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Podcast Transcript

Being Bold With Bev Wright

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, welcome back to our continuing episodes focused on women supporting women. And I'm really looking forward to officially meeting our guest today who I know is a longtime colleague of yours and fellow Power of Self graduate, Bev Wright.

Marsha Clark  0:41  
Well, that's right, Wendi. And thank you very much, and welcome back to you, too. And yes, I am thrilled to introduce our leaders to one of our early Power of Self graduates so that everyone can not only learn from her own personal story of stepping into her power, but also how she has spent her career both in the corporate environment and as an executive coach to create the space and the opportunity for others to step into their power as well. So, Bev, welcome to the podcast.

Bev Wright  1:10  
Thanks, Marsha. I am excited to be here. I've been really looking forward to this.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:10  
Yay. All right. So Bev, you were one of the first Power of Self Program graduates, as I understand it, like class number two or number three, right?

Bev Wright  1:25  
Class number two.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:25  
Wow. Okay. Well, what was that like?

Bev Wright  1:29  
It was wonderful. It was really more than I even expected. And so I was really planning to go to class one but I had a couple of calendar conflicts, and so Marsha suggested that I take class two. And that was great, because I actually had a really good friend in class one. And so I think it was better that we were separated. And so I was able then to block my calendar for all the classes.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:55  
Okay, good deal.

Marsha Clark  1:56  
And then I have to say, and then she sent a friend to class three. So it was the connection, the chain.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:01  
It passes on. So Bev, how did you originally hear about the program and what drew you to it?

Bev Wright  2:10  
Well, I can tell you Marsha may have to help me with this. I think she called me. Somebody gave you my name. I can't remember what, it's been, it's been a while. But I remember us having the conversation and that's when I decided to go to class two because of the conflicts. But what drew me to it was really, I had not been in a class before where it was just women and it was multiple sessions, because we would meet and we at that time, we were meeting at a hotel. We were at the Wyndham. (Yes, we were.) And so we would spend two or three days in the hotel together. And so I'd never had like big sleepovers with a bunch of women and where we really, really got a chance to kind of disconnect. And so that's what really drew me to it is I was looking forward to a new experience.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:53  

Marsha Clark  2:54  
And I just want to say, and I know you're gonna get into this, but you work for a very large technology company who had lots of leadership development but just to remind our listeners, in the second year of Power of Self there weren't a lot of women's leadership programs out there. There were women's history and study programs in colleges and universities. But for it to be focused on women in not for profit, for profit, we had women from all over, that didn't exist.

Bev Wright  3:23  
It was the first experience I'd ever had like that and it was very impactful.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:27  
So we're gonna have a chance to learn even more about the work that you've been doing on your own as an executive coach. But I'd also love to hear about how the Power of Self Program impacted your work at IBM. So how did you incorporate what you had learned into the organizational systems or the environment there?

Bev Wright  3:48  
You know, what I remember very clearly, there were two or three things that just really stuck with me to this day. And I think the first one was, I was looking forward to having an opportunity to go where I could kind of be quiet and reflect and just take in information. Most of the classes I attended I had a speaking part. And so I was usually presenting at some point. And so this was an opportunity for me to really just soak it in and think about, and I went in with a an objective of my own. And so I usually do that still. I go in and that's what I said. I said, I'm going to go and I'm going to reflect and really listen to the other people and I don't have to talk a lot. I'll just be able to kind of figure out how I want to use this. And so we'll get to later about how that didn't work out quite so well.

Marsha Clark  4:38  
I'm going I didn't remember it that way.

Bev Wright  4:44  
Well, it didn't happen that way, right. But now that was really what I was looking for is that and I guess the thing that I still honestly, that I really walked away with. There were two or three nuggets that have really changed me as a leader and just as a woman. One was the good girl/bad girl thing. And I had always prided myself on being a good girl. And so I had, I got a different perspective of how sometimes being a good girl is not the best thing for you. And so that was one of the things. And then there was the bold without apology. That was a whole other experience that I had that involved tears and a whole lot of other things that, you know. What was the one where we always had tears? It was one module where everybody always cried.

Marsha Clark  5:32  
It was the T group module.

Bev Wright  5:32  
That was it. And so really just a lot of reflection, and an opportunity to kind of figure out some things that I'd never had a chance to take a look at.

Marsha Clark  5:46  
Well, and I want to just, when I think about, you know, the whole idea of good girl/bad girl. At that time, good girls don't get the corner office. The screensavers of women who achieve have to break a little glass or so I mean, it was really pushing against that good girl training that we had all grown up with and received in deep and hard ways. I mean, it was clear, you know, I mean, we had a certain role to play as good girls. And yet, that wasn't always helpful. So you know, being able to see that there's a time for good girl. And we all want to think about good girl, but to speak up or step up is not a bad girl, it's just speaking up and stepping up. And that we need to do that sometimes.

