a little bit confusing, because even just, you know, as I process through ways that I can build equity in, right, I mean, equity really means that equity doesn’t mean we’re, you know, your equal equity means we’re not equal. And what do we need to do to to make it more equal? Right? So I think about things like, you know, do we do scholarships? Do we do you know, do we do just, and then I read things that say, No, we don’t want a handout, we want a hand up and then I read No, you need to do. I mean, I can’t even tell you how many. I’ve gotten 20 different suggestions on that topic from 20 different people. And I take it all right, I take it all in because I don’t know because I will have to process it and see where I feel on it, but at the same time I don’t want to be in a place where I’m being insulting, or whatever, which is why we’re having this conversation. Right. So So, you know, coming and I’m just being on, you know, just being honest about that, like, as I try to listen and learn, there’s so many different messages to listen to. And I mean, I was Lisa, I joke this to Lisa the other day, like I totally, you know, there’s on the surface, I know a crap ton underneath the surface that I’ve no I still have to deal with. But on the surface, of course, I believe Black Lives Matter. I donate it and I donated money to them the other day, and then the next day, they came out with this defund the police campaign and I’m like, do I believe that? I don’t know if I really believe in that. Do you know what I mean? Like I don’t know Do we really want to defend the police today? You know, so it’s so there’s there’s always i think that i think what I’m saying is that it’s Oh, I’m feeling like it’s okay to to have a value but then have things be the not be in full agreement with every single little piece of the of the conversation. How do you guys feel about that?

Simone Craige 19:59
Yes. I mean, I there’s, as you said, we’re not a monolith, you know, everybody has a really beautiful time. And it’s a very emotional time. And we’re all kind of processing this, this together. And I think we have kind of different things to process. I think that we as black people have different things to process about this moment than white people do. And so we’re all kind of figuring it out, you know? So I don’t I don’t know that now is necessarily the time to affirmatively say, Okay, this is what I’m going to do, because this is what this person said at this post. That’s… You know, so I think we all just need to kind of step up where where you feel called to step up, but really just giving ourselves I mean, we’ve been in this maybe a week, two weeks, right? And right, this is offseason pain of 400 years. In this country, right, okay. So a lot to kind of ask anybody to come up with anything, especially is not an expert in this. Right, right, Aaron, this is what you should do to move forward. And this is the right thing to do. By way of black people like that. I feel like that’s almost impossible right now. But I think it’s helpful to hear from you that you do believe that you do stand with black lives matter. That’s good to know, you know, right, right. Right, right. Like, he was a personal friend, right? I know you professionally as a CFO, so I understand who you are as a human being and I have the assumption, but didn’t know really affirmatively till you said, Oh, I do and I donate it to Black Lives Matter, you know. So that’s very me, and I appreciate it. But well, you know, the cop thing and how should I feel about that? I can’t tell you how to feel about that. Right? Right. All black people feel the same thing about that. Yeah, the best, you do the best where you can, and but you but you have to stay true to you and what you feel is, is best for you and be willing to just to be honest about it. Like, personally, I feel it’s not even so much the the because I really feel as Americans racism is the air we breathe, right? It is no…

Karen Yankovich 22:24
And I have come to learn that. But let me tell you, that was a hard lesson for me to learn that I truly am a racist, still, in many ways that there’s things that I have to learn. And I have to uncover layers of that layers of conditioning that is not easy for me to say and it comes up and that is why I need to be called out. Because I don’t know. I mean, sometimes I catch it myself. And other times I don’t, you know, and…

Lisa Brathwaite 22:53
I feel like, I feel like I need to stop you there Karen because I just said I am a racist. Again, this is Just Lisa and misinterpretations and feelings about this. I would not, I will not let you go out there and say that okay, that you benefit from white privilege? Yes. I’ll let you say that. But to say that you’re, racist, no, I’m not going to let you say that.

