Linda Lorelle: [00:00:01]I’m Linda Lorelle creator and host of our voices matter. Why this podcast and why now. Because it’s time for us all to take a deep breath. And listen. I am a journalist business owner keynote speaker founder of an education nonprofit wife mother daughter sister dancer and lover of life and my country. And like so many of you I am deeply distressed at the deteriorating level of discourse in our democracy. This podcast is my humble attempt to do something about it. One story at a time. It is my hope that as you listen to and watch the stories of someone you might consider to be the other that you will somehow see a glimpse of yourself and be reminded of our common humanity. So what do you say. Let’s take this journey together.
Linda Lorelle: [00:01:04]Welcome to our voices matter, A podcast dedicated to empowering us all to better understand each other. Our goal to replace fear with knowledge disdain with respect and hate with love. One story at a time so let’s get to it.
Linda Lorelle: [00:01:27]I am beyond excited to talk to today’s guest Denise Hamilton who is the CEO and founder of Watch Her Work. I love that title!
Denise Hamilton: [00:01:37]Thank you.
Linda Lorelle: [00:01:39]Tell us tell us what Watch Her Work is all about Denise.
Denise Hamilton: [00:01:41]So I created watch work to solve my own problem. Watch her work, essentially is a digital learning platform for professional women. And when I was in corporate America I’ve been an executive for about 25 years. I know I started when I was 10 but I was the only African-American or the only woman in so many different situations that I became kind of a lightning rod for mentees. Everybody wanted to meet me for coffee or can you can pick your brain or can we get together and I was like wait a minute. Like I can’t have coffee twelve times a day. And it really occurred to me that between myself and my peers how all of a sudden we were in charge of gender equity in the workplace. And I didn’t really understand how that had happened right. So these women that are the tip of the spear they don’t get to see their own kids. They’re now in charge of equality in the workplace. And I felt like we had to create a way to scale mentorship the hundred and fifty of us can’t mentor the ten thousand behind us and we need a way to capture this great incredible knowledge that women have but do it in a way that is reasonable and inaccessible. So kind of when I started I had two goals.
Denise Hamilton: [00:03:00]The first goal was to scale mentorship but the other goal was democratize access to mentors. You know the pretty sparkly girl in the High Achievers Program she’s going to get a mentor. But as women we can’t afford to not have everyone developed for everyone to have access to information. And it occurred to me that we kept telling women you know you have to ask for more money. You have to fight for this. You have to. But we were telling them how to do how do you do what do you say. What do you say when you go into this meeting. For some people they’ve been raised to work hard and put their head down. So what you’re saying to them is completely antithetical of how they’ve been brought up. So you’ve got to help them you’ve got to give them the language you’ve got to give them the phrasing. That’s why we use video because you had to see their tone of voice their body language. Think how empowering it is for you to see a woman that’s five foot one tell you how she establishes authority and gravitas in a boardroom. Right. Right. You have to see that.
Denise Hamilton: [00:04:03]So basically people a woman could go to your Web site to watch your work and pick a topic that she needs some advice on. And there is someone there to offer that advice. And there are hundreds of women there. So right now we have about 7000 videos with the goal of twenty five thousand by the end of next year.
Linda Lorelle: [00:04:21]Oh my gosh.
Denise Hamilton: [00:04:21]And Every subject from mommy guilt to asking for a raise negotiating severance. What do you do when a client hits on, you just everything that you could think about because you know these are the things that impact a woman’s career. You know if my daughter got sick at school they didn’t call her dad. They called her mom right. What’s the impact of that as I care for aging parents. If my mom has to go to a biopsy I’m the one that goes. They don’t really expect my brothers to go right?
Linda Lorelle: [00:04:49]Right.
Denise Hamilton: [00:04:49]So the life things that impact our work. I just became really obsessed with that kind of intersection. And how do we support women and sharing best practices. I also think we tend to marginalize women once they get past a certain age which is totally ridiculous because that’s where all the genius is!
Linda Lorelle: [00:05:09]Hello!
