A Leader’s First Steps to Embrace DEI | Brenda Clegg

"Diversity, equity, and inclusion are all about respecting and considering one another's differences." Brenda Clegg, Episode 119

How are leaders embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion?

And how can you create an atmosphere of belonging for everyone in your organization?

Brenda Clegg is here to break down the meaning of DEI and share the first steps leaders can take to uphold these values.

Brenda is a certified Diversity Executive and Certified Human Resource Professional and is the Equity and Community Engagement Officer for Chatham County. 

In this episode, she’ll share her expertise on all things human resources and DEI.

Mentioned in this episode:


Brenda Clegg: Diversity, equity, and inclusion is all about respecting each other, being thoughtful and mindful of someone else’s differences. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re different. That’s a good thing.

Voiceover: You’re listening to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast with professional speaker, coach and consultant Nicole Greer.

Nicole Greer: Welcome, everybody to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. My name is Nicole Greer and they call me the vibrate coach. And today I’m hanging out with one of my people. With a SHRM a fellow SHRMer. And if you’re wondering what the heck is that, that is somebody who is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. So we love on the people, we take care of the people, we make sure it’s fair for the people. 

And so I’m so excited to have on the show today, Brenda Clegg. Brenda is a certified Diversity Executive and a Certified Human Resource Management Professional. That’s an official deal from the SHRM, and she is the equity and community engagement officer for Chatham County. She also serves on the board of directors of Central Carolina Society for Human Resource Management, and is the DEI Director for the North Carolina Society of Human Resource Management. 

Brenda also is a board of director for you the United Way of Lee County and Lillian’s List. Brenda has roots in Sanford and in Queens, New York. She has two grown children and one grandchild that I bet is spoiled rotten. And she is an avid lover of the NFL and track and field. I’m so delighted to have Brenda. Welcome, Brenda.

Brenda: Thank you, Nicole, I’m delighted to be here with you this morning. Thank you.

Nicole: Oh, yeah. So I’m so glad to have you here too. And so my first question always out of the gate is, you know, tell me what you define leadership as. What would you do if you put together a definition of leadership?

Brenda: Leadership is someone who inspires others, who listens, and who makes sure that the vision, the purpose is understood.

Nicole: Awesome. I totally agree. Yeah. So it’s all about the vision. And so many companies are incorporating this idea of putting DEI into their vision, right, making sure that we’re covering this. So first of all, for the folks that may not know, we never know. Talk to us a little bit about what is DEI. First, what’s the D, the E, the I. Will you explain it to us?

Brenda: So DEI is diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity, so many times gets misunderstood. Diversity is diversity of thought, diversity of race, diversity, gender, diversity of religion, diversity of ethnicity, diversity of gender orientation, sexual orientation. There’s so many, we know we, as human beings make up so many different areas, you know, we’re not just one type of person. So that’s what diversity is. 

Equity is being included. But having equal access, and access to the point that well, when I say equal access, I mean, access to the points that puts everyone at the same level. So what level or how much I need to be lifted up, to bring me to where you are, may not be the same. Or things that come about in our lives, that bring us to the same table may not always get us there by the same route. So equity is making sure that everyone has full access, complete access, unbridged access to the same opportunity. 

And then inclusion is really just making sure that everyone knows that their thoughts, their values, their perspectives are valued, and that they want to hear them. We want their voice in at the work, in our decision-making, in our planning. We want to hear those. So that’s been included. And, you know, I always like to also add in belonging, because it’s something that so many times people don’t think about, and you want people to belong. 

So it’s not just diversity, equity, inclusion, but it’s also and belonging. Because that, especially in you know, at this time right now in our lives, where there’s so many people that are quiet quitting, there are so many people that are looking for new opportunities. We want them to feel like they belong, because when you belong somewhere, you don’t want to leave it so easily.

Nicole: Yeah. And the other word that just bubbled up in my brain was like the word respect. How do you see, how do you see respect fitting into DEI? Because I think at the end of the day, we all just want to be respected. You know, like, I got a brain in my head, and I got a heart in my body. And a soul. I’m human.

