25 August, 2021
Episode 08 — It’s about time we change our frequency
Join us for an inspirational journey into the life and work of Isaac Buwembo, social entrepreneur and Director of Service Design at Year Up, a workforce development organization dedicated to training and connecting young adults to employment opportunities. Listen in as he walks us through how he infuses his work to advance anti-racism, racial equity, cultural change, and innovation practices into the workforce landscape.
From one path to another
It’s a journey
On Isaac’s work as a change team
“Becoming an anti-racist organization is not a destination, it’s a practice. To practice you’re constantly having to do it.”
- MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts
- “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition” by Roger L. Martin & Sally Osberg, 2007)
- Change Team Concept from the Dismantling Racism Works Workbook
- Equity vs. Equality Visualization and Why It’s Problematic and the dangers of not examining your symbols deeply enough. (“Symbols in Data Communication” by Heather Krause, Sep 2019, We All Count)
- Dr. Larry Ward (The Lotus Institute) – America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal
- “Culture is defined by the worst behavior tolerated” –John Amaechi quoted in Worklife with Adam Grant: Building an Anti-Racist Workplace podcast (TED, April 2021)
- Brene with Aiko Bethea on Inclusivity at Work: The Heart of Hard Conversations (Dare to Lead, Nov, 2020)
- “Making peace with not understanding. Making peace with difference. Making peace with your body” - Sonya Renee Taylor
- Monopoly Game Experiment (“When the Rules are fair, but the game isn’t” by Jost et al Article) reference in a Racial Equity Workshop by Racial Equity Institute
- Liberatory Design - Notice & Reflect Practice | What do you notice about yourself in this moment? (acknowledge: power, identify, context + reveal: your authentic self, opportunities to liberate)
- On Body Culture, Racsim, and Trauma - My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
- Four stages of competence
Transcripts are edited for readability and clarity.
Nigel Prentice: I want to introduce you to Isaac Buwembo, a business designer, social entrepreneur at an organization called Year Up. And we’re going to hear all about that company here in just a minute. Isaac, how you doing? Issac Buwembo: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me today.
Nigel Prentice: Absolutely. Of course, of course. I want to – as always, I want to hear a little bit from our ancestors to get us going. And today, I’ve selected some thoughts from W. E. B. Du Bois. He says, “No state is civilized, which has citizens too ignorant to help rule it.” And secondly, he says, “Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.”
And in other words, I might take a bit of a liberty here and insert the word people and might say, “people learn more from what you are than what you teach.” And with those thoughts in mind, Isaac, those thoughts essentially inspired by – by me getting to know you a bit. And I hope that – I hope that our listeners get that same inspiration, which I’m sure they will.
So let’s talk a little bit about your work. First, maybe a great place to start would be Your Up. Could you describe what Your Up does and what your role is in it?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, so Your Up is a workforce development organization that’s been around for over 20 years. It’s a nonprofit. About a 1,000 people work there and we’ve been connecting young adults to employment opportunities – around 5,000 young adults a year. So 18-to-24-year old’s primarily come to a program, get trained in project management, quality assurance, data analytics, software development – those kinds of roles. Six months of training, and then they get placed in the six-month internships at most companies that you’ve heard of in America.
We’re in – in 20 or so cities across the country and I – that’s the direct service side of the business. And I work on the innovation side of the house, which as a Director of Service Design and on the innovation side of the house, we’re trying to figure out well there’s – depending on who you ask, about 2 to 5 million young adults out there who fit in this population that we work with, and we’re trying to figure out, well, how can we serve more young adults with and through other organizations?
What different models can we bring to market and introduce into the workforce development landscape? And so that’s what I do most of the time is the – the nuts and bolts of figuring that out, applying design strategy, design thinking; business design approaches to that work.
Nigel Prentice: Okay, I love all those ingredients. He just said design thinking, business design. Of course we hear the social impact. I can’t wait to dig into even more of those here in just a few minutes. Issac, give us a little bit of background. Where’d you grow up?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, so I grew up in South Africa. I was actually born in Zimbabwe while my folks were living, living in South Africa in the 80s. And when I was 11, moved to Canada. So I moved to Saskatchewan where I went to high school, middle school. We didn’t – in Canada, we don’t call it middle school. But and then, ended up graduating high school and moving to Vancouver, Canada and spent the formative part of my – my life there. I was there for 10 years before coming down to the Bay Area, which is where I live now, in Oakland.
Nigel Prentice: Gotcha. Oaktown, okay, cool. And you have an MBA, is that right?
Issac Buwembo: Yes. Yeah, I –
Nigel Prentice: How – how have you found that? But when you’ve got the design training, you got the MBA as well. How, how has, or what, what sort of drove you as a designer to also get a – you know, business – a business degree?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, so I guess it’s a kind of order of operation thing. I was working – in college. I have an undergrad in genetics and molecular biology. And when I went to school, the thought was become a doctor. Immigrant parents from Uganda which, where I’m – where I’m at, I’m actually Ugandan. My parents grew up in Uganda.
Was like my dad’s a doctor. I kinda like grew up around doctors. That’s that – that was what I thought go to school, become a doctor. And a year into that, I was like, you know what? I don’t know if this is really for me. And where that came out was through experiences that I had going on medical missions in different countries and – and seeing how so it wasn’t really just about the – the doctor when you think about providing care to people.
And I started to see the – the value like systems. I just started to see systems everywhere. And one of the things – the story that comes up is I – my dad is a neurosurgeon, and he is working with young babies in Uganda, newly born, and there was a situation where this hospital didn’t have an incubator that was working.
So they had a bunch of incubators, but it didn’t have a technician to service the incubator. So they were just sitting there. And I remember my dad having to like improvise and figure out how to like, save this baby and keep it warm. And I just – that exposed me to this whole thing. Like my dad was all his degrees and specialization wasn’t able to be as effective as he could be because of all the system dynamics happening around him.
So while my first job was in healthcare improvement, and that was when I first started getting exposed to innovation and design thinking. And I started to see – see this everywhere, this whole, like kind of seeing the world in these kinds of systems. And I was like, okay, well, as an immigrant, a child of immigrant parents, like in my mind, it was just like preordained that I would get a master’s degree or some kind of higher education degree.
And I spent time thinking about business school and organizational development and came across a program called a – it’s an MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts here in San Francisco. Which essentially blended business and human centered design into its curriculum. And so that’s what I studied with the intention of applying that to solving social issues.
