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#011 – Diversity, Inclusion, and Wellness (with Special Guest Tina Varughese)


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Podcast Transcript


Welcome to the Working Well Podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance. On the Working Well Podcast we dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping make life more awesome at work and home.

Join us to learn workplace wellness, best practices, personal performance tips, and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.


Today’s guest on the Working Well Podcast is Tina Varughese. Named one of Canada’s top 10 notable speakers by Ignite Magazine, Tina cleverly tackles hot button topics like diversity and inclusion in today’s complex climate. Tina’s work has been featured in the Toronto Star, TSN, CBC eye-opener, Adrenaline Magazine and Alberta venture. Clients include Pfizer Canada, Kraft-Heinz, Hockey Canada Hondai Canada, Canadian college of health leaders and Canada life. She’s the president of the Canadian association of professional speakers, Calgary chapter. She was recently appointed to McMaster University’s future of Canada project council. She has a strong professional background in immigration where she spearheaded international recruitment missions.

As well, she ran her own successful relocation and settlement from prior to speaking professionally. Tina has been the face of diversity, literally when she was chosen to be in Dove’s campaign. For real beauty, representing beauty in diversity. With two kids, five fish and one husband. She resides in Calgary where she recently took hip hop classes, but has opted instead to buy an oversized hoodie.

Please welcome Tina Varughese.


Welcome to the show. Tina, it’s so awesome to have you. I haven’t seen you in person in a long time and look forward to the next time we can. All right. So we’re, we’re, we’re talking today about a lot of topics that are really seemingly for a lot of people, I guess, unrelated to workplace health and wellness.

But I like to add them because I believe they’re that wellness is multifaceted and that there, there are so many aspects that a lot of people forget about and that impact employee health, wellbeing, and performance. So some of the topics we’re going to chat about are diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias. And psychological safety. These are huge buzzwords these days. Tell me a little bit about what you’re seeing out there.

Well, Tim, as you know, I’m a diversity and inclusion expert though. I use that expert, you know, phrasing loosely because I don’t ever wonder how can anyone be an expert because it almost seems like you stop learning. If you bill yourself as an expert. However, in, in what I do. Especially since Black Lives Matters, a lot of companies have become very reactionary, meaning they are looking at, you know, hiring people that are BIPOC black indigenous people of color, but they’re not necessarily looking at it from a strategic point of view.

They’re just reacting. And that can be very damaging because at the end of the day, if someone’s being hired, if they’re black or indigenous, and that’s the only, you know, reason or a key reason they’re being hired. And their skillset somehow is not at the forefront. It kind of creates a bit of a week versus them mentality, which is so non-inclusive at the end of the day.

And it also, sadly, statistically speaking increases mental health issues for the person that is BIPOC so when you’re hired and you know, you’re hired specifically, essentially for tokenism, then it actually has a negative impact on their mental health. So, you know, even though maybe it’s sometimes hard to see how diversity and inclusion and on these buzzwords right now can be contributory to wellness and resilience and, diversity inclusion and mental health that really does have actually a, a very strong tie.

Absolutely. And yeah, we’re, I’d like to say that all companies are out there doing things for the greater good in mind for the health and wellbeing of people. But as you said, yeah, there is a lot of tokenism going on right now.

And we see that as a workplace wellness company in how just the stress levels in the workplace, the, the communication levels and communication challenges that people face. Now, you speak on a bunch of different topics related to diversity inclusion and psychological safety is one that comes up a lot these days. Can you tell me a bit about psychological safety and what it means to you?

That’s timely. I literally wrote a social media post about psychological safety today, so that’s pretty timely. So for me, actually, it comes down to psychological safety. So I personally believe psychological safety is as important as physical safety in the workplace. And when I look at the workplace, I think everything for myself and That I’m speaking on should apply both personally and professionally. I think we’re leaders at home and at work, and I don’t define leaders by title rank or position, but rather by who can influence, inspire and impact, which is essentially everyone, you know, we’re parents, we’re teachers, we’re employers, real leaders.

So we, you know, all of us have that capacity. And when we don’t have an essence, if we don’t have a psychologically safe environment at the workplace or at home where we can authentically show up where we can say what we need to say without retribution. I really think that we cannot possibly have diversity and inclusion because diversity then you’ll love this one, Tim, this is my favorite quote on diversity. “Diversity is who’s on the team. Inclusion is who gets to play.” And so I thought you’d like that one.

I love that one. I will, I will have to use that for sure.

