Ep #79: Brave Leadership and Using Privilege to Make a Difference with Moe Carrick

by | Podcast

I’m so thrilled to share today’s podcast guest with you — Moe Carrick.

Moe is a leadership and executive coach, a Daring Way™ facilitator, author and speaker. She's been helping organizations create healthier and more caring workplaces for a long time. In this conversation, our second podcast interview, we get to dive deeper into her business evolution and her greater focus on thought leadership in recent years. With two TEDx talks in the books, one of them that came from her deep personal passion that goes beyond her important professional work in the world, Moe is an excellent example of using your voice to serve on many levels in her work and life overall.

We also discuss her new book, Bravespace Workplace, which is devoted to helping make the workplace a healthy place for people to get many of their human needs met.

One of my favorite parts of this conversation our discussion around privilege and the many ways in which Moe recognizes and publicly talks about her own privilege and tries her best to use that privilege to make our world a better place.

I'm just so delighted to share this episode with you. I think you're going to love it.

What You'll Learn From This Episode: 

  • Hear how Moe got into leadership development and executive coaching
  • How she makes a public commitment to using her privilege to make an even bigger difference in our world
  • Hear me walk Moe through my Rooftop Message exercise that I do with my clients
  • Why we need to do better in business and how profit can't be our only guiding factor
  • How her passion – not her profession – led to a TEDx Invite
  • Learn the key things that make the biggest difference in making the workplace better and how to create a culture of belonging and hierarchy

About Moe Carrick: 

Mom, daughter, gardener, wife, ex-wife, adventurer, entrepreneur, and consultant Moe Carrick believes that people make organizations great. Companies large and small are routinely brought to their knees by the so-called “soft stuff” of people problems–as anyone knows who has tried, this work is hard. As a facilitator, protagonist, consultant, entrepreneur, author, employer, and relentless optimist, Moe believes that people can and should thrive at work, and that when they do, organizations succeed. With over 30 years of work in organizations on issues of partnership, leadership, inclusion, strategy and culture Moe believes that rigorous self-awareness, courage, honest dialogue, active involvement, and empathy are fundamentals to building full partnerships based on trust and curiosity. As a white, US-born, heterosexual woman, Moe strives to use her privilege with grace to surface assumptions that interfere with teams and to explore systemic patterns.

Moe holds a Master’s Degree in OD, is a Certified Daring Way™/Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, a Coach, and administrator of a variety of tools in her trade. She is also a Senior Consultant with White Men as Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP,) the market leaders in including white men in the critical conversations required to sustain truly inclusive cultures.

Moe is passionate about the role work plays in creating meaning for our lives and in the role business can play as a force for good. She is a regular blogger on topics related to people at work and is a contributor to Conscious Company Magazine. Maven House Press released her first book, bestseller FIT MATTERS: How to Love Your Job, with co-author Cammie Dunaway in 2017. Her second book, Bravespace: Creating Workplaces Fit for Human Life, released in June 2019.

Additional Resources: 

Listen to the Full Episode: 


Full Podcast Transcript: 

Michelle: Welcome to The Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you're on a mission to make a difference in the world with your message, you are in the right place. I'm Michelle Barry Franco and I'm thrilled that you're here.

Michelle: Hello. Hello. My Thought Leadership friends, how are you? It is December. I know you already know that actually you could be listening to this any month of the year, but as I record this, it's December. I just walked into my office after taking a long glance at my sparkling Christmas tree and I'm definitely thinking about the next phase like this next year. Especially since we're coming up on 2020 I'm going to talk more about this in a podcast coming up, but it's an exciting time. I keep thinking about the fact that it's the year 2020 and I keep thinking of 2020 vision and seeing things clearly and so this conversation that I just had with Moe Carrick was so rich and it really does feel like one of those exploratory conversations that's the perfect foundation for about six additional conversations. We cover some really big cool topics.

Michelle: Moe is a very experienced executive and leadership coach and trainer and she's been in the field for more than 30 years and so we talk about the workplace and she just wrote a book called Bravespace Workplace and most really devoted to helping make the workplace a healthy place for people to go to get many of their human needs met because we spent so many hours there and also to do really good work. We just have such a rich conversation about how we can and how Moe is still hopeful that it is possible to create really healthy places for humans to connect with each other and do good work together. So that part of our conversation is really rich. We also talk about the evolution of her message and her own Thought Leadership, which is interesting in itself. We also talk about privilege and the many ways in which Moe recognizes and publicly talks about her own privilege and tries her best to use that privilege that she has to make our world a better place to bring more equity as far as she can do that, and really just bring the conversation to light.