Brenda: That’s exactly right. Diversity, equity inclusion is all about respecting each other. It’s all about respecting everyone’s perspective, everyone’s way of living, everyone’s way of being their culture, just respecting it. Your culture is no better than mine. Mine is no better than yours. I respect you. You respect me. That’s it. It’s it’s all about being respectful, being thoughtful, and mindful of someone else’s differences. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re different. That’s a good thing.

Nicole: That’s right. And you know, I don’t know when I was growing up, which was the Dark Ages. But I mean, we still were like, you know, everybody’s got the different fingerprints. And then we find out everybody’s got this different DNA. And so really, that’s how the world was created, right? It’s for everybody to be this unique, amazing person. 

So I totally love that. All right, so let’s talk a little bit about what you see out there in business, government, nonprofit, how are people embracing diversity, equity and inclusion. So if a leader was listening to this, and they’re like, well, okay, how do I get started? What are some things people are doing? What do you see?

Brenda: So I think the first thing is actually recognizing that there is a need. That there is a need to change some of the systemic policies and principles that have gone on. And just because, you know, it was done back in the, you know, 18th century, 19th century. You know, just because that’s what we used to do, that’s what we’ve always done does not necessarily mean that it’s the right thing, or the best way to do it. 

So I always say to leaders, and I’d say the first thing you have to do is to recognize that a change is needed. And when you look around the table, and if everyone looks like you, believe me that that’s a clear indicator that a change is needed.

Nicole: Yeah, you know, so fun. I was in a classroom at a tech company, and I was doing training on Monday. And I looked around the room. And I had a gentleman whose name was Carlos, and he was from Venezuela. I had a guy in the room, and his name was Iede, and he was from Kuwait. And then I had another guy, and he was from Concord. You know, so it was such a great recipe.

Brenda: And that’s exactly what we want. That’s a melting pot. And that is what we should be. That’s what we should aspire to have someone representing at the table. You know, sometimes a table, you have to get a bigger table. Make sure you have representation. But that’s what we want. That’s great.

Nicole: Yeah. And you know, the thing about it, too, and I’m curious how you feel about it, Brenda, but like, we were all from different places. And you know, I was the only lady in the room, and the fellas were in the room and all that stuff. But like, at the end of the day, we all have kind of like the same heart, you know, like, we want to make things better. You know, we want to learn, you know. And so we all had kind of had the same core values, and it didn’t matter what anybody looked like, you know.

Brenda: That’s right. And you don’t know that until you take the time to actually come and have a conversation with someone to say, wait a second, you think that too? You feel that way? Your values are very similar. We may come from different places, we may have different experiences. But we all want the same good, the same positive outcome. And that’s what it’s about.

Nicole: Yeah. And we were actually training on personality, which I think is one of the, we were doing DiSC, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. But you know, that’s one of the most interesting diversity pieces that can really change your career is understanding the different personalities that are in the room. So that’s another point of diversity.

Brenda: Yes, yes. And learning how to navigate those different personalities. Who do you work best with? Or how do you communicate with another person based upon their DiSC analysis? That’s great. And that’s what it’s all about. And it’s, you know, we were always brought up to, you know, to think about the golden rule, right? Treat other the way that you want to be treated. That’s what, but that’s not really it. We talked about respect earlier. It’s about treating people the way they want to be treated. 

And you don’t know that until you have a conversation and until you start to learn, and you have to ask. You know, what are your pronouns? If you know how is your name pronouned? If you look at something, a name and you don’t really want to, you’re not sure how to, just ask. How so I, I don’t want to butcher your name. How do I pronounce your name? Please help me. It’s okay. It’s okay to ask.

Nicole: Right. 100%. And that’s exactly what I did with Iede on Monday. I didn’t know. I was like, how do you say her name? And he’s glad to tell me, you know. And the thing is, I had so much respect for him because he’s been in America 33 years. And do you know how many times he’s been asked that? Or if people have not asked? 

I mean, it’s been his whole life, his name. You know, so you gotta have a lot of respect for him. And he’s just the happiest smiliest est you’ve ever met in your life anyway. So I love what you’re saying about that. Okay, so that’s diversity. Okay, so let’s talk about equity for a moment. So you said that is equal access, or complete access or full access? 