Bev Wright  6:34  
It's just helped me reframe a lot of that. And being the oldest of two, I also had that as I was the older, supposed to take care of my sister, and you know, so it was just a lot of things wrapped up in that whole good girl thing that I got a chance to really take a look at.

Marsha Clark  6:51  
You know, when you look at all of that and the leadership development initiatives at the corporate level and, you know, when you think back to what you were doing at whether it be IBM and what you're seeing now with your clients, what are some of the contrast points that you see?

Bev Wright  7:07  
The thing that I get the most with my clients is really having been at, you know, IBM for 38 years there wasn't much I haven't seen.

Marsha Clark  7:15  
That's right. That's right.

Bev Wright  7:17  
And so that is really helpful when I see most of my clients are still in company, corporate world and so again, there's not much that they can bring up or that I don't really kind of understand that's probably bubbling under the surface. And especially for the women. I have about 50/50 men and women and still the women really need help with that confidence piece and asking for what they want. (Yes.) And knowing their worth, right, that's another big thing is that they apologize all the time, right, just stepping up and doing what they need to do for themselves. So I think those were the things that I got a chance to really, you know, that whole bowl thing is, I'm probably scary bowl, but I think I'm, uh, yeah, I mean, I actually am. There's nothing that I want, you know, one on one, behind closed doors, there's nothing I won't ask for, there's nothing I won't, you know, research and ask questions that make us uncomfortable. Because that's how I always say you can't fix what you don't acknowledge. (Right.) And so that's what I talk to my clients about all the time is that, you know, pretending it's not there doesn't help.

Marsha Clark  8:31  
That's right. It doesn't make it not still be there. (Exactly.) Well, and I think, too, Bev, I hear often from women who are being bold, the whole title of our episode today, that they tell me they're intimidating, they're overwhelming. And even if there's some degree of that in the professional world, for sure, but also in their personal lives, you know, and say, I got this, you know, under control at work, but you know, I can't find a man in my life if I want a man in my life. And so it's an interesting thing that the scary bowl to use your phrase, I mean, it can have a lot of ramifications as to ...

Bev Wright  9:06  
Oh, sure. And I certainly had times in corporate and probably now too that, because I speak up people, in fact, my boss that I really enjoyed working with, but he said to me, when he took over, he said, you know, your peers really want to learn from you. But they are sometimes afraid to ask you. And I was perplexed by that because I thought I was just this friendly, outgoing person.

Marsha Clark  9:34  
You are, Bev.

Bev Wright  9:35  
So it was just interesting to me. And he said, so I really need you to make it easier for them to come to you. And that was really what he was asking me for because at the time, my peers and I did very different things. Most of them were in the deep operation side and I was in the people side. (Right.) And so our work didn't necessarily make us have to spend a lot of time together other than that we reported to the same person. So he asked me If I would take on the role of really trying to help him develop them. (Yes.) And it was a new challenge for me because I had been doing my job for a while and nobody had really, you know, and I could do it pretty much with one hand tied behind me. (Right.) But he asked me to take on this bigger roll and that was different for me. But it worked out. And I did see it. And most of them were, you know, had not, of course, not been there as long as I had. And so I did find that there was a place and I liked it once but nobody had asked me to do it so I was just going off on my merry way doing what I always did, but yeah, it was a very interesting change. And I did start, you know, asking them how I could help them and those kinds of things. And they, you know, seemed to really enjoy that. And I mentor a lot now in addition to coaching, but especially the younger generation, because they, one of them called me last night because he started a nonprofit in our old neighborhood, which was South Dallas. And he said he had a conversation coming up today where some foundation that reached out. And he thinks that they may be interested in giving them some money and so he wanted to know how he should approach it, and all of those kinds of things. So I enjoyed that, that role but you know, unless somebody acted like they were interested in it, I was just going along my merry way.

But you're right about that. And I try not to be. I think what happens with me a lot is that I'm pretty clear about my purpose at this point. And what I say to people all the time is that it's important to know what you will do for a job, but it's even more important to know what you won't do. And so I am real clear on what I won't do for a job. And I was clear when I was at IBM. There were times when I was in administration, there was one time and one of the reps wanted me to certify some business and he didn't have the backup. And he said this thing about I'll bring it to you, you know, get it to you Monday. And I trusted him that one time and then on Monday, he didn't show up. And when I asked him about it, he said, Oh, I didn't tell you that. And there were only two people in the room, me and him. And so it really, really made me you know, probably a lot more careful about trusting people when he exposed me because it was my responsibility to be audit ready at that pont. (Sure.) So I just learned a lot of things along the way about being a leader. And one of the other things I talk about is the courage to lead. I think it takes an awful lot of courage to be a good leader.