Michelle: I think you're going to love this conversation on many different levels and I'm just so excited and delighted that I get to share it with you. Before we dive into Moe's and my conversation. A reminder, if you haven't already, please hop on over to your favorite listening app. Give us a rating and review. I would so, so appreciate it. That is what helps people find our podcast when they're searching for a solution to their listening desires, when they want to learn. I love knowing that this podcast is going to hit the minds and hearts of people who want to share their message out there in the world in a big and meaningful way. So thank you so much for taking a few minutes to do that. Now let's dive into my conversation with Moe Carrick.

Michelle: Moe, I am thrilled we get to hear about your work and your Thought Leadership journey today. Thank you so much for being here.Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Michelle. Lovely to be on your awesome podcast again. Thank you. Yeah, in our first podcast interview, which I believe was my first podcast interview. Thank you very much for that by the way. Yeah it was. And people still refer to it, right? Cause it's about TEDx and this is the Thought Leadership School Podcast. So people were super grateful and intrigued by that interview. But in that interview we focus mostly on TEDx cause you been a TEDx organizer for a long time and that was really cool and your new book wasn't even out yet at that time. So I'm just really excited that we get to dive more deeply into your big work in the world cause you're doing some incredible things and I definitely know that you have at least one and it looks like probably two. But we'll see where we go. Things that you would like to shout from the rooftops. So I'm excited to dive in and let other people hear about the work you're doing and hear about your path and as I thought about this I realized I actually have never heard your story like how did you even get into leadership development and executive coaching and the work that you're doing?

Moe: Oh gosh, that's so funny that all our fractions like we haven't actually spent time on that. I won't bore you with the details because at my age it takes a long time to go back through. I was stuck into somebody about that lately. I've definitely got a Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours, you know in the work that I do, what makes it look like a long, long, long, but I cut my teeth on group work. Michelle, when I was actually a student because I was a wilderness guide, I studied English literature like any good consultants should do knowledge. But I also was a very involved in wilderness based learning and I went on to work as an adult built in student personnel but also in the wilderness environment, particularly with you that risk for outward bound. Then I worked at the National Outdoor Leadership School guiding in the mountains of rivers across the U S and that work was really enlightening for me, partly because it was beautiful adventure work and you know, being able to push myself and be in some kind of hardcore outdoor environments.

Moe: But it also was really, I think foundational work for me about what is it like when groups come together. I think it peaked an interest in me around what happens when we are in community and you know, how do we grow and learn? I had planned to become a clinician. I thought about becoming a social worker because I was really enjoying the clinical side of the work back in those days with in-particular, chemically dependent youth and their families. But I started to sort of burn out after about five years of that work, I started questioning, you know, did I have it in meta to be in a therapeutic capacity in front of mine, had studied Organizational Development. So I was literally about two weeks from starting grad school for my MSW and she said, why don't you come to school with me for the day and just see what you think?

Moe: And I did and it was one of those gobsmacking moments of like, whoa, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. So I enrolled in a graduate program in Organizational Development and was still working full time at a treatment center doing adventure-based learning. But it was that work that started to give me a real interest in the business environment around, you know, what happens when people come together in community to try to make a business successful or own organization successful in a nonprofit or a 10 NGO environment. So from there, after I graduated, I jumped ship and moved into the corporate environment as an Internal Training Specialist actually is where I cut my teeth in the cellular industry. My claim to fame is I was involved in implementing the only system of Steve jobs that got implemented when he was leading next computing.

Moe: Oh, fascinating. Hang on. Look at you. Yeah, it was really funny. Those black rooms and we were training the billing reps for the cellular from a cost cellular at the time. That sort of started me in the space of consulting and I worked internally for a long time in corporations and also did some nonprofit work. Then I worked out of that a blended opportunity where I got to use my adventure based learning in the corporate sector, designing really fun immersion experiences, particularly for leaders where we designed experiential learning around products like the BMW five series and wow. You have to say a little bit more about that. Like what do you mean by experiential learning around the BMW? Well, you know, I had had this heavy adventure background and one of the ways that in the eighties in the nineties that corporations started to really expand their team development was through using adventure as a catalyst.

