Bringing Resilience and Passion to DEIB with Zulema Bennett from 1Password

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


About The Episode Transcript

In this episode, Rachel and special co-host filling in for Felicia, Fatima Dainkeh, