Diversity, Equity & Inclusion For Consultants

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion For Consultants

with DEI Consultant Sandhya Jha

On the Profitable Joyful Consulting podcast, I teach you how to increase your profits and enjoy your business more. In this episode, you’ll learn how to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as a consultant.

You can do diversity, equity, and inclusion in ways that aren’t "just obligatory” but are actually life-giving and create joy within the workplace. And whether you’re a DEI Consultant or not, there are ways you can support this work and contribute to creating more equitable workplaces with your clients. Learn how in this episode.

Key areas discussed in this episode

  • 2:55 One of Sandhya’s favorite client transformations
  • 4:02 Asserting boundaries around your intellectual property
  • 5:56 The three distinct issues that make up DEI (and what her work entails as a DEI consultant)
  • 7:10 How Sandhya started doing this work and who she works with
  • 9:00 What made DEI work take off for organizations
  • 14:50 How you can be more helpful in DEI work as a consultant
  • 21:42 Leveraging privilege to help other people
  • 25:46 How hybrid workplaces are making things more and less equitable
  • 28:19 Creating awareness of each other’s cultures in culturally sensitive ways
  • 34:09 What the work of inclusion really lays the ground for

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Podcast Transcript

Hey there, it’s Samantha Hartley of the Profitable Joyful Consulting Podcast. This season we’ve been talking about performance and this episode I really wanted to explore the idea of diversity, equity and inclusion. How is that related to performance? Well to me the more diverse ideas we have the better we perform the more safe people feel at work to be themselves, and to bring their full selves to work. Again, the business succeeds.

There was a time when corporations could ignore all of this stuff and be like, we don’t wanna get into politics, we don’t wanna get into controversial areas. That time is over, it’s really important for companies to take a stand and to talk about social justice issues. They are having to get involved in healthcare issues. Companies really need to be speaking out and aware of things.

So I want for us as consultants to be able to at least have some basic understanding of what’s going on with this. This may be your area, I have a number of clients who work in the area of DEI consulting. But I want to have a deeper conversation about it, and ask my most basic questions so I hope that what we cover today with my guest is informative for you.

Can I just share one thing, I really feel like there’s a lot of carefulness around this area and fear that I might say the wrong thing, or ask the wrong question, or post the wrong thing online and get the rage from all of social media.

I found that this conversation with my guest today was so much fun, it was fun, exciting, interesting and joyful. I really like the joy she brought so I’m really excited to introduce you to Sandhya Jha.

Sandhya Jha who uses she/they pronouns is an anti-oppression consultant, who particularly loves helping organizations get diversity, equity and inclusion teams off the ground. Sandhya is the founder and former executive director of the Oakland Peace Center, a collective of 40 organizations working to create equity, access and dignity, as a means for creating peace in Oakland and in the Bay Area.

As an ordained pastor with a masters in public policy, Sandhya is comfortable in the pulpit, on the picket line or hanging out with friends and friends to be over a cup of tea and a good story. Sandhya’s fifth book with Chalice Press is called Rebels, Despots and Saints and it’ll be released on MLK day in 2023. Please help me in welcoming Sandhya Jha.

Samantha Hartley: Sandhya Jha thank you so much for joining me today. I want to start off by asking about a transformation that you have achieved for a client that you worked with. I find that transformation is really compelling and it helps us to better understand what you do. So can you take us through the before, during and after of your work with the client? 

Sandhya Jha: Absolutely, I pretty much only work with folks who are already excited about or feel some urgency about diversity, equity and inclusion, which makes my job really fun. I’m never dealing with folks who are like, prove to me that racism is a problem. 

Most of my clients come to me because they know there’s an issue they want to address and they don’t know where to start. I love getting to work with folks who are just beginning that journey, just beginning to build out a team. 

One of my favorite client stories is an organization. They actually have a fair number of staff, maybe 100 staff members. Their CEO had gotten a sense of urgency around diversity, equity and inclusion. Pulled together a team and they didn’t really know where to start.