Nigel Prentice: Got it, got it. Such an interesting program. And– and I do – I do know about it, and I’ve heard about it. I think you may be the first person that I’ve – that I’ve actually getting to know that that’s come out of that program that sort of blends this idea of, of business and – and design, especially design strategy. So that’s really, really interesting.
And–and you said something that that, that, that catches my eye as well, just moving through the world. It sounded like you see the world as systems and not just systems, but interconnected, multiple systems. And I – is that right? Is that how you kind of– is that one of the lenses upon which you sort of gaze out into the world?
Isaac Buwembo: Oh yeah, most definitely. I yeah, I, I, I – I don’t know how that happened other than the story that I told you. I just started to see all these things. And– and then you think about teams and team sports, and whenever I watch teams interacting, whether it’s at work or on TV, watching sports that’s all I’m seeing.
And all I’m thinking about how one actor can kind of change the frequency of the interactions that are happening between the people and depending on what they’re trying to do can, can impact how they do it or what the outcomes are. So I– I mean, I apply that lens to the work that I do at Your Up and even in the community.
Nigel Prentice: And, you know, one of the, one of the dangers I’ve found of being someone in the design industry who can speak business or teams or strategy or someone in business who can talk design is that other people have a hard time categorizing that person or – or maybe, maybe even you, have you ever had that, had that challenge?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, it’s so funny you say that because it made me think about when I was in grad school doing that MBA in design strategy. One of the chair co-chairs of the program would always say, “This degree is going to get you your next, next, next job.” And I was just like, wait, what? Like, what do you mean? Like I’m trying to get a job right out of school.
Nigel Prentice: Right, right.
Issac Buwembo: And it’s – it’s exactly that point. I feel like I leaned into that in a way that allowed me to you know, get to this place where today, I feel like I’m working at the intersection of equity and design. And my experience has over the years has kind of like led me and prepared me for the work that I’m doing right now.
I might’ve not known it at the time as clearly as I can see it now. But I’ve always felt like I don’t quite fit into this box. Like you, you know, I think from our program, there was like three or four categories of folks. There was folks who went into the UI/UX world. There was folks who went into kind of consulting like at the design shops, and in fact at the time that was when all the management consulting firms are buying design shops when I graduated.
So a lot of them went there and then there’s folks who went like kind of product side and product design. And then there was me who kind of stayed in the end – a few of us, who kind of focus on the social sector and like, how do we apply this tool set to the social sector?
Nigel Prentice: Right, right. It feels like this debates never-ending. What are the disciplines in design, who gets to call themselves a designer? Is it somebody who makes beautiful pixels? Is it someone who maybe I don’t know, develops, you know, in code in a creative way, you know, what do we call that craft?
Some people might call them front-end designers. Other people call them creative technologists or someone who works with materials. You know, woods and metals and furniture, interior design, et cetera, et cetera. So these – I love the debates because they’re going to be evergreens. They’re never going to go away.
And which leads – which is interesting. The last point you made about focusing on social. Tell me in your mind, what is – what does the term social entrepreneur or social entrepreneurship as a concept. What does that mean to you?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, this is so funny because if you – when you asked me this question in 2021, I kind of think about what I thought it was in 2014 when I graduated. And I think that answer is, is the, the one that, you know, most people might understand. So it’s this idea. I remember a mentor of mine in college before grad school was – because I was always bent this way, was like, I don’t understand that, like he was a business guy, was like, I, you know, business has a clear kind of motive, and you could say it’s profit.
And so business models are designed to generate a profit. And– and so what you’re talking about is like helping people and trying to do that in a way that’s maybe not profitable per se, but like sustainable financially. And so I think it’s that tension of trying to borrow things from like traditional business world.
The way business models are sustainable in terms of, like, if you give something of value to the marketplace, people pay for it, and you can keep that going. And can you do that in a way that actually delivers like social benefit to human beings? And that’s kind of the way I see it today. Some people would say that those things are kind of incongruent. They’re like incompatible.
Nigel Prentice: Oh, you, you hear that? Really, I’m used to it. So, because to me, I love it. What you just said. I got a smile from ear to ear. Business models that deliver value to the marketplace while benefiting people. I may have mixed up a few of your terms there, but that, that feels, you know strong to me. It makes so much sense.
And then – and then what you have done on top of that from, from how I’m hearing it is that you’ve taken some aspects of what folks might consider kind of traditional. That, you know, the traditional designers toolkit and applying it to the thing you just said, business models, value to the market, human centricity.
For those who might not know, what aspects of the more traditional designers tool kit do you get to bring forward into your service design into your– into your daily work?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah. I mean, depending on who you ask, when – when you ask them to define the human centered design, what’s the like core of that. People will talk about empathy. And I – that’s definitely something that I’m bringing to my work every day. And when you think about understanding, like who are you designing for and what does that – what is the experience of that person?
What is their lived experience? How do they – what do they value? Like, those are the kinds of things that you might do at the beginning stages of your design research. And for sure, that’s like foundational to everything that I do on a daily basis. That’d be one thing for sure.
Nigel Prentice: And– and do you find that these definitions can be a moving target? I think you said in 2013 and 14, even your own understanding of this space was different than the way it is here, six, seven years later. Do you think that this idea of service design and maybe, you know, design strategy continue to evolve? Have you seen that?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, I think when I came out of school, you know, service design was– you know, it was a thing, it was something that was talked about. It was defined in the marketplace. You might not have seen as many job postings for folks looking for service designers as you might today. And when I think about that I came into – when I first started at Your Up, I came in as a design strategist and that’s sort of how I was positioning myself.
But then when I got familiar with what was going on there, like the service design concept fit in really well to the workforce development world. And what I’m realizing now is that you know service design is a chameleon. And when I think about design, I, you know, design strategy, human centered design is one of the tool kits that I use.
Like strategic foresight is another. Like lean startup methodologies is another. These are all things that I kind of blend into my toolkit. And you think about a Swiss Army knife. That’s– that’s how I move, and I think service designers can then be dropped into different places. So like today, the biggest part of my toolkit that I’ve been really leaning on and exploring and developing is the kind of equity side of things.
And like, what does that really look like? How does that really work in the context of an organization? And as a service designer, like what am I uniquely positioned to do? You know, what can I leverage in order to be as effective as I– as I can.