Moe: In particular roast courses, you probably remember that super popular. I worked for a company called Project Adventure, which was one of the leading organizations along with Pakos River learning. They were advancing ropes course applications for clients. We did some very innovative designs that were connected to customer content and we wrote a book together. The team that I worked with was, you know, it was called Adventure in Business.  We were really pushing the edge around how do we activate learning content that clients have and then give them robust experiences that allow them to actually integrate that learning into their practice as, as leaders in teams. We got intrigued by this idea of like, you know, cause clients then and now can't easily go away for three or four days in a wilderness setting to have an intensive learning experience. So we're saying, you know, facilities based in conference centers or meeting rooms, how can we do this?

Moe: We ended up experimenting with using the client's own products. So BMW North American, South America at that time was a client. And initially we proposed the idea for them of using the cars to build some leadership curriculum and they said, well that sounds great, but you don't know much about cars. So we're going to bring in the Skip Barber Driving School, race car driving. I thought it might go in this direction and get to work with the Skip Barber drivers and the program, which was, I think it was a long time ago, I think it was a three or four day program built around a leadership three 60 and bringing in tech teams from dealers around the country together for about a two and a half day experience. We had three or four sites nationally and a couple in South Africa and we did a little bit of rope score stuff, but then you know we had lots of classroom time and content and then the culmination of all of that was a driving experience with the drivers at the race track with the P what was then the newly launched BMW five series and we did these cool things like one example was we would put a leader in the driver's seat and blindfold them and then their coach you, you'll love it.

Moe: Then the coach, their coach would be in the passenger seat and when we're not blindfolded. The opportunity was for the coach to really provide the right questions and support so that the driver could drive through an obstacle course without seeing that is astounding. It actually strikes me that that coach was learning a lot and that's what we were focused on was how do we coach as leaders? How do we, Oh, I see their leader coach like, okay, yeah, we're teaching Developmental Coaching. I love it. I see, I see. Yeah. Yeah. So it was, the focus was on the coach, but, but of course it felt like the focus was on the driver or other roles because there were actually people in the back seat as well that had a role. It was kind of this orchestrated experience. Super fun. The funnest part of that whole gig was that we, the staff, we have the rollout team of about 40 people. We got to spend two days with these drivers. Who were these, you know, the ones who've lived, that's what I'm thinking. I'm like, would I want to be part of this? Right.

Moe: We've had a total blast doing it and learned a lot. I think about that often. I just wanted to see For the Ferrari in the theaters that I was reminded of. Yeah, that was really fun work. Then eventually I tired of working for an external consultant and consulting company. My travel was like 250 days a year and I had two young children at the time, so I decided eventually to go off on my own about about 20 years ago. That's when I founded momentum and wanting to do a venture based consulting. Also really wanted to branch into some of the more traditional consulting techniques that I've, that I've experienced. And so I, I launched the firm in 2001 and um, that's what I've been doing ever since.

Michelle: Awesome. So when you went and launched Momentum, I mean, that's a time as you know from doing it, and you've probably had a number of iterations since, but you had to figure out like, who am I, what is this business about? Not just what I am selling, but really what is the message at the center of it. So at that time, what was it that you felt was most important to say to leaders in the world?

Moe: Gosh, that's a good question. You know, I think I'm noticing that I reflected a lot on those early days when I was reading my most recent book, which just came out with year because I had to kind of go back to like, what is it that I really believe in? Why do I want to encapsulate what I believe about organizations into one book? Because that was the feeling I had when I wrote brave space, which I wrote on my own. My first book, I had a coauthor with my dear friend Kevin Dunaway, and it was a different book, but very connected to the first book Fit Matters. But I think when I go back to those early days when I started the firm, what I was having before then is, is I think what I'm hungry for now, which is that we know what it takes to activate and live in workplaces in such a way that human beings can bring their best to work every day.

Moe: We've known what it takes for a long, long time and yet we consistently don't do it. I've worked with so many organizations and so many individuals, you know, thousands and thousands of people over the years who tell me stories of job, misery, disenchantment and disengagement and stress related illness and loss and pain and I'm tired of that.  I know I can do better because I've also seen organizations where people are enlivened and energized in their communities are healthier and their families are healthier because what the work, you know, provides them not only their compensation but you know, their spirits and their souls. I feel kind of like back then and end today, you know, 20 years later I have the same basic drive, which is how can I help people in systems and especially I think leaders in systems to lead differently to create living systems where people can thrive, can really thrive.

