Melinda Briana Epler, Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst, and Jeff Tidwell, CEO & Co-Founder of Next For Me, explore the often overlooked topic of ageism at work, and share strategies for dealing with this type of discrimination – as the recipient or as a bystander.
Learn more about Jeff’s work on:
- Next For Me weekly newsletter
- Next For Me: A Guide To Change For Everybody by Carole McManus and Jeff Tidwell
- Online course: A Guide to Change For Everybody
- “Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM” by Peter Gosselin and Ariana Tobin
- “Reverse Mentoring: 3 Proven Outcomes Driving Change” by Jason Wingard
- Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder by Chip Conley
- “How a Simple Platform Fix Can Help Millions of Women Trying To Re-Enter the Workforce” by Heather Bolen
- Modern Elder Academy
- Startup Decoder: A community of people who are mid- and late-career working in tech.
- Encore: Older activists, innovators, and leaders, standing with younger allies to bridge divides, connect across generations, and create a better future together.
- “Experience Diversity: The Power of Age & Perspective” by Ellen Petry Leanse at Tech Inclusion 2016
- Jeff’s Tech Inclusion talks: “60 and Gay in Tech” and The Last ‘ism: Age
The live show is made accessible thanks to Interpreter-Now and White Coat Captioning.
- “I became invisible, you know… suddenly, it is like I could walk right into somebody’s space and they wouldn’t see me.”
- “I have a dear friend, God bless him, but he calls me ‘Grandpa’ all of the time…. It is like it is OK to make a joke about older people. You do that about any other marginalized class, and the slap down happens right away. It is those kinds of things that happen a lot – and so fight back and say, ‘that’s BS, where you are headed. You wouldn’t say that about X now would you?’”
- “Being vulnerable is hard and that’s why you want allies in the relationships you are developing over time. If you do want to break down about this and, you know, the impact it is having on your family and your mental health and all of that, who can you go talk to about that? If you set-up the network in a healthy way, those people will be waiting for you, and you can do the same for them.”
CEO and Co-Founder at Next For Me
MELINDA EPLER: Welcome to Leading With Empathy & Allyship where we have deep, real conversations about the tangible things that we can do to be more inclusive leaders in our workplaces and in our communities. I am Melinda Briana Epler, the Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst, where we build inclusive innovation through training, consulting and events. You know, this is a safe space to learn, to build empathy for each other and understand those tangible actions we can all take to be better humans and to be there for each other. If you have specific questions, please, put them in the Q&A and we will make sure to get to those. Today we have Jeff Tidwell joining us to talk about how to address ageism in the workplace. Jeff is the CEO and Co-Founder at Next For Me. Welcome, Jeff.
JEFF TIDWELL: Thank you so much. It is great to be back in the Change Catalyst corral again.
MELINDA EPLER: Awesome. Awesome. Jeff, before we dive in, I want to make sure we describe ourselves for anybody who is Blind, or Low Vision, or who is listening on the podcast as well. I am a White woman with long red hair, wearing a shirt that I am not sure to call the color — it is like a burnt orange color not that I have ever burned oranges — and I have black and white glasses.
JEFF TIDWELL: Great. And I am a White male with short hair and glasses and wearing my white Zoom shirt for today’s event.
MELINDA EPLER: Awesome. On screen, we have two interpreters today and thank you to Interpreter Now for our ongoing partnership. Really appreciate you. This is also being live captioned by Maggie at White Coat Captioning. If you want to turn on captioning, go to the bottom of the Zoom screen and click on closed caption or click on the more screen and then hit closed captioning. Our team is behind the scenes doing amazing things to help make it happen and they are also in the chat and Q&A if you have questions. Please engage with us in the chat. Share what you are learning and thinking during our conversation. It definitely helps us learn what’s resonating for you. Lastly, just, again, use that Q&A function if you have specific questions. We will definitely have time at the end. Let’s dive in.
JEFF TIDWELL: Great. I am glad to be here. I have a lot to say.
MELINDA EPLER: Awesome. I am sure you do. For you all, for your benefit, Jeff and I have known each other for — since 2016 maybe?
JEFF TIDWELL: Yeah, or ’17.