Denise Hamilton: [00:05:10]They know where the bodies are buried. I want to make sure women don’t have to step over the same puddles we already stepped over. So how do I pull that wisdom out of you know that seasoned woman’s mind and share it with the next generation.
Linda Lorelle: [00:05:25]I love your passion. You’re clearly so passionate about this. So OK. Let’s let’s talk about your backstory. Tell us how you got to where you are now. Where did you grow up? What, What have been some of your struggles as you got to this confident passionate woman that sits in front of us right now.
Denise Hamilton: [00:05:45]Well, I am immigrant. I was born in Jamaica is a very interesting time to be an immigrant in the United States of America and to have an American accent. So people have very interesting conversations about immigrants in front of me sometimes and I have to weigh in on those but I.
Linda Lorelle: [00:06:02]Ah, interesting…
Denise Hamilton: [00:06:03]I My parents are very simple humble people and came here and we worked incredibly hard. And…
Linda Lorelle: [00:06:10]How old were you when you came to the states?
Denise Hamilton: [00:06:11]I came when I was five and lived in New York City in a Jamaican neighborhood. So I feel like I almost never left Jamaica but you know my mom worked incredibly hard and was able to buy a house in New York City on a on a telephone operator salary with three kids I’m not I still am not sure how she pulled that off but I learned grit and determination and stick-to-it-iveness from her you know she has a high school diploma and she figured out how to rebuild an entire life.
Denise Hamilton: [00:06:44]So when people say to me what they can’t do I’m always I always have to stop them and say you know you’re capable of so much more than you think you are, You just need to believe in yourself and let’s help you find the tools to do those things. So I went I grew up in New York City and went to college in Abilene Texas which is I know a major culture shock I have to tell you it’s probably the smartest thing I ever did because I call myself tri culturally socialized because I can navigate almost any environment because here I went from immigrant roots I lived in a huge city and moved to a small mid-sized town in Texas and learned how to appreciate the value and the gifts of each environment. Living here in Houston I’ve actually lived in L.A. and Miami and I chose Houston and people are always saying what are you doing in Houston?
Linda Lorelle: [00:07:48]Why did you choose Houston?
Denise Hamilton: [00:07:51]I think Houston is a hidden gem. I think it’s a secret weapon. I think it’s a very flat city that if you’re talented you can rise to the top. I feel like I’m two degrees of separation from anybody I need to know in this town. And if you have great ideas and you have the ability to execute them I think there’s almost nothing that can stop you.
Linda Lorelle: [00:08:14]Now we don’t want everybody moving here now, but, you’re right. I totally agree with you. Totally agree with you because I’ve been here almost 30 years. I came when I was two but I have often as asked or people have often asked me why am I still here. Why didn’t I leave and go and I grew up in Chicago so why didn’t I go somewhere else. I love this city. You’re right it is a hidden gem and you can do anything here you get and you can meet anybody along the way that can help you get there and you are a great example of that.
Denise Hamilton: [00:08:49]I am I am. And Not for lack of trying. I get recruited to move toL.A. or New York probably three times a week.
Linda Lorelle: [00:08:57]Really.
Denise Hamilton: [00:08:57]You know when you have a tech startup as an African-American woman they’re like,” What do you doing there?” and I’m like I’m doing it from here and I’m doing from here for a very specific reason. If there’s one thing we learned in the election in 2016 is that there’s a middle of the country that feels left out of a lot of our discussions. A lot of our media a lot of our thought leadership and I think that is a that’s an opportunity. And I like doing this type of project from the middle of the country where you’re incorporating different ideas and thought processes.
Linda Lorelle: [00:09:29]And the most diverse city in the country.
Denise Hamilton: [00:09:32]In the country.
Linda Lorelle: [00:09:32]Because the rest of the country will very soon look like Houston.
