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EPISODE 12
Striving for Inclusivity with Alyssa Hall

Alyssa Hall (she/her) is an African-American/Cuban woman and an inclusive business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs create businesses that are divested from white supremacy culture and patriarchal norms. She focuses on helping her clients unravel from the thinking patterns that aren’t serving them, while teaching them the tools to create an inclusive business. She’s a single mom to an amazing 7-year-old, is newly obsessed with HGTV and currently resides in Houston, TX.

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

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Discussed this episode:

  • Alyssa’s relationship with feminism
  • What DEI really means vs. what people often think it is
  • The alarming about-face on corporate DEI efforts since 2022
  • Don’t ask your melanated friend advice about DEI
  • Changing job titles to address changing consumer demand
  • Learning to put “cheese on the broccoli” (ie, meet customers where they are)
  • All businesses, no matter how small, benefit from inclusive coaching
  • The problem with believing in “high-value” clients
  • Challenging assumptions around pricing
  • Getting honest about who you can and cannot help with your work
  • What it means to do business better and more inclusively
  • Casting a vision for what’s possible in business
  • Colonized vs. inclusive leadership
  • The leaves vs. the roots of true change toward inclusive business
  • Walking your values even when it’s really, really challenging

Resources mentioned:

Learn more about accountability coaching with host Becky Mollenkamp at https://beckymollenkamp.com

Becky Mollenkamp:

Hi, hi, hi, thank you for being here, Alyssa, and for chatting with me today. How are you doing?

 

Alyssa Hall:

I’m doing good, how are you?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I am good. I’m excited to talk all things, inclusion, DEI, and whatever else comes up for us. But before we get to all that, I’m going to start with my first question always, which is, tell me a little bit about your relationship with the word feminist and or feminism.

 

Alyssa Hall:

It’s an interesting thing just because of the work that I do. And so whenever I think of the word feminist, I’m just like, I hope we’re using the most expansive way that this word can be used. It’s not a word that I just typically use in my daily language. So it’s usually I’m reading something or hearing something and I’m like, please let this be the type of feminism where we’re including all of the people. not just specifically focusing on cis straight white women. So that’s really what my relationship with that word is.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

If it’s not intersectional, it isn’t feminist, at least not as far as this podcast is concerned, so you can go ahead and turn off and move on if that is not the way you show up. Okay, so as we dig into this conversation around diversity, equity, inclusion in the business space, I’m hoping that you can start off by kind of giving us an understanding of what DEI really means in practice and what it ought to look like, what it really is, vs. what I think, and you probably have experienced, that many people may think it means. Kind of give me that dichotomy of what people think it is and what it really is.

 

Alyssa Hall:

I feel like traditionally, whether it be in the larger business landscape or even just us smaller businesses as well, when we think of DEI, a lot of times people just think of the D, the diversity. And so it’s just like, oh, yeah, there’s a mixture of people here, or I want a mixture of people here. Or even I have one or two people here that aren’t white, so I’m doing good. And that is literally, to me, I believe that diversity is an outcome. It’s not, you know, what we’re striving for. For me, I believe what we’re actually striving for is inclusivity and equity. So whenever I talk about this with clients, I, you know, it’s, it’s obviously the acronym DEI, but I kind of flip it over. I’m just like, first we got to talk about anti-racism. Then we have to lean into inclusivity so that you deeply understand people. Um, because inclusivity is another one that I feel like people have a very big misunderstanding about. It’s like, Hey, you’re here. That means I included you. And that’s not inclusion. That’s just diversity. Inclusion is a really intentional act. What am I thinking about? What am I changing to make sure that when you’re here? you get to have the exact same experience as someone who I may have actually been intentionally thinking of, right? And usually we only really intentionally think of people who are exactly like us. And that’s a normal human thing, by the way, like I am lactose intolerant. And so I’m always thinking about people’s dietary restrictions because I know that that’s what I suffer with. It’s just a normal human thing, right? So that’s inclusivity. And then equity. I feel like that’s, again, another one where it’s like people think of equality instead of equity. And equality would make sense if we’ve all had the same road to get here, then obviously everything would be equal. But equity is like, let us pay attention to where things may not be equal here, and that may mean that someone gets something a little bit extra. to allow them to be on an equal footing compared to, let’s give everyone the same thing, but no one is gonna be on that equal footing at the end of the day. So that’s how I describe all of it.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I like that you talked about footing because it brings to mind for me the best visual description I ever saw around equity versus equality, which was three people standing at a fence trying to peer over the fence and they’re all the same height. And one of them has like three boxes and can clearly see over the fence, right? And those three boxes could be like generational wealth or, you know, privilege based on a million other things, right? But so they’re standing on these boxes that allow them to easily see over the fence. And then other person has like one, so they can just sort of get their nose over the fence and kind of see, but it’s a struggle. And then someone else who has no boxes and there’s no way that they can see over that fence. And you could say they’re all equal heights. So they all have an equal opportunity to see over the fence, but the equity is about, we need to get, you know, everyone needs to have the same number of boxes or the number of boxes they need to be able to see over that fence, right? And some people are given more boxes they didn’t earn or do we need to get, they just were given those boxes. They can see over the fence. I love that foundation. Thank you for sharing that. And before we get into all of the meaty stuff you’re gonna talk about, I’m just gonna hit us with some stats that I’m sure you, these will not be a surprise to you, but I’m hoping for the listener, it will shed some light into like, where are our conversations going and why this is so important. And so I’m gonna start with the really good stuff, which is that diverse companies enjoy two and a half times higher cashflow per employee. Diverse management has been shown to increase revenue by 19%. And these are just certain stats I’ve found. There are so many studies out there, but I think they illustrate the point. Gender diverse teams and executive teams outperformed the less gender diverse teams. Three and four job seekers and workers prefer to work in diverse companies and have diverse coworkers. Those really just get to diversity. So we’re still just speaking to that who’s in the room, but it’s still talking about, you know, environments where there’s at least hopefully some effort happening here, right? And that there’s real payoff to that. But also, so now let’s get to the other stats, which is only one in four C-suite leaders is a woman and only one in 20 is a woman of color. And then in 2018, and this is where we’re about to talk here. And I think this is the stuff that you and I have already talked a little bit about. In 2018, less than half of companies in the S&P 500 had a Chief Diversity Officer. By 2022, three out of four had one, right? So massive increase in a very short period of time. So those positions, Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer kind of positions grew almost 200% from 2019 to 2022. But then, in 2022, so last year, depending on when you’re listening to this, one in three DEI professionals lost their jobs. That’s a turnover rate that was significantly higher than non-DEI workers. And chief diversity officers are currently experiencing a 40% higher turnover rate than any other sort of C-suite position. So as companies, especially in the tech sector are feeling some sort of economic crunch, these are the first positions that are going. And then there’s also just what’s happening in the world. In June, the wonderful governor, and I use that word very facetiously, of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a law that prohibits state or federal funding for our spending on DEI programs and public universities in Florida. He says DEI stands for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination. In February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered state agencies to stop using DEI programs in hiring. And in June, he also signed a ban on diversity offices in state-funded higher education institutions. And then of course, in late June, the US Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions. And there’s eight states that already had bans on race-based affirmative action. In case you don’t know, they are not all red states—California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and most recently, Idaho. And a Harvard study found that those bans in those states resulted directly in significant declines in the number of Black women, Latino men, Asian women, who are working in those governments in those states. And the number of white men in jobs in those states increased. So, Alyssa, there’s quite the stark contrast between the clear financial and employee morale. And I think there are other studies that also that talk directly about like clients and customer relations. And obviously that is related in the financial benefits of having diverse teams, inclusive teams, having a corporate commitment to these issues. And the contrast between that and then what’s happening post-2022, in the last year, where commitments to this, and funding for this, are dwindling. And there’s an environment that, like a political environment that’s really actively charged and trying to continue to destroy any gains that have been made here. So now I’ve talked a lot. I wanna give you an open floor to just sort of speak on everything I just shared, what you’ve been seeing happening and what you think that’s about and how you’re feeling right now about all of that.

