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HomeHR JobsEpisode 374: Digital Fairness With Invoice Curtis-Davidson and Chris Wooden

Episode 374: Digital Fairness With Invoice Curtis-Davidson and Chris Wooden


However we’ve finished numerous work at PEAT in immersive applied sciences like digital actuality, which might be providing new methods for workers to attach, talk, and collaborate. They’re additionally offering methods for employers and governments and educators to construct empathy and enhanced coaching, reskilling, and upskilling. And when the wants of individuals with disabilities and different intersectional identities are thought of as a part of design, we will design that tech to be helpful for everybody.


Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive office chief. Be a part of host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founding father of as she sits down and will get to the underside of developments, instruments, and case research for the enterprise chief, HR, and recruiting skilled who’s uninterested in the established order. Now right here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:55.56] Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive office chief. This episode of the Workology Podcast is a part of our Way forward for Work collection powered by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. PEAT works to start out conversations round how rising know-how developments within the office are impacting folks with disabilities. Now, earlier than I introduce this episode’s friends, I wish to hear from you. Please textual content me the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. You possibly can ask me questions, go away feedback, and make strategies for future friends. That’s “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. That is my group textual content quantity and I wish to hear from you. As October is each Nationwide Incapacity Employment Consciousness Month, also referred to as NDEAM and LGBTQ+ Historical past Month on this episode we’ll spotlight views that contact on each with a concentrate on how office insurance policies, practices, and applied sciences can allow digital fairness. At present, I’m joined by Invoice Curtis-Davidson, co-director of PEAT and Senior Advisor, Inclusion, Accessibility and AI Integration with the Wheelhouse Group, and Chris Wooden, Govt Director and Co-Founder, LGBT Tech, and Chair of the FCC Communications Fairness and Variety Council, or CEDC, and Variety and Fairness Working Group.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:03.86] Invoice is a inventive technologist who has spent the final 20+ years advancing inclusive product design and strategic accessibility practices for shoppers in a number of industries. He makes use of his expertise as a strategic advisor, program chief and product designer to have interaction stakeholders and improve their affect. At Wheelhouse Group, Invoice serves because the Synthetic Intelligence Integration Observe Lead with a particular concentrate on AI, ethics, equity, and social justice with a concentrate on folks with disabilities. Invoice’s work facilities round HR applied sciences, but additionally explores how AI interacts with rising applied sciences akin to prolonged actuality, automated automobiles and extra. Now, Chris, he has based three non-profits targeted on LGBTQ+ communities, one for the B2B revenue house and a B2C firm. He’s additionally taught as an adjunct professor round entrepreneurship and has spoke at over 100 occasions within the final ten years. Wow. His drive and fervour actually took form at 25 years previous when he was taken hostage by the primary suicide bomber within the US. And realizing from cradle to grave this life is simply too brief and it was on him to make his goals come true. Thus far, he’s grown all his non-profit or for-profit ventures from a small thought to a profitable group now using over 15 folks. Invoice and Chris, welcome to the Workology Podcast.

Chris Wooden: [00:04:04.56] Thanks for having us.

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:04:06.12] Thanks for having us.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:07.77] Let’s soar proper in and ask you each, however we’ll begin with Chris. What does digital fairness at work imply to you?

Chris Wooden: [00:04:16.43] Digital fairness actually means the flexibility to have entry or the identical potential entry to digital instruments and assets no matter your background, your sexual orientation, your gender id, your race, your geographic location. That digital fairness is actually, brings not solely many parts of our group collectively. The group that’s not a monolith, however truly the LGBTQ group spans all different minority communities. And after we’re all equally, after we all have equal entry to completely different know-how units, completely different applied sciences, various kinds of know-how, the identical speeds, that basically signifies that we’ve got the flexibility to all equally take part at work and in our skilled lives. For me, this query goes a bit of bit deeper and possibly I’m leaping forward a bit of bit. However I feel it’s vital to say right here is that digital fairness at work actually begins after we’re speaking about digital fairness all over your training. And having equal entry to various kinds of digital units or the digital financial system is vital as a result of it permits us as people to indicate up, but additionally know what our potential is as a younger particular person. What can we wish to get into? What do I wish to turn into a gamer? Do I wish to, do I wish to turn into a programmer? In the event you’re not uncovered to various kinds of digital applied sciences, your means to dream about these or be concerned in them is actually restricted. And I feel that goes by way of the very early components of your work, your schoolwork or what have you ever all over to your skilled profession. In order that’s as I take into consideration digital fairness at work and digital fairness in life, that’s actually the place I come from.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:15.99] What about you, Invoice?