Denise Hamilton: [00:09:35]Absolutely absolutely. So I kind of pride myself even on the side people say do I pick what the right answer is to questions. And I don’t pick the right answer. Because what works for you may not work for me. You know I’m 511. I can say you need to go in there you need to tell him did it. I can pull that off this 4 foot 9 Asian woman. She might not be able to pull that off. So it’s really important that people see themselves and hear different ways to handle different conflicts and different issues and challenges.
Linda Lorelle: [00:10:05]And that’s what this podcast is about.
Denise Hamilton: [00:10:08]I love it!
Linda Lorelle: [00:10:09]Is About having people hopefully be able to see a glimpse of themselves in somebody’s story that they didn’t know and who maybe looks like someone that they would consider the other.
Denise Hamilton: [00:10:23]Right.
Linda Lorelle: [00:10:24]So I want to talk a little bit about about that. You mentioned that you’re an immigrant and that people don’t know that because you don’t have an accent so they assume you’re African-American that you were born in this country. So what kinds of. So you’re really a fly on the wall.
Denise Hamilton: [00:10:45]I am.
Linda Lorelle: [00:10:45]OK. So what have you heard and how have you dealt with that.
Denise Hamilton: [00:10:52]Well it’s an incredibly interesting not being of Hispanic descent to hear the immigration debate framed almost exclusively around Hispanic people. I think that’s bizarre because if growing up in New York Russian immigration Jewish immigration from the from Poland from Armenia from their immigrants from everywhere in the world. So the fixation on one part of the world is fascinating to me. I don’t I don’t frame it that way. So it’s interesting to see the whole discussion that’s the first thing. And then I think the second thing is kind of the. The disengenuousness of it all right. The reality is is people come here from all over the world and they work incredibly hard and they do jobs that nobody here wants to do. I mean let’s just be really honest about it. They do the difficult challenging unsafe low paid work that most Americans don’t want to do. Our country are our industries are built on it. Think of the construction industry. If everyone that was an immigrant left the construction and you’d be worth waiting a whole lot longer for the House to be built. And it’s just it’s let’s be honest. Like why can’t we have this discussion in a manner that’s respectful and honest. And where you say what you really feel what you really feel is competition and I think it’s really interesting for people to who believes that they’re the best. If you think Americans are the best and the brightest and the most then compete then complete the mission and bother you when other people are coming. They’re only bringing their contributions to this country. This country is built on their contributions. The founders of some of our biggest companies are immigrants or children of immigrants. A lot of our elected officials are children of immigrants or grandchildren immigrants. So it just feels like how do we move this conversation to a place that it’s honest it’s appreciative of the contributions it’s acknowledging of the challenges and focus on solutions.
Linda Lorelle: [00:13:02]So give me an example of something that you’ve heard as a fly on the wall that someone has said either to your face or in your presence and how you responded to Oh my favorite is they’re bringing diseases.
Denise Hamilton: [00:13:17]I remember having a conversation with someone about the caravan. Well I heard that they’re bringing diseases like smallpox and leprosy. I was like Oh honey you’re so cute. You know the idea that again why can we disagree about ideas. There’s no need to embellish to elaborate if you don’t believe in something if you have a disagreement with a policy or a practice say that. But you don’t have to demonize a whole group of people. We did when we came here we didn’t have diseases. We came here and we worked incredibly incredibly hard. And this idea that we have some advantage when we come here when we come to United States. So my mother who works as a telephone operator she bought a house in New York City because she had an advantage. What was that advantage like. Please tell me what it was. Well she did. She worked hard and she saved her money and she made that commitment. Right. And and I think it’s easier to to create otherness to make them strange they’re somehow different than me and you. They’re not different in any way that matters. Right. And I and I guess I just I’m just I need to buy it. The kind of person that would walk a thousand miles for a better life,That’s not who we want in this countr?
Linda Lorelle: [00:14:44]Right.
Denise Hamilton: [00:14:45]Listen. That’s exactly who we want!
Linda Lorelle: [00:14:47]Talk about determination and grit.
