Episode 53 highlights – Vivianne podcast about What it Means to Be Human Centered:
- What it means to be human centered in your professional and personal life
- Hmnty Cntrd, their mission and the work Vivianne and her team are doing
- How Vivianne went from being a grief counselor and doing trauma studies to becoming a UX researcher
- What does it really mean to be empathetic
- The role of diversity, equity and inclusion in UX and research work
- Tips for self care and improving yourself as a UX professional and person
- Doing and beginning the personal work for doing your best professional work
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(this transcript was automatically created using our very own transcription feature in Aurelius and has been minimally edited, please excuse any typos or weirdness 😀 )
Hey Vivianne. Hello. Hello. How’s it going? You know, just another day in paradise. I suppose. It’s a good thing. The world doesn’t feel like it’s constantly burning but here we are some of the fires went out, some others got lit, some of the fires went out. We deal with as we can, right? I guess that’s all we can do, I really appreciate you jumping on. Take the time to chat. In fact, some of the guests that we’ve had on in even recent past have
Been like we should definitely have the an on and I was like we got to come and don’t worry, I love it. So you know, even some of our even some of our guests have have said like yeah you should you should really have her on. I think I think they’ll be great addition to the podcast and so we’re I’m glad to finally make it happen. I didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag and tell them, like, don’t worry it’s coming. But, you know, here we are. And I just I guess I guess with that. You know, could you introduce yourself talk a
A bit about the work that you do and you kind of things that you’re passionate about. So for folks, listening, if they don’t already know who you are, kind of get a sense for, you know what you’re all about? Yeah, absolutely. So I’m going to be an Castillo. I currently live in the land where the pizza runs deep also known as Chicago you know in a former life I have a counseling and Human Service background made a career switch into the ux and tech industry. And you know for me I’ve always been really passionate about that deeper human under
It to the work, you know, for me, there’s, there’s a time and place to learn about personas Journey, mapping jobs, to be done, except Etc. But I’m more so interested in the personal work that’s required to do her best professional work. So, since I’ve made my career switch into the industry, I tend to talk a lot about things like the role of Shame and ux research and design or how self-care is an ethical imperative and what are some of the mindset shifts that we need to adopt in order to have a more
more holistically human centered approach to our work but also to ourselves and I am also the founder of a, a growth of professional growth Community called Humanity centered, where we support professionals, who are interested in challenging, the status quo of, what does it mean to be human? Centered both, in their personal and professional lives. We talked about a variety of topics things like ethics and what does it look like to adopt a maturity framework in your pursuit of Ethics in your workplace? We talked about
The resistances and barriers to cultural, humility and competencies, and so on and so forth. And so that’s a little bit of me and what I’m about? Yeah, awesome. What? And you just add a little bit of a qualification to that to you. A lot of your professional background, obviously is ux, but even more, specifically ux research user research, right? And so, I think Super relevant to me or super obvious as to how that would kind of come out as well. How do we, how do we work on ourselves? Better to do this work better because you’re dealing a lot.
With people even more directly. Exactly. And you know, in my previous corporate position, I was a research and Innovation consultant. So, I worked primarily with c-level Executives of the company’s largest customers and helping them to think about how to leverage research in a way that then allows them to have a more holistically human centered approach to business development and design and strategy. And because of my background in counseling and Human Services, I was often Lucinda conversations with the
Negatives, about the things that get in the way of innovation. So things like fear failure or shame and really just leveraging and bridging what? I know of ux research, what I know from the counseling Human Service space in order to help these Executives approach old problems in new ways.
That’s pretty interesting stuff. And you know, one of the things is you were kind of describing your background. The immediate question that came into mine for me was
If this sounds to me like you saw something missing right in in our field and I know they you’re smiling right now. People don’t see the video, but I know I’m kind of leading you into this because you know, I’ve been following you for a while and we’ve had, we’ve had some interactions in the past but I would love to hear a little bit more detail. And certainly, I get believe people listening would love to hear more on. What did you notice? It was kind of missing this to say, Hey, you know, we should start something like, you know, Humanity centered but more importantly, be this is an issue. These are things that are missing this stuff, we should work on it, so
Start talking to think about this more intentionally. Yeah, absolutely. So you know, I haven’t gotten to the ux and you know kind of tech industry is really, by chance. I kind of stumbled into it. I was in a season of doing deeper trauma study, and I had a mentor really encouraged me to find a creative hobby with a beginning and an end. Because at the time I was working in this and patient recovery home and
You know, when it comes to counseling, you never finished something like the door’s always revolving and he was just encouraging me to find a creative hobby, that had a beginning, and an end as a sort of therapeutic practice and to myself care. And at the time, I was living on the East Coast thought, it’d be really cool to bond with my dad who is in Chicago about software engineering, because he was a developer. So that would be neat for me to learn about code and have us have these like, long distance, you know, father
Ordinary Bates about that. And as I was doing more research into that learned about programs that were teaching about ux design and specifically, ux research and was really excited at this idea of like, wow, here’s this thing where I can Bridge my love for people with technology and business which had always been something I was passionate about. I at some point decided to make your career Switch and Go all in. And during that Journey was end up receiving a scholarship to
And the O’Reilly design conference in San Francisco. Super excited to go. Lots of heads of design and research. We’re going to be there from these large companies like Instagram, Facebook, Microsoft, etc, etc. Super pumped to hear about them. Talk about diversity equity and inclusion, Being Human centered, being it, you know, and pathetic especially coming from accounting background. And I remember at the end of this conference, just kind of sitting on my hotel bed and being like, wow, this is
Bullshit this hearing how these companies were talking about being human centered at being empathetic and really for me, you know, there’s this fine line between pity and empathy and when you design Solutions based out of pity which isn’t really a sustainable motivator, a sustainable output. You know you increase the chances of causing harm and so after that, I went back home to the east coast and just started to to share my thoughts on line up
about just some of the hypocrisies I was noticing and really more of a just a truncated understanding of people. And as I started to do more of that work, more of that writing started to meet more professionals. Who were describing symptoms? Describing situations that, you know, as someone with a counseling background, I recognize that as compassion fatigue, I recognize that as trauma and hearing really, you know, just really just discovering that.