 

Alyssa Hall:

It’s an alarming experience, I would say. You know, when you are just looking at, you know, the career that you choose for yourself in life, this was not my like first career, but it’s something that I, this is gonna sound so corny, I’m sorry, but it felt like, oh, this is what I’m meant to be doing. Right? And so I say all this to say like when we are normally picking careers, we also think about like the longevity of this career. Like how, how stable is this thing? Right? Like if I’m going to be a Vine influencer, Vine is now dead. Like we know there’s a lifespan to this compared to something that, um, creates growth in businesses. There is an assumption that, you know, this is, you’re, we’re going to need this for a very long time. Our company is, our country is very, very far behind when it comes to equity and inclusion. So it’s like, of course. Right. So I say all this to say like, the amount of us that are in this industry, that’s stat of one-third of DEI professionals losing their job. That is, I feel like it’s sometimes easy to look at things as just like numbers. And that number is also just startling. But even so thinking about what does that mean for that person’s day-to-day? What does that mean for that person’s continuous career trajectory? What is it now with the skills that they have with the career that they may even love, right? And to be saying like, we don’t value this at this point in time. We did too much in 2020, and we haven’t achieved a return on investment. So clearly this is not something that is important enough and it’s not working. So sorry. There are so many of us out here that know the impact of this work, but at the same time those DEI professionals in those corporate jobs, they were most likely not given enough of a budget to make the impact that they wanted. They were most likely not given enough data to really understand what changes needed to be made. They were most likely not given enough leadership capabilities to make actual change. So all of these things wrapped up together, adding on to the 2020 burnout creates what we’re experiencing today. And it sucks.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I will just add on to that to say Wall Street Journal, as we’re recording this, which is well in advance of when it will air, but did an article that where I got a lot of those statistics from, and one of the things that they mentioned also, that was responsible for some of that lack of ‘ROI,’ which I’m using all these air quotes around, is that not only were they not given budgets and directives and responsibilities, but often, not always, but often there was a scramble in 2020 to say, oh, I need to figure this out because suddenly I’m sort of being called out on this. So what happened was often promotion of someone of color. Was that someone who was actually a DEI expert? No, it was promotion of someone of color. So that’s another issue too of that idea of, well, diversity is just about who’s in the seat and not about experience or anything else. I wonder if that was something you experienced as well or you noticed.

 

Alyssa Hall:

You mentioning that is like just so poignant for me because I remember like in 2020 if we’re like, oh, bringing ourselves back to that time, the summer and maybe even the fall of 2020, people who did not have, you know, the luxury of having a DEI professional in their lives, their default was, let me ask my friend of color, right? And so I was begging people like, please don’t do this. Not every single person with a certain percentage of melanin in their skin is an expert in this. Not everyone who has a certain percentage of melanin in their skin wants to even talk about this, right? It takes a lot of the same unlearning that white people have to go through. We also have to go through unlearning and relearning because we’re all in the same society, we’re all in the same pool, right? So we don’t know what people do or don’t know just by basing it off of, okay, this is a melanated person, let me ask them, right? That was the first thing. And the second one was, during this time, I was binging an old show that I used to watch when I was a teenager. So I think it came out in the mid 2000s, it was called One-on-One. And there was an episode of the show where there’s a dad and a daughter. So this section of the episode was about the dad, and he was experiencing something in his office, and there was some racism, or his friend gained psychic abilities and was able to hear white people’s thoughts, and so, and so then they were able to find out that someone in the office was racist. Anyway, the entire episode, you know how these sitcoms end, 30-minute wrap up, good ending, the happy ending of the episode was that the boss of the news station, that’s where he worked, he was a sportscaster person, asked him, hey, can you lead our DEI talk? We’re gonna talk about unconscious bias. And I’m like, homeboy is a retired basketball player who is now a sportscaster. He is not a DEI expert. And that was supposed to be the happy ending of the show. And I’m just like watching this while I’m seeing everyone else go through this. I’m just like, this is exactly. why we are where we are because this is the practice that people have been doing for eons.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And as a white person, I saw that amongst my white peers of people sort of saying, well, I’ll ask my friend of color and I guess it’s okay, right? And if they say it’s okay now, it’s okay. And like, I just think of Candace Owens anytime that someone thinks I’m like, you don’t know if you’re asking a Candace Owens here, something like we need to be much more thoughtful about what we’re doing. and not making an assumption in the same way that I wouldn’t want anyone to assume that as a woman that I’m the same as Candace Owens, right? Candace Owens is a woman, but I don’t believe that we have the same beliefs or the same understanding about how patriarchy affects women, how racism affects women, all of these things. And so, yeah, I think it’s something for all of us to think about, where are we turning to for advice or for a thought about these subjects? And so I think it’s great that you address that as well. Now, I want to ask you about what you’re calling yourself now, because I’m not sure what you were actually calling yourself before, anti-racism consultant, I think and you’ve now moved towards calling yourself an inclusive business coach. And I’m wondering if some of the things that we just talked about influence that decision, what’s going on right now in the DEI space, if that’s influencing that, and what does that difference look like?

