Inclusive by Design: A Studio for Diverse Communities

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How can you better serve diverse communities in your business?

Give them a voice.

The most impactful approach comes from truly listening to the community, engaging with them and — above all — including them in the process.

That’s the principle guiding Sara Cantor, who left the corporate world to become Co-Founder and Executive Director of Greater Good Studio, a design studio with a mission to better serve diverse communities.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Why designers are really just pissed-off optimists
  • The key components to engaging with diverse communities
  • Why Sara is proud of the culture at Greater Good 

Craving more? You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to C-Suite Blueprint on Apple Podcasts , on Spotify, or here.

You're listening to C suite blueprint, the show for C suite leaders. Here we discuss no bys approaches to organizational readiness and digital transformation. Let's start the show. Hey, Sarah, thanks so much for joining me. Yeah, thanks for having me. You know, I asked my team, I said I'm looking for other people for the podcast, someone who inspires you, and your name came up, and then my research of you and your story and your company, it really impacted me, your story of how you left the corporate world to to start this company to really make social impact that's equitable and inclusive. And the more I read into it, I did start to wonder, has this been a whole ruse with my team and you to just make me leave the corporate world? I mean, I cannot confirm or deny what your team is plotting, but no, I have certainly talked to lots of folks who are working kind of in design and technology but in sort of a corporate setting, and yeah, there is definitely an interest, there is a there is a demand for this type of work. Sorry to bring it to you. I love it in your our whole mantra is human first and we're very selective about our clients that we that we decided to take on, which I've heard that you are as well. One thing that I loved heard described about your team is that it's a team of piste off optimists. I wonder if you could expand on on what that means a little bit to start. Yeah, absolutely. I think when we so it's like where do I start? When we when I went to Grad School for design, I think that designers are inherently optimists and I think that to be a designer means to kind of go through the world a little bit dissatisfied because nothing is designed as well as you would want, but to also have that internal confidence that you might be able to make it better, that you might be able to change something and that something might be able to be improved here. And as I started working as a designer, and my co founder as well, we were both working for these large kind of innovation consulting firms, we started to be a little more piste off, not just about when things are badly designed, but also about some of the ways that our society is set up, in ways that are sort of unfair, when it continue to sort of privilege the privileged and harm people who have already been marginalized and disinvested in for various reasons, and so being close to that system made me piste off. But also, as I recognized the privileges that I've been given, I started to realize that some of my journey I can't take credit for it, like it's just luck, you know, and I think that for a long time I had to reckon with that, like wait, I'm I'm angry about this, this is not the world. Kind of isn't how I thought it was. So when we look for new hires, we talk about, you know, what are you piste off about, because if you're not pissed off about something like legitimate in the world, you're probably not paying attention, right. But then we also need to know that you're not just piste off, right, because that's not productive, unfortunately, even though there's lot of deserving anger in the world,...

I think our team needs to bring that optimism, which is to say, yes, there are these things that are unfair. You know, people don't have affordable housing right, people are hungry, people are out of work, whatever the you know the challenges are. But also I have some faith. I have some faith that I might be able to help, but not be alone, not even our team alone. I have some faith that with our partners, with our clients, with the communities that were all serving, there is something that can be done to improve this so that optimism keeps us going. That resonates with me. The Way I've described myself is that it's it's rage fueled by optimism and empathy, right, and kind of being okay with that, but also, I think, doing some mindfulness exercises to keep it balanced so that the rage doesn't get out of control. Right. Yeah, there is. You know, I think rage, once you get into that realm, it can be unproductive. I'm also someone who, I recently came back from attend a meditation course, so I had been actually thinking about that, because I find my own anger to be very productive, like it's constructive. It motivates me every day to get up and try to support our clients and meeting their missions of building an equitable society. But my my meditation instructor Said No, she said anger is not productive. If you're that angry, you need to like step back and reflect on what's really happening. So I don't know, I have some I'm trying to be open to a new mindset there. But for me, and you're still very productive, I think you're shaping you turn into something else, which I think you're doing a great job of. One thing I'd love to explore is my favorite parts of my career, or when we go into an organization and it's not about the problem that we're solving. It's more getting people working in a better way or getting them unstuck from change, and I always really enjoy when we get the people's voices heard who haven't been heard. They've been marginalized within their organization or maybe they've tried to change and they've just smacked their head against the wall too many times. What I love about your world is it gives us a bit of perspective because, while you know these people's voices might be marginalized within the organization, my assumption is the people that you're working with it's marginalized for generations, hundreds of years. And how do you engage those folks and meaningful discord to like make them believe that they have a voice and get them get them working? How's that? How's that go? Yeah, you nailed it. I mean that's a great question because that is the challenge. I think that for our clients, every project has a reckoning, at least one reckoning moment where they say, oh my gosh, I didn't realize that we were, you know, perpetuating a problem or that we are services haven't been meeting folks where they're at or, you know, for whatever reason, they have to kind of recomm with their own complicity in the challenges that they are often working to solve. So on the client side it's almost the first point that you made. Don't want to address the fact that, like, even though we are designers and we're not therapists, we're not social workers, we are often having to support our clients through what is a difficult moment. We, you know, our team will joke like the reckoning is coming here, it comes here,...