Yeah. Well that one’s not mine, but I’m certainly my favorite on, on the, on the diversity and inclusion front. And so I really do think it all comes down to psychological, psychological safety, because I really think that comes down to being able to authentically show up at the workplace and at home and, you know, the post I did today.

And it’s interesting because you know, when we talk about diet and just tying it to what you do, like diet for me, isn’t just about your food, your nutrition, but it’s also about. Who we surround ourselves by and, and our boundaries and, you know, those pieces are our diet too. And so I was, the post was all about, you know, the psychological safety of social media platforms, you know, in particular Facebook, which your waste book, whatever you want to call it.

You know, if we, if, if you’re putting something out there, And you’re so worried about the comments or the group think because really the only way to survive on Facebook is to conform with group think, because if you take that opposite viewpoint and then you somehow get crucified for it, well, there’s no psychological safety.

And so I sometimes ask, you know, if people are really feeling that burnout or that blah or whatever it is, I always say take that Facebook or Wastebook break because those, that environment isn’t necessarily a safe. Place. And that’s why people like you and I, if we can create that within our own communities on social media, then we can give people a safe place to, you know, be part of our communities.

And we can do that in the workplace as well, you know, and that comes down to, I think, authentic trust cognitive trust. And it really comes, I think trust is so key to building psychologically safe environments.

I agree. I. I can’t think of how many people I’ve talked to, even sometimes just friends, but clients a lot of times that they’re struggling with their mental, their physical health, and we’re trying to set up strategies for them to help them improve their health and wellbeing and performance. And they’re like, oh, I could never do that. Or say that at work because I might be fired or I’d be crucified to you use your words or, or you know, looked down upon because there’s a certain culture that that’s not okay.

And I’m talking, not talking about revolutionary things. I’m talking about taking a five minute break and walking up and down the stairs a few times to get a bit of movement. And, but there are a lot of companies where that’s just not cool.

Well or how many, how many times do we have to take a day off from work and say, we’re sick when in essence it might be, you know, you need a mental health day, you need a recharge day, but you know, you’re calling and pretending that your nose is all stuffy. You know, that, that right there. Why is there stigma attached to needing a recharge day? But even that unconscious bias piece, you know, we kind of touched on that and.

At the workplace, you know, with parental bias with, again, statistically speaking, moms and moms can, you know, take those flex hours. It’s not necessarily looked down upon as much if they have to go pick up their kids from daycare. But now a dad wants to take, you know, 30 minutes off to go see their kid play in a winning soccer game and there’s stigma attached, you know, so that in itself contributes to our mental health and resilience and wellbeing. When we can’t attentively be who we are, why am I hiding that? I’m a mom, why am I hiding that I’m a dad.

And so that’s where workplaces really need to show up. And, you know, we, I think the pandemic has really shone some light on that. Like even the controversy, sometimes people don’t feel comfortable having cameras on, you know, for meetings.

And a lot of employers are like, oh, you need to have those cameras on. Or it’s the meeting we need to connect. You know, I always say we may all be in the same ocean, but we’re not in the same boat. And a lot of people don’t want those cameras on because we don’t know what’s happening in their own homes.

And we make those judgments really quickly. They may be sharing, you know, a dining room table with their kid. They may have a high needs kid that just needs comfort and is beside them all the time, you know, but we don’t necessarily want that on camera. So there’s a lot of components that attribute to our mental health that also.

Contributes to the psychological safety piece of organizations and, and the unconscious bias and the stigma attached. So it’s very convoluted in nature. And again, I think it all comes down to leadership and trust.

Exactly. I we’re getting to this hybrid workplace and there’s so much conversation right now about what’s going to happen when some people are back at the office and some people are working from home or choosing to work from home. And a lot of companies, I think our most recent study, I said about 70% of companies are saying that they’ll let employees work from home.

As they need in this hybrid environment or come into the office. And I read an interesting article about the potential legal impact of that multiple years down the road, where those that choose to work from home more often are not going to be whether it’s unconscious bias or not seen as as effective employees because the people that are showing up, but then it’s who chooses to work from home.

It’s typically those with kids more women people that have alternate family or caregiver situations. Whereas, you know, the single males are going into the office all the day, all the time, and they’re seen as the go getters. And so if they’re being promoted and other people aren’t, how are we, how are we setting ourselves up for success in the sense of hey, we’re choosing to work from home, but we still want to be up for promotions and be able to grow a career. So, what have you seen in the, in those areas?

And I’ve also heard, heard a little bit about like companies, cause I tend to work with companies sort of at that leadership level. And I’ve heard a lot of companies are saying that the corporate culture is suffering a little bit because people aren’t in the office and it’s not because they have to be at the workplace monitored babysat.

