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Power Dynamics and Equity (Mobilize Women Week Feature)

With great power comes great responsibility — and those with power should be accountable - from companies to our government, to just everyone who has power and privilege.


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Good morning and hello everyone.

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Welcome. My name is Amanda, I'm the designer at Ellevate. Thank you for joining us during this years mobilize women week. It's the 5th year and thank you for joining us today.

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For those who are new to elevate, we are a coalition who show up for each other and mobilize to change the culture of business.

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Over the last 20 years we have perfected the art of creating safe spaces to be honest about work and get validation, perspective and actionable advice. This week is designed with that in mind. It's a safe space for you to share your stories and opinions, even to challenge your perspective. You'll hear from speaker was are excited to share their stories.

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Listen with intent and an open mind. Take what you hear and think about how it applies to your life.

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Talking some of these lessons over in a safe space is the best way to come up with a plan of action.

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There are other people who care and want to help you make meaningful change. Before we dive into this, we want to thank our sponsors. Getting into the zoom tips. Use the chat to engage with each other. Drop helpful links to life changing books, websites and apps. We are all one big community showing up so let's get connecting. Post your questions in the Q&A box for the moderator to see.

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And click the CC closed captions icon to toggle them on.

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We are recording this session and the recording will be posted to the Ellevate site for you to watch again later. Thank you for tuning in and let us welcome Erika, Yael. Ria, and Kristy.

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>> All right. Thank you for joining us. This is an important session. We are talking about power to diversity, to inclusion and to creating a more equal and equitable world. Every person here has some degree of power. That's within your family, community, workplace. You're a business owner, manager. There's so much we can do to think about that power, to be intentional about it and about how we use that to create change.

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In New York City we just had our first round of rank choice voting.

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Voting is power. That's the way that we use our voice around the issues we care about.

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So today we dive into a host of topics. From what power means in the workplace, to what it means in our society.

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I ask you to listen with intent to be fully engaged in this conversation. And to ask your questions so we can make sure that we are bringing this to you and that you leave here today with inspiration and with action.

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Please put in the Q&A any questions you might have. We want to hear them. We will be doing Q&A at the end of the session, but also, throughout if we get that.

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And if you are posting comments I ask, double check we want to hear what you have to say with the entire community. So you can post to panelistst and all attendees or just panelists.

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If you want all attendees to see, make sure that's where you're sharing your remarks. So without further ado let's get started.

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It's been an honor to bring mobilize women week. We close tomorrow with more sessions. We have a host of round tables today and tomorrow so please continue to be engaged. We want to make them relatable to you.

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I'm going to start off today asking our amazing panel to do a little bit of background on their work and impact on the world.

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I'm going to first ask Erika if you should share about yourself.

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Thanks everyone for being here today. Today in the context of power and equity, a big reason why I had sort of approached this topic is I was a whistle borrower in a large health care scandal.

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And they were essentially using faulty technology to actively test on patients. And um, to give people context about what whistle blowers is, there are people who are whistle blowers for regulators, for the government, um, internally within a company, if they are experiencing discrimination and they want to file suit against their employer.

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And um, in my story in my background, I was considered a regulatory and a media whistle blower. And now I'm working on a nonprofit where we are trying to figure out how do we embed conversations of ethics and culture and systems into new ventures.

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So, when we think about resolving some of these big issues that arise within the business worlds how does that get operationalized and solved in the context of building new innovations and new companies.

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So I'll turn it over to Kristy.

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>> Thank you. Ria do you want to go next?

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>> I'm impressed by all of you who are tuning in from earlier time zones. Thank you for joining us with your coffee and I'm certainly still drinking mine. I've devoted my career to trying to dismantle. I folked on employment and housing discrimination cases. One of the things that was a side project and this is dating me to some extent, this was when cases started to file seeking marriage equality for same sex couples and we decided to participate in those cases.

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Trying to draw historical parallels between arguments that were being advanced and really showing the same arguments that had been advanced and rejected for unmarriage for interracial couple. This notion that our marriages are unnatural or harmful to children.

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And this was exciting work for us to be doing. This was before President Obama expressed his support.

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When the team was expanding, they invited me to come joining them and I litigated through the 5 years before becoming the director of the women's rights project. So my career is a testament to the through lines all of them in some ways different stages of development and facing many of the same challenges.

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>> Thank you so much and Yael.

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>> Good morning everybody. Thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited to share this conversation with Ria and Erika. We each bring a different perspective and I know mine is particularly different.

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But it sounds like we all have a similar North Star. So I'm excited for this. I have my career in a strange place for someone who embodies what I do. I started as a CIA officer in a pre September 11th world and how we can build better bridges. I worked a lot, mostly in Africa. And that was for the first years, thenty became a diplomat, which was more suited to me, to be frank.

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And engaging with communities and particularly marginalized areas.