Nigel Prentice: Gotcha. So, so let’s go back just about a year. As we record this, we just passed the one-year mark. Passed all of us really around the world, witnessing the murder of George Floyd. And lots of companies had, you know, certain reactions. I remember there was a blackout Tuesday. I can’t remember if that’s what everybody hash tagged, but that was kind of what folks did on social media.
We saw these statements being released by large companies, brands, sports leagues in support of the Black experience and in the United States, especially. I’m curious, kind of where you went initially. What was your reaction? Just, just as – as a human being just as a person in this country of an immigrant, as you pointed out. Where did your head and heart go in that – in those first few moments?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah. It’s funny, you know, this week literally is the one-year mark. And when I think back to that time, one of my stress reactions is just like leaning really hard into work. And that’s definitely what started happening in a way that, you know, is it healthy? Like, I don’t know. But at the time I remember doing that. And then I do remember just like pulling the plug and reorienting myself around joy – and thinking about, okay, you know, it was like middle of a pandemic or the early days of the pandemic.
Middle is funny when you think about that now; and feeling like so much weight, like kind of this like unconscious pressure. That’s always there, but it was just like, felt so much more acutely in that moment. And I, you know, I just realized, you know, what I need to, for myself in order for me to like, keep taking steps forward and like be there for my family, like my wife and my son at the time.I need to prioritize joy. And so in every moment, I was just like trying to figure out how to do that, and just like working a lot.
Nigel Prentice: Such an interesting reaction. There’s so many reactions that folks had on all sides of the experience, you know, within the Black community, outside of it. And it’s still evolving in my opinion where, I guess, 12 months since then, and it is not done. I don’t think we’re – I don’t think we’re done as a country, as a world, as a society, or individually processing it.
There’ve been some personal moments where just recently did – I personally didn’t know how to respond to anymore. And I’m doing this work for a year solid and, and have, have felt – I think you said it well, this unconscious pressure. So, so if we go back and go back to maybe 11 months ago and, and, and fill in the gaps on time, your, your organization took an interesting tact and, and I’ve, and I’ve been curious, is it something you brought up to them or is it an opportunity that was created that you stepped into?
What did your organization decide to do, sort of early last summer in this moment? Issac Buwembo: Yeah, yeah. It’s a bit of both, but one of the things that happened at that time was a declaration to become an anti-racist organization. And that was language that, you know, wasn’t as explicitly used by, by many organizations at the time. And so when I heard that, then I was like, oh, that’s so interesting.
That opens up all kinds of opportunities that I had been thinking about and seeing of like, how can we, as a system, as an organization, prioritize racial equity and then like, what would that actually mean for the work that we do and the way that we do the work at Your Up? And that was definitely – that was, that was what I started to see.
And so then I, in – back to one of the earlier questions, I, I remember spending a lot of time having conversations with people in the organization who were like really frustrated and angry about the world, the state of the world. And I’m like, well, what does this mean for our organization? And you talk about being, I guess, one of my, one of my temperaments. But I – every boss I’ve ever had from since the college day has always talked about my like positive energy and positive attitude and my cup half full.
So in these organizations, in these interactions with holding space for individuals, I started to think about, okay, well, what is it – what does it look like for our system to like hold space for where BIPOC people are at and how they’re feeling? And like more proactively do that. And so one of the tools that I came across was from the dismantling racism framework, which was this idea of like a change team, which is essentially a cross functional team of folks, like a working group who are looking and examining the practices and policies of your organization and focused on anti-racism and thinking about looking at data and trying to understand, okay, well, where can we move to from here?
What are things we should be prioritizing? How should we go about doing that? You know, you can set your goal for whatever representation goal you want to set. And then there’s a question of like, okay, what does that actually look like when you think about all the moving pieces involved there? So that was 11 months ago.
Nigel Prentice: And so as a systems thinker who happens to have the toolkit that you described earlier around strategic foresight, service design, that chameleon like attribute you described a few minutes ago now is coming to the forefront because on the one hand, the way that you approached your work in April, let’s say 2020 before those images, right.
You were focused on the innovation of delivering services to young people and that education turned to internship model that you described. And then all of a sudden, here’s this societal, I don’t know if it’s a shift yet, but something we knew was happening. We all felt it. We may not have had the vocabulary or framework to describe it accurately or to even understand it.
But you clearly had an activation sounds like. So was it your like insistence to bring forward this dismantling racism framework? And, and your company said, “Hey, if you want to take that and run with it, great.” Or was it, or was it the other way around? They tapped you given your background and your, your, you know, your, your experience, et cetera.
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, that’s interesting. It was a little bit of both. I feel like there was a plan set in place and when I look like a – you know, a racial equity plan and at the time it was, you know, like a three-year plan and you know, all the goals in that were kind of spot on. I had no complaints about that.
The one thing I did see though, was like, wait a minute. Like, one of the things about anti-racism is like kind of shared decision-making power. And so what could you add to the system that changes the dynamics of decision-making? And that’s part of what the change team could be. And at the time, I was persistent at– can we include – you know, pitching it to the DEI team, pitching it to the CEO, to the COO, can we include this and integrate this into what we, what we’re planning to do?
And at first it was like, is this an alternative, or is this an addition to. And you know, for me, it was always an addition to yet also a prerequisite to moving forward as an organization. I kind of saw that clearly. What I didn’t see was, you know, where we are today in terms of like the possibilities. I’m like, what, what could, what would happen once this was established?
And the only thing at the time that summer that I also was very adamant about, and you know, got sold through, for sure – it was like, you know, you got to pay these people. You’re asking BIPOC people to do a little extra. So that needs to be part of the design. And what I didn’t know is like, okay, well, you know, once all this group comes together, like what is that actually going to be like? And how might that work?
But have – obviously time to think about it because what ended up happening; I thought I’d just be one of these people in the, in the system, that like, “Hey Isaac, what if you kind of led this group?” And I was like, oh, interesting. Yeah, I’d love to do that. You know, given everything we’ve just been talking about, it seemed to me like a perfect opportunity to like apply equity centered design. In a way that’s like, you know, I think when you think about design strategy and like business design, there’s, there’s an element of transformation and organizational transformation and cultural transformation that it – I could see was something that needed to happen, but I didn’t really know exactly how.
And so it’s funny this conversation now because I have a lot of thoughts on that based on the experience so far.