It’s it’s really just those water cooler conversations don’t happen, you know, going into someone’s office and just talking to them in a more casual level. Now our conversations are more poignant. They’re more intentional. I think there’s pros and cons. You know, a lot of people feel like they’re wasting such less time you know, commuting and with meetings, et cetera.

But at the same time, there is a component of, you know, team building and, and water cooler conversations. You know, a lot happens, you know, at, at the coffee break when you’re hitting the Tims, you know, there’s there’s conversations that could, could be missed. And this isn’t like a new to women story. My goodness.

I remember I was a pioneer working. Part time before when I had a real job, I would say when I had a real job before I worked for myself and I was one of 300 employees that was working part-time and I still remember when my then boss took me aside, put me in an office and said, you know, my wife and I chose for her to stay home during the formative years.

Of our kids and it’s cause he was trying to get me to come back full-time and I’d already had a part-time arrangement and it was such a telling sign for me because that was the moment I realized I didn’t have psychological safety in that office and that I was not going to be promoted and that I really had no hope of, or of movement in that position. And it was a week later I gave, I gave notice and it felt good cause I just went my goodness. He was younger than me too. And he was a bit of a dinosaur. And you know, I always wanted to go back to him and say, you did me such a favor because at the end of the day, he gave me the opportunity to be the mom that I wanted to be because I wanted to be able to work flexibly.

And I really think there’s pros and cons. Right. I have followed a lot of, you know, social media posts on this exact topic and a lot of people, and I am noticing a trend. It’s mostly working moms and women are preferring to work from home and have that flexibility, but they need the trust of their employers that they’re are getting the work done because they aren’t getting the work done.

They just need that trust. They need that flexibility, right. And I think that, you know, if you have that trust and that flexibility and communication, which is two way, you know, we can’t just assume, well, people are at home. And, and yes, they’re probably working, but you still need to touch base, you know, you still need to, and that needs to go both ways.

So even if they’re at home, you know, I think it’s so important that they’re included. And I think it’s important that both employers and employees are touching base and ensuring they aren’t missing potential opportunity. And maybe there that is on the onus of the people that are choosing to work from home, because it is, it is a benefit, but at the same time, we need to recognize you know that there are some drawbacks to that as well. And I would hate to see women lose opportunity. I heard there was a stat I read really early on in the pandemic that this has brought women back 10 years. You know, that we’ve made all this sacrifice. We’ve done all this work and it’s actually brought us back about 10 years.

And part of that, if you think about it, so speak at doing some keynotes, right at the beginning of, of COVID and. Notice that, you know, when, when it’s begun work-life balance or blend, whatever you want to call it. Cause I don’t think you have balance when you’re working at home during a pandemic. Like that’s just impossible, but it really was the invisible work that was getting done.

Meaning, you know, those. The homework, the schedules, the deadlines, all of that fell on on women in a way that yes, statistically domestic chores, et cetera, does fall more on women. But now during the pandemic, it was, it was on a different level. And so how much does that bring women back in terms of career?

Like they’re, they’re quite bright. No doubt. I think a lot of women will be thrilled to go back to the workplace to a degree because, you know, it’s, it’s a bit of a bit of a break because they’ve had their kids home, spouse’s home, everyone home, and yet they’re, you know, I’ve heard that so many women are actually.

Working at late, late hours. Once those kiddos are in bed, particularly if the kids are school age, you know, and they have to monitor, monitor them lower. So it’s, it’s been a tough, tough goal for a lot of people. So I just think, you know, I think we need to come from a place of very curious compassion rather than jaded judgment and recognize that as leaders.

Yeah, and I was, I would almost say I’m interesting to hear or interested to hear that in the senses that it’s set, we went back. I’d almost think that it would be. Benefit in the sense that everyone else is now at home too, and thinking well, Hey, and they see that hidden work going on that they may not have seen before.

And so that’s it. Yeah. I think pros too. Like I noticed that even with my own husband, you know, cause I was working, I’ve had a home-based office for over a decade. So then when pandemic hit. I had my husband home. I had two kids at home homeschooling. I will admit my husband stepped up quite a bit because he saw how much I do that.

He didn’t realize, you know, I was doing particularly meal prep and planning and groceries, et cetera. So he certainly saw a lot of that. In turn. I have a whole new appreciation for history, you know, he’s in the financial industry and he, when the pandemic hit, he was that person who was insuring employees were.

Being paid, you know, like it was, we got a double whammy here in Calgary with oil and gas and the pandemic, and just seeing him, you know, tirelessly figure out all of the potential government benefits at the beginning that they might be applicable for. I was so impressed because of course, how would I know what he does at his.