At a lot of ux professionals, we weren’t being holistically supported in this work, this work that requires us to work so closely with the messiness of what it means to be human.
That’s awesome. I appreciate the background. You know, the the quote you kind of gave their which that’s huge to me. There’s a there’s a fine line between pity and empathy is just that’s something that’s something in and of itself, right? And, you know, we can dig into that. But one of the things that I kind of was hoping to share, you know, you could share more detail on. You don’t gotta name names or anything, right? But like you saw this and we’re like this is bullshit. Well, like this isn’t, we’re not talking about this the right way.
Here’s the reason I asked about that right? Is because I think a lot of the the steps forward that we need to make is recognizing, you know, a if we are saying bullshit, right? As people as teams as companies,
And like, understanding why that’s the case? Can you share any more of their stuff like maybe some things that you heard in like why? Essentially? That’s bullshit. Yeah. You know I think for me I’ll share a couple of my hypotheses. I’ve been chewing on so you know I feel like in the last few years or so we’ve noticed this Spike, this interest in things like ethics and diversity, equity and inclusion and design my theory as to why that is is
You now have four generations in the workplace when you think a lot about that first wave of ux leaders. First second wave of ux leaders, a lot of them are white, a lot of them are able-bodied and a lot of them tend to fall and the generations of Baby Baby Boomers and Gen-X. And so I think with that comes an interesting perspective on the way that we see people, I think that a lot of the leaders come from very privileged points.
View. So that also plays a role in kind of like that initial Foundation of how you wax and design and how we talked about how it was built but also to their credit that first wave or two of ux leaders. We really just trying to prove relevance when it came to ux and the need for ux best practices and teams and so on and so forth. And so now we have these four generations in the workforce, you have also gen Z Millennials who tend to be where
Diverse Generations. We are more comfortable having some of these conversations in the workplace whereas with older Generations. There was often this mindset this notion of. Oh you don’t really talk about this. It’s inappropriate. It’s it’s you know to political etcetera Etc. And so now what I believe is we are needing to shift from this pursuit of relevance to a desire for maturity.
And so now what you have is again, yet these four generations in the workforce, you have this, you know, group of leaders who have been able to rise his level of expertise, as level of recognition without having to develop any of the competencies or expertise and things like that brings, you equity and inclusion. You know, how do you have a more ethical approach to your work? Because when you’re part of the majority, you’re not always thinking about ways of not causing harm to people. Whereas if you are from marginalize or minority communities, you’re constantly aware of that.
And so I think that plays a huge factor into what I sense is really immaturity when it comes to understanding, what does it mean to be human centered? And, and the last thing I’ll say is I think that ux, you know, I think we’re younger industry and I think we have done a huge disservice to our community by not learning from other Industries other areas of study that.
Have been engaging in human centered work for far, much longer than us, and with that comes a lack of support with that comes a lack of understanding about. Just the ways that we work with people and some of our ethical responsibilities and even just awareness of how we can come cause harm.