Michelle: I love the way you answered that question because really that's exactly what I was wondering when I was starting with way back then. Like I wondered how much has changed in what you as an expert in the field, you know, you were out there working with leaders trying to solve a problem. It's a little bit like public speaking in a way in that a lot of times we just want to say, look, everybody's bored in the meetings. Everybody's board looking at PowerPoint slides and everybody knows it, but why aren't we changing it? Why aren't we taking the time? It feels like a micro issue compared to larger issue that you're talking about. But I know they're related. The other thing that strikes me as you talk about that is a lot of the people that I work with, so I work with a lot of coaches and wellness experts and many, many, many of them, many of the people listening to this podcast actually came out of those same environments you're talking about.

Michelle: They left them because they were hurt by them because it messed up their health and they're those leaders that you're helping. The interesting thing about it is, I don't know if interesting is the right word, but you know, entrepreneurship isn't easy either. So sometimes I think to myself, man, there, I'm sure many of the people that I've worked with, if they could just have figured out a way to make it work where they were, it could have been awesome. Right? So anyway, that's part of why I think the work that you're doing is so, so valuable because it's so needed

Moe: We're seeing a lot of trends that tell us about that and other people that you mentioned, many of whom perhaps follow your podcast and who I work in my space. Even you and I, in our partnership over these past many years, you know, we are to a certain degree, the disillusion who, who left and said, you know, what can I do that's different? You know that the economy is very dependent on small business and on independent practitioners of, of work in a way that's unprecedented. You know, in history where people are leaving big organizations in droves is specially women. So we see this kind of mass Exodus from large organizations at certain points in career trajectory. I think women in particular as well as other outsider groups, minorities are leading big systems. Then you're saying, I mean it's not like the big is dead, you know, there's still a place in our economy for that.

Moe: I think that we're in a sea change. I hope anyway, that we're in a sea change of thinking and the Thought Leadership that says, gosh, big to small organizations need to find ways to do things differently for the people that work there and for the communities in which they operate and for the environment. As you know, my company is a certified B Corp and so I have a huge focus and meal. You know, you know that some of what I write about is that profit can't be our only North star. So you know that part of it too. But we can do better.

Michelle: Yeah, we absolutely can and I think for many of us it was the right thing, right? It was the right thing to start our own thing. What breaks my heart is when it felt like the only option and that's not really what they might have wanted to do. You know, they would have loved to stay as a part of the team. You know, all of those things that there's so many beautiful things that can happen, I would imagine inside of a well functioning team. One of the things I wonder, and I'm certain that you have a positive angle on this because of the work that you're doing, is, is it really possible to have a thriving team inside of a bigger system? Have the people be healthy and productive and you know, I don't mean perfect, but T tell me about that.

Moe: Yeah, such a good question. It's one that keeps me up at night. You know, I do describe myself a bit as a relentless optimist and so you know, there's some bias with, with how I say this, I do think that it can be done and I have seen it. I've seen organizations that are big where people come to work on most days, right? I mean, we don't come to work every day on fire most days. Feeling like the teams are healthy and trusting and dynamic and that the work they're doing is interesting and important and that they can find meaning attached to the work. I do think it's possible. I think though that especially in a bigger system, it takes a tremendous amount of leadership, courage and practice in order to create the kind of culture where that's more the norm than the exception.

Michelle: So can you say a little like give some, I know you've written a whole book on this and you have a, you know, what is it 30 something years of experience that you know, you could expand on but, but what are some, when you say leadership courage, what are some of the key things that you think make the biggest difference?

Moe: Hmm, that's a great question. In both books and it's sort of illuminated through a specific frame in Bravespace Workplace making your company fit for human life. I build on seven things that people need from work, which are needs that Cammie Dunaway and I discovered in our research for fit matters and I've expanded on it a bit by adding a seventh. Kevin and I had identified six and interestingly enough, those needs, many of them are tightly connected to our basic human needs. I premise in the book that because of how much we work today, you know we're are unprecedented in terms of the volume of hours that people are spending in the workplace, in the professional sector.  Even with people in the non professional sector that are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, we spend the majority of our time at work, we're working full time. I think that understanding the needs that people are bringing to the workplace is really important.