I did some training for all of the staff, but I also did some training for the team. I did an exercise with them about the history of race in the U.S. and even though they were all passionate about this, they learned so much and were so excited. They said, “Can we use these slides and train our staff?” And I said, “You cannot because I spent years doing the research.”

Any time anybody has a question about any piece of that history, I know how to respond to the anxiety. I know how to respond to the fear, and I have the data. I had been working with the team for about nine months at that point and I said, “You could build your own timeline.”

What was amazing is they are from different cultural backgrounds so somebody was like, “Oh, here are some Latino stories we need to include. Oh, here are some indigenous stories we need to include.” By the time they had finished, they were leading a training that was more meaningful to the staff than anything I could have done. To me, getting to that place where the folks that I’m consulting with are doing the work themselves, and doing it even more context driven, that’s a huge and exciting win for me. 

Samantha Hartley: I love it. It’s a great example and a great story. I also love hearing you assert boundaries around your intellectual property. 

Sandhya Jha: That is also true. 

Samantha Hartley: Don’t just lift the things and take them with you.

Sandhya Jha: I think some of us learned that lesson the hard way. I had let material out and it backfired very badly. 

Samantha Hartley: Again, as you’re saying, that’s how we learn that some things stand alone, especially a lot of things that we feel like, “Well, here’s something that’s really obvious,” but as you said, there’s a lot behind that material.

I also love the example of letting our clients take something and make it their own that they can cascade through the organization. Isn’t that actually in the highest interest rather than letting them do things? It’s a super story.

What is diversity, equity and inclusion? As a consultant, what does your work generally entail? 

Sandhya Jha: The way I like to think about diversity is how do we get all of the people in the room. It’s mostly about recruiting. It’s about how we’re finding people, how we’re bringing them on board.

Equity is about how we create policies, structures, systems, protocols that create access to well-being for everybody within the organization.

Inclusion is how we make sure we have an organizational culture where people can bring their full selves into the workplace and where those full selves are valued.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are three distinct issues. What I love to do in my work is help people recognize how they can work on all three of those, and particularly: How can organizations incorporate DEI not out of obligation, but in ways that are life-giving and actually create joy within the workplace?

Samantha Hartley: It’s been my experience that happens. I understand that maybe some things are easier for me in my organization. How did you get started doing this work and who are your clients? 

Sandhya Jha: It’s funny because I’ve been in the nonprofit world and the community organizing world for decades and decades, and I’m also very involved. I come from an interfaith household. My father was Hindu, my mother is a Scottish Presbyterian, and I’m really involved in my church. Now, most people don’t think churches are the bastions of racial justice, but my particular denomination was doing a lot of work to address racism within the institution. Actually, not just how do we change policies out there, but how do we create a different structure within our institution?

I’ve been involved in that work for over 20 years and over the course of that work it turns out people who are in church, are also in corporations are also in nonprofits, are also what law firms are also in institutions.

Over time, alongside the nonprofit that I founded and directed, I was doing that work on the side. A few months into the pandemic, a colleague of mine said, “We need you to stop playing small. We really need you doing the work you’re good at.” So I helped my nonprofit transition into a horizontal leadership structure so I could step out and do this work full time. 

Samantha Hartley: Amazing. I think it’s really with the George Floyd video that a lot of these things got kicked off. It’s interesting that it happened around the same time as MeToo was happening. It just had this swirl of activities that coincided with a lot of us being stuck at home.

What exactly about that perfect storm do you feel like made DEI take off? I feel like I turned around one day and everybody was doing that work. Luckily. 

Sandhya Jha: Yeah

Samantha Hartley: What was it about the moment? 

Sandhya Jha: I definitely think it was the moment that we all had to watch. We all had to pay attention, particularly to George Floyd’s murder. I also do think and I think this is true in any moment like that, there had been a decade of work that was leading up to it that doesn’t quite click with everybody, but was building energy and power until we hit that moment.

