How to Advocate for Yourself at Work with DEI Expert, Netta Jenkins

Ep: 143

Most people, particularly women and women of color, simply aren’t comfortable advocating for themselves at work.

Maybe it’s because of how you were raised, or perhaps it’s generational. Or maybe you just don’t want to rock the boat. So, you wait…. hoping that one day, you’ll be recognized and get that raise or be given that promotion.

The question is why? Why don’t we know our own self worth enough to use it to our advantage as a tool for change?

The answer is simple: It’s because you just haven’t had the right combination of tools and role-models showing you that the change you seek really is possible.

Today, Blake welcomes Netta Jenkins, a leading voice in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion field whose soaring audience engagement was doubtless a key factor in Forbes naming her as one of the top 7 anti-racism consultants in the world. Netta was featured in CIO Views publication as “The Top 10 Most Influential Black Women in Business to Follow in 2021”.  An acclaimed author with a deep background in communications, leadership, and behavioral psychology, Netta has been advising corporations and audiences of all kinds for more than 15 years on the most effective strategies to address systemic racism, its traumatic impact, and the path to social justice.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Netta was encouraged from a young age to advocate for herself, despite circumstances that could have easily had the opposite effect. She shares how that strength helped catapult her to success, and how she helps others cultivate a strong, unbreakable sense of self-worth that gives them the courage to confidently change their circumstances.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How Netta developed her strong sense of power from an early age (4:10)
  • The most important element of self-advocacy (10:21)
  • The 3 steps you can take towards a better career path (10:08)
  • Moving forward through the scars of negative experiences in the workplace (20:37)
  • An acronym to help organizations address their root issues (26:32)
  • Key questions to ask during the interview process to know whether this a company you’ll be able to grow with (34:07)

Favorite Quotes:

  1. My mother said something so pivotal, she said, “Netta I didn’t bring you in this world to cry about things. I brought you in this world to create change”. -Netta
  2. Oftentimes, we don’t realize the importance of our words. But we also don’t realize the importance of our belief systems and how those belief systems then create the outcomes of our lives. -Blake
  3. What I love about the idea of self-advocacy is it’s about how can I create that change? How do I be the one to move that instead of expecting somebody else to fix it. Instead of it being external, it now becomes internal. And so I can do something about it, I can be that person that creates the change.  -Blake
  4. If a patient went to their physician and asked them to write a prescription without first understanding the patient’s underlying health condition, that would be a problem, right? So organizations must resist that impulse to just seek immediate relief for their symptoms, and instead focus on the core disease of what’s happening. -Netta
  5. When we understand who we are and our perspective, we can better understand other people and their perspective. And we can have empathy and we can have real conversations that bring teams together, change organizations, and create the result we actually want to create. -Blake
  6. Organizations are going to see if they can’t get it together, and start to really solve for these disparities, these systemic gaps within their organizations, they won’t have an organization. -Netta

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Blake Schofield 0:08 Netta Jenkins, I’m so excited to have you here today to share your vast expertise with our audience. It’s such an honor and a pleasure to have you. So thank you.

Netta Jenkins 0:19 Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here today.

Blake Schofield 0:23 So we have some great topics today really diving into how to advocate for yourself. And, and where there are real opportunities to do that inside our corporations as well. So with that said, can you share with the audience a little bit about you and your background and how you came to do the work that you do today?