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I know hearts and minds is a controversial terminology. Fast forward, came back to Washington, worked at the White House for then Vice President Biden and left government in 2013, as a challenge to myself to see how the private sector affected these global challenges that I had worked on in governmental.

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Ended up doing a have a identity of more things I started about 5 or 6 years ago, I never planned to speak publicly or say CIA publicly. But I started seeing what was happening in the U.S. and I thought we were a bigger threat to ourselves than any foreign adversary.

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Facebook hired me to head its elections integrity work. I was very clear with them, I will only come here if X, Y and Z and the biggest question was if you actually have support for someone like me to work here and they didn't. So, I left in under 6 months and spent the last few years screaming what se was happening and working to try to protect our democracy.

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That was a longer story than I meant.

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>> That was not a long story. I think every one of us is just wowed. Wowed by the works that all 3 of you are doing. About across the spectrum, as we think about politics and government and equity, what does what mean?

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How does that translate to our own lives and how do we learn from the welt and knowledge and experience and impact that each of you have had?

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Wanted to start with Erika.

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I want to dig in deep spear this um, well, you're role as a whistle blower.

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Because so many of us work in companies or places where we want to speak up. Where we want to use our voice and values to create change.

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But oftentimes there's concern about the impact of that.

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What has been your experience coming out and has that experience been different as a woman in the workplace vs. some of your male colleagues?

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>> Yeah, I think the notion even of coming out as a whistle blower is interesting the majority of people never thought that's what they were doing. It wasn't until the media starts calling you a whistle blower that you get coined that term. Most people it's they are doing their job. It's been interesting in being coined as a whistle blower. In my mind it was to do my job, basically.

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And to help protect patients and provide them with quality. In terms of looking at other female whistle blowers, in the context of our case, there was a small group of us that had reported to the media.

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And there are different people that were able to go on the record about whistle blowing. I never wanted to be on the record actually, as a whistle blower. But because I had gotten subpoenaed, I woke up one morning and my name was in the SF chronicle and all these people were contacting me letting me know I had gone on the record.

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I wasn't coming from the background of having the financial resources to understand what it would mean in terms of the legal protections.

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And for a lot of women, the personal protection, am I going to be safe going against a company that's well-knowned and that a powerful backing both on the financial side, resource side, what does that mean for my personal safety?

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When you look at a lot of female whistle blowers they tend to do it in groups probably because there's strength in numbers.

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And male whistle blowers may do it independently. These are things that people need to consider. It is for women a big issue of, am I personally going to be safe. That threat is more omnipresent among women. Calysto, a woman can flag that in a database and any other woman can see and fight up against other people.

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This has been a successful model but it's a testament of this fact. Women feel a little more red synth. Because it's the case that we have to worry.

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>> Thank you for sharing that with us.

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I know a lot of what you do has been on the front lines and for the past 15 months. You're mobilizing others to really question some of the power dynamics in our society and government and in tech and many the world. What are some of the biggest lessons that you've learned and takeaways from this time?

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>> I want to pick up on what Erika said. So much respect for her story. It's easy for me to give off latitudes like speak your truth and challenge you know, things -- power.

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But the really is, A it's not as easy as it sounds. And B we don't all come from the same place of comfort to be able to do that.

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And comfort might be the wrong word.

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I have never called myself a whistle blower. The media has. But I am not. I had left the company. Considering I've worked in spaces, I am just brutally honest and forthcoming about what I think including challenging big people. So, the two times that I -- again, never planned to say CIA. I just want to start where that went from had my whole social life and no one really new my past.

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To, I'm all over the place.

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Not to get too political, but it started with the 2016 election.

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And on day one, so pal of you might remember the first thing, while I'm at out of the women's march I'm having an optimistic moment and I get home and find out that the then president had just gone to the CIA and done this speech in front of the Wall of Stars. And I watched this speech and everything about this speech was just, for those of you who remember, there were so many things in it that just -- like, was the hugest warning sign of what was to come.

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And that night I never thought I would be somebody who sounds like would be defending the CIA.

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There's a lot of twisted things your brain has to go through. I wrote this op-ed.

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And about what this speech meant for the future of our democracy. Not trying to get overly political. I went in a split moment to the whole world knowing who I was, knowing my biggest secret I held for 17 years.

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Ex-boyfriends are like "oh, she was in the CIA?" And I only bring up that whole story because I did it not -- here is what people don't realize. Yes, there's people who love to speak publicly, it's how they need to self-promote or make money.

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I have no doubt that what Erika did was not about this.

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She was taking a risk that could affect her future employment opportunities.

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And me speaking up never lead to great financial success. It lead to "she's so brave but we know she will speak her mind. We all want to talk to her but we don't necessary want her having a seat at the table because she might speak out against us in the future, too. So that was the circular story. Same thing with Facebook.