Denise Hamilton: [00:14:49]I’m reading all these articles about grit and determination and how that. And it’s like here’s somebody that has it. We don’t there’s no place for them here. We can’t figure that out. So I think it’s a really interesting idea. The idea of ownership. And I feel like this is a great American experiment. Nobody owns it nobody owns it. You don’t have any more claim to it than this person has to. It’s an experiment and it’s been incredibly successful and it’s been successful because of the openness that’s like the ingredient.
Linda Lorelle: [00:15:23]Which is what attracts immigrants to this country in the first place.
Denise Hamilton: [00:15:25]And Is the key differentiator!
Linda Lorelle: [00:15:27]It the key differentiator because it doesn’t exist like this anywhere else in the world.
Denise Hamilton: [00:15:31]So the idea well I’m in shut the door now that I’m in. Yeah shut the door right. I just I know that yes I struggle with that.
Linda Lorelle: [00:15:39]You have a very strong social media presence very strong. And a few months ago you had a really compelling and difficult post on Facebook and you had tremendous response to it. I’m going to ask you to recount that story because I think there are a lot of lessons that our audience will take away from it. So I won’t say anything else I’ll just let you tell people what happened.
Denise Hamilton: [00:16:10]OK. So I was driving away from my house I was headed to a meeting and I was stopped by a police officer two blocks away from my house. And the area. That I was stopped in. So a very nice affluent area neighborhood. And he pulled me over he asked me what brings you to this neighborhood? And I to tell you the question caught me off guard because I was like. Freedom. I don’t know? Like Humanity. The fact that I live here like what it is going.
Linda Lorelle: [00:16:43]Uh…Im going home
Denise Hamilton: [00:16:46]But I said, actually…I Live in this neighborhood. He said, “you live in this neighborhood?” Very sarcastically very rudely. And I said, Yeah. He takes my driver’s license. He says What’s your address like he’s testing and I gave my address. He was so annoyed he was so like upset like they said is this your car is that your car like it was just so.
Linda Lorelle: [00:17:14]You were driving a….?
Denise Hamilton: [00:17:18]A convertible Mercedes.
Linda Lorelle: [00:17:18]OK.
Denise Hamilton: [00:17:19]And. And he said this this is your car. That’s it. Yeah. This is my car and I live in this neighborhood. And I caught myself because I I was like You know what. Just be calm just like let’s just get this over with. Let him do whatever he’s going to do. I take kind of a general practice of not letting people ruffle me. Right. And he does continue to be nasty and picking at me and I I for a second I thought about my nephew’s and I thought. I’m I’m 48 years old. I can keep my cool. I was infuriated. I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to curse him out. And I can keep my cool. What does a 17 year old boy do. What does a 21 year old young man do. Right?
Linda Lorelle: [00:18:10]Right.
Denise Hamilton: [00:18:11]Just like and I…. It just gave me this incredible empathy for the fact that we have shifted the responsibility the peacekeeper the officer used to have responsibility for keeping the situation cool and now now it’s shifted to the citizen. And I don’t really know how that happened. So he had me scoop my car up too close to Westheimer so that everyone could see so that everyone could see that he was doing his job and keeping the riffraff out of the neighborhood like he could see me standing up against the car. He kept me there for 20 minutes and then wrote me a ticket. I feel like he sat back there trying to figure out what he could do because..
Linda Lorelle: [00:18:55]What was the ticket for?
Denise Hamilton: [00:18:57]For not stopping at the stop sign. No he said Will you stop.
Linda Lorelle: [00:19:03]But you didn’t come to a complete stop. Yeah OK.
Denise Hamilton: [00:19:06]So but I think at that point he was worried because I do live in a neighborhood and this isn’t my car. He stopped me. He harassed me right. So now he has to kind of cover his bases. So I was I literally turned around and went home and posted that video because I was so angry I was so angry because sometimes you think if you reach a certain status or you work hard and you push yourself to a situation that these things aren’t going to happen to you. And I wanted to share my story because I know I have a strong social media presence.