Moe: So, the seven things matter and then I think what I have noticed is that there are, I call them in the book, I call them five levers, the need to pay attention to in order to have the kind of organization that can, you know, over time and in a multidimensional way meet those needs. I call them the who, what, where, when, why, how, right, which is carry over from my journalism, but the who is the human essentials really paying attention to a culture where leaders have both head and heart habits and where teams pair. So where there's high social capital with teams. The second lever is the what, which I define as a conscious culture. The culture starts with the founders and lives and breeds throughout the organization. You know from the beginning. It really matters of third lever is design and when I talk about design in a system, I'm not just talking about the design of the office space, which is what people often think.

Moe: I mean because there's some notable office spaces like the Amazon domes, which I remember. Yes, and those do matter, but they're actually not the most important thing to humans. There's other design elements like how do we meet, how do we talk about performance, how do we navigate flex time? Those are all design elements of an organization that you can pay attention to and optimize or under optimized. So I think that's a really important lever for leaders and often not thought about as much in a purposeful way. The fourth lever I talk about is the why, which is meaning and context and we're seeing a lot about that. You know, these days in the press around the motivation we bring to work being driven by the meaning that we seek and understanding why what I do matters. And it's not about I need to work for a socially or environmentally minded organization that has that kind of mission, but more like how does my job contribute to the life of someone?

Moe: I think that's super important and then context is kind of the upward and downward connection or connected tissue to this particular job. I often say if I'm in any job from the frontline to the C suite and I'm doing something that no one can tell me why I'm doing it, then why am I doing it? There's a lot of jobs. I was listening to Shaq van Dante, one of my favorite podcasts, The Hidden Brain. He's talking about bullshit jobs, jobs that have no context and they really do exist. Those are pretty demoralizing for the human beings in them who have a human drive for me. Then the last lever is what I call the how, the soft stuff and being real and that falls into the category of how do we create truly inclusive cultures that maximize the diversity that's available to us in the realm of humanity.

Moe: How do we actually create cultures of belonging and hierarchy. Michelle, which I'm sure you remember from the psych one Oh one you know, mental had a lot right about what we need to thrive. There's one piece that he had a bit wrong and it's kind of being debunked by other theorists who do that kind of research. But I am in agreement with them. He had the need for human connection kind of midway up this pyramid, he called it the need for love and belonging. And you know, today most people that I talk with agree that actually the need for human connection is as important to us as food, water, shelter, safety, insecurity because of how much we're working, we bring that human need for belonging and connection right into our work. We don't wear a sign on our chest like Paddington that says, please connect with me.

Moe: No opposite. Right? I mean, in many ways all the posturing and things that have been passed down can get in the way of it. Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that that's really an important part of that, of that last lever. To me though, paying attention, thinking for leaders, thinking ahead and thinking from a broader perspective that of course you have to keep your eye on ROI and profitability and sustainability in those ways around your product mix and your market share, all of that. You also want to be thinking about, what am I doing on those five levers? What are we doing together to create conditions for people? There's one more thing I would say about that and I think you'd probably see this often in your work and in helping thought leaders. The reality is we know our companies through our immediate supervisor, you know?

Moe: Yeah and that, and that relationship is really, really important. I can't tell you how many people we've interviewed who has been working at many of the big companies that are on the greatest places to work lists and at the end of the interview they say, gosh, this was so fun. Do you know anyone who's hiring? I think you know too, which I have to say, gosh, I'm so surprised you work at Apple or you work at Google, you work at one of these mega companies and it's supposed to be so awesome out there. That's what the magazines say. They say to me, yeah, I love this company, but my boss is a real a-hole. Yes and he's not going anywhere. So there's a huge, I think one of the very most basic things that every company should be doing is making sure that the leaders that are on station are good at creating belonging.

Michelle: Yeah. This is a real miss. I think in the leadership development world. I don't think it's that people like you and other people who work in leadership development don't want to do it. It's that many companies don't provide as much support for the leaders at all levels, right? So there's so much more support for the C suite and maybe the next level below and but it gets less and less, right? So that you get down to the, or you get over, let's say to the leaders who are really right with the front lines people and they don't know how they haven't been trained and supported and how do I keep picturing as you're talking the psych tapestry, it's literally like weaving in front of me. There's all these different jobs, right? They're like silos or as we talk about it out there in the, you know, work world sometimes, but that the leaders can sort of like come along and provide this web, this like really they can help create that connection if they know how and they're getting some of that mentorship and support for themselves.