...it comes you know, but it's productive as long as we can move through it and bring them to kind of a place of like I'm so glad that we got this information, because imagine if we didn't write. On the community side, I think getting folks to trust in the process and to trust that not only would our voices be heard but actually something might be done about it is really tricky. It's really it's the it's the challenge. You know, sometimes folks maybe will will feel as though, you know, we're not the first ones that are trying to come into their community and make change. Or, you know, there have been people who particularly me, who look like me, who are white, who are able bodied, who are native English speakers from America, you know, Insert list of privileges, who think that they might know better. And so our challenge is to make sure that people know that we are not here to tell them anything about their community. Rather, we are here two be their advocates and CO conspirators. We are here to listen and we are here because we are accountable to them. So I'm thinking of, you know, an example where, let's see, even recently, we're working on a project in a community in the east coast where, you know, the client is hired us right, so officially you would say that we're accountable to the client. They're asking us to help them work on a community plan for their neighborhood, for actually a group of neighborhoods. You know, how do we increase kind of health equity and health health care access in these neighborhoods? You know, initially community members. We know are are going to be skeptical, like why are we the ones who are talking to them? And you know, previous efforts have not worked, so to speak. But I think there's a few things that we can do. Number One, when we do engage, when we have initial conversations, really going in without an agenda and and and being clear. Are Like we're here to to listen to you, so I don't have any questions other than tell me about yourself, your journey, how you got here, and being explicit, like acknowledging the gaps, like I'm not from your neighborhood, so I'm not going to know. The only way that I can know what you need is if you if you let me know. That doesn't always work, that doesn't always build everyone's stressed immediately. But if that doesn't work, then kind of the next stage is to actually share back with, you know, neighbors, with participants, like here's what we heard, here's kind of a research report, or here are some quotes and insights, you know, making sure that folks have agency over how their name is represented, so that they can feel like, Oh, you're not going to like exploit my data or my name, making sure credit is given where credit is due, but sharing back and really all of our work, our research particular in particular, we try to make sure is written as though we are presenting it to the community who is a member, who participated in it, not just the client. So that's kind of a check for us. And then you know again something. Then...