I do want to acknowledge the great years and years of work that led up to that so that when George Floyd’s murder happened, there were organizers in Minneapolis who had been working for a decade to get people into office who cared about racial justice so that they were empowered to do things. Whereas other cities that hadn’t been doing that work weren’t quite ready and are still catching up. I do think that there were pieces that were put in place that allowed us to actually take action immediately.

I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think actually it’s why DEI matters so much. Sometimes we’re just making incremental changes. Sometimes we’re just doing small things that shift the culture, but that positions us for the next time there is one of those big breakthrough moments. We’re positioned to do the work well, to show up for the people who need us to show up well alongside them. All of that connects to why these little steps for change matter. 

Samantha Hartley: I completely agree with you, and it is really true that there is this constant erosion and then a tipping point, and then more and more and more erosion and then a tipping point.

I’m sure a lot of feminists felt when the MeToo Movement happened, in both cases, I do see a little bit of resentment of ‘Finally Now’ from the people who’ve been chipping away at things for all of that time. But it’s complicated, isn’t it? 

Sandhya Jha: That’s right. I’ve been struck by it. I’ve spent a lot of my life doing religious liberty work to make sure religious minorities are protected in our country and also in the workplace. There were a couple of flashpoints around issues related to Islamophobia, where people started to get educated. A number of us are like, “Really, you didn’t live trough 9-11? You don’t remember what the backlash was like?”

I feel a lot more hopeful in the wake of a couple of recent Supreme Court decisions that are eroding religious liberties for religious minorities. I feel much more hopeful than I would otherwise because over the course of these past few years, more and more people have come to understand why religious liberty for religious minorities is so important. 

Samantha Hartley: Yeah, exactly. We don’t appreciate it until we see it being taken away and it seems to be marching towards something bigger in the future. I feel like the message that I keep getting is keep your eye on the bigger picture. Not any of these small pieces. 

Sandhya Jha: Yeah, I agree. One of the pitches to the one of the photos that has inspired me the most, I live in the San Francisco Bay area and San Francisco Pride happens the last Sunday in June. At the same time as that Pride parade was happening, there was an organized march for women’s and for reproductive rights and there’s this photo of the two marches coming into contact with each other and all of them giving each other big high fives and cheering each other on. It just encapsulated for me what’s possible in this moment that we can actually be showing up for each other. In the workplaces, as well as in the streets.

Samantha Hartley: Yes, there is. This is what I think is interesting: When I started my business, it wasn’t originally called Enlightened Marketing, but when I started my business, almost immediately, 9-11 happened and it was the first such crisis moment that had happened while people were at work. It was unique in that it was a workplace tragedy at the time, and so it gave rise to something called the Spirit at Work Movement.

It was about how you can’t be kind of completely secular when you’re in the office. You need to bring your full self there. I think there’s ways that can get abused. In general I feel like ‘Yes,’ and that’s when I began to bring spirituality into my consulting business because it felt disingenuous not to do that. I’m fairly spiritual, although non-denominationally so because I work with people from all kinds of backgrounds, but I feel like let’s bring our full selves to our work and honor that. So that’s the spirit at work movement.

I’m saying that because I think it parallels the DEI things where corporations have realized, well, we can’t actually pretend not to notice things like the George Floyd incident. We can’t actually not take a stance and be like all neutral about things anymore. Like, what is our health care policy and what is our policy towards women and what is our policy towards, etc.

Disney was one of the first corporations I ever heard of that was like, well, say what you want, but same sex spouses there do have benefits on the company health care plan. That was kind of a quiet way back when, until it wasn’t.

In general, if as consultants, we’re trying to do something about this ourselves, what are some of the first steps that we can take with our clients towards bringing work like yours into our work, and also for us to be more aware of the diversity, equity, inclusion issues that can be happening even in our work? 