So talk a little bit more about how I might make sure like, I think leaders sometimes just have, they don’t mean to necessarily, but they might have a little blind spot. Like you said, there’s some systemic thing that they’ve just done their whole career, and they don’t know what they’re doing. They need to figure it out.

Brenda: Lots of times leaders think that equity really means equality. Ad they’ll say something like, well, I treat all my people the same, so that’s equity. And no, that’s not equity. That is not what equity is. And if you could just imagine, just picture if you’re, you know, out a field watching a baseball game, but you’re not actually at the stadium, right? And you are five foot two, and you’re over at the field, and there’s a fence at the field, okay, and it’s a picket fence. 

And you’ve got one person there that’s six foot tall, and the fence is about five, eight, okay? And so that person that’s six foot tall can see right over it. He can barely, he can see right over. But he’s actually standing on something that puts him up about four inches, okay? You have nothing and you’re five, two, and the fence is about five, eight. 

Just imagine if he gave you his boxes that that he was standing on, that brought you up to be able to see over that five, eight fence. Okay, that brings you up to five, nine or five, ten. Now he’s without anything, but he can still see over. So can you and you got a little help. You got to boost. That’s what the equity is. That is equity. Because now you both have access to see the game fully. So that’s equity. Does that help you a little bit? Can you imagine that?

Nicole: That totally helps me because I’m five foot and I need another box. I need two people to help Nicole out. I can’t see over that fence for nothing. Yeah, so I love the metaphor too have the game. Because, you know, I think a lot of people, they need help. And I don’t know if you tell me if this matches, but like people don’t necessarily go to school and get, you know, a business degree. And they may not understand how the game of business is played. And so they need help gaining business acumen. And that might be one of those boxes, right?

Brenda: Absolutely. Mentoring. Mentoring is providing mentorship is also a way of providing equity and providing sometimes it also folks or on-the-job training that they get that allows them they don’t have a degree, but they’re getting those skills from the job that brings them to a level that they now can apply for other opportunities within that company. That’s equity.

Nicole: Yeah. And so you know, I love that because you know, I do recruiting, I do speaking but the thing that I do the most is training and when I have these hungry folks in there that want to learn because they are connecting the dots, like if I learn this stuff, you know, I get a seat in the bleachers. I’m not even on the outside of the fence anymore. You know what I mean. I got a side, I got a picket.

Brenda: You belong. You’ve got the picket and you’ve got a seat.

Nicole: That’s right. That’s right. And I don’t you know, and just just between you and me, Brenda and everybody who’s listening. People have funny ideas about training and mentoring. They’re like not sure people will like it. Like that always blows my mind. I’m like no, they need training, they need to fill in the gaps of who they are.

Brenda: Absolutely, absolutely. And people don’t realize how many times, how many jewels they actually hold. Yes, our gifts and talents are not meant for us to just use them for ourselves. But it’s for us to share and to, you know, help someone else. Help lift someone else, help share the knowledge. Share the knowledge, share the wealth with someone else. Pass it on.

Nicole: Pass it on. That’s right. Pay it forward. Yeah, all that stuff. Yeah. Oh, and if you haven’t ever seen that movie, Pay it Forward, you should watch it. Alright, so there’s my movie. That’s my movie pick for this episode. I always come up with the movie, it seems like. Alright, so, I just want to say one more thing. That’s kind of a, it’s a very SHRMy ATD trainee thing. But I was just talking to a gal and talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I wasn’t talking to her about that. But it kind of just hurt my heart. She said to me, they’re asking me to retire. I’m turning 65. And I said, well, congratulations. 

You know, that’s a huge milestone. And she’s like, no, I’m not ready to retire. But they’ve asked me and they keep asking me. And she said, do you think my age is a problem? I mean, like, this is really real out there. And I said to her, I said, first thing I want you to do is I want you to write down all your KSAs and she’s like, what’s that? I’m like I want you to get your head wrapped around all your knowledge, all your skills, and all your abilities.

Brenda: Yes. And use that. Because when you leave you take all that with you. So to actually, for someone to say that, you know, they’re asking her to think about retirement. Why? Why? Am I not doing my job? Well, I’m having fun still. As long as I’m enjoying my job, as long as I’m contributing well, why should I leave? What? Ageism is real. It is, and it goes both ways. It goes both ways. It can be that someone like the person you were talking to who’s close to retirement, and they’re asking her. 