MELINDA EPLER: Was it 2017?
JEFF TIDWELL: I think, yeah. I wrote my little proposal. I remember, I was in the LA office and I thought you know, I have got something to say about this topic and sure enough you welcomed me to that first Tech Inclusion and I have been back a few times since it started. I appreciate it.
MELINDA EPLER: Absolutely. Could you start by telling us a bit about your story and how you came to do the work that you are doing today.
JEFF TIDWELL: Sure. Sure. So I have been in tech probably 35 years, I think. I am 61. You know, I had a charmed career. I was always, or often, the youngest person in the room. That’s just what I was used to. As the years went by, I suddenly started noticing vague differences in how people were treating me, what I was being invited into or just general feeling that I wasn’t putting in something, couldn’t figure it out, had no clue, couldn’t put my finger on it and just barreled through any way. Over time it kind of made sense and people started telling me, you know, that this happens to them and Joe figured it out. My first reaction was they found me to be anti-whatever they were trying to do to me. In my 20s and 30s, I was very active in the gay rights movement and a big part of that was coming out, coming out of the closet and telling the world this is who I am, take it or leave it. It was also an imperative in that rights movement to say if we don’t feel good about who we are, how do we ever imagine somebody is going to accept us? That stuck its barrier in your head. It is a strong force within you, especially if you are starting to build a different kind of discrimination all of a sudden. I have to say part of it was — not the easiest person to manage so I wasn’t sure if it was that or this other thing. It was a combination but I am sure the ageism thing was starting to come along.
MELINDA EPLER: Just to stop you for a second, I think that is a common theme. A lot of us have that self-doubt. Is it me or is it the culture around me? That is a constant, I have felt that as well, and kind of questioned that in myself first and then realized, oh, wait, it is not just me because it is other people that are experiencing that as well.
JEFF TIDWELL: But it is the culture. It is really baked into us and it has been for decades. Retirement happens at this time, old people are like this and things like that. Around the time that I was preparing the talk for Tech Inclusion called 60 and Gay in Tech, before I spoke, I checked in with an old friend of mine who had done a lot of public speaking, his name is Chip Conway, and so happened Chip was coming out of a four-year job with Airbnb as the mentor to the CEO. He had learned an awful lot about intergenerational mentoring and all of this and was writing a book called Wisdom at Work. The stars collided, he was creating this academy he called the Modern Elder academy. He said we will do something about that and a place where skill sharing happens. I said heck yes. He encouraged me to invest a little to get us going and then I realized, oh, this is bigger than this little thing that happened to me because we are all living 20-30 years longer. Just this weekend, I have all my visual aids today but the New York Times is the secret of longevity. Over the last 100 years, we have doubled our life expectancy. We are all living twice as long as we used to. Then for us, in this realm right now, it is maybe 20-30 years longer. With the savings rate of at least in America of, you know, some say it is half of people over 50, have less than $50,000 saved or whatever it is, any medical thing can blast that out. What we learned from that is we are all going to have to keep working longer and to work longer in a workplace that is not welcoming, or doesn’t even entertain the idea of hiring you, that’s difficult; right? And so, we are off to the races and we started a weekly newsletter and events and all this stuff. We realized soon that the doom and gloom message was not what people wanted to hear. Not to mention the fact that there was already a target on their back, they felt, and some insecurity against keeping work going that by telling the world about Next For Me and all this important information, they were not going to put that target on their back. We listened and opened it up in a lot of ways to be about change and how you navigate transition and that sort of thing. So it applies to people of all ages but especially vital to this demographic.
MELINDA EPLER: Awesome. So let’s talk about ageism and how it shows up. What is it? Can you talk more about your own experience?
