Doing things my way

It’s been less than a year since I started sharing my journey and mission with live audiences, and I’ve never been more convinced of the need for voices like mine (and yours) to be amplified.

One of the reasons that I sit on “diversity” panels is because the audiences I’m in front of rarely hear words like slavery, racism, and discrimination used in this context. I’m not sure how else to have an honest conversation about the challenges facing business leaders today, so it’s an honor to hold that space.

I’ll also freely admit that I’ve had to temper my frustrations about this “diversity and inclusion” conversation with the fact that I hold a tremendous amount of privilege: I’ve had the luxury of stepping away from lucrative jobs and roles while building a life around work from which I can’t be fired.

Yes, we have corporate sponsors at Abernathy but nobody tells me what to write and publish. And yes, organizations book me to speak and facilitate workshops, but I’m not beholden to any company other than my own. I don’t take this freedom for granted.

Indeed, I’ve spent the past six years making a living in ways that allow me to speak and stand in my truth. I’ve left millions in revenue on the table because of how I choose to live my life, but what I’ve gained in the process has more than made up for it.

When I share my point of view with the world, I’m touting a perspective informed by a deep understanding of my own psychology, lessons learned from a wide array of successes and failures, and a first-hand look at the way in which ideas propagate among diverse networks and demographics.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.