Karen Yankovich 23:20
See this is the these are the things I’m listening and learning about. And but here’s what Okay, so I really don’t want to make this about me but but this is why it’s important that we have this conversation, because I don’t know what I don’t know until I see it right. And I’ve told I think I’ve told both of you guys this, but I go back to the conference that the talk that I did a few years ago where it was a talk to, you know, a group of women of color. And I’m sitting there in the morning flipping through my presentation while watching the Morning presentations, and realize there wasn’t anything but a white woman woman in any one of my slides. And I was like holy hell, and I just didn’t ever see it. I created the slides. I have no one to blame but myself. Right. So of course, thankfully, I caught it. And I ran out in the hall and I grabbed my laptop and I, you know, and I was able to adjust it before I did a presentation to a roomful of black women with not a single person of color in my slides. But that’s what I mean about me needing some help around my business. I thankfully caught that, but it is just as likely that I didn’t catch it. Right. So that is why I say that, like that’s, those are layers of things that I have to uncover, to be able to get to the to be able to get to where and I probably will be doing that till the day I die, right? Because how would I how and there’s some other things we can talk about, we’ll talk about we get to help in supporting our clients, but you know, how would I know that right? And I’m not making that as an excuse, right? But that’s why I need to, and maybe we need to find maybe we need to hire a consultant like maybe that’s what we need to do to bring somebody in here professionally to help us do this from a business perspective. Right. I do think that we have to talk about it from a how we bake that in Everything we do, because I really don’t feel. And please tell me if you disagree with this, I really don’t feel that I do want to have a comp when this podcast comes out, I do want to have some conversations in my groups about this podcast, and just see what you know where it comes up, especially as it relates to when we start talking about things like the LinkedIn profiles that we write, and we help people with, um, but I don’t think that I am the person to be out there, you know, talking about you know, I mean, we certainly can be talking about diversion and equity and things like that, but I don’t know that that’s not what I teach. I teach people how to show up in a big way how to create a personal brand that allows them to, to fill their bank account, right, they show up in a way that positions them with people that that are powerful people. And I don’t know, is it naive to say that’s not my message to do? I mean, what do you guys think?

Lisa Brathwaite 25:51
Well, no, I think you can do that. I say yes. And Okay. Yes, you can do that. And you can I know we can get into more specifics about it later. But yes, you can do precisely that what you’re doing in your business. And you can say, by the way, as you’re looking for speakers for your next event, if that’s what you are, consider a person of color, have consider that you might want to diversify your panel. And it’s not just, it’s just really because you’re missing out. But you’re missing out. You don’t, you’re missing out on a great deal of richness and a knowledge base that you’ve probably never tapped into. And it’s really I mean, the way I look at it, it’s really it’s too bad. Like, yeah, I feel I feel personally sorry, when people don’t engage with others that don’t look like them. Don’t think like them, because you’re just so limited. And I really feel sorry for you versus going out and looking to access the vast the vast richness that is available to you. Yeah, just give it an opportunity.

Karen Yankovich 27:00
I’ve ever looked at it that way. I don’t think I’ve ever really looked at it that way. Because I think we just tend to include the people that are around us. Right. And, you know, MC, thankfully I have, I have lots of diverse people around me. But that still doesn’t mean. I mean, it’s still, I still have to intentionally I’m not intentionally doing it enough. For example, I know there’s a lot of and this is exactly where we said, we didn’t want this conversation to go, you guys, but I think we’re hot. We’re here. So let’s go there. We were, like, we’re gonna keep it focused on how we support the business around this. But maybe that is what this is right? You know, there was a conversation a few years ago, and this might be where I was initially looking to bring a consultant in a diversity consultant in around, you know, I get asked to be on summits all the time, not one time in my life. Did I look at the list of other people there to see is it diverse, not one time in my life that I think to do that, I think to do it now, right? But I didn’t think to do it then. You know, so and this is what I mean about uncovering the layers, you know, that I’m sure there’s going to be more layers that I haven’t found yet. So, so just Do you think that at this moment in time, like, do you guys see anything we should be addressing right now from a corporate perspective and we’re not really looking to hire more people at this point? You know, maybe one more person depending on you know, what’s going on we just brought somebody else in to kind of help us with the team. Do you think there’s Is there anything you that stands out to either one of you and please be real here that I should that we should be doing right now from a corporate perspective? To you know, to support the team and to to bake in this message into every single thing we do?

Simone Craige 28:32
There’s one thing I don’t I don’t know about baking it in. But there was there was one thing that I remember you and I had a conversation about, hopefully, it’s okay to bring it up. But you and I had a conversation about how you know, you were doing your I don’t know what it was, it was a workshop or something. And and I think it was a black woman or women of color said yeah, this you know, I like this. This is great, but I don’t feel comfortable. Putting my picture up on LinkedIn, because I have, I feel that I, you know, as a black woman, I’m not going to be hired or there’s going to be, you know, a judgement about, you know, me as a black woman on LinkedIn, I can’t approach my LinkedIn profile the way a white woman or a white person can get. I don’t necessarily I don’t know the answer to that, you know, LinkedIn is not my…