Nigel Prentice: Great, well let’s get into it. So you were tapped as the leader of this change team and applying equity centered design. That’s that super intriguing. How do you define this idea of equity? How do you put a fine point on that concept?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah. Well, I think we’ve all seen those, those images or maybe not. There’s an image of a fence and you have three people, different heights standing on boxes, trying to like look over the fence, and they talk about equality would be having – giving each person the same box. And so if you gave them the same box, give the different heights, not everyone is actually going to be able to see what’s going on over the fence.
And so they talk about equity. This is like very basic definition. It’s like, well, you give certain people what they need. And so if someone needs a higher box, in order to see over the fence, you figure out and you give them a higher box. If someone needs no box to see over the fence, you don’t give them a box if they don’t need a box to see over the fence.
And so when you think about equity, it really requires you to understand where people are at and what’s actually happening around them. What’s happening to them. How, how are they acting, experiencing the world around them? And then like designing for that and like trying to figure out how to add value to their– to their, to their world.
So for BIPOC staff, you know, BIPOC people, I think in all organizations, there’s those – depending on your organization, there’s a question of, are they even there? So then some orgs are figuring out, like, how do you get more BIPOC staff, people into your system? And you know, we’re not at that point, we’re a pretty diverse organization. A majority BIPOC.
So the question though then becomes about the experience and what is the experience of BIPOC and non-BIPOC people in your system? And when you think about equity, specifically, in this case, it’s really – you need to really understand fully what’s going on and how it’s going on and how it’s perceived.
Nigel Prentice: That is– that is so good. So there you are thinking like a designer again, while looking at social systems. Meeting – what I hear is meeting people where they are, right? So. If, if the one person needs two steps or – or boxes to see over that fence, whereas the middle-size person might, might need just one, you know, there is then some equity in the outcomes.
So equity might be outcomes focused, whereas you know, equality sort of ignores – ignores the individual condition, maybe, and attempts to apply the same – a vector of influence on everyone. And so everybody gets, you know, everybody gets the same meal, or everybody gets the same chance to do this, or, you know, we’re not stopping you from doing this other thing.
And, and yeah, so, so I love how you, how you characterize that. And, and then maybe the tool then – I mean, so let’s take it, let’s get a little bit specific here. In this change team at Your Up, are you focused on innovating around how your company goes to market to serve your stakeholders? Is it that or is it, and it could be an and as well, or is it internally focused on how the company itself sees itself, has designed itself, and create space and holds that space open for equitable activity? And you talked about culture a second ago, and we’re going to jump on that in a minute, but that, I guess just foundationally is the change team around the external or the internal or both?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah. Well, so the, the, the primary charge is like – change teams supporting the efforts of the company to become an anti-racist organization. So first step is, is internal. However, ultimately, if you’re going to go all the way in, it would impact like products and services and offerings that touch people who are outside of the organization. So I think it’s a both and – it’s all in, in it’s like the ultimate fruition of what could be in terms of full possibilities. In terms of where we are today, I think we’re focused on the internal first. And I, yeah, I, I, it’s funny. I heard – I heard our COO invited Dr. Larry Ward to speak to us yesterday.
And so he spent an hour kind of sharing his philosophy on life. He was talking about one – the theme of the talk was one nation under trauma. And one of the things we talked about was like self-regulation. So in order for – in order to change society, you need to first focus on yourself, and you need to be able to self-regulate. Qnd he talks about safety, welcoming, and trust as things you need to like recognize in yourself before you can recognize those in other people and then be able to co-regulate and co-exist with other people.
And so when I – when I heard that, I was like, oh my goodness, this is sort of like speaking my language in a way. Although it did seem like he was speaking French because, and I don’t understand French because it– as someone who’s sees the like social systems that are happening around you, that’s essentially what started happening.
And the change team was like the first focus of our time together was on ourselves and like as a unit. And then like, as individuals, like kind of unlearning things and tripping over yourself. When you’re talking about systemic racism and White supremacy culture and how you fit into that and how we’re all kind of conditioned by it. In order to make changes to systems, you need to really know how you fit and how you self-regulate and how you move through that before we can then start to change other people’s minds and outlooks and change culture. And so I say that to say, yes, we have to change our organization, like the DNA, the fiber, the, the way we interact with each other.
And then that will then trickle out into the marketplace in a way that I don’t know if we’re ready for or know how yet, but I’m imagining that could happen.
Nigel Prentice: Okay, nice. Change our very DNA and fiber. And, and when, when you say that, what comes to my mind is what is DNA? What is the, you know, biologically and you’ve got the genetics background, so I’m not going to butcher the definitions here, but I’m just simply going to say building blocks of an organization. How, how much is culture a building block of an organization and maybe ask differently, what is culture when it comes to a company or organization?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, I – when I think about culture I think about people, and I think about how people interact with each other. And so the behaviors that an individual has and the way they talk, the way, you know, the way you run meetings, the way you do everything, the way you make decisions, all of those things, as a collective result in what the culture of your organization or system can be.
And one of the things that, that, that, that I heard most recently – I don’t remember that the gentlemen who, who said it, but he said that your culture is defined by the worst behavior that you tolerate. Right. When you think about that, and you think about things that you might just see happening around you, and just either sweep under the rug or turn, turn around and like ignore, that, that, you know, when you, you’re thinking about like race – racism, you’re getting into things like microaggressions and bias and all those kinds of things that happen in every single organization or system in this country, probably in this world. And you know, as an – let’s start as a nation, kind of, we’ve been kind of letting things persist.
Nigel Prentice: Yes.
Issac Buwembo: Zoom into like an organization, a little context. I mean, what are all the things that people have been letting persist for so long? When you think about, you know, we, we don’t have the issue of not having representation. But there’s a question of like, well, like when you look at hierarchies and all that, like who’s at the top and how did that happen?
And why did that happen? And so, you know, you zoom out of an organization, and you look at every organization is probably structured similarly, in a way that who’s, who’s winning? And so like why is it about, you know, White people winning versus BIPOC people losing in a way? Like, why is that the dynamic that exists in our society? As a nation, we, we kind of, we’re letting that persist.
Nigel Prentice: And as a person whose cup is half full, do you accept that view of culture as correct, or as maybe one aspect of culture? Because of my – all my interactions with you, I also would say smile on your face. I can hear it through your voice, even though we can’t see each other right now, you got a very genuine humane and warm sensibility about yourself, Isaac.
And so this sentence that you just said, this other person whom you were somewhat quoting or paraphrasing, “culture is defined by the worst behavior you tolerate.” Do you resonate with that, or maybe do you see threads of it in, in reality?
