Ep 46. How To Become A Better Ally For Black Businesses, Professionals, Creators, All Black Everything!
Troy Sandidge: There are three things you must do if you want to be a genuine ally if you're trying to impact, and grow, and expand, and elevate black businesses, black professionals, black creators, all black everything. The three things are, you must create awareness, you must have accountability, and you must take action. You must have awareness, and awareness requires you to be an active listener and participant, and asking questions, and getting feedback, and getting answers, and then moving forward in the process. Then you must hold yourself accountable to the new knowledge you just gained so you can be the change that you want to see in the world, but you can only be the change unless you take action and act on behalf, and with, to be a positive ally for black businesses, black professionals, black creators, all black everything. That's how you're going to help us go to the next level of black empowerment. iDigress squad, listen up. This is the moment where I remind you that iDigress is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network, which has assembled amazing audio avengers to help you listen, learn, and grow. One audio avenger I want to spotlight for you is Benjamin Shapiro of the MarTech Podcast. With episodes you can listen to, and under 30 minutes, just like mine, the MarTech Podcast shares stories from world- class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success, all on your lunch break. I sincerely found so much value from Ben's recent three- part interview series with William Tyree, CMO of revenue. io, covering topics like, is marketing ops dead? How RevOps is taking over roles, MarTech and sales tech convergence. The conversation range from how to maximize revenue, to embrace RevOps, to artificial intelligence incorporation. But Ben covers everything you can think of in the MarTech space from sports marketing, to black entrepreneurs experience with Calvin Brown, to the biggest trend in social media marketing that will impact startups, to the rise of the millennial B2B decision maker, to how founders can start building their brand on a limited budget, and so much more. If you think about the value you're getting in under 30 minutes from just listening to iDigress, then you will get even more value listening to the MarTech Podcast with Benjamin Shapiro brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. One of the biggest reasons why black businesses, black professionals, black creators, black speakers, all black everything hasn't progressed as we as a community would like comes down to three simple things. The first and most prominent thing is awareness. Being aware of the plight, being aware of the difficulties, being aware of the injustice, being aware of the privilege depending on someone's color, race, identity, socioeconomic status, and so on, and so forth. Like I told my listeners before, these series of episodes, during black history month, as a black leading, hosting, executive producing a black podcast to talk about growth marketing strategy will not hold any punches around the topics that are near dear to my heart, near dear to the community, that needs to be told, that needs to be said, that needs to be expressed so that my listeners can understand and be evangelized to make change happen. Can we talk about it? Having black friends or family, going to school with black classmates, or college, or in a co- working space, mentoring black kids, various diversity chair reignings, whether in a corporate setting, workshop setting, all the different things does not change privilege. Privilege is privilege. Having privilege doesn't mean you are a bad person. Having privilege does mean, if we were to look at the race of life from the moment we are poof, are in this world, we enter in this world with nothing and we carry on our weight like any other human being, if you had less weight to carry from birth based off the color of your skin, then a person of color, regardless of socioeconomic status or additional struggles, wherever you're from, whatever your family has achieved, or not have achieved and so forth, that is still a level of privilege. I've said it before and I've said it again, having ed doesn't mean you are a bad person. It just means you have a little less weight based off the color of your skin than a person of color. That is something that we all need to be aware of, and acknowledge, and call out, and address when we see it. If you've never had to see the word through another lens and you choose not to understand that lens from which you have never seen before with your own eyes, or experienced personally, how can you sincerely give forth empathy, and seek understanding, and support to something you have not expressed, seen, endured, faced, or are even aware of? That's why I have addressed that the first thing that allies, that HR, that people in corporate America, from the CEO all the way down, needs to focus on, if they are look to be champions, and allies, and create a more inclusive, diverse culture is first building awareness. The only way you can build awareness, achieve awareness is to ask questions. And not just any questions, we're not talking the top level questions. We're talking the deep, somewhat uncomfortable questions in the right mannerisms, within the right space to seek understanding and know what to do about it. It does us no good as a people, as a society, as black businesses, as black creators, as black professionals if the only time you want to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion is during the 28 days of black history month. Can I be real? It helps us none. Because there's 337 more days that is not talked about, but we are black 365. Black businesses don't stop being black businesses the moment March 1st happens. And black businesses shouldn't be just the top of mind of everybody else starting January 31st so they can roll it all out the 28 days. Let me be real. It's not enough to reshare and like. It's not enough to bring black speakers, black entrepreneurs, black CEOs, all the titles, all the industries, all the different things, and make that the theme of the month, and then we don't hear or see any more diverse representation until the next internet holiday that calls for it. Black history month is beyond just a theme of the month, a section of the year to talk about. This is a life. These are lives. These are human beings. These are businesses, creators, all the things, who all they want is acceptability, and they want equal opportunity. That's it. There is no one denying that to make change happen, we must be made aware that the problem exists, that it hasn't gone anywhere, and that we still have more things to go.