Netta Jenkins 0:44 Yeah, absolutely. I always, you know, start my story off with my early years. Both of my parents are from Liberia. And they actually came to this country in the 80s. So not sure why. But they settled in Johnston, Rhode Island. So Rhode Island being the smallest state in the United States. And it’s predominantly, you know, I grew up in a predominantly white town. My first experience with racism was actually a white woman in my neighborhood, spitting in my mother’s face, and saying blacks don’t belong in my neighborhood. And I remember, in that very moment, I had remained silent. I didn’t say anything. My mom and I just kind of turned around, went in the house, and we didn’t unpack it at all. Fast forward, you know, I went off to middle school and experiencing even more racism. And I remember going home on one particular day, and just crying my eyes out. And my mother said something so pivotal, she said, Netta, I didn’t bring in this world to cry about things. I brought you in this world to create change. And I remember looking at her and thinking, is this African woman crazy? Like, does she think I’m Martin Luther King? Who does my mom think I am okay. And, but what my mom was actually doing in that moment was giving me power, she was giving me power to create any type of shift that I wanted. And she was letting me know that, that if indeed, I wanted to do it, I could do it. And I had the permission to do it. And, and I didn’t look at it that way at that time, but it immediately then started to hit me. And I said to myself, Okay, well, if I want to do something within my school, I need to be in a position of power. So what I did was I actually ran for president of the freshman class, and I was in middle school at that time. And I actually ended up winning. And I remember my student council teacher looking at me and saying, Well, Netta, you know, your big gig today is to fold flowers for the front, is to fold flowers for the freshmen float with your team. And I remember looking at him and saying, oh, no, I’m not here to fold flowers. I’m here to create change. He looked at me and he laughed, I literally can hear him laughing in my head still to this day as an adult. And I actually laughed even louder, because I’m like, Oh, I am crazy. Just like my mom. I do think. I do think I’m Martin Luther King. Right. And, and I did just that I started to challenge the curriculum, I started to challenge teachers and challenge students, I started talking about topics that we now talk about today, like diversity, equity, inclusion, exclusion bias, you know, I was, you know, introducing those terms as a young person. And I did that to the point where new stations actually started to cover what was happening within the school. And, and I knew I had something I knew that that was what I wanted to do. So like I said, both of my parents are Liberian African. And in the African culture, you really have three occupations that you can, you can work, right. And it was it’s either a doctor, lawyer engineer. So when I was younger, my father was purchasing a whole bunch of law books. And my mom wanted me to be a cardiovascular surgeon. Mondrian was very young, they had big dreams, right? So she’s purchasing a bunch of biology books for me, and like, I’m reading these things as a young person. I’m just like, not what I want to do. I don’t want to disappoint. And I was actually I was going in the attorney path, but I didn’t quite do that. And I remember my parents just looking at me like, Ah, she’s a failure. And then once I started to kind of get into the business world and and really creating impact that like, my daughter’s a when I look at her, right, but, I mean, you know, from a young age, I knew that there was that spark to create have a level of impact, and to really educate people as well. And it’s, it’s the very thing that I that I do today, you know, really working with corporations around the world, within the US and even internationally to bridge these gaps, bridge these gaps that exist, especially around systemic racism, put in place processes and policies, and educate people, I think, most importantly, so that these things are sustainable. So yeah, I absolutely love what I do. And I’m thankful for all of the experiences and my earlier years, but they definitely drive what I do.

Blake Schofield 5:45 Thank you for sharing that I often say the seeds of our passion and the things that, ultimately are the impact that we make, they start as kids, sometimes we don’t see them, right. And it’s hard to piece together the puzzles. And man, it took me a very long time to piece together mine. Which is why I spend so much time helping women do that much rapid much more rapidly, and with a whole lot more joy than what I went through to find it. But how amazing to hear that you were already doing that as such a young child and you saw that gap and that opportunity, and you felt empowered to do that. I love hearing the story of right how that one conversation with your mom then changed the course of things. And I think oftentimes, we don’t realize the importance of our words. But we also don’t realize the importance of our belief systems. And how those belief systems then creates literally, right the outcomes of our lives. Yeah, as a really young child, your mom gave you that confidence to advocate for yourself? Can you share a little bit more about how would you describe self advocacy? I would love to dive into this a little bit in terms of how would you describe it? And how would you accomplish it? Because often I find when we talk about changing our work environments, and we talk about creating more equity. Sometimes the conversation seems to be right, this back and forth. My side, your side blame type of thing. And what I love about the idea of self advocacy is it’s about how can I create that change? How do I be the one to move things forward, instead of expecting somebody else to fix it, or instead of it being external, and now becomes internal, and so I can do something about it, I can be that person that creates the change. So we’d love to hear more about how that how that comes into play? And how would you guide women to become better advocates for themselves? Yeah,