Issac Buwembo: Well, yeah, I think so. Here’s the thing as an individual, my – as an individual actor in the system, the way I move through the system is something that, you know, I do control. But the system dynamics themselves, like I don’t necessarily control. However I get, when I, you know, the, the point on like, self-regulating like I guess this question of safety is something from me that is not an issue. Like I don’t have issues regulating my own safety. Like I do feel safe at work. Right. I, I do feel safe in my neighborhood as I kind of moved through the move through the world. I live in Oakland, California. Of course there are places that I might move where I’m like, oh, like I don’t really like – my Spidey senses go off.
So the issue with culture and, and the, the difference between my individual experience of it and like a collective experience of it – so talking about an organization is that you’re going to have a diverse way that different people, you know, Black male or Black woman, Black man, whatever, or White woman, White man, whatever, how they experience the system. And so as a collect — there’s like this collective cultural body, that forms. And so the like concept of your culture is defined by the worst behavior you tolerate does resonate with me when you think about like the kind of collective culture-body of a system.
Nigel Prentice: Gotcha, okay. Would you also maintain that other parts of behavior exist inside of that systemic view of culture or that systems thinking view of culture? For example, you were talking about behaviors and decisions and then in the aggregate, that’s the culture, you know, and, and so maybe, you know, do hiring and firing decisions, do those form culture in your opinion?
Issac Buwembo: Yes. So if you think about — let’s just talk about hiring and firing, like hypothetically. If you see someone who is like— there is someone — there’s an individual in your system who has been reported to have been kind of — like microaggressions, right. And that person continues to get promoted in your system.
And everyone sees like, oh, but this person they’ve been, there’s like, they’ve got reported for microaggressions, but they just got a promotion. Like that dynamic is kind of what I’m talking about. Where all of a sudden, like, that is a signal for the culture body and like what’s tolerated, right? Like the worst behavior defines your culture. So then like, you know, there’s, the sentiment would be like, oh, our culture, like rewards people who perform microaggressions. Right, and that’s not what most, most business leaders would want, but that’s kind of what’s happening in our country.
Nigel Prentice: You know how signals are transmitted through certain behaviors. Would you also say — let’s pick some things, sort of — what a standard or what the average person might not think it’s culture. What about budgeting? Does budgeting bear on culture? Corporate budgets? Business budgets?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, so the signals that I — when I think about this conversation, when I think about budgeting and culture in a system, there’s this question of who’s setting the budget? How are budgets at — who gets to — who gets to inform budget decisions? Who actually understands the budget and like how budgets are formed in your system? Like all those things then are representative — those behaviors, the answers to all those questions are representative of behaviors that are valued by the system. And depending on the culture of that system, like a culture of openness and transparency like less — as just an example of a budget, like how transparent can you be?
Of course there’s sensitive information, which is a whole nother thing about data, which we can talk about. But that, that right there is a great example. On the data — I’ll just put the, put it on the table right now. I heard — I think it was it was like Brené Brown was talking to Aiko Bethea and it was a podcast, and they were talking about the containment strategy. Which is like a legal compliance strategy for data sharing and how most organizations are on this containment strategy, which is like fear driven.
And so they’re, they’re less likely to share certain data in their system because they fear that by sharing this data, you don’t know how people are going to like handle the data. And so the thing about that — or react to the data. The thing about that, when you think of how — say like why is it that it’s not common practice for an organization, for most organizations, to share their demographic data? At least within their system of who’s there, promotions, all that kind of stuff.
By, by like BIPOC, non-BIPOC, like just aggregating it in such a way that it’s visible. Most systems are, are averse to doing that. Maybe that’s changing now, but I think most systems are averse to doing that, and that’s like a fear-driven thing. And that’s — to me, I’m like, that’s kind of crazy because everybody knows what’s going on.
Like, you can walk around an organization — obviously not now in COVID you can’t really be. On your Zoom calls, you can see like, oh, as a Black male, like, oh, I’m on a calls with — there’s no other Black people, or there’s like a lot of Black people or whatever. Right. You can like see those things and you can see who’s in leadership positions and who’s not. But organizations err on the side of predominantly not sharing that data transparently as they could. And so here’s the thing. If you — people talking about it, if you don’t measure it, like, did it actually happen or not? Nigel Prentice: Hmm.
Issac Buwembo: And if you don’t measure it, like how can you make changes?
Nigel Prentice: Right, right. Data transparency is such a big theme. Yeah, and I’m with you on all of this. And, and I was so curious about this budget question, because I don’t know a single person who wake up — well, I shouldn’t say, I don’t know a single person. I do know people who wake up, but the majority are not so excited to crack open a spreadsheet and put numbers in small boxes for hours and hours at a time.
And so you say the word budgeting or checkbook and the speed at which one’s eyes rolls to the back of their head is astounding, right. And so the interesting point that I’m hearing you make, especially in the beginning part of that last answer was that there’s power in where the finances are. There’s influence in that how those finances are derived, you know. What creates the revenue or the capital where it’s spent, where it’s not spent, who spends it, all the things that you just said. So I love, I love this idea. And then if I apply sort of the – one of the foundational thesis for your, your work, this whole idea of design of business, I put two and two together. And what I’m, what I’m wondering is— I bet you would say you can design a financial structure to be anti-racist.
Issac Buwembo: Yes.
Nigel Prentice: And that seems like there’s a lot of lot of runway to explore there. I don’t know of anybody that really talks about that a ton. Have you come across that in, in a big way? I mean, maybe folks have, and and I’m — I’m slow to the conversation, but it seems really an interesting place for folks like you and I had to take the conversation, especially for design.
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, I mean, it’s not something that’s I — you know, I don’t think there’s blog posts about it, at least not that I’ve come across. However, at Your Up, one of the things that we started doing, I think even like 18 months ago — so it was like before the summer was this — is like kind of financial road shows.
You know, the regional directors of finance and the CFO would kind of like go around and hold a webinar in the different markets that we operate, and just talk about the numbers. And it’s like a PowerPoint that showed people how the business model works from the financial side of things.
And you know, why like — just shared all this. And obviously not everybody came to those, but the fact that that existed, I was like, whoa, this is amazing because to that point of the transparency and like, understanding. If you don’t understand how it works, then, you know, you could just kind of keep things the way they are.
But if you start to understand and there’s things you can see and you can feel empowered to be like, oh, like we thought about ABC, it just invites. It creates this invitation for other voices to, to be heard in a way that they might not normally be heard. That’s just like one example of something happening in our system.