Yeah, that’s really interesting and in, you know, the way you were describing how a ux is kind of came up and came to be. It almost reminded me of just like Maslow’s hierarchy kind of thing, right? Like the, the first things, we everybody was trying to do in the ux was survive inside, an organization, improves sort of like you said, its relevance or its value. And now you’ve come to this, you’re not you specifically, but like we have come to this point where it’s like, whoa, some of the stuff we were doing isn’t
No, it’s not all, it’s not all good. It’s not all like comprehensive in terms of thinking across the board of the people. We impacting, the people we serve. And so that’s, yeah. I mean, it’s just kind of what pops into my mind as you were describing it as like we’ve now kind of come up that hierarchy and, you know, there’s a lot of influence and ability to be looking at this and being a lot more mindful of the kind of things that we build and we put out into the world not just is it successful for the business or not right. Yeah and for me I think
One of the reasons again, why we’re becoming more mindful of it is because we have younger and more diverse Generations who are entering the workforce, and who are like him, how can we are talking about these things? And to be honest, and again, I think I’m probably known for being a little bit more Frank and to the point. But I kind of operate out of this belief that there are just, I do think that there is a group of ux leaders who just aren’t equipped to lead us in this area of
Charity. When it comes to being Equitable, when it comes to being inclusive and that’s okay. And I think we need to, we need to learn how to be humble. More humble with what we know what? We don’t know. Because, you know, when I came to this industry, honestly, like one of the greatest occupational hazards that I viewed, an experience early on was how pride is probably one of the greatest occupational hazards within us and so
So yeah, yeah. Totally and you know, I’m curious based on your observations because there’s one thing to say, well, you’re not totally equipped to do this. You can say that to anybody about any skill or, or sort of attribute about their personality, whatever it is, right? And you basically have a choice from there is, you have it, you have the ability to say, oh well then I should learn more about that and I should get better about that or or the other side of that is maybe get defensive push back against it.
Dismiss it, whatever the case may be, I’m curious based on your observations. You talked about this, you think about this a lot I do have, are these leaders are these leaders in these people? You know, what side are we falling on here? Is it because they just haven’t, you know, a gain that knowledge in and forced themselves or look how to improve, or is it because we’re dismissing. It might be a combination to but I’m just kind of curious what you’re seeing. Yeah. So see you present it to two paths. One is sedley.
This could study up learn up and become better at being leaders in these areas to they could be defensive and just kind of shut down. I’m going to offer a third option. I think that third option is for those leaders to not waste their privilege and to instead leverage it on behalf of others and lifting up, other voices that do come from more diverse experiences and background so that they can help move the industry towards maturity. And
And I get it like I think, you know what, this ends up doing is it brings about a larger conversation around power and influence? I understand that, you know there I think deep down we all have a desire to be relevant but I think when it comes to maturity, I think that these leaders do have an amazing opportunity to leverage their platform to lift others up to speak on topics that they aren’t equipped to deal with. So for example, you know, if one of these leaders is not known
To be an expert or a voice in the diversity equity and inclusion space. Should they be a coach at a conference? Where they’re coaching speakers, who are speaking on topics related to diversity Equity inclusion? Should they position themselves as you know, a leader in that space? And you know take up speaking opportunities, presentation opportunities that other people are way more qualified for like no it shouldn’t and I think that, you know, there’s again I need for humility and
Understanding that hey we need to start to shift from a desire for relevance to his iron with for maturity and the cost that that’s going to put on us. It makes a ton of sense, you know. As you talked about that too. We’re kind of talking like a macro level right now, right? Where there’s across the industry, there’s things that we can think about. I think we can all hold each other accountable to
Talk to me a little bit more about. What even the work you’re doing at Humanity centered, right? Where there you’re kind of working with people quite literally, like coaching and mentoring and trying to help folks, you know, do this themselves? Do some of the work for themselves and how does it differ there when that happens on an individual level? Yeah, well you know, I think a lot. So I think you may be centered, you know, we are trying to introduce a couple of mindset chefs especially when it comes to professional growth and development. I think a lot of times when it comes to
Work around diversity, equity, and inclusion, work around influencing stakeholders. We tend to approach that as a solo Journey. When in reality, it should be a shared one because this work is hard, this work can be discouraging. And so for us, we’re really interested in building a community of folks who are interested in doing this work, who wants space to fail, want space to mess up and yet can be encouraged and supported through that. So that’s one thing that I think is
Different that we’re trying to do another thing as well is and part of this too. I remember reading this, I think it was a tweet where it was talking about the difference between an audience and a community. And it said an audience is one too many and a community is many-to-many. And when I look at the ux industry Community, I see a lot of the audience might set in the audience. You know, point of view. Okay, here is one step leader.
Everyone listen adopt their gospel and spread it forth. But for us, we’re interested in creating spaces and moments of connection where we can learn from each other or we can sharpen each other. And so even within the community, we have something called member chere outs. We’re we have folks in the community share about things that they’re experimenting with in their workplace or an idea that they’ve been grappling with that has influence their approach to their personal and professional development where and then we break out into small group discussions and we kind of grapple with those ideas together.
Whether another example is we’re having a spontaneous group discussion next week, where we’re going to be talking about, yeah, what’s the difference between reforming some of these systems that lead to inequity and Injustice versus dismantling them? What does that mean to us? What does that look like in our work and also our personal lives? And so trying to create these many too many moments and really kind of equal out some of those power dynamics. So again, we can more as a community.
More move towards maturity versus this individualistic pursuit of relevance. That’s awesome, though. The one thing I really appreciated, really, really well said is how you draw the distinction between audience and Community. Like that’s, that’s really that was really, really well said in it’s interesting too because I, you know, I don’t consider myself like a Gray beard in the industry anything yet. But I’ve I’ve been around in like early ux Twitter days and I remember what it was and it’s
Certainly was kind of almost the former, right? And I have have absolutely seen a big shift, where there’s at least lately, you know, I don’t know that I’ve been paying any attention to it, anywhere near as acutely, as I think you probably have, but I’ve definitely noticed a big shift of the whole more like many-to-many now, and I’ve even seen some pretty good progress on that in conferences because it used to be. And this was one of my biggest beef, switch is why I started stopped going to conferences for a while. A long while several years ago, was, it was like a lot of the same people.
