Rise Leaders Radio
Achieving Workforce Excellence |  Trudy Bourgeois: Equality,  Inclusion + Diversity Expert

Achieving Workforce Excellence | Trudy Bourgeois: Equality, Inclusion + Diversity Expert

September 8, 2020

When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something. 

John Lewis


Trudy Bourgeois came to the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) reluctantly.  She wanted 'nothing to do with' previous ineffective efforts to improve DEI in organizations.  Yet the work kept calling her.  As a former executive in a Fortune 500 consumer products company she brings pragmatism and passion. And results.

Here's what to pay attention to as you listen to the episode today: first, where she sees hope for the changing landscape in terms of equity in organizations. Second, listen to Trudy's perspective on how to own the value that you bring to your organization so that you can speak with authenticity and with power. This is particularly for women of color and women in general. Third, listen for Trudy's perspective on the role of white and black women in moving the equity conversation forward.

[09:31]:  This is not new. What is new is that through the power of a smartphone, people had an emotional connection. Their consciousness was touched. I think that organizations would say many of them, that they were on the journey. I would humbly submit that they might have been on the journey, they hadn't gone very far.


So many of them would say, it's a business imperative. I don't know as a former line manager, I don't know what business imperative would go unresolved for 50 years and people would keep their jobs.

[15:45]: If people realize, you spend the largest percentage of your life at work. Why do you want to wake up every day and put a mask on and go pretend to be somebody that you're not, just so that you can get a paycheck? If your value is that good, then you know what? Your attitude, it should always be, “I am choosing to give my gifts and talents and add my value and impact here. I’m not being held hostage to stay here. I’m making a choice.”

[18:49] ...   organizations talk about innovation, yet when you stifle people and you put them in a box and then they get scared and then they don't know their value, you're not going to have any innovation and you're sure not going to have any collaboration. You sure are not going to have all the things that people write up about how they want to function as a company, but this notion of knowing your value is so important. It's important for everybody, that it's especially important for women and people of color.


[28:42]  ... I am specifically calling on women, us, to stop pointing the finger at men and the lack of progress that we've made. This is not to suggest that we don't need male champions, but I am calling on us to have the courageous conversation. 


Trudy Bourgeois https://workforceexcellence.com/trudy/

Center for Workforce Excellence  https://workforceexcellence.com/

Equality:  Courageous Conversations About Women, Men and Race to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough


HBR:  Why Diversity Efforts Fail https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail

Questioneering, Joseph Bradley  https://www.amazon.com/Questioneering-Model-Innovative-Leaders-Digital/dp/1944027440/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=joseph+bradley&qid=1599318601&sr=8-8



Using Poetry to Expand Perspective | Start Close In

Using Poetry to Expand Perspective | Start Close In

September 1, 2020

Good literature has the power to help us better understand the human condition. Poetry and other creative writing evokes something deep in us, it widens our perspective and helps us connect with parts of ourselves (and others) that otherwise we wouldn't have easy access to.

Poetry can also be a powerful developmental tool to help leaders and 'Type A' personalities transcend the linear and analytical world of business. Rick Voirin has incorporated poetry in his coaching and leadership work since the '90s and has seen firsthand the profound impact that it can have on professional growth and self-development. In this special episode, LeeAnn and Rick discuss the work of author and poet David Whyte, and how the poem "Start Close In" directs us to take the first step that leads to change.

24:53 - " If we really engage something, whether it's a poem or a piece of art or a piece of literature or something that's happening on a screen In front of us in a movie, the first approximation is just the way that the information lands in our senses. And then what starts to show up as we relate with that, that happens, like in a back and forth conversation."

27:25 - "Poetry or good literature is an invitation into a deeper relationship with life, a deeper reflection on the meaning of one's life. And what one is caring about (...) and what one might intend to do with one's wild and precious life." 

29:24 - "When I try to start big, it's probably because I'm seeking an excuse to get out of doing anything. The big stuff is beyond my reach, at least at the moment. But if I start close in, I'll find things I can do right now." 

Resources Mentioned on this Podcast:

A Guide for Reading Poetry


The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, by David Whyte
Interview with Bonnie Pittman:
Connect to Rick Voirin:
David Whyte's work:
David Whyte reading Start Close In:
How to Talk about Race at work:
Start Close In - The On Being Project

Building Trust at Work: The Trust Equation

Building Trust at Work: The Trust Equation

August 25, 2020

High Trust environments invite people to focus their precious energy and passion on creating and delivering value rather than on managing politics, their reputation and their image.

The ability to show up authentically and to openly collaborate creates a path of least resistance.  The lack of friction produces freedom and flow. In high-trust organizations, people show up as their authentic selves, maximizing teamwork and solid relationships.