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When I left Facebook for 6 months I wouldn't speak. Not because I didn't want to. But because I knew I had very, very strong things to say that would actually further what mark And Jerald were doing. And it has to be you know, this a company that could come after me in a way that -- I don't know any other company could. They know everything about me. So it's not an easy thing, right.

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But for me, I have always been more sort of community focused. What I couldn't be silent, when I did believe this company was under mining our democracy. I would always caution people, you should find a way to speak up when you need to speak up.

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But seeking counsel of other women, to understanding it's hard. I lost all my income. Lost my apartment. I didn't have a safety net.

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For people who are, I mean, just imagine I come from -- I'm privileged. I'm going to be frank. I'm a White woman who knows I have a supportive family, knows that the community will see me in certain ways. Imagine people that are more marginalized than me speaking out.

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I want people to hold on to the idea that nobody is minimizing how hard that is. And how this affects your future employment. But, I do think it's important to find support of your community. I have always just spoken my mind and the world win has been a lot to navigate. Lessons learned.

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You have to do what you think is right but it's also important to speak support from your community.

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It takes you down a whole other world wind.

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I don't regret a single second of it. I will be able to go the rest of my life knowing I stood up for what I believe in. I want to pause and acknowledge and make space for all of that. Of the to make these safe spaces and people to support you and lift you up.

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This is a difficult journey.

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There are so many challenges. When you talk about power. And who has power and who wants to cling to power.

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And how we -- our own personal power to create change.

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Thank you so much for the work you have done and for sharing that with us.

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Ria, 6 months in, what progress are you seeing? And how are we seeing a shift towards something that creates more equity for us.

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>> That's a great question. And before responding, I did want to acknowledge the bravery of Erika and my own sense of being humbled. I, unlike them, my job is to represent people. So it's our Clindesse who are the brave ones, not us the attorneys.

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And I have represented people that had death threats and it's a brave thing. Most of our clients stand to gain nothing.

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It's because of the person coming behind them. So that no one else will have to experience the discrimination. And it's been an honor and privilege to represent people who demonstrate the bravely.

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But on a more positive note, you know, we have to take a step back and think about where we were when I wrote this list for the Biden administration.

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When you think about President Trump, his famous grab them by the pussy. He was accused of sexual assault by more than 2 dozen women.

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He called them a liar for accusing them of rape. He tried to have the Justice Department on his side.

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These are shocking comments that got a lot of attention. Body.

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All of that was carried out over the course of 4 years.

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That's something that took us 4 years to get into this and it's going to take us more than 6 months to get out of it.

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And step one is going to be undoing some of the challenge.

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We got news that the Biden administration undid the policy -- what a devastating that decision from the Trump administration, what a huge relief that Biden undid it. We are bringing ourselves back to where we were 4 years ago. We have not yet started the process of advancing.

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Another example, one of the ways that Trump implemented his antiwoman policy was through title 9 regulations, issued by then education secretary.

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These were controversial and for us we felt that you know, in one respect the regulation was an important advance.

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It rolled the clock back in terms of protections for survives of sexual assault and subjected to to second status. This idea that when women report sexual violence, we should be skeptical. It should not be believed.

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These are the notions that have deep origins in the law and we think we moved past them and then we see efforts to reenshrine them in America law. We don't know what is going to come to replace this. And whether again, it l take us back to where we were in 2016 or whether we can see meaningful advancements, who are on both sides of these disciplinary proceedings.

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It took the administration two years and 2 thousand pages to come up with their plan for title 9. I think we have to be realistic about the time it taxes the Biden administration. These are just -- how can we move beyond that, armed with the knowledge that we have, I don't want to say post-pandemic, but at this stage of the pandemic. Where we have seen the effects on women. The most unequal recession.

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We have seen how vulnerable women's gains are and housing market and schools.

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And this is a task that is really, really just starting 6 months into the Biden administration.

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>> Thank you so much.

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I'm sure many are, you know, impacted by what you're sharing because, you know, for me, at the core, this is about human rights. This is around valuing human's equally. Providing equal protection.

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Thinking ability how we as a society come together. Um, to support one another and yet we live in this time that feels so polarized. That we have to have discussions around why black lives matter and why sexual assault on campus is not okay.

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Someone is a swimmer and they have a future. So how do we come together.

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You know, I struggle saying that because it shouldn't be a middle ground. It should be okay. We all should have equal access to rights.

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But you know, many of us on the call have had to have these discussions in our communities and families. So do you have advice on you know, how we bridge this gap? And move forward?

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>> That's a great question. It's not just a gap. It's this sense that women's rights are tired or the gender justice is boring.

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Last year we saw Virginia become the 38th state.

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In the wake of that, we saw dozens of think pieces. I'm a feminist. Whoever, here is why we don't need it. If we think we don't need it to be said, here is why.

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And the pandemic said we do need to talk about here is why we need protection from sex discrimination. It is a real problem. This is not something of the past.

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But there's a weariness in the media not just in a me too context but in the same context we have been facing it for centuries.