Sandhya Jha: I think that’s a great question. I work with a lot of social service providers and one of the questions that they don’t always think to ask, but as soon as I name it, they get really excited about is: Are the people who are the most impacted by the issues you’re trying to address contributing to the conversation about how to create solutions?

Very often I have found and actually I say that as primarily with social service providers, I have that same conversation with a tech company and they get so excited about, “Oh the people who aren’t in the room might have ideas about how to get them in the room.”

Samantha Hartley: Yeah 

Sandhya Jha: My favorite experience with that was working with the C-suite leadership and one of them got so fired up, he was a Black gay man. He said, “If Beyonce could find 100 flute players who can also dance, then we can find some Black people to work at this company.” 

I love that there was this energy around, “Oh, this is not an unsolvable problem.” So instead of saying, “Oh, isn’t it sad we can’t.” To be able to say, “What are the things we can do to start looking for our employees in different places, for example?” 

Samantha Hartley: Yeah

Sandhya Jha: There’s a lot more to creating a space that’s welcoming to employees who are different than the ones you already have. That’s the next step. 

Samantha Hartley: Diversity is hard. I remember I worked on a city branding project many years ago, and the city was really known for diversity. It was a college town. There was all kinds of religious diversity, there was a mosque which most of us who had lived there for a while had never known about.

Imagine that we’re much more diverse than we think. We found out that we ran aground at economic diversity. There wasn’t a lot of that, and we weren’t super tolerant like people who couldn’t really afford to live. Oh, what did we learn about ourselves?

So how does that end up looking in organizations? Are there kinds of diversity or equity or inclusiveness that we feel more comfortable with? Then what are the ones that tend to be harder for us? 

Sandhya Jha: No and I think that’s an interesting one, I definitely run into the intersections of race and class showing up quite a lot in these conversations.

I think part of it might be the fault of the DEI world, where the ways we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion tend to rely on some fairly academic language. Ironically, one of the issues we bump into is the people who are fluent in DEI have created barriers between them and other people because of the academic language used.

Some of the organization’s most passionate about this are using terms like intersectionality. That’s a word that your average person on the street has never come across. I think it’s not a helpful term for a lot of rights. Even though the concept, what it’s talking about is. If you explain what it is, people are like, “Oh yeah, I know exactly what that feels like.” 

Samantha Hartley: So it’s just while you’re talking about it. 

Sandhya Jha: Absolutely. So this is a term that a brilliant academic and lawyer, Kimberly Crenshaw created that gets at where different types of oppression intersect with each other. It comes originally from a Supreme Court case, where Black women were saying we can’t get jobs in the offices that white women can get because we’re Black. We can’t get jobs on the factory floor that Black men can finally get because we’re women. We need you to respond to the injustice here.

The Supreme Court said we’ve created protections for women. We’ve created protections for Black people. There’s nothing we can do for you, and the women said we are doubly oppressed. That’s where the notion of intersectionality comes from.

Class can show up in that, and race and gender and orientation. I’m an immigrant, which creates its challenges. But my first language was English, which means I have advantages over other immigrants. These intersections are what we’re getting at when we talk about intersectionality. 

Samantha Hartley: It’s complicated. This to me is one of the things I feel like overwhelms people. People who want to help to be an ally are like the possibilities of misstepping, the things that we feel like we can’t possibly publicly say because, oh, my gosh, if that was the wrong thing, then will I be, I don’t know, annihilated on Twitter or something.

I do feel like the vocabulary of it is very often offputting and scary. So, again, if we go back to what my audience, who are consultants, can do, how can we be more helpful? 

Sandhya Jha: Absolutely, I think it can be delicate and it’s not always intuitive, but I think almost any consultant in any context can create opportunities for people to reflect on: Hey, what are some of the things that are easier for you because of your experiences? Where might that be causing you not to see opportunities that could be there?

I’m thinking about a colleague of mine who was talking with the CEO that he was consulting with, and the CEO was throwing up his hands about the fact that there wasn’t enough diversity. My colleague said, “Hey, list for me all of the things you consider to be good leadership.” The CEO listed all of those things, and he said, “I wonder if some of those things don’t necessarily correlate to good leadership, but correlate to being a strong man in the way that we stereotypically think of a strong man.”