JEFF TIDWELL: Much of it is so subtle that you couldn’t put your finger on it and this is the problem and lawsuits and, you know, trying to go to court about these things and not to mention that the onus is on the employee to report ageism instead of the employer so that makes it difficult. And on top of that, do a lawsuit and you will never work again and all those things. The most notorious example of this was IBM who had this seniority alignment program is what they call it and systematically over five years, I think, they had been playing off like three quarters of their workforce since the ’80s but I am sure they got McKinsey bros in there who said you have to adjust this if you want to be innovative and compete with Silicon Valley so they were finding creative ways of getting people. Prorepublica did this amazing reporting on that experience and they had to face the courts and pay money out. People are becoming more careful only when it hits the bottom line but it is, you know, once again, it is so embedded in our culture and even in ourselves. We believe these things that have been drilled into our heads our whole life that older people are not adept and slower and we cost more because we have to take care of our aging parents. That’s not all true but it is baked in. You are not always sure when you are seeing it and that’s why I advocate for stirring it up in your own workplace and not to be confrontational but to start showing the world what it is like when multiple generations interact because they are more productive, successful and happier. That’s how it will get through because I just don’t imagine and don’t see it happening in HR departments where they are going to start addressing this. We did a great tour at the last Tech Inclusion job fair. Here is Google and Yelp and all these big companies recruiting and here we are at a diversity and inclusion conference and walked around and asked everybody if age was a factor in their D&I programs and nobody, nobody. They backed off. They were like who is this guy and why is he asking this? For alet — for a lot of good reasons, people of color, LGBTQ, everything, the spectrum we are familiar with needed a seat at the table but our contention is you take a marginalized group to begin with — marginalized group to begin with and add age in that’s a double now. We will have to bring this into the conversation because of the sheer number. Half of the people over 25 are over 50. There is a shortage of reasons they will need us and they need our wisdom, of course.
MELINDA EPLER: Right. Absolutely. My executive coach who I have worked with off and on for many years told me once if I ever need a project where I could use a whole bunch of badass women in tech, she knows them because there are so many women who are laid off after the age of 50 in tech.
JEFF TIDWELL: That’s amazing.
MELINDA EPLER: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about why it is important for companies to address? Obviously for individuals, we need the work, and most people in addition to some of the things you talked about, I think there are a lot of people that haven’t put in place retirement plans and things like that until they get a little bit older too. That’s kind of shifting. And we have more debt earlier on in life that we have to pay before we can do that, right? So, you know, families now have this enormous college debt. After the last recession, a lot of those kids came home again so they are parenting all over again. A lot of kids couldn’t afford houses with the college debt and everything else it cost to live in the world so they came home. That was a change in plans as well. A lot of people have dropped out of the workforce in the last year or had to for any number of reasons we know and now they are trying to reenter the workforce and my favorite story of the last couple of weeks is a woman who wrote a piece on Medium. She had been an executive at Starbucks. She took 10 years off to have and raise her kids. She was getting ready to go back into the workplace again and she was going to update her profile on LinkedIn. She was going to add this job mom in there — what she had been doing for the last 10 years. Not a category and didn’t exist on LinkedIn. The closest thing they suggested to her was a homemaker which was unbelievable and so 1950s. I don’t know how that has gone on for years and years and years. There was no way to document what I had been doing in this 10 years. You don’t have to explain a lot. You can just say I was raising my kids. That got changed and that got changed because somebody used the tools of the internet and said, you know, I have got something to say about this, it got enough attention, and that change happens. That’s how change does happen. You know, the thing that I encourage people to do is write about what you are doing, let the world know where your head is with respect to these topics or anything else in your career, because you need that edge to begin with. It is not going to change. I don’t believe in my lifestyle. You know? It is really slow and it will take a generation to unlearn all this. When the next-generation sees people living to 90 and a 100 they will say I have a lot more to go, I will have to navigate the world of work and, hopefully, it is going to be open.
Do not look behind the curtain. There we go.
MELINDA EPLER: There are people that have taken themselves out of the workforce to deal with themselves or their parents during the pandemic so there is going to be an additional number of people going back into the workforce in the coming year or two. Now is a good time to talk about looking at the resume and valuing it even.
JEFF TIDWELL: A lot of people hack off details from their LinkedIn profile or the year they graduated. In hiring, there is a lot of AI at work now. It looks for keywords, it looks for dates, it looks for schools. This is one of the things. Who programmed this and what bias are they throwing into the algorithms to select people in the way they do.
Can you talk about the benefits and why it is important for companies to address ageism and really work on this?