At his job until you’re, you know, in it. And I could hear those conversations and, and my kids, you know, I I’m a keynote speaker. Well, it’s not like they often hear me speak. And now all of a sudden they’re hearing me in the basement and starting to like question me and ask me about things that I’m speaking on, which I thought was great.

You know, this is they’re teenagers. So they’re very open to learning and questioning. And so I thought that was a positive too. So I like anything. Pros and cons. It’s how we decide to navigate in the space. That’s going to matter. Yeah. And well, you, you made a great point too, is you, you and your husband got to know each other the, the roles a bit more closely from work and, you know, tasks around the house now with.

Different families, different backgrounds. You know, you had mentioned the one boss that was younger than you was still a dinosaur. There, there is still there, there are lots of mindsets out there that may not be open to that. And that may not see that change as an opportunity for growth. And so that’s where I think, yeah, some of the challenges are happening.

Yeah, definitely. And I know, you know, when I keynote, I have quite large audiences and virtually it’s great because before I found, you know, to conferences, it was leadership teams, management teams, because of the cost and the affordability. Well now training because we can deliver it. Virtual is being opened up.

So it’s actually more inclusive. Everybody is receiving that training, which is awesome. And. What’s what’s interesting. I’m noticing is even with what I speak on, I am noticing some trends, generationally, you know, gen X, baby boomers. It’s a bit harder for them to navigate this changing workplace. And whereas the Gen-Z ads are unbelievable in terms of being open to that change.

Being very resilient. Definitely are the millennials as well. They, they want to become, you know, allies. They want to understand how to navigate in this space. So I I’ve noticed a bit of a generational thing, but you know what, Tim, I think it comes down to growth mindset. So it doesn’t really matter.

What your age is because age is truly just a number. It really comes down to growth mindset. And I think you talk about this as well. If you have that growth mindset, then you’re going to be open to that change. And it’s it’s and my, how I qualify this is bosses are bossy leaders lead. So decide if you want to be a boss or a leader.

And if you are a leader, then you’re going to have that growth mindset, because you’re going to be, you know, malleable, you’re going to be resilient in this, in this environment. Yeah, well said yeah, absolutely. Mindset is everything. And. Whether it’s health, fitness, leadership personal growth and performance.

If you don’t have that growth mindset, everything becomes a challenge. Yeah. So that, yeah, so, and that takes me actually, to some of the, one of the other questions I wanted to ask was you like me? You’ve been doing this for a long time where it’s hard to believe we’re only almost 30 now. So it’s a. Exactly.

So, but we’ve been in this for a long time. And tell me over the last 10 to 15 years, how have you seen the shift? And again, we alluded to some of the changes with these buzzwords and things that are happening, but really what’s the fundamental shift and how the generations are, are changing in the workforce.

And what, where do you see it going? Well, the use of technology, you know, when I first started working social media or working for myself, rather when I started working for myself as a solo preneur, social media didn’t exist. And now I really, I don’t do a ton of this anymore, but I used to do strategic business planning for companies.

So I’d facilitate, you know, when they would put these strategic business plans together. And I really don’t encourage companies to do, you know, some will do five-year ten-year plans. And I really look at one year three-year plans because of the changing landscape. You know, when we’re looking at the assets involved of, of people management, technology, all of those, you know, components that change so quickly, I think that we really need to remain.

Resilient resilient in that change. So have that plan, but you know, know when you need to Zig or zag because, and have those plans in place. We sure learned that with the pandemic. You know, we just, I, you know, I certainly had no pandemic planning in my strategic business plan. And so I think without a growth mindset, I know myself, I would have been hooped, but, you know, I came, I kinda, I had my pity party.

Not going to lie. I had my pity party when I saw my entire calendar get wiped out of, of speaking engagements. And then I, you know, within three weeks had a green screen bought and stole my kids. Now I’ve improved now, but I stole their Ikea lamps from each bedroom and have these. Or a bull Ikea lapses, my lighting and put parchment paper is my filter.

Now I’ve improved on that scent, but I, you know, I just think I just moved in the space. Like we can, you can move through the wave. And I think that’s, that’s sort of important to, so, you know, growth mindset can happen personally, but it also can happen organizationally too. Yeah. Well, and that’s the heart of resiliency, right.

Is a growth mindset. And everyone’s talking about resilience these days. But it really comes down to being confident and able to adapt to the circumstances that that you’re facing. Exactly. And I, you know, I use this quote all the time, you know, speakers, we use quotes “the same boiling water that softens a potato will harden an egg.”