Marsha Clark  12:39  
Well, and I want to go back to your clarity point, because I think women get dinged if we're not absolutely clear. They see us as wishy-washy, lacking confidence, won't speak up. And then when we are clear where we're not this warm, you know, inviting personality, and so it's a little bit of the damned if you do and damned if you don't kind of thing. And I have been told that my clarity is, I do a simulation with a client in one of the programs I've done and and I'm a customer and they tell me what a tough customer I am. Am I tough or am I clear, because there's a big difference in that and yet there is also a tone and an invitation and a warmth that you want to bring to it. But clarity is so critical. And yet, when we, it's almost like we're acting out of stereotype when we're clear as women, and people don't always know how to receive that. And so I think it all starts with clarity. Like you say, what you will do and what you won't do are both equally important.

Bev Wright  13:42  
And you know, and when you're clear, it gives you a whole different confidence about you know, when you're asking for something, it's just a whole different level of clarity. And I see a lot of the younger women that struggle with that. And even when they become more clear, they're kind of afraid to say it because then it sounds a little too stern. But when men say it,

Marsha Clark  14:09  
Oh, yeah, it's leadership. (Exactly.)

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:12  
All right. We won't go there. Well, Bev, since Marsha has known you for many years, I felt like I needed to at least do a little homework before you arrived. So I checked out your website. And I was immediately drawn to the three phrases that splash across your front page, which are, we are bold, we are focused, and we are creative. And I'm guessing that this is part of the inspiration behind our episode title today "Being Bold". So will you share why those phrases mean so much to you?

Bev Wright  14:49  
Yeah, because during the class when I was in Power of Self, I remember I don't remember all the details, but I remember that at one point when I said that I want it too someone said, Bev, we're missing your voice in the room. And I mentioned that I really wanted to use this for reflection. And then we had, there was one other colleague in the room with me that we had a disagreement about something. And I told you there were tears, there were always tears. So she left the room crying. And I felt bad about it, because we had kind of said we were going to be sisters. And you know, she didn't have a sister, I do. So I know that sisters aren't always, you know, the good thing about a sister is that even on the days you don't like them, you love them, right? (Right.) And that's the saving thing. But it took us a while. And I had tears because I felt like when I told my truth, that people didn't want to hear that. And so I remember Marsha saying to me, it breaks my heart for you to feel like you can't tell the truth. And I just decided in that moment that I wasn't going to do that anymore, to make other people comfortable. Because I think we also sometimes acquiesce even when we are clear about what we want to do, we're clear about what we want to say but we take care of other people's feelings. And what I say to folks all the time is that everybody, people don't treat everybody the same. They take the line of least resistance. And so you may give up and give in, and so they'll treat you differently. But you need to have boundaries that you set for your own benefit. So that bowl, that's where that came from. And the without apology was really important. Because what I was doing is apologizing for speaking my truth.

Marsha Clark  16:41  
Exactly. There's a quote, and I'll butcher this, I'm sure. But it's something like, 'If I behave in a way to make you feel comfortable, I'm accommodating. If I behave in a way where we both feel comfortable, it is about a sense of belonging and an authenticity.' And I think there's a lot of depth in that. It's not just about me making you feel good. It's about us being real and being okay with one another. So to me, that's the huge part of the message that you're offering up here.

Bev Wright  17:17  
And what I say to people now is that anytime I'm going to be working with somebody, whether it's a short term, long term partnership, one of the first things I want us to discuss is what is the win for both of us, right? I want to make sure I understand what the win looks like for you. And I'm going to be clear about what it looks like for me. And I think that's how to start to trust people is that you both, I don't do hidden agendas. And so I don't care what yours is, I just want to know what it is so we can agree from the beginning. And even to the point of saying, well, when we disagree let's anticipate how do we want to handle that? So yeah, that's what the bold is, is this really a speaking up.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:58  
Okay. And so what does it mean to you to be focused? What do you do to help others enhance their focus?

Bev Wright  18:06  
Well, you know, the whole focus thing is around, there's actually a joke that I heard years ago that I think makes it clear. And so there's somebody walking down the street, and they see this person looking down on the ground as if they're looking for something and they walk over and they said, oh, what did you lose? And they said, oh, I lost my contact. And so they start helping them look for it. And they said, well, where over here did you lose it? And they said, oh, I lost it over there. And they said, well, the light's better over here. I think that focus means for coaches and consultants, too, that sometimes we help you look in the right place.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:46  
Yeah. I love that.