The CEO got super defensive but sat with it and he said, “Well, I just never thought about it before.” So my colleague said, “I wonder if you could think of leadership qualities that aren’t inherent to how you understand manhood and whether that might open up some opportunities to recognize leadership potential for women that you hadn’t seen before.” 

Now, he had to be brave because he knew that the CEO was going to get defensive, but they had been working together long enough that he could have that honest conversation. Here’s an interesting place where our own intersectional privilege, if I’m going to use fancy words, opens up opportunities. I can talk, knowing I’m a person of color, but I’m light-skinned and I can talk with a White CEO about anti-Blackness in a way that a Black colleague of mine would cost them too much to do.

My Black colleagues can raise issues around immigration and justice in the workplace in a way that I can’t because I’m seen to be self-serving if I do that. So paying attention, this is where intersectionality ends up being helpful because we can check in and say: Where do you have a little bit of privilege, and how do you want to leverage that to help other people?

Samantha Hartley: It’s really straddling the cultures. I’m as white as we get unless I find some Native American roots apparently in the background. I have traveled a lot internationally and I speak other languages, and what I am acutely aware of always is culture.

I really feel the times when I put a foot in another person’s culture and when I understand that culture and when I can use the privilege of those things, as you’re saying. We can talk about that in a way that we’re comfortable doing, and if and if we’re not, we’re crossing a culture in a different way than it doesn’t always feel as respectful to do those things. So I really hear that.

I also loved your example of leadership. I’m also a Southern woman and coming from the South, there are so many ideas and a lot of them are embedded in I would say, historic misogyny, racism, the church, a lot of those kinds of things. We weren’t necessarily raised to think of them as negative things. It’s just the decorum about how ladies are and how gentlemen are.

I have joked many times that I still have a few of those kinds of rules in my house because in my world ladies do not do garbage. I don’t take the garbage out. I mean, I could do that myself, obviously I’ve lived alone and I can do these things. There are things that ladies do and things that gentlemen do. Those are old rules that I choose to hang on to. 

There are the behaviors and beliefs from that era that I think are not as helpful, which are that women with leadership qualities are frequently named bossy and all kinds of other worse terms than that. I think when we can find more definitions and more models for these things then it really helps us.

I like the Beyonce example, I also feel like finding examples of women in leadership so that we can hear certain things from them. I think it was not accidental that we elected a Black president after we’d had numerous TV shows and movies depicting Black presidents.  

Finding women who are in authority and that we can all respect as a culture, I think we’re having a hard time with, but I do like the idea of imagining that and imagining that together with our clients. What specific leadership qualities does a woman leader have that we admire, even if we have to go to some ridiculous movie that is like a superhero movie because let’s at least imagine something that we have to get our minds around. 

Sandhya Jha: I know we don’t think that vice presidents are all that powerful, but we’ve got an actual example of a real person that we could also use there. 

Samantha Hartley: There you go.

Sandhya Jha: We’ve actually gotten somewhere.

Samantha Hartley: A prosecutor, by the way, which I think prosecutors are badass myself, but especially a woman. I do tend to feel hopeful about this area.

One thing I specifically did want to ask you about though is remote or hybrid workplaces. And the ways in which one thing I noticed during the Zoom years of the pandemic was that not everybody wanted to have the camera on because they were in their home and that was different in terms of diversity. That meant a different thing to different people. So I do feel like the hybrid workplace has made things potentially less equitable and potentially more equitable. It’s confusing. 

Sandhya Jha: It’s really interesting because the number of teachers who commented on all of the equality culture that they tried to establish in the classroom really crumbled when kids were Zooming in from home. Everything got laid bare, you’re absolutely right.