It’s not the circumstance, but what you’re made of that matters. And I’ll admit, you know, I didn’t know what I was made of when I, when I navigated into the space and I have to say, it’s given me a little bit more confidence, you know, moving forward for sure. Because I was like, you know, okay, I did it. I learned new things and I have this teacher of friend of mine actually, who literally she’s a psychologist just, but went back and got her education degree.

And she’s over 50 and went back and got, you know, a degree when most teachers are now retiring. And she was teaching her aunts being a psychologist. Of course, she really did focus on growth mindset with these cute little adorable seven year olds that she was teaching in grade two. And I love this quote she used, she just taught them.

Instead of saying, I can’t do it. You say I can’t do this yet. Just add the yet to it. And, and that was, I just was like, huh. You know, we all need to learn like we’re in grade two. And I loved it. I loved that these kids were learning about growth mindset and resilience at age seven. Like I I’ve kind of wished we had that opportunity because these topics aren’t really talked about when I was in school.

That’s for sure. Totally. And a variation on that is instead of saying I, I can’t say I choose not to. Exactly because that puts the choice and you have the choice and a lot of people think they don’t have the choice. Yeah. And I think it’s, self-efficacy too. Right. You know, if you do well in one area of your life and work really hard at it, the self-efficacy will spiral into other components of your life.

So I think that’s why it’s so important. You don’t have to be like a marathoner, but you need to take a step forward, you know, just so just whatever it is. I think that self-efficacy piece is really important. Yeah. When the, I think a lot of people miss the fact that while all these changes are happening and we’re talking about diversity and inclusion and it’s the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.

And I, you know, the leaders in these fields understand that, but I think the average company out there doesn’t really quite get that yet. When employees are, they have that psychologically safe environment. They feel like they’re included and their opinions valued and they there’s clear communication.

They start to be happier. That improves their health and it improves the company performance. Absolutely profitability-wise. So McKinsey Institute is the leading authority on stats when it comes to diversity and inclusion, well, diversity stats. So when we increase women in leadership roles, we will look at a 15% minimal over performance.

When we increase the ethnic diversity within firms, we’ll see a 35% Over performance and profits. So yeah, it isn’t just the right thing to do. It is absolutely the more profitable as well. And I don’t think it comes down to, you know, what the color of your skin is or body parts. It comes down to the diversity of perspective that we’re bringing to the table and where we’re bringing that diversity of perspective and challenging the status quo.

Then we are bringing, you know, all of those collaborative ideas and all of that potential on ingenuity into the workplace. And that’s where we, you know, really thrive is, is having that diversity of perspective or diversity of thought. That’s, that’s why we want to bring that to the table. If you’re, you know, affinity bias is when we are hiring people that remind us of ourselves.

Oh, of course it’s unconscious. So we’ll say, yeah, he’s a great culture fit. But in essence, no, they’re not the greatest culture fit. It’s because of affinity bias that we felt they might be a great culture fit. And if we’re kind of looking outside the box, well, you know, we might see different opportunity within our organizations, you know, in Canada.

Yeah. We’re a 20% foreign born population that’s really high. And that increases with urban centers. Calgary. We’re looking at 25% foreign born. So now think about if you’re increasing that cultural, cultural diversity within an organization. Well, what are people bringing to the table that you didn’t think about for potential opportunity, you know, with your own.

Organizations, we’ve seen this happen with, with organizations like Nike and, you know, lots of different organizations have, have looked at different and broader markets to increase product lines, et cetera. So there’s, you know, you can scale that that could work for small, medium and large organizations, but that comes with diversity of perspective.

That’s great point. And it brings us to the next question I had was how do companies start? How did they start making these changes? That’s interesting. It’s a good question. It’s a loaded one. It is. I really think it’s a loaded question. It sounds like a really easy question, but I really think that, you know, companies are.

Looking at diversity and inclusion initiatives, but unless they want to truly make that change, then I don’t think it will be successful. And that’s like anything, right? If you, you know, if you start a diet and exercise program, if you don’t really commit to the change and want to do that for whatever your, why is whatever aligns with the organizational purpose of the company or the values that you hold within, you won’t see the why behind why you want to move on.

Forward. So I think it’s so important to drill down to why do you want to embrace this? Like, don’t just do something because everyone else is, or it’s the right thing to do, but figure out the why figure out is it going to increase your performance? Is it going to increase productivity? Is it going to you know, Have your product or service become more attractive, whatever it is.