Moe: No, I think that's really true and actually what we see in the data is that companies invest the majority of their dollars for feature development at the senior levels. That means that the front line is often really underdeveloped and that's where those relationships are formed.  I would add Michelle, that one of the things that I would be remiss to not mention because it's such a central part of the work that I do these days is that when I think about the development of leaders at the frontline and all the way up to the C suite, I can't help but get into the dynamics of what does it take to be a leader who can create connection, which involves being a leader who can show up as authentically themselves. Grad school, professor of mine once said, there's two questions that matter for who I am and who I am with you?

Moe: If you can answer those, you can lead and so that kind of mindset has taken me to the work of dr Bonnie Brown and in particular her most current work, the dare to lead curriculum, which I'm certified to deliver and I've used for many years in its previous iteration, but recently is Derek Leaf is a fairly straightforward careers building curriculum for leaders at any level of four interconnected skills for treating connection. I think that for me, that's like entry level, you know, learning how to be brave to create connection with other human beings and we don't teach that in MBA school.

Michelle: Yeah, right. Yeah. So I would love to talk about your own, the evolution of your Thought Leadership and you're kind of pointing to different things you know here and a couple of things are coming to my mind. One is, as I was reviewing your bio to share it here I was reminded of how intentional you are about talking about privilege and your own privilege, how you're using it.  I would just love if you would share what brought that to light for you in a way that made you clearly committed. I think putting that message out and taking a stand for that part of your work.

Moe: Thank you so much for noticing that it's, it's a burgeoning part of the work. I think for me I would say that my awareness about privilege, my own privilege, particularly as a white heterosexual, middle-class, able bodied tall woman is significant. I recently was on holiday and I broke my kneecap, I was in Croatia and I was temporarily not able bodied and it was one of those moments of like, Oh my gosh,  I navigate through the world, I can go anywhere I want up and down stairs and into buildings that don't have, you know, ramps and, and I don't even have to think about it. So for me the awareness of my own privilege has been ongoing for many, many years. I don't think though that I knew about my privilege, especially when I was young.

Moe: For example, I sometimes joke when I'm doing inclusion work that I don't think I knew I was white until my mid twenties which seems crazy, right? Beause anyone who looks at me can tell, Oh yes you're white, but I was mostly surrounded by white people in the community in which I grew up and I never thought about race. I was pretty focused on kind of being a young feminist. My mother was a feminist so I was much more aware of my breaking in as a young, ambitious, kind of woman. Early in my career I had the opportunity to work with a colleague of mine who's become good friends over the years. His name is Bill Proud Man and his business partner is Microwell who we had on the Ted stage that you have been involved with and they, Michael and Bill, along with another colleague, Joanne Morris.

Moe: Scott founded their company the same year that I started Momentum and the name of their company is White Men. It's full diversity partners. When they launched, they actually invited me to be a partner because we had been doing some work on inclusion and passion as a CEO has been around how do we bring insiders, people with privilege, into the inclusion conversation. Because what he was seeing is what I see as well, which is that diversity inclusion efforts in organizations mostly focused on the minority outsiders, which is sort of preaching to the choir around, yeah, we need to change something here. So he was saying is particularly as a white heterosexual man, what we're doing to do with each other and I loved that angle. I was young when I met Bill, I was really curious about that work and tucked in and so they invited me to be a partner of their firm.

Moe: I had just started my firm and had a new baby and I was like, I'm sorry, I just can't do it. But I've stayed as a senior consultant with them now for almost 30 years and Oh wow. Yeah and I work, I would say about maybe once a month with them. They're the only partner that I deliver programs for that's not my work. I bring them in when we have inclusion initiatives for momentum because I really, really have learned so much about the value of all of us looking to create belonging through understanding our own bias and our own privilege, especially as insiders. You know, the places where we have it and when we do that, we become infinitely more capable, a real partnership across difference. So that work's been really unimportant part of my journey and I, I plan to keep doing it.

