Audio (Podcast)

Inclusive Leadership, Shifting the Paradigm

Sarah Webb
By Sarah Webb

MiShon is a Certified Diversity Professional and owner of Culture Consultants located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Culture Consultants is a firm dedicated to bridging the gap between inclusion and leadership. We cultivate talent and build global leader capacity in today’s organizational culture through comprehensive Inclusive Leadership workshops and consulting services.

MiShon is a Diversity Champion with a passion for Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, Supplier Diversity, STEM, and Relationship Building principals. She functions as a change agent and influencer with over a decade of experience in People, Program, Project Management, and Leadership expertise.

 

Connect with MiShon Landry:

Website: The Inclusive Leadership Institute

LinkedIn: MiShon Landry, CDP

Facebook: Culture Consultants


Introduction:00:03Welcome to Plaid Radio by Plaid for Women and the #NoMeanGirls Movement. Enjoy today's show and be inspired to change the world.
Sarah Webb:00:16Welcome to Plaid Radio. I'm your host, Sarah Webb, and I'm with my dear friend MiShon Landry. I met MiShon... I was thinking about this morning... about a year ago. She was a volunteer at last year's, #NoMeanGirls Conference and I didn't really know her, but by the end of the conference I felt like she was everyone's best friend and I had claimed her as my own. So, I'm so excited to interview her today and share her with the audience. I feel like I'm sharing like this gem! MiShon is the owner of Culture Consultants and that is a firm that's dedicated to bridging the gap between inclusion and leadership and so she writes and she speaks and she lives inclusion and diversity every single day, and so we're going to have this candid conversation because there's only one conversation to have with MiShon and that is being candid. So, welcome to the show!
MiShon Landry:01:03Thank you. I'm glad to be here.
Sarah Webb:01:07Well, this year... We had you volunteering last year because we didn't know you, but this year when we launched the #NoMeanGirls speaker call out, we were like, we have to have this MiShon lady there. And so this year, I mean you spoke at the #NoMeanGirls Conference about inclusive leadership and shifting the paradigm. Can you give us like a little bit of insight into what that talk was about?
MiShon Landry:01:30Okay, sounds good. I'll do that. So inclusive leadership, I actually based it off of the study that was done about... well the study was done now probably about seven years ago and it was based on the fact that innovation is driven by individuals who have a sense of collaboration, have a sense of... How can I say this? Through collaboration it drives innovation, right? But the only way that innovation can really happen and collaboration can truly happen is if individuals felt like they were able to be themselves and share their diverse perspectives, really just be candid about who they are. And so part of that is talking about inclusive leadership and the behaviors and traits of an inclusive leader.
Sarah Webb:02:23Do you find like when you're talking about that innovation, do you see that happening just in big companies or does that happen in organizations of all sizes?
MiShon Landry:02:31You know, I think that it is a culture within an organization and I think it can happen in both big companies, little companies, mid-sized companies. I think it's based upon the culture of the organization itself and how that organization drives that. From top down, obviously, is the better way, but sometimes it can go from bottom up, but it definitely is a culture within an organization and that is one that sometimes you just can't teach. You know, it's one of those that it has to be influenced by several different factors, honestly.
Sarah Webb:03:13When I kind of think about inclusion, I think we're doing a better job in our schools and as parents were like being more aware that we need to teach our kids that there are differences in people and that's okay and that's good. I think we're having this national conversation about what that looks like, but when I was a young adult just entering the workforce, I had never heard of diversity before. Right. So I went to a small school outside of a suburb. Everybody looks the same, everybody's parents had the same job... like I didn't come like from this diverse background. And so when I joined a corporation was really where I first heard about diversity. Are you seeing that change as well?
MiShon Landry:03:50Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, well, and you think about it. So we're in Texas, you and I are several people who listened to the podcast or not, but even in Texas, Texas is one of five states where the minorities are already the majority and according to the census in 2040, all states will be at some point inhabited by minority "citizens," right? And they will be considered the majority. Whereas in the past, White Caucasians have been the majority from a census standpoint. So that shift is happening demographically across the US and it's happening around the world. Also in terms of when you look at how we're doing business with even other countries and things of that nature, that that global impact is having a huge impact on companies today. Individuals today. And so when you think about how that's impacting our world, you've got to look and kind of say, "diversity is happening whether I want it to happen or not, right?" So I think that's important to really hone in on as far as diversity goes.