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:06:17.70] Effectively, for me, digital fairness at work means ensuring that each one employees, together with folks with disabilities and different intersectional identities, are in a position to pursue their passions and understand their potential, as Chris simply advised. It’s actually enabled by digital applied sciences, it doesn’t matter what path you pursue. These applied sciences should be designed, developed and applied with inclusion in thoughts. And it is very important observe that individuals who establish as disabled or LGBTQ+ typically typically expertise comparable challenges, akin to disclosing their identities or popping out, discrimination, microaggressions, and isolation. That is layered on high of race, age, and gender, and different elements. And on a private observe, digital fairness is vital to me as a result of I establish as a homosexual man. I’ve folks with disabilities in my household. I’m a husband, a father. I’m an advocate for incapacity inclusion, and I’ve devoted a big portion of my life to advancing digital accessibility insurance policies and practices.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:27.69] Thanks for each sharing, and it actually units the tone for the remainder of the dialog and our time collectively for this podcast. I needed to speak, to have you ever speak a bit of bit extra about your private journeys and possibly the way you started working in DEIA and the know-how house.

Chris Wooden: [00:07:44.40] Completely. I’m, you already know, it’s fascinating as I take into consideration my very own private journey within the DEIA house, but additionally within the know-how house. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how a lot it performed into my youthful, my youthful life, my adolescent life. And as I give it some thought, I feel it’s, first and most vital, earlier than I used to be ever, earlier than I ever got here out as a homosexual man, I first recognized as having ADD or ADHD. Consistently all over, very serious about, in every kind of various subjects, something from opera and Broadway to heavy rap and the sciences and know-how. As a child, I actually, I, I can look again on myself now and see the place a few of my very own challenges and a number of the issues that I used to be dealing with as a person actually performed into the best way that my life has come to fruition in the present day. So even form of beginning my younger faculty profession and not likely understanding what I needed to do with my life, as I feel numerous entrepreneurs are, or these which might be in these areas typically discuss, is that you just’re not fairly positive the place you wish to go, and also you let the experiences of your life form of drive, drive your passions and drive what you find yourself actually participating in. And that’s very true of my story. Personally, for me, I ended up within the nonprofit world initially and ultimately going into tv, tv advertising and marketing earlier than founding LGBT Tech and as so many, as Steve Jobs mentioned, you possibly can’t join the dots trying ahead, however you possibly can most actually join them trying backward. And I feel that even in the present day that continues to resonate with me as I take a look at the ways in which I’ve gotten into, into the work that I’ve.

Chris Wooden: [00:09:47.01] Type of tying this collectively on this query, I feel for me, I actually take pleasure in working with people and serving to communities the place I see that there’s a chance for change and alternative for change for the higher, a chance for us to make use of applied sciences otherwise to supply extra. As a result of I actually really feel on the finish of the day, and I actually imagine and I do know that the analysis reveals this as nicely, is that after we’re all included, all of us, whether or not it’s the incapacity group, whether or not it’s folks from completely different components of the world or, or LGBTQ people and the whole LGBTQ AI to spirited group, together with all of them in all their experiences and all of their, their backgrounds, is so vital to the know-how and the issues that corporations and trade and governments are constructing in the present day. With out all of those voices, with out all these completely different voices coming collectively, we actually should not understanding how the know-how and the way this house actually impacts society general. And I really feel just like the extra inclusive we might be, the flexibility to take a seat down and pay attention to one another and perceive not solely our personal private journeys, how we bought right here, and possibly a number of the issues which have formed us are actually, actually vital. So it’s a really lengthy option to inform my journey, however I feel it’s one which’s consistently evolving for me and I feel will proceed to evolve for me. And so lots of the professionals like Invoice that I’ve had the glory to work round for thus a few years.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:11:22.62] What about you, Invoice?

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:11:24.09] Effectively, you already know, I feel I like Chris, what you simply mentioned and interested by this type of reflection of what your previous journey was. And after I take into consideration my very own journey, it actually unfolded by way of phases that had been actually stitched along with threads involving the humanities, creativity, design considering, and actually tech experimentation. Media experimentation For me, actually, within the earliest a part of my profession, I started working as a wonderful artist and an exhibition curator. I truly studied drawing printmaking and pc graphics and obtained a Bachelor of High-quality Artwork, or BFA diploma from the Atlanta School of Artwork, which is now a part of the Savannah School of Artwork and Design, also referred to as SCAD. And actually as applied sciences had been evolving, I actually simply pursued analysis and experimented in what I’ll name tech-enabled design and had a chance to work in some distinctive settings involving various multinational groups. This was an actual overseas house for me on the time, however it was actually thrilling to work with folks from completely different cultures and backgrounds, which I actually thrived in. After which throughout a pivotal second in my profession, I pursued and obtained a grasp of science diploma from Georgia Tech in human-computer interplay. And after doing so, it actually launched me into person expertise as a spotlight space, and that’s the place I used to be first uncovered to incapacity inclusion by way of know-how and accessibility. And I labored in all the pieces from assistive know-how, R&D to product design. After which in latter phases of my profession up to now, strategic program consulting and alter administration. And actually that brings me to the place I’m in the present day. I work on office range fairness and inclusion applications for our shoppers, and I’ve had a number of alternatives to leverage completely different features of my lived expertise in addition to to encourage others to make the most of that as nicely by way of work with worker useful resource teams and plenty of extra. And so I’m tremendous excited to be part of this dialogue in the present day.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:44.91] I like that each of you’ll be able to share your background. It’s very completely different. It’s undoubtedly not linear and I feel that’s actually vital for everybody to see as they’re interested by their very own profession development trajectory or the trail that, that they wish to transfer ahead on. The theme for Nationwide Incapacity Employment Consciousness Month or NDEAM for this yr 2022 is incapacity a part of the fairness equation. Are you able to speak concerning the position rising tech can have in advancing digital fairness?

