Being a Force for Change vs. a Force for Good with Natalie Legrand: Podcast Ep. 218

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My guest Natalie Legrand recently graduated from our Thought Leader Academy and is one of our panelists at our Brave. Bold. Beyond. Live Virtual Summit.

I invited Natalie on to talk about:

  • Her thought leadership project
  • What it looks like to implement DEI as a small business owner
  • Why you want to be a force for change and not just a force for good
  • Questions we can consider to be a force for change
  • Recognizing obstacles others have that we don’t think about
  • Natalie coaches me (really helpful!)

Our Thought Leader Academy is starting again in April 2021. Get all the details and sign up at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/.

 

About My Guest: Natalie Legrand is a leadership and social impact coach, a trusted advisor, and consultant. Her work addresses various societal issues and brings awareness of the unique cultures, politics, and economies that characterize different regions around the world. She collectively designs, develops, and implements global strategies and programs in which individuals and teams of employees from Fortune 100 organizations strategically engage in underserved communities. She advises companies on corporate responsibility, social issue leadership, employee engagement, and related areas with the goal of creating initiatives that strengthen business and impact society.

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com.

 

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/218

PDF Transcript

Natalie’s website: https://www.natalielegrand.com/

Natalie’s Instagram = https://www.instagram.com/natalierlegrand/

Register for free for our Brave. Bold. Beyond. Live Virtual Summit at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/summit/.

Join our Thought Leader Academy at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/.

Connect on LinkedIn:

 

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Transcript:

This audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
How can you go from being a force for good to a force for change? Listen to my fascinating conversation with Natalie Legrand on this episode of The Speaking Your Brand podcast.

Carol Cox:
More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses, running for office and speaking up for what matters with my background as a TV political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker. I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience.

Carol Cox:
Hey there and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. This is your host, Carol Cox. We are literally counting down the days to our next Brave Bold Beyond Live Virtual Summit that is coming up on Thursday, April 1st, 2021. Have you registered yet? If you haven’t pause right now? Well, listen to the URL first. Go to speaking your brand dotcom slash summit. Again, that speaking your brand dotcom summit to register. And I’ll wait here a moment for you to do that. OK, pause. OK, you’re back now, so it’s entirely free to attend. This is an event that you won’t want to miss. It is our 12 diverse women speakers sharing their 10 minute TED style talks. Plus, we have two panel discussions going on that day, one on building or thought leadership platform, the other one on crafting a stellar speech with our speaking coaches. We also have breakout sessions where you as an attendee can have the opportunity to chat on video audio or in the chat with our speakers and with our speaking coaches.

Carol Cox:
It is going to be an incredible event, again, go to speakingyourbrand.com/summit to register to attend. In this episode, I’m bringing on Natalie Legrand, who’s one of the women who just graduated from our Thought Leader Academy that wrapped up in early March. Our next one is starting in mid-April. So just a couple of weeks from now indoors, open enrollment opens on April 1st. You can get all the details and you can sign up by going to speaking your brand dotcom academy again, speaking your brand dotcom academy.

Carol Cox:
In this conversation, Natalie and I talk about the work that she does, which is about helping people and organizations go from being what she calls a force for good to a force for change. And what exactly is the difference between being a force for good and a force for change? Well, Natalie talks about this in our conversation. We also talk about what it looks like to implement D.C.I. Diversity, equity and inclusion as a small business owner and as a women owned business. And we talk about what that looks like for speaking your brand. Natalie also does a little bit of coaching on me, which I find incredibly helpful. She gives us some questions to consider as we’re going through and thinking about our businesses, how we’re interacting and how we can be a force for change and not just a force for good. I know that I got so much out of this conversation, and I’m sure you will, too. Now, let’s get on with the show.

Carol Cox:
Welcome to the podcast, Natalie.

Natalie Legrand:
Hi. Thank you, Carol. Pleasure and an honor.

Carol Cox:
And I want to say congratulations because you just recently graduated from our Thought Leader Academy. So it’s such a pleasure to get to know you during those four months that you were in the academy. And I also want listeners to know that you’re going to be at our table beyond my virtual summit. That is coming up very, very soon on April 1st. Twenty twenty one, you’re going to be in our panel discussion called Building Your Thought Leadership Platform. And you’re also one of the moderators for our breakout sessions where attendees can participate and chat with some of our speakers and coaches. So now, thank you so much for taking part in the summit and for being in our academy.

Natalie Legrand:
Thank you for the opportunity, Carol. You set the stage and the opportunity for it to happen. I attended at the last summit that you had the first summit that you had met some incredible people. It was it was really hard to resist not signing up for me, but I really enjoyed and I learned a lot over the last four months. And I feel like the summit is just an icing on the cake right now.