About a lot of the same things and it was like we’ve heard this, we’ve heard this talk. This one is different and has new slides or whatever, but it’s essentially the same thing. And I’m, you know, I’m kind of seeing that. So I just kind of wanted to. Yeah, you know, note that is like really well said there and really well articulated because I hadn’t considered it that way. But I also wanted to ask you, as you were talking about that. And you know what you’re trying to do with Humanity. Centered, are you, finding leaders people who have the power to really push this forward coming to humanity.
Centered wanting to be part of that Community, you know, not not an audience and then, you know why? Or why not? Yeah, that’s a great question. And before I jump into that, I wanna just something that you said earlier, I mean, the one-to-many and many-to-many thing, like, I didn’t create that idea of something, I saw somewhere on, like, you know, in the twitterverse and was super inspired by that. But again, I’ve worked in the Innovation Consulting space. So I know the power of having those many, too many moments, I
No, that, that breathe breathe creativity and Innovation into approaching old problems in new ways. And so, that’s something we’re trying to replicate on a community scale and when it comes to leaders, I mean, when I look at Humanity centered and who’s been a part of it, I mean, we have folks who are literally still in college or they’re doing a boot camp or some, you know, short-term intensive program, all the way to well-known industry leaders that are in our field.
So, some of them have, you know, publicly endorsed Humanity Senate in their experience with it, you know, folks, like Indie young or Jared spool, we also have folks who are maybe what I would say, ux adjacent Industries. So we have journalists, we have folks who have their masters in public health. We have some nurses in there and even some Educators. So we kind of we kind of run the gamut and I think that’s what makes this space really unique and special is, you have people who are in
Some points of their career. But really at the end of the day, is this desire to learn? And to grow both personally and professionally. It’s super cool. I didn’t actually realize that the sort of the roster for the enrollment was so diverse in that way in terms of like, professional diversity. That’s really, that’s really interesting, you know, I’m curious as folks come to humanity, centered, and what do you what do you feel like the biggest thing they’re looking for is like, what’s the biggest question that the, you know, the the most common thing that they want to work on Earth? I hope
In humanity Center can help with. Yeah, I mean I do think in general people. So I’ll say this as a therapist, you know, you have people who come to you and they have a presenting problem and more times than not. That’s not the actual problem or the thing that they want support in. So I think a lot of times we have folks come to humanity centered and they’re coming with questions. Like, how do I be more intentional in creating accessible experiences? How do I
Have a more Equitable approach to the research recruiting process. So I think a lot of folks come to humanity center with those types of questions, and thoughts, and so on and so forth. But I think what we’re noticing and we do a lot of internal research to see what are the deeper topics and things that people want support in so that we can, then Provide support is really, a lot of people are coming to humanity centered because they’re wanting support. And how do I navigate?
Gate profit-driven capitalistic systems, how do I navigate these incredibly political power dynamics that happen in corporate settings? How do I heal from workplace trauma and understand the way that, that impacts the way I collaborate with people and the way that I interpret other folks in their intentions on my team and so really. What were noticing is, yes, like they want support in doing these very
Practical things that influence their practice as a ux professional but they want help removing the barriers, the resistance has the things that cause harm from working in capitalistic settings so that they can do that other work. Well,
An expense, it sounds a lot like what we would do in ux research to write, as we hear one thing and we’ll and our job is really to kind of get to the bottom of that. And you know, we hear, we hear the symptom, we don’t hear the cause and so there’s work to be done to get to the sort of the root cause and figure that out and start working on that. Exactly. So what happens next, right? They, they come there. What are, what are they finding in humanity centered and what, you know, what is the work that they’re doing their to have to help them address some of that?
Yeah. So we offer a five week live cohort, experience called the humanities centers, master class and within that experience they are put into what we call pod. So these are our small groups of other individuals who through a self-assessment. We helped design these pots that you were placed with individuals who are in a similar place to their Journey, as well as wanting some of the same outcomes of this journey of participating in this experience. And so they have those five weeks and going through this live lecture
Content that myself and my in the other facilitators are teaching. They have these moments, are they break into these small groups to unpack? Some of that work, they have these different homework assignments, that, you know, play Within that line of personal growth, as well as professional growth. And then after they are done with this five-week, live Dynamic experience, they then have access to the community center community and within that Community each month, we have a different theme. Those themes are influenced from research that we’ve done.
Done with the community about areas, where they want deeper dives into areas where they want more support. And, and within those months, typically we have a theme. We have, you know, a couple member chere outs, that are sharing. These are folks in the community who are just sharing back their work and we’re discussing it. So again, these many too many moments, we have these, these random meet up groups for other members to meet with each other. We’ll talk about a topic where you know, training and giving people
Was on, even just mindfulness and how to ground yourself and you’re feeling anxious, how to be more aware of yourself and what you’re bringing into this work. We bring a variety of guests. Webinar speakers to help us understand and unpack. What does it mean to be more holistically human centered in our work? How do we influence? How do we navigate? These capitalistic systems? We’ve had speakers like, Ellen, mcgirt, who is an award-winning journalist writes, the column race ahead.