Speaker 2: What's up digital world? You're listening to the iDigress audio experience with Troy Sandidge. Social media, marketing, storytelling, business, coaching and more coming to you in three, two, one.
Troy Sandidge: The second thing, once you cross the bridge of awareness is having accountability. It does us no good if you see something, you have been clearly educated, and you clearly understand, and can clearly identify the problem, but you do not contribute at any way to the solution. Therefore, hold your company, your organization, those who manage your brand perception, those who handle who your third party contributors are, those who handle who's your vendors are, all the things, to a higher standard of accountability. Change does not happen without accountability when we don't see the change occurring to the level or the depths, or even at all to what we hope for. Don't play with smoking mirrors. Don't just post about we're trying to make changes and educate our staff on DEI. This leads to my next and third point, take action. Words are great, but I think I can speak for many and the black community who are in marketing, who are in sales, the agency in corporate. Like, when we say, it's great for you to talk and spotlight us in certain dimensions, but it's even better when you take action to validate your stance and make literal change. Now, we're not saying to not just hire us, bring us on your stages, give us the opportunities, give us access just because we identify as black, as B- I- P- O- C. We ask that you give us the opportunities that we are black, yes, but beyond that, you see the potential and you're not blindsided because you think because we're black, we're less than. Let me make you very clear, we are not less than. There are many capable black businesses, black creators, and may I even say this, black coaches who have been proven, who have the experience, who have carried teams, who have carried organizations to get the bag, to get the growth, and all they're asking for is an equal opportunity to go even further in their process, in their careers, with their businesses, whatever it is that they want to do. So, if you sincerely want to be a true, genuine ally, beyond black history month, for the remainder of 2022, you must make yourself aware, you must make yourself and hold yourself accountable, and you must take action. It can be hard to make big dreams a reality when it feels like you're spending all of your time managing your CRM platform. HubSpot CRM platform is purpose built for scaling with your business and those big dreams of yours so it's impossible to outgrow. With intuitive visual workflows and Bob builders, the HubSpot CRM platform can automate campaigns across your website, email, social media, visual ads, and chat for clear communications and zero mixed messages. Come on now, we got this, we got this. With the HubSpot Teams feature, you can organize your account by teams and segment leads, sort through content, and easily view team performance reports. Thanks to Sequences, you can create flows to automate sales outreach, follow up, and time personalized emails so you can scale your customer relationships like never before. HubSpot CRM platform is easy to implement and ready to scale. That sounds like the dream for those who listen to the iDigress Podcast. Learn more about how the HubSpot CRM platform can help your business grow better at hubspot. com. If you, as a business, or as an organization, or as an HR head, or a CEO, or whatever your title, or whatever your situation might be, how you engage with the community, with the culture, if you're hiring, if you're investing, even if you do all the things that look to be right and say the right things during the remainder of this month, what you do the remaining days within this year, if you're not making yourself aware, holding yourself accountable and taking action, then you are just smoking mirrors. Because we're tired. We are tired. We need to see change. Without awareness, accountability, and action, change cannot occur. Without awareness, accountability, and action, we cannot grow, we cannot scale, we cannot close the wage gap. We cannot amplify others to the level that they need to be amplified. Yes, black lives matter. I'm not getting political. That's not my lane, but I am saying I will be naive to not express that when you're engaging in audiences, when you're trying to close deals in your sales pipeline, when you're trying to get more people to buy your products, buy your service, build your brand authority, build your community, get more web sessions, that there's not a good percentage of those individuals who identify as black. The truth and nothing but the truth, can you handle the truth? We all want everyone to speak their truth, but only if it identifies as our truth or aligns with our truth. And if it's not our truth, our experience, then we question that truth or don't want to hear that truth. I want to share the truth. I'm all about numbers. There was QUALCO study that said, while 65% of black professionals said black employees have to work harder to advance, only 16% of white professionals agree with that statement. I'm going to say that again. 