Denise Hamilton: [00:19:41]I know there are a lot of people of all races that follow me and I wanted them to understand it’s not just this young guy that lives in a poor neighborhood that gets harassed. It’s everybody that gets harassed and it’s not okay when it happens to anyone that the police are supposed to be an ally not an adversary. And I was really touched by the response from the both of the police department and the sheriff’s department. He was disciplined and they addressed that situation. But I think that the point that I wanted to make in sharing was the people that ran to my defense and people who couldn’t believe it happened to me need to have the same empathy and the same understanding when it happens to this young man and third ward or fifth ward or a leaf. They need to have the same emotion and intensity. And if it happened to me it’s happening everywhere right. And so I hope that sharing that experience opened up a few people’s eyes to the reality that this is not something that people are making up. It’s a legitimate experience that they’re having of being treated differently because they’re African-American.
Linda Lorelle: [00:20:53]Yeah and whenever someone accuses us of pulling the race card you know it it diminishes the actuality of what is going on.
Denise Hamilton: [00:21:08]Absolutely.
Linda Lorelle: [00:21:09]And more often than not when someone is explaining a situation such as yours you’re obviously you’re telling the truth. This is what happens and we don’t just make this stuff up. This stuff up out of thin air and want to be treated. You want to have some sort of sympathy because of this. There was another incident that you had in your neighborhood. I’m going to ask you to talk a little bit about that because it’s it’s slightly. Well it’s different but. But it has a similar kind of context.
Denise Hamilton: [00:21:46]Yeah. When I moved into my neighborhood as I mentioned my neighborhood is a affluent neighborhood, predominantly white neighborhood,um… Dog feces was put on the car handles of all the car doors in front of our house. And so that was our that was our welcome.
Linda Lorelle: [00:22:05]Welcome to the neighborhood.
Denise Hamilton: [00:22:05]We didn’t get a basket or cookies. Okay. Right.
Linda Lorelle: [00:22:09]Right.
Denise Hamilton: [00:22:10]But you know I, it is funny because my husband says you’re so mellow about these things. I just have come to a space that I understand how disruptive I am and I’m all right with being a disruptor right. So when you make when you make a splash it’s going to make ripples and things are going to happen sometimes that you don’t expect. So I tend to take those things in stride even Election Night 2016 when Trump won. Someone put basically a pile of dog feces in front of my driver’s door every day for a week. So literally every day when I went to open my car door there’s a pile….. So literally. So I wasnt even going to call the police. I was like whatever they’re. Kooks or whatever. And my husband just finally insisted he’s like No we’re calling the police, like this is ridiculous. And the police officer when he came he said like literally had tears in his eyes because he said I cannot tell you how many incidents like this we’ve had all over the city. Wow. And he said when I post this report, the news stations are going to call you. He said Do not do a story with them. And I was like why would you want to. At first I was kind of like wait…. You want to cover this up? And he said right now you have one crazy person you post a story you’re going to have hundreds. And the truth of it is we cannot protect you.
Linda Lorelle: [00:23:33]Wow.
Denise Hamilton: [00:23:34]Wow. You know and I think that people it’s harder for people to accept that this happens right now. Today you think of this as something that’s in the past. There’s something that’s over. And it’s not it’s something that happens right now and it’s happening because people feel emboldened.
Linda Lorelle: [00:23:55]You know it’s the truth is that it’s that people who have these these feelings have have had them all along.
Denise Hamilton: [00:24:02]But it’s been hidden and they have felt that it was politically incorrect for them to be able to express their their true feelings and in a way that they now feel that they can. And so…
Linda Lorelle: [00:24:17]Right. What have you taken away- from these two incidents that you just described for us. -what have you taken away from from those incidents and turned it around into a positive so that it’s not impacting your life in a negative way.
