Episode 76: Genesis Amaris Kemp – Her Story, A Discussion About Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

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In this episode, I virtually sat down with Genesis Amaris Kemp. She’s a Visionary Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Podcaster. We began the conversation as we often do by listening to her story and journey in her own words. As she puts it, we discussed the lows and highs.. we talked about the lows too because that contributed to her development personally and professionally.

She spent 15 years in corporate America. Starting out in real estate, working for a cancer center to building a career in the oil and gas industry, she shares how that all developed. There are many positive aspects of that and inspiration to extract. It’s inspiring how she approached life with a positive attitude, how she overcame ‘situations’ and how she used networking as a powerful advantage.

But there were also negative aspects. Working in the industry where she was a ‘Chocolate Drop in Corporate America’ ( her words, not mine – she has a book with the same name ), was tough. Micro aggressions, feeling inadequate, being held in positions longer than she was supposed to, suspect of people’s (or businesses) intentions .. were just some of the things she experienced just because of how she looked on the outside.

Through all that, she’s come out the other end to speak to that, to share that story.. to be a voice and have the conversation around diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging. I really enjoyed this conversation.. she’s an amazing human being. If nothing else, it’ll make you think deeper about this topic and help answer the question.. how can we do better?

THE MEAT OF IT!

  • Intro
  • A roller coaster ride journey.. highs and lows. Both contributes to developing herself personally and professionally.
    • It’s important to talk about the bad stuff too! The struggles..
  • 15 years in corporate America
    • First job, real estate. Why this?
    • Second job, at the cancer center.
    • After getting laid off.. Oil and Gas company!
      • You never know why things happen for you until you learn they happened FOR you.. to learn, grow and develop.
      • Small mom and pop..
      • Started as an imaging clerk .. scanning papers all, day, long.. tedious and boring.
        • Fell asleep on the job .. literally. haha
        • Knew she wasn’t cut out for this.. smarter than this.
      • Used her mind to be a conduit of where she wanted to go ..
        • It’s not about who you know, but who knows you.
        • Started networking
        • Moved into project management ..
        • Big Break ! Health, safety and environmental.. replaced her boss when she left.
          • Although it became too much as two roles consolidated into one.
        • (( STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL ! ))
      • Began looking for a company that had international ties and she could travel.
        • Landed a job in a fortune 500 in oil and gas
        • Why she chose one out of the 3 – what was important to her??
        • The only problem was she had to start over at the bottom.
          • How could she learn value from there?
      • Next stage
        • Met now husband .. now expecting a bundle of joy. :slight_smile:
        • Making sacrifices ..
        • Graduated from college
          • Degree in supply chain and logistics in technology.. + double minors.
        • Connected with someone that knew her .. and this person retired and she moved into that position.
      • The power of networking !!
      • Family dynamics were changing ..
        • Learned to advocate for herself .. speaking up.
      • Trade Regulations .. compliance coordinations?
        • Did it have anything to do with her degree? No!
        • This was a ‘stretch opportunity’ .. if you want something bad enough you will make the sacrifices to challenge yourself and push yourself to learn more.
      • Stayed in that roll for 3.5 years. 2020 happens. The pandemic oil and gas did not do well.
        • Layoffs ..
        • Life happens to you, but happens for you.
    • Enters her book! “Chocolate Drop in Corporate America” From the pit to the palace ..
      • What does Matt see on the book cover? 😅
      • She dissects it for us.. “When we think about issues in America .. do people in the world not face those same issues?”
        • Oil and gas – male dominated field.. white males.
        • Wanted to showcase there’s diversity .. various industries. Makes up diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
      • Pit to the palace .. sometimes you have to go through the dark seasons to get to your palace.
      • It’s not just about blacks in corporate America .. it’s all of us working together in order to push the narrative for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
    • The book was birthed out of frustration.