Ed at Fortune. She’s also a member of humanity centered. We’ve had folks, like Sam Rappaport who’s one of the heads of diversity, equity and inclusion in the NFL sharing with us thoughts. Tips, strategies ideas on how to influence in capitalistic systems. So we have a mix of and then we have, we brought in other ux professionals as well to speak to the community. So we bring a mix of ux and ux adjacent voices to help us.
Develop a more well-rounded holistic approach to our work and to ourselves.
That’s awesome. That’s really, really cool, especially to hear. I mean, just like some of the folks that you have speaking there and I mean, really practicing what you’re saying. You want to bring into the world was like, well, we’re not just we don’t just have a ux or design leader type folks or people in that industry talking about this we really were really trying to do 360 and bring everybody in. I’m although I am curious you know because most of the people listening to our show, I would imagine are in ux ux research product management, kind of digital world in some way.
What’s the bullet list for them, right? Like what you’re fine because you’ve come from ux research. And so you again, you’re clearly the expert on this and so it’s if someone were to come to you and just go man, look, I’m trying to figure out how to do this. Well, you know, what do you what do you say to people? Like, how do you what’s the, you know what I mean? Like, what’s the bullet list the checklist of? Like, here’s at least how you get started and start
Doing this a little bit better in our in our field. Specifically, we say doing this better, well, I mean just you know kind of work it on your cell because I know a lot of things. Yeah. Yeah. You talk about too is like self care and then also being mindful about this. Like what would that checklist be? It’s just if somebody only had an hour to listen to a podcast at least get some tips from the expert. What would we? Yeah, well I’ll share this gem that my therapist shared with me. I am obviously Pro therapy. My therapist is great.
And I remember one day, she asked me. She was, like, who is viviane outside of what she can produce?
And I was like, what I think. I think that’s a really great question for people to start thinking about was like, who are you outside of what you can produce? And really, what that question does, is it starts to pick a little bit at that that tension between who you are as a person and who you are in relationship to your work?
And I think that’s really helpful because I think a lot of us tend to tie our value into work, our value into the, you know, set impact we’re having in our work. And I think that, that is a really good place to start to understand where you are grounded in doing this work. The other thing that I encourage people to do is just to take personal inventory. You know, what are the things that maybe brought light to you and excitement to you in the beginning of your career? That isn’t necessarily doing that. Now,
How, what does your self care regimen? If at all, look like, how has that changed over time? You know, what are your Stress and Anxiety triggers within work? And again, these are questions just to draw a greater sense of awareness of what you’re bringing into this work. How you’re relating to people in this work because until you can’t really understand how you relate to people until you have a deeper understanding of how you relate to yourself.
The other thing that I encourage people to do as well is, you know, to think about ways that we have made compromises and our work life and in the organizations that we work for. And again, I think to some point like we all have to do that but I think for some it’s probably cause a lot more harm or a lot more discouragement than they maybe had anticipated because for me, what I’m really interested in which Humanity Senator is interested in is, how do we see?
Or ux professionals folks, in Tech in a way where they can do this work in these capitalistic settings and not lose themselves.
It’s really hard to do especially when we are being tasked with being human, centered with advocating for folks. In these systems, that, if we’re being honest, don’t fully want you and us to acknowledge our Humanity. That might not be like the hottest selling point of working in these corporations. But I think once we start to get honest about the systems that we’re working in, we can start to get more clear on how we need support.
Ways that we haven’t been supported and changes in our boundaries and in our approach to working ourselves that we need to make. There’s a lot you just shared their several like really, really insightful points. I kind of want to go back and summarize a couple of them if I can just for folks listening. So the first one being, you know, as you talk with your therapist, the question you guys who are you? That’s not attached to what you what your outcome is or what you produce at work? Yes, really
Huge. I mean, honestly, just to consider how many people have actually stopped to ask themselves that recently and I can imagine even if you’ve died me, I, you know, even just seeing how you responded to that. Knowing that you think about this a lot, it’s still like, that’s got to feel pretty difficult to answer, sometimes, right? Even if you do this, if you think about this a lot. So that’s the first one. And the second one being kind of recognizing your role in where we are. I think being real about that. And again, it’s one of the
Zip. I to head for a long time, kind of had a real problem with, especially sort of towards where you ex went. I think we’re coming out of this curve. But for a long while there I saw, it becoming essentially, the next Industrial Revolution. Except in design, it was like everything was about you sort of operationalizing design and how can we do it more efficiently and greater scale with this quality. By there was less questions about are we doing the right things? Are we doing the right things for the right people and stuff?