Chris Wooden: [00:14:18.70] This one has been so private for me on so many ranges. Positive, my work has taken me into the ways in which know-how has performed a distinction for the LGBTQ+ group, however I feel much more in order I’ve began actually taking a look at general STEM fields or as I prefer to say, steam fields, science, know-how, engineering, arts and math, I feel it’s vital to spotlight one factor that, that Invoice simply mentioned within the reality of UX or person design. And I feel that through the years from after I was born in 1985 to in the present day, we’ve actually seen a real evolution of the ways in which know-how and actually not simply know-how, however the best way know-how and people work together and the way vital that’s. And so extra lately I’ve actually been pushing and difficult industries and, and, and authorities businesses to essentially make it possible for they’re together with arts, as a result of artwork is a part of our communication type artwork as a part of our fairness inclusion, artwork in the best way that we talk, work together with one another or the, the units in our life are actually vital. And I feel this has come to fruition for me in a number of other ways. One is I’ve a, I’ve a brother that’s autistic, and the best way that he makes use of know-how could be very completely different than others. And even the best way he makes use of applied sciences, know-how completely different than others who additionally establish as autistic can be very completely different. In order that was actually the primary as my work was coming to fruition and actually interested by how can, how can we be sure that, that these conversations are taking place and that we’re actually interested by know-how holistically? I’ve been interested by the parts of my life, each, as Invoice talked about, lived expertise, but additionally realized expertise by listening to these round us, by participating with communities.

Chris Wooden: [00:16:30.43] That is actually vital within the ways in which know-how can, can actually play a job in advancing digital fairness. And the ways in which we do which might be by making certain that people are included, making certain all people from all completely different backgrounds, as I’ve, as I form of opened with, however making certain not solely that, however that as these which might be designing know-how and dealing in these fields that we’re listening and making use of that work, I feel it’s so vital. One factor I’ll go away, I’ll go away with or I’ll go away this off with, is that I spotted working with my son or enjoying with my son, my oldest son, I acknowledged that it, I acknowledged by way of my very own coaching of people with colorblindness and particularly colorblindness on applied sciences. He was speaking a few specific shade on a display. And reasonably than right him and say, No, that’s inexperienced. I shortly realized due to my coaching, as a result of I had listened to others round me and people with disabilities, I spotted that he truly had a shade blindness. So reasonably than right him, I used to be in a position to push additional and ask him to take a pair shade blind checks and to start figuring out the place his colours could be a bit of off. So I feel that’s the place my work has fed into my private life. However someplace that if I hadn’t simply stopped and listened, if I wasn’t being attentive to know-how fairness and why it’s vital to essentially take into consideration this, I might have corrected him. And actually, I might have been improper as a mother or father. And so I feel that was a very highly effective second for me as a person.

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:18:11.71] These are nice views. Chris, thanks for sharing these. A Nationwide Incapacity Employment Consciousness Month is actually particular for me since I’ve labored on this discipline for thus lengthy. After we take into consideration rising know-how is one factor that we must always all have in mind is that they had been created. Most of the applied sciences which might be commonplace in the present day, for instance, speech-based person interfaces are in all the pieces from fridges to vehicles. And initially these had been created as assistive applied sciences for folks with disabilities, typically for office settings, for training. And now these improvements profit us all. These digital curb cuts or improvements had been made attainable, largely due, as Chris was suggesting, to the direct involvement and listening and dealing with not for folks with disabilities who leveraged their direct data, expertise and lived experiences in creating them. In any other case, they wouldn’t have been profitable. At present’s rising applied sciences can play a job in advancing digital fairness, however provided that they’re constructed with incapacity inclusion and intersectional accessibility in thoughts. For instance, we’ve finished numerous work at PEAT in immersive applied sciences like digital actuality, which might be providing new methods for workers to attach, talk and collaborate. They’re additionally offering methods for employers and governments and educators to construct empathy and enhanced coaching, reskilling and upskilling. And when the wants of individuals with disabilities and different intersectional identities are thought of as a part of design, we will design that tech to be helpful for everybody. After which in one other instance, synthetic intelligence. After we take into consideration vital areas like recruiting and hiring know-how, these actually maintain numerous risk. However once more, underscoring the vital nature of the, the variety of groups constructing, designing, creating and implementing these applied sciences. In any other case, there’s a actual threat of harms that turns into extra exponential with the complexity of the applied sciences and the programs that they’re applied in. In order that’s my perspective on NDEAM.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:20:33.07] Thanks each for that. My subsequent query for you each is how are connectivity and broadband key to office inclusion?