Netta Jenkins 7:49 Absolutely. You know, the largest part about self advocacy is really understanding your worth. And that’s something that people oftentimes hear. But it’s so hard for us to actually tap into. Right? So oftentimes when I when I meet other women, and I ask them, Hey, do you can you describe, right? Can you describe your worth within the workplace? Or can you just describe your worth in general, and it’s very hard. So without you understanding what you bring to the table, and how you show up, it’s going to be very difficult for you to advocate for yourself, because there has to be almost this level, this high level of confidence where you know, hold on anything I touch is gold, it turns into gold. I streamline this process, I specialize in this area, and this is what I do. I’ve been able to effectively impact this so. So I always kind of start off with like, knowing your worth knowing yourself, knowing what you need, knowing how to get it, right. And also even understanding the people around you. Right, the people around you that are going to talk about you when you’re not in the room with them. Who are those people that you’re surrounding yourself around? And oftentimes, you know, when when folks talk about self advocacy, they don’t talk about that aspect. It’s always like, you doing it and absolutely, you’re you’re initiating everything, you’re pushing things forward. But the circle around you is very, very important and critical. And so I always kind of take it back to when I was within an organization. I see. And I was an associate level person had started off. And I remember seeing these gaps that had existed and I said, Okay, I’m going to have a conversation, of course with my immediate manager, my direct manager, but then I’m gonna let her know I want to have a conversation with the CEO. And I want her to be a part of that conversation. So she didn’t feel like I was trying to oversell her thing like that. And we had a larger conversation. And so I was able to start to kind of build that alliance to where the CEO was like, hey Netta, I have to get her to present to other executives, and not just one year, but every single year. So a part of that, like I just go back to it is really kind of understanding the people around you, and how they influence you, but also how you’re able to kind of utilize them. And in a very impactful way,

Blake Schofield 10:30 Love how you talk about, know your value and know your worth a huge part of the work we do at the bridge to fulfillment is one of the sections that one of the six steps we work on is called gain clarity. And what we do is help our clients unlock their fulfillment framework, which is the things they need in their current life to be fulfilled, happy, and uncover their secret sauce, transferable skills. Right? And then from there, we actually help them understand and define the criteria, what’s the environment of which I work best, where I can create the biggest results? And what you’re talking about, essentially, is that right? Because without that foundational knowledge, you look at and think, Well, I’m just like everybody else, there’s nothing really I do that’s unique. And you don’t really understand exactly what you said, which is, in which circumstances do I know I can kill it? Do I know if I show up and do this, I can do it. And I can do better than almost anybody else. And when you know that you have a foundation, then to your point to be able to advocate for yourself, because you understand which points you can make that impact. And you have the words and the confidence to say it.

Netta Jenkins 11:38 Exactly. But what’s even more powerful just kind of stemming off of that is when you know your worth, and you’ve advocated for yourself, and you haven’t seen that impact and that change. There, it takes nothing for you to say I’m about to step away. See, when you don’t know your worth, and you stick in it. Right. And that’s that’s like the harsh reality of it all. I think the other piece to it too, is there’s this concept around communicating your wins. And yes, like we should be doing that. But oftentimes, what I tend to see is that people will save all of their wins for just one moment. That’s like, this is just I’m gonna advocate for myself one time in this lifetime. And then nothing happens. And they’re just like, Wait, what happened? Right? I did, I did everything. And what I tell people in his community, communicate your wins on a consistent basis. You know, anytime you have a weekly meeting with your manager, have that conversation, hey, here’s some of the things that I worked on this week. Here’s the impact and the results, here’s like the personal impact. But here’s the business impact as well. You know that that’s a critical piece, and you want to kind of do that continuously, but then also write it down. Don’t be afraid to maybe even send an email, Paper Trail is everything. And we’ll probably get to talk a little bit more about that. But I think that that’s a key step that I typically tell folks.

Blake Schofield 13:04 I love that. I could not agree more. One of the things when I was at Target, people would be sent to me all the time. And you’re like, you know how to advocate for yourself. So well, I don’t know how to do that. And what you’re saying is one of the things I really learned how to do well, I took it from I think a lot of people think advocating for yourself is bragging, and they’re very uncomfortable sharing. But I often give the example of like, you know, I went to go buy a brand new camera, I used to have this big DSLR. And I have back issues and it was too heavy to carry. So I needed and I went to Best Buy and I needed to buy, go buy a new camera. And the very first salesperson was like, Hey, do you need help? Yeah, I’m just looking for a camera, right? And then he leaves. I think that’s how most people behave. It’s like corporate. The second person, however, is the person, right? Who actually got the best results. And he was most helpful. And he actually stopped and asked me questions, you know, why are you looking for a new camera? Or what is it that you want to use it for? What’s important to you, and he was easily able to pull out two cameras and say, This is why these are your two best cameras, they have these features, here’s how that work for you and the results that you can get from using them. And so I often think about when people worry about bragging that what they are being the salesperson who’s providing no information and so you’re they’re totally confused because there’s 20 cameras and you have no idea which one is the best one for you. Right versus right being the person actually shared. This is who I am, these are my attributes. These are the results I create and then it makes it so easy for that other person to know the right thing. And so as we talk about advocate advocating for yourself, I agree do that consistently. Don’t wait for your annual review. Don’t wait till you realize that maybe you’re paid below you what you feel like you should be because far, far too often. I see women do that and then exactly what you said they get disappointed and they feel like no one listens to them, and no one’s valuing them. But part of it is they haven’t provided the tools for people to easily be able to do that for them, too.