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And that's not something people want to hear. But it's something that needs to be said. It's something that we need to be out there with. What can we do about it?

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There's some bipartisan measures.

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This is something that would update the pregnancy discrimination act to ensure no one has to choose.

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We have support from the Chamber of Commerce. I believe we can pass it in 2021. But none of you hear coming from the corporate context needs to wait for the act to treat workers fairly.

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We don't have to wait for the pregnant workers fairness act. We can start doing the right thing today. Right here and right now.

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And that's something I want everyone on this call to walk away with. The knowledge that we can start modelling best practices at home before anyone tells us we have to.

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And I think this administration is going to tell us we have to, sooner rather than later.

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But we don't have to wait. We can model the behavior and we can be out there making sure that our internal practices align with our external vision for the world.

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>> Yes, we don't have to wait.

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Information is power. And in a time where we are inundated with information, the way we get information, the way information is validated.

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I have 3 children. My son, his friends are sharing stuff, seeing it online. Where are we going?

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Where does information that equate to power and knowledge to impact and change, where do you see the future of what has happened during this time? And where we go from here?

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>> That's a big question. I think we could go in multiple directions.

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There's the pessimistic direction and optimistic direction. Um, but it's why I keep fighting this fight. Um, I won't give the entire information ecosystem talk here. I've given it many times before. And I want to focus on what we as women can do. But without question, something has to change in the way we consume our information, in the way we engage with information. How we get to pint where truth and facts matter and what is a truth and fact.

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And all of those issues are unresolved.

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That's why I keep fighting for how gate keepers of our information, in responsibility for how they are affecting how we engage. I'm not going to go into that speech because that's a long one.

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What brought me into this world and becoming a big critic, is that I take it back to a time where my job in east Africa was again -- let's just paint a picture. Here I was a single at the time young, Jewish female civilian with a Hebrew name. Going off with no real marching orders to these marginalized communities along this order that in every way were as opposite from me as possible and sitting down and what I learned the most powerful thing I could do is sit and listen.

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Listen to what people are saying, what people need, what people distrust about us and once you listen figure out how you can start building trust.

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That's very difficult today. The power is built currently, not to help us listen.

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It's build to help us build emotion, listening, processing and engaging. So it's difficult. And we need to push ourselves to figure out how can we, I think one of the biggest challenges that we have lost sight of, how can we engage with people that are not like-minded. It doesn't not mean I want to sit down with a member of the proud voice and try to change his mind.

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That's not what it means. But we are self segregating as well. And to more and more like-minded communities. Especially the more we are online. It's very easy to -- listen, I choose -- I live in this someplace called Stytown, in the great little bubble of people who think like me, who share similar values.

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We don't meet around water coolers. We don't meet around people who are unsimilar to us.

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And if we have hope of getting through what I still believe is a huge challenge to our future, not to change anybody's mind but to remind people that at the other end of this argument we are a human being. Because when people understand you're human sort of aspect behind things, it's much easier. If you want to sit down with somebody who is opposed to, I don't know, to trans right, sitting down and trying to go through the bullet points of why they are wrong,

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is going to beless powerful than sitting down and trying to connect emotionally with why this may affect you or someone you love or know.

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And that's hard in today's world. I don't have the perfect answer of how we do that. But this is where we need to push ourselves. And the second point, um, pivoting a little bit, the thing that I'm thinking about a lot right now, um, is whose voices we are elevating and whose voicing are influencing a lot of the conversations.

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You know, this woman -- I always reference back to this.

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This woman wrote this piece. About the Kasandras of the decade. It's something like "the decades suck, women told you it would."

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. Who ring the alarm bells of some of the biggest threats going on right now. And those women aren't always the ones who then get to help enact the change. They are taking risks, they are the Kasandras but at the end of the day, Erika can be considered a Cassandra. But when the broader community,I'm sure it's Cassandra's who are screaming why it's important. Once the public grasps why it's important, do those women get called upon to lead change?

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Or do the voices get co-opted so they are the ones who lead this effort? And it's just an important, if it's a power dynamic I've been thinking about lately. Whose voices get to be part of the actual discussion of change and is it those same voices who are the ones who helped make the public even aware of the issue to start with.

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Because the people take the biggest risk.

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Get the actual role to come in and make that change.

00:43:48.000 --> 00:44:18.000
And it's a dynamic that I would love to figure out. I would love to figure out how to shift that dynamic.

00:44:33.000 --> 00:44:37.000
I'm going to plop the piece into the chats. It goes to the idea of power. Took a huge risk, stood up, highlighted an issue that was happening. Many of us have seen the movie. We know what was going on but when talking about how to maybe legislate that bad corporate behavior or at the corporate board room, trying to make sure a company doesn't reenact that same issue, is Erika the one we ask? And also help them be part of the change moving forward?

00:44:37.000 --> 00:44:52.000
>> That makes sense. That's something that happens in small ways. Every day.