Carol Cox:
Yeah, the last the last one first one last one was amazing. I know this one is going to be just as amazing as the first one was. And today, Natalie, I really want to dive in with you a little bit on the thought leadership message and project that you worked on while you were in the Thought Leader Academy and also the work that you do with leadership and with the companies that you work with, because it’s I find it so fascinating, your background and how you got into the work that you do. But then also we’re going to bring it down for the listeners and talk about how they can apply, what we’ll be talking about as entrepreneurs, as small business owners, and especially as women owned business owners as well around leadership with DIY, with diversity, equity and inclusion, and some of the things that we can be thinking about as entrepreneurs, as podcasters, as content creators of speakers, as we’re going out into the world with our clients and our audiences, but also with our team. So, Natalie, can you tell us a bit about the work that you do and who you work with mostly?

Natalie Legrand:
I am a global leadership coach as well as a myself up a social innovator. I do social impact planning and implementation for large Fortune 500 companies I work and part of their foundation’s corporate social responsibility. And my job essentially is to bring people from all over the world literally to work together for social good to be a force for change. Essentially, I design plans. I design programs that hopefully give direction and strategy around how to have the most value in the communities that not only we live in, but work in and engage. And and so that’s that’s my primary role right now.

Carol Cox:
And have you always been interested in people from other countries or cultures from that are different from the one that you grew up in?

Natalie Legrand:
Oh, yes. I attribute this to my the fact that, like my both my parents are from different countries. So I’m Honduran and my dad is Haitian and. And as a result, I never really had one type of identity, I’ve always been, you know, part of global communities. And so therefore, whether it’s even in the US, you know, I’ve always been very interested in, you know, traveling and not only traveling, but traveling with a purpose has always been my my theme is like, how do I travel with a purpose? How do I travel to get to know people? How do I travel to places and do things that are honestly not commercialized as much? And so my career has actually developed along that trajectory my entire life. My entire career has developed into the place where I am now, where I continue to do that on so many different levels. And I can and I do it for the sake of, you know, how do we make, you know, a cliche as it sounds, but how do we make the world a better place? So, yes, global citizen is what I consider myself. Hundred percent.

Carol Cox:
I love that, Natalie. And I’m going to ask you a little bit about some of the countries that you visited. And I know that there’s one country in particular that you’ve lived in for a little bit. That definitely was quite a change from growing up here in the U.S. And I will say that I’ve always been fascinated by people from other countries and other cultures. And I have a very I have a different background from you because both of my parents were born and raised in the States. They grew up their parents, my grandparents were. So I didn’t even have that influence of having family members from other countries. And maybe that’s why I remember when I was in elementary school, middle school, high school and college, if there was a student who was from another country, like I immediately went up to him or her, like I’d be your friend. And I just wanted to learn about where they came from.

Natalie Legrand:
Love the curiosity, love the curiosity. That’s what matter. That’s awesome. That is awesome.

Carol Cox:
So, Natalie, What is the most interesting country or place that you visited and you can choose how you wanted to define interesting. And then I also want to talk have you share your experience of of living in this other country and how you got there and what you learned from that experience?

Natalie Legrand:
Well, I would say Kazakhstan would be the most interesting company to talk to because I never in my life had anticipated ever going there. And when I realized when I was in Kazakhstan with how the further east you go, you know, you start to see familiar features. And so there’s a lot of assumptions that we have about where people are from and what kind of language that they speak. So when I was in Kazakhstan, I was just really amazed that the seeing the what I consider to be diversity on a whole nother global and recognizing how as we went east, you know, you start looking at what Asian cultures look like and quality and food and starting from even just Eastern Europe and then keep moving east. It’s just being just fascinated by the changing landscape and then going the furthest east out into into actual Asia, I mean, Central Asia and then going out to East Asia, just watching that transition. And so Kazakhstan was really interesting to me because I really never anticipated one ever going there. And I did a work recognizing its relationship with all its neighbors, including, you know, Pakistan and like and seeing to see how that became a part of their own culture and going to restaurants with, you know, that type of cuisine and being so close to these areas, you know, that we would consider maybe Middle East and seeing the influence of that. So that was the most interesting. It was just fascinating for me. And then, of course, they spoke Russian, which I spoke. So it was nice to be able to use my language, that language in particular, because I know it in another area where that is their native language, you know. And so it was just, you know, it’s kind of like going to another place and speaking English, but you’re like, oh, no, they speak Russian here, too, as well. And I’m hearing that that difference and have been most interesting in

Carol Cox:
How did you end up learning how to speak Russian?

Natalie Legrand:
And that’s where the lived experiences come from. So, yes, I actually lived in Ukraine for about three years from 2011, 2013. I actually was on my way to what I thought I was on my way to living in Central and South America. I ended up being living in Ukraine and I joined the Peace Corps. At that time, I was already older, so I was over 30 by that point. So I was going in with the mindset of I just want to do good for the world. And I just figured, you know, this would be a you know, they offered me the position. I was like, you know what? I don’t know where this place is. And that’s when you realized that what are your goals? You ask yourself, what are your goals? And I think, well, my goal was to basically utilize my skill sets, my knowledge, et cetera, to to see if I can use that in a community level. Well, when they told me I was going to Ukraine, I was really, really surprised. But then they’re being honestly current, the best experience of my life. I live in a small town for three years.