65% of black professionals have said black employees have to work harder to advance compared to only 16% of white professionals who agree with that statement. In addition, let me make this very clear, black professionals are more likely to encounter racial prejudice and microaggressions than any other racial or ethnic group. 43% of black executives have had come colleagues use racial and sensitive language in their presence. Let me expound on what microaggressions even are. Microaggressions include having a colleague touch their hair without permission, uh- uh. Being mischaracterized as air quotes, angry, when they're just speaking up and making very clear their stance, or trying to address something that's very serious in a timely manner, or being excluded from growth opportunities or one- on- one meetings with direct leadership. One thing that I stood out from one of Society for Human Resource Management articles on the mental toll, all things within racism in corporate America, the quote was, if I had a dollar for every time I heard, " You articulate so well for a black guy," I could retire. Nate Battle shared that quote. As a matter of fact, he is one of the few black professionals working at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and life science company in Florida. As a senior director, he was repeatedly denied the opportunity to be considered for a vice president's role. Now, sure. I know some people are listening and think, hey, just because you're black, and you're ambition, and you're smart, and you're capable, and you're educated does not mean, if someone denies you promotion, they were being racist. I understand that, but let's look at the wider view for what it is. What is the criteria for the promotion status? If it's equal across the board, no matter your race, your ethnicity, your gender, then okay, equal's equal. But if it's not, and you're looking at how the hiring process is going, the promotion process is going, and it doesn't line up across the board, then you have a problem. Now, the thing is, numbers are great to a degree, but if you're not asking everybody and making sure everyone is submitting those surveys, well, hey, 100% of those who survey, which is only 10% of the entire company says, " We're doing great." That's a problem because you're not creating an environment that everyone's feels seen and heard, or feel safe to express their truths, to give you adequate data to make adequate decisions. This comes back to the big thing I talked about at the beginning of this episode, which is awareness. Once you are aware, then we have to hold you accountable. The only way to hold you accountable is if you take action, and if you don't take action, you better hold yourself accountable to the action takers so you can get yourself resolved, figured out, ironed out, so then therefore you can fulfill what you mean to fulfill, to make the space more inclusive. If no one knows you exist, if someone Googles you and you don't show up in search, doesn't matter how amazing your product or service is because no one can find your website. No one can find you. This is where our friends at Ahrefs comes in handy. Discover optimization opportunities for your website. You'll see which keywords your pages are ranking for. You'll understand how Google sees your content. Visit Ahrefs, A- H- R- E- F-S-H- S. com/ awt. Sign up for free tool, connect it to your website and you're all set. Now, Troy, what does all of this have to do with marketing sales and growth? The numbers have shown, time and time, and time, and time, and time, and time again, that when you have diverse leaders, diverse team members, teammates from different experiences, walk of life, they provide you different ammunition, different vantage points, different experiences that, if given the opportunity, can lead to amazing, astounding growth opportunities. A company is only as good as this team, because by that team, the dynamic of that team, the culture of that team will ensure your sustainable, scalable, success. Not only internally, but let me make this also clear. The black community, we got pockets, we got money, we can contribute in a vast amount to your company, to your business, to your organization. The numbers speak for themselves. I think back to an interview I did in the height of summer of 2020, when we think about the rights, George Floyd, all those things, I gave these numbers to talk about the buying power of the black community, and here's a snippet from it right here. If it fits this and they'll buy, let's do it. If we don't think that they would, we won't even market to them. And not know that, hey, and I had a study, I think I shared this, that African- Americans right now currently, the buying powers surpassed 1 trillion since 2016. It's expected to reach 1. 5 trillion by 21. That's according to the University of Georgia. So, if you're telling me you're going to pass on$ 1. 