And that should come throughout every goal and objective of, of the company. You know, it’s not just about having multicultural potlucks with simosas and kimchi. Like it it’s so much bigger than that. Well, so I can be really good cause I love those things and I think, I think it like it can, right. It’s it’s.

It’s bigger than that. Like, I do think it’s positive, but it’s, it’s bigger than that. And it has to come from every component of what you’re trying to accomplish. But I just think that if, if companies don’t or people don’t want to change, then it’s probably not going to happen. Or at least it’s not going to happen attentively.

That’s exactly. We approach that with workplace wellness programs too. When we’re consulting with companies, number one question we asked, so why, why is this important to you? Why, why would you want to implement a wellness program? What do you hope that it will accomplish? And, you know, wellness is a bigger picture of having people be healthy, happy and perform well.

But the, the concept is the same people will say, oh, everyone else is doing it. Ooh. It’s like when oil was a hundred dollars a barrel, I’d be like, yeah. It’s like people would flat out say, yeah, it’s just a perk. We just want to stop people from like, you know, Burning out and to figure bringing a massage therapist and we’ll help him like, okay, well, whatever we can help you facilitate that.

But what’s the bigger picture. And that’s where that, that service or piecemeal mentality comes in and yeah, it, so I loved the fact that you were saying it needs to be part of the. The values and the DNA of the organization. And this is a thing that we believe is important across the organization for everyone.

And this is why we’re doing it. Exactly. And I think that, you know, a lot of employees want that. So it’s, it’s, it has to come top. And bottom, like you can’t just be a top down approach and it can’t just be a bottom up. It has to kind of be meat in the metal. It has to be a collaborative viewpoint that this is what we want to do together to move it forward.

Move the dial. Awesome. It sounds like you’ve read are feeling greatness, ebook.

Yeah. Tell me a little bit about obviously anonymously of course, but some success stories you’ve had with clients you’ve worked with and how they’ve been able to incorporate these initiatives. Well, some of them aren’t actually that private, I had, I worked with hockey, Canada, and that, that was a great initiative.

You know, hockey is sort of our quintessential Canadian sport and, and they were very open about recognizing there was some racism on and off the ice some issues. And I was very blessed to work with with the organization. And that was A coupe for me because I wasn’t, I tend to work with corporate audiences.

I tend to work with certain demographic and a lot of the individuals, I was training where they’re elite athletes who are ages 16 to 24. And so, and more between 16 and 20. And so that’s not my usual demographic. And that was such a wonderful experience for me because they wanted to become agents of change.

You know, I, I didn’t really. Make the information harder to grasp. I really kept it at, at that level, you know, that I would at a kind of an adult level, lack of a better word, and they were, they completely embraced the information and they wanted to use their own influence to become agents of change.

And I just thought that was really cool. You know, we call them gen Zed, but I would say it’s generation of hope, you know? So that, that was a really cool experience for me. I have had companies. That blessedly come back to me with, you know, feedback from their employees. One moved me greatly because they said the performance reviews within the firm had become much more open in 360 and were much more value-added conversations than, than they had had before.

So that I recently just received one last week from an organization that said, you know, even our conversations. Internally have become more courageous, more open. And so though that for me, it’s a hard metric to measure, but it’s certainly a metric. And so that’s, that’s work. I’m quite proud of. And what parts of the organization normally approach you for this type of training?

Is it like the training and development team or is it HR? Or is it the executives reaching out to say, Hey, this is something we’re going to do. And we’re going to implement throughout the organization. Depends on the size of the company. So I tend to work with some very large organizations, so that would be more training.

I usually would be coming approaching myself so that it, but if it’s, if it’s small and medium size, it definitely would be sweet. You know, the VP president, you know, and so it really kind of depends on the size of the company, but sometimes, you know, cause. Obviously as speakers, we get a lot of our referrals from people who have heard us speak.

And so sometimes as someone who just, you know, heard me speak my belong to another committee, your conference committee, and I, so I get a lot of work that way too. So it kind of it’s, it’s saw all, all across the board in terms of, you know, who, who was listening quite frankly. Well, I have to say I’ve, I’ve been honored enough to seen you speak a few times and.

You were amazing. And if anyone out there hasn’t seen Tina speak, definitely like you’re funny. I was like doing Bollywood dancing last time. It was there. It was for your, I think it’s 50 shades of beige. And it was so awesome. So awesome. And I love the fact that you you’re talking about very serious and, you know, culturally shifting topics.

Yeah, there’s humor and levity, and you’re just, you’re bringing that realness to it. And that’s something that I think is needed so much more because, and we’ve talked about this on the wellness side, as well as it, so much of the information out there is either so sterilized and plain vanilla And it’s just boring and not engaging.