Sarah Webb:05:04Well, and I think it's important that we're broadening the discussion around diversity. I mean, I think we always think about sex, religion and color and those are still definitely important. But I even found people with very like maybe they look like me and they talk like me, but they came from very different backgrounds. Like maybe their family valued something different. Like my family was not big on vacation. It's like we drove in a car everywhere, like we didn't fly and we didn't do all these things. And then you come, you meet someone else and like, oh we went to this place and this place. And I'm like, wow, you know, that is so different. Your life experiences are so different. Even though we theoretically wouldn't be considered diverse if you've looked at us or kind of just casually looked at our background. Do you think that that's a good thing, or do you think that, I don't know, that's hindering kind of some of the discussion?
MiShon Landry:05:51No, I think it's a good thing. I think that when you look at... I mean, so we all have obviously things that you can see that makes us diverse, right? So color, sex: female, male, age, right? Those things that you can obviously see, but there are things honestly that make us who we are that you don't always see. So for example, religion, sexual preference, I mean the list can go on and on. I mean there are people who have been in the military. I was part of a military family. Part of those backgrounds really shape who we are as individuals and really and truly, I think that the more you get to know a person, the more you interact with a person, you learn more about their backgrounds and you find that you actually have more in common than you think with those individuals. So I think that those aspects play a part definitely into that and it's something to be considered because I think the way that our world has in the past shaped and called diversity, diversity, is no longer just diversity, right? So it's more of looking at it beyond the surface of what you see and it goes so much deeper than what you see.
Sarah Webb:07:07Yep, absolutely. Well kind of share with us a little bit about your personal path. Like how does one get so passionate about diversity? Like where did you start out and how are you... I know you've written a lot and you read a lot like... you became this expert, but like that path was not just like the straight line of I'm 20 years old and I've decided I'm going to be a diversity expert. So like give me some pitstops on how that goes.
MiShon Landry:07:32Yeah. No. And so I mentioned earlier about having the background in military. My biological father was killed when I was nine months old and so my mom married my dad at the age of four and so instantly I became a military brat. And so what that meant is we were whisked away to London, England and I was immediately exposed to a different culture, to a different country. And you know, being in the military, it's so interesting because I've heard several people say this that are in the military, you work alongside of so many different cultures of individuals that you don't really even think about diversity, you know, because you're exposed to it every single day. Right? And so I found that between my dad's different tours of us going back and forth across the US, we were always exposed to a different culture, you know? And so I think actually part of my passion around diversity begin earlier than I realized, you know, I always take it back to my days when I worked in corporate and being exposed to it through some of the avenues in corporate, whether it was supplier diversity, which I didn't know at the time I was even doing 20 years ago. Honestly. That then working at another company and starting a diversity resource group and building out that infrastructure for that and learning more about what diversity and inclusion was. It just became this whole genre of what I felt like, you know, this is really, it's not only an important topic to talk about, but it was something that I could lean into it and felt very natural for me.
Sarah Webb:09:18I can definitely see how that military experience, not only did you have to become personally adaptable as a child who like moved around and like were, you know, you didn't have this, like we're living at the same place for ever. You had these different experiences, but like you said, I feel like the military is a great melting pot. Like you're getting people from all types of backgrounds and all types of jobs. I mean we forget like I think we have this in our vision, but like everyone is like off fighting somewhere with a gun. Like the military has bazillions of jobs. They need accountants, they need nurses, they need all these types of things. So, like you said, it's kind of like its own little thing.