Karen Yankovich 29:23
Right. And that’s that’s really where that’s exactly where I wanted to go. Next was how because I she, I mean, what could I do other than just sit there and stunned silence because i would i have i it had never occurred to me. Right. He was of course absolutely right. And I all I really did was applaud her because she had just put her picture up. So I was like, applauding her for kind of stepping into it and just saying, screw it. I’m out there. I’m amazing. I’m going to tell the world I’m amazing. And I’m going to show the world I’m amazing. But if we’re going to start to dive into the the work we do, there’s actually did that that’s actually the beginning. controversial right now. So on the whole thing was your LinkedIn picture? Oh, and the reason for that is LinkedIn requires you to have a picture of yourself, well, it didn’t require you to have a picture of yourself, but they require you not to have a picture of something that’s not you can’t put a picture of a dog, you can’t put a picture of, you know, a pen. Right? And, and there were people that were using, like blacklivesmatter signs or things like that as their profile picture. And LinkedIn made them change it and said, LinkedIn requires you to have a picture of your face. You don’t I mean, yeah, and I got I get that. I mean, it is about you. It is about your personal brand. So I get that that is their rule. And I also know that there are probably many people out there that have a picture of a pen that we’re not told that they have to change their thing. My guess is that LinkedIn doesn’t really pay attention to it unless somebody reports it. And this is such a hot topic right now. And I have no idea if this is true. So I probably shouldn’t be saying this. Right? But think that that there may be people that are reporting profiles that are out of the LinkedIn Terms of Service. And it sucks. That that’s the kind of thing that’s getting reported. But I kind of understand the LinkedIn saying, you know, these are our rules. And this is why we have these rules. We are not Facebook, we are not Twitter. We are not standing on Capitol Hill, trying to defend the bots and the fake profiles. We stand here and say, we want to see your face. We want you to show up. We want to hear your voice as you that that’s and I didn’t we really haven’t talked about this at all, because I wanted to hear your thoughts on that. Like I, I kind of understand it, but I’d love to hear what you guys think about that.

Simone Craige 31:38
I understand it too. And I think as Lisa was saying, there’s an opportunity there like there’s an opportunity to serve people and maybe in a different way or specifically the people of color or black women or men in your community that have that kind of That hesitation or that block? And I don’t know that the answer is necessarily that you don’t put your picture up. Maybe you put your picture up, but there’s a different conversation about how to still be successful or still make your LinkedIn profile work or still work it even with your picture. Or maybe there’s some mindsets of I don’t know that there’s there’s a lot of opportunity there in you know, instead of getting caught up in Oh my God, this black woman just told me about it. I don’t know, you know what I mean, which, you know, it can be wow, you know, wow, okay. That what a curious what a curious challenge that is, wow, I wonder how we can navigate that. And I think that’s a powerful way to incorporate it in your, in your business or even in your program, even to just…

Karen Yankovich 32:48
I think we do want to talk about that because I think we do need to do that. But I think that those are two separate things, right. One thing is, do you put you know, I mean, that there is a hesitation to put your personal picture up. Because you’re a black woman or a black man, but this issue is LinkedIn is racist because they LinkedIn is shutting our messaging like LinkedIn is not letting us speak our truth, because they’re not letting us do put this where the picture is. And I think that those are two separate issues. I mean, I can’t do anything about that, right. Like, I don’t have any control over what LinkedIn does or doesn’t do. But I can have a point of view on it. Right. And my initial point of view is, is I kind of get it, you know, like, I kind of get it. But am I being naive when I say that?

Lisa Brathwaite 33:30
I think there’s an intersection there of policy and personal. Yeah. And I really, I look forward to having the conversation about people saying, I feel like hiding behind the the framing of Well, that’s a personal thing. And that’s political. And I I’m about this and it’s just my business, and I don’t get into things like that. But again, talking of opportunities. I understand LinkedIn, as far as I know, that was their policy before. Yeah, recent events. Yep. So They want you to have a picture. Yeah. That’s a policy thing. And that’s their company. And that’s their right. Um, where I see the opportunity with that, though, in the personal is we say, All right. Do you Are you aware that there is a segment of the American population that you think nothing of putting your picture up on LinkedIn? But for some, this is a real professional concern? Yeah. That if they put their picture up, someone might pass them not even take a look at their profile, simply because of the picture that appears? Yeah. Are you aware that this is happening? Yeah. How do you feel about that? And if you’re not aware, I’m telling you, so now you can be conscious of that. Yeah. Ask yourself Have you done that before? Have you looked to reach out to someone and as soon as you saw their picture Did you say up? Let me go on to the next. Yeah, all of these things are things that people I feel like once you see them and once you’re aware Then, if you’re it’s up to you to decide quietly, I would just ask anyone, you don’t have to post on Facebook, you don’t have to scream. But just ask yourself these questions quietly first and sit with them. And if you know better than after that do better. And if you don’t, and you willfully say, yeah, that’s what I do. But you know what, I don’t feel like changing that. Okay. Okay. Yeah, time will tell if you were on the right side of history with making that decision or not, but that’s certainly your prerogative, right?