Like that. And so looking at that system at the very least and going, I think there should be more to this. Maybe they’re, you know, that we’re not talking about and then
Yeah, checking in with yourself and looking at places where maybe you didn’t like that before. I think is the third one for me, you know, at least because there’s nothing you can do about that, but what it can do, what it can do sounds to, like, what you’re suggesting is help you identify moving forward. Exactly, since the places that you can be more mindful today. Tomorrow, you know, there’s nothing you can do about in the past but it’ll help you recognize that going forward. Yeah. And, you know, I think a part of that part of this work.
I’ve been doing I think part of hearing what the community has expressed what they want and need is it’s one of the reasons why we’re actually creating a new self-paced course called healing conversations a guide to overcoming unspoken hardships in the workplace. This course is going to be done in partnership with a licensed therapist. By the name of Jerel, he works for his practice called people wellness, and inside this course, you know, we’re going to be talking unpacking things.
Things like overcoming the pervasiveness and pain of moral injury in the workplace. Now if you aren’t familiar with moral injury, moral injury is the psychological and emotional harm that comes from working in systems and environments that violate your values or your conscience. I think a lot of people tend to what even though people may think that they’re experiencing symptoms of burnout, they’re probably experiencing more so symptoms of moral injury.
Now, we’ll be talking about in this course moving towards a a trauma-informed workplace unpacking unspoken conversations on diversity equity and inclusion. So things like performative allyship and gaslighting cultures and how does that influence the way that we relate to each other developing greater self awareness, and embracing empathy in our work and so on and so forth? And you know I think for me I’m you know I’ve recently exited out of corporate America.
And I think one of the things that came from that was actually before that actually took some time off from Corporate America. I took a little bit of leave because I just, I needed to heal and I needed to rest and one of the greatest things that I got from my leave, was Clarity clarity about what I’m passionate about clarity about, who I am outside, of what I can produce. But really, I got to taste
What it was like to operate out of Freedom, instead of fear, and I came to more clarity around my desire to help people and ux and intact who are unhealed. Like, I just feel like there’s so so many of us who are hurting. So many of us who have had really traumatic, unhelpful, workplace experiences, so many of us who come into this industry, wanting to help wanting to change.
You know, wanting to support things for the better and being stomped on being dismissed and they’re so there’s just so much unhealed. This, that’s a word that’s in the industry and Humanities Center wants to be a space where not only. You can start to heal and recover from that, but were you can flourish? And I love that idea of man. Like, like, what would it look like? What would it look like if instead of surviving or workplaces? We were able to really flourish and that
Me and that gets me going every day. That’s perfect. Because one of the things I wanted to ask you is fast forward to however, far in the future. From now, Humanity centered has accomplished, any of the goals, you’ve set out for it has become exactly what you wanted. You know, what does the world look like? Then what has changed and what has improved for you through what the work Humanity Center would have done.
That’s a great question. You know, I think the first thing that comes to mind is I want people to recognize the power of their voice and the step into it. I think, you know that we a lot of us work in environment and settings that really try to dampen your voice and the power of it. So I you know, I have a vision that you know, you have a wave of ux and Tech professionals who are more confident.
And using their voice and more willing to speak out on things that violate the ideals around being human centered apathetic and Equitable. I have a vision of a lot of you exit and folks, in Tech being able to then climb into these positions. These higher positions, with more decision-making, power to influence, these organizations at a larger level. I have a vision of just more accountability. I think I just
think that there is such a gross level of like the lack of account. The lack of accountability in this industry is it’s kind of mind-boggling. And so I think that I do think some so I do think certain leaders need to be held accountable. I think that there are certain ideas that we need to revisit and say hey we made growth and progress since since this idea was first put out and that’s fine. But let’s just let’s move on and start adopting that progress instead of holding on to what we think is going to make us relevant. I haven’t
Jen for just a new wave of voices who represent the communities and societies that were trying to serve. You know, when people think about ux leaders and they the name off the first five that come to mind that they’re not all folks in the majority like that’s the dream. And so I’m excited to support those professionals within Humanity centered and to support them on their educational professional and
Personal growth journey. I am so happy that I asked that and I got to watch you answer it and I feel really bad that we don’t show video on this because I just have to say, like, as you were answering that I really wish people could kind of see your reaction and how excited you were about that. Unfortunately, it’s only audio but I just have to kind of out for everybody to say like it’s really cool to hear you talk about like, you know, your mission and what you and what you want to do. I do want to bring it back to the one part about accountability. I’d love to learn. I’d love to hear a little bit more about
You know, just kind of, what’s the nitty-gritty there, what’s the details? Because I feel like a lot of us, it doesn’t matter who you are and how much you’re trying to be mindful about this stuff accountability to me is, it’s kind of a big deal and and I was just curious, if you could share some more detail, kind of what you have in the back of your mind on that. Yeah, I mean,
I think when it comes my gosh I mean the first thing that comes to mind is designed Twitter. What a trash fire. Like just a trash fire is designed Twitter and I think really, when we talk about design and Twitter, most of us are actually talking about like 10 people like the same 10 people who you know, debate the same frivolous things. So I think part of that accountability is not, you know, Fanning those flames, you know, people want to spout off the same.