Chris Wooden: [00:20:43.63] I feel this goes to a number of the very elementary items that I talked about in the truth that it’s earlier than we ever get to a office, we, we develop up and we had been studying within the atmosphere that we’re born into. Us as people didn’t select to be born in a specific place or in a specific a part of the world or to specific households. And so I feel it’s vital that connectivity and broadband, particularly for the LGBTQ+ group and initially recognizing that there was solely subsets of the group that truly had entry to it relying socioeconomic or additionally simply geographic location when the web was actually getting began. Is that the flexibility to be included in that rapidly exponentially elevated your entry to the world. And never solely the entry to the world, however entry to different individuals who share comparable experiences, gender id, sexual orientations as a part of that. And I feel for me personally, this was very true rising up within the days of, of the primary chat rooms and the primary on-line chatting mechanisms is the place I first noticed and mirrored on the truth that with out entry to broadband, with out entry to the Web, I actually do really feel that it could have taken me so much longer to come back to phrases with or, and even perceive my sexual orientation as a homosexual male and start to not solely perceive it, however be capable of discuss it in a means that was empowering and moreover be capable of discover group and actually defend myself.

Chris Wooden: [00:22:36.31] Sadly, even into, in in the present day’s world, there are various that will not have equal entry to the Web, to connectivity, and will in that case really feel much more alone and never really feel like they’re linked to a group during which they’ll establish in construct a group of their very own and extra importantly, thrive in. And in order you requested this query about how are connectivity and broadband key to a office inclusion? In the event you don’t know that you’re not the one one, or for those who don’t know, for those who don’t have entry to data or group and to with the ability to construct that, then you definitely’re form of left at midnight and also you’re actually left alone in a spot. And so if you end up included on this, this ecosphere, when there’s alternative to have interaction in it, no matter the place you’re at, it’s vital and it gives a degree of fairness of data. I feel there’s simply a lot potential. And truly the businesses that embrace office inclusion, making certain that there’s range and connectivity and are in a position to join with those that might not be capable of work in conventional workplaces, it’s going to truly they had been those which might be going to profit initially and which might be going to have the ability to profit general society in a better means and can due to this fact come out forward by being inclusive and making certain that connectivity and that range.

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:24:10.65] And it’s actually fascinating to consider our personal journeys. I used to be reflecting as I used to be listening, Christopher, to your feedback that I grew up at a time when there truly was no Web till after I used to be an grownup, and so my expertise was actually completely different and really remoted. I grew up in a rural group. After I was a toddler, I used to be even in additional of a rural group, however even in highschool years. So we didn’t take pleasure in having connectivity to the broader world that individuals take pleasure in in the present day. And I might argue in the present day that our folks actually can that isolation might be magnified as a result of, as you level out, there’s an inequitable presence for the connections and availability of know-how for everybody. And, however but on the identical time, in in the present day’s world, particularly within the hybrid workplaces that we’re all adapting to in the present day, it actually requires connection to the broader world, proper? Jobs are not often that native, and if they’re, there’s nonetheless some connection to Web-enabled applied sciences, and we actually want that connectivity.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:25:29.76] Jessica Miller-Merrell: It’s so fascinating to me or completely different views right here, and I’m form of within the center. We had Web, however not all through my complete childhood. I keep in mind the primary time I went on to put in writing a paper and I used to be simply blown away by the powers of know-how and how one can develop relationships, construct friendships with actually anyone all around the world. Actually fascinating.

Break: [00:25:52.95] Let’s take a reset, lets? That is Jess Miller-Merrell and also you had been listening to the Workology Podcast. At present is tremendous particular on this episode as a result of we’ve got two completely different podcast friends. The primary particular person we’ve got been talking with is Invoice Curtis-Davidson, Co-Director of PEAT, and Chris Wooden, Govt Director and Co-Founding father of LGBT Tech and the Chair of the FCC Communications Fairness and Variety Council, in addition to the Variety and Fairness Working group. This podcast is sponsored by Ace the HR Examination and Upskill HR, two of Workology’s coaching and improvement applications for HR leaders, however that is additionally a part of our Way forward for Work collection, and that’s powered by our buddies at PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. Earlier than we get again to the podcast, I wish to hear from you. Shoot me a textual content. Textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, go away feedback, and make strategies for future friends. Sure, that is actually me. That is my group textual content quantity and I wish to hear from you.