JEFF TIDWELL: There is a ton of knowledge and qualities that come overtime. Pattern recognition is one. I always worked on community projects throughout my career. How many times have we tried to figure out what the menu item is? I have done this 20 times, let me tell you the highlights and maybe we can work from there. These things come in. A younger person might not know how to navigate the politics in an audience. If you are working together with them you might be able to help them. If there is something they are dijally native with maybe they can help you. If it doesn’t exist in the workplace find a mentoring place. Find one outside of the workplace or see if you can begin one at the workplace. Or informally ask Joe over there if he wants to go have lunch instead of surrounding yourself with people just like you all of the time. These social things that happen in companies — drinking and skiing and all that stuff. That doesn’t necessarily gel with all demographics in the office. Maybe you still have that but maybe you should consider something that is outside of that I am 25 and I want to drink all weekend. Do you have a publishing platform that you can raise this on? These are the subversive ways. You can change hearts and minds and even just awareness. People are up to here trying to deal with all their D&I stuff but this is going to bite them some day. I hope that’s how things begin to change.
MELINDA EPLER: The data is there to show intergenerational teams are more productive and adaptive. The data is there. It is good for business as well. As well. You know, nobody wants to be afraid they are going to be fired or let go because of their age. You start to cover identity as we all know, that takes extra energy and there is, of course, an intergenerational effect to that as well that women tend to be more penalized for their age as well and that women of color, again, and yeah. Women are already marginalized.
JEFF TIDWELL: It just piles up after a while. But I am encouraged there are programs happening in companies. Procter & Gamble has something called the golden return or something like this. They will bring in people who have retired or semi retired and throw them in the middle of meetings that are not necessarily their discipline but they are bringing in their experience with the company and in solving problems and being innovative against, you know, a set of requirements and things like that. The ones I hear most about are people already retired and they will bring them back in as a look who is here. Not a focus on how we are going to make this team intergenerational and what we are working on it.
MELINDA EPLER: Going to jump off screen for one second because I have — I wanted to just mention that Jeff just has two books.
JEFF TIDWELL: Our co-founder is the co-author of those. You know what the process was like. We led with a book about startups because we were a startup that are this mission and we thought we had learned some things and just as soon as it got published we said, you know, what in this is a bigger thing than startups and people of a certain age. It is about the skills to surf and that’s what we try to help people do. This is hard for me to say but I don’t think I can change the world completely but I do know, from what I have learned in my experiences, is help people navigate what they are going through next. That begins, you know, in the book. We start with the philosophical center and that is what are my values. If you think you want to be a potter and open a retail shop, write what that looks like. What does that digitally feel like or put a bunch of post-its on the wall and organize the different responsibilities of running a pottery shop. You get exposed to things you would not have thought of otherwise. I call it tricking the mind. You recognize things when you see them and all that. Finally, it is that’s all good and well as I am sure people in the chat are saying but I got a mortgage and these obligations. We encourage you to keep your day job. And as you go through this, figure out how to do it yourself because you may not have the budget. We are all entrepreneur types. You have to do a lot of things you had somebody else do for you in the corporate world or what have you.
MELINDA EPLER: Right. You have to do everything. It is a very —
JEFF TIDWELL: It is a simple guidebook to realigning who you are and what you think and all that stuff.
MELINDA EPLER: I think it is important for us to talk a little bit about how experiencing ageism affects you. I think that’s important and some things you address directly and indirectly in the book. What are things people go through as they experience ageism?
JEFF TIDWELL: Insecurity, stress about what is my future, anxiety, all of those things and on top of that, you know, no matter what age you are, since 2007, things have accelerated in the book Tom Freedman wrote, thank you for being late, he talks about this tsunami of things that have happened. In ’07 it was the iPhone, cloud computing, AI, and climate change. It has thrown people off balance. So they fear, as well as the stress, anxiety, and insecurity they are off balance because the world has accelerated so much. The question is is that because I am old? No, everyone feels like things change fast. But the thing is can you write in the center of the storm while this is going on around you, get clear, and take action in a way that will bring you to what’s next for you. That’s learned behavior and sometimes it is that’s California speak, or, you know, navel gazing and all of that stuff but, you know, we are confronted with this big challenge and let’s try other techniques that may have escaped you along your path and try new things and find ways to get clear about where you want to go.