Natalie Legrand:
I met my husband there at the end because I don’t want any credit given to the fact that, you know, like, well, was you know, at the end we became partners and then eventually got married. But throughout. The entire time I developed in a completely different family, a completely new family, and had insights to completely new ways of living, which I really felt was not only an added value to my identity, but also an added value to what I’m able to offer the world in terms of what diversity looks like and and how it’s possible to really go overseas and learn and really be in that being of service is not so much what we do to each other, but what we do with each other. That’s what really matters. And it’s humbling. It’s really humbling because you recognize that are the shared humanity, but you recognize you don’t you don’t know as much as you think you do and how much more you have to learn and how much more you have to grow. And if you’re willing for the adventure, it’s worth it, every bit of it and do it again.

Carol Cox:
I love that, Natalie. And you mentioned a couple of times so far identity and, you know, your your identity growing up and that identity when you lived in Ukraine. And I know that before right before we hit record, we were chatting a little bit about what we wanted to talk about in our conversation. And you mentioned this phrase, reimagining our identities. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Natalie Legrand:
Yes, it’s a reimagining our identity. That’s something I recently just actually been able to kind of frame. Oftentimes, we can be at odds in our identity depending on where we are. Many communities that we live in, whether it’s religious communities that we’re a part of, even groups that we are part of, all of that engages are aspects of our identities. And in those places, there are places, some of them, where they are just based on where we are and how life is structured, that they can be oppressive. So I came up with a reimagining my identity because I personally have struggled with a chronic illness my entire life. I was born with sickle cell disease and it’s something that doesn’t have a cure. It’s unpredictable. And what I realized is that that aspect of my life, that part of my identity is unfortunately oftentimes stigmatized. It’s discriminated against, especially in the health care system that we live in. It just turns out that sickle cell disease, for example, is a disease that affects mostly black people because of where it originated from. And recognizing that when I go into a hospital what my life experiences are. But then I also think about the fact that it doesn’t have to be an oppressive aspect of me. I’ve also been able to reimagine this identity as a person who can be an advocate for those with sickle cell disease. I’ve been able to reimagine my identity as someone who’s very comfortable with uncertainty because of it, very comfortable with ambiguity.

Natalie Legrand:
So this pandemic, I’m like, why is everybody panicking? It’s ambiguous and uncertain. I love I think it feeds my spirit of adventure. It feels my ability to be a visionary. I think reimagining this aspect of my life that I don’t really have control over. And I think fact of the matter with it, we don’t have control over every aspect. But if we can manage it and reimagine it as a force for good, then we can live a life that actually brings life to others and brings change and affects our communities. And so I think it’s really important that we recognize those identities on both sides, the oppressive sides, because they exist. I mean, I know you and I are working to make the world a better place, Carol. We’re doing it, but it’s not there yet. So in the meantime, we need to reimagine and use that as a way to strategically rethink, you know, really connect and maybe even reimagine solutions. You know, how are we doing things? What are we doing? And challenge, as you say, I love it when you say about challenging the status quo. Right. This is the beyond aspects of brave and bold. It’s being able to challenge that status quo, go beyond and reimagine your identities so that it is a force for change instead of a point of oppression.

Carol Cox:
And, Natalie, I really want to dig into this with you. And I remember when we had our first module and the Thought Leadership Academy, which is all about your thought leader message and your container. And you mentioned that your thought leadership message was about helping people shift from being a force for good to being a force for change. So tell me about that distinction.

Natalie Legrand:
So a force for good is the status quo. It’s what we do. We love to donate to charities. We love to say I want to give back. We love to say I see differences. I love their bodies. I you know, we say those things a force for good is this place where we have amazing intentions. We really do. And we externalize that. We. We accept that from an external view, we see the problem, we want to be good for the problem, but the reality change starts from within. It starts with you and the line spot or the not the blind spot, but the part that we get stuck in where we only end up being for good and want to be a force for change is understanding that how do we move into action and how do we use what we know about ourselves to facilitate change from where we are instead of the one off project that we do? It’s a lifestyle that we live. It’s constantly something that we are developing over time and recognizing that it’s not linear, for example, and so forth, for change is getting into the actual work of the knowing yourself. Right, knowing the identities that you have and then understanding how to leverage those identities to drive change. So what you do, for example, and drive opportunity and access. So what I love about you, Carol, and this is what inspired me to be part of the thought leader academy, honestly, was the fact that when you did that first virtual summit and you opened it up to like everybody and you knew essentially the behind the words you were saying about what you believed in terms of an ResultSet, and you really literally results in when you look at the quality of speakers that varied from all sorts of walks of life and different directions and different topics and different levels.