Break: [00:27:00.93] The Workology Podcast Way forward for Work collection is supported by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. PEAT’s initiative is to foster collaboration and motion round accessible know-how within the office. PEAT is funded by the US Division of Labor’s Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage, ODEP. Study extra about PEAT at That’s

Expertise to Help Psychological Well being


Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:27:29.73] I wish to shift gears a bit of bit and discuss a subject that I imagine extra folks want to debate, and that’s psychological well being. I needed to ask about possibly some suggestions you can give employers for us utilizing know-how to create a extra inclusive atmosphere for workers who establish as having psychological well being disabilities.

Chris Wooden: [00:27:52.23] So I’ll, I’ll take one perspective on this. I feel that psychological well being is extraordinarily vital. You already know, I feel as a PTSD survivor, as a hostage that was taken at bomb level, the primary one of many first hostages taken at bomb level, I spent numerous time coping with psychological well being and interested by in my very own private life and interested by entry to it and likewise what I wanted so as to. I really feel like I used to be in a secure place and I may get to a spot the place I may proceed and proceed to develop. Clearly, it was very motivating and driving for me. I already had numerous drive and fervour behind who I used to be and what I needed to perform in life. I didn’t have numerous perspective on how I used to be going to get there, however I’ll say that the flexibility for me to achieve entry to, to psychological well being companies was actually essential. And even after I was going by way of that, there wasn’t numerous entry. It was conventional well being care, conventional psychological well being care the place you go and sit in entrance of any person. However in the present day that’s actually altering. And I feel in response to this query, I actually wish to look ahead as a result of I see numerous alternative and I see numerous people in numerous areas offering numerous, offering numerous alternative to go forward and have interaction in immersive know-how, newer applied sciences that we will actually interact in a means that’s actually vital.

Chris Wooden: [00:29:27.14] A type of is definitely XR, or digital actuality is what I’m speaking about particularly right here. I’ve seen lately extra immersive applied sciences like digital actuality turn into a spot the place people who’re working by way of or working with psychological well being areas be capable of depend on peer-to-peer assist networks, on digital actuality, on the headsets that we’ve all seen splashed throughout both commercials or on, on YouTube movies or what have you ever. And reasonably than simply being a gaming platform, which I feel lots of people noticed it as, numerous the primary digital actuality items had been popping out of gaming programs and stuff. However as we’re getting extra into these areas the place they’re impartial headsets and completely different applied sciences are actually rising in these areas, we’re seeing areas which might be being created like peer-to-peer assist teams, psychological well being and cognitive therapy-based applications and HIPAA-compliant purposes which might be being put collectively for people to attach not essentially with a therapist, however extra with a information or a coach, somebody that will not have a level in remedy, however it has undoubtedly gone by way of some coaching and is utilizing issues like cognitive remedy instruments in a few of these platforms to have conversations about and work by way of points.

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:30:58.97] And after I take into consideration psychological well being, I’m reflecting some on what, Chris, what you simply mentioned, which is the, the brand new applied sciences and what’s been succesful, they’ve made extra attainable and likewise what’s occurred because of this pandemic that we’ve all been residing by way of. And so what I see and we’ve seen with numerous our collaborators is the telework enlargement. And for, for thus lengthy, folks with disabilities within the office have noticed lodging like telework. And now with the state of affairs being what it was or has been, we’ve got seen numerous strides and there nonetheless are extra but to come back. However in simply ensuring that these applied sciences have baseline accessibility, whether or not that’s entry, for those who’re, for those who’re somebody with or without low imaginative and prescient or somebody who’s deaf or onerous of listening to speaks a distinct language. We’ve seen numerous advances in issues like captioning and transcription, issues like that. And, after which at PEAT we’ve typically touted even easy options like permitting in your insurance policies, permitting audio-only standing which might be mentally useful after we’re all type of in fatigue over this virtualized telework form of mode that we’re in. After which another suggestions which have as nicely been realized with applied sciences like XR digital actuality is that there might be quite a lot of makes use of to assist psychological well being and wellness at work. For instance, as Chris simply alluded to digital assist teams of various sorts, offering stress aid, providing distinctive methods to construct expertise, complementing well being and wellness applications, after which general lowering the sensation of isolation that may end result from distant work itself. On high of the opposite emotions that people have as they pursue their passions and drive towards their targets.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:33:06.05] Superb. Effectively, once more, thanks for, for each your responses. With October being LGBTQ+ Historical past Month, are you able to speak a bit of bit about your views on what LGBTQ+ leaders convey to the office?