MELINDA EPLER: Yeah, yeah, I think also there is, for a lot of people, I talked with about this, there is also feelings of cham and also deproal — betrayal that you gave your entire career to an industry/company and suddenly you are kind of ousted because you are not relevant or they are saying you are not relevant any more. They are casting you aside when you have put so much in.
JEFF TIDWELL: Tons of shame. Tons and tons of shame when you are taught at this age this should have happened and this should have happened and for whatever reason it might not be there is shame associated with that. I should have had this much money saved. Things happen. Whatever. And so, you gotta shake that stuff off. That’s where the self-reflection comes in and you can say you know what? That happened but at the end of the day, I am this and this and I am going to go out and do it again.
MELINDA EPLER: Thinking about what we can do for allies for people experiencing ageism is one is definitely valuing experience and that someone is unique and the breadth and depth of their experience I think is key here as well as kind of being there and, and knowing that people are going through those emotions, those feelings, that trauma and helping navigate that.
JEFF TIDWELL: Right. And noticing people is a real good place to start. You know? You have heard the expression, you know, I became invisible, you know? Walking down the street in my 20s everyone was looking at me and whistling or what have you. Maybe not that but then suddenly, it is like I could walk right into somebody’s space and they wouldn’t see me. And taking time to listen to someone where they are and where they have been, I bet you will learn something out of that. That’s just a critical part of expanding your network. It is going to become richer and informed with a variety of people rather than people just like you. The network is how you keep getting work. For people that get older, they say their network has aged out and that means they died or, you know, they are no longer involved in the work you all did. You have got to replant seeds.
MELINDA EPLER: If anybody has questions, please, put them in the Q&A and we will definitely make sure we address those. Please put your questions there. Some of these deep feelings of trauma and working through those, how you work through those, some of that sin your book. I think vulnerability is a part you touched on earlier in the conversation. As you were an activist, coming out was a key piece of the activism and we have vulnerability and as we work through this, I think owning that too is important.
JEFF TIDWELL: Being vulnerable is hard and that’s why you want allies in the relationships you are developing over time. If you do want to break down about this and, you know, the impact it is having on your family and your mental health and all of that, who can you go talk to about that? If you set-up the network in a healthy way those people will be waiting for you and you can do the same for them.
MELINDA EPLER: You have two books. What are the two different books?
JEFF TIDWELL: We did the book about startups and most of the material made it into the second one but we said this is not just about startups, though, if you are thinking about going down that path, it is not a bad book for that. A lot of people are, you know, especially in Silicon Valley where you are based, and you know, it means raising money and doing these things instead of creating a business that can sustain you over time. So, that’s why we talk about these things. How can I say standing long enough so I can see this goal? Or let these things evolve into what it is going to evolve into? This says no matter who you are or if you are thinking about where you are going next, try these things. We have online courses through a platform called Amamba and we do workshops around this stuff and for HR and executives and done a lot of research and published things. That’s a way to get inside the minds of this generation and how it can work for you and your company.
MELINDA EPLER: Someone asks in the chat are there better industries for older job seekers? And I will say probably not tech. [Laughter] In the tech industry, pretty much anyone over the age of 35 is underrepresented. A few are working on it but not a lot.
JEFF TIDWELL: Right. A lot of people reach a point where they are like I am going to do my own thing. I send out a million resumes online and I never hear a word and I don’t know how to break through it. You know, I poo-poo tech with respect to this but they are also some of the most progressive people doing business in the world. Not always with respect to this. I was around in the early technology periods and it was about giving a voice to people that didn’t have it and changing the power structure and everything. By the time you cycle through to the next thing, you might be surprised what is happening in tech and how you can make inroads if you have the right allies and your network was expansive enough that you could start. Look for a company that is involved. There are a ton of other fields, medical professionals are in such demand now that that’s an environment where you see a lot of people that are, you know, older than 40. These are places to start and you will know that by doing the homework to get there. And when you are looking for a job or feeling the pressure or it is kind of hard but clearly ask somebody what you can do.