One of the interesting things about the Zoom era that I think ends up being a little bit of an opportunity if we’re strategic about it is: We have opportunities to have some of the conversations that we always avoided when we were in the workplace together because it felt like it created tensions that we wanted to avoid.

When we’re on Zoom, we actually realized we can’t afford not to deal with the tensions. Passive aggressiveness doesn’t work in work culture through Zoom in the same way it does in the workplace. What’s interesting is I think this is why a number of companies and organizations have said, “All right, this is the time we’re going to have the hard conversations.”

What’s been interesting to me is people have ended up getting to know about each other’s cultural backgrounds. People have gotten a chance to share vulnerably insofar as it’s appropriate and safe to do so in the workplace. People have gotten to experience each other’s humanity in the process.

I think this is the advantage of DEI that is oriented towards collective strategy building rather than we’re going to train you in these techniques and tactics on how to be less racist. Those trainings tend to be you’re absorbing content that you may or may not ever use again. The ones that are a little more dialogical, that are a little bit more intentionally held by good consultants, I think end up creating an awareness of each other’s humanity that we actually desperately need in this strange hybrid era. 

Samantha Hartley: What’s a way to do that in culturally sensitive ways? One of my favorite things about the Zoom era was when I was in someone’s house in Ireland and in someone’s house in Turkey. Somebody chose not to have a camera on because he was in his boyhood home in the bedroom in his parents house. That’s where even having to divulge that on a Zoom, I felt was probably uncomfortable. I saw that we got to see a lot of things that I thought were fun and exciting like, “Oh, there’s you and your home.” Or “Oh this is him in his home,” and that wasn’t always cool.

Sandhya Jha: Yeah, I literally had to put up this background because I usually just have my home background. My roommate was working out right behind me because it’s a shared space. 

So yes, our worlds bleed into each other in some funny ways. I have found the chances for people to share stories. I am a big fan of, “Hey, we’re going to go into triads which are less vulnerable because you don’t have to talk in front of the whole group and share.” “Hey, here’s a way that my growing up shaped how I engage conflict.” For example, I was doing a workshop on conflict and culture recently and that team was getting to have conversations with each other around, “Oh, here are things that I grew up with that I never even really thought were training me how to engage in conflict in the workplace and isn’t that interesting?”

What was fascinating is for the white women on the team, it required them to think about the fact that they had a culture, which was a really big, big shift in their thinking that was really important and ended up leveling the playing field in some very important ways to realize, “Oh no, all of us are bringing our culture into the space instead of there is an implicit normative culture and the other ones are odd.” I thought that was really interesting. 

So creating spaces that are leveling. This is a super silly example, a friend of mine works for a very large corporate consulting firm and I was visiting her while they were doing their office team building fun activity and all of them were assigned to go to their refrigerator. It was a global company, but I think everybody on the staff had a refrigerator and grabbed their favorite food product from the refrigerator and shared it and it was kind of a scavenger hunt. The person who brings it back first wins, but also we all share. So for somebody it was tomato paste and for somebody it was kitchari. There ended up being this very silly, fun, light cross-cultural dignity-creating activity that was just for fun, but also was a lot more than that. 

Samantha Hartley: I love it. It’s fun how even the silliest things can sometimes yield the most interesting things. I do love that it has the opportunity to express culture. As I said, I’m such a fan of culture. This is maybe why I don’t feel as threatened by the diversity work.

I also work as a creative person, I’m really interested in diversity of ideas. If you talk to the same 5 people who all look exactly alike, then you’re going to get the same type of ideas over and over again. So it’s really boring to me. How have you seen an increase in diversity, improve things like brainstorms or problem solving and things like that? 

Sandhya Jha: What’s really interesting to me is there are two different organizations I’ve been working with, both of whom about nine months into their DEI journeys said, “Hey, we’re going to be bringing a new person to the DEI team meeting they’ve just been hired on.” The fact that we do this work is part of why they wanted to work here. So what’s fascinating to me is in some ways, doing this work signals to high quality people who care about this, this is an organization that shares my values. This is an organization that’s invested in the same things I am. This is an organization that’s going to value my distinct gifts. That’s a more welcoming place for me.