Bev Wright  18:48  
Yeah, it was really the funniest thing because I could see, I can identify with that. It's like, yeah, the light's better over here, right?

Marsha Clark  18:55  
Yeah, or I look better, more attractive in this light.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:59  
I'm looking for the contact. Okay, so the third phrase is we are creative. Will you share more about what  that means to you and how you support your clients in their creative journey?

Bev Wright  19:11  
And it was something that I had to learn, too, because I never think of myself as being creative. And so what I had to learn, though, is that creative can also mean being willing to pivot when you're going down a path, and then you see that that's not going to get you there. So you may take a different path. It also means that in the career perspective, this is where I've run into it with clients a lot, is that they'll come and they'll say, well, I want a job and I want to be the Senior VP of blah, blah, blah. And what I say to them is describe what you want to do in this job. What is it you want to get up and do everyday? What kind of people do you want to be working with? You know, what's the philosophy because the title may not help you find what you're looking for. And the reason I say that is the job that I enjoyed the most for 12 years at IBM was one I created from scratch. I saw a need that wasn't being fulfilled and I had an idea on how to make it better. And so I sold them on the idea.

Marsha Clark  20:12  
And that's creative.

Bev Wright  20:15  
You know, but see, I never think of, I think artistic and those kinds of things. But sometimes it's helping people look at something from a different perspective.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:22  
Exactly. Exactly.

Marsha Clark  20:24  
Well, Bev, I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to learn more and have our listeners learn more from you about how you've navigated and really led the exploration and validation of creating and sustaining the DE and I initiative, so diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, as part of your own professional journey. So how have you seen those programs and structures change over the years? And then part two of my question is, what can we all do to ensure we stay the course and keep the momentum moving in the right direction in the topic of DEI?

Bev Wright  21:01  
No, DEI is one of those things that you know, it's just like diversity, equity and inclusion, that sometimes has been so overused and it means different things to different people. Where I see movement is in really people understanding that it really is just about being human with each other and wanting everybody to have what we want for ourselves. We want them to feel like they can be successful, like they have value, whatever job that they're in. We want them to feel welcome. And I'll tell you a quick story that was told to me and I won't go into details, but one of the people that I know who has been working in diversity in their particular area, and they came up with a program to give people of color, wasn't a scholarship but an actual job, (okay) get really good money where they were going to train them. And they had these large companies, I won't even tell you what industry because but these five large companies signed up to give them $100,000 salaries while they're learning. (Wow.) So really good job. And he got all people of color, he happens to be a white male. But he was telling me that once they had the people on and the companies had agreed to hire these people, they were sharp, they had in fact, I think they got 800 and something applications for five spots. So it tells you how competitive. So they got these five people. And one of them happened to be a black gentleman and his name was pronounced and spelled differently. And so the principal at the company that had extended him the offer, said to the person that created this program, said, do you think we could get him to change his name? (What?) That was what he said. And he said, well, do you realize that his mother gave him that name?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:57  
Well, yeah, I mean he's had it his whole life.

Bev Wright  22:59  
And so he said, well, you know, we may not be able to keep the, you know, the offer out there for him if he, and so he told them that if they pulled the offer, he would make sure that everybody knew.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:12  

Bev Wright  23:13  
But that was fast and and that was recent.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:16  
And you're hiring somebody for diversity. And yet, that's your first thought.

Marsha Clark  23:22  
Well, and I go back to that, me having to make you feel comfortable, right? That's me accommodating your need to make you feel comfortable because, you know, my name is difficult for you to pronounce. It's different than what you grew up with.

Bev Wright  23:34  
Yeah. It was really, really very interesting. So anyway, though, I think that there's so much work to do. But I do see, I see promise in the youth. The younger generation that I'm working with of leaders, they don't even understand why it's such a big deal that we have to have all these rules and regulations and so forth and so on because they've grown up differently and they have had more diversity in their life. And they have it in their families, right. (Yes.) And so I have a lot of hope for diversity, equity and inclusion. And here's the other thing that's coming in the workplace, is paid transparency. (Yes, yay.) And so the younger people are, they're taking to their own devices to figure that out where they voluntarily share their salaries, and those kinds of things. I'm working with a group now on a diversity initiative and that's what the younger leaders are saying. Well, we kept asking for it so we came up with our own way to do that, that we just asked people to volunteer to tell us what their salary is and they post it.

Marsha Clark  24:39  
Well, you know, there's sunshine government, sunshine legislation, sunshine.. and they're talking about all of that. I'm sure you know this quote, but it's that diversity is a fact, equity as a choice, right, this idea of equal opportunity, equal pay, equal project assignments, equal visibility, equal I can have my name you can have yours. And then that inclusion is an action and belonging is an outcome. And, you know, when I think about this, it's all of that. I mean, you can't have one without really thinking about the others and really have a robust kind of program.