MiShon Landry:10:00It is, it is. Yeah. And you know, I think Sarah, you're right. I mean it definitely is a melting pot. Too often, we do think of people on the enemy line right at the front lines, but even my dad, he was an administrator, you know, so it was kind of like he was never, he would never pack a gun, you know what I mean, that sort of thing. But I think that being exposed to that life certainly was very interesting. You know, I had, and we'll talk about this later, but I had some #NoMeanGirl experiences. I mean coming back from London, England, you know, the area of London, England and coming back to the States as a young child with an accent, a British accent. An African American with a British accent, first of all was very difficult.
Sarah Webb:10:47You're kind of setting yourself up for some taunting there.
MiShon Landry:10:52Right? Seriously! And so, you know, I tried very hard. It's so funny. I have a friend on social media who I used to work with and she had a picture of her and her London, you know, kind of school girl outfit and she was like, you know, I missed this. And I was like, oh my gosh. I lived there. And I was like, I remember coming back and losing that accent, trying so hard to lose that accent. And now if I knew what I knew, I would have kept that accent. Oh my gosh, I would love to have that, you know, but you know, we do what we do, right? Because kids can be mean.
Sarah Webb:11:23Exactly. We got to go into survival mode. Tell us a little bit, kind of, we've heard a little bit about your journey. Tell us about a risk that you've taken, like when, you know, either professionally or personally. Are you a calculated risk taker or...?
MiShon Landry:11:37I try to be. I try to be, most of the time I'm not the kind of person who will go and gamble, you know, a hundred plus dollars at the casinos. Like I take my $20 and after, if it's gone, I'm gone and it's done, done, right. But then there's some things where I think, you know, this really makes sense and I do it, right? But I am probably more calculated and, but I do have that essence of risk about me that probably one of the things for me was starting the business. I started a business five... well, I had a business for five years, but I started it almost 20 years ago whenever I had a staffing company and that was, you know, a bit of a risk. And I think each time that I start a business it's a bit of a risk. But each time, even though it's a risk, I learned something new, you know what I mean? And it's, it's kind of one of those where you grow more and more every time, you know, in the business. And so I think just starting the business would be one of the risks that I, I took, you know, now could I have been a little bit more calculated about it? Probably so! Because truly, I mean, in my business it has changed iterations so many times, you know. And that's the thing where I wish it would have been like, oh, I wish I would've known I was going to do this particular thing. But it took me two years before I started doing the inclusive leadership piece, you know, so I think had I done that from the start, that probably would have been really good.
Sarah Webb:13:11Do you think that people would have been as receptive to that message?
MiShon Landry:13:20You know what? Honestly, I think for me, I think I had to go through some of the areas that I had to learn about in order to get there and what I mean by that. So for me the inclusive leadership is the model and that I work and I teach from and I do workshops from and consulting. And eventually and hopefully one day an institute around inclusive leadership. But you know, for me it was getting to that point in getting to that place. But I think I would have had to gone through all those other things to get here. So I think it's just kind of one of those where you learn as you go.
Sarah Webb:13:40Yeah. Sometimes some of those experiences make us better, better to share the messaging. Who has had the greatest impact on your life?
MiShon Landry:14:00So I would say a couple of people. One would be my dad, he is one of my heroes, always a supporter, has always been there for me, has always just been my rock. He's my solid. My husband is definitely one who, he'll say things and it's kinda like really? I did that? You thought that of me? That I did that good? And so he's always supporting me in little ways that I never really think about, you know? And then I had a mentor when I worked at my last company that was great and he was always pushing me to do things and to think outside of the box and putting me in places and positions that I didn't even know I could do, you know, things I didn't realize I could do, you know. So yeah. So Patrick, David, my husband and my dad, Earnest.