...some more people come along, others still aren't convinced and we keep going. We'll do brainstorming, will share ideas and have you know, folk share ideas and we'll make sure that those ideas are credited, because that's something that comes up a lot in an atmosphere of scarcity is this is my idea, so now it's something of value that I should own and, you know, working to say yeah, and this organization, this client, can actually potentially implement this idea and we'd like you to be a part of that. Sometimes maybe the last kind of stage is will actually build a local design team or a community design team and give them actual decision making power. Is Imagine that. It's it's tricky, you know sometimes. So a community in Texas that we worked with, let's focused on childcare. They wanted to build a community design team and the first workshop, I think a lot of folks are skepticals. About fifteen people, someone from the church, someone from the library, you know, people, local leaders across across town, and we asked them like, you know, children, healthy, children's big space, like where should we focus within that big space? And by the end of the day we arrived at child care. And I think that one workshop, that one like maybe six hour workshop to get down to like this is space we're going to focus on. I think it built trust with every single person in that room because they were like wow, we really we advocated for childcare as our as our greatest need, and now this is the direction this project is taking. Cool. I'd like to see what happens next, because some of my agency has been acknowledged. Yeah, yeah, those those small opportunities to give agency and give a voice and just build and build and build and build. It makes a lot of sense on the whole reckoning thing. So does that mean? A lot of times you're being in for problem what they think is problem a, and then when you dig into it you're like, oh, it's this giant problem. See, because we have that that same challenge. It's like someone asked you because they want to, and I'll just use like a construction example. You know, I want a new, you know, window added to my kitchen and it's like you get in there and you're like Oh, actually, like your entire foundation is crumbling because of years of neglect. Then and this is going to be a major problem. And like that type of reckoning is it's hard. You know, I'm curious, like do you when you start off for these clients, do you to you kind of let them know, hey, this is probably gonna happen as we dig into this, and how's that received? Yeah, I wouldn't say that we tell them. You know, you've asked us to self problem a, but we're going to find problems B, C, D and F, and it's gonna because the scope is gonna you know, wants to hear that. Yeah, exactly, but we do let folks know self. Give an example. We were working on a newborn welcome kid for the city of Chicago. This is a cool project because it was a physical, tangible collection of tools and resources. So how do we give new parents across the city of Chicago the information and things that they need to care for their newborn and also, you know,...

...the larger agenda there from the city of Chicago and the public schools in the library was prepare children for early literacy. So how do you get people to read to their babies when a lot of people don't think the babies need to be read to because really they don't read their newborns? But they are picking up on skills like that from from day one, and we knew that going in doing research with new parents, become visitors with maternity war nurses, you know, folks really across the city, hospitals, all different stakeholders. We knew that we would learn more about like what information needs to go in the kid to help figure out literacy. And really what we learned about was how much information is thrown at new parents and how, as a collection, if you think about that information together, it is sending a clear message to those parents and that messages you don't know what you're doing right and so doing wrong. You're doing everything wrong. People feel overwhelmed, they end up taking these packets that they get from the hospital or from the pediatrician and just throwing it away or it becomes a stressor and so you know. Plus. So that's that's like a you know, how can we send the right message, which is you've got this right, like you've got what you need in the city of Chicago's here to help. Lots of people wouldn't, wouldn't necessarily trust that message. But then following that up with resources. Our client was very interested in literacy, right. That was their agenda. Cool, love that agenda. have nothing wrong with it. and New parents, you know, particularly those from under invested communities, needed more than a couple of baby books, you know, or how how to talk to your child or read your child. thereous moments thinking that things like, you know, how do I get signed up for Wick, which is, you know, women, infants and children, basically food stamp benefits. What do I do for childcare? Where do I send my kids? Are there head starts in my neighborhood? That kind of thing. So much, you know, new information that people were looking for. That just goes so far beyond like this this goal of literacy, and so, you know, I think the client knew that that might happen. What I don't think they anticipated was just the degree of coordination that they would then need to do with all these other agencies, the parks department, you know, public safety, you know. Anyway, a lot, lots of different groups had to come together, and so we did. We were able to bring a lot of them together. We were able to design this this booklet that had a lot of great information from kind of across the city. But it was not like and then, you know, I remember there was a point where we also had information about things like where are you going to store these kits and who's going to distribute them, and like hospitals had ideas and libraries had ideas and the client was like, Oh, it's too much. You know, there does come a point where you're like, okay, this is like beyond the scope of kind of your project. But yes, we do always learn more than what we originally look for, and that's because we're asking folks to share their experience, as to they are the...