Denise Hamilton: [00:24:38]You know I look at it. I actually look at it kind of positively. I know everybody is freaking out when I say that I’m a little crazy but I think it’s calcification breaking down. I think that when things are you know when you cut open a puss- nasty infected boil or blister, all this nasty puss comes out. Yeah but that’s the first step to healing and to getting rid of all of that nastiness. Right. Even all of these things that we see on social media of you know somebody calling the cops because a black person is at the pool or they’re at the Air B and B or they’re sleeping in the dorm room at Yale in the rec room. Yeah. It’s we’re seeing that it’s digging out of the rot and the nastiness and the silliness it’s being exposed. And so while I hate it I hate to hear every single one of those stories. Part of me is grateful because we’re starting to see the healing part and it doesn’t feel good. You know it doesn’t smell good doesn’t look good doesn’t taste good but it’s good it’s healthy. You know it’s like chemo. It’s it’s terrible it’s poison but it’s going to get you on the other side of that size. And so these things happen. And but but. I have a thousand things a day that happen that are wonderful and amazing. I have this incredible business that people support in ways I can’t even understand sometimes and that’s people of all races. So I don’t want to ever make the mistake that they’re making right. These racist ridiculous people are making the mistake that one person one group of people when one is representative of all of these. It’s not that it just isn’t so. I don’t want to take that sickness into my spirit. There’s great people of all races all colors all he’s from all parts of the country. You know I have a couple rednecks I really really love. You know I think that’s really important. And I don’t know you don’t address the illness by contracting it. So you know let them come let them do what they’re going to do. I’m always going to be me and me is pretty fabulous and other people don’t get to determine that,.
Linda Lorelle: [00:27:03]I love that! You are pretty fabulous just by the way.
Denise Hamilton: [00:27:07]My mom tells me every day.
Linda Lorelle: [00:27:08]Every day. Every day.
Denise Hamilton: [00:27:11]What do you what do you think are some of the common misperceptions that people might have when they when they see you or look at you.
Denise Hamilton: [00:27:20]What a good question. Well I think that they assume they know me. Well you know this is what you look like. So you must have this experience that experience that you don’t know anything about me. You should talk to me should make sure you understand where I come from and what my perspectives are. I think they assume I am super super super liberal and I always think that’s interesting too because I’m not I’m actually pretty moderate. I’m pretty independent but people think if you are for these three things that must mean you are ready to be socialist. No I think that. I have the room in my mind and so do you to consider all kinds of ideas. I’m for creativity creative problem solving and collaboration and cooperation. That’s what I’m for. So I think they assume that. I think that they assume I’m much younger than I am. I have a baby face. That too has allowed me to be a fly on the wall. Ageism is real and I’m in the tech industry. So I have people have all these conversations with me of like how you know people of our generation we really have to take it over because these older people they don’t know what they’re doing and they have to really. How are you. Oh I’m 30. I’m 31 yeah I’m 48. They’re like we are so ageist. We’ve we’ve become obsessed with innovation for innovations sake and innovation is not the same as progress. And I think there’s a wisdom that you have to have apply to innovation otherwise you have just destruction which I think is what we’ve seen. I mean I think if they had some grownups in the room at Facebook they probably would not have taken political ads in rubles. I’m just saying.
Linda Lorelle: [00:29:13]Hello.
Denise Hamilton: [00:29:14]OK well you need grown ups to say wait just because you can do it doesnt mean you should do it. And do we have no checks and balances here. Do we have no. And we largely have an unchecked innovation machine that really amounts to essentially five thousand people deciding what happens in the whole rest of the world. They’re making decisions for billions of people every day with no checks and balances. So I think that that while it’s been an interesting experience being on a being a fly on the wall immigration discussion it’s also a very interesting experience being a father role in the youth ageism innovation tech. That those conversations are fascinating. I love youth. Youth Is awesome but it’s you gotta have wisdom.
Linda Lorelle: [00:30:06]Well the bottom line is that you know we tend to come to situations with preconceived ideas and notions about who someone is or is not based on how they look and what we think somebody who looks like that should believe think act do netc. And so whether it’s it’s a question of ageism or sexism or racism or any ism you can come up with. The bottom line is we have to get to know each other. We have to talk. We have to ask questions we have to have an open mind and not come to a conversation already having decided what you know your your talking points are going to be to refute what comes out of your mouth before you even say it.