6 trillion from a specific group, because you think of years of years, of years, of years of data points are that they may not afford it, not wise. We're getting, hey, guess what? People like me, way more people who are way more successful than me are pioneers, trying to break those ceilings, which is really hard to do, to make more financial footing holes for other people to come up, to buy more things, because we want to buy more lecturers things because we've always felt we've been impressed from not able to obtain these things. It's a psyche. When you're looking at trying to talk to minorities, it's also the language. If you're talking, and I lack a better word, a certain way, in a certain area, and it doesn't connect to that area, you're probably not going to get it. It's not saying that you're talking black or talking white, you're trying to talk and connect to them, and knowing their culture, knowing where they're coming from. Just how we deal with white and Latino X and LGBTQA, if you understand the culture within your community, you're going to be a super successful and super powerful organization. I don't like the word targeting because it makes it seem a very negative connotation. We should almost change it to, how do business understand and cultivate those relationships with minorities? In doing so, that showcases in their marketing backend, and then in their front- end, in the visuals, in the copy, and the way that they bring them in. Then, not even that, once I get you to click, what's the experience on the website, or the landing page, or the video, or whatever? Does it still keep that ecosystem alive that fits me that makes me want to buy, or commit say yes, or call now? That is what organizations really honestly need to do. What have we learned? What did you take away? Were you surprised by the numbers? Were you already aware? It's not enough to get it right internally with your business. It's just as important to get it right when engaging with your audience, with your community, with your ideal buyer. Because last time I checked, money is green. So, wouldn't you be a fool to put yourself in a position to deny you money from my an entire race, an entire community of individuals who want to invest and spend money on your product, on your service, become an advocate for your business, for your brand? We got to think about this thing a little bit deeper. DEI goes a lot deeper. It demands a lot more. Well, you can't make change and grow and scale and be my are inclusive if you aren't willing to learn and educate and make the necessary changes within your organization accordingly. It comes back down to active listening. Create spaces so you can sit there and listen. Let me make it very clear, I understand. Sometimes when we, as black professionals, as black businesses, as black individuals speak our truth, it can be hard to swallow. It can be hard to process. It can be extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes you have to sit in that silence, in that uncomfortable ability, so therefore we can all learn, be aware, and make changes accordingly. Just as much as you hear this voice talk on growth, marketing, strategy, branding, sales, social media, all the things to make things more simplistic to understand. Do you know the reason why I chose to go this route, how I branded the podcast, why I do the podcast the way that I have? But the reason I even started podcasting in the first place, as I've said this before in previous episodes, there are not enough people talking about my subject matter to help me grow that look like me, that sound like me, and expresses it in a way that is true to me and my experiences. If you don't see the change you want to be in the world, as the quote says, I'm paraphrasing, become the change you want to see in the world. And here we are. The reason why I chose a solo host experience was so that people of my race, of my identity, from my communities, from where I'm from, or trying to learn these things, can hear a familiar voice that they know, they can trust, to articulate it in a way that aligns with their own experiences. He's going to break it down in a way that I can understand it. Because here's the thing, a lot of black businesses, if I can keep it real, and I will keep it real on my show, that's hosted by a black man with a black voice, is that lots of times we don't have the access to the level of the understanding to begin to make the specific moves to give us the growth, scalability, sustainability, and success that we see from our non- black peers. If that's the problem and that's the cycle, if someone played you a whole podcast episode and said, " Hey, if you listen to this one hour podcast episode, it's going to guarantee you get 10X your business," but it's in French and you don't know how to speak French, you can't understand French, it doesn't matter how many times you hear that episode, you can't get the understanding to modify your business to 10X your business. Am I making it very clear? In the same way, there are certain mannerisms, and jargon, and language, that if you don't have the base foundation of what they're saying, you could be giving me the recipe I need to 10X or even 100X my business. But if I don't have the basic understanding of the language, I can't apply what I'm hearing to my business. Am I making that very clear? So, if I'm a black business and I need to learn marketing, and sales, and strategy, and all the things from a concept foundation level first and then scale up, and most of these podcasts in certain industries or fields are not addressing that particular pain point that I'm having. I can listen to all these episodes all day long from a very capable, amazing, powerful individuals. But if I can't fully understand it, it doesn't 100% benefit me. I'm only getting bits and pieces. You can't build a