Nigel Prentice: Right. Right. Applying systems and applying this idea of design at a little bit of a macro level. Let’s think about cities for a second. And I’ve been — I’ve taken the last, I don’t know, a month or so, and really kind of dove into the history of the city of Austin, where I live now and been living since — since I was an undergrad at UT Austin.
And what’s interesting is that, and this makes the statement all by itself. I didn’t know about the history of the city as far as its segregation and how it worked and how it works now. And, and I am now confronted in this work around racial equity with this — not just me, but really society is — this growing pushback against critical race theory, against work around being anti-racist.
And I often wonder how can people not understand this idea of 400 years? You know, things like the 1619 Project. So I’m curious in your world, maybe things are different on the West Coast, and maybe your point of view is, is more informed and you can have better conversations than I can but do this for me.
How do you connect the legacy in America? Maybe even Pre-Civil War, Civil War, pre-civil rights, civil rights? How do you connect that time period of which the critics might say, get over it. It’s so long ago; I didn’t, you know, own slaves. I’m not the one who had slaves that held down your ancestors. We’re in 2020, 2021, now. Why talk about ancient history? What is your place? What place do you go when those thoughts come up?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah. Well, one of the things that I, that I’ve started to realize, and there’s, there’s a quote for this, that I’m going to butcher it, but I’ll paraphrase it essentially. It’s just like making peace with not understanding and making peace with difference and making peace with our bodies. And I think people fear what they don’t understand.
And so I’m sitting here being like, well, how can you, you know, have you not read a book? Have you not listened to podcasts? And I guess you’d be surprised how insular people can be in terms of how they live their life. However, my response, and an analogy that I think folks could use— and it’s funny, I’m really bad at remembering names. You know, when you meet people socially, which we haven’t been doing in a while. So whenever I like hear about an experiment or get a quote, I can remember the quote, but I don’t remember who said it. So there’s an experiment that this woman ran at a, at a class that you, you may have read about it.
We can link to the article, it’s an interesting one. where she played this Monopoly game and had people with different races in the class, but they had — the White people in the class had to wait while the Black people in the class started playing the game. And so it’s a game of Monopoly where, you know, you pick the shoe, the horseshoe, whatever, the boot, and you know, you pass go, you get $200.
Like you can end up in jail, you buy the houses. So they have to wait two hours before they were able to play. And so obviously after two hours of people playing Monopoly, most of the board is bought up in two hours. And so once the White people were allowed to start playing, they were no pieces left.
So they had to find like a button or like a paper clip to be like their actual piece, cause there was no more Monopoly pieces. So then the same rules apply. Pass Go, you get $200, and you start with the same amount of money that everyone else started with, but you’re starting two hours after the game of Monopoly has started.
And so what happens is, well, there’s nothing to buy on the board because most of the boards have been bought up. And one of the patterns they saw was like, these people would just want to go to jail, you know, Monopoly when you’re losing and you know, you don’t want to stop and pay someone rent. You just kind of want to skip over them.
And you’d actually rather spend two turns in jail because you don’t have to like pay people money you don’t have and like lose the game. And so, I mean that right there is why it’s so important to, to understand all this and to think about, okay, yeah, you, might’ve not owned slaves — but we’re talking about like hundreds of years of oppression and disadvantage of Black and Brown people and hundreds of years of advantage of White people. That Monopoly game is like, it’s like that experiment is like, just says it right there in so many ways. And one of the things that was crazy is that the teacher would every once in a while — so obviously in this dynamic, the Black people would win, and very, very rarely, most of the time, the White people would not be able to win that game, starting two hours late. But very, very rarely that did happen, where a White person starting two hours late would win the game of Monopoly. And so she would like put their picture up on the board and be like, look like, you know, this person did it, they won this game.
It’s possible, you can do it too. They’re like the poster child, even though, but no, the whole setup is rigged. And —
Nigel Prentice: Wow, that’s a fantastic response. Such a strong metaphor in a lot of levels because clearly Monopoly is like the epitome of the free market embodied in a simple and simplistic game. Everybody understands Monopoly. There’s not probably a single person who speaks English and probably other languages and other countries as well — I’m sure of course, who doesn’t understand Monopoly. People get it. People understand properties, people understand income, people understand paying taxes, all those elements of Monopoly. Of course, the game designers were trying to mimic life in, in so far as, you know, the, the, the pocket book. And then to simply make people wait for two hours, knowing that the others are racing ahead and knowing that they were waiting because of their skin color. Such an interesting concept and way to show it. Of course it’s over, over simplified, but it speaks to the fact that it can be true that the free market exists and that the rules in the Monopoly game — if you open up a brand-new package and look at the rules that doesn’t say, if your skin color is blank, do this, right.
So the rules aren’t wrong, the rules aren’t racist, they might even be — have equality in the rules, one might argue. But certainly in this experiment, the equity does not exist between the races because of the way that experiment was set up. Really interesting concept there.
We recognize that we’ve got this inheritance that we’re having to work with. The inheritance of racism, of the things that existed before us. Fast forwarding to your work at Your Up. It’s been about a year. You described how intentionally you went introspective — first, work on ourselves before we can start to work on things outside of ourselves, individually and organizationally. What have been some of the wins, what’s worked?
What are some —what’s something that you’re proud of that this change team was able to either impact or achieve as an outcome?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, at the beginning I realized that you know what, I, this, this can’t be about me and my co-architect, who was on the lead of the DEI team, at the time. It can’t be about us and it can’t even really be about the change team. It needs to be about the collective organization. And so one of the things that kinda came up was this concept of, okay, well becoming an anti-racist organization is not a destination, it’s a practice.
And so there’s, there’s — practice, like you’re constantly having to do it. Like if you think about a sports analogy, you know Steph Curry, the best shooter in the world. He was practicing literally every day. Practicing all different elements of his game and — you, you kind of just have to keep practicing, and there’s different practice areas that you need to start practicing in, and you just need to start.
And people are going to be at all different levels of experience, practicing. And I think that is that’s something that, that, that concept of practice kind of unlocked a few things for our team and like kind of the organization, because one of the things that starts to happen is people kind of sit on the sidelines and wait for someone to tell them what to do.