Denise Hamilton: [00:30:50]Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think to you know I speak a lot about diversity in terms of women’s issues as well as issues in the African-American community. And I think something we don’t talk about enough is the cost of diversity. Right. So we’ll say We know companies with diverse boards. They have better returns. They get better results if you have a diverse team. You make better decisions. But what we don’t talk about is for a lot of companies. Their priority is to reduce friction is to create efficiencies and reduce friction. Diversity creates friction. It does. There’s a cost to diversity. There’s a cost that when you have a policy and a procedure that you’ve done for 40 years and somebody raises their hand this is guys I don’t know. Maybe we should do that differently or we should look at that a different way or whatever way we have to change. There’s a cost. Right. And so they’ve done all these studies that says that how homogeneous teams make quicker decisions and they’re happier with their decisions but diverse teams make decisions that are better decisions. And what we’re not talking about enough is the fact that you know it may be some conflict and that’s why I say I’m a disruptor and I’m fine to be disruptive. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to incorporate other people’s belief systems like when you’re talking to someone and you’re asking questions are you really receiving what they’re telling you. If you grew up and your whole life was your relationship with police was Opie and Andy Griffith Show right. Andy Griffith Show. And if that is if that’s your your understanding of what a police officer is can you receive when I tell you that we were stopped and searched frisked thrown up against the wall when we were walking home from a party and so we don’t have that same….
Linda Lorelle: [00:33:00]Right.
Denise Hamilton: [00:33:01]So can you see that? Are you going to spend 20 minutes explain to me. No no no no. The police are your friends right. And that’s the difference is like how do we teach people that opening has a cost but you have to be willing to pay it if you want to grow and you want to be the best possible person you can be. If you want to get to the best solutions the best innovations the best creativity you have to be open to that. I have a dear friend who was in the room when the this a big decision was made. I used to work for AOL I used to run marketing promotions for AOL for south Florida and they created an entire ad campaign for AOL Latina and they translated it into Puerto Rican Spanish instead of Cuban Spanish for an event that was in Miami and won one lone brave young woman raised her hand. She said you guys I don’t I don’t think that this is gonna work. Oh it’s gonna be expensive to change it all. Nobody’s gonna care. Oh you know a little girl. We got this cover.
Denise Hamilton: [00:34:09]We’ve been doing this for this. And they just dismissed her. They put out that collateral. And I tell you what it was a firestorm. The likes of which I had never seen in a professional environment. So. So you spent millions of dollars to impact a group positively and you had the complete opposite effect. And somebody told you not to do it you know. But again we don’t talk enough about that costs the price that you have to pay to really listen to somebody. It’s why people recruit companies recruit diverse candidates and they leave in a year because it’s not enough to just recruit. You have to incorporate. You have to listen to them. You have to hear what they say. When I think about the fact that. The biggest technological advances of the next 20 years are being figured out right now A.I., facial recognition…facial Recognition and there are no diverse people in that room. Facial Recognition.
Linda Lorelle: [00:35:11]Well.
Denise Hamilton: [00:35:12]I mean thats crazy right?
Linda Lorelle: [00:35:15]Yes that is crazy.
Denise Hamilton: [00:35:15]So You look up my face and up comes a picture of a monkey. Because the people that are doing those codes and doing they don’t have the same sensitivity to these communities. But guess what. The vast. They’re making decisions for the whole entire world. So I think it’s really important that individually so there’s all these macro issues right. But individually we have to start listening to each other and not listening just so you can formulate your response but listening so you can Learn.
Linda Lorelle: [00:35:48]Learn and understand.
Denise Hamilton: [00:35:50]And unlearn like there’s some stuff you’re just going to have to let go right. That is just not true. You think your environment is a meritocracy. Guess what. The NBA in the 50s they thought it was a meritocracy. It looks a lot different today huh.
Linda Lorelle: [00:36:06]Sure does.