And then it’s other when you get a new college graduate, or even someone coming in right out of high school. And we’re looking at them and we’re saying their a baby, or they just don’t get it. And what are we doing? Let’s bring them in, let’s say hey. Because guess what? They’ve got something to teach us too, and we’ve got something to teach them. So let’s have that conversation. And let’s again, respect. Let’s respect each other.

Nicole: That’s right. That’s right. And at the end of the day, I really do think it’s the knowledge, the skills and the abilities that count. And not everybody’s got the perfect package. And that’s why we have to go back to the training piece, right?

Brenda: That’s right. That’s right. Not everyone has, not everyone checks the boxes, checks every single box. Okay. But when you’ve got that knowledge, and you’ve got the ability, and you’ve got the spirit and experience and the skills, what is it? What is it? Especially in this job market right now, where it’s very hard to find good talent. 

The unemployment numbers are very low right now. So what are you doing? You’re asking someone to leave? Why? How long is that position probably going to be open to refill it? Why would you want to do that? When you already have someone that’s contributing well. That enjoys it, has the knowledge, you know?

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I think that it’s important to look at all of those different pieces. Yeah. But I mean, after we got done talking had our little session, she was like, alright, I’m gonna get these KSAs. And the thing is, she’s been there so long that she hasn’t really taken stock of the major genius that she has. And I, you know, so that was her homework assignment. You know, get all that figured out so you know how awesome you are.

Brenda: Awesome. That is awesome. I think that that’s something that I you know, I did that just a couple years ago, during the pandemic. I said, I wanted to transition. I really want it to do something different. And I wanted to put my focus on the things and passion that I love and what I love doing, which is diversity, equity, and inclusion work. 

I was doing it part-time, really wanting to do it full-time. And I just said, you know what, prepare yourself, this is the time to do it. Step out on faith. Take a little, you know, dose of courage. And go ahead and line everything up and look at all your strengths and just go for it. 

Nicole: Absolutely.

Brenda: And here I am now.

Nicole: That’s right. And I don’t know if you didn’t hear the bio at the beginning. Go back and listen to it. I mean, like you’re, you know, she’s at the fence with it up to here, you know, in terms of like, opportunities that she’s got. So that’s so fantastic. Yeah. And then the final thing is inclusion, which you said was also like belonging. 

And, you know, so to me, that’s so like normal in my brain, because it’s like, you know, you have people over for supper, you know what I mean? Or you break bread with people, or, you know, it’s the whole southern hospitality thing I got inside of me or whatever. But this thing of inclusion is so simple to make people feel included, but people seem to not understand it. But I think it’s sharing hospitality or being hospitable.

Brenda: Well, sometimes it is that but it goes, takes it a little bit further than that as well. Because you want to be hospitable, of course, to everyone. But you want to, when you include them, you’re asking them, so what do you think of this? What’s your opinion? I’ve been thinking about whatever the topic is, what are your thoughts about that? 

Because including them, is getting their perspective, and letting them know that they have value, and that their thoughts are valued. They may not be something that you may take all of what they’re saying and use it for whatever you’re doing. You may take portions of it, but it’s the fact that you’ve ask them to share. 

So it’s not just come have dinner with me. But come have dinner, bring something. Okay. And let’s all cut it and share. You know, it’s like a potluck, and everybody bring their dish, and then everybody shares their dish. Yeah. And then everybody shares how they made whatever they made. Okay, that is being included. And that is really having not only a seat at the table, but in being included in that conversation.

Nicole: Yeah, that’s so fantastic. And I love what you said about like, we’re not saying that, like everything you say is going to be used if we include you. It’s just we’re making sure we got, and this is how I was taught in my coaching program, is that my master coach said, when you do group coaching, you gotta get all the genius out of people. So not everything that comes out of Nicole Greer’s mouth is genius, but something might slip out, you know. And we don’t want to miss it, right.

Brenda: That’s what we do, though. You know, on the board, you see my whiteboard back there in the background. You know, just throw your ideas up there. Everybody. Come on, what are you thinking? Okay, write that down. What do you thinking? Wait a minute, you haven’t said anything. You’ve been very quiet. Come on. You have to be thinking something, share your thoughts. That’s including. That’s including. Break the ice.