Moe: I've also noticed that this courage building work we were talking about, there's an intersection there with partnership across difference and I'm curious how you experienced this. Have you ever had that moment when you're trying to learn something about inclusion and you get triggered into shame? Oh yes. Yes, definitely. And fear for sure. Yeah.  I've been super curious about that and especially with people that have insider status in some ways where even in my own experience, Oh my gosh, I don't want to be a racist. Like the worst possible thing would be to be a, and what I'm learning of course, is that yes, I am a racist. I can't help but be because of the culture I grew up in, but it's not my fault that that happened, but what's my responsibility about, what I'm going to do about that? So I have found the courage building work of Bernays, organization and dare to lead really powerfully in sync with the inclusion work that I'm doing with Debbie FTP and other companies.

Moe: There's a strong intersection there to be helping, particularly insiders really better understand how to be brave in partnership because it's messy, it's messy, and we can't, I don't wanna whitewash. We don't want to pretend we're all the same. We're not. So how do we actually step in? Some of my programs next year, I'm evolving a program that's unintegrated a workshop that really helps build courage, particularly through the dare to lead content in the realm of inclusion and I'm excited about that. 

Michelle: Yeah, no, that sounds amazing and brave to me because absolutely. When I read your bio I'll say one of the things I think is, or I thought to myself is, wow, I wonder how she knew how to say that. Right? Because I'm aware enough to know that I'm totally like unaware of so many things that'll probably do it wrong and it's scary to do it wrong. And so I think that makes many of us just not try and yet seeing you do that, it's so clear that I need to be trying, doing so much more to recognize and be brave around it.

Moe: Well, yeah and what I love about what you're saying is that, yes, we need to be brave and, and we can all do more. I think one of the hangups has snuck me in, I see this in client groups all the time, is that we want, we believe that we need to do it perfectly. Yeah and the reality is we aren't going to do it perfectly and so what does it look like if we do it in perfectly? I've had a lot of learning recently. My daughter who's got three kids and she has really pushed me on my use of language and in particular she has two friends that identify as transgender and their preferred pronouns are they, and as an English major, I'm like totally 25 yeah. I'm like, what? That's not proper grammar yet and she's like, mom, actually it's fine.

Moe: That's all I'm called and I'm noticing the learning edge for me. The other day she was home for the Thanksgiving holiday and I referenced, one of her friends and I said, and what is she going to do after high school? She said, mom, they, and I got triggered into shame, you know, I was like, Oh gosh, I did it again. You know, like I didn't know better. I should be using the proper point, which at the same time, having grace with myself and saying, you know what, I'm learning, I'm learning about this. She was really compassionate with me. She was like, it's okay. I know you're learning, you know, and you'll keep doing better. So I think that's an important part of it, isn't it?

Michelle: Yeah. I had a very similar experience recently. I was walking with a friend and her daughter and her other child wasn't with us, but I was saying, Oh, you guys come this way and I practice not saying guys. It's one of those things I don't normally say. So I said, Oh, I'm sorry. I usually don't say you guys, you girls, you females come this way and she has another child who doesn't identify as either guy or female or girl. She said, actually you're going to need a different word entirely, you know? I was like, that's right. You know, you all, which I usually try to say you all or my friends or, but I'm super, I'm just identifying with, I too have so much of that language that I want to unlearn and learn the new way that is inclusive and it's learning.

Moe: It is a learner is learning and I think it's also good practice for us to know too, to figure out how we do it in perfectly. So you don't think it's a long way around to your question about our village, but I think it's really, really important work for all of us to be doing today and to be understanding how do we view the world, what benefits do we get through no effort of our own and how do we use that benefit with, with grace.

Michelle: Yeah and I just want to, I think this is such a good moment to point to your most recent TEDx talk. Was it TEDx Salem?

Moe: Yeah. Yeah. 

Michelle: Yeah, and I'm saying that and I just want to, I'll put that out there to those listening and we'll put a link in the show notes, but one of the many things I love about that talk is the way you start and recognize your privilege and who you are in those ways. Then also that that talk is so textured, right? You're saying, I love men and I'm worried about our men in the context of all this. So I know we don't have time to dive deeply and we could do a whole conversation just about what you've said in that amazing talk, but I'll point people to that and actually there are like six other things that I want to talk with you about, but I know we're pretty much at toward the end of our time together. So I think the final thing that I just would love to hear from you because you have had such a rich evolution of your Thought Leadership and I think you've indicated toward this, but where are you going next with it and a little bit about how do you know where you're going next with your Thought Leadership and your message because it obviously you allow it to change and people worry about that.

Michelle: What's next and how do you know man, gosh.