Bev Wright  25:17  
Yeah. But I do see movement because now I hear. You know my business grew the fastest doing COVID for mostly white male CEO's after George Floyd calling and saying I want to do the right thing and I don't know what that is. (I know. Yeah.) So it was and complete transparency about, you know, I had one CEO tell me, he said: You know, I've worked with some black people but I don't really have any black friends and I'd really like to change that. And the other part was, he works in a business where a lot of other wealthy people, and he's one of them, and he talked about how he's in private conversations that he wouldn't want anybody to know what's going on because they would be embarrassing. And what he was trying to figure out is, how could he be a better leader, a better father, a better husband, but keep these business relationships with these people that in their private lives said things that he knew were not right.

Marsha Clark  26:20  
Yeah. So Bev, this is off script, so I want to acknowledge that. I was delivering a program and moderating a panel, and it was on DEI. And one of the women in the audience asked the panelist, you know, things were really hot during George Floyd and the immediate aftermath and Black Lives Matter and all that goes along with that. And then it waned a bit, as you know. And there were younger women (you and I are about the same age) there were younger women on the panel, they were all women of color, and it was the oh, I have hope, oh, I have hope. And you and I both been around long enough to know it comes and it goes and I often say when the doors open, run as fast and as far as you can because it's going to close and they're going to slow you down and pull you back. But you hope you don't get pulled back as far as you were, right, I mean that you made some progress in those moments. And so what are you seeing? I mean, that's a beautiful story from the CEO who wanted to do better. And yet I even saw it of the, we'll put the banner around our logos, we'll say all the right things, we'll send out messages to our workforce. What do you see today? Has it, I mean, has it held? And I'm guessing it's a matter of "it depends", that some have held on to it and some have waned a bit.

Bev Wright  27:45  
I think the companies that really want to be around for the long haul have figured out that they've got to really make it not a something off to the side, you know, because what happens many times you see them, they bring in a diversity officer but they're usually not people that are central to the business. They're off to the side. And so I'm working with the company now, joined a for profit board earlier this year. And that's one of the things they want me to do as a board member is to work on their DEI. Good. And what I've said to them is that it has to be embedded with all your other things that are important to the business. As I said, it can't be off to the side. The person that is leading it has to be someone that has credibility, and has power to actually get things done -(influence, power, authority) all of those things. Otherwise, I said you may as well just not do anything because I heard something about, probably about six months ago now, that DEI stood for "dead end initiative".

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:45  
Oh, I can see that... slap that bandaid on there. Yeah.

Marsha Clark  28:59  
Okay. May I use the dead end initiative?

Bev Wright  29:01  
Oh, yeah. I got it from somebody. I had not heard that. But that's what they said.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:05  
That's a new magnet. DEI is not dead end initiative.

Bev Wright  29:09  
Yeah. And so but I'm sure for some people, they're just moving the, you know, deck chairs around on the Titanic. They're not really trying to make that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:18  
Checking the boxes.

Marsha Clark  29:18  
Buying time until this too shall pass.

Bev Wright  29:20  
That's exactly right. But I do see younger people. I think we really still have to, and this is true with any initiative, it has to mean something to the business because if the top people are not talking about it, and I actually had someone say that to me years ago at IBM because I was leading the diversity council there. And she said, you know, my customers aren't asking me about diversity, you know, these people in sales. Like they're asking me when their stuffs gonna ship and how much is it gonna cost? And so we've got but all of the data that you see shows you that when you have diversity in companies, that everything is better. Right? And so but they ignore that, but they don't ignore the hard numbers. Because I remember when I was at IBM, I asked them to move the people stuff to the front of the agenda because I had noticed that we would get into the numbers, and then we'd run out of time, and we'd table it. And I said, you know, if your people are your most important asset...

Marsha Clark  30:26  
Which was a phrase that every company had.

Bev Wright  30:28  
Exactly. I said, 'Well, you know, we need to treat it like that'. You can always make time to do the numbers stuff. And they agreed to that. So that we started doing people stuff first.

Marsha Clark  30:38  
Bev, I remember, just to put an exclamation point on that, we were doing business with someone who was, we were in the sales process and I remember they asked me to join them, maybe after two or three sales calls. And they had presented all the demographics of EDS at the time. And we had good numbers, right, good numbers, given that time. Finally, the customer on the other side said, 'If y'all are so diverse, how come the same 12 white guys keep showing up?' And that's when they invited me to go. And was I, you know, sort of, to demonstrate otherwise? Yes. And I got to demonstrate otherwise. Right. So I mean, I'm, I don't see that as a negative. (I don't either.) You got to take advantage of every opening that you have again. And I think that's important. So what advice would you give to, whether it be an executive or just an individual contributor? How do they help keep these initiatives alive and not just, you know, a dead end initiative or sidetrack?