...experts and their experience, their experience, is not confined to one solution space. Right. I'm sure you see this with technology. It never is right, like what do you need from your role? I'll give sorry, I'm jumping around, but I'll give one example right now, which is we are working on a digital project for a membership organization and they're across the country. They are a membership organization of individuals working in government to advance racial equity. So you have feeble like chief equity officers others who are, you know, really working to make their cities more just, more fair. And those folks are lonely, they're fighting the battles. They need help, they need each other, and so the question is, how can we redesign their their portal, the number portal? And of course, you know, if we were to go into those interviews with like what do you need in a portal, people are gonna be like, I don't even know. But if the question is what do you need to do your job, that's a rich question. People have answers, people can talk to about that, and then it's our job as designers to interpret and to synthesize and to figure out what of what people need can be solved by a portal and what of what people need can't be solved with a portal but could potentially be solved by this organization in different ways. So I think it's important to be open to that, to ask those most open ended questions. And if you're doing that, I think it would be I almost think it would be a problem if you didn't uncover new things that were beyond the scope of the solution you're setting out to design. Yeah, I mean because you know, any product or solution that you're building or designing this is going to fit into someone's life, which encompasses a whole lot of other things than just that. And Yeah, you might not be able to solve all of those other problems, but if you can partner with other organizations, if you can, maybe you expand your your portfolio of offerings. You know, maybe it's an opportunity rather than, you know, a blocker and trying to solve that. You know, I'm curious out of so how many years has this been since you made this trump, we've had a greater good studio in twenty eleven. So it's been about ten and a half years. Wow. So out of all of that, what do you think you're most proud of in there? Oh, come on, that's an impossible question. Just ten days of meditation, you gotta I did think about a lot of things. Yeah, Gosh, I mean so many projects that that I'm proud of. I feel like for me, and I don't know if this is like a newly answer that you would be, that you would want, but this is probably the most true, like every project was amazing. I'm proud of the work that we did. I'm proud of clients did with our you know, support and nudging that we do a lot of getting people to act right, but I think I'm most proud of the team that I've built and when and I don't mean like individuals, although everyone on our team, I think, is individually incollectively amazing, but I'm proud of the culture that we've created at our studio because I think we, you know, from the start, a little bit counterintuitively, we were like we're going to US...

...people until proven otherwise, like we are going to give trust such that you know, you can manage your own schedule, you can decide when and where you work. We've never made people come into an office, we've never made people work nine to five, and most not not now because of covid but in typical times. Most people come into the office most days because we are working collaboratively and we are working tangibly on paper on the walls, and I think that, you know, it's not to say like, Oh, the office is the thing I'm most prod of, because we don't even have one right now, but I think it's that culture of like trust. You know, I had worked in places prior that we're very not that that very much did not trust their team. There were all these kind of rules in place that made you feel like a, you know, ten year old, and I think, you know, people respond to those environmental cues and I think our team has just, you know, over the years, like we've never really had an issue with someone not like rising to the challenge of being trusted to do their best work because they're intrinsically motivated because they know are trusted, because they know that their colleagues rely on them, and that is something that I'm I'm very proud of. That's great. Yeah, I mean that Culture Trust. It's just a it's a warm blanket, you know, just that safety and that then allows you to excel and get your superpowers and that's the best they can be used. Anything from the corporate world. You miss the snacks. Well, you know, it's that's a funny question. I remember when I started at when we started working with nonprofits, and one of my first clients was this very kind of scrappy grassroots organization in Chicago and we were I came to their board meeting to present the project and kind of get get some buying, get some questions answered, and I remember they had this like, honestly, like pretty dinky tray of like bagels and truly like I'd come from an environment where, you know, every meeting had like amazing food and, you know, huge conference rooms and like beautiful chairs and like state of the art technology, all those things, and yet, you know, with all of those sort of comforts, like creature comforts, I guess I always had the impression that a lot of my corporate clients we're operating in an environment of fear, such that they were like, you know, trying to get promoted, trying to not get fired, you know, trying to kind of please a superior or not piss off a superior. Like it was really this like carrot stick environment where I felt like they were innovating because they were nervous, not to not necessarily innovating because they felt personally compelled. And now I you know, that is not to say that all people working in a corporation feel that way. That is certainly not meant to throwtiate on, you know, all corporations. I think I just happened to work for a string of clients that were like, you know, fortune institutions that had kind of taken on this approach and it just felt so like it felt like fear was the operating system, even though they were steeped in like really like everything is fine.