MELINDA EPLER: Gina asks do you feel a remote environment to feel more welcome to ageism? Has it changed?
JEFF TIDWELL: I have heard that from people. They have turned the camera off. It is just their voice. You know, especially all kinds of remote work that doesn’t require people to be in the office or offline the answer is it is easier remotely but, you know, if imagery is the issue, there is nothing more brutal than a Zoom camera. You miss so much about the natural give and take with humanity in a face to face meeting that it is hard. Especially if you are trying to sell yourself into something.
MELINDA EPLER: Yeah, when you are starting something new for sure. Melissa asked a quick question. Who is Next For Me for? People burned out and over 40? Who is it for?
JEFF TIDWELL: It is for anyone who wants to transition to what’s next for them. I hope that’s not too vague. If you have been thinking there is something else you would like to do whether that’s work or whatever, how do people who would succeed in transitioning do it? Those are the stories we publish. We used to do this a lot. — all of the time. We are bringing in two New York Times-bestselling authors who are writing about this topic, 50 plus employment, and the deputy editor of news week has the person who will be facilitating the conversation. That is exciting and us trying to stick our foot in it and elevate the topic as best as we can. There is this whole industry called the longevity community where people are trying to capitalize on this. Some are more for that inner circle of people trying to innovate. At one point, we did three nights in Chicago, Cleveland and Dayton and Cincinnati and that was for people like us who are thinking about doing something new and because of the shame and anonymity they could get in these environments, I mean the emotions were plowing. — flowing. People were breaking down and telling stories. We hope we can help people with that conversation. It is often best when anonymous because they could be exposed as that person who may not be hirable because of their age. Madeline asks the question, how do I intervene if I see ageism in the workplace? I have seen resources on intervening but ageism can be harder to pinpoint.
JEFF TIDWELL: I mean raise your voice if you are comfortable. As I said, I don’t think a lot of people recognize they are doing it when they are doing it sometimes. You know, all of the age defining, botoxing, hair coloring issues aside, we are going to have to start changing that conversation. If you are comfortable in the workplace, do it. Talk to the person afterwards and ask them how they felt. At some point this is going to have to be brought up and the sooner the better. It is probably going to start as a grassroots thing and by people feeling they have got the power to do something about it.
MELINDA EPLER: Yeah, and I think it is important to recognize the isms come out in many ways. It comes out in microaggressions as well. And a key piece of when it comes out in micro aggressions it is often invisible. You have to make it visible as a part of intervening. If you are comfortable, call somebody in. Versus calling in. Let them know that is ageism and why it is important to counteract and change that verbalization and rethink things. And then, it also comes out in our systems. The biases contribute to our systems and how we make decisions on hiring. Advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion programs to include ageism in the work they are doing. With the hiring lenses, you have ageism on there as well. You are also looking at ageism and making sure that you are countering bias there. Promotions as well as making the layoff decisions and all those things at the systemic level of change
JEFF TIDWELL: It isn’t going to blow up in a way that Black Lives Matter has with all of the killings. What was the boiling point? This had been going on for years. Was it the camera moment? I think so. It became so apparent even though people knew it was happening and they participated in it but they finally said this has gone on long enough. I don’t know what it is going to be here. That’s why you start at the grass root level. If anybody needs material, I have tons of it. I can lay out a couple stats that will blow their mind and make them feel uncomfortable.
MELINDA EPLER: I was going to ask you where people can learn more about your work but I think you answered that.
JEFF TIDWELL: Nextforme.com. Newsletters going out every Tuesday for three years. Hundreds of articles and podcasts and videos and all of that. One of our advisors lost her mother, and a best friend all in seven months. She walked out of her high profile job and said I will see you later. I have to do something different. Obviously there has been enough upheaval in my life that I am going to figure out what’s Next For Me and that’s not going to happen here. It is a story like that. They are amazing to see the people who have made it through.
MELINDA EPLER: Jeff, you know, looking back at your own experience, where would you have wanted allies to step up for you in the workplace?