 

Alyssa Hall:

There’s two major things that have led me into this transition. The first one is exactly like you mentioned. It’s the fact that DEI, especially in the small business entrepreneur space, is seen as a nice to have. But in reality, it is fundamental to your business if you really want to maximize the people that you’re talking to. Like just talking about inclusive marketing alone, I just think of people who are like, you know, doing their regular marketing and then they go and they hire a Facebook ads person and then they, you know, spread their message on the Facebook ads, but they’re still only talking to a specific subsection of people because they only know how to talk to middle-class white people. Compared to if we rewound and we did inclusive marketing, now that is groups and groups of people that you didn’t even realize that you had the capability to help, that you didn’t even realize that you weren’t speaking to. And now when you actually do your marketing, you’re maximizing on all of that. And the same thing with the Facebook ads, you’re maximizing on all of that. So that’s one thing is that the misunderstanding of the cornerstone that anti-racism and DEI actually has in business success. But then the other piece that was mildly frustrating was that I would tend to have clients at times who had like a big-name business coach at the same time as working with me, which is perfectly fine, but the big-name business coach was not doing inclusive things. They were doing the things in the way that we’ve all been taught to do them, which is very exclusive. And so when I would tell a client, hey, let’s do XYZ, they’d be like, oh, I can’t because my business coach will be mad at me if I do that. And because I have to do things this way instead. And I’m like, well, girl, then why are we here? Why are we here if we’re not here to change things? Right. And it could be something as I’ve had numerous, like conversations with the people about things like payment plans, like something to me, as simple as payment plans has to be a whole rigmarole. And most likely not even happen because their business coach tells them that they’re going to have a better quality of people if they do pay in fulls only. And that it’s going to be a lot easier and more streamlined and simple and better if they do pay in fulls only compared to, hey, it’s more equitable and you’ll actually be able to serve more people if you have an equitable payment plan. So it was both of those things together. And just understanding the fact that I have a child that I need to feed. I am a single mom and I’ve, the last year and a half of seeing this steep decline has caused me to like really evaluate myself and the work that I’m doing and whether or not this path is going to allow us to remain stable and it hasn’t. And so it’s like, how can I still do the work that is deeply important to me? But you know. feed the broccoli with some cheese on it so that y’all can open your eyes and see what it actually is.

 

Becky Mollenkamp (she/her):

I love that, feeding the broccoli with the cheese on it as a mom. I can also relate to that. And while it can be like a bit of a, oh, to hear that like, oh, I have to have it with cheese. I think there are many people, you know, depending on where you’re at on your journey of unlearning all of this stuff. And like you said, when you’ve got the business advice that’s out there, the traditional stuff that’s telling you that anything else is wrong, except for these more exploitive kind of ways of showing up, then sometimes we do have to, I suppose, put some cheese on the broccoli. I sometimes struggle with that. And I need to remember that I need to put more cheese on the broccoli probably sometimes too. That can be hard, because it can feel like a compromise. It can feel, I don’t know, it can feel really challenging. Was there an internal battle on that of you feeling like I don’t want to, compromise is the best word I can think of, but kind of compromise who I am and how I show up or. ‘dumb it down,’ quote unquote. Like, I shouldn’t have, I guess there’s this feeling of like, I shouldn’t have to. And yet, you’re right, we all like, we all have bills to pay. So what was that struggle like for you?

 

Alyssa Hall:

Where this first came up for me was I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. If you’re in the DEI world, it’s called DEI After 5 and the host’s name is Sacha Thompson. And this one episode, she was talking about how in the corporate space, she has rebranded herself and she doesn’t use the language of DEI to describe the work that she does anymore. What she brought up on the podcast was like, you need to sit here and ask yourself, are you here to do the work of DEI, or are you here for the title? And that really sat with me because in all of my moments of frustration, the most frustrating thing that has always been like annoying to me, it’s very annoying to me, but it’s also like well-intentioned. I’m not mad at y’all. But what has been annoying to me is always like, I will talk about the work that I do, or I’m selling, or I’m doing this or that, and I just, all I get is just, oh my gosh, your work is so important. And that’s it. And it’s like, girl, I can’t do the work if no one’s hiring me. So it’s cool. It’s important. I’m glad you believe that it’s important. But if I’m just sitting here in my home, not doing anything, then the important work doesn’t get done. And if the only response that I’m getting from 50 million people is, it’s so important, that’s so great, then it’s frustrating. So I took that with what Sacha was saying, and I was just like, the only way that my work will get done is if people hire me. So I need to get people to hire me.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Many of our listeners are not going to be C-suite folks. These are founders who are running maybe mid-size or definitely small size, even solopreneur kind of teams. And so make that argument about why inclusion. And I know you started talking about marketing specifically, but what are all the areas of your business, especially if you are a team of one or a team of very few, what are all the parts of your business that we don’t always think of, that we should be like looking through this more inclusive lens?

 

Alyssa Hall:

This is something I get all the time where people are just like, yeah, well, once I start hiring people, then I will hire you. And I’m like, you don’t need to have a team of anybody, it’s just you. And I almost kind of look at it through the lens of customer service work, where it’s like people often think of DEI as like the stuff that’s going on in the business. And what I need people to transition it to thinking about, especially if you are a very small business or if you’re a business of one, but especially if you have a business where you’re like coaching or consulting, you are doing deep one-on-one work with a person, you are the reason why this DEI work needs to be done. We need to make sure that you understand deeply and to the sufficient level how to speak to clients who don’t look like you, who have marginalized backgrounds and who are often not thought about, you need to understand what does it mean when I’m talking about this particular issue, but how can this issue look a little bit deeper for somebody else? What am I missing here that I actually have the capability to address, right? I think a lot of times people just often think about like really large societal things, like, oh, well, I’ve never experienced racism, so I don’t know how to help A, B, C, D person. And it’s like, that’s not always what’s, what’s going on. It’s about understanding how does this person’s intersectional identity affect the way that they are experiencing the problem that you are saying that you help people solve. What does that look like for them? And also another just big important thing that I don’t think I’ve spoken enough about, um, that I literally like just made a post about today is gatekeeping. A lot of times we don’t realize when we’re gatekeeping. A lot of business owners don’t notice the fact that if you know, I see especially like with business coaches when they have like a mastermind and they’re like showing all the people that enrolled in the mastermind or all the people who quote unquote graduated from the mastermind and they all look the same. Gatekeeping is what has created the inequities that we see today. So if the only people who are able to receive the magic that you bring are the same people that look like you, then you are, in essence, continuing to create that inequity and that imbalance. Those are just some of the main things that come up for me, like I said, like marketing, working with clients. even just like being an example of what it looks like to have a business that doesn’t have to play by white supremacy culture’s rules because one of the foundational tenets of it is only one right way and if we’re all only doing the one right way then no one else knows oh maybe I can do payment plans and my business won’t implode.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

That one right way is like the one white way, right? Like I think it’s the one cis male white way. Yeah, and to challenge that, but it can feel really scary challenging those norms because when you do, which is, that’s what this podcast I hope is all about. Like this is my mission is for people who are saying, Wherever you’re out on this journey, even if it’s like, I’m just beginning to say, oh, all of my clients do look like me. And maybe I’m the reason, like maybe there’s a problem here and with me that I need to address, right? Wherever you’re out on the journey or you’re much farther along on that journey and you have a client list that doesn’t look just like you or your customer base is not just like you and you are doing more things, but you wanna keep doing better. Wherever you’re at on that, it can feel really scary. and lonely to go against that one right way because everything that you’re hearing in most spaces is reaffirming these other, these business best practices, quote unquote, as they call them, right? And if you feel like you’re trying to do something different, it can feel very scary and lonely and challenging. And I’m gonna be honest, in my experience, and maybe yours, it can be more difficult, right? You can be going, when you’re going against the stream, you are swimming twice as hard or more, right? And it can be really difficult. It isn’t always as easy to get clients when you’re not lying to them, or using manipulative tactics or whatever those things are. So yeah, it isn’t always easy and it’s scary. And that’s where having support in that process can be really valuable to make sure you’re doing things, not the right way, but a way that is not only better, but also works, which is what I’m hearing your work is really about.