So how do you go about creating a high-trust environment? A quick search on Amazon for books on Trust reveals over 80,000 titles; narrowing the search to building trust gives us over 10,000 results. There is no shortage for approaches and models for Trust.

In this episode, we delve into Charles Green's Trust Equation, a model that illustrates distinct, yet nuanced elements of trustworthiness. You'll have the opportunity to explore the level of trustworthiness in one of your relationships from three different perspectives by using the Trust Equation.

05:06 - "(...) think of all models as a trellis.  They give us something to hold on to - a structure for growth and reaching out.  And not to get too deep with the metaphor, but we also need to remember to clear out the dead stuff that no longer serves the living organism."     

06:50 - "Both credibility and reliability can be observed, or measured, and take less emotional energy than intimacy. (...) David Brooks calls these ‘resume virtues’ – their knowledge, experience, abilities." 

09:25 - "Self-orientation – Take a moment to reflect on the term, self-orientation.  What do you think of when you think of someone who is self-oriented?"  

14:26 - "Use the equation as a journaling tool, using the initial ratings as a starting point and going deeper from there. (...) Focus on yourself and raising your own rating.  You can even ask someone whom YOU trust to share their ratings of you."

How did you do? What were the most surprising results?

For more resources highlighted in this episode please visit the links below:

A Guide to the Trust Equation:  


Episode 15: How to Talk About Race at Work
Charles Green: The Trusted Advisor on Amazon:

To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design and workshop facilitation please visit:

High Fidelity Conversations: Nine elements to launch culture change

High Fidelity Conversations: Nine elements to launch culture change

August 18, 2020

Organizations are constantly changing due to both internal and external events.

These events include mergers and acquisitions, disruptive technology, and various economic pressures, like the one we are currently living through. This year, in addition to facing a pandemic, the US had to deal with hard truths on racial injustice, and the need to address the topic in the workplace was no longer avoidable.

On a previous Podcast episode, How to Talk About Race at Work, Drew Clancy and Lori Bishop shared how they tackled the topic head-on at PCI, and explained why they didn’t wait for the perfect long-term solution to address concerns about race.

Whether your focus is on stepping fully into conversations about race or committing to another critical change to your culture, it's important to provide strength, alignment, and resonance, or fidelity, for the people who engage in them. Do you know how to provide the proper framework for these delicate conversations?

This episode has been entirely designed to guide leaders on how to launch culture change in their organization, by applying nine actionable concepts to achieve safe (or high fidelity?) conversations at work.

05:52 - "Create a vision that everyone can see themselves in. And what that means is, create a compelling future that matters for people. People need to see how the change is going to benefit them and the organization long term." 

07:26 - "And with conversations, that means listening and learning and being open to other points of view."

10:36 - "Waiting will keep you out of the game today. And you want to balance this immediate action with the longer-term creation of policies and structures that provide resistance-free solutions."

11:43 - "Naming the effort gives people language for how to refer to the change".

For more resources highlighted in this audio episode please follow the links below:

Episode 15: How to Talk About Race at Work
Launching Culture Change through Hi-Fidelity Conversations guide: https://rise-leaders.com/hi-fi-conversations-icons/

To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design and workshop facilitation please visit:

How to Talk About Race at Work

How to Talk About Race at Work

August 11, 2020

Are you having Meaningful Conversations about race?

Publishing Concepts (PCI) didn’t wait for the perfect long-term solution to address concerns about race.  Drew Clancy, President, and Lori Bishop, CPO, saw people hurting and they responded. They thoughtfully organized Meaningful Conversations as a way to talk about race.  This is their first step for improving long term trust and for healing throughout the entire workplace.

Organizations are all over the map in terms of how they’re addressing the issue of racial and social justice within their own companies. I can empathize with the feelings of uncertainty and fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Where do you even start?

Conversations in this domain can be delicate and deserve to be handled with care.  It takes courage, commitment, and humility to open oneself to hear the experiences of those who have been marginalized. It can be uncomfortable. 

It can also be transformational – on all levels.

Following are a few quotes and several links.  I will be following up with more podcasts and tools to help you along your journey.  Stay tuned.

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you and your organization.


[06:28] Drew:  …what I said to them that afternoon was, I’m really just here to listen and I'm interested in your perspective. Many of these guys [African American male leaders at PCI], we’ve worked together for many years but we’d never had a conversation about race or these types of issues, and it was, I will say, for me, very eye-opening and just the level of frustration, the level of discouragement, the hopelessness in certain cases around what was going on.

Each of the men told some version of a story of growing up and a parent or maybe a grandparent saying, “When you leave this house, you need to be very careful what you say, how you act, especially around law enforcement.” After that conversation, it really struck me that the advice they were getting was you essentially have to be invisible. Again, good advice but what a message to hear.