Chris Wooden: [00:33:22.94] Completely. I feel that is vital. I feel it’s vital for LGBTQ leaders within the office to essentially. Convey their complete selves to work. And I do know we’ve been saying that for a really very long time. We’ve seen some executives come out, some top-level people come out. However I feel extra importantly, I feel it’s, it is crucial for these people to come back out. It is crucial for these people to be current and convey, you already know, convey as a lot of their selves to work as attainable. It’s vital for corporations, boards operating corporations to make {that a} precedence as a result of to ensure that people below the manager degree to come back out and really feel secure and really feel seen and be capable of be a supportive particular person in these workspaces, it actually wants to come back from the highest. And people which might be in varied components of the corporate have to really feel like they’re supported and have the flexibility to convey their complete selves to work as an LGBTQ particular person. In order I take into consideration LGBTQ leaders in a office, I feel we’ve made strides. I feel we have to do so much higher. I feel we have to do much more. And I feel LGBTQ leaders really want to convey their complete selves to work and be actually ahead and speaking about their experiences, their lived experiences, their realized experiences, or giving house for others to supply these.

Chris Wooden: [00:34:57.17] That’s very true. I feel it’s vital, and I typically discuss the truth that I’m a homosexual white male, and being a homosexual white male comes with numerous privilege. And it’s vital for those who don’t appear like me, which might be a part of the LGBTQ group, however a part of many different marginalized communities, but additionally establish with the LGBTQ group, It’s vital that they see folks that appear like them, which have comparable backgrounds to them, which have grown up in comparable conditions, comparable areas, comparable geographic places. Possibly, possibly they immigrated to the US or possibly they moved from the US. It’s vital that LGBTQ leaders present house for others with varied experiences to have the ability to inform their story, to really feel snug in being who they’re and being protected and seen in locations that they’re attempting to make a distinction and supply the data that they’ve realized, no matter that’s. I feel one of many, one of many issues that in LGBT Tech, LGBT Tech world I’ve actually tried to do is be sure that we’re speaking to LGBTQ people in STEM fields that come from these various backgrounds that, that basically encompassed the whole LGBTQ group and actually the complete make-up of, of society general and making certain that it has a diversified perspective and voices.

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:36:25.88] As one other homosexual white male, I do wish to +100 to all the pieces you simply mentioned, Chris. And I feel whereas all of us LGBTQ+ folks expertise comparable challenges like popping out and at all times popping out, discrimination, microaggressions, and isolation, they fluctuate a lot based mostly on our different intersectional identities and a number of the identical challenges, as I mentioned earlier, skilled by folks with disabilities the place, for instance, the thought of popping out is fascinating. If you consider being LGBTQ+ and being disabled with an invisible incapacity, proper? You could have some nuances to that you’ll that may considerably fluctuate from folks that don’t, quote, appear like you, as you mentioned. And so I feel we have to discover all of that. And that’s what I like to consider for Historical past Month is methods to study from what we all know and methods to use. After which I feel one other vital factor is that analysis has been exhibiting if we take into consideration STEM careers and pathways for STEAM or STEM careers for LGBTQ professionals, in simply the previous couple of years, there’s been analysis proven that there are systemic inequalities for LGBTQ professionals in STEM careers. They confirmed that LGBTQ+ STEM professionals had been extra prone to expertise profession limitations, harassment {and professional} devaluation than their non-LGBTQ+ friends, and this resulted in additional reported well being difficulties. On a constructive observe, I want to say that I’ve learn some fascinating analysis that state, that talks about how confronting these challenges and inequities that always are skilled by LGBTQ+ leaders can convey values of adaptability, intuitive communication and artistic problem-solving to the office. One e-book that I prefer to consult with is it was targeted on homosexual male leaders was the G quotient, which discovered that organizations below the management of white-collar homosexual males skilled 35% greater ranges of worker engagement, job satisfaction and office morale along with reporting better employer loyalty and productiveness. And I feel what’s fascinating is we’d like extra of these kinds of research, however on an intersectional lens, proper? To type of tease out the qualities that LGBTQ+ folks convey to not solely society however to the office.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:39:15.70] What’s your finest recommendation for office leaders on how they’ll think about and undertake inclusive know-how insurance policies and enterprise practices that assist staff with intersectional identities, akin to those that establish as having a incapacity and likewise belong to the LGBTQ+ group.

Chris Wooden: [00:39:34.78] Chris Wooden: I feel Invoice did an excellent job of kicking this off by saying We’d like extra analysis on this house. We’d like we have to actually look additional into how LGBTQ and extra so extra than simply homosexual males, however how all the different components of the LGBTQ group, how these leaders are actually inspiring and creating corporations which might be which might be full of range and altering, altering the world. Positive, there’s a form of a hen within the egg of like, Yeah, however we have to establish these leaders so as to have the ability to analysis it. So sure, we’re undoubtedly challenged by a number of the issues which might be taking place societally and making certain that that we will truly research this stuff. I feel it’s additionally vital for for leaders to be taking themselves out of their consolation zones and actually spending true high quality time on taking a look at who isn’t within the room, at who isn’t represented, and digging additional into understanding why they might not be represented, why they might not be within the room, why they might not be a part of the corporate. As leaders, if we’re doing that and in a position to take away ourselves or speak to folks or interact with completely different intersectionality throughout our group and the incapacity group in addition to different marginalized communities, I feel that us as leaders, it’s time nicely spent.