Nicole: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. And something just bubbled up. So one of the techniques that I’ll use in group coaching is we do this thing called The Art of Dialogue. And so you literally put like, two minutes on the clock and put the subject out. Write it on the whiteboard, write it on Brenda’s whiteboard back there. And then for two minutes, everybody gets like uninterrupted airtime to be messy and talk about that subject, you know. 

To talk extemporaneously, which is an excellent leadership skill, by the way. And you do, you get people you know, and there’s something amazing about the art of dialogue, it’s like, hugely respectful too because like, we declare, this is Brenda’s two minutes, then Nicole will have two minutes. And then you know, Jerry and Sally and whoever will have their two minutes, and we’re going to respect their time. 

So I have a document people that are listening called The Art of Dialogue. If you’re interested, email me at Nicole@vibrantcoaching. I’ll send it to you. It’s life-changing. All right, awesome. All right. So would you tell me a story about maybe a program or an initiative or strategy that you’ve seen work out in the world that changed things so much for the better or a success story using DEI? I’d love to hear one.

Brenda: Oh geez. Well, you know, we’ve had recently some things that have happened where we’ve had a couple of microaggressions that have occurred in one of the departments here at the county, and I decided okay, the person came to me and they were hurt. And so, we have to address that. We cannot just, you know, say okay, this is what you should have done, but we have to address this. And so what I did was I sent out a reading, an assignment that first of all, let me just back it out up. 

I came up with the program, going to train them going to send out this lesson, but I went to the department head and I told them that there was something that you needed to be addressed. I did not want to call anyone out. Because if it happened with one or two people, and it’s probably happened with someone else, or it could happen with someone else. The department head, once I put the initiative out, then followed my email and said, this is a mandatory thing. Everyone has to get this done. This is good for us. 

Okay, which is what you need from your leadership. You need your leadership to back you, to make changes occur. Okay. So with that initiative, they had to read, do the readings that was in the, it was a PowerPoint. They had to do the readings, they had to watch a couple of videos that were attached as well. And then they had questions to answer. Only 10 questions, not too long. Had to send it all back to me. 

Then all the department heads, all of the supervisors had an additional assignment. They needed to do a coffee chat with someone of a different culture, and someone not within their own department. Okay, not within their own division of this particular. So that stretched everyone. It stretched the supervisors, the directors, and it also stretched the employees that they had to reach out to. Everyone was aware that they may be contacted. 

And so just this morning, actually, right before I met with you, I had a meeting with all of those department heads and supervisors, talking about the outcome. The assignment was all due a couple of weeks ago, got that back. But now, so what was your experience? What did you think of it? Some didn’t like it at all, because they were uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable, and I explained to them, well, that’s great. 

Because being uncomfortable is what it’s about. That’s how we make change. That’s how we stretch ourselves. Because the more you have these conversations, the more things you learn about other cultures, the better we’ll be at our workplace. And so that was a part of the outcome was that others were yes, I learned something. 

Yes, I was stretched a little. It felt a little initially uncomfortable. But a conversation that I thought was only going to be about 15 or 20 minutes, one person said it was an hour. Another person said it was an hour and a half. One person said, I took them, not only did I really go for coffee, but I took them out. And we walked and we you know. 

And I learned stuff, and they learned stuff about me. And so now when we see each other, we smile, because we have that connection. And that’s what it’s about. And that is, you know, it was a short assignment. But it was a shift. And that’s all we’re trying to do is make a shift in people’s perspectives, and a shift in the way that we engage with each other.

Nicole: I love your story that’s so beautiful. And you know, and again, it’s just that thing of like, taking the time to be with each other, understand each other and the people that went from their mandatory, whatever, 10 or 20 minutes or whatever it was two an hour and a half, those people, those people had a heart connection.

Brenda: They absolutely did. And that is what I actually I said to them this morning, was that we all have to be willing to be stretched. And we have to come into it with an open heart. Okay, and it takes a village. And we have to make sure that we’re supportive of each other. So maybe there might be things that you would have liked to have been done differently. 