Debates of like should designers code like why?
Like how is that adding towards like maturity gives us there’s been a fish to fry, right? Yeah, but it’s Twitter, right? So people engage with it and whatever and so I think one one one way accountability looks like in that is to just not engage that like it’s just there’s no purpose to it’s not beneficial to the community just like leave it. Be the other thing is like so for example was this June of twenty, 20 June July, when you know me
It was Bernie. I remember that there was this well-known ux publication company and they issued out a letter and it was a letter that you know dressing what was happening in the country but it wasn’t like they didn’t even mention racism. Literally didn’t even the word black didn’t even appear in there once and it was just this very like soft but like not addressing the issue type of letter and I
Bird tweeting about it. And at first, it didn’t get any traction, there’s a lot of folks from the majority who are praising it and it only started to get acknowledge and address by that publication company. Once I started tagging some of the authors and being like, hey, did you know that your publisher is issued this letter that actually doesn’t address any any of the problems that’s going on? So, like accountability there, I think sometimes we see things that we know it doesn’t look human centered. We
Now that it’s like very truncated but we just keep it to ourselves and again, that goes into using your voice and calling a spade, a spade. But also I think with accountability is giving credit where credit’s due, you know, and again, that’s that shit from relevance to maturity. So I remember reading an article that credited, this design leader with predicting that diversity Equity inclusion was going to be a Hot Topic in 20 in
auntie. And I was like, why is that leader getting that credit? That’s ridiculous because that’s definitely was being talked about by a lot of people way before that, and especially people who aren’t from the majority. And so just things like that where it’s like, you know, there’s enough, there’s enough Glory, there’s enough like praise for everyone to have some just just share it. Like it’s okay. You’re going to be okay if someone else also gets credit for work that they’re doing
Yeah, you know in the word you use frivolous debate. I think is I think is no better way to describe that when you kind of what goes on in some of that. And I have yet to really understand why that’s the case and I have seen it change and and you know, speaking of credit I have to say give credit to you and a number of other people you know who I sort of follow and I see kind of pushing that, you know, to chant account.
Refocus us on. Let’s talk about things that actually can help, you know. There’s I just feel like there’s so many things that go into why those frivolous debates occur. But I’m really the way, you know, that’s that’s the best way of saying is frivolous, you know. So it’s like if you’re in a place where you’ve got everything else sorted out and you’re looking for something to talk about, then let’s debate on whether or not designers should code but I don’t really feel like we’re there yet. So let’s bring up the conversations that should you know can really give us progress.
So to speak as opposed to rehashing the same old stuff. Exactly. It’s distracting, and it keeps us from maturity. Like, for me when I see those, obviously those same 10, 15 people, debate, frivolous things, I’m like, oh you don’t care about maturity, you care about relevance and you’re not my Ministry. Like, I’m not trying to like, you know, persuade you to to become more mature. If you are already bought into this pursuit of relevance, you know, there’s a lot of really great leaders.
Who are doing actual meaningful work in this space and I think we could just do a better job at highlighting some of those folks and, and the work that they’re doing. So, you know, like I think of creative creative reaction lab, they’re doing such incredible work in this space. And, you know, I think about like Tatiana Mac is another individual who’s always like pushing conversations on the on platform and actually using their platform to challenge the status.
Over some of these things and what would it look like if we actually tried to be more intensely human centered just try this try. Yeah, because I last last I’ll see you guys. I think a lot of people get hung up on others so much to do. This is something that’s going to take time and it’s like okay like we could say that but tell me how you’ve tried today.
Tell me how you tried this past week. I think a lot of people just get really stuck on the oh, there’s so much to do, I don’t know where to begin, tell me how you try to figure out where you should begin today. This week this past month this year. I think a lot of people use it as an excuse to cover their apathy, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And actually so such a good point too, in very relevant because obviously, you know, we’re still in a global pandemic.
I can we are not completely out of the woods on that yet and the reason I bring that up is because prior to that prior to covid happening in full swing, there was a lot of that there was a lot of. Here’s all the reasons why we can’t do that thing.