Chris Wooden: [00:41:11.89] You might have to have the ability to break down your personal bias. You might have to have the ability to take into consideration these that aren’t within the room, these should not represented. And for those who’re taking the time to essentially pull your self out of your personal field and take into consideration these issues. Take into consideration the place you could be lacking a lot. Possibly it’s so simple as a flyer or a sport that was designed, and also you couldn’t have acknowledged that by placing these two colours collectively, somebody truly can’t learn it. They will’t see what you’re attempting to convey. Due to this fact they’re ignored of the dialog. Possibly there are somebody that will truly purchase your product or take part in your NGO or or have data that will be essential to, to the success of your organization. These are areas the place I feel it’s vital to make it possible for we’re. Persevering with to interrupt down our bias, persevering with to look, take a look at all views. I feel one of many different issues that as a pacesetter, one of the vital vital issues as a pacesetter is making certain that if you end up improper and when you will have made a mistake, that you’re clear and trustworthy about that, the place you exit and search recommendation, the place you might have been improper, or as you study and educate your self, it’s okay to be improper. That’s the best way we study. As as an entrepreneur myself, the one option to study is to fail. And being trustworthy and clear about it makes you human and makes these round you’re feeling empowered to fail and make the identical errors and know that they’ll study from it.

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:42:42.29] I feel some sensible issues that I feel are crucial are, as you mentioned, Chris, begin beginning with having a secure house for folks to establish, share their tales. You already know, I’ve been lucky to work in many various settings and with many various shoppers over my years of labor on this space. And I’ve had distinctive alternatives akin to reverse mentoring, the place individuals who did establish as LGBTQ+ or as disabled shared their tales with people who find themselves not figuring out as disabled or LGBTQ+. And I feel that’s an fascinating method that can be utilized with management and with center administration as nicely, after which will help drive applications and once more, layering on high of that, completely different features of intersectionality. After which from an organizational coverage perspective, in fact, many efforts exist to construct out accessibility applications, ensuring know-how is accessible to everybody and might be utilized equally, in addition to enterprise practices like worker useful resource teams and the way these can actually be. Chris I feel you had a publish on LGBTQ Tech about ERGs as engines of progress, and I couldn’t agree extra that ERGs as have been reported can actually assist enhance recruitment, retain folks in these workplaces which might be increasingly more hybrid, and driving actually the event of choices. And I’m delighted to work for an employer wheelhouse group the place I’m one in all many individuals very, very a lot attending to this ongoing effort to contemplate the worth of DEIA in what we do. And largely what we do is change administration and organizational transformation consulting, and it couldn’t be extra vital to consider all of this actually, actually as a enterprise crucial.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:44:47.55] Are you able to inform us how folks with intersectional identities are serving to design and develop office know-how so they’re extra inclusive?

Chris Wooden: [00:44:57.06] I feel Invoice’s the knowledgeable, knowledgeable right here, a minimum of, a minimum of on this podcast, however particular person, as people, we convey so many various views to the office. And I feel that is actually present in a number of the applications that that I’ve talked about and that we’ve created for as LGBT Tech. After we, LGBT Tech actually operates as a company, we’re not essentially we’re not massive and dealing like an HRC or ACLU or Glad Glass and her or any of the main LGBT organizations who do numerous nice work for our group. However the place I do really feel like we’ve finished an excellent job is we’ve got actually checked out the place has know-how or the place can know-how play an important position for our communities. So actually taking a look at that intersectionality between the know-how and the LGBTQ group, that’s what’s actually helped us type a few of our programmatic work, like our Energy on program, the place we’re distributing know-how to people, LGBTQ people who in any other case wouldn’t have entry to it. And that may be something from a laptop computer to a cellular phone, a pill. It’s additionally distributing the know-how to LGBTQ facilities who might not have the funds to exit and purchase computer systems for a pc lab or have entry to a digital actuality headset. And so I feel to reply your query is that I feel that individuals with intersectionalities and all of the completely different intersectionalities, you already know, all through your life, so for me, you already know, I’m a navy brat. I grew up in a navy family. That’s a part of my expertise. And everyone has these completely different components of their experiences, these completely different intersectionalities of their id that make-up who they’re. And it creates this fingerprint that’s distinctive to us of what we convey to the desk.