You know, someone said, well, I would have liked to had an outline, a full outline of, you know, come the conversation, how to hold the conversation. I said, okay, well, maybe next time, I’ll do that. But this is the first one. And I’m glad you guys got through it. You could talk about the you know, but I didn’t give them a starters, you know. 

And so that gave them a little bit of angst, but they got through it. And that’s what it’s about. It’s about getting over the hurdle. And just having a heart to say I’m open to learning. I’m open to being stretched. I’m open to learning something about someone else. That’s different from me, that’s not in my circle that I would not ever have had a conversation with. That’s what this work is about.

Nicole: Absolutely. And so you said it and I don’t want people to miss it. But you know, that old comfort zone learning zone thing. I mean, that is what Brenda’s talking about everybody. You know, so if left to our own devices were holed up in our own little, you know, we’re in our little nest, you know. It’s like, no, every once in a while we need to fly out of that nest and go visit somebody else’s nest, you know, and get to know them. 

And, and so she said, I don’t want you to miss it, it’s like, you know, you’ll learn something, you know. So this person that sitting in front of you has a unique, you know, education, unique set of experiences, unique perspective, she said, the word perspective, perspective, perspective. And I, and here’s the other thing. I want to connect these two things too, is that innovation only happens if there’s a fresh perspective.

Brenda: Only when there’s a fresh perspective. And a fresh, different perspective, we’ll say that as well. Because, you know, when you think about, especially when you think of HR, and you think so many times that folks are doing, you know, job referrals, and you give bonuses and extra, you know, incentive for your employees to do referrals, right. But we have to be mindful of those referrals because those referrals might be bringing someone in that’s very much like that other person. 

And that’s not what we need. We need differences. We need changes, we need fresh, innovative thoughts. Okay. Innovative perspectives, fresh ideas, all of that. And so we have to be really careful, as HR professionals as well, when we think about on that recruiting side and doing, you know, employee referrals. That’s my little take on that.

Nicole: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Yeah. And I think there’s lots to consider with the employee referrals, you know, one thing I do share with people is, you know, we’re all looking to be around people who can make us better, or the people who are conscious, I guess, I would say. You know, and so like, that’s why I’m hanging out with Brenda Clegg today. So, you know, I mean, like, you know, and so, you know, do you know that a guy, he’s passed away now, but his name was Jim Rohn. 

And he was like, a motivational speaker, and he was renowned. And he was such a good guy. I mean, his heart was so right in the world. And, and he said, you are the result, or how did he say it. You’re the product. That’s how he said it. You’re the product of the five people you hang around. You know what I mean? So you gotta shift up those five people every now and again.

Brenda: That’s right. You know, I say, look at your life as a, you know, you think about your circle of friends, right? And you think about a dartboard. And that’s center core, are all those people that are truly, truly close to you. And then there’s another circle right outside of that. And those are people that you call, you know, your trusted or your people that you’re more comfortable with, right? 

And then you have people that you maybe you just meet, and they’re in another outer circle. Well, how do you bring people forth from one circle to the other? How do you bring them from an outer circle in? It takes time. It takes conversations, that takes sometimes taking a chance.

Nicole: A risk.

Brenda: Exactly, exactly. Courage!

Nicole: Exactly right. That’s exactly right. Yeah. And so you were talking about circles. And so like, my little brain just goes through different things I know and see along the way. So I have this exercise that I’ll do with people especially like if I’m doing team building, you know. And it’s called, I call it vibrant identity. And the middle circle is like who we are at the core, and I give them prompts to figure out, you know, what kind of person am I right, like, and so I write it in there. And then the second circle, I have them write down what are all the great choices. 

Now we’ve all made stupid choices. I don’t go there. I say what are some great choices that you’ve made in life, you know, that have helped you grow and become who you are. And then the outside circle is so crazy good. It says, you know, everybody’s been dealt a hand of cards, and nobody gets to give their cards back and start over the minute they pop on the planet and you get what you got. 

And so I’ll have people write down, tell me all the things that the cards you were dealt when you popped on the planet. And the crazy good thing about this exercise is that when people write in the stuff they were given, sometimes their outward appearance does not match the cards they’ve been given. Like you don’t know somebody’s whole story. I was working up in Surry County with Surry Leadership. 