Natalie Legrand:
That is opportunity and access. That is a force for change that is helping people realize one who they are and how their voice actually matters. And that’s a blind spot for us to realize that we’re actually doing that sometimes. Sometimes I would like more rhetoric, to be honest. It becomes something that we post. It becomes part of our value system that we have. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. We got to start somewhere. But that’s a force for good force for change is the example that you have then. And that’s what actually inspired me to be part of the Thought Leadership Academy, because it was recognizing where else does this show up? Have I seen this before or what other communities does it show up in? And to understand that you as a small business owner who has a team and growing exponentially, you’re doing this. I’m like, thank you. Because honestly, as a small business owner as well, I may work with Fortune 500 companies and have these massive initiatives. The real impact comes from the communities that are closest to the issues that we are dealing with. And you represent that community. You represent that engagement of that community. And that is critical when we talk about going from a force for good to a force for change. And you’re doing it differently.

Carol Cox:
Well, thank you, Natalie. I really appreciate that. And I I am so grateful for having to be able to have a platform to give this opportunity to other women. And I love that you notice that. Yes, we did when we had the summit last time. And the one that’s come at this time, we open it up for speaker applications so any woman anywhere could apply. They didn’t have to be a client to speaking your brand. We didn’t even have to we didn’t have to know their name like they did. You know, we have many speakers who we’ve never had know their name before they applied. You know, I feel very strongly, as you know, and I’m sure our listeners who know who’ve been listening to the podcast for a while about walking our talk and about putting these initiatives into place, which is why we do the summit and make it free for people to attend and give our speakers so much coaching to help them with their talk so that they really can be as successful as possible when they’re really pouring their hearts out with their personal stories on to our virtual stage. And so, Natalie, I do want to ask you some more questions about this. For the listeners who are also entrepreneurs, business owners like IBM and some of these blind spots that we have also. I know that I’m very cerebral. You’re very cerebral, Natalie. And I know like Diane Diaz, our speaking coach, she comes on here often. You know, we we love reading books and listening to podcasts, and we talk all the time about that. But then I know what a lot of times we can get stuck in the information consumption. So like, we’re learning a lot, reading a lot, we’re gathering all this knowledge and then it kind of sits in us. And then we have these great intentions, like you mentioned. But then for the listeners, like what is it? Some of the things that they can do to take all this information that they’ve absorbed and all these things that they’re learning, but then actually put it into action to be a force for change.

Natalie Legrand:
So I will say that you are doing the work by this virtual some of the great example of you really taking all the elements that I would consider that required to come forward for change. The one aspect I would say that come to Blindspot is is being able to make sure that you’re seeing the the differences. Right. So you’re great at and a lot of people, most of us are, you know, finding what is our common ground. Right. Because that’s where we need to start. But recognizing what are the differences that I say that makes a difference. Right. And when you’re very cerebral like that, that means you may have to adjust to meet people where they are. And that’s not a heart. That’s not an easy transition to make. So what specifically does that look like? Right. So, for example, part of my work is ensuring that we have what’s called intercultural assessment and I’ll talk in culture is a word that we toss around, but we don’t recognize that everyone has their own culture. Right. And is recognizing where do I sit, where do I sit in my culture or what kind of mindset do I apply? Am I applying the mindset where I am so cerebral and I can do all the things or their mindset that actually will meet people where they are in terms of their capacity to see the things that you see? Right. Is our audience when we look at the diversity of our audience.

Natalie Legrand:
Right. What other obstacles could that audience be facing right now? We don’t know. Right? I don’t know. Like and so it could be as something as simple as making sure that the transcript on your podcast and I don’t know whether that is right now, I’m hard of hearing, for example. Right. So I, I like to read prefer than I listen. But those are the elements that you have to look inside your own business operation to see if there are any blind spot, because then again, the results from force for change and for any business owner is making sure that opportunity and access you are reducing the amount of barriers to opportunity and access. So every aspect of your business needs to be evaluated from that lens of who is the most marginalized in my community. And I put air quotes around community because only you can define that community who are most marginalized. And that’s not going to be something that is overtly seen. Right. You know, when you look at your diverse speakers, so to speak, it’s not necessarily going to be that obvious. Right. My recommendation as as we look at from blindspots, you know, is asking yourself what is the thing that I’m not seeing? If you look at your audience, your makeup, the you know, what am I not seeing? And then is it a difference that makes a difference? And if so, what can I do to ensure that that I’m able to adopt whatever I’m doing for that? Right.