It was kind of what I wanted to say, like look at this room, look at these sacks, like you know you're gonna be okay, and you know, for me it was very in contrast. I did a project actually while I was still at the innovation firm, but it was for Nike, and Nike, you know, obviously huge corporate client, very like passionate, you know, ambitious culture, but they also had a project that I've got to work on that was about nonprofits and how do we get more kids to play sports? How do we get more kids to play sports, because sports is actually declining, or was declining. This was twenty nine. Maybe that is both a social problem for the US and it's a business problem for Nike, and so the confluence of those things was really powerful. My job on that project was to essentially follow around these nonprofit leaders who ran like, you know, soccer for refugee kids or like, you know, doing all these sports based development programs and I was like, these people are running on love, like love is their operating system. They are doing what they do because they are in love with the people, the work, you know, the mission, and granted love, it doesn't pay as well as fear. It doesn't necessarily bring, you know, the kinds of like monetary comforts. Right, we had dinky snacks at that Metropolitan Tenants Organization board meeting, but everyone was in that room because either they themselves had been a low income tenant who had been abused or exploited by a landlord, or they knew people who were, and they were there to say we are going to stand up for the tenants, not the landlords. This was a project about housing. And I remember being like, you know what, like I'm okay with this Dinky Bagel, like you know, you don't have cream cheese. It's a little annoying. Like I like my cream cheese. I am a Jew from south Florida, but I'd rather be in an environment field by love. And I look, I said, I'll just give that caveat. I don't think that two are mutually exclusive, but I do think that if you think about what is your operating system, I think it. It's better than any workplace benefit. I think I completely agree. And and even when we look at what work we take on or what we don't take on, it's hard to put firm rules around it because sometimes, depending on the company, it might be a certain part of that company. And and ultimately it comes, you know, back to our whole human first thing. It comes down to who are the specific humans that we're going to be working with at this organization and do they do they mesh with our culture? You know close enough that this is gonna work out for us. Yeah, that's a great point. I'm curious you're because I'm assuming with the work that you do, that there's a lot of design workshops and when I think of the traditional workshops that we do with clients and it's, you know, a lot of you know, impact effort, you know things, and maybe even some arts and crafts with with with boxes, product boxes and stuff like that. Um, how different is it in the in this world that you're operating in? Are there new kind of techniques or new exercises that you'd have you've had to implement? M It's...

...a good question. It's a little hard to say because I feel like all of our work has evolved so much, especially in the last couple of years. You know, in the social sector there is I wouldn't call it quite the same as fear, but there is a lot of risk aversion, and I think to an extent rightfully so, because often folks are nervous, you know, about making a change to a program that they know is impacting people's lives. For example, if this is something that we do, like a client that we worked with WHO works on college access and persistence. So they're helping kids get into college and stay in college. Like that's a big deal for those kids. If they change something and a year goes by with, you know, the the prototype or the experiment, and it doesn't work as well, you know, that's a whole generation of kids. You know, that's a grade level that's not maybe going to make it into college or or stay right exactly. Like it's a it's a you know. So so the stakes are high. Sometimes it's people's lives or livelihoods that are actually at at stake. So I feel like we do a lot of getting our clients comfortable with the idea of prototyping. You know, prototyping, I believe you know deep in my heart, is a is a tool for risk management, it's a tool for mitigating risk. Right, we're going to try something that, we're going to try a small scale, we're going to try a short term, we're not going to spend a ton of money or time on it and we're going to make sure that, you know, there aren't harms that are happening if we, if we, if we do prototype or pilot something new, but that is that's a practice that like, I feel like actually maybe that is something that I missed from the corporate world, because I feel like our clients there were like, let's make a prototype, let's try it, let's go you know, there was sort of more of a culture of innovation and therefore risk taking than in the social sector. So you know, for example, right now we're actually working with a housing an economic development authority, so a statewide agency, and one of the pilots that they want to try is actually a new mortgage product. This is a very new area, right. I I did some work with Charles Schwab when I was in the corporate space, like working on financial products and financial services, but, like, I am clearly not an expert right in financial products like, I'm not going to write a term sheet. But here's the thing. If they want to create this new product, at some point somebody has to write a term sheet. Somebody has to actually try it. And you know, this group is understandably very nervous about doing something like that because, you know, for the State Agency, we have a lot of power. If we sit down with a thunder of you know, a bank, or lender, I should say, if we sit down with a lender and they think that our prototype is real, they might make decisions based on that. They might try to you know, they might give loans to people for this. They might you know, and so it's like, okay, everybody calmed down, you know. So we had to do multiple kind of like walking them back from we're putting something out there that's gonna, you know, freak people out out or make...