JEFF TIDWELL: Yeah. You know, I think it is the micro aggression stuff. That’s a great starting point. I have a dear friend, God bless him but he calls me grandpa all of the time. I think it is a hoot. And we laugh about it and everything but that’s a perfect example; you know? It is like it is OK to make a joke about older people. You do that about any other marginalized class and the slap down happens right away. It is those kinds of things that happen a lot and so fight back and say that’s BS where you are headed. You wouldn’t say that about X now would you? And what would you say to somebody who is going through some ageism now for the first time.
JEFF TIDWELL: Get somebody to talk to so you know it is not just you. I think that’s professional therapists of some kind. Or an executive coach like you have. Whether it is executive or whatever role you have in the world but you need to talk to somebody about it or you will start thinking it is all about you and it is not. Be reflective and do all the wellness things so you have a fresh mind when going in and you know what’s real and what’s just your mind over working.
MELINDA EPLER: Great. Thank you for being you and doing the work you do and the discussion.
JEFF TIDWELL: I feel the same about you. I am happy to do this and to talk to anybody who is in the audience today. I really appreciate this. It is great to talk about it and get clear about it every day and maybe you will too if you start having the conversation.
MELINDA EPLER: Yeah, and thank you everybody for your questions and comments. Appreciate you all. My question for you today to kind of think about are, you know, have you thought about the subtle biases you might have based on somebody’s age? How are you going to filter those and what are you going to do and rethink your own approach? And then if you have already thought about all those things, of course, what action will you take? Join us each week. Please share this with your colleague so you can find previous podcast episodes at changecatalyst.co. This episode will be up next week as a podcast if you want to share it with your networks and also, please, find this episode on your favorite platform or you be. Like it and subscribe to it so we can continue to grow our audience. With that, thank you, and we will see you all next week.
JEFF TIDWELL: Bye, everybody.
Host: Melinda Briana Epler
Melinda Briana Epler has over 25 years of experience developing business innovation and inclusion strategies for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and global NGOs.
As CEO of Change Catalyst, Melinda currently works with the tech industry to solve diversity and inclusion together. Using her background in storytelling and large-scale culture change, she is a strategic advisor for tech companies, tech hubs, and governments around the world. She co-leads a series of global solutions-focused conferences called Tech Inclusion, where she has partnered with over 450 tech companies and community organizations and hosted 43 solutions-focused diversity and inclusion events around the world.
Previously, Melinda was a Marketing and Culture Executive and award-winning documentary filmmaker – her film and television work includes projects that exposed the AIDS crisis in South Africa, explored women’s rights in Turkey, and prepared communities for the effects of climate change. She has worked on several television shows, including NBC’s The West Wing.
Melinda is a TED speaker. She speaks, mentors and writes about diversity and inclusion in tech, allyship, social entrepreneurship, underrepresented entrepreneurs and investing. She has spoken on hundreds of stages around the world, including SXSW, Grace Hopper, Wisdom 2.0, the World Bank, Obama White House, Clinton Foundation, Black Enterprise, Google, Indeed, Capital One and McKinsey.
Watch Melinda’s TED Talk
Change Catalyst Co-Founder Melinda Briana Epler has spoken across the globe in hundreds of venues and virtual events. Empathy, Allyship, Advocacy, Microaggressions, Inclusive Leadership, and Building Inclusive Teams are just some of the topics Melinda has spoken on. Let us know about your next speaking engagement needs! Melinda has also spoken on how to build organizational capacity to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as how to lead behavior change or how to build allies and advocates.
This show has given me clear opportunities to learn in the midst of 2020’s numerous social and personal challenges, including engaging remote content. I’ve learned new terms, heard new voices, diversified my interests and internalized personal narratives that have inspired me to get more active.
The show shaped my scope of reasoning on the dynamics in the corporate world, brand building, harmony across board with team mates. Your series has helped me feel less alone and less daunted by the challenges I face as a leader at a company that is used to moving fast with decisions and making swift progress across the board. I so earnestly want to grow and deepen my perspective when it comes to diversity and allyship; it’s not always clear how to do it. This series has felt like a path I can follow and revisit and draw strength and insight from. Thank you.
I watched many of your live shows in 2020, and I learned something from every discussion. They were inspiring on many levels. Early on during the pandemic (especially), the show also provided me with a sense of community that I was sorely needing. Thank you.