Bev Wright  31:41  
Well, I think the important thing is that they have someone that is a diversity officer. That person has to be someone that is integral to the business. They have to have a speaking part in all the meetings, and not have them be decoration, right? I think that's important. They have to measure, they have to have some real goals just like there are for revenue and lead generation and all that stuff. They have to have something that's meaningful because really, and I've said this to a company that I've worked with that I really respect. I'm not gonna even say what their slogan is, because I told him, I said, 'Well, you can't keep saying that slogan and it's still the same white people to show up every time'. I said, 'You've got to have some where people can see that you're actually making a change'. And so those are the things that I talked to them about is that you've got to walk your talk. It's not enough to just talk. I was just with the executive group in Denver and their two co founders that are now trying to become two CEO's, because they are a unicorn company. He was saying, he said, well, you know, we already trust you. And I said, well tell him had he spoke that to his executive team. And I said, it's not enough to tell them that you trust them, you have to show that you trust them. And so the actions have to go with what you're saying, because people don't, what's that saying, is that I can't hear what you say because what you're doing is speaking so much louder.

Marsha Clark  33:03  
Well, and our friend, Tracy Brown, you can't talk your way out of something you've acted your way in to.

Bev Wright  33:06  
Yes, exactly. Right. And so that's why I think the young people really ask for accountability. They don't they don't whisper it. They roar it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:17  
Well, and they ask for it as they're interviewing for their jobs. Like they are asking their hiring managers, what's your policy here, what program?

Marsha Clark  33:27  
And show me! Because again, I can tell you anything you want to hear in an interview. And I have hope for our younger generation, too, for all the reasons you described because they've grown up with greater diversity and therefore it's not, you know, this strange thing. And yet, I also know that, well, I hope they're going to get to the tops of organizations fast. I mean that because that's where the shadow is cast as far as the influence of what the culture is and everything else. And what I love, though, is their boldness on not just rolling over and say, 'Okay, well, when I get there.' They're talking about it. They're talking about it now, they put it on social media, and you get at it. And so there's an accountability and a visibility that I think we haven't ever had before.

Bev Wright  34:13  
I'll say to you what one of my friends, we both retired from corporate on the same day. She worked for the same company I did, and we actually got to be better friends when we retired because we had that in common. And one day, she called me because the company was having yet another layoff or something. And so she said to me, she said, 'Aren't you glad you're out of that?' And I said, 'Yes, that this is the best thing in the world.' So she said, 'Well, you know, IBM will get better one death at a time.'

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:40  
Yeah. Well.

Marsha Clark  34:43  
And unfortunately, it's true. So, you know, here's what I've said. And I've said this for a really long time. And I think it's as true today as when I first said it 30 years ago. It's biblical. The Israelites had to wander in the desert for 40 years and a generation had to die before they entered the Promised Land. And I still think that's a relevant point. And even when I'm coaching younger generations, you know, they'll say, 'Do I have to? Do I have to do this?' And I said, 'Well, who runs your company? Who's making the decisions?' And you've got to be able to talk to them in ways that they understand, not scream at them to make yourself feel better. You can't just do that either, right? There's got to be the "both-and" of how do I talk to you and give you business reasons for doing what we want to do.

Bev Wright  35:29  
One of the things that I saw before I left corporate, one of the highest level execs from headquarters came in, and he was doing his tour. And so he gets up on the stage, and he's giving his speech and he's calling out all these names of people like himself. And the young people in the audience didn't know who, they don't come down and talk to them in their sales cube. (Right, right.) And so he's thinking he's impressing them. And he's telling them all this, and so he gets to the end of it and he says, 'Now, how many of you have questions for me?' And that was absolute silence. So he's standing there, and he's like, I don't get down here very often, you know, so you better take... they clapped him off the stage. And, of course, all of us were clutching our pearls because we were like, you know, we were like, 'Oh my God', because you usually plant questions and make him comfortable. (Exactly.) But not these young people. They were like, we've had enough. They just started and clapped until he left the stage.

Marsha Clark  36:28  
I call it the golf clap, right? Enough.

Bev Wright  36:33  
You know, so it's changing. I'm actually working on an article now with a group of other coaches that we're going to turn into a book and it's called "The Future of Work". And I'm supposed to do past-present-future. And it's certainly changing.

Marsha Clark  36:47  
Yes, thank you very much. I look at all the changes that have happened in our lifetimes from the beginning of work to now. And we have made progress. And yet we still have a long way to go.