Netta Jenkins 15:10 Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely agree.

Blake Schofield 15:13 So you mentioned earlier this idea, and I see this, I saw this all the time in corporate where people are not feeling valued. And we know that that’s true, consistently, people don’t feel valued in their role. They don’t feel like they have the opportunity to create change. And they just sort of feel like things are happening to them. And they stay in these jobs, when they aren’t valued. And what I love, I love what you said, right? When I, when I know my worth, and I can advocate, if I’m in a bad situation, I’m out, I know this the wrong thing for me and I can move on. But if you really look at it, more than 60% of people are unfulfilled in their careers today. And they don’t feel fulfilled, and they don’t feel valued. What advice would you give to people that are sitting in that situation? To be able to identify, can I fix this where I’m at? Or should I do something different?

Netta Jenkins 16:06 Yeah, I mean, that’s, it’s, it’s always hard, right? A hard thing, because we’re stuck or almost stuck, where you’re stuck in a situation where you’re claiming that, that you know, your worth, and you’re just like, oh, my gosh, but I still want to kind of figure out how to navigate this this situation, I think the first part is really just kind of understanding that, it’s really important for you to do everything you can to kind of push the needle forward, right. And so building up that confidence is going to be a critical step. I think also writing down writing down exactly what it is that you’re looking for, and the reason why you’re looking for it. And the impact of that is a critical step as well. Um, you know, oftentimes what I what I do, and I’ve done that, throughout my career is really writing down, okay, here are some of the various situations that I’m facing, or trying to navigate within this organization. Here’s what I’ve actually done some of these things that I’ve done, here’s what I’m seeing traction on. And so you’re almost able to, you know, if you’re a data driven person, you’re almost able to kind of like track the trends and analyze, okay, I’m seeing some, like small changes here. And from those small changes, you know, you feel empowered to kind of continue, because there’s, there’s some traction, I think a part of it, then it also goes back to, you know, what I was saying before, really identifying some of those folks within the organization that want to support you, you know, want to support you through this and can advocate for you as well. Is is a critical step. So, finding your tribe, you know, of those people that are doing well within an organization. So there’s, I mean, like, there’s, there’s so many steps that can be taken, but those I would say, are kind of my top three things that I typically do. Awesome.

Blake Schofield 18:16 Yeah, we talked about advocating. And I can imagine there’s somebody listening here that says, I’m fearful if I do that, that I’m going to be blackballed. Or I’m going to be seen as someone who’s not a team player, I’m going to be seen as someone who causes problems. What can you share about what women can do? As well as like, women of color? Are there a difference? Are there differences in terms of how to protect yourself and advocate, I’m really interested to hear your perspective on this. So that you don’t feel like retaliation is going to be an issue. And you can feel confident about standing and your worth and your value and asking for the change you’d like to see.

Netta Jenkins 18:54 Yeah, you know, first I wanted to start off by saying, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, that anyone or if anyone is experiencing that, I’m sorry, because I know how tough that can be. I’ve been in situations like that before as well. And I also know that these experiences are super painful, and they actually leave scars. And then typically, what I see is, you know, when folks have those scars, they also bring those scars within another organization if they leave, right because you just don’t know. So you’re almost expecting the same thing. So I want to just scream from the mountaintops that you deserve better I preface with that. Secondly, I always recommend some fpu money. And I heard someone else say this and and now I kind of like hold to this this truth, meaning that you should keep a stash of money in case you have to walk away from your career at a moment’s notice. You know, so really being able to protect yourself is incredibly important. Like I was saying before, if you’re having have a difficult time kind of navigating situations or the there are things that are coming up, make sure you’re also documenting, like document everything, right? You want to make sure that you’re protecting yourself. And then every situation is different. But like I was saying, Before, I would start off assessing whether you ultimately want to stay or leave your organization. Is it time, if it’s time for the for the FSU money, it’s probably time for you to start looking for different employment opportunities, right? Can you transfer to a different department? Are there other leaders within the organization that you work pretty well with, and maybe they have open roles, maybe you’re not quite ready to just leave the organization just yet? Is there someone that is, you know, maybe a neutral third party that you can speak with. And then I’d encourage you to select a manager at the same level or higher, or, you know, maybe even a dei leader within your organization to have this conversation with, you know, and really ensure that you have some level of support, because it’s a lot of pain that people are processing. In these unjustly situations.

