Episode 10

What can racial equity innovation teach us in creating a more just world?

Debbie Alvarez Rodrigue

On this episode, we have an enlightening conversation with Debbie Alvarez Rodriguez, a phenomenal leader, public speaker, champion for social impact, philanthropic innovator, and former Goodwill Industries CEO, who is deeply committed to advancing racial and economic equity and inclusion. She talks with us about the fundamentals of doing anti racism work, and more about what she calls racial equity innovation. She shares stories of her own journey and being courageous in inviting others to consider how we can both tell the truth about injustices that are taking place in our organizations in our communities, and being willing to have the honest and difficult conversations with others that point toward a different way ahead. We are encouraged to listen more, look inside ourselves, and be bold and courageous enough to not just envision a better future, but to make it actually happen! We have the power to change the status quo, as Debbie did during her time at Goodwill. She went from a predominantly white board of trustees to a board filled with people of color, from the local community. She was so committed to finding solutions to poverty, she began hiring diverse voices of color, those from low-income households, and those formerly incarcerated, to help lead the way. While serving as the CEO, she even asked a manager, who was formerly incarcerated, to mentor her.
2 pieces of practical advice for social transformation:

1. Become part of a team, whether a team from work, fellow leaders in your field, or friends.

2. Be willing to listen to diverse voices and those you don’t agree with.

“Examine your own power. That is something only you can do and no one else.”

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