Why Diversity Is One Of Our Core Values
From the desk of our Founder, Rose Kaz
When I set out to lead a team to build the LBI Backstage Pass last May of 2021, I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to create a social media platform built by women in business for women in business but I was clear on why this type of social experience needed to be created.
I’ve worked in leadership roles of production for most of my professional career and whilst the great covid pivot has shed light on doing more business online, it has also exposed even brighter sore spots in our structures of power, the ways we organize ourselves, money and ultimately, who holds the keys to the purse.
In preparing to take our in person conversations series with women in business that we launched in 2017, Ladyboss International, to an online forum, I pulled inspiration from these raw moments of 2020: the killing of George Floyd and many, many other unarmed people of color, the situation at our borders, and of course, the pandemic itself.
I became more aware of the glaring need to share wealth in more inclusive and generous ways than the patriarchy has historically done. I set out to do that through building a new, woman lead brand that is based fully on this concept of leveling the playing field. Because if the powers that be won’t do it for us, well then, I’ll lead the way my own damn self.
I have been a student of political science for many years. I hold a degree with a Bachelor of Arts in the subject with a focus on global politics. And whilst I don’t ‘technically’ work in politics at the moment, I believe wholeheartedly that all of our work is political. That is to say, I see how we structure our businesses, our access to resources and how we spend our time to be very political. Even a choice to be a- political is a choice.
In writing this article about diversity, I don’t want to simply drop some #BLM insights from my seat of white privilege. I do, however, want to dig into how and why we can all do at least 5% more to actually lean into diversity. After all, we all have accents, we all have been born from a mother and we all have the same color blood. These are a few of the long list of things that make being a human both the same AND diverse. We can be many things at once. And that’s ok.
In drafting the business plan for the launch of the LBI Backstage Pass platform, I remembered a dream I’d had about 5 years ago where I was walking down a busy city street, somewhere like NYC, Chicago or LA. As I was attempting to cross the street, a woman of color in her mid to late 40’s told me in no uncertain terms: ‘STOP WALKING!!!’ And she said it again 2-3 times at even louder decibels to be sure that me and all people attempting to cross the street were acutely aware that we better stop or be met with extreme harm from passing cars. And then moments later, that same crossing guard was assisted by another guardian of the street, also a woman of color, similarly aged and escorting other pedestrians to quickly: “WALK!! GO ON!! HURRY UP AND CROSS THE STREET”; making sure that the safety of all crossing was her chief priority. And in my dream, I absolutely listened, stopped and then began to walk quickly to obey the boss of the cross walk.
When I woke up, I began to think about this notion: What if women of color hold the power innately to move us forward into a better and safer world?? This is likely why these women have been historically marginalized in ways far deeper than other groups because that power is a direct threat to the status quo of the white, patriarchally order.
And if women of color were more embraced for their innate power and for that matter the buzz word of diversity actually became an action item and not a forced inclusion theory to ‘get numbers up’ or make the optics of a business appear to support black, brown and indigenous women, then we would absolutely see a new world that is, in fact, both a better place FOR ALL and with opportunities for each and every human being to live to their fullest potential.
My point in sharing this dream here in a blog entry written by a woman in business about diversity is not just to have a paragraph to drop into my (sub)conscious thoughts about women of color or to show how I dream my life and the world around me to be. Sure, yea, a peek into my bizarro brain may provide a good laugh or two but my point in sharing this vision is to direct our attention to the bigger picture that when more women are at the helm of business, leadership and ultimately where our money goes, more people will have a better quality of life.
And if the majority of those women in business are darker skinned than I am, even better. I am not advocating for men to have less power. I am calling for women, specifically women of color to have the same amount of power in business, in roles of leadership as men do. Period.