Denise Hamilton: [00:36:07]It sure Does. I wonder why. Because now it’s a meritocracy. Right. So you have to be willing I think to release your previously held beliefs and have these conversations. When I go to California and when I go to New York the reverse of stop assuming that everybody lives in Texas is a racist is a redneck is a …like We have to just give each other a break and respect each other and listen and try to learn. We go so much farther together than we do apart.
Linda Lorelle: [00:36:40]Amen Sister. That’s all I can say. I could I could talk to you all day long but as we wrap up. Tell us what what’s next for you and watch your work.
Denise Hamilton: [00:36:53]We’re having so much fun at watch her work. So we’re continuing to build the library and we want you to all go to it and use it. You know if you’re asking for a raise. Watch all those videos so you can go in there strong and you can get that money. And we are also developing courses right now. We call toolkits. So let’s say you found out yesterday that you’re pregnant. Here’s a whole toolkit of information for you. Here’s a checklist before you will talk to your boss. Here’s a script on what to say when you tell your co-workers. How do you handle morning sickness when you’re in meetings or you’re traveling for work. How do you dress. How do you set a boundary so people don’t touch your stomach in the office. Just all of these things that kind of nobody talks about right. We’re going to talk about it watch her work. So we have tool kits for your first job your first executive position. Health emergency. If you’re fired or laid off you just kind of every situation that comes up at work. Our goal is to be the destination for all things professional advice for women. We don’t want anybody to feel alone or like they have no one to talk to. If you cried at a at a meeting today because you just got so frustrated that you burst into tears. We want you to know what to do tomorrow when you go into the office and how to take the next step. You can recover from almost anything but you can’t do it alone. So we don’t want any woman to feel like she doesn’t have the tools. And newsflash 17 percent of our audience is male. What’s that all about. Right
Linda Lorelle: [00:38:21]Whooo.
Denise Hamilton: [00:38:23]Right. And I think it’s it’s men that want to understand.
Linda Lorelle: [00:38:28]that want to understand And maybe want to have a better a better toolkit to deal with the women that are in their work environment. That’s a good thing.
Denise Hamilton: [00:38:36]And I love that.
Linda Lorelle: [00:38:37]That’s wonderful. Did that surprise you.
Denise Hamilton: [00:38:41]It’s shocked me actually and it was humbling for me right because you know we were all in this together and sometimes I even forget that like we have to be careful this is not adversarial.
Linda Lorelle: [00:38:53]Right.
Denise Hamilton: [00:38:54]Everybody just trying to do the best they can and let’s figure out how to do that together. So men come on in. We we love you as a member of the Watch Her Work audience but we have a slew of events coming off for 2019 including our retreat We’re doing a sit your 20 20 vision retreat in Bali in fall of 20 19 and we’re super excited about that. And just a host of programming. I do my summit every years I’ll be doing that in August again and we have a pitch competition that’s going to happen at the summit this year. It’s called Life’s a pitch.
Linda Lorelle: [00:39:31]I Like that.
Denise Hamilton: [00:39:32]Because it’s not a game. It’s a prize. It mightsurprise.. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you. I have my own particular spin on the pitch competition. So stay tuned for that..
[00:39:42] I bet you do.
[00:39:43] So you were just trying to do things our way and do stuff that really helps. There’s a lot of information everywhere but we try to really refine it and make it more targeted so you can use it. Is it just it’s just
[00:40:00] I love you doing you you are awesome. You are amazing and I can’t wait to continue watching her work and see where it goes because I the sky’s the limit. And you’re impacting so many lives. So thank you so much Denise.
[00:40:15] Thank you for having me.
[00:40:18] Of course.
[00:40:19] This is amazing.
Linda Lorelle: [00:40:19]And I want to thank our audience for taking time to to share their day with us and for giving our guests permission to speak. And for you the audience having the courage to listen with an open mind because that’s what this is all about. Thanks so much for watching and for listening. We’ll see you next time.
Linda Lorelle: [00:40:41]If the mission of our voices matter resonates with you please like subscribe download and share and then join the conversation because it really is going to take all of us to make a difference.