Karen Yankovich 35:35
Absolutely. So there’s a part of me so in our She’s LinkedUp Accelerator Program. And at this point, we’re gonna have more ancillary videos, then we have actual training videos and each in each module, but there’s a part of me that wants to do a video for each module that is around diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion. How does that apply to this piece of content that we’re doing? teaching in this module. And again, we have one on PR, we have one on mindset we have we’re in court, we’re about to add one on how your assistant can support you. So now I want to add a fourth ancillary one, but, you know, what do you think when I say that? Do you think it should? That’s how I feel like we can bake? Or do we bake it into the content? Do you know what I mean? Like call it like, and this is not something we have to decide right now. But these are the kind of conversations I want to have about how do we incorporate more of this because everything we’re talking about here for Uplevel Media and you know, Karen Yankovich, his name is and picture over everything else also applies to every single one of our customers because we teach visibility, we teach visibility, we teach personal branding, and this is a part of their personal brand and maybe they’re looking for help with how to I’m gonna keep saying bacon any, you know, baking it into their own brand, right. So Lisa, I mean, Lisa writes LinkedIn profiles for us, among, among other things, So just let’s start that conversation a little bit. What do you think about that? You know, just in general, like, What is your reaction? When I say we can pull it, we can make it a separate little video under each module? Or we can just incorporate it into the module? Or do we? Or am I just saying, What am I just going over the top? And, you know, it’s not something we really need to even address.

Lisa Brathwaite 37:21
You know, it’s like Simone said before, I mean, these are things that we’ve been processing. I can say, I’ve been processing this all my life, I think most African Americans or black people, I’ve been processing these sorts of things all my life. So when you asked me specifically about something like that, I don’t feel this is just me, you know, my favorite word is marinating on something, I don’t feel that’s something I would have to sit with. You know, like, I that’s near enough. It’s something I have my initial reactions to things, but then it’s like, okay, but how does that work? What would that look like? And so I that’s where I’m going kind of add. I’m like, I think you could look at it from a number of angles, and just say, Well, I don’t I really don’t know. I have some thoughts. My initial thought is that I don’t I still kind of wrestle with the fact that you have to put out a sign that says Black Lives Matter. Like that’s sad to me. Yeah, I know. I’m have to actually make that statement to say yes. As a litmus test. Oh, yes. Black Lives Matter like that, to me that, that we’re talking about this and having this conversation in 2020. Like, I have to get past that to even say, well, should you or shouldn’t you? Yeah, cuz it’s just sad. Yes, we do. Yeah, but we Yes, we absolutely sad as it is.

Karen Yankovich 38:46
Yeah. Because if I’m saying there cannot be a question when people look at my brand, my website or my LinkedIn profile or anything about where I stand, then we have to, how do we then incorporate that into when we help clients have that same thing like when when we put out their LinkedIn profile? Do I really? Do I want each profile to have to say NPS? I believe black lives matter? Of course I don’t, you know, but how do we make it then? So that as we’re helping people create the brand, which very often is the first, the first thing people see about someone, right? Like if somebody says you need to work with someone, Craig, first thing I’m going to do is put some on Craig’s name and Google and her LinkedIn profile is going to come up. Right, so So how can we as we advise people, and frankly, we’re writing so many LinkedIn profiles now? How do we then incorporate that? So that there is never a question about where our clients stand in this? And again, I’m, I don’t have any answers on this. I’m just saying these are the conversations I think we need to have.

Lisa Brathwaite 39:48
Well, I feel like in that case, I would ask the client, I mean, is this something that you want to unequivocally say, in your profile, if we’re teaching people this is about your personal brand If we’re teaching people to lead by your values, if we’re teaching you people to be authentic, and telling your story, that’s a part of your story. That’s where we’re at in the world today. Like, it’s, it’s part of your story.