 

Alyssa Hall:

Yes, yes, and just really quick to another thing that I just realized tends to come up sometimes too, where it’s like, oh well, you know, my clients are diverse in how they look. And I think we also wanna like look a little bit deeper. Like a few months ago I was looking at this job because I’m also getting my, what is it called? I’m getting my real estate license as like a side thing. And there was this real estate brokerage that I was like, oh, okay, I think I might be interested in working in them. They were, oh my God, they were so exhausting. Because it was like, when you think of just like, there’s gonna be a word for it, but I don’t know what it is, but like happy hipster Brooklyn people. Everyone was a different shade of colors, right? But the type of people that were there were all the same. And when I was watching the videos of like, oh, come work with us while I was like, oh my God, can I remove my application? I will be so emotionally drained being around all of these people and this is not my vibe at all. And so I say that to say even, and the owner of that company was a, I think she was a lesbian white woman. And so with her, You know, with her one marginalization, she was like, I want to make sure that people have a place where they can be themselves. But is being themselves actually being themselves? Like would I fit in there? Abso fucking lutely not. Being themselves in her eyes was what she couldn’t do when she was in corporate. And so we’ve made the safe space for the people that are still like her. Does that make sense?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Because right, it’s not just how we look. That’s, I think, the easy way out on the language around it, which is why I think, you know, I use it and we use it sometimes. But it is about thinking about all of the ways that we show up differently in the world, which goes well beyond how we look. You know, I also manage anxiety. I also am a hardcore introvert. I’m also a mother who has a lot of caretaking responsibilities. There are plenty of other people have many other things that go outside of the, you know, gender race class, like some of the, the higher level protected classes, but are so very important around ability, around size of our bodies, you know, around just the way we interact, communication preferences and, and things like that, that I think what I’m hearing you say is all of that. If we’re truly concerned about creating an inclusive space, whether that’s for our teams or for our customers, right? To call in folks who will feel comfortable, that it goes well beyond just checking off those like legally protected boxes that we have to do so that we are, you know, safe in that way, right? It’s thinking more holistically about how, the truth is every human is very unique. And has their all these their own little checkboxes. And how do you create spaces that feel, I don’t know how you feel, but I don’t love that term safe because of all of the reasons it’s been misused, but that feel like they are a space where you can be a safer space for people.

 

Alyssa Hall:

It’s not about like, can we move one degree away from corporate, which is another thing that I feel like a lot, especially entrepreneurs think about, that is still only creating a safe space for the people that fit into the one degree away from corporate. It’s more so, how do we create a space where everyone can just be their full selves? without it having a negative repercussion. That is literally it.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah, and if you don’t have a team yet, that still means what are you doing so that you’re calling in and allowing, you know, being able to hold space for or be with or provide services to or products to folks of all types so that everyone feels comfortable interacting with your brand. I mean, there are certain brands that do not care about this and that’s fine. You’re probably not listening to this, but I’m hoping if you’re here listening to this because you do care about that. You’re not trying to create an exclusive sort of brand. You’re thinking about how do I create an inclusive kind of brand? And that means that it needs to be something that everyone can feel like they are being welcomed to be a part of, right? And that I think the marketing piece is important, but there’s so many other things, just thinking about client relations too. And you mentioned pricing, that’s a piece of that. But I think our language is so important because something I hear, this isn’t necessarily language that we’re using with our customers, but it’s going to translate in how we’re messaging and showing up with our client base. I hear so much in peer circles, people talking about, I want to work with higher-end clients. I want to, you know, I want to work with people who can pay. And there’s a lot of language that is either, subtly or not so subtly coded, that is very clear about being exclusive in ways that are not, I mean, I don’t know that exclusive is ever great, but that are, these are really like, I think very problematic kind of exclusive language. And so I think part of that invitation too is to think about that if I’m hearing you right.

 

Alyssa Hall:

There is this one meme that every once in a while it keeps popping up and it makes me want to just like tear my eyeballs out every single time I see this meme. It gets me so angry. It’s like, your $500 client is asking you, oh well is this going to change my life and blah, blah, blah, all these other questions. But then your $50,000 client, all they say to you is invoice paid. And then it starts a whole classist-as-fuck argument, not even argument actually, because the people who post this, they all believe this. So no one is arguing. It’s usually just me on the other end of the screen, frustrated. They’re just like, yeah, I know, oh my gosh, this is why I raised my prices. This is why I don’t charge below, blah, blah, blah. And it’s just like, there are so many other confounding variables that you’re choosing to ignore because instead, you want to believe the classist notion that a person who has more money is a more valuable client, is a more serious client, all of these different things when in reality one of the things I tell people is like that $5 ebook that you’re selling, are you selling it with your full chest in the same way that you’re selling your $50,000  mastermind? You’re most likely not. You’re most likely selling the $5 ebook as like oh yeah here’s this cool little thing enjoy. And then obviously, depending, and a lot of times these little things have like the grandest titles, make five clients in 50 days with this $5 ebook. So if I buy the $5 ebook and I don’t make the five clients 50 days, I will be upset. You, you raised my expectations for this nonsense thing compared to the $50,000 thing that you’re selling and you are so meticulous and really getting this specific people who it’s actually for, of course your client is going to be more chill when they’re paying the $50,000 invoice.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And I don’t think this is to say, and you tell me what you think, but I don’t feel like this is to say you can’t have a $50,000 whatever, or that everything has to be $5. I don’t think that’s the argument we’re making here at all, but I think when you start to talk about pricing and getting into nuanced discussion, that’s where I think people go as a defense mechanism, I believe, but they go right to this like, well, I should be able to charge whatever I want or what I’m worth, which is gross language also. all of these things. And I don’t think it’s about that, right? It’s not saying you can’t have different pricing or offer different things, but it’s really thinking about how you’re talking about those things, how you’re showing up with those things, who you’re targeting and what you’re thinking about those, the people that you’re targeting and all of them. But I’d love to hear a little more about what you think about that, because I can feel inside of me, based on previous interactions with people, that some folks listening to this might think, well what is she saying? I have to only offer like I have to offer my mastermind for $5. I can’t that’s ridiculous

 

Alyssa Hall:

The key thing, if you don’t walk away with anything else from this podcast, just walk away with this, make it make sense. That is, I feel like the main thing that I am asking of people because this idea of charge your worth or even honestly charge what the transformation is. The transformation could be worth $50 million. It could be worth $50 million to take someone who is on the street living in their car and helping them create a business that yields a revenue of a million dollars a year. That’s a $50,000 transformation. Do they have the $50,000? No, but I use that drastic example because I’m not trying to say undercut or undervalue the work that you do. I’m saying make it make sense for the person you’re talking to. There may be people who are sleeping in their car who can do the 50, the whatever million dollar thing that you’re doing, but it’s because they already have systems of privilege that are behind them. They may have, you know, a house that they just sold and they’re just waiting to find a better house. They may have Uncle Billy Bob Joe who just died yesterday and left them all of this stuff. They have generational wealth and stability, right? I feel like a lot of times we are expecting our clients to jump over these hoops in order to work with us because it’s so important, but not everyone has all of these systems in place. So if you’re going to talk to a business owner at the beginning of their business, make it so that the pricing makes sense to where they are.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And a little piece I think I also hear and that I would just add is challenge your assumptions. I think really looking for where are you making assumptions about who can afford something, what someone can afford, who this person is that you’re talking to or that you need to talk to. And where are you making some assumptions that you don’t yet have any evidence around, right? Because I think we do that very often, especially when this getting to your ideal client avatar and all of that that’s out there, which I, you know, it can serve a purpose and niching down and like so many of these traditional things that we learn inside of that there often is, even if it’s not spoken, there is these assumptions that come up with that around who that person is or has to be or should be and what they would want and what they can afford and who the person is that can afford this thing and what they wanna hear. And so I think just looking for where am I making assumptions, and challenge those for yourself. Maybe they bear out as truth and that’s fine, but have you ever really sat down to challenge some of those assumptions you’re making around your ideal client, around your product, around your pricing, around your messaging? Because I bet a lot of us haven’t.

 

Alyssa Hall:

Right. And, you know, even giving a like real-life example of like this program that I will whine about until the end of time. The program was for coaches who have made $20,000 in their business. That’s the barrier to entry to be qualified. And the outcome of the program, from what I’m understanding, it was to help them get to a revenue of $200,000 in their business, but the cost of the program was $20,000. And so we have to think about what does a person have to have in place if they’ve only made $20,000 in their business to be able to pay for a $20,000 pay-in-full program? What are all the things that they have to have in place? And looking at the roster of the program, it was never very diverse. And the people of color that were in there that I knew of, they all had a previous professional background. They used to be doctors, they used to be lawyers, they used to be nurses, and they were all older. So they’ve had, you know, my lifetime of work experience to be able to gain savings and equity and all of these things to be able to do something like that. And so compared to myself at the time, I think I was maybe 27 and I was a single mom for two years already. And so it’s like, okay, well that program will never be for me. But it’s quote unquote for every coach who has, you know, made the $20,000 and you know, blah, zay, blah, zay, blah. So then that’s where that gatekeeping conversation comes back in.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I see that too. So challenging those assumptions around arbitrary numbers or barriers as well because I see that all the time where I’ll see programs that have some arbitrary barrier around, oh, this is only for six-figure earners or seven-figure earners or whatever it might look like. And whether, you know, maybe I’m close or I’m just there. And some of those programs, I might meet the barrier and it’s not for me, but that was the only, that was basically it. It was just, if you’re a six figure earner, then this is for you. Or some other program that I think every bit of that speaks to me and where I’m at, because I’m at a certain point in years, I’m old, and I’ve been in business a long time. And maybe I haven’t, don’t hit that threshold for whatever that earning is, but everything else about that program speaks exactly to the needs I have. And because of this one arbitrary barrier that we’ve made an assumption around, we are excluding a whole group of people that could be our ideal folks and who might help make our program not be so homogenous. Right? And so what are those barriers that we’re putting in that are then, because of what I will hear often from a lot of my peers in the business space is like, I don’t understand why my client base. is so homogenous. I don’t understand why I’m not attracting more of a diverse audience or folks who again not just around look different than me but have different ways of showing up the world than me. Why is all of my clientele or whatever so like me? And I will also then hear them chalk it up to like well it’s because we just attract the people who are like us. Maybe. And are you doing things that maybe you don’t even recognize that are creating these barriers that are telling people, subtly or not so subtly, this person doesn’t understand someone like me, doesn’t want someone like me, I can’t be safe around, like that person threatens my safety. And so we have to really look at that because if you are somebody who’s sitting there saying, boy, my client base or my customer base looks and shows up in the world, you know, has a very similar life experience to mine, and why?

 

Alyssa Hall:

Mm-hmm. Oh my God, I’m like trying to not like jump through the screen because, you know, one of the things that you mentioned too of just the arbitrary quote unquote barriers to entry for the program that aren’t really as important as maybe other things, that’s an inclusivity piece that I talk about with my clients all the time. And this is a moment where it’s like, y’all need to get very clear. And this is possibly a moment where you have to be exclusive when you’re thinking about who is this program actually for? What is this, who is this curriculum actually for? What does this person actually have to have experienced? And then we can broaden it out and be inclusive and say, now who has experienced that? Who am I missing? Who has experienced that? Cause I’ve also been in a group programs where it’s, like you said, it’s like, you have to be at this point in business and it may be, it’s literally perfect for me and I’m having the best time of my life, but the other half of the people that are in the program are so far behind me. And it’s a frustrating experience because I’m wasting my time that I paid for listening to people get coached about things that I already been through two years ago. So I don’t need to be here, but we’re all in the same program. So that’s also for me an inclusivity piece because Now, when I’m getting coached, they’re feeling left behind. And that’s something I saw all the time. They don’t feel like they belong. And then the coach would have to coach them through why they supposedly belong in the room. But in reality, they actually don’t because they’re not there yet. So that’s just another thing too.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah, no that’s so great because so often it’s about, all money’s good money. Folks, I can see get caught up in that, and then you’re bringing people into a room that you’re not, that shouldn’t be there, that aren’t ready to be there, that aren’t right for that space. And now you’re causing harm to that person, right? It’s not just about it being wrong or a hindrance or whatever. It’s also often you’re now causing harm. And that is very problematic too. So I love you brought that up. I want to talk about your signature program, I guess is what we would call it, Do Business Better. And I love that name because I keep talking about this podcast being for people who want to do business differently and better. So tell me what you mean when you think about doing business better, what does that mean to you? And like, how is this, is that reflective of your thinking now of kind of going beyond traditional DEI or anti-racism and thinking of this larger idea of inclusive leadership, inclusive business?

 

Alyssa Hall:

When I think of Do Biz Better, it’s really about how can we do it without using the same rule book? I think somewhere on my sales page, I wrote, I don’t remember who this quote is by, but the quote is essentially ‘the master’s tools will not undo the master’s house.’

 

Becky Mollenkamp (she/her):

I believe that’s Audre Lorde.