...them want to move money in ways that they weren't maybe planning. So, you know, from the turn sheet it's like, okay, we've walked back to like, okay, we're going to prototype like an overview. Okay, what are some of the criteria that can go into heres that we're sharing from our research? We know that, you know, debt to income ratio is a really big sticking point for a lot of black and Brown folks who are who are seeking to serve with this project. Right African, American and Latin x households in your state. Debt to Incomeracio, is a big one. So what do we do about that? Can we can we come up with multiple ideas around how we might be more flexible while still being fiscally responsible. And it's like, you know, it is like the least exciting brainstorm that has ever happened because it's so like kind of in the weeds. But I mean for us it's thrilling and I think for the client team too, because they're just getting more comfortable with the idea of like we can put ideas out there that maybe aren't the right one, but we're not going to get punished for that and we don't have to decide. Like we can generate ideas before evaluating them, and that okay too. And then maybe when we sit down with our lenders, maybe we actually, instead of bringing one term sheet or one, you know right up, we'll bring three, and then they'll know that this is not a real product and they'll know that they've actually been brought into the process a little earlier than they normally would and that will build their by and it's like I can see them slowly starting to like open to this approach of human centered design. But I think it's about, you know, comfort with things like prototyping and showing them that, like, they're not going to get in trouble if they try something new and actually it might be exactly what they need to do. Yeah, that's something I definitely take for granted. What must then become even more complicated is then when you move into a pilot program I feel like with a lot of our clients will pilot something. If it doesn't work, they're like, oh, no, big deal, well, we'll kill it, we'll get rid of it. But the impact of giving some to something that people in a community and then taking it away must be so deva stating. How do you navigate that? Yeah, that is a really I appreciate that question, because that is another like really it's something that keeps me up at night too, which is the idea of, like, are we raising expectations only to then, you know, Dash Them? I think there's a lot that we can do and then that our clients can do around communication, around this is a test, this is a trial, while at the same time even that language can actually be harmful because folks have been the subjects of experiments in the past and that even is like a harmful idea. So we don't talk about like testing or experimenting, but we do talk a lot about piloting and co creating, Co designing code developing. So, for example, there was a project that we worked on in North Innneapolis, is kind of a disinvested neighborhood that was suddenly seeing a lot of interest from developers and folks were understandably nervous. We came up with there was a bunch of ideas on the table around youth jobs and around like celebrating the...

...identity of the neighborhood, and those were those were cool too. But the concept that I made it to a pilot was called the neighborhood circulator. It was basically a shuttle, like a free shuttle, that would just go from business to business and we incouraged the team to pilot and they did, but in like a very wizard of Oz like smoke and mirrors kind of way. They did have some funds that you know, there was money to pilot. So it wasn't like we made them just figure that out on their own. Money was part of the deal here. This was a grant project, so we were there was a funder who gave us funds and then we kind of distributed. But the pilot was, well, we need a bus and we need some locations to take people to. And the design team, the team of sort of community leaders, they were able to hire a driver and rent a school bus and it was a school bus. It was clearly not like a city vehicle, you know, but they called it like the north side circulator or whatever, and, you know, they made posters and put them up at like, I think, the grocery store, the you know, the senior center, this place, this place talked to all of those business owners and I think everyone who saw it and was like Oh, I'll get on the bus. Like I don't think there was a question that this was just like a trial. This was like a pilot. It was not the real thing, but it was you know, do we have interest in this? Do we have you know, and they actually got pressed, they got an article in their local newspaper. That again was, I think, pretty clear, like this is something we're trying in the north side, like check out the circulator, like here's some people writing it. But all of that the lead organization, they're the convener. They knew that. All that was for them to be able to write a grant to actually get it funded. And so, you know, did we raise some hopes? Did we get some people who were excited and think like Oh, this is going to happen. Now I can get a job in the neighborhood or now my kid can get home safely from, you know, their after school program like I don't know, I don't know. I don't know if they got the grant, but I think that there was, at least during the piloting I know that there was a spirit of hope and a spirit of collaboration, like we could. You know, look, we're doing it now. We're doing it now in kind of like a low budget way. I wish I had more of an answer for you on that one, though. It is change. Communication is just a challenge everywhere. It's it's so hard and it's it also reminds me of it's funny, since we have the luxury of being across many different industries and there are some industries where you kind of want to with a with a prototype or pilot. You almost want to go overboard. I'm making it look really good, whereas in other industries that we were like in a Pharma or in healthcare, you almost want the cardboard and the duct tape and the hot glue holding things together to be front and center so that it's extremely obvious like this is not real, like please, nobody believed that this is real, which is it sounds like you definitely encounter. You know now that you're you made this jump, you're over a decade in. Did you find the...