Natalie Legrand:
And that means looking beyond what we have in common to more where we have different again and then also knowing where do you sit on that spectrum within work versus home. So that’s how you figure out what the blind. That’s what I work with people to do is how do you see what you can’t see? And out of the question, like, what do you mean? So but at least it gets you thinking. It gets you thinking and as we evolve. Right. So I do not expect that small business owners are going to be transient. I mean, you guys, your pay is you know, there’s there’s dynamics that are really our constraints around your business. And then also what are the policies in my community that’s always my small business, but my community that I accept. As well, this is how it is, could be something tax related, it could be something L.L.C. really, I don’t know. But is this in any way keeping me from being able to see something I don’t see or offered up opportunity or access to something that I want to offer? And that’s an introspective work that needs that. Most of us need to get done, but we run on autopilot and we also have and these blind spots are some of the things that we feel are out of our control, but they’re really not. But we have to be able to see them first. That’s why their blind spots right now.

Carol Cox:
This is so helpful. I love this question. What is it that I’m not seeing and really thinking about? That obviously is hard because by default we’re not seeing it. So we really have to push that edge, you know, for ourselves to see that. And I also really appreciate that thinking about the obstacles that our audiences may have. And that could be whether as podcast listeners, audiences, when we’re doing speaking engagements, it could be audiences as far as clients and prospective clients, all those, and then making sure that they have opportunity and access. And you mentioned the podcast transcripts and I have not done podcast transcripts yet. And I know and I know that I should. And actually, here we go, listeners. I’m going to do a transcript for this episode, starting this episode going forward, because it is so important to me and I have thought about it. And is this something where it’s lower on the priority list of all the things that we have to do. But it’s important to me that other people can access the information on the podcast, even though it is, you know, obviously an audio medium by default. But I appreciate the transcripts because for me, I love listening to podcasts. So I think, well, why would I ever need a transcript? Yes, sure. It’s good for reference. Like to go quickly, find something. But to your point, thinking about. Well, but not everyone’s like me. So what is it that other people would need? And it’s like different people have different learning styles to some people like to be able to stop things and repeat them, you know, or listen again. And so if you offer something like a training call, we have our training called Mythologically County, but they’re all recorded so people can go back and listen again because some people need that repeated exposure versus other people may prefer to have had the slides.

Natalie Legrand:
And I’ve appreciated that. By the way, for someone who has been present for all of these, I have gone back into your very nice organized folders. I’m frustrated she said something about this. I need to go back and read it and I won’t listen to it. But I read it because that’s how I personally absorb information. Right? Because it’s because of my hearing disability. I tend to go for what I can read. And so I’m not going to lie. It’s helpful, extremely helpful. And then I thought through that in a way that allows people to easily do that. And it’s life changing.

Carol Cox:
Really want I’m even thinking I’m going to process this out loud. I think this will be helpful for the listeners to thinking about our upcoming summit. And when we did the speaker application, you know, we put it out to our channel. So people who are already familiar with us and then it got shared by our prior speakers and other people who know us. So that was good. I’m sure there would be a way to get it even further, you know, wider to have more exposure to people who would be interested in applying. And then I know that there’s already some obstacles related to the speaker application in the sense that they have to submit a video. So you have to have some comfort with technology to be able to submit an application online. And do you know and submit a video as part of the application. And then obviously there’s some tech involved with having a virtual summit versus in person from the speaker’s side of you, because they have to understand how to at least, you know, navigate a little bit of the technology. So they definitely are some obstacles there. Just to kind of keep in mind, as we move forward and do more of these events, whether they’re virtual events and in-person events, is how can we think of the questions or the things that we’re not seeing that may be impacting people who would want to be involved.

Natalie Legrand:
And another thing I would mention as well is when we talk about knowing your own identity, you mentioned something earlier in this conversation that really stood out about, you know, your upbringing, multigenerational American cetera. That is your identity and that is super powerful for you to realize that. And so as you think about not what externally that, but like what do you do internally? How does that show up for you? And an eye and a positive sense in a way that empowers you to to to gain because you’re going to be able to reach audiences. I mean, obviously, there are many audiences within our own, you know, excel like that. And what do you need from are the different for me? What do you need from me? Right. Like what would you need from me? What would you do to understand, you know, from me as someone who’s you know, it’s an equal it’s a mutual exchange. This is about not about comparison for me. It’s more like how do we exchange our experiences? Because I don’t understand your experience. Life experience. That’s. The parallel, what would I want to understand, how would I talk to someone like you in a way that it really touches on that part of your identity? You know, what is what could be oppressive about that identity as well? What blockages? And so it’s a it’s a conversation, a dialogue that we’re constantly having. And you owning it to in a way that that that is empowering, which I think you do. But it’s just recognizing it as an exchange. I have my blind spot to that.

Carol Cox:
Only if you have it. If you have any questions for me, I’m happy to answer them.

Natalie Legrand:
So how has your identity influenced you today?