skyscraper with bits and pieces of tools. You can't do that. That's why I chose the solo host experience for now, was to build the foundation of, if you're listening to my podcast, you came to listen to my voice. You didn't come to anybody else to spike up the views. You came here listen to my voice. Let's establish the baseline of who Troy is, who his audience is, and how he's trying to help. On top of all of that, you probably coming here because I know he's going to break it down for me to understand. And he is going to deliver in a way that makes sense to me as a B- I- P- O- C, a black and underrepresented business, freelancer, consultant, leader in corporate America, side hustle. Just someone who wants to learn a little bit more about marketing, tragedy and sales, or learn from a different perspective and viewpoint on things I already know and establish at. You're all welcomed here and beyond. But that is why, because there aren't that many of us, I know I have a very young baby face, but I've been in this game for 10 years, and it is very hard and tiring and trying to be a trail blazer in an industry and a space on the stages, in the corporate offices, in the boardrooms when you feel like you're the only one, or one of few. Yes, there are plenty of us who are rising up the ranks, but there's so many more that haven't took the plunge, or have even given the opportunity because of our skin and our race. It's difficult, and it's challenging, and it's hard, and it's uncomfortable, but that's real. Just because we see it influx and people tweeting about it, making videos about it, bringing black speakers to talk about it during this month, does not mean, for the remainder of the year, it shouldn't be talked about just as much, if not more. If you're a black business, a black professional, keep going. I acknowledge, and I understand, and I empathize with you. I know to a degree how you feel, but I also know why you decided to do what you do in the first place, because you love it and you want to make a bigger impact. You want to make a change because you have been blessed with the talent, the power and the ability to make that change occur. For those who are listening, who are allies, understand that we thank you. And we appreciate you for being allies. We understand that, that's a choice to be, and you don't have to be. So, we thank you. But we also ask, and we also acknowledge, we also want to make you aware that just saying is not enough, being aware is not enough. If you want to be a true ally, you must hold yourself accountable to a higher standard and take action wherever you feel comfortable or wherever it makes sense for you to contribute to the change that you want to see in the world for your black counterparts, your black colleagues, your black audience, your black buyers, your black investors, your black leaders, and so on. Lastly, I want to make this clear that it is a journey of change. No one day, no one month, no one year, no one webinar or podcast or program is going to just give us the recipe, the blueprint to change the hearts and remove all the systematic and systemic racial prejudice, bias, bigotry, and justice, themes and standards, and all the things within all the infrastructures that we deal with in a professional setting. But if we just allow ourselves to listen and become aware, and then hold ourselves accountable to what we are aware of and take action based of we know as a collective group, and we just continue to peck at that rock bit by bit, eventually that rock is going into break, and we're going to be on the other side celebrating the change that has occurred. But it takes us to be aware, to hold ourselves accountable, and to take action.
Speaker 3: And that's a wrap. We hope you enjoyed this episode of iDigress. What was your takeaway? Care to share your thoughts and tag Troy on social media? You can find him on all platforms @ findtroy. Don't forget to like, subscribe, and leave a review or comment for this episode from wherever you're listening. Looking for a marketing strategist to build the structure, strategies, and systems you need to get the success you want and the ROI you desire in your business? Book a discovery call to talk with Troy at findtroy. com. As Troy's philosophy goes, imagination is the engine, content is the fuel, social media is the highway, marketing is the roadmap, sales is the destination, culture is the GPS. Thanks for listening.
There are 3 As to becoming a better ally for black businesses, professionals, creators, leaders, all black everything.
The three things are awareness, accountability, and action.
This episode is all about education, enlightenment, and empowerment to articulate in a very candid way why learning how to be a better ally to black employees, coworkers, leaders, businesses, professionals, creators, audiences, customers, clients, listeners, viewers, etc will make a significant impact to your business.
This is the episode to share with your teams, colleagues, audiences if you're trying to find someone who can articulate the value of allyship, the moral, ethical, and business reasons why supporting black, elevating black, buying black, and employing black can change the very trajectory and profitability of your entire business.
I ask that you listen with an open mind with the intent to understand.