And in my opinion of all the tragedy that covid has caused, right? There’s a lot of good that will and he actually has already come out of that because it’s forced people to think differently and rather than come up with all the reasons why something can’t happen or why it’s too hard or this or that it has caused a shift in thinking from people. Like, let’s find all the ways in which we can do that, or at least try some of the things, you know? I have seen some of that and I really
The Silver Lining to all this is I’m encouraged that, you know, even some people, I know personally, I have seen a shift in their mindset which which suggests to me that people are willing to think a little bit differently moving forward as to. What’s not all just
What’s too hard or here’s the reasons, why not? Or it’s going to take a lot of time, you know, they’re starting to, they’re certain to be more opportunity minded, you know like possibility minded as opposed to being comfortable and your son. We had on the podcast, recently, mentioned specifically relevant to this topic that there is there is no change. There is no progress without discomfort and I feel like a lot of people were, you know, it was willing to acknowledge and
Through, that was actually Timothy Bard Levens. Who said it was an amazing. It was amazing thing. He said that I just
I would I would be interested in hearing somebody try and debate that but it’s just it’s extremely true. You give her, there will be no change without discomfort, that’s for the better or the worse, by the way. But we say we wanted to better. There’s no change without discomfort. And so, I think a lot of people are starting to at least see that we’ve got work to do. But, yeah, I mean, the only thing I were having that conversation, it’s like a few weeks or so ago about like, you know, the reality is people people say they want more diverse and Equitable, you know,
Experiences and want to be part of creating that they want to be part of that change. Well, people aren’t asking is, how much am I willing to suffer to see that be a reality like that? I get it. It’s not like, you know, a way to win over the masses but you want to talk about change at like a system, infrastructural level. How willing are you going to be the suffered for it? How willing are you going to be to push back, you know, in that meeting when you see that same person constant being
Elected, how willing are you to say no to decision that, you know, is going to cause harm and have to potentially deal with the consequences of that in your workplace setting because you said know how willing are you to challenge? You know, friends family and their ideologies outside of the workplace because you know that, you know, you’re able to understand the impact that has on experiences within the workplace. And so, yeah, I hundred percent agree and I think, you know, when it comes to 2020 in this pandemic,
I think that for folks in the majority specifically there came, this realization of you can no longer dichotomize the personal from the professional folks who are marginalized minorities you know, as a black woman in Corporate America. Like I’ve always known that like, I cannot dichotomize my personal life and my professional life. Like, that’s just it just bleeds over. But I think what 20/20 did was it showed people like, oh, like if
mine is experiencing suffering, oppression and Justice outside of the workplace that impacts the workplace is, when you have like this pandemic, that made people realize like, oh, like
you can’t dichotomize it to, and it made people more aware my greatest concern, though, specifically for folks in the majority is empathetic endurance.
You know, in June and July we saw a lot of book clubs. We saw a lot of kind of these like shallow promises from corporations. We stand with you know, X community that is you know, experiencing violence at the hands of white supremacy although they wouldn’t say white supremacy. So we saw a lot of that in June and July and right now I kind of want to be like, oh, how are y’all still in those book clubs?
How’s a taking initiative over your own Learning Journey still going? Is that is that still a thing? Or is it just it’s not a Hot Topic anymore? Like what’s happening? So yeah, yeah well and kind of getting back to your point, tell me what, you’ve tried even more relevant to the, to the point, we were just discussing show me the discomfort you’ve gone through because it’s nice to talk about this. It’s like to, I mean, listen, I will, I will add not acknowledge that. Recognizing,
This is a good first step and so I think we have seen a little bit more of that at scale. But yeah, you know, psych show me what you’ve done. Show me what you’ve tried. Should we were the discomfort was in Wind. Sort of what came out of that for sure? Yeah I mean I think a lot of people love to jump to Martin Luther King jr. Quotes things like that, you know, talk about John Lewis, these always civil rights leaders, those people suffered for change. Are you willing to? And I think that’s, that’s the real question that especially with in ux and design that we need to ask ourselves. Are we willing to
I suffer to advance more Equitable inclusive experiences.
Completely awesome. I’m looking at the time and I realized I got to be respectful of that for you. I know what we can chat a whole lot more about this but I have to be respectful of your time. I appreciate it. Here’s one thing I got it. I do though, with every guest I say, you know, if I got hit by a bus or a developed temporary Amnesia and somebody came up to you and said what was that conversation all about? How would you summarize the podcast? You know how would you answer that to somebody?
This podcast is about doing and beginning the personal work that’s required to do your best professional work. It’s about counting the cost of what does it actually mean to advance more inclusive and Equitable experiences within the workplace and the rest of society.
Awesome, awesome. Well like I said, I’ve really enjoyed the conversation and I really appreciate you coming on. We, you know, I do want to ask to is there anything that you want to share with folks that we didn’t specifically talk about in the in the episode? I, yeah, I mean I’ll say I mean we’re recording this right now it’s you know almost end of April. We do have our excuse me. We do have our made cohort, coming up, registration closes, I made
Seventh. We do, we will have another live cohort in September, but in the meantime, we do have a self-paced version of that Humanity centered masterclass. You can do that on your own time, and your own schedule, and we’re currently creating that course called healing conversations, a guide to addressing unspoken hardships in the workplace and that will be available probably end of jeunesse esch. And so we would love for you to check us out at Humana center.com.
I would love to have you join one of our life cohort experiences or sign up for one of the self-paced courses and join the community that way. Awesome. And we’ll make sure we have links to all that stuff. So, you know, if you’re listening to the show and you’re on the page, actually listening to that, just scroll down, we’ll have links to that in the show notes, and you’ll be able to find humanity Center. You’ll be able to find Vivian. She’s not all that difficult to find, especially if you just simply Google it. So awesome. You know, I just thanks again, really appreciate you, taking the time, really enjoyed the conversation and
And happy to have a chance to have you on as a guest, of course, thanks for thinking of me and giving me space to speak with you. I appreciate it. Awesome. All right, everybody will see you next time.
And that’s that.