Moe: I'd love that you queued this up by talking about The Salem Talk, The Salem Ted talk because that was a really powerful talk for me because it's the fur and you coached me in that talk and it was really helpful. I didn't even access your greatness until the very end, but those last two tips you gave me were so helpful. I think that talks hands out for me of the three Ted talks that I've given, because it was something that I have a deep and abiding passion for as a mother of two sons, as a sister to a brother, as an ex wife and a current wife and a daughter. I am really, really impassioned about what's happening around masculinity and what our role is as women to support healthy masculinity in today's world. So for me, when it comes to Thought Leadership, one of the things it was really freeing about that Salem Ted Talk was that I was invited to give it because of a passion that I hold, not a professional practice, although it certainly relates to my professional practice because 90% of my clients are men in the C suite and I'm passionate also on behalf of them and what they're leading, you know, as men in the world.

Moe: So I think when it comes to Thought Leadership, what has been a powerful learning for me, I would say in the last probably only three or four years is like recentering on what it is. I really give a damn about and like saying, you know what, Moe, all this other stuff, you can do all this other stuff. I can consult an organizations on their effectiveness. I can facilitate meetings, you know, till the cows come home. There's a lot that I'm good at, but when it comes to Thought Leadership where I want to be tomorrow is like on those things that I have a particularly strong personal investment in, passionate about adding value to and I think it's taken me nearly 57 years, Michelle, to give myself permission to go there because in business, in the waters I navigate in very often the pressure that I've allowed myself to, to fall prey to is that I have to have kind of, I have to do it a certain way.

Moe: I have to prove ROI, I have to focus on business results. I have to, you know, help businesses feel successful and those are all true but not without the lens that I really care about, which is the stuff we've been talking around. How do people thrive? How do we manage externalities? Profit campaign or really North star creating inclusive cultures. You know those I have like real energy amounts. I think what I'm starting to give myself permission for is, you know, lead with and carefully curate the energy that you want to put into thought leading in the things that actually you can you give a hoot about.

Michelle: Oh my gosh. Well yes, perfect underline, exclamation point. That's just so beautifully said and it is hard because there's so much out there telling us we have to do it a certain way. I'm currently in that same question like what's the next thing? What's even more real? What's even more true for me that I really want to take a stand for? So I love her.

Moe: That's hard to do, isn't it? Right. You have to give yourself, for me, I've had to give myself some little permission and also I'm really trying hard to give myself a little space to do that thinking. That's the other thing is we just get so busy that we don't have time to think about what the heck is it that we really want to say?

Michelle: Yes, that's right. It needs space. That's just the truth that needs the space so you can hear it. Moe, you're just awesome. I love talking with you every time I get to talk with you and it's just a special gift when I get to share our conversation as well. You're such an inspiration and you've been a mentor for me for so long since the very beginning and I'm going to continue to watch and learn from you, so thank you so much for this conversation.

Moe: Oh, thank you Michelle for the invitation and for all the great work that you're putting out there in the world. I just love following listening and learning from him with you.

Michelle: Thank you. See what I mean? There's just so much in that conversation. I hope you got some beautiful gems out of it. Most likely. I'm imagining  your inspiration has been sparked or your curiosity has been sparked and you'll probably be definitely looking up most TEDx Talk, right? It really is amazing, it was a TEDx Salem Talk and again, we'll have a link to it in our show notes, but it is such a really gorgeous devotion and shining a bright light on an issue that's hard to talk about right now. So go check out her talk, check out all the work that Moe is doing. She puts on some public workshops. I know she does lots and lots of training, consulting and coaching inside of organizations of all different sizes. So I highly recommend you check her out. She's an amazing person and an incredible Thought Leader to watch and follow and emulate, which is what I've been doing for years. Be inspired by. Thank you so much for being here today. It's my goal, my greatest desire to spark in you that helps you get out there even bigger, even more powerfully, even more bravely with your own Thought Leadership, with what you know you're on this earth to say, because that's the thing, my friends, you're here because you were made for this and I know you were made for this because you know now get out there, share your message, change those lives, and I'll be here with you next week and I already can't wait.

Michelle: Thanks so much for being here with me on The Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you want specific and actionable guidance on how to become a recognized leader in your industry, you can download a free copy of my book. Beyond Applause, Make a Meaningful Difference Through Transformational Speaking at speaksoitmatters.com/freebook


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