You know all the counties and stuff have the leadership program. And I was doing it and this gentleman is you know, all buttoned up very, you know, tie and little sweater vest and was very preppy and everything. And he says, well, I was born addicted to meth. My mom and dad were both users. He’s telling the story. And we’re all like, what? You know. I mean, it was crazy, right? And now he’s like a CPA.

Brenda: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You don’t know anyone’s story.

Nicole: Yeah. And then it was just like, wow, the respect level. So you’ve got to get to know people for who they are, where they come from.

Brenda: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Okay. Just don’t. You’ve got to read it.

Nicole: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. All right. Well, what do you see, you know, you are so involved in the Society for Human Resource Management, and you’ve got serious expertise. She won’t tell you that, but I’ll tell you that in all things, human resources. What do you see? What are you hopeful for in the future? You know, we’re coming out of the pandemic, slowly but surely here. What do you see down the road that really excites you about how we’re gonna treat our employees in the future? What are you hopeful for? What are you seeing?

Brenda: I believe that, especially the Society for Human Resource Management, is truly a place where every professional and CEOs as well can go and get the information. And it’s all like, right there for you. And one of the great things that we’re doing is we’re showing, and we’re we’re doing all of the studies to look at and understand what’s going on, not just say, here in North Carolina, but here in the United States, and in our neighboring countries, in our partnering countries, our allies. 

And we’re saying, look, people because of the pandemic, there has been a shift in the way that we have to do business. There has been a shift in the way that people think about their jobs, and how they want to balance their lives. And as human resource professionals, we have to and we’re doing it. Making the shifts, making the adjustments, and providing roadmap on how to do that. And that’s what really, that’s what we do. 

That’s the purpose of Society for Human Resource Management. And that’s what I see happening. I see it’s continually being that light, the light to say, okay, the waves are coming. But here we are, and this is the way, this is the way we do things. And, hey, when something doesn’t go quite right, let’s stop, let’s analyze. Let’s make that pivot. Let’s make the adjustments as needed. And then let’s move on. Let’s move forward. That’s what it’s about.

Nicole: Yeah. And so what she said is absolutely correct. So go over to shrm.org. and there’s research, it’s not just opinions, okay. It’s like research studies, as she said. And if you have somebody on your team, leaders that are listening, and they are your human resource folks, would you please, please, please, please pay for their membership so they can join SHRM, get educated and help you do all this stuff. 

It is it is just a little, you know, I don’t, I forget what I paid this year, 300 bucks or something like that. It’s worth every penny to have an up-to-date smart guy or gal on your team who knows what’s going on in the world of human resources. So and here’s the other thing, I’ll just say I have, you know, I’m an old HR gal. 

And I’ll tell you, you know, the one I didn’t go through the pandemic as an HR person professional. But if you have one that went through the pandemic and helped you navigate it, you should go down there to their office and immediately like, say, thank you. They took 400 phone calls. I have COVID, what should I do?

Brenda: Are you sure it was only 400?

Nicole: Maybe 4,000, I don’t know. I talked to HR guys and gals all the time. They’re like the phone calls are still coming, Nicole. Yeah, so it’s the top of the hour. I can’t believe it. We have been doing this for a little while. And Brenda time has flown by. But I know my listeners are like, wait, wait, don’t let her go without downloading one more nugget. We need one more piece of information or a tip or something that we could put in our brain and say, this is what Brenda gave me today. Do you have one more thought that you’d like to share with everybody who’s listening?

Brenda: I would just say live life on purpose. Be intentional, and thoughtful in your words and conversations.

Nicole: I love that. All right. Have a little awareness friends. Okay. All right. And so good to be with you, Brenda. If somebody wanted to reach out to you, could they find you on LinkedIn?

Brenda: They can find me on LinkedIn, Nicole, yes. And they can also find me on NC SHRM’s website under DEI leadership.

Nicole: Fantastic. All right. Thank you, Brenda Clegg for being on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. 

Brenda: Thank you, Nicole.

Nicole: All right, so good to be with you. Everybody go like this episode and subscribe. Talk to y’all later.

Voiceover: Ready to build your vibrant culture? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference or organization to help them with her strategies, systems and smarts to increase clarity, accountability, energy and results. Your organization will get lit from within. Email Nicole@nicolegreer.com. And be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at nicolegreer.com.

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