That’s just like — or tell them the cheat codes to become anti-racist. And at the end of the day, I think there’s maybe more practice areas that exist, but the three most prominent ones that we’re working on right now is this, this idea of acknowledgement, representation, which is really about shared decision-making power, and accountability. And so, we’ve started to get that into the water in a way that it’s starting to change the frequency of interactions that we’re having with different departments and how people are starting to have amongst themselves. And I, I feel like when we first came together as a change team in February, within two weeks, people were talking about — actually it was actually the after two sessions.
And so we had, it was how long was it? It was like four hours. So two, two-hour sessions across two weeks in the orientation. People were talking about psychological safety and trust and feeling restored and revitalized. For the first time, while like talking about, like systemic racism and White supremacy culture and how to dismantle it, like in the workplace.
And when that happened, I was like, whoa, what is going on here? I did not expect that to happen so quickly. Of course, when you’re setting up a team, you got — you want those things to happen, but it happens so quickly in a way that I was like, okay. So all we need to really do is figure out how to sprinkle this throughout the whole organization.
Because it felt so different. And, and that is that’s, that’s part of it. It’s like one of those things where if they, if the org was — if the system was like, okay, change team you’re shut down, which is not the case. But if they were, I’d be like, okay, well, you can’t really take that away from me because I know what it would feel like to be in an anti-racist system where people trust each other. People have, you know, we have very diverse views, yet we’re open to conflict in a way that’s, you know, not combative and power — the power dynamics are more shared than like just shared decision-making. And the whole point of it is like, how can I almost remove myself from the whole equation in a way?
And part of that requires like really intense self-awareness and like self-reflection, and this idea of putting your ego aside in a way that like —you know, I, I’m not — I don’t consider myself like an egomaniac or anything like that, but, or egocentric. But I’ve really had to like look inward in a way that’s like deeper than I thought I would ever be going to understand how to lead in this space.
And so, I say that to say, if you talk about like culture change and like what that could look like and be, those, you know — we’re, we’re practicing all those elements in there. And that is, that is like something I’m super excited about at work.
Nigel Prentice: So do you think you got to that space as a change team? Just by holding the space open and, and, and allowing it to exist? And then people fill that space with this enriched conversation around being anti-racist or was there some other secret sauce that, that sort of activated the team to behave in this new way?
Issac Buwembo: I mean, it’s definitely a both — and I, I think there’s the intentionality of it of creating the space, which essentially is creating the capacity for a brain trust to form around what does it actually mean to be anti-racist and what does it mean in this organization to be anti-racist? And how has that impact all the different departments?
There’s that. And then there’s this question that we borrowed from the — that I brought into the space that I bought from the liberatory design work coming out of Stanford, and it’s a notice and reflect practice. And so the question is, what do you notice about yourself in this moment? And what do you notice about opportunities to deliberate like power privilege and opportunities to be your authentic self?
And so any kind of moment that happened at the very beginning — it rather than, you know, debriefing a session, it’d be like, reflect on this question, which is kind of an embodied thing and raises the point that like, whenever people talk about race or racism, you know, you, can, you kind of like, you feel it in your body. Like when, when a microaggression happens or someone does a joke, like like if you’re aware that that’s a microaggression, of course.
But if someone were to say a racial slur in the office, you’d be like, whoa, like you’d feel that in your body. And part of it is like, how do you, how do you sit with that? How do you move through that? Like, how do you — how do you — how does that change the decisions you’d make? How does that, like, repattern your brain to see things differently?
Because effectively, eventually what you want to happen is — you know, when you cross the street, you kind of look both ways. You don’t even think about it. Like, remember when you learned, oh, you got to look both ways to cross the street. I have a three-year-old, and we walk to school every day, a few blocks. And every time we like get to an intersection, I’m like, oh, we’re crossing the street now.
And you know, you, like, you kind of look both ways and he’s like, oh, there’s no car, let’s go. But eventually like, you know — and when I’m walking by myself, I don’t do that either. So I don’t even think about it, but I stopped, and I look both ways and I cross the street. Eventually, that’s the kind of practice that you want to get to like un — like unconsciously competent.
There’s this framework I heard recently about — I actually don’t know what the framework is called. You know, I forget names, but I know what the framework elements are. And so there’s unconscious incompetence, that’s one. There’s four elements: unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, and then there’s conscious competence, and then there’s unconscious competence.
So if you think about that progression and apply it to being anti-racist, you know, to your question earlier of like, you know, has been 400, 500 years, like people don’t really understand. It’s like, yeah, there are people who are unconsciously incompetent. I think last summer of the societal awakening of systemic racism, there are more people who are consciously incompetent.
They know like, oh my goodness, like, how have I not known about this all this long? Like how did I not realize like my White privilege or whatever, or even, you know, BIPOC people being like, whoa, like, how did I not know about this group or that group or whatever is going on in the world? So when you think about an organization’s kind of development, it’s like, what were — you know, you want to like push to the point where every individual actor is unconsciously competent. And so they’re crossing the street, they’re looking both ways before they cross without even thinking about it when it comes to all things anti-racist. So when it comes to acknowledging systemic racism and how it manifests within the walls of your organization, when it comes to like representation of like who’s making decisions and how, what are the decision models that we set up to make all kinds of decisions.
And when it comes to accountability, accountability, how are you, how are you holding yourself accountable? And how are you inviting others to hold you accountable? As just like a few practice areas that, you know; a dream would be that like, every actor in an organization that’s anti-racist is unconsciously competent in those practice areas.
Nigel Prentice: Nice, nice. And if, and if folks are gonna want to look that up, we I think there that’s called the conscious competence matrix or the I’ve also seen it referred to as the four stages of competency and super, super important, no matter what the work is, right. No matter what the practice is. And in this particular example, you talked at very deeply about practice a few minutes ago that when one practices, one can no longer sit on the sideline, there are no cheat codes to being anti-racist.
And then right here, you just gave a framework. Here’s how to practice. So let’s take that a step further. Let’s say somebody wants to do some of this work in their company and they don’t have an MBA in design strategy. They might not be as service designer and researcher like yourself. What advice would you give to another company?
Let’s forget about size and scale for a minute. You’re at a company of 1,000 people. I’m at a company of 300,000 people and you and I, our work is so similar. So let let’s just hold the size of an organization separate because all it serves to do is make things more complex to understand.