Carol Cox:
I would say that you see, I would say that for me, because I am a white woman growing up as a multigenerational American. So both sides of my family having been here at least since the early nineteen hundreds and then even back earlier than that, is that. For me, I’ve always felt very rooted and very safe know here growing up in the United States. As a you know, growing up as a young woman like teenage college, obviously you learn about not walking the streets alone at night. So there was that that aspect of safety, less so being a woman. But as far as being a white woman growing up here, I very always felt very much like I had a country and I had an identity that would never be taken away from me. Like it never occurred to me that that would be something that could be taken away from me. And then but now, having met a number of people who immigrated here to the States and you are working on getting visas and working on getting green cards and going through the citizenship naturalization process and seeing, especially during the four years of the Trump administration, seeing how tenuous their status was here in the U.S., never knowing, is my visa going to get approved again or am I going to have to leave the country and then and then seeing them go through that. And I felt so privileged and so fortunate just by my luck, having been born here to parents who were here and recognizing that not everyone has that experience.

Natalie Legrand:
So my question for you then is what behaviors as a result of that understanding, have you been able to say, you know, you’ve adapted based on the fact that you understand that the core fear or the core motivation and core reality that you have is that sense of safety. How do you bring that to others? How do you use that identity that that that that aspect of your identity in which you have felt that way? How does how does your behavior change? How did your language change? What changes as a result of that knowledge? What can change? Maybe not what changes, but what can change with that awareness?

Carol Cox:
That’s a deep question, Natalie. Oh, my God. This is I haven’t really thought about it this way before. I don’t have like I don’t have a of all this. Not an easy answer. I don’t have an easy answer. I would say that definitely my friends have always said that I’m a very grounded person in which they appreciate about me because I am very because I help ground them when they don’t feel that way. So I feel like I do that also with the the groups that we run is speaking your brand, you know, with our clients like the Thought Leader Academy, and by helping them feel like we’ve got this under control, you know, like you’re in good hands, you’re safe, you’re in a safe space. So I feel like that has naturally translated into that.

Natalie Legrand:
Awesome. And that’s what that you want answered your own question there. That’s that’s what it’s about. It’s naturally translated into something that you have been able to spread and see. The fact that you answer that question is something that you’re now you’re I feel you’re probably going to go out and be like I bring this like you bring this up again and celebrate that. I’m telling you, I’m celebrating it. I’m like, yes, yes, Carol, I’ve got on the control. You can tell she’s got it. But now I understand that that sense of having that sense of safety, that sense of grounding, you recognize the importance that you bring it into your you know, your behaviors reflect that naturally comes out. And you also observe the fact that there are community than people culturally who don’t have that sense of grounding. And you’re patient with those community then understanding that grounding is not where they’re coming from. Right. And so you bring it, but you’re also flexible and patient regarding regarding that aspect. So you’re that’s that’s what being culturally just because you’re looking at patterns of behavior that emerge from these really tough spaces. That’s what happened at that cultural consciousness and then as you look into your team and the dynamics of your team, it’s underpinning, OK, not everybody is going to be the ground. But I am just because there is just not our way. How do you adapt? It’s a constant question. What are you not staying? Or maybe it’s just it’s OK. Means it needs to be that way.

Carol Cox:
Natalie, this is so fascinating. I want to ask you a bit about the work that you do with the Fortune 500 organizations that you work with. What what are their blind spots or what is it that they are not seeing that would not only help them, you know, company why like internally, but obviously we know Fortune 500 companies have so much influence over how so much what what else happens in leadership and in businesses from the large scale all the way down to small businesses.

Natalie Legrand:
That’s a great question. Yes. So on an organizational level, one of the things I know about Fortune five companies that they do, they truly the ones I’ve worked with, truly do want to be a are a force for good. And they do recognize that the value of engaging their employees and training their employees and and trying to create an environment that fosters diversity, that is truly equitable and inclusive, they do really a lot of work around that. They have invested a lot of money into that. The ones that I’ve worked with that, if I could say they had blindspots, is recognizing in this case, especially if you’re a global, how do we adapt on another different and a whole different level? So one of their that’s one of the things I run the global program where we bring global heads together, global people from different countries. But it’s really, you know, turning the lens back into their own country and seeing how some of their these issues show up in their own country. And that connection is really just logistically hard to do because America’s big America is you know, it’s huge and corporate might have this. We’re going to focus on social justice and we’re going to focus on Railtrack. But race is not a universal concept, right? Race is not something that is defined differently in different places.