Chris Wooden: [00:46:58.83] And it’s after we are empowering these people to become involved in know-how, to supply alternatives the place they’ll study and discover and play and form of work out how a few of these applied sciences work, that we’re creating a chance for people to foster a thought course of not like another very distinctive to their identities, however most likely in some ways overlap others who’re very very like them or have comparable experiences. I imagine Invoice form of talked about our comparable experiences the place within the LGBT group they might be comparable, however very completely different, and I feel these intersectionality are extraordinarily vital for us to create design and develop applied sciences that truly work for society and assist resolve a few of society’s best or hardest challenges. However it’s simply such an honor to be right here as nicely, to hearken to a number of the work that Invoice has finished and a number of the perspective that Invoice has, as a result of though I can establish with a few of it, I additionally study so much from people like Invoice and different leaders in our group who’ve actually introduced these intersectionalities collectively. So with that, I’ll let Invoice form of go a bit of bit deeper with this.

Invoice Curtis-Davidson: [00:48:15.93] Thanks, Chris. I’m studying so much from you as nicely. So I’m tremendous honored to be to be having that chance right here in the present day in ongoing. I’ll simply say that as we wrap up, this concept of how our folks with the identities truly working, there’s numerous ways in which’s taking place. And I’ve been actually, actually fortunate in my profession, actually to have alternatives as an accessibility strategist and advisor to work on quite a few accessibility applications, completely different sorts of merchandise through the years. All of them concerned folks with disabilities and important roles. And in the event that they weren’t concerned in important roles, we bought them concerned and made positive that there was additionally a lens of intersectionality and variety utilized to regardless of the activity at hand was in these completely different settings. And actually, if I speak concerning the work we do because the Partnership on Employment and Accessible know-how, a big a part of what we do is convening communities. We’ve been recognized to discovered, develop and maintain communities like Educate Entry and XR entry, the place folks with disabilities and different intersectional identities are entrance and heart, constructing out these communities making. Be sure that they advance the accessibility of know-how for the office. And we’d like all of these views on the desk. And what we’ve tried to do with leveraging Wheelhouse Group’s methodology, the tactic and the magic is actually to construct out a form of playbook for the way we do that, which we’ve printed on our web site, the Rising Applied sciences Playbook, and it has so much in it in regard to gathering stakeholders and convening them and ensuring everybody’s on the desk for these vital initiatives. And I wish to applaud the work, Chris, that your group has finished. I’m actually impressed by all the work your staff is doing and all of the collaborators that we’re all fortunate sufficient to work with as we pursue a extra inclusive future. So once more, I wish to say thanks, Jessica, for having me and Chris on this podcast. It’s been actually thrilling and a real pleasure.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:50:33.95] Effectively, I admire each of you and your views and your assets. And with this being and NDEAM and LGBTQ+ Historical past Month, they’re each taking place this month right here in October, this was such an effective way and a chance to speak about intersectionality round accessibility and inclusion. And I so admire your guys’s insights. We’re going to hyperlink to numerous actually nice assets within the transcripts of this specific podcast episode. You possibly can go on to or and be linked to this episode so you will get entry to only a nice grouping of assets on and NDEAM, LGBTQ+ voices, ERGs, all of the issues. Thanks once more, Chris and Invoice on your time.

Closing: [00:51:25.51] This podcast was nice. Was it not? It was so good. It was so good. I used to be simply saying to Invoice and Chris after we ended the recording that I actually liked this interview and I admire them sharing their tales with us as a result of I feel we frequently overlook concerning the various kinds of intersectionality and it’s so inspiring to listen to from them, their tales and what they know as a result of it’s these lived and study experiences which might be so highly effective. And as HR leaders, it’s so vital for us to listen to these and perceive these and find out about these so we will higher assist our organizations and our staff too. And talking of higher serving communities, I wish to hear from you. Ship me a textual content, textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. That’s “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. You possibly can ask me questions, go away feedback, and make strategies. That is my group textual content quantity and I wish to hear what you want, what sorts of assets you wish to study extra about on the Workology podcast, which is sponsored by Ace the HR Examination and Upskill HR. These are two HR improvement and certification courses supplied by Workology. This podcast can be powered by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. They’ve been an excellent associate through the years. Thanks for listening. I’ll see you quickly.

Join with Invoice Curtis-Davidson and Chris Wooden.



– Invoice Curtis-Davidson on LinkedIn

– Invoice Curtis-Davidson on Twitter

– Chris Wooden on LinkedIn

– Chris Wooden on Twitter


– Nationwide Incapacity Employment Consciousness Month (NDEAM) 2022

– LGBTQ+ Voices: Studying from Lived Experiences

– ERGs as real engines of progress

– The “G Quotient”

– Systemic inequalities for LGBTQ+ professionals in STEM

– PowerOn Program

– Kristen Kelly article, “Why LGBTQ+ Inclusion in STEAM Issues”

– Episode 344: Neurodiversity and Accessibility With Wesley Faulkner, Head of Group at SingleStore

– Episode 351: Making a Actually Inclusive Office With PIA and PEAT

– Episode 357: Lengthy-COVID and How It Impacts a Firm With Pam Bingham From Intuit

– Episode 369: Making the Office Accessible Each for Workers and Contractors With Meryl Evans

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