NEWSLETTER

A SHEE-Shed Moment

by Anita RussellFounder/CEO The Place to SOAR & VP US Coalition of Black Women Businesses

Over the Labor Day weekend I spent some time with my matriarchal cousin, helping her prepare for an end-of-summer backyard cookout. As the guests arrived she informed everyone that she had cleaned out her she-shed and anyone was welcome to sit (but not eat!) in her space. 

Someone asked, “What is a she-shed?”, and a conversation ensued. We talked about it being the equivalent of a man-cave but for the benefit and use of a woman. We laughed and bantered about various men and their different versions of the man-cave.

“She-shed: a woman’s private space designated as an escape for self-care and a healthy time out to (re)energize in mind, body, and spirit.” —Anita Russell

In this reading, you’ll be introduced to something different as well, the “SHEE-Shed”, a conceptualized space developed by the US Coalition of Black Women Businesses (USCBWB). The central message of USCBWB is advocacy of the Power of SHEE—social, health, and economic equity. USCBWB is a young organization determined to have a transformative impact. The core of our efforts is to equip members with the zeal for transformation through their business and community endeavors. Through our collective endeavors, we hope to display the conviction behind the Power of SHEE.

First, let’s breakdown the Power of SHEE. Without going into details, you most likely agree that we as a nation are in turbulent times on multiple fronts simultaneously—social, health, economics, politics, legislation, and general unrest. In 2020 the murder of George Floyd layered on top of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed to some but confirmed for others the very real presence of racism, systemic injustice, and healthcare disparities in our nation. 

 

Then on January 6, 2021 we all witnessed the insurrection, an attack on the capital that originated from the disinformed message and belief that the election from the previous November had been stolen.

USCBWB brings the Power of SHEE into these streams of turbulence as a mantra with a different model and a deeper meaning as a space to focus on social, health, and economic equity through Black women business owners. The desired outcome is a transformational shift in thinking, behaving, and acting that moves from a fixed zero-sum mindset to a benefits mindset with cultivated growth as the catalyst in between.

Zero-sum thinking is a fixed mindset that has the potential to create toxic thinking in these moments of turbulence. Zero-sum is based on the belief that in order to succeed (win) others must fail (lose), which is fine in the sports arena but it can be disastrous when it comes to things like social, health, and economic concerns. It’s like the response to the “Black Lives Matter” slogan where an erroneous assumption was made—that if the life of one group is said to matter, the underlying assumption is that the life of some other group does not matter. In actuality the slogan was a call for a shift in mindset that embraces equity and inclusion.

The growth mindset creates space for transformation and accountability. Psychologist, Carol Dweck defines growth mindset as the psychology of success. She says, 

“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” 

Finally, there’s the benefits mindset defined as follows:  

“A benefit mindset builds on a growth mindset, when we understand that our abilities can be developed – and we also understand we can transform towards a more caring, inclusive, and interdependent perspective. It is called “benefit” mindset because it is concerned with the life-long process of learning how we can be the transformation and realize our unique potential in a way that serves the wellbeing of all.”  https://benefitmindset.com/about

The Power of SHEE is based on the belief that equity creates the benefit mindset through the power of cultivated growth and transformational change that breaks the fixed zero-sum mindset. A benefits mindset based on equity and inclusivity serves the wellbeing of all by creating communities of wellbeing.  The coalition is driven by progressive ideas, bold actions, and a strong foundation of support through its member base. The Power of SHEE is about being the change you want to see.

Psychological Safety: Diversity Fatigue and Facades of Conformity

 

Crystal D. Turner-Moffatt Ph.D. (can) MS CSP SMS ASP CHST

 

Psychological safety is the capability to show and to employ oneself without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status, or career in psychologically safe teams (Kahn 1990), wherein the team members feel accepted and respected. It is also the most studied enabling condition in group dynamics and team learning research. In the simplest of terms, you feel psychologically safe in your team if you feel at ease with admitting one mistake, pointing out the issue made by the team member, speaking about work-related matters without censoring yourself, and trying out new things.  

 

Psychological safety is about creating an environment where these objectives can flourish. It is about employees feeling empowered to express an idea or contribution fully, without fear of negative consequences to themselves, their status, or their career. 

 

Before organizations can foster psychological safety and expect revolutionary contributions: Employees must be accepted for whom they are and valued for what they can bring. This prerequisite is where diversity, inclusion, and equity become intertwined with psychological safety.

 

Recognizing people’s diverse backgrounds build their unique perspectives of the world. However, in high-pressure work environments were decisions and deliverables. We often conform to the leading opinion, the most senior person in the room, or the traditional ways of working. As a result, the richness of perspective and history that each person brings falls by the wayside.

 

 

Research by McGill University’s Patricia Faison Hewlin shows that many minorities feel pressured to create “facades of conformity,” suppressing their values, views, and attributes to fit in with organizational ones. But as Hewlin and her colleague Anna-Maria Broomes found in a survey of 2,226 workers in various industries and corporate settings, African Americans create these facades more frequently than other minority groups do and feel the inauthenticity more deeply. They might conform to coworkers’ behavior, “whitewash” their resumes by deleting ethnic-sounding names or companies, hide minority beliefs, and suppress emotions related to workplace racism.

 

As a result of all the above, Black workers feel less supported, engaged, and committed to their jobs than their non-Black peers. Black managers report receiving less psychosocial support than their white counterparts do. Black leaders are more likely than white ones to leave their organizations. 

 

Diversity fatigue is a term that first emerged in the 1990s when equal opportunity became a major initiative among corporations. According to a 2017 article in The New Yorker, “The Year in ‘Diversity Fatigue,’” the term was used to describe the stress and exhaustion associated with trying to recruit talent from diverse pools and create opportunities for more diversity within companies.

 

Over time, the term was co-opted to describe many different situations. These situations were as wide-ranging as resistance against political correctness, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work left around diversity, and general disappointment in a phenomenon of “all talk, no action.”

 

As diversity, equity and inclusion have become hot topics across U.S.-based and global companies alike, diversity fatigue has emerged as perhaps the most often-cited opponent of progress, with increased leaders looking for ways to combat it.

 

 

Providing a culture of psychological safety in an organization can help break patterns and habits and create a shift from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion.

 

 

Celebrate The Seven Principles Of Kwanzaa

Unity Day: 26th December On the first day of Kwanzaa, family and friends will come together to celebrate the African culture and heritage. This is also a great opportunity to get to know your loved ones better. On Unity Day, it is also customary for everyone to exchange gifts and/or dinners with each other. You can also have a special family dinner or get-together to celebrate the occasion. You can also go on a cultural or food tour to learn more about the different cultures and traditions in your city. Self-Determination Day: 27th December On the second day of Kwanzaa, you can celebrate the African culture and heritage by exploring your ancestry. You can visit a local genealogy center or research online to learn about your family heritage. You can also look into different African genealogy databases like Ancestry.com to find out more about your family tree. Cooperative Economics Day: 28th December On the third day of Kwanzaa, you can learn more about African economic systems and how they differ from what we have in the Western world. You can visit a local museum or library to learn more about African economic history and culture. You can also visit a local African market to learn about different African cultures and cuisines. Purposeful Planning