...more meaning that you're looking for? I mean, yes and no. Did I find meaning in the work? You know? Hell, yeah, absolutely. I love our clients, I love the work that we're doing. I don't know that I will ever say like, Um, my work here is done right, because there is so much to do. There are so many social sector organizations, you know, foundations, nonprofits, government agencies, social businesses, that are, I think, still coming to terms with the ways that, you know, white supremacy and other systems of oppression have like created this mess and they have to clean it up and I think it's frustrating to say I'm going to try to clean up a mess that was created by, you know, a few folks in power four hundred years ago. I personally don't know that I will ever feel satisfied. If you will, that does mean that I don't haven't found meaning me. Absolutely. I think that, you know, the hypothesis was design, human centered design can benefit the social sector, and you know, part of that is just shown by like are we still in business? Like yeah, Hey, you know, so great. Maybe maybe it can, but I don't know that our work will be done until you know, I don't know, and you know we've had these conversations like what does an equitable society look like? That's kind of the vision, right, is an equitable society. I don't know that we have one client who can do that. It has to. It's going to take everybody. Right. There's people working on healthcare and education and all these different things that are trying to work towards an equitable society. But when we we had a time when we asked our team like, you know, what does that look like to you, and people were like, I don't think we've ever seen it, so I don't really know. Yeah, it's kind of one of those problems that probably the closer you get to it, the bigger you realize that it is. But all we do is make the right decisions even when no one's looking, and just keep making progress. Right. So throughout your life and your career, you know, one thing I always like to finish on is what's the best piece of advice you've ever received? Gosh, I wish I got mortgod advice from people. I feel like I'm more have like advice that I wish I gave myself. Let me think, though. Some of the advice I've been given has really has no meaning for me now. So, for example, when I started my career, I was twenty five, just out of Grad school and I worked in this company that was very much like male dominated. I was one of maybe two or three women on a person team. All the senior executives were men. It just it felt like a very masculine environment and I remember being like, okay, you know, how am I going to exist in space? And a lot of the initial conversations that I had with people were like, you know, if you want to succeed in this place, you're gonna have to speak up, like get in there and speak up and make your voice heard than, you...

...know, throw some elbows, basically, and I feel like that's been advice I've been given a little bit throughout my life as a woman. Is like compete with the boys kind of thing, and it's only recently that I've realized that. You know, I was always told that my value came from my speaking. Basically, when you talk, when you say something, that's when you're adding value. Raise your hand in class, that kind of thing, and so I did. But I think now, as a leader, what I've started to realize is that there's actually value, maybe even more value, in my listening than there isn't my talking, and so I've had to kind of retrain myself around what does it mean to be a leader, and like maybe a good leader, which is really about listening, it is not about talking. And the more that I can like, really like just be quiet and not just hear people but believe them. I think that sounds that would see self evident, but it's not always. But the more that I can really hear people and really believe them, I think that is what's going to take me into the next chapter of my own leadership. No one told me that, but I doesn't mean it sound important, not at all, I think. I think listening is one of the most underrated skills out there. So I couldn't agree more with you, Sarah. I Love Your mission and your company and your story. I really appreciate you being here. Thanks so much. Thank you so much. This was a delight. Technology should serve vision, not said it. At intevity we design clear blueprints for organizational readiness and digital transformation that allow companies to chart new pass then we drive the implementation of those plans with our client partners in service of growth. Find out more at www dot intevity dot com. You've been listening to see sweet blueprint. If you what you've heard, be sure to hit subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to make sure you never miss a new episode. And while you're there, we'd love it if you could leave a rating. Just give us however many stars you think you deserve. Until next time,.

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