      • Trials and tribulations .. micro aggressions, feeling inadequate, held in positions longer than she was supposed to. Shared in the book.
      • Being under paid .. learned in a meeting.
        • After George Floyd incident she got a raise .. after sharing her personal stories.
        • Why were they doing it?
        • Still got laid off.. why did that happen?
    • That lay off pushed her to podcasting .. to talk more about her book.
      • A conduit that open doors and avenues for different people to reach out to her.
    • And now she coaches and helps others.
      • Focusing on the similarities vs the differences. You are part of the equation when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
    • Matt – an amazing journey.. and she’s not alone.
      • Where did she pick up her drive? Her willingness to keep going, to learn.. to overcome.
      • Influences and contributing factors.
    • How her parents influenced her..
      • Dad passed from medical negligence 2 years ago. Became a care giver.
      • Her Dad always instilled in her, “Your awesome, your great.. God created you for a purpose.” He spoke life into her.
      • Her Mom nurtured her as well.. grew up in a loving home.
      • Life isn’t going to be easy.. control what you can control and try not to worry about what you can’t. Which has been a struggle.
      • They gave her that foundation .. and she’s building upon that and helped her become the woman she is today!
    • Her older siblings. A blended family..
      • Looking at their lives.. the advantage.
    • It was different areas that helped her become multi-faceted and dimensional.
    • Does she regret not pursuing the medical field?
      • Why she does have some.. yes and no.
      • She’d love to have more knowledge to advocate for her dad.
        • Her sister-in-law was a nurse practitioner and helped her navigate
    • The impact the pandemic had on medical negligence .. overwhelmed, under staffed.
    • The diversity conversation.
      • Matt’s shock the last few years.. having lived in a bubble.
      • Matt’s experience ..
    • Covering more ground with her..
      • More insight into her background.
      • Multi-cultural family. Diverse family.
      • Her .. she doesn’t sound like she’s black.
      • Can’t judge a book by its cover.. because the look or talk a certain way.
      • Society putting people into a box.
        • Checking the boxes ..
        • Beyond the surface level ..
      • George Floyd .. national TV. It brought to light, racism does still exist.
      • Stop asian hate movement.
      • Where she grew up .. Texas is conservative.
        • There’s places she can’t go..
      • Letting things happen.. or doing something about it.
        • vs conditioning people this type of behavior is acceptable and we’re condoning it.
      • Doing a better job – when you see something not fair, acting as an ally speak up .. you don’t condone this behavior.
        • Instincts of being humane. Humane back in humanity.
      • The only things that make us different..
      • Marginalizing things .. micro-aggressions.. statements that are true for everyone in a group.
        • It hurts.. because it’s NOT true for everyone.
      • What happens when we make assumptions..
      • What you learned when you were raised.. who to say those that raised you had all the answers? Times have changed.. people have evolved. Why can’t we as individuals evolve?
      • Matt’s experiences, building diverse teams, working in the inner city – although mostly positive, knows there’s a lot of bad stuff that still happens.
      • The difficulty knowing people intentions
      • The way forward? What do we need to do?
        • What needs to change or happen.. besides having these type of conversations?
        • The education perspective..
          • People wanting to understand the education.
          • Let it marinate and apply it.
          • You have to be ready to receive it.. otherwise, you’re not part of the solution.
          • Engage in conversations.
            • Here to listen and be empathetic.. be a human.
            • Not easy conversations.. engage in a courageous conversation.
        • You may be someone’s cup of tea, but you’re not everyone’s cup of tea.
        • Challenge yourself to learn more personally or professionally. And apply that.
        • It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
      • Another tip ( definitely reach out to her for MORE tips.. she can’t give them all away here :wink: )
        • Always ask yourself.. is it me? Am I thinking about this from a holistic viewpoint? Or from a viewpoint that is skewed by what you were taught. Personally feelings and experiences.. causing a tainted vision.
      • Lots of books and resources out there..
        • Ask yourself about the source.. credible? Biased? Do your due diligence and research.
      • Asking others for help.
    • Her ideal avatar that needs help.
      • “I’m that coach”
    • Where you can find her..
Matt Levenhagen
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