And if we want to change this, it has to be engaging. It has to be fun and, and still hit on the serious topics. And and I’ve seen seeing the responses from your your sessions. It’s, it’s great. And so I, I Y want to see that keep changing and w we’ll have to. See all the great things you do in the future.

Now, before we wrap up here, I, I, I want to talk about some or ask your question. What are some things that we haven’t discussed that you’re like me got to make sure we discussed this before we before we wrap up the call, you know, I guess I, I, I’m curious. You know, sometimes people at one question, I get that a lot of people are really nervous to ask me, but I’m starting to see a bit of a trend is, you know, if, if someone says some, a racist joke or a racist slur either at the workplace or, you know, casual, barbecue, whatever, you know, how do you proceed in that space?

And so, you know, with that type and I always give the advice, first of all, come from a place of curious compassion. So, you know, rather than immediately saying, that’s inappropriate, how about say, is this what you meant by this? This is how I heard it. Like, just give them the opportunity to clarify first, because I think, you know, sometimes people might say something and maybe didn’t mean how it.

Came off, but I truly think that if we don’t say anything at all, for example, you know, anti-Asian hate right now is higher per capita in Canada than in the U S which is a shocking, shocking stat, but it’s true. And I think, you know, people were calling it the China virus, and I think it’s just so important that we don’t.

Remained silent in our suppression that we say something, because if we’re not saying something we’re agreeing with it. And so I think we were starting to, you know, people are feeling a bit more comfortable to at minimal use their voice. And so I think that would be just something I would want your listeners to recognize that, you know, like even with black lives matter.

So I heard so many people saying it’s not my time to speak. You know, it’s, I’m, it’s not my story. It’s not my place. It’s everyone’s place, you know, to change the narrative, we have to change the story. And that, that really is all of us. It comes from all of us. We all can move the dial and we all have a part to play.

So if we really want to do that, we have to do that together. And what what’s your advice for people who say why? I just don’t quite know how to speak up. I know you said the come out up in the wave for the racist joke, but there, there are a lot of topics going on right now that people like, I have an opinion, but if I speak up, maybe my opinion will be misunderstood and What do you, what do you say to those situations?

Different, like some different companies are doing different things. So some organizations are putting together what’s called ERG. So employee resource groups. So they may have an ERG for women. They may have any RG for LGBTQ. They may have an ER ERG for I’m trying to think of another BiPAP, whatever it is, but you can also, I had a company that, you know, even just drilled it down and they called and they called it courageous conversations.

I think they called it courageous, courageous conversations or uncomfortable conversations. I can’t remember, but they just kind of took topics and got people together. Just to talk, just to talk about it, you know, just to kind of like a lot of people right now want to use. That was horrific 215 children found in terms of a grave site and Kamloops and people aren’t really talking about it.

And I think, how do you possibly move towards healing if we don’t talk about it? And so just giving people opportunity to, to speak and to, you know, learn and to listen and to pray together, whatever it is, you know, just to do those pieces in a, in together is, is we can give. People that outlet, you know, but it has to be provided and we have to give them that, that place to do it, that safe place to do it.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And what, there, there’s a lot of, I guess, polarity these days in terms of opinions. So I know some companies that I’ve read about recently have said, there’s no political conversation. There’s no this like, even not an internal slack channels and things like that. What are your thoughts on, on that?

You know, I have noticed a huge difference between the U S and Canada on that piece. Like for example, I don’t know if you remember her, like Ben and Jerry’s put out a ice cream flavor. When the Trump administration was still in called impeaches and cream. And that just would not happen, but, you know, so I, I get it.

I mean, I think, and, and that’s again, a protocol and like, even in the states, when I speak in the states, even organizations, it depends like if you have a blue or a red state, that wouldn’t necessarily be the same as. The company, you might have a company that’s based in a blue state, but has a red mindset.

And you would have a very strong political stance within companies and Canada. We don’t really, we may have it, but we certainly don’t talk about it. And I would say we’re more on the no, our political beliefs are more. Personal, we don’t bring that necessarily to, to the, to the organization, unless there’s a, you know, a reason if we’re working for government or whatever it may be.

So I get the polarity and I, and I, I think it’s just so important if possible, to recognize everyone should be seen, heard and acknowledged. And you can absolutely agree to disagree. So healthy debate, and even in a office setting in a meeting setting, if you’re surrounded by silence, you’re actually not doing your job, but if you are going to have a meeting and we all have meetings all the time, you know, for myself, I’m president of an association, I’m on a board for another Group.