00:44:52.000 --> 00:45:15.000
Where you know, someone might come up with an idea in a meeting and then you know, typically a man will take that idea and make it their own and run with it and get the credit for it.

00:45:15.000 --> 00:45:34.000
And in this discussion it's a bigger way. How do we change this every day around really acknowledging those that are putting in the work and taking the risk. And fighting for this change.

00:45:34.000 --> 00:45:54.000
>> I noticed people talking about you know, people have or design to take a personal risk. But there's a bit of fear that comes along with that. How do I know who to trust. How do I know that I'm going to be safe? How do I know that anything is going to be done?

00:45:54.000 --> 00:46:24.000
Once I have a concern, once I'm trying to identify that there's something that I deeply design to change. Whether that's preventing discrimination, providing equal rights for women. You know, how do I go about that and how do I sort of structure um, myself.

00:46:28.000 --> 00:46:38.000
So I think to to touch upon how do you -- we are all going up against these huge adversaries. But we have allies. Ria and Yael's work is a testament to that. There's people to join you to help you move through some of these difficult circumstances and situations.

00:46:38.000 --> 00:46:46.000
So um, one of the things I learned there's a lot of systems of checks and balances that you can turn to.

00:46:46.000 --> 00:46:52.000
You know, I was in a position where it's like you know, broke and layers go together.

00:46:52.000 --> 00:46:55.000
It wasn't something that I thought I could turn to. But there are great organizations like the ACLU.

00:46:55.000 --> 00:47:09.000
Like the Signals Network.

00:47:09.000 --> 00:47:23.000
These lawyers will work on contingency and at least meet with you for an intro conversation to give you the resources that you need to resolve the issues that you have. That's a resource you can turn to.

00:47:23.000 --> 00:47:33.000
Building effective support networks. Everyone knows there's one other person that probably shares the same concerns as them. And to just start talking to them about the fact that hey, we have this particular issue, I want to do something about it.

00:47:33.000 --> 00:47:36.000
I think this is the change that I would like to see happen.

00:47:36.000 --> 00:47:42.000
Do you think there's anyone I could talk to?

00:47:42.000 --> 00:47:57.000
There's strength in numbers and to resolve our potential solutions to move forward.

00:47:57.000 --> 00:48:17.000
Getting to a better place of trusting yourself. Power is something we give to other people but also, something we give to ourselves and understand that we do have the ability to sort of make it through um, tackling some of these challenges.

00:48:17.000 --> 00:48:27.000
And that there are other people fighting the good fight. And to not lose sight of that. Especially when it can become so overwhelming with the shared number of problems that we have.

00:48:27.000 --> 00:48:35.000
It's free, cheap and give you insight on what someone is about, what they are doing.

00:48:35.000 --> 00:48:39.000
The values that you have to kind of push through.

00:48:39.000 --> 00:48:49.000
Whatever personal challenge you're going through or trying to figure out.

00:48:49.000 --> 00:49:06.000
I just wanted to add that as a loop around.

00:49:06.000 --> 00:49:09.000
>> We talk about power. You know, um, I think we can think of it as individuals and in many instances you're an individual that you're leveraging to create change.

00:49:09.000 --> 00:49:15.000
How do we come together and know who to trust?

00:49:15.000 --> 00:49:39.000
Um, but also, I think the question goes further as well.

00:49:39.000 --> 00:49:50.000
Because we live in a time you know, where we talk about these dynamic leaders who have a vision. Who can easily get us to buy into the vision.

00:49:50.000 --> 00:50:05.000
When you start to see the cracks in the big ideas, where does that lead us?

00:50:05.000 --> 00:50:22.000
What are the questions that you ask yourself. And finding the space to have the courage to speak out.

00:50:22.000 --> 00:50:41.000
>> This is always a tough thing. I think having a mission and vision is crucial and to strive for things that are outside of the scope. We know how motivating of a force that can be.

00:50:41.000 --> 00:50:42.000
If you're saying, we are going to build electric batteries, that's way less appealing than joining a mission to say, we are going to you know, basically fight up against climate change by not having carbon emissions.

00:50:42.000 --> 00:50:57.000
So there's value in that.

00:50:57.000 --> 00:51:16.000
And we can sense that there's value in having a mission. I don't think we are ever going to be able to take away from that nor do I think we should.

00:51:16.000 --> 00:51:21.000
What we talk about here, what starts to happen when there's conflict and there's a direct issue where the things that people are saying, and aspiring to, either comes in direct conflict with itself or direct conflict with people's actions.

00:51:21.000 --> 00:51:43.000
And that there's this misalignment between what people are saying and doing.

00:51:43.000 --> 00:52:02.000
And this, I think is the source of a lot of um, friction in our society.

00:52:02.000 --> 00:52:12.000
Whether that's reducing, um, you know, preventing discrimination we are not seeing the actions align with the ideals people are setting forth.