Karen Yankovich 40:15
We are saying, like, do you do work virtually? If so, rewrite your about section to talk to off, make sure you offer that. We don’t however, and maybe we should. We don’t however, say, you know, do you have preferred pronouns? Right. So we’re not asking that question. Maybe we should be asking that question, too. Right. You know, but I think that because, you know, if we want, if I want to walk the talk, right, then this is a conversation we have to have, and then we’ll have to figure out and I guess that’s what we’re doing now starting the conversation and figuring out how to bake it into your LinkedIn profile. So that so that there isn’t a question on where you stand. And it doesn’t it maybe it’s not, I don’t know, is it a cop out to say maybe it’s in your images Maybe we’re looking at their media as we share it and say you realize all the media you’re sharing is just a bunch of white old, old white men. Do you know what I mean? Like, maybe it’s that maybe those are the kinds. Maybe that’s a start for this. I don’t know. I mean, you know, maybe we start with that, so that there’s, you know, that starts the conversation. And maybe we update the maybe we need to update the intake form to say, you know, what, I mean, how important is it for you that people understand, you know, where you stand on any of these? I don’t know, what, how do you? I mean, I don’t want to do it in a way that’s insulting, but at the same time, you know, on gender issues on, you know, on issues of race and issues of diversity issues, you know, I mean, on gender issues, our program is called, she’s linked up. We are like, by the name of our program, you know, we are maybe not being inclusive and I, and really my, my goal with calling it she’s linked up isn’t to be exclusive. It’s because I feel like women don’t feel included in the conversation on LinkedIn. All right, I’m gonna just say Because what came to my head but this is maybe this is like the women on LinkedIn like, like, you know, I need to be speaking to the women on LinkedIn, like Black Lives Matters speak to the people here like you are included here, right? And I don’t mean to equate them, right. But that’s kind of what came to my head when I said that I’m not saying I don’t care what your body parts are, I don’t care, you know how you identify, we can help you in this program. But I know that women are feeling excluded on LinkedIn. And I feel like by naming our program, she’s linked up, it helps them feel included, and therefore they can benefit from the amazing opportunities and the relationship building that can happen there that and believe me when I tell you, I get challenged with that decision a lot. Because us women aren’t as easy to whipping out our credit cards as men are. You know what I mean? So I did challenge with that decision a lot. You know, I can tell you at Simone, you don’t even really know this, but I can tell you at this moment in time, one third of the people that bought the program in May were men And two people of the people that bought the program in may ask for refunds because they got buyer’s remorse, clearly buyer’s remorse and they’re both women. So just by virtue of doing this alone, you know, I feel like there’s not a standard we’re taking. But, you know, I’m really I really feel passionate about really making feel women feel feel welcome on LinkedIn and to and to help them understand the power their men are really willing to invest in themselves. Women are just not which is where Simone’s work is so important, right? Yeah. So, you know, are we being in Are we being you know, are we not being inclusive, even just by that or do when I say all that, what do you guys, what do you guys think?

Lisa Brathwaite 43:44
Again, still processing all of this. I feel like when you say, okay, the name of our program is, She’s LinkedUp, then yes, that’s clear. It’s called she’s linked up. You’ve made a stand instead. You didn’t say people are linked up. You said, She’s LinkedUp. So you’re clear. Now, whoever comes by and learns about She’s LinkedUp. They can then decide, okay, I identify with that. that resonates with me. Someone who believes that women are second class citizens, a man who believes that women are second class or what have you. He’s not going to join up for your program. He’s he’s not he’s moving. Yeah, but isn’t that okay with you?

Karen Yankovich 44:34
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Lisa Brathwaite 44:36
So you’ve what you’ve done is you in my opinion, you’ve made it clear where you stand so that people, if that resonates with them that it’s not Well, I’m not sure if if I’m looking at Karen, who says she’s linked up and if I’m looking at someone else, who offers coaching and says, We’re linked up, if she’s linked up means something to me, value wise, if that really resonates with me, I’m likely going to go with You’re she’s linked up program, I could probably find a place for myself and that we’re linked up program. But I know for certain she’s linked up. There’s something there. There’s an element there that resonates with me. And the gentleman who thinks that women are second class citizens will probably say, Nope, She’s LinkedUp. It’s not for me, I’m going over here to We’re LinkedUp.

Karen Yankovich 45:19
And the guys that join our program are the coolest guys too, because they are confident in you know, themselves in a room full of women. Cool.