Blake Schofield 21:18 Yeah, thank you for sharing that, you know, it’s an interesting thing, doing the work that I do, I get to see the cross function of a lot of different industries, different companies, different levels of work that that my clients come to me under. And what I would tell any woman that’s going through that now, an environment that is fear based and environment that is not open to feedback, that creates negative situations, when you do give that feedback is to let you know that not every place is like that. And there are a lot of places who will value you and what you bring to the table. And I see so many women putting up with abuse unnecessarily because they think that this is just the way it has to be. Sometimes it is because there’s an opportunity to learn how to advocate for yourself. But a lot of times it’s because your job or the environment is actually misaligned with how you work best. And I want to talk about that, because I think there’s not enough discussion about that in in corporate there sort of this perspective, like, well, you just need to suck up and adapt. And that’s just the way it needs to be. But I will tell you that that’s just not true. Over and over and over again, I have seen it to be true. When you move into an environment that aligns with your values and how you naturally work. And you’re able to show up and feel safe to be you. It creates an entirely different dynamic for your experience. So, you know, whatever you’re going through today, I totally agree with Netta, right? It’s what I always tell my clients document, document documents, protect yourself, right, from a documentation standpoint, from a savings and cutting back expenses, or whatever to make sure that you can do what’s right for you. But I would also say, get real clear on it my staying here, because it’s actually the right company and I have the wrong boss. And or I have a Bosu. There’s an opportunity for us to learn to work better together, or am I staying here because I’m assuming that I just have to put up with this abuse. And I would tell you, if you’re assuming that you have to put up with the abuse, that is a sheer sign that you’re in the wrong place. And there’s absolutely something better for you.

Netta Jenkins 23:33 Absolutely, yep.

Blake Schofield 23:36 So now that I know you do a ton of work with companies helping them put into place changes to combat racism, and sexism and all of these other things inside companies. When you look kind of holistically at the change, that you are driving the change you want to make in companies and the next, you know, 510 1520 years, what are those key things that you feel like are opportunities for leaders inside organizations? To understand and apply?

Netta Jenkins 24:06 Yeah. You know, it’s so interesting, because I yeah, I always say, companies must address racial unrest, sexist unrest, you know, any of the isms, really by listening and changing its practices promptly, right? Because a lot of what we also know in data shows it, it’s systemic, it’s deep rooted, it’s embedded in policies and processes, right. And so organizations can make effective changes with the correct information incentives and investment. And oftentimes, I say that, you know, what I find is that leaders want this quick fix. And you know, if a patient went to their physician and ask them to write a prescription without first addressing Standing the patient’s underlying health condition, that would be a problem, right? So organizations must resist that impulse to just seek immediate relief for their symptoms. And instead focus on like the core disease of what’s happening. And I read, you know, Harvard Business Review article that uses the acronym press. And press A stands for, you know, problem awareness, root cause analysis. The E is for empathy or level of concern about the problem and the people that have flicks, but asked us for strategies for addressing the problem. And then the other asked is for sacrifice or willingness to invest the time, the energy and resources necessary for strategy implementation. And so, you know, I tell leaders to kind of start there, it’s really around understanding one the disparities that exist, but to why people are feeling that way, you know, what their connection is to it, is it that perhaps they have folks within the organization that just because they perform well, they get away with so much more, you know, as opposed to someone else. And so I think it’s really about them identifying what those root issues are, and then starting to define what sustainable education means not just kind of a one and done thing, but a consistent thing, before they can even start to kind of put policy in place and strategies and, and begin to implement that it really stems from understanding who those individuals are, who’s hurting, why are they hurting, and then understanding what they want, as well, to kind of push the needle forward.