00:52:12.000 --> 00:52:25.000
In terms, there's a couple of things, in terms of the organizations that we are a part of, understanding okay.

00:52:25.000 --> 00:52:36.000
Are we doing the things that we said we are going to do and do we have receipts that are able to back that up?

00:52:36.000 --> 00:52:59.000
And that's a big um, priority that I think needs to be at the leadership of a lot of these organizations.

00:52:59.000 --> 00:53:15.000
If you start to see these companies that are acting in misalignment, they are harming people.

00:53:15.000 --> 00:53:37.000
What are the systems, when is it the situation that someone has been given too much power and it's been unbridaled?

00:53:37.000 --> 00:53:41.000
That you can do that in a safe manner. There are policies to protect you.

00:53:41.000 --> 00:54:11.000
There's not a lot of protections for people who work within private companies.

00:54:48.000 --> 00:54:52.000
Um, and there's going to the media. I think on one side, it's a bit scary. The fact that um, the media is going the direction that it's going. But it's also empowered a lot of individuals to be able to have a voice and have transparency in the organizations that they are a part of, more than ever before. They are able to sort of um, show people the reality of what is going on. The actual behavior that people are engaging.

00:54:52.000 --> 00:55:02.000
Do you have a board that's going to ask you the right questions.

00:55:02.000 --> 00:55:16.000
And is it the case that you're prepared that when they come up, and ask you these questions, that might become a direct threat to your position.

00:55:16.000 --> 00:55:39.000
And you have to grapple with the fact that there may be a case that you yourself are engaging in a certain behavior that's at detriment to your own organization or to the stakeholders that interact with your organization.

00:55:39.000 --> 00:56:01.000
And have to see there's a responsibility you signed up for.

00:56:01.000 --> 00:56:10.000
This is a position and it's fun for you to do. And with that, I also started to go into tangents.

00:56:10.000 --> 00:56:23.000
As we talk about power from an individual, leader, citizen, poll sags and beyond.

00:56:23.000 --> 00:56:25.000
There's an entire matrix and ecosystem around what we do with the power.

00:56:25.000 --> 00:56:39.000
And I would love to hear from you on this.

00:56:39.000 --> 00:57:09.000
Um, specifically as we have gone through a year, but these have always been issues that have been important.

00:57:14.000 --> 00:57:37.000
We have talked about racism, we have talked about women and the workplace and beyond. What are the ways that each of us individually wield our power to create change as humans that want to see power to greater equity and equality in this world.

00:57:37.000 --> 00:57:48.000
>> We talked about what corporations can do now to start lining their internal policies with the external values they put out and each of us is our own corporation and we all have the ability to make our personal choices.

00:57:48.000 --> 00:58:02.000
Where do you live? Where do you work? What can you do to make the world look like the placed that you say you want it to be.

00:58:02.000 --> 00:58:12.000
And if you haven't made the voices, that's an opportunity for introspection. Is it between what is best for me and other people.

00:58:12.000 --> 00:58:31.000
And you know, I challenge you to ask yourself, do I think integration or not me?

00:58:31.000 --> 00:58:38.000
Including my own family and children. Those are the decisions where we see the rubber hit the road. If they are not, why not.

00:58:38.000 --> 00:58:41.000
And to start -- to start living our lives in the way we think other people should be.

00:58:41.000 --> 00:58:48.000
And also to recognize that we will make mistakes along the way.

00:58:48.000 --> 00:59:14.000
We will not always be successful.

00:59:14.000 --> 00:59:23.000
I'm on the panel with successful women. When people see a problem in the world, you know, not everyone will be air can. Not everyone will be well received or win discrimination case.

00:59:23.000 --> 00:59:53.000
That's not to say we won't have achieved other forms of change. Not every thing is going to ends up the way we want.

01:00:24.000 --> 01:00:44.000
That's scary but also, something we have to be comfortable with we have to talk about what might be conventionally considered failure. The time we moved into an integrated neighbor. We are not talking about thing we didn't do. And that's what will help people on the journey, to be comfortable with the fact that it's not going to be a linear journey. It hasn't been a linear journey for our country.

01:00:44.000 --> 01:01:03.000
>> We are going to move into Q&A and we have questions already. If you have a question, please put it in the Q&A box.

01:01:03.000 --> 01:01:33.000
The first one is around the impact of your voice, as you have held companies accountable, has that been recognized in other opportunities in your life?

01:01:35.000 --> 01:02:05.000
Or has it not? What are the -- the question is are there companies who are holding themselves and their power accountable.

01:02:12.000 --> 01:02:42.000
>> You see companies committed to paying attention to their stakeholders needs and this group will put the right policies within their organizations and are there instances where initiatives aren't pushed forward.

01:02:45.000 --> 01:03:10.000
And how do they change that and resolve the issues. There are groups of people who want to appear to have voices within their organization. But once those voices of descent tell them things they don't want to hear, it's amazing how they will construct and push out these people outside of their organization. So you work for them, but you have no decision making power.