And I truly believe in healthy debate that, you know, if I don’t agree, what’s the point of me being there. If, if I don’t agree with something, I was brought there for my opinion, and you need to feel comfortable enough to offer that opinion. And I think if you, if you do, you’re going to have the best possible solution.

The beauty of that too, is it takes the bias. Righto. You know, when we’re collaborating on decision-making, then we’re not biased in our decisions. So it’s a positive thing. So I think that, you know, I think we should encourage healthy debate. I do think there’s probably certain topics that are off the table.

You know, to a degree, but I do think healthy debate should actually be encouraged in organizations when that comes back to psychological safety. Right. People have to be confident that they can speak their opinion and it will be heard. And, yeah. Awesome. Yeah. I know, I know you have a hard stop and we could talk all day about so many different topics.

Cause you’re just awesome. And I love chatting with you and. As a, as a route. I think you’re actually your, your hard stop is because you have your, your walk, your mental health walk. So I am Monday through Friday. I have a hard stop at 3:30 PM, sometimes four, depending on our day with another another lovely lady that works from home.

And she was my touchstone during the pandemic, you know, we would walk. Every day. And actually we were working, we were doing this even before the pandemic and we have not missed doesn’t matter if it’s minus 30, whatever it is we walk. And that has been, she actually made it into one of my keynotes has sort of, you know, the power of servitude because when everyone else during the pandemic was like, we’re not even making eye contact.

Cause I don’t know if they thought you’d get it through your eyeballs or whatever. And she was, she was like, hi, hi, hi. Like she just made it her goal to make sure she connected with. Everybody that she would walk past. And so she just, she was, she became kind of a role model for me because, you know, I just was so inspired to see how someone could wreck, not even recognize the impact they were having on other people.

So yeah, we meet. Every day, Monday through Friday, like clockwork. And we go for, I call it my, my mental health walk. And so I, you know, you know, if you don’t put it into your calendar and time block it, it doesn’t happen. And so I make it very clear to anybody that I’m meeting with. If I have a meeting, I have a hard stop at this time because she depends on me.

I depend on her. Well, and I love that and I love the fact that you were comfortable and confident enough to say that to me is like, yeah, this is why I have my heart stopped. I’m like, you’re talking, you’re preaching to the converted here. Like I’m going for my bike ride later. But, but yeah, that’s, that’s something that is really important for people to realize is that this has to happen, block it in your calendar, make it happen and go with people that you enjoy being around.

And. Just, it helps you improve health, happiness performance. And I guarantee you’re going to smile when you’re out there. Right?

Every time we, we laugh every time we have and you know, with the sun, that’s just bonus, but it’s our Friday, I think Friday, we still have great weather and then the weekend it’s going to rain.

30 30, 30 in early June. Awesome. Love it.

It is awesome. I’m I, I’m a sun, sun, baby. I like the sunshine. I’m like a plant. I need that. So yeah, I get outside every day. It’s part of my wellness is I really do get up and if I actually find it has a trickle effect, if I don’t get outside, then I don’t sleep well. If I don’t sleep well, I don’t perform well. So it kind of, it’s almost like a religion. I have to do it or else none of nothing else works for me.

There’s a lot of science behind that. And, and whether people think it helps or not, it does, there are a lot of people, like, I don’t need that. And I’m like, you do. You just don’t know it yet.

They haven’t converted yet Tim. Exactly.

All right. Well, thank you so much, Tina. And before we go, where can people find you? is my website. So definitely they can check out my website and speaker demos, that sort of thing. But I am on every social media channel as well. So if they wish to follow me, sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s controversial. Sometimes it’s silly. Sometimes it’s heated, whatever. But I always try to post about three to four times a week because I really want to continue the conversation with, with that community. So yeah, absolutely. They can connect with me anytime.

Well, I’ll make sure we put links on the speaker notes page and thank you again so much. It’s been awesome to catch up and I look forward to the next time we can meet in person. Maybe I’ll join you on one of your mental health walks. I’d love that that would love. And I still, I need an order from your son. We should plug them for the hummus.

This is his first podcast mention, there we go.

Here we go. We’re going to get a soul now. He makes fabulous hummus. So if we’re going to walk, I want the hummus, right, right. He just walked in from school. So he’s, he’s probably making his next order.

Awesome. Tell him that the chili, the sweet, sweet Thai chili that one’s mine. All right.

All right. Thank you very much. We’ll we’ll chat soon.

Thanks Tim. You take care.


Thank you for listening to the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your experiences and how you’ve applied tips from the show to your daily life.

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We’ll see you on the next episode.

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