I'm just fed up, and we've reached a moment in time when action is required here. As businesses, as a for-profit business, perhaps businesses can be on the – We can be part of the solution.


[10:21] Lori: I was afraid.  I have learned that I’m going to have to take off some masks... There's a level of safety and caution that I wasn't sure I can let go of and really embrace from a trust perspective. I had to tell myself, as a black person, all the things that I've heard from growing up and how my safety depended on me never trusting in white people. I had to admit that to myself before I could help Drew on this journey.


[19:04] Lori: … the original conversations had breakout sessions … and people are very unvarnished and open …  people are embracing it. They’re asking questions. They're doing their homework. They’re sharing stories. They’re coming into levels of self-awareness that they never thought that they would have as people, and they’re doing it at work. To be able to experience this with people has been incredibly fulfilling.


… and people are answering with real-life experiences. We’ve made that a rule because we don't want to start debating, as Drew says, politics and a bunch of whataboutisms and frankly just ways to stay stuck on either side of this issue. … We decided that trust was the only way to get there…



Drew Clancy

Lori Bishop

Eric Mosley


White Fragility

Robin DiAngelo

Servant Leadership

Bob Kegan

Immunity to Change

An Everyone Culture

Bob Anderson: Boot Up Your Inner Game

Bob Anderson: Boot Up Your Inner Game

April 7, 2020

Download Practices to Boot Up Your Inner Game  

Read in-depth notes on the Rise Leaders Radio Website (coming April 8)

Download the Episode Transcript


"A Creative style of leadership is driven by passion, purpose and vision and is about bringing into being what I care about and becoming who I most desire to be as a leader.  Reactive leadership is about responding to problems, fears and threats.

You can't create the kind of agile, adaptive innovative and engaged workplaces that we are trying to construct in order to thrive in a VUCA world.  You literally can't create those cultures and systems and structures from a Reactive leadership mindset."

- Bob Anderson, summarized quote

Bob Anderson is the creator of the Leadership Circle Profile, a groundbreaking 360 leadership assessment. We recorded this call on February 21st, 2020. The date is significant because the coronavirus had not yet reached pandemic status and there were no detected cases of community spread in the US. We don’t speak at all of the crisis in our interview and listening today it seems a bit tone-deaf. As you listen, I invite you to place the conversation in the context of the incredibly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous [VUCA] environment we’re living in.

Throughout the conversation, Bob talks about practices he personally engages in to deepen his own development. I’ve taken the liberty to document my version of those and I’ve provided a link to them in the episode notes and on my website at www.rise-leaders.com/podcast

We spend most of our time in this interview on the Creative and Reactive dimensions of the model and on the latest findings gathered from a database of write-in comments provided when leaders rate other leaders. Bob and Bill Adams’ latest book, Scaling Leadership, is based on this provocative data. 

Bob reviews the Top 10 Most-Endorsed Strengths for High Creative Leaders from this research (hint: people, people, people).

He shares his own examples of moving from a Reactive to Creative style of leadership and the deep reflection and stillness that is required to speak with authenticity and in a way that uses conflict generatively.


Full Circle Group

Bob Kegan

Socialized and Self-Authoring mindsets


Mastering Leadership


Doing Her Work:  Michelle Kinder Leading From the Inside Out

Doing Her Work: Michelle Kinder Leading From the Inside Out

October 1, 2019

“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”  - Lilla Watson


Michelle Kinder is well-known in the domains of social-emotional learning and education. She is also an authoritative voice in the discourses of leadership, stress, emotional health, trauma and parenting. Her increasing passion about historical and structural inequities has led her to make an important shift in her career, which we explore in depth in our conversation. Michelle shares how growing up in Guatemala influenced her perspective on social issues and how this grew her capacity to innovate and problem-solve.  We hear her view on the destructive “us” and “them” narratives that often accompany outreach efforts and how cultural forces are counterproductive to our ability to be grounded and sensitive as individuals. We discuss the focus of Momentous Institute, her new partnership with the Stagen Leadership Academy, and her collaboration with Rex Miller, with whom she is co-authoring a book on the challenges of educators.  Michelle advises that, for us to be most effective in bringing about positive change, we need to do whatever work is needed to be able to regulate our own nervous systems. She speaks frankly on her view about the responsibilities of the corporate and philanthropic worlds in establishing a more equitable society.

An Essential Link:  Wellbeing and Leader Effectiveness

An Essential Link: Wellbeing and Leader Effectiveness

September 17, 2019

Visit Rise Leaders Radio's website for application notes, links and resources.


At the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit. And that center is really everywhere. It is within each of us.  

- Black Elk 


Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as human. 

-  Vaclav Havel

Renee Moorefield, PhD is committed to all aspects of wellbeing.  In our conversation, we explore resilience, what it means to thrive and the Be Well Lead Well® assessment.


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