If one wants to get started in their organization and wants their org to be less racist or more anti-racist what, what, what did, what have your learnings led you to believe is a place to start for that, for that individual?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, I didn’t realize how I started that this is actually what I did until I was like about a month ago. Susie Wise is one of the people who developed the liberatory design kind of framework from Stanford. She sent me these cards that you can like look up online and I like flipped through the cards, and I was just like laughing to myself because this is like three months into the work of the change team. I’m like, oh my goodness. Like one of them, the first mindset is build relational trust. And I, I realized that like, oh, that that’s like effectively what I did and had been doing and how I just generally move through the world.
And most of my managers were like, oh, you’re really good at building relationships and kind of maintaining them and like networking. That’s something that is an innovation practice. That’s also a human, Isaac Buwembo practice. However, applied to this case — when you think about building relational trust, it’s really about the interactions you have with like everybody that you come across, and that allows certain actions to then happen that might not normally happen. That allows you to change people’s minds about things that they might not have understood in a certain way before, but then allows for more action to happen. So that’s one is like, figure out what that means for yourself. And, and like practice that kind of mindset.
The other one is like, you have to do the work, like your own work. Like, so practice self-awareness and understand like, well, you know, where are you on this? Like, what privilege do you have and how does it manifest? And what do you understand about it? Like, how are you being experienced in the world, in your workplace?
Because once you start building alliances for folks who want to — who agree with the purpose that you have in mind of becoming anti-racist like, you need to — you need to know yourself and how you are evolving. And it’s a constant journey of work. And you need to kind of like get a better sense of what your blind spots are. And therefore, you can be in a better position to inform and support other people who might be doing this.
And then the last thing I’ll say on this, as far as mindsets goes, is like embrace complexity. Like when you’re talking about equity in the workplace and you start looking at like your policies and practices and data systems and, you know, looking at all the data, it’s like, whoa, and like hearing all the stories of lived experience that people have.
It is such a complex array of like kind of data and information to process. And rather than like, kind of get run away from it, you kind of have to just really embrace that and sit with it. And you know, you’re not going to be able to solve things right away, but you can start. And I mean, those are the three things that I think are kind of applicable to any system. Obviously it might be easier for me to do than other people, but I think if you start trying, you could definitely do those things.
Nigel Prentice: That first one about relationships. I mean, it strikes me how organizations are made up of what — primarily people. And so it would follow that in order to work on the org, one must work with the people. And you talked about empathy a bit ago, deep empathy, authentic empathy. Those are the things that have been in the design profession forever, whether it was using social science research to get at sort of a human value that drives behavior or whether it was observing how a person uses a cell phone, perhaps to, you know, design, design, something about that phone and that experience in a better way.
Starting with deep empathy seems to be a thread in a lot of what your, your last kind of few points there. And which makes me curious, can non-designers do this work? Designers who might not be trained in this idea of removing oneself from the, the, the inquiry, the question, the qualitative inquiry, perhaps.
I don’t remember a lot of classes from an MBA perspective or in the engineering school or in law school per se, around team theory and regenerative design and social entrepreneurship. So I’m curious, do you think that a non-designer would be as successful doing this as someone who is and is using the designer tool kit?
Issac Buwembo: I mean, my answer is yes. And the reason for that is because on the change team, everybody else on that team is a non-designer. And in the months that we’ve been together have gone through an experience that has like — everything I’m saying everyone has been going through it in this way, based on the conditions that were set and the intentionality of the work that we’re doing.
So I think, yes. Maybe it won’t be as comfortable because the biggest thing I think from a, I don’t know if I actually—I think I did learn this thing I had to say about empathy is like embracing ambiguity, managing through ambiguity. Like that is a core competency of a designer, but that is also something that many people who do anything in the work world have to do because you never have all the information.
The thing about the design mindset is that you’re, you’re kind of trained to do that, to manage through ambiguity. And so I just think that if you practice that, then yeah. You’ll, you know, we’ll be good. It might be scary and uncomfortable at first, but you know, I’ve been someone that always relies on mentors and, you know— just talking to people like I just talking to people who are outside of your world, who have a certain perspective and hearing how they might react or what their thoughts are about what you’re experiencing, like when you’re tripping up, that’s a great thing to do as well. But yeah, I think, yes.
Nigel Prentice: I like it. I like it. And what do you think about the prognosis here? What, what happens when— let’s look forward a few years. Let’s let’s suppose a world where more companies do the work you’re doing, not fewer, where more people are taking on these big challenges. What if this becomes more normalized? What would, what do you think the impact on society will be then?
What will society look like when more organizations behave this way?
Issac Buwembo: Yeah, That’s a great question. I, when I think about the you know, the organizational context, I think that turnover could be lower. I think that belonging, you know, people talk about belonging as a a feeling and experience that will be true everywhere.
I think about joy and zooming out of an organization in society.I think about joy and like, and it makes me the whole book. All of this makes me think about, you know— people talk about Black Lives Matter is like a political statement. I’m like, okay, well, sure. It’s been politicized, but it’s really recognize my humanity. And that’s really all that’s being said here is recognize my humanity.
And so, you know, people think about companies where you spend an organization — and you spend a lot of your time there, like imagine a world where like every company recognize the humanity of their people working in them and therefore recognize the humanity of the people living in the cities that the companies operate in. And I mean, that would be a beautiful place to live. Okay.
Nigel Prentice: Indeed, indeed. It would. Listen, this has been a fantastic conversation, Isaac. I really am struck by how, how graceful you’ve been moving through this work, how the stories that you’re telling are empowering to me to listen to it. It’s very clear that your passion is now intertwined with the work itself and, and that you’re just not gonna rest until you have brought your authentic truth into your workspace.
And and it sounds like, and it feels like you’ve got a calling to share that with others and you know, your openness to discovery, self-discovery, introspection, and then teaching is, is quite impressive. And, and finally the bravery to take on this work. I mean, no one wants to tell your executive C-suite that the thing that they’re doing right now could be racist, and have they done the self-work to become a better person and human being first, and then let’s talk about policy. That approach takes a ton of bravery, and I see that in you. And if we have more Isaacs on more teams like yours and more people like yourself, as you just said, there’ll be more joy, more belonging in this place that we call work, and in this place we call society.
So please continue this, my brother. I’m very much inspired, and you best believe come Monday morning, I’m re-dedicated and re-energize to doing this work around equity. Isaac, listen, thank you so much for being with me. Can’t wait for us all to share one day in this new society and in this great society you’ve described. One day we’ll get there.
Issac Buwembo: Yeah. Thank you for having me. I appreciate being here.
Nigel Prentice: All right.