 

Alyssa Hall:

Thank you. Thank you. Yes. And that is essentially the foundational thinking between like with this program. It’s yes, you can have a successful business. Yes, you can do all of the amazing things, but we don’t have to keep repeating these tools that are creating inequities. We can use new tools, new ways of thinking and focus on that and still have a successful business. And in reality, all of this stuff is really already what I was doing. but I just didn’t put the cheese on top of the broccoli. So now the challenge is like, okay, how do I talk about these things that are talking about removing white supremacy culture from your business, removing the patriarchy’s norms from your business? These are things that we all say that we care about, but if we’re continuing to repeat the things that create the inequities, then we’re not really doing our part. And I feel like as business owners, I feel like we all have a responsibility as people who are just in positions of power. And that’s where that inclusive leadership comes in, where even if you are a business of one, you’re a leader because you are seen as someone with power and influence solely because you have a business. And that’s just how this world works right now. And so we need to, you know, like in Spider-Man, ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ We need to really own that and be intentional in the way that we’re building our businesses. So it walks through, you know, marketing, program creation, all of the basic things that we learn about in business through like from the very beginning stages, even inclusive, not inclusive, even ideal client avatars. We do that too, but we are like, what are the different versions of Sue Becky who goes to Starbucks, in her Kia and her favorite drink is the whatever the hell. What are the different versions of that person? What is actually important in regards to what I need to be an ideal client? These are the things that we’re doing, but now through an inclusive lens.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Can you cast a vision for me? Your vision, it doesn’t have to be ‘right.’ It doesn’t have to be the vision, but your vision. Because this is something I love doing in spaces that I’m in with other folks who are like saying, let’s challenge these norms. Because I know that I tend to be a person who can get very clear on what I don’t want. I don’t want it to be this, let’s not do this, right? And I think that’s often what happens in a lot of these spaces. And I’ve been challenged by others, and now I’m getting more excited about this idea of what do I want. So when you think for yourself of this vision of what does inclusive business, an inclusive economy, like what is what is your vision for what business can be and you hope will be?

 

Alyssa Hall:

This is honestly just the vision that has driven me since the beginning of this work and just every single day, especially when things get hard. It’s just imagining people like me who just want to do the thing that they want to do. Like the young Black woman who has dreams of creating a successful business and, you know, living her best life, living the soft life, whatever it is that people are doing right now. Having the tools to be able to do so and not having to jump through hoops to have to get there, or not even knowing that certain things exist, or even the person who hires a particular coach for them to just have a really amazing transformational experience, right? And not have to feel like they have to hold themselves back. I’ve been in the business coaching programs. Group programs, that’s another thing. If you have a group program, immediately this work is absolutely essential. It is essential. I’ve been in groups where I know that someone else in that exact same group has a lot of prejudiced thoughts because I’ve experienced that person before. And so when it’s my turn to be coached about a thing that is deep to me and is making it difficult for me to, you know, do business, whatever, I’m holding myself back because I’m just thinking about being judged by that person. And that is affecting my experience of the program. These are all just everyday things, even just trying to find coaches that understand my particular experience. It was years before I was able to find a dietician who understood why thinking about eating healthy, quote unquote healthy, was a trigger for me until I found this one person. And then from that one person, I was able to find other people, but it should not be this hard for us to be able to do basic everyday things and get through it unscathed as it is for everybody else.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Harm and safety, right? It’s about this vision I’m hearing is like, it’s like it’s something simple that we know is not easy, but it sounds so like, of course. A world in which a business world in which people can interact with businesses without being harmed and where they can create businesses without so many barriers. I think that’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. Okay, I wanna talk about some more sort of nitty gritty stuff with you that if that’s okay for just a little bit here Because a term I hadn’t heard until I was, you know, perusing your social media in advance of this call and getting myself ready was colonized leadership. I mean, I’ve heard a lot about colonized businesses and all of that, but specifically around leadership. I loved that, you know, you were talking about it with. in that term. And since I know you’re doing a lot around like inclusive leadership, I wonder if you don’t mind sharing a little bit just for those of us who, you know, for people who have teams or are showing up, even if you’re not on a team and you’re not a leader in that way, showing up as a leader in a community, but everyone is a leader in some way in some part of their life. So what is that difference between a colonized leader or colonized leadership and an inclusive leadership?

 

Alyssa Hall:

When I think of colonized leadership, I really, honestly, it’s just traditional leadership. And it’s really understanding where that leadership, where those rules, where those tools, where do they all come from? Right? When we think of even just one right way, the idea of one right way made it so that white people were able to come here and look at all these beautiful, different indigenous groups of people and say, we’re the only people that’s actually doing life correctly, they’re actually not. And we have to believe that this is the only way to do life correctly. And once we tell everyone that this is the only way, then we can take their land and tell people that they don’t even deserve to be here, right? That is the true foundation of colonization, and it’s also a core foundation in so many different forms of leadership. And even in influence type of situations, right? Like I’ve seen so many business owners who feel like their one way of doing a thing is the best way. There’s no room for error. There’s no room for anything, right? That is just one thing. Another one is also, you know, like perfectionism, right? If we feel like the only way that we are worthy of things is if we are perfect. then we can make it easier to not help a person because we have to say that they just need to try harder. And how does that show up? That shows up all the time when it comes to just racism and bias, we say that certain groups of people aren’t being perfect, therefore they don’t deserve any sort of support, help, anything. Like these are things that are very normalized in the way that we have been taught to either be led or become leaders and we need to understand that so that we can break away from it.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I love that because I get so frustrated. And I definitely think that was part of my own, like, unraveling a lot of what I had learned in the business space and trying to redefine what that looks like because I’ve seen so many. coaches and consultants and strategists and whatever, influencers and all the other people who are trying to say, who are trying to sell their one way of doing something. Like here’s your three-step formula, here’s the thing. And they talk about it to say like, this will change X, Y, Z for you. And their proof is often because it works for them. And then there’s no acknowledgement around the, going back to our earlier discussion around the, you know, boxes and the fence. There’s no acknowledgement or discussion about the boxes that they had that helped them, that helped allow this thing work to work for them that you may not have. Right. There’s no, you know, I go back to one thing that I got very irate about two years ago or something at this point, Russell Brunson from ClickFunnels, this whole thing about people like basically being lazy if they aren’t working as hard as him or whatever. It was super frustrating because he has something like five kids, don’t quote me, I can’t remember now, but he has a bunch of kids and a wife who, from what I understand, doesn’t work outside of the home. She works her ass off inside the home with those kids, but he doesn’t talk about the support he has in caretaking to make it so that he can have the schedule where he gets up at 4 a.m. to work out or whatever the hell it is. I mean, you can replace Russell Brunson for many other mediocre white men that are sharing the same stuff, but this one after another who are saying, here’s my formula, here’s the way you get successful. You fall, you know, it’s my morning routine that’s gonna do it for you or my whatever, right? Without saying any of the other things that allow them to get there. You know, he had rich parents who helped him get through school. He has a college degree, many people don’t. The fact that he had, you know, financial support from parents, the fact that he has somebody to take care of his kids, it’s like all of these things. All of that is what I’m hearing you say is like, this is that colonial kind of mindset of like, my way is the right way without examining like, why was it right for me? Was it because it’s the right way or because it’s right for somebody who has all of the benefits and advantages and privileges that I have? It’s a good question to ask yourself. And I think it goes, but where I also, what I think might be even a little more interesting and nuanced is another way I see this sort of showing up or that I’ve been in, I’ve noticed a bit is that idea of the master’s tools that quote, I also see people who have varying marginalized identities sort of saying, I’m just gonna take that colonial mindset and I’m gonna use it to sell my new way, right? But then now this makes it okay, like it’s better because I’m the one who’s now benefiting, someone who looks like me and it’s yes, this like feels like a yes and. Yes, I would never say that anyone who has any historically oppressed identity should not be getting more wealth. Yes, I love it. And reproducing the game,like just taking the colonial mindset and putting to use for yourself. Is that really any fundamental change? And so I think that’s sort of and I see you wildly agreeing. So I want to hear what you’re thinking.