Sarah Webb:14:52Yeah, absolutely. Mentors that kind of push you out. It's very uncomfortable. Like I feel like it's the Mama bird pushing you out of the nest, but they know you can do it and that's like the joy of a mentor like that they are able to see into you more than you see for yourself. So I had some powerful mentors as well. What have you created that you're most proud of?
MiShon Landry:15:14The model around inclusive leadership, really and truly!
Sarah Webb:15:19Like this isn't just like chicken scratches that you did on the back of a napkin, like years and years of research and...
MiShon Landry:15:25Yeah, I mean it's definitely been more than a year. It's coming up on two years now, but it's been, you know, and of course a lot of research that went into it, but even just creating that model, creating the dialogue, creating the workshops and things of that nature that, that took a lot of work, you know? And I'm pretty proud of that.
Sarah Webb:15:46It's like it's a baby.
MiShon Landry:15:47It is a baby, it is a baby, right? It's your baby, you know? And so it, it's, you take care of it like it's your own, for sure.
Sarah Webb:15:57What's one interesting fact about you?
MiShon Landry:16:00You know, it's funny because I was asking my husband this morning, that question, I'm like, what can I share that's interesting about me? I never think, you know, there's anything interesting about MiShon. And he's like, well why don't you talk about your surgeries? And I'm like, Oh, I guess I could and so, so a couple of things that people may not necessarily know about me. So when I was born I was actually born with an illness called hip dysplasia. And so I actually had to have two hip surgeries, one in each hip before the age of 18 months. And then fast forward 30 plus years, my mom tells me one day after I'm having back problems and I'm seeing this orthopedic surgeon, you know, oh yeah, the doctor said probably by the time you're in your early thirties, she might have to have another surgery. And I'm thinking, you know, mom, that would have been great to know. But I ended up having a hip replacement when I was I think 40 something years old. And you know, it's interesting because you would have thought after the first hip replacement it would have corrected the issue. Instead. It actually created more of a challenge which made me and caused me to have to have a knee replacement, which that has not been the greatest of success stories. So it's been an ongoing challenge. And I think people who see me on social media never even think that that would be a challenge for me because they see me everywhere. But believe it, it, it is a challenge from time to time. Oh look, I see your baby.
Sarah Webb:17:39We have a little impromptu guest. We've had my dog join us, he can't, he can't be quiet. I'm going to start calling you the bionic woman because you do get out and about like you're everywhere. And MiShon is like a great social media person. Like she was doing these videos and these funny things last year at the conference. So I know you'll be doing those again. She sneaks pictures of you. Not in a bad way like she brings out the best in you. But I'm like, when did you take that picture? She's like, you'd had a glass of wine, you were feeling good. And I'm like, Oh yeah. But, like you're out. You're like, I would never have known that about you. I think I saw you in a boot once. I don't know what that was about, but I mean, other than that I would never have thought.
MiShon Landry:18:18Yeah, a lot of people don't. You know? And I think for me personally, I have just decided I'm not going to let it stop me until it does. Right. So it's just, you know, doing what you do.
Sarah Webb:18:29Absolutely. Well we were talking a little bit earlier about the #NoMeanGirls Conference. We know at the conference it's an amazing experience. It's a place where women can lift up and be with each other. I had never felt the power of so many women wanting me to be my best, whatever that was. Definitely a great experience. So, I mean you talked about your accent and coming back kind of being different. You'd had these other experiences that other kids didn't. I mean not everyone gets to live in London as a little kid. I mean, what do you think about mean girl treatment? Do you still encounter it as an adult? I mean, I think we all go back to that middle school, high school experience.
MiShon Landry:19:06Well, you know, it's funny because I've had mean girl experiences, you know, as a child, but I've also had it as an adult as well. And you know, it's kind of shocking when it happens as an adult because you don't expect it to happen as an adult. Right. You think that that should it be exclusively for something that happens at the junior high, elementary school level? Right. Maybe some high school too, but I think by high school I'm just like, I'm over it, you know, when it happens as an adult, it really kind of sets you back a little bit and you're kinda like, really? Did that just happen? You know? But I'm going to be honest with you. I think sometimes what people think will be a detriment to you actually makes you stronger in the long run. You know? And so I think it's interesting how people come out of things, you know, and they're stronger and better for it. So I definitely experienced it as an adult and it wasn't fun, but, you know, I survived it and not only did I survive, I thrived, you know? And so that's what's great about it.