Lisa Brathwaite 45:26
I am there to engage with,

Karen Yankovich 45:28
I swear we’re gonna make this an hour and we’re already coming on an hour. Do you guys don’t realize that? I feel like there’s so many things we didn’t talk about. What didn’t we talk about that we need to talk about?

Lisa Brathwaite 45:40
I think we just need to I mean, to me, this is indicative of where we’re at. This is a conversation. It’s not a one and done. This is something that’s going to just continue. And the question is, are you going to keep showing up for it? The question is, Are you just going to wish it away? I hate to inform folks, but this conversation is not going anywhere. It’s not going to blow over. So, you know, it’s it’s, it’s uncomfortable. Yeah. Yeah. To be Yeah. If you call yourself a leader, if you call yourself a leader in the business world in any way, shape or form if you’re trying to show up as a leader. Here’s your time. This is what it takes. Leadership is not easy nor convenient.

Karen Yankovich 46:22
All right. Well, I you guys, I am so honored to have you on my team honored that you agreed to do this. I don’t know if this was helpful to people or not, I guess we’ll find out when they listen. It was certainly helpful to me, because we’ve now taken the first step as a company down the direction of incorporating a lot of this into our world. And clearly, the naivety of me thinking we were gonna have a half hour conversation and we were gonna have some answers. It was it was pretty funny now in hindsight, but I feel good about it. I feel good that we have some ideas. Lisa will marinate on some of these things as it relates to incorporating it in the LinkedIn profiles. You know, so because I think we have to I think we have to, I think I think we have to be there for people that want that. And and we have to, and maybe they don’t even maybe no one’s asked them if they wanted that right. So maybe we just maybe weren’t for now we just need to people that need to be the people that ask them if they want to be to be no, you know, how they want to be known on these issues? And do they want that to be, you know, clear as people look at their profile, right, maybe that’s where we start with this just being the people that ask those questions of the people we help. And for those of for you that’s listening, you know, by all means, please give us feedback on this. If you have ideas, I want to hear them. I am a big fan of what I heard what I learned years ago called lateral learning. You know, this is not just me, preaching or the or Simone and Lisa preaching. I learned from everyone that listens to this podcast and share things with me and I encourage that I you know, I am an absolute sponge. These days, I just need to find a few more hours in the day. And then I’ll be able to listen to all the things I want to listen to, I might need to go on a drive or something, you know, just go out for a three hour drive and put some audiobooks in the car. But I don’t I’m not even really sure how to close this out. You guys. I think that I think that well, do you want either one of you want to say anything before I wrap this up? I know you both kind of did a little bit. But is there anything else you want to say before I want to make sure I’ve got your voices heard?

Simone Craige 48:29
Well, I just I want to clarify something that I said. Is is that i i do truly believe again, it’s just my opinion. I do truly believe that as Americans that racism is the air we breathe. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I mean, it’s kind of like the it’s, you know, we’re fish in. And the water is, you know, this but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe that everyone’s racist. I just that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying is there’s there’s certain, you know, I guess the term is unconscious bias or exert bias that we’ve all been brought up in, and we it’s now in our face, and we’re here dealing with it. That’s, that’s, that’s what I’m saying. And I think as Lisa so beautifully said, I think the PowerPoint right now is awareness. That’s, that’s the power right now.

Karen Yankovich 49:28
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Lisa. How about you anything else you want to add to this? Or have you just said your piece?

Lisa Brathwaite 49:33
I think so. I just want to say it just in general, To be continued and just be brave.

Karen Yankovich 49:41
Cool. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Okay. So you heard Lisa To be continued. This conversation will be continued. I don’t know what that looks like. But we are doing our what I am doing what I can to continue to learn and to continue to support you. As you listen to this. I hope that this helped you if there was any. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know if there was any answers, but at least you know, you’re not alone if you know that there’s confusion. So, you know, this is if you are not already in our complimentary Facebook group, you can check that out at LinkedIn for women community calm, we’ll get you to the free Facebook group. We encourage you to join us there. Once this goes live, we will absolutely continue this conversation there and in our paid groups, and we want your feedback. I want your feedback. I you know, I am you know, I won’t I won’t know what I don’t know what I don’t know, right. So don’t hesitate to give us feedback. Give me feedback. And I look forward to hearing from all of you, Lisa and Simone, thank you so much for being here today, you guys. And I’ll see you back in the office on Monday. And we’ll see how quickly we can get this out to our community. And I’m grateful for both of you. And I’m grateful to all of you that are listening to the show. Have a fabulous week, everyone. We’ll see you all again here next week for another episode.