Bev Wright  37:00  
Yeah, we can't take our foot off the gas because really, we will be drifting again. But I do think that the younger generation, I even look at my son. But he just has a different perspective about work. Like they've given him several raises since he's been there and he's only been there two years. And they keep trying to get him to move to this other part of the business that he knows really well, but he said it would take up too much of my life. And it's too stressful over there. He said I have outside interests that I want to be able to still pursue. They want a life. They don't want it to be their work.

Marsha Clark  37:34  
And that's what some of the generational, our generation lived to work. The newer generations work to live.

Bev Wright  37:42  
Yeah. And I think it's, one of the younger people told us on a panel several years ago, everybody was under, they were like 25 and under and already working at companies like TI and, you know, those big, big. And so this one young lady who was already married, and she said, 'Well, to be honest, my husband and I have a job because we have expensive hobbies.'

Marsha Clark  38:02  
There you go.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  38:03  
I will second that.

Marsha Clark  38:06  
What I also love in all of that is that the men are wanting lives too. Because that, to me, is like it or no, that's where change is going to have a more accelerated pace than what women want. And men that are taking a more active role in parenting, not babysitting, but parenting, and I think that's another thing that gives me hope.

Bev Wright  38:34  
Well, I see that I have several friends of mine, women where they are the main income and the husbands stay at home. They've been stay at home dads the whole time. In fact, one of my girlfriends said when her husband was sick once and they have one son who's grown now, but she's like, I'll be glad when he gets better because I don't know what to do with this kid, no one working. And her husband would be the one saying we need to save box tops for him. He'd do all of that. He did the whole parenting role, the stay at home parent thing. And I'm seeing more and more men do that and be comfortable with it.

Marsha Clark  39:10  
Yeah, that second part's really important.

Bev Wright  39:13  
And actually one of them was in town recently and he works but he has moved. His wife's career is the central one and so he's been out of work different times because they moved her somewhere. And then he finds him a job wherever they go. They live in Illinois now because, you know, that's where her job is.

Marsha Clark  39:34  
Well, 40% of the households in America are led by or primary breadwinners are women. So it's becoming bigger. Doesn't mean their husbands are, you know, stay at home dads, but that you know, the woman is the primary breadwinner and so it takes a priority when that's the case.

Bev Wright  39:50  
I don't know if you've... I have a friend that wrote a book called "Unapologetically Ambitious", Shellye Archambeau. And you should read Shellye's book because she has a bear plan. She's always known that she wanted to be the CEO. And so even when she was dating, those were questions she would ask men about were they comfortable being a stay at home dad. (Wow.) And her husband was. And so he raised the two kids, and Shelly was a CEO of a Silicon Valley company. She's on the board now of Verizon and Nordstrom and Catalyst and two other boards. She's retired from her CEO role, but and that's why she left the company where we met because she knew they wouldn't, they weren't going to consider her seriously to be a CEO.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:36  
That's being bold.

Marsha Clark  40:37  
That's being bold. Exactly right.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:40  
So, Bev, for our listeners who want to learn more about you, your coaching, your consulting services, for all the CEOs out there who are lost when it's coming to DEI and B, please, I want to say the website and then I'm gonna let Bev talk a little bit more about her specific services. It's So Bev, tell us more about your services.

Bev Wright  41:06  
Well, I do one on one coaching, mostly C suite and emerging leaders, so up and coming leaders. And also I'm starting in 2023 to offer group coaching, which I did when I was in corporate, but I'm just now getting around to it. I'm starting to get more executive teams that want to be coached as a group. And so that's what I've been doing for the last several months as I've been traveling with them. And then of course, I still have the other DE and I thing I do is Dallas Dinner Table. So it's a nonprofit that I lead and we're merging to America's Dinner Table because we got a grant doing COVID of all things. Yay. And so we are starting to do our MLK event that we've been doing for almost 30 years is still free and it's always on Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. And so peep in, and it's virtual, so you can be anywhere.

Marsha Clark  41:54  
Oh, I didn't know that.  

Bev Wright  41:55  
Well, we did that during COVID and so we have started doing some in person again locally. But the MLK event is virtual so that people can be anywhere. And we have had them from other states and that kind of, even our facilitators, some come from other states now.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:13  
Dallas Dinner Table, is this a monthly gathering?

Bev Wright  42:16  
It's an annual event, but companies hire us. We do private events for companies.

Marsha Clark  42:16  
The same methodology.

Bev Wright  42:24  
The same methodology but they just pay for it. So we've done them for Texas Instruments, for Celanese. And then for some of the schools that we've done Greenhill Schools, we did that for like three years for their private event. So we've been doing that quite a bit.

Marsha Clark  42:38  
I love it. And Bev, if you'll send me some of that, we'll share that on my social media as well. Because I think the more people that know about it, they can take advantage of it.