Sarah Webb:20:10Yeah, we're working on our youth programming right now and we're doing a pilot group and one of the things I talk about is in middle school I was very nerdy, not only like I had these big elbows and knees and I wore glasses, but I was really into school. Like that was one area that I could excel, like I wasn't ever going to be as great as everybody else, but like I loved reading and I love learning and my mom was a teacher so it's like naturally in every class I'm a teacher's pet, which is its own issue. Okay. So I always got made fun of, for being a nerd. I mean like that's what you made fun of for Sarah. And then if you think about it, like that's one of my greatest things is to be able to learn new things. And it's like I was sharing with the girls, I was like, whatever they're picking out to like make fun of you is likely one of your greatest strengths. And they see that and they wanted to hear that down. And I had one little girl, it's just like a light bulb. And whatever that is, like I don't know what it is in your life, but like whatever that is, they're jealous of that one thing. And so that's what they're choosing to hurt your feelings about.
MiShon Landry:21:12It's so true, Sarah. It's so true. And you know, it's sad that the girls don't recognize that's what it is. And instead of just embracing that and trying to see how they can get some of that themselves, they'd rather tear it down, you know what I mean? Because you know, just probably you wouldn't mind sharing how you were getting some good grades, you know what I mean? And things of that nature. So I think that we all have our gifts and I think that our gifts are meant to be shared with others. I think when others see our gifts, sometimes they do get a little jealous and all that. But that's, you know, their own personal issues, not ours.
Sarah Webb:21:51Exactly. And our final lesson in the eight week series is about celebrating others because really I think that's where we need to take this whole no mean girls thing and diversity and inclusion conversation is that we can all be different and we can be good at different things and hey, when we don't have to be perfect at everything, but that we should celebrate that in each other. It's great to have a friend that looks, thinks, acts differently than you that challenges you. I have one of my best friends, she's very different from me. We adore each other almost because we're not, we don't argue, but like we challenge each other kind of, hey, are you really sure about that? Right. And I think it actually brings out the best in both of us.
MiShon Landry:22:30Oh yeah. I mean, and you think about it, I mean even in a relationship you have to kind of have that Yin and Yang because I think if you have Yang and Yang all the time or Yin and Yin all the time, you're going to kind of have some stagnation going on. You know what I mean? So it's, you have to have that I think in order to challenge one another, make each other better think a little differently and see from a different side of a coin, you know what I mean? Because sometimes if we get stuck on stuck then that's not good.
Sarah Webb:22:58No, absolutely. MiShon, this has been a great conversation. Thank you for spending time with us. I'm so excited. I know that you're doing great things. I can't wait to celebrate you. I don't know when it's gonna happen, but we're going to be having big balloons and confetti and all that because I know that you're going to do great things with this training. So where can our listeners find out more about you or connect with you? Maybe bring this training to their company or their group. Where do they go find you?
MiShon Landry:23:26So I am on the web at inclusiveleadershipinstitute.info. You can contact me by cell phone anytime. 817-471-6200. You can also email me at info@inclusiveleadershipinstitute.info. And I'm on every social media except for Snapchat.
Sarah Webb:23:51I haven't conquered Snapchat either. Well we'll take a remedial class together.
MiShon Landry:23:58I know, right!
Sarah Webb:23:58Well, and for our listeners, I will put all of that in the show notes and I really encourage you to befriend MiShon because she's always doing these crazy adventures. She's preparing these thought-provoking articles and she's just a fun person to be around. So thank you for supporting #NoMeanGirls, it means the world to us.
MiShon Landry:24:14Absolutely. Absolutely. Can't wait for the conference. I'm excited.
Sarah Webb:24:17And that's a wrap for Plaid Radio.
MiShon Landry:24:20Thanks, Sarah.
Sarah Webb
A bit about me, I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee and volunteer. I am married and have two children - one who aspires to be a secret spy ninja and the other wants be a doctor for toys...Read More
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