Blake Schofield 27:03 I talk a lot about the fact that I think we’re at a really unique place in society, when you look at the women’s movement, technology, how things have really shifted. And we’re at a place now I think, more than ever, and I think COVID even pushed more of this, where people began to say, Wait a second, I’m not willing to sacrifice these things in my life anymore. For my job, right? There needs to be more balance in my life there, I need to feel like I have these things. So I often talk about that it feels like it’s time to shift the dynamic of companies from and I don’t mean this in a negative way. But most companies were built by men. And not a lot has changed. And so there’s this imbalance in terms of I think, some of the softer, more humane side of business. I listened to a podcast several months ago, and there was a CEO on they’re talking about and he said, and I just could not believe it. He said something to the effect of emotions don’t belong in the workplace unless you’re celebrating. Yeah. And I immediately had this visceral reaction of like, Wow, I wonder what happened in his life, that he’s so uncomfortable to talk about or address emotions, and then how that negative downstream is happening to every single person inside his organization. Because we are all people, we bring our emotions, we bring our biases, we bring our experiences exactly what you said, to every single interaction we have. And if we don’t have environments where we’re addressing those things, we’re creating toxicity. We are creating divided teams, we are creating broken leadership, we are creating employees who feel disempowered, we are creating much less results, right? Because people don’t feel aligned and passionate. And so I love what you’re talking about, because I think it aligns a lot with my passion for bringing that humanity to work. When we understand who we are, and our perspective, we can better understand other people and their perspective. And we can have empathy. And we can have real conversations that bring teams together, change organizations create the results we actually want to create.

Netta Jenkins 29:17 Yeah, yeah. And it really takes also organizations, leaders, I should say, putting their foot down and saying no, if there are folks within our organization that don’t value this level of work, and don’t take a stand on this than they don’t need to be here. And you know, frankly, those organizations that don’t take that level of stance in this society that we’re in today, they’re going to see that they’re not going to be sustainable. And I it’s interesting because before the murder of George Floyd and also before COVID, I had a client that reached out to me and they wanted to do some sort of consulting and some work with their their employees, and then they had put that off, and I’m Of course, the murder of George Floyd happened COVID hit and everything else was happening as well. And I remember her calling me in tears, the HR person saying, oh my goodness that I wish we really started this work early on, I had every intention to, I just didn’t have the support from everyone else at the top CEOs and other C suite leaders. And what happened was, after the murder of George Floyd, there were folks from overlooked, overlooked populations that were, you know, employees, they came out and they shared their experiences. And they were not positive experiences. And overnight, they lost half of their customers. And she was literally in tears, because she’s like, we are about to shut down. And, and she and she was crying because she felt such a strong, and it wasn’t even about her losing her job. But she was like, I just feel this strong level of guilt, that I didn’t push more to kind of like, create and make sure that employees of color and and all employees in general, we’re, you know, we’re in a good space or kind of understanding where they’re at and some of the various gaps and implementing some education there. They didn’t do that, you know, and so it goes back to that example that you gave around the the CEO that said, Well, no, we don’t need to bring our emotions here. It’s, it’s insane. It’s insane. It just, it does not work for the time that we’re in. Right? There is a war for talent right now, there are more companies now that are remote, folks have the opportunity to really go anywhere. And what we’re seeing is actually more people of color actually starting to create their own businesses, you know, because it’s like, hey, like, there’s so much that’s happening within corporations, we don’t see the shift in this change. Let’s create our own safe spaces, right and thriving businesses. So we see more of that. And so it’s very, very competitive. But but, you know, organizations are going to see if they can’t get it together, and start to really solve for these disparities, these systemic gaps within their organizations, they won’t have an organization.

Blake Schofield 32:25 Yeah, I think that is incredibly true. And I will tell you, probably eight or nine out of 10 women that come to me are fearful that what they want, maybe it doesn’t really exist, right? I want all those things, but I don’t know if it really exists. And 99% of the time, I’m like, Nope, that exists. Yeah, right, those things exist. And so I think, just even having this conversation, for whoever’s listening, if you are sitting in saying, yo, I’m fulfilled, I’m unfulfilled, I’m unhappy, but I’m not sure if a company that would actually value me exist, or a company that actually would give me the flexibility, there are so many companies that are really shifting, and really listening to their employees and creating environments that are healthy, where you can be valued and You Your voice can be heard. You know, and part of it comes from exactly what you said, Netta understanding my value have to understand who I am and my value first. Yeah, right. But then when I align that with the right environment, then I can be empowered to create the change.