Some of these were people of color and some of them were white people. All of them were highly competent, gifted people who might not have been as inspired by that organization otherwise, even though the organizations both were doing great work. It was that extra, hey, we’re putting an effort in this area that made the candidates think, “Oh, this is the kind of place I want to work.” So that’s an interesting payoff.

There’s definitely diversity and brainstorming, although I’ve got to say, there’s a little additional work that has to go in for that to be possible. I’m definitely working with organizations that have done the D part really well and not the I part, but still have an overriding organizational culture that stifles creative, diverse tensions.

That’s actually part of what you were saying, the diversity of opinion of an organization that doesn’t celebrate other kinds of diversity often also does not create a culture where it’s okay to disagree and something better is created from those disagreements. The work of inclusion actually lays the ground for an organization where people don’t have to all be of one mind; where it doesn’t cost someone to have a different thought. 

Samantha Hartley: Yes and having come from an organization where that was not okay, different thoughts, a brainstorm here, but not anything too different because that’s very different for us. 

Sandhya Jha: Right

Samantha Hartley: I do think that that’s an important idea and we have to acknowledge that a lot of people are checking the ‘D’ box and then really nothing else changes.

Sandhya Jha: They end up having a lot of turnover it turns out. Organizations that only do the ‘D’ (of DEI) tend to lose the people that they were trying to bring in if it’s not a welcoming space.

Samantha Hartley: Right and you mentioned values. I think this all comes back to values of what are we really actually trying to achieve? Are we willing to do the hard work in order to achieve that? Because as we mentioned, diversity itself can be really difficult.

I follow a woman on Twitter who is incessantly calling out ageism in journalism because the newspapers keep hiring younger and younger and younger people. Possibly because that’s the audience that they’re trying to reach out to, possibly because they’re less expensive than older, more experienced people.

It’s complicated and that’s another kind of diversity that I have found. It’s really about which voices do we value and what do we want to perpetuate in our work? 

Sandhya Jha: That can be complicated. I mentioned I ran a nonprofit where all of us were half-time and all of us got half of our health insurance covered by the organization. We were very intentional about intergenerational hiring. We all learn where we are not seeing the whole picture. I was really proud of myself for hiring somebody on the upper end of the age spectrum. Everybody got the same amount of income. She said, ‘It’s actually discriminatory that I end up having to pay several hundred dollars more per month on my health insurance than everybody else.” Look at us hiring her, even though it’s going to cost us several hundred dollars more per month, it still wasn’t equitable, she was right about that. 

Samantha Hartley: Yeah, it’s tough. I think this is probably why it’s scary for so many people because it’s complicated and people want things to be really simple, or they want them to be Black and white and just no gray area. I think that the longer we live, the more we go into this gray area. Not just here, but with everything.

I could just keep talking to you about this because I have so many more questions, but I would love for our listeners to be able to keep in touch with you if they would like to do that. Where is a good place for us to learn more about you and your work? 

Sandhya Jha: I would love that. If you go to my webpage Without Fear Of Consulting right at the top, there’s a link for you to join my newsletter. It’s called Joy in Justice because I really think that this work of equity and inclusion can be playful, can be fun, can be life-giving instead of just drudgery. Each week I send out a little helpful, encouraging message about easy, simple ways, sometimes complex ways, but ideally joy filled ways to create equity in the workplace. 

Samantha Hartley: Awesome. Well, I’m onboard with the joy in areas that it might not seem so obvious. Joy at work. Joy in justice. So I really love it. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Any last words for our viewers and listeners? 

Sandhya Jha: Just delighted to be here and so grateful for what you’re creating Samantha, thank you. 

Samantha Hartley: Thank you so much, it’s been wonderful. With that, Sandhya and I are wishing you a Profitable and Joyful Consulting Business. 

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