 

Alyssa Hall:

This is a conversation that my best friend and I have all the time. All the time because it is deeply frustrating and on a personal level as someone who is African-American and Cuban, it’s also hurtful, right? Because what we don’t realize is in order to use a lot of these tools, there are certain mindsets that need to be in place in order for those tools to be repeatedly used, right? So what is it that you, what are the beliefs that you have about other people who don’t have all of these structures and systems behind them that you are now bringing into the thing that you’re doing? You’re not making change, you’re just being another person. Like there’s a lot of conversation about, you know, all of our favorite Black billionaires, right? The Rihanna, the Jay-Z, the Beyonce. what had to be in place in order for them to become billionaires? And so by them being the face of it, does it change anything systemically? Not really, actually. And if we’re here for systemic change, and not just individualized change, which is another colonial thing, right, individualization compared to the other other one, community, whatever, these are things that make that person, to me, feel like I am unsafe to be around them. And there’s a saying like all, like what you’re talking about with Candace Owens, right? All skinfolk aren’t kinfolk. But we have to repeatedly tell ourselves that so that we can move through the world in a safer way and not just assume that this person looks like me so therefore they see things in the way that I do. When in reality, you know. shit’s hard and they may be using these colonized tools. Yeah, I could go on and on.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I believe there is no ethical billionaire. You can’t be a billionaire and be ethical. I just that for me is a hard-sought period. Agree or not? I believe that. And I also recognize that it is not this is not my sphere to be critiquing anyone who has an identity that I don’t hold and anyway saying they shouldn’t have wealth. I absolutely believe that more wealth in the hands of folks who are not white, cis, het, you know, all of that men is good. But I think it’s really also very valuable for us to sit and explore, is it the answer? And is the answer what you’re getting at, and I think where I’m trying to come back to is this idea of around colonial leadership. Where are you just recreating the wheel? Where are you trying to use the master’s tools? Because it doesn’t work. It doesn’t, there’s no freedom in that. That is not substantially changing anything for the collective and that if it isn’t about the collective, then does it, is it anything that actually, to me it certainly isn’t feminist it isn’t intersectional feminist it isn’t about equity. And so I think for people to sit with that idea around colonial leadership, colonial business tactics, all of that to ask yourself where am I just recreating the wheel? Where am I just taking what I what others are doing and trying to make it like. work for me because then it’s still really only about you and is that ethical.

 

Alyssa Hall:

Right, right, and that’s the question about white feminism too, where it’s like, are you doing just one degree away from what the mediocre white men are doing and you just retweaked it for yourself? Or have you changed the entire structure?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yes, yes, because that’s that proximity, right, and being able to hold on to those pieces of power. And that’s what a lot of that feels like to me is like, how do I grab my bit of the power instead of saying, well, this whole system’s fucked up. And I don’t want any part of grabbing all that power. I want to say I would take it out of your hands. And instead of putting it into mine, I want to say, how do we redistribute entirely to the collective for all of us to have some amount of power? And for the white feminists listening, I highly recommend White Feminism by Koa Beck as a great starting point. Forget that one book that we all know by that one white lady. White Feminism by Koa Beck is a really wonderful place to start if you’re still newer on this journey of understanding when you talk about white feminism, like, what does she mean? Go read that book. Okay. And then I wanted to ask one more thing. I hope we have time. You had another Instagram post where you used a tree to kind of illustrate a point. What I got from was illustrating the difference between performative change and deeper investment in inclusive business, inclusive leadership, where you’re showing the leaves vs. the roots of how this stuff shows up. The leaves being kind of like, I think you mentioned earlier, diversity being an outcome vs. truly the inclusion and equity or the roots of it. Tell me a little bit about if you can just share a little of that, leaves vs. roots and what people can look for to see if they are still up in the leaves or if they’re really tackling the roots.

 

Alyssa Hall:

I feel like the best way to ask yourself this is like, when you think of DEI work, do you think of it as like, I just wish I could have someone to just ask this one question to, or I wish I could just have this one session, or just this quick little workshop, or that’s a leaf. All of those things are leaves. Whatever you think that one workshop or that one question, or that one month, that one session is going to answer, that’s a leaf. because you can change that one thing, but we haven’t gotten to the core of how that leaf even came to be to begin with, right? So like, I remember at one point in time, people were asking me a lot about like digital blackface. And it’s like, if y’all are asking me about digital blackface, and that means there are a bunch of core things that you actually don’t understand. And so we’ll solve the problem of digital blackface because that’s a current specific thing, but then you’ll do another thing or you’ll fall into something else that had the same root as the digital blackface because you still haven’t solved that the fact that you don’t understand different groups of people and the experiences that they had in the world, or you don’t understand what colonized leadership is compared to inclusive leadership. So you’re still making colonized decisions even though you’ve decided, yeah, fine, I’ll have a payment plan without any extra charges. That’s just a leaf. The actual core is how do we remove the fear that we have surrounding making decisions that are different from the norm.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I wanna hear about your business. What are the things that you’re doing inside of your business in the next like five minutes? So we don’t have to go like real in depth, but just give me a few examples of some of the things that you’ve done in the way you deliver your services, the backend kind of hidden pieces of the way you run your business, how you treat yourself as a founder and employee. What are the things you’re doing to decolonize your business, to make your business more inclusive? Because you’re a business of one, if I’m not mistaken, or maybe you have, yeah. So lead by example, tell us what are the things that you are doing or have done?

 

Alyssa Hall:

I have to be honest, the biggest thing that I have done is constantly coaching myself through my decision-making. That is the biggest, biggest thing. Just an example, like over in January, I had to, I was trying to pull my daughter out of public school and I had enrolled her in this private school that I had no tuition for, but I was like, my baby is not staying in the school that she was in. It was a really, really terrible experience for her. And so I was like, okay, let me let me roll out this program. I’ve already created the program. I’ve done it before. Let me just redo the thing. And I had to fight myself every single time I wrote an email, every single time I made a post, I had to fight myself to not make it a pay-in-full only, every single damn time. I was like, my emergency is not their emergency. My financial situation is not their problem. So by making it so that only people who can pay in full can enter this program, I’ve now made it a problem for the people who need the payment plan. And you know, as I’ve mentioned, this last like year and a half of business has been rough. And so same thing, every single time I launch a thing, I have to fight myself from doing the pay-in-full thing. I have to fight myself from creating false urgency. I have to fight myself every single time to stay in my values so that I can be an example even when it’s hard.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Thank you. Carrots, whatever the kudos, I don’t know what are the things we throw at people. Anyway, thank you for being honest about that, being transparent and saying it’s a battle because I think it’s so important. This is part of that white supremacy culture around, you know, perfectionism. We believe that we’re supposed to once we learn the thing, it should be like we have to get it right every time and it should come easy. And if it isn’t that we haven’t learned it or we haven’t done it right or we’ve messed up or we’re not really. allies or whatever the thing is. This shit is deeply embedded, right? It is deeply conditioned in all of us, all of us, regardless of how we look, our life experiences, but like any of us who are living in capitalism, white patriarchal, you know, capitalism, we have all been deeply conditioned into all of these belief systems. And so even those who have done the most work, it’s still living in there and it’s still going to be a challenge. And so I love that you are putting it out there. Yeah. I teach these things and it’s still fucking hard because it’s really hard. So I love that you were sharing that and thank you. So what I hear is you’re walking your values. That to me is such a big part of what this is. And that’s what I love doing with people. It’s like, how do we walk our values? And I’ll just tell you that I noticed another way outside of that, that you’re also showing up for yourself and like walking these values is that I invited you to a community sort of thing that I’m hosting and you declined politely by saying like, I don’t want to people, like that’s not my thing. I don’t want, which I fully understand. And you’re advocating for your needs. Again, this is another way that inclusivity looks like because inclusivity is not just again about like how we appear in the world, but it’s also like, what are my needs? And your needs, I’m guessing as an introvert, if you’re not really into peopling, which I hardcore relate to, is that you don’t want to people a whole bunch and that you’re advocating for yourself. You’re giving yourself rest space saying, this is what I need. And I think those are the other ways that we show up and put these values into action. So kudos to you for doing that.

 

Alyssa Hall:

Yes, thank you. And that’s another, oh Lord, I will talk to my clients about like boundaries, but Lord have mercy. That is the hardest thing for me. And again, like we’re on this journey. So don’t ever count yourself out of just like I’m too far behind. I’m too whatever. I’m not perfect. If you read Ibram X. Kendi’s books, any of the versions of “How to Be an Antiracist,” he talks about the unlearning that he has to do. And that also gave me grace as someone who had a lot of unlearning to do, even though I was doing this work to say like, oh, no one is born perfect because we’re all born in this soup. It is okay.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I think another way that this stuff, this insidious colonized leadership shows up with influencers or leaders, coaches, educators, is this not being willing to be real, like to get vulnerable and share where the stuff still affects you. And then that makes others feel like, oh, then I know there’s something wrong with me. When in fact, it’s all of us. So, because right, it is literally the air you breathe and. you can’t get away without breathing that air, no matter how hard you try. There’s almost nowhere on the globe left to escape, really. So yeah, yeah. So thank you for sharing that. Okay, let’s wrap up by having you share a resource because I am constantly on a journey of my own, like continuing lifelong journey of unlearning and learning that I love resources where I can deepen my understanding around all sorts of things. This does not mean that it has to be related to your work though. You are welcome to share anything that you feel like has been helpful for you on your own journey or that you’re just currently finding interesting, be it podcasts, a book, an educator, whatever you want. So share with us.

 

Alyssa Hall:

Yes, okay, so there’s this book I actually just recently read, and it’s called “Well That Escalated Quickly” by Francesca Ramsey. And I don’t know when this book was published. It felt like it was published very recently. And it’s one of those books how like people were talking about like Glennon Doyle’s Untamed. It’s not an anti-racism book, but people were like saying to put it in their anti-racism pile. I didn’t read that book, so I wouldn’t I wouldn’t know. But “Well, That Escalated Quickly” is actually Francesca Ramsey’s memoir. I didn’t even know who she was before I picked up the book. And it says like memoirs of an accidental activist. And she just talks about so many things in regards to what it was like to fall into this. But I truly, truly believe it is the perfect baby’s first anti-racism book, no matter where you are, no matter who you are. If this is your first toe in, don’t read the stuff that everyone’s telling you because it’s heavy as fuck. This is funny and it’s actually very, very informative. This is all stuff that I already knew, but I was just there for the story and I was living my best life. So that is a resource I want to just start shoving into people’s hands.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I have heard of that book. I haven’t read it. It’s been in my like wish list on Amazon, which I need to move, I’ve been moving towards Bookshop. I want everyone to know. And in fact, I have a Bookshop that people can go and visit where we have all of these book recommendations because I am moving towards Bookshop, but it’s been my wishlist forever. So I’m gonna make sure I have that to like move that up the list and get that one read. And then finally, an organization that you support that you would love to put the spotlight on that’s doing good work in the world.

 

Alyssa Hall:

In speaking of Amazon, moving over to Bookshop, that is one thing I always try to tell people to do. And so when it comes to audio books though, what is it, Audible is the big name in the game. So aside from using your library, there is this business called Libro.fm. They partner with small bookshops essentially. And so whenever you buy an audiobook, you can put it towards your favorite bookshop wherever. I’m always trying to put it towards whatever black-owned bookshop, whether it be the one that’s in Houston where I live right now, or there I believe at this point in time, there’s maybe only one, if not two. bookstores in the Bronx, New York. And so I always, always try to put my money towards there as well. So that’s that.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

But I also want to ask if there’s like a nonprofit organization, like a, is there anything like that where you like to when you talk about like when people talk about redistributing their wealth, where they where you like to see that money go.

 

Alyssa Hall:

Yes, my thing over these last few years is I’ve really gotten into understanding like what mutual aid funds are. And that to me is always so exciting because you see exactly where your dollars are going. And so there is this woman on Instagram, her name is the Black Fairy Godmother, and people reach out to her when they are having any type of issue at all, whether it’s usually like, I can’t pay a bill and the bill is due in three days. Things like that where people who don’t have the time or resources to go into this larger organization to try to support themselves through the next few days, that is something that is just amazing to me.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Black Fairy Godmother Foundation, which is a 501c3 nonprofit, which means they accept donations. And I will make a donation. I will make a donation to that organization as a thank you for your time, for being here. And I really hope that everyone listening who benefited from this conversation will do the same. Let’s put our money towards something that’s really making a difference. And so thank you so much for that recommendation. Thank you so much for your time today. or anything else that you wanted to share that we didn’t get to.

 

Alyssa Hall:

I think we covered so much. I just wanted to ask people to actively listen to this. Like obviously, listen to it for the first time and live your best life, enjoy it, but really marinate on some of the topics that we spoke about and see how does it relate to you instead of almost looking at it as a checklist of just like, okay, cool, I don’t do that, I don’t do that. Spin it around and say, where do I see myself in this and where do I possibly need to grow?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Thank you, because I have been doing a lot of this work for a while, enough that I felt somewhat confident and competent to host and have these conversations. And I’m going to be re-listening while I edit this episode and thinking about that as well, because I know despite all of that, that there were things that we talked about today that had me going, yeah, because there’s always room to grow. And I still have so many places. that I know I can do better, do business better. I’m gonna try and do business better. Thank you so much. Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it.

 

Alyssa Hall: 

Of course, thank you for having me.

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