Netta Jenkins 33:25 Yeah, and you’re right, aligning it with the right environment, before you even get into that role. asking those questions, you know, in the interview that you may not typically ask, what are your DNI initiatives here? How do how many women are navigating? Right? What’s the growth? Not not just understanding the amount of women within an organization? Because that doesn’t tell you much. But really, what’s the growth? Right? We’re folks in terms of, of various levels, what are the programs? How are associate level women impacted? Even if you’re a senior level woman, right, really understanding what’s what’s kind of like that pathway for women to navigate to the top? And I think, you know, the more questions like that, that hiring managers and even recruiters begin to receive, they’re going to start to also see, okay, hold on, there’s a shift here, we need to prepare for it because we’re not prepared. And then they’ll start to even kind of like, create even more, you know, inclusive organizations, but there are definitely organizations that are doing a lot of this work. There are safe spaces, you know, out there, and it just takes us also doing the work and asking those questions before you even get in and you know, you have to remember there are so many opportunities right now. So don’t limit yourself to just one and don’t, you know, just focus on the big names Neither, there’s so many thriving startups. Right? And so you have the ability to kind of shape what that culture should be and what it could be. So I’m excited for anyone that’s that’s listening right now.

Blake Schofield 35:13 I love that I often call it’s like, you know, voting with your dollars is voting with your skill set. Right? Yeah. Companies that are creating the change, right? Get the employees that are that are really listening and moving forward from from an environment and a culture. They’re winning. And they’re winning the best talent and the more talent they win, right? The dollars keep going there. Those are the companies that are going to grow and exactly what you said Nana, the ones who are stuck in the old ways, the ones who aren’t listening, the ones who aren’t employee friendly, the environments that are toxic, right, vote by your dollars, get up and leave, go somewhere better. And then right, it will create the change that ultimately, we all want. So with that said, I know we’re close to wrapping up, is there anything I didn’t ask you that I should have or anything you just really feel on your heart to share that you haven’t yet so far?

Netta Jenkins 36:04 I know you touched on such great points today, I guess, the only thing that I would say to any woman that’s listening right now is just understand your worth, right? Because I know any of you that are tuning in right now you are worth it, and you know it. And a part of knowing it is understanding that you don’t have to stay in that situation where you’re hurting, you’re crying at night, right? You’re you have doctor visits, because it’s stressing you out so much, you deserve so much more, so much more. And there’s so much opportunity out there too. And and I think oftentimes we hide, you know, we hide these things, but tell people talk to people that are close to you about them, and also connect with other women in these spaces, right? Because then we can share our experiences within organizations, and join those organizations to every organization right now wants more women, that’s for sure. Right. So we have the power to select where we want to be. So know your worth.

Blake Schofield 37:08 Thank you, Netta, thank you for just sharing a few minutes of your time today and your expertise. I love the work that you’re doing. And I appreciate the change that you are creating to make our environments healthier, more inclusive, and honestly more humane, right more about people and creating results through people as opposed to just being focused on bottom line and really missing I think some of the most important pieces. So for anyone who’s listening that would like to connect with you and learn more about the work you do, how can they do that?

Netta Jenkins 37:39 Yes, so they can dive into or I also have a technology company called Dipper. And so that’s So Dipper is a technology platform for professionals of color that want to rate and review their organizations to find better spaces. Yeah, to work in. So it’s so fitting for our conversation today. And I’m also on LinkedIn. So feel free to to message me there and connect with me as well.

Blake Schofield 38:20 That’s awesome. I love that technology. Is that something somebody could get on and just be able to see actually the highest rated companies?

Netta Jenkins 38:26 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So folks want to dive in and kind of understand, like, hey, I want more understanding on what’s happening from the DEI perspective within this company. They can create your profiles also, there’s also a forum. So if there are specific questions that you have that may not be in some of the reviews that you’re seeing, you can ask them to the community, post them to the community and they’ll share.

Blake Schofield 38:52 No, I love that so much. Thank you again, it’s been such an honor and a pleasure to have you today. I think you’ve shared a lot of wonderful tips. And hopefully you’ve inspired those that are listening to go out and advocate for themselves. Absolutely. So thank you guys for listening. As always, I hope you have a fabulous week ahead and until next time, see you then.