01:03:10.000 --> 01:03:40.000
Or there is active effort to silence people. So that's something that you're seeing.

01:03:45.000 --> 01:03:52.000
It's difficult to say where you fall on the spectrum. Accepting the fact that there are so many dynamic pathways in which you come up against a conflict. Within these companies.

01:03:52.000 --> 01:04:15.000
>> I've been following the chat. I feel like this is an amazing group of women and I'm not going to sugar coat things for me right now.

01:04:15.000 --> 01:04:45.000
Um, for me, personally, and I've written a little bit about this. Written Opeds about where we are valued. You know, in government. The risk people are the people who are -- that's your job because your job is not to share the profit it's to protect others.

01:04:52.000 --> 01:04:58.000
So, when you're in that world, it's in nonprofit world or in public service, you're valued by in the private sector, unfortunately, yes, there are companies, for any variety of risk, um, professions. The one was see around corners, trying to protect the public. You know, make sure your product isn't creating harm. All of those things. I've always seen that value up to ascertain point.

01:04:58.000 --> 01:05:15.000
And that point is not seeing on the corporate board.

01:05:15.000 --> 01:05:27.000
They think I'm so interesting or they want me to help them think more ethically about what they are doing. I will tell them my hourly rate and they say no, we just wanted me to speak to us.

01:05:27.000 --> 01:05:47.000
I still live in a one bedroom apartment and you're one of the richest people in the world but you don't value me?

01:05:47.000 --> 01:05:59.000
As long as we remain a system where the truest role for a public company's board is to protect shareholder profits, it's hard to really convince a company that all of these other risk factors is going to in the long run protect the profit.

01:05:59.000 --> 01:06:29.000
Some companies get it and some companies hire interesting people to their boards. Usually those people still get a big paycheck for being on those boards.

01:06:36.000 --> 01:06:48.000
And the people who are really like going to challenge your thinking, your biases, your assumptions and push you to deviate from fast growth, I don't know, I know for me personally, and it's fine. My point is, it's fascinating to me how many people will seek me out because they think I'm interesting, but don't think I'm -- like they don't think I deserve to be paid for being interesting.

01:06:48.000 --> 01:06:58.000
I think it's a dynamic that affects a lot of people.

01:06:58.000 --> 01:07:01.000
Why are some of the things that are protecting people the most have to be founded by philanthropy?

01:07:01.000 --> 01:07:23.000
There's so much to unpact within there.

01:07:23.000 --> 01:07:45.000
But I'm less optimistic about where people are valued in our different structures.

01:07:45.000 --> 01:08:15.000
>> There's a lot that happening in the chat. This is resonating with people. I want to pick up on one question that came in. We are focusing on the downside or the risk associated. So why are we doing this again in the first place?

01:08:15.000 --> 01:08:21.000
And what kind of rewards have you received. I just wanted to flag Mary's question. Others may have more to add. You know, even when, and I talked about being unsuccessful. I suppose, I'm contributing to the focusing on um, on the risk piece.

01:08:21.000 --> 01:08:43.000
We have to think about how we are going to live with ourselves and are we going to stay silent or say something about it.

01:08:43.000 --> 01:08:55.000
And this is one small example of comparing to the bravery. One of the, probably the most high profile case I've been involved in, this was the case of the gay couple turned away by a bakery, when they sought to buy a cake for their wedding. I represented Dave and Charlie, the couple, for years.

01:08:55.000 --> 01:09:25.000
And we were unsuccessful in the United States Supreme Court where the court gave the bakery a free pass even as it upheld nondiscrimination laws.

01:09:27.000 --> 01:09:57.000
And that was deeply disappointing for them and we knew that was a real outcome, when the Supreme Court announced it would talk the case. There had to be a reason the court wanted to take another look and that reason probably was not going to be favorable for the clients. We did so many things, it's hard the choose one. But one that felt risky was that I did write an op-ed in the Washington Post about my own experience in having to come out in these day-to-day interactions.

01:10:17.000 --> 01:10:45.000
One of the things that was striking is that as LGBT people as you go buy a coffee or park your car, you're not coming out. But when you're planning your wedding, you can't hide who you are. You're exposing yourself to discrimination and the discrimination they experienced was heart breaking, did not involve violence, did not involve you know, threats to their lives, which is something that more vulnerable, Black LGBT people do face those more severe threats.

01:10:45.000 --> 01:10:59.000
I had my mom calling she didn't know this. I also felt that I had to do everything within my power to advance this cause. And you know, if we won, great. But if we lost, I felt deeply that I had to know I had left it all on the playing field and had used every tool in my tool kid to persuade the court.

01:10:59.000 --> 01:11:13.000
And you know, in some ways I don't know if this is a success or failure. We did lose the case. We did move hearts and minds. We did raise public awareness, show people that discrimination is harmful and it happens.

