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Episode Two: Dr. Gena Yuvette Davis discusses social justice reform in the corporate world

HelloTeam is proud to welcome Dr. Gena Yuvette Davis, CEO and founder of True Synergy, onto the second episode of the Culture Corner Podcast. Listen as Dr Gena discusses her journey through her career with Tanya Bakalov, and how being a black woman changed her path and her perspective on it. She also shares her thoughts on social justice reform in the corporate world, the right ways to hold people accountable, and the way “cancel culture” should be handled in the workplace. Listen on Spotify, Amazon Music and more!

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Podcast Guide

2:03 – Dr Gena reflects on her path to becoming the CEO of True Synergy, “Well, I took a very untraditional route. I received my BA in communications arts and sciences from USC and wanted to go into marketing. And I received my MBA in marketing from University of Phoenix. And that’s what I was going to do. I was going to spend the rest of my life in marketing and communications.”

4:46 – “And once I did that, and started focusing on culture change and behavioral transformation, for companies, I really found my calling… I have my MBA in marketing, and I have this doctorate degree, I’m able to put the two together and really work with companies not only align themselves externally, but also make sure that their brand matches internally as well. And so that’s True Synergy, focus on helping companies make their culture match their brand.”

8:57 – In response to a question from Tanya about how diversity and inclusion coexist, Dr. Gena says, “diversity is really looking at differences of people in terms of external factors, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ability, all of those different things that makes us all diverse, different people. But when it comes to inclusion and belonging, it’s more internal. It’s more of a feeling. If a person feels included, and it’s demonstrated outwardly where people are bringing you into the conversation. They’re listening to you… then yes, then there’s inclusion.”

12:06 – She discusses the way external culture has shaped corporate culture, “Since George Floyd, the death of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor and others who have died at the hands of police. There’s a shift that has definitely happened, where organizations are more interested in looking at corporate culture change and behavioral transformations in their organizations.”

15:38 – “You (Tanya) and I have talked about how we’re perhaps entering this, whether in the fourth or fifth revolution, which is cultural now, it’s not about just manufacturing, and digitization and all of that, but it’s about, we’re finally putting people at the front and what they care about, and what they value and what they stand for, and how we see them and how we want them to be engaged and associated with our values.”

19:58 – Dr. Gena shares a great mindset on cancel culture, “So we’re in a world right now where we’ve got this cancel culture. And what I really am a proponent of is a counsel culture where we go in and we counsel. So if someone makes a mistake, or someone says something that someone feels is inappropriate, it’s all about just education and educating them and explaining to them why this was inappropriate, or why this made this person feel offended by it.”

24:05 – On changing culture by holding team members accountable, “So how do you hold them accountable, you have to tie it to something that’s important to them, you have to tie it to performance, their performance review. And those performance reviews got to lead to something, a promotion, a raise, a bonus has got to be tied to some type of consequence for culture change.”

30:05 – In response to a question from Tanya about how corporations view social justice reform, “I think social justice reform is not a fad. I think it is something that is here to stay. And it’s something that we’re going to continue to fight for each and every day. Now far as companies are concerned, I think it’s the trend right now, for them. But I think as long as we continue to have the conversations, as long as there is commitment, and as long as we continue to push for change, then this can become something evergreen.”

34:11 – “As we fight for social justice as we fight for the right to share our voices for the right for us to be our authentic selves at at work and in our careers. That’s what it’s about. And it’s growing. It’s a movement… I think with that people will go into their companies, people will go into their businesses, different people will feel empowered, they will feel inspired to be able to communicate their truths within their organizations within their businesses.”

37:51 – Dr. Gena discusses a book that’s helped her with her career, John Maxwell’s Failing Forward, “And my best friend Tyra gave me this book called Failing Forward. And what I loved about this book was failing is a stepping stone to success. If you’re not failing, you’re not succeeding. So bailing is actually a good thing. Because they have dignity, I failed. So now you have a lesson learned. And you can move to the next level.”

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