Bev Wright  42:48  
And we actually are starting to... and they've been asking us to do a version for high school kids. And so that's something that we're looking at, trying to develop the resources.

Marsha Clark  42:58  
Yeah, given the bullying.

Bev Wright  43:00  
And maybe even training high school kids to be facilitators for the event.

Marsha Clark  43:05  
Love it. Love it. Love it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:07  
Well, Bev, I have to say this has been such an honor and a privilege, truly, to get to know you. And I'm really especially inspired by all of these different programs that you're doing. So thank you so much for coming and spending time with us.

Bev Wright  43:22  
Thank you, it has been wonderful to re-live my Power of Self journey. So thanks for the invitation.

Marsha Clark  43:28  
Takes us back a few years, 20 years or so. So and Bev, I add my thanks to you being here. You know, this is whatever, our 73rd episode or something along those lines. And so you know, so much of it was around the book and now we're spreading out to include others. And it's a big month here and the whole idea of women supporting women, you've lived it, you've been a part of it in your DEI work as well as in your corporate world.

Bev Wright  43:55  
And I talk about your book. I'm actually putting a list of books together to send to my clients, especially my women clients. (Oh, nice.) And so one of the things that I've also done is there's a company called Linkage that I've been working with for several years and they were just bought by SHRM.

Marsha Clark  44:11  
Ah, I did not know that.

Bev Wright  44:12  
They were just acquired about a month ago by SHRM who's buying up other companies as well. But they have a women in leadership conference every year and I'm a learning team leader, and I also moderate a panel on intersectionality. And so I just did it. We had 1,000 women in Orlando the first week in November, and we had 2,000 more on Zoom. This was the largest conference we had, but I absolutely love it and what the model we use talks about clarity, talks about because they're heard. There's a book called "Mastering Your Inner Critic". And it has the model in there around clarity, around bold, is one of them and they have speakers like Laila Ali was one of the speakers. She was bold.

Marsha Clark  44:54  
Nice. Yes, she is.

Bev Wright  44:57  
She is bold, so she was one of the speakers this year but we had some, and each of the speakers, they speak on one of the competency. Carla Harris. I don't know if you've ever heard of Carla. But Carla is probably one of the highest ranking women of color at Morgan Stanley and has been for years. And she is also a gospel singer. And is also I mean, she's just amazing. So she's usually the closer for every year because she's on the board.

Marsha Clark  45:23  
I bet she sings, doesn't she? Oh, yeah, of course. So SHRM is the Society of Human Resources Management. Linkage is an organization that supported women for quite some time. We use their six influencing styles (leadership development) yeah. And we've used some of their content adapted in the program. And so this idea, what I love is that the more of these different kinds of intersection of race and gender, then, but the more that these organizations come together, the broader the reach, and there's no shortage of need for that to occur. So I love that you're involved with them. And thank you for adding our book to the list. So we appreciate that as well.

Bev Wright  46:10  
Absolutely. No, there's, there's just so much and the younger people are hungry for it. (Yes, they are.) Absolutely hungry for it. I have one young lady that I coached. And it was so interesting the way they sometimes approach things because she was saying to me that she wanted to go to a certain department, and it's a major company. She said, 'But when I talked to the guys that run that, that they suggested I go do this administrative role first.'

Marsha Clark  46:39  
Of course.

Bev Wright  46:39  
And she's an engineer. And so she said, so they had me go and interview with this lady and I said, why wouldn't you just tell them that you don't want to go do that? And she says, well, you know, and so she hemmed, and I said, be sure and ask for what you want. (Yes.) Do you know that she went and asked for that job, told them she wasn't interested in the administrative job. And by the time she finished, they told her that not only were they going to move her to their department, they were going to create the job she wanted, and post it and she'd have it so that she could apply for it by the end of the week.

Marsha Clark  47:16  
Yeah. That's the power of asking for what you want.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  47:21  
And being bold about it.

Marsha Clark  47:22  
And unapologetic, without apology. So here we have come full circle around this. So thank you again.

Bev Wright  47:28  
Yeah, this was great.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  47:29  
Well, thank you, listeners, for joining us today on this journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please continue to download, subscribe and share this podcast from wherever you like to listen. Visit Marsha's website,, where you can subscribe to her email list, follow her on social media, stay up to date on everything that's going on in Marsha's world, and definitely, of course, check out her book, "Embracing Your Power".

Marsha Clark  47:59  
Well, and I do want to thank our listeners along with Bev. For me, there were several nuggets in this and I hope you found some as well. And as I said, Bev, you are a great example of women supporting women and that's how we close out each and every one of these episodes. And so listeners, "Here's to women supporting women!"

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