01:11:13.000 --> 01:11:25.000
And that to me is what will impact behavior, and will mean that regardless of what the Supreme Court says, there's no law that says you have to discriminate.

01:11:25.000 --> 01:11:28.000
We can show businesses and I count that as an internal reward, even though by some measures the external reward was not successful.

01:11:28.000 --> 01:11:44.000
>> Erika.

01:11:44.000 --> 01:11:52.000
>> Yeah, that's a good point. I think there's instances that you see that something that's initially perceived as maybe a failure is just part of the process.

01:11:52.000 --> 01:12:21.000
Tim pact we make can far extend what those time stamps of the things we have done, what the outcome of them um, were.

01:12:21.000 --> 01:12:28.000
And I think um, there's so many cases that you know, I can even site, one of my favorite cases is Kathy Harris, a whistle blower for the boards of the U.S. And there were no protections for these women. There was no civil rights protections for them.

01:12:28.000 --> 01:12:31.000
And she had witnessed this behavior, tried to report it but nothing was happening.

01:12:31.000 --> 01:12:53.000
She went to the GOAO.

01:12:53.000 --> 01:13:15.000
And basically conducted a research study that was found that this was ramped behavior. Because of this study it implemented the Civil Rights Act for travels that come into the United States. She talk about her story of the fact that it was hard, it was challenging, she was socially isolated and everything else.

01:13:15.000 --> 01:13:45.000
But from this point forward, now, women who come into the United States, they have these protections they wouldn't have.

01:13:52.000 --> 01:14:05.000
A lot of personal information. Um, that we weren't very aware of. The fact that everyone had such visibility into it without our consent. It can be discouraging when you have the set backs or these things that appear to be failures. But the impact of basically saying, these things need to change. I want to be able to sleep at night. You know. I want to be able to come to a sort of threshold and say I did the right thing.

01:14:05.000 --> 01:14:35.000
I didn't get the thing I wanted. But I can have that um, ability to sit with myself and be comfortable. There's a lot of power in that.

01:14:40.000 --> 01:15:10.000
And that will extend far beyond um, you know, maybe winning money or whatever else these other things are. So just trust sometimes that it is a process. And it has an impact.

01:15:31.000 --> 01:15:54.000
>> I know we didn't get to all the questions. But I saw in the chat, what are the positives. I wouldn't keep doing what I'm doing if I wouldn't believe in the reasons behind why I'm doing it. It would have been easy for me to find that nondespair pagement agreement. It would have been easy to take other roles. Um, I would be lying if I didn't say there were frustrations. I'm exhausted. I'm still screaming about certain things that I've been screaming about for years. It's exhausting when

01:15:54.000 --> 01:15:56.000
you're like the system hasn't change and nan there's a moment when you realize it has. You realize words coming through lawmakers but that says, I choose to do X, Y, Z.

01:15:56.000 --> 01:16:20.000
And there's no way to quantify the impact.

01:16:20.000 --> 01:16:31.000
But those are the moments that continue to push me to be who I am. A friend introduced me as the most optimistic person and I said, no one has ever called me optimistic. Because I'm always screaming about stuff. And she said, if you didn't believe, you wouldn't keep fighting for the change.

01:16:31.000 --> 01:16:40.000
And that's -- I'm thankful for her for saying that about me, because it made me look at myself differently.

01:16:40.000 --> 01:16:53.000
There's so much reward. That's going to be different for everyone. But I will always know that I believe I'm on the right side of the things.

01:16:53.000 --> 01:16:59.000
And so that in and of itself is rewarding.

01:16:59.000 --> 01:17:12.000
I hope all of you are inspired to stand up for others and use your power for good.

01:17:12.000 --> 01:17:18.000
I'm going to turn it back to Amanda to close us out.

01:17:18.000 --> 01:17:27.000
Thank you, our panelist, for such a great panel. Great discussions.

01:17:27.000 --> 01:17:39.000
And talking about the hard topics that a lot of us can empathize.

01:17:39.000 --> 01:17:50.000
And thank you for participating many the discussions and questions. If this conversation got you thinking, the best way to process that and make a plan of action is to attend one of our round tables.

01:17:50.000 --> 01:17:56.000
We have one this Thursday or Friday morning, prioritizing and initiating our conversations like the one we had. We can share ideas on how to rebuild the equitable world.

01:17:56.000 --> 01:18:25.000
Through collective action you can shape businesses.

01:18:25.000 --> 01:18:30.000
Throughout the week, we are hosting at least one feature session each day. So mark your calendars and let us know your favorite parts on social media. Special thanks to our sponsors.

01:18:30.000 --> 01:18:39.000
We appreciate your support. Our next session is this afternoon at 1 p.m., EST.

01:18:39.000 --> 01:19:09.000
So the topics will be discussing for change. Compassionate leadership. Defining your mission and navigating conflict at work.

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