Natalie Legrand:
And so getting there initiatives to be appropriate at the country level is one of the things we are working on. I’m not going to say we have it all figured out, but they are. It is a huge gap. And the awareness of it, how big that awareness is, is something that the blind spot, but not because of bad intentions. It’s just it’s not easy. It’s not simple. It it’s complex. And so what they’re trying to that’s why they work with the company that I work for is to try to bridge that right and also have a good impact on the local community that they are actually located in. So the employees are definitely amazing to work with because they have the heart and soul and and want to. But it’s also engaging them to continue that work after they work in our programs, in their own communities in a way that is still. Looking at justice as the as an issue that they can actually have an influence on getting, getting that message from headquarters to the field is got to go a couple of layers, but we’re working on it. And I’m not going to say we have the answers. We’re just we’re just trying to get awareness. Where is it? We don’t know. I mean, I think this pandemic has forced us to ask some of the questions.

Natalie Legrand:
Are we in the right locations? Are we in the right communities? Have we done enough research on those communities? Are we perpetuating oppression? Are we perpetuating the status quo or are we perpetuating inequality? Are we what are we doing? We have to ask ourselves deeper questions. And so that’s what I facilitate right now, is like let’s take a step back and let’s look at the process by which we select countries from to go into. Let’s look at the process by which we offer opportunities to nonprofit organizations to engage with us. Our is language barrier. Do are we setting requirements that actually put people disadvantaged? I know there’s organizations that are very much, you know, like the teams have to be diverse from a you know, I have representatives from X, Y, Z country, but it’s not the best team for that location. I need a Spanish speaker. You going to send someone to because you know what I mean. Like, it’s you know, you’ve got to so let’s be culturally relevant because otherwise we’re doing that imposing of our own standard into the community. And that is something that has to stop. That is something that we need to recognize when it’s happening and be really conscious of what that means when we do it, are we imposing our standards? And again, it’s a work in progress.

Natalie Legrand:
That’s the awareness that currently we are doing more of within our teams. The organization I’m part of my partner with, my Fortune 500 company partner. We’re both looking at things really carefully and asking ourselves, is there opportunity and access here that it is not being afforded? And if so, what is it going to take for us to change? What do we need to do to open it? Do we need more time? Do we need more money? Do we need more, you know, what is it? And it’s amazing. I love the work because I like the fact that we’re asking hard questions and that we’re on a journey. But it’s recognizing that with these clients, they run big organizations, they have their stand, they have their own culture. So they have to also understand what is their culture saying. And so one of the assessments we do is they what is your culture saying? What kind of mindset is exist in an organization that if we really, truly want to be a force for change where we are affecting communities at a different level, then what do we need to do internally? And so we partner with them to determine what that picture looks like and work from there because I’ve got start somewhere.

Natalie Legrand:
Mm hmm. Yeah, knowledgable. A couple of things came to mind as you were describing this is that the first thing is that there’s definitely no checklist or formula where you can say, OK, I’m just going to check all these things off and then, you know, we’re good. We had the right team in place or we have the right policy in place because it has to be, like you said, relevant to that particular location, community group of people. And what fits one group, certainly in one location, may not fit a group in a different location.

Natalie Legrand:
And in our goals still don’t change, though. We’re still trying to get social justice. We’re still trying to get equity. We’re still working towards playing all this. And it’s like, OK, how are we going to meet that goal? You know, how are we going to drive these conversations? Because it is on part. You have the right like women’s voices, right? Like women’s voice. We’re not going to change that about you, but it’s how do we apply that? What what did that show up like? What do we need to understand in different contexts when we say that and making sure that we’re not perpetuating a, for example, elitist mentality when we say that, are we? I don’t. All right. It is women’s voices, an elitist thing. I don’t know. Is it so that the question we ask ourselves.

Carol Cox:
Yes, no, I love this continuous asking of questions. And I know that you also said that, and you mentioned this earlier, that really so much of this work is about self awareness and starting with knowing yourself. So tell us a little bit more about that. How do we be more self aware, not only please tell us in like a minute.

Natalie Legrand:
Oh, my gosh, if it wasn’t for the fact that this is a journey I’m collectively on with everyone else, how do we become more self aware? It’s it’s really about self reflection and what you have taught me through your thought Leadership Academy thought about engagement. And I don’t I’ve learned that, too, for example. So I think self awareness is if I start with just figuring out what does it mean to be self aware? What if personal leadership look like and one of the things is that you’ve got to meet that moment in the moments when I say that, I mean you. I can’t pretend that I plan for anything much, but preplanning it only does it only recognizing that how we show up. It’s been showing up that we can actually see ourselves through each other, right through each other’s stories, as you have prompted us knowing our own stories. Right. Writing our own stories. And then, of course, as you are encouraging us, sharing our own stories is recognizing how I have failed many times, how my lack of self awareness has been perceived by even just my colleagues. Right. Understanding it’s recognizing, oh, who am I in my role? I’m a manager. OK, what does that mean? Are there any hierarchy? Am I exercising undue power or am I? It’s all of that is asking myself question and pausing to actually and actually answering them like politics. Actually let them sit and answer. That is that it is worth coaching helped because the whole journey of coaching and what I love about coach is why I am a coach is because if self-awareness is your goal, the coach should be able to take you on a journey through that.

Natalie Legrand:
But again, it’s not about their journey. It’s your journey and asking you questions about your values. You really need to be clear on your values. I don’t think many people are real. I’m I’m clear my company values. I’m clear on my parents values, but am I clear my own values and why they exist? That is part of the work I’ve done for myself and and then others, as well as being clear on what that is and how does it show up, not revisiting and revisiting it, being able to revisit that? Oh, this is an alignment with the values that I’ve expressed that is that self-awareness and and then the engagement aspect. The second part of it is the engagement effort. That part is worth. Sometimes I think we want to do things in a silo. We want to withdraw. I know that my desire to not engage in conflict very often means that I go into my own little hole. But engaging in a program like the Thought Leadership Academy that you’ve add and actually saying, hey, Natalie, did you post on my networks today? And how did you respond to so-and-so and how did you at least, you know, it’s more than passive scrolling, put it that way.

Carol Cox:
No passive scrolling in the academy.

Natalie Legrand:
Nope, that’s right. No, we can’t. Right. And listening to each other’s conversation and being present at the meetings that we’re that has taken effort on my part because I do like to shrink sometimes. I’m usually a supporter on the back and I know nothing wrong with that, but. I really like the fact that this challenge me to engage with other people and then. Feel the frustration and the discomfort that comes from that engagement and ask myself why that is instead of quickly being like, oh, let me just dismiss it, you know, exactly like what happened today. How could I understand that feedback? Oh, so-and-so did that. What were their goals? And using that as part of my engagement process is how you become self-aware. Still got a long way to go.

Carol Cox:
Yeah, well, it’s a lifelong journey because it is because we’re always learning things about ourselves. Yes. And that’s and that’s really the that’s the beautiful part about being human. And it reminds me of the voice framework, which we did a few episodes ago here in the podcast, episode 213 called The Voice of Thought Leaders. And so if you ever listen to that, go back to the listeners and listen, because the voice stands for Five Different Things is an acronym, VOICE. And then but it’s really is an order to be an effective thought leader. I believe you have to be self aware because you have to put yourself into your message and into your story and into your experience, because ultimately what I believe the best thought leaders do is they help us. They’re their audience, be more self reflective to learn more about ourselves, how we relate to other people and how we show up in the world.

Natalie Legrand:
Hence why I did it. And this is why in your ear, you’re aiding and abetting this whole journey. And it is the absolute truth. It is the absolute truth. And that’s why I am doing it as well for myself, for others, you know, feeding myself through your podcasts and through your way. You do things for the audiences that you do. And just asking myself, OK, you know what? What are the ways I can continue to, you know, and it is forcing me to a place of self reflection that I was like, I don’t know, I went that deep. Really didn’t have to go that deep. Oh, yes.

Carol Cox:
Well, well, thank you. Thank you for being willing to go on this journey with all of us together. You have been you all have been such an inspirational and motivating group for not only each other, but I know for me as well, Natalie. I want the listeners to know where they can find you online. And also what’s next? What do you be working on?

Natalie Legrand:
Who thank you, Carol, for the opportunity. Truly, it’s been it’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of this and to be part of this whole program and everything. And I’ve taken so much away in terms of my own growth and development. The audience can find me at Natalie LeGrande dot com. It’s just like that. And on Instagram at Natalie are Lagrand and as well as Illington on the Natalie are Lagrand.

Carol Cox:
Fantastic. I will make sure to include links to all of those in the show notes. And Natalie, what are you excited about going forward for the next, let’s say, the next six months or so?

Natalie Legrand:
I’m really excited about the work we’re currently doing. I’m currently doing I’m really excited about the leadership message and really watching it grow. I think we’re putting it in that a little bit of blood coming up in the virtual summit and watching it truly unfold as I act and engaged in on it. I really, truly don’t know where it’s going to land me, but I do believe that what people can expect us to hear my voice more often thanks to you, to see me purposely engage, because I think that makes a difference. And the two definitely bring some new ideas and new questions into the into the field and be able to engage back with me as well and an invitation to engage back with me.

Carol Cox:
I love it. Natalie, thank you so much for coming on the speaking your brand podcast. I have so enjoyed this conversation. Thank you. Thanks again to Natalie for coming on the podcast. Be sure to register right now for our brave. We’ll be on live virtual summit. That is coming up very, very soon on Thursday, April 1st. Twenty twenty one is entirely free to attend. And as you heard in our conversation, it is one that you will not want to miss that is speaking your brand dotcom summit, again speaking your brand dotcom summit to register for free today. Also, if you’re interested in joining our thought leader, Academy doors are opening in April. Twenty twenty one for our next group. You can get all the details and sign up at speaking your brand, Dotcom Academy. Again, that’s speaking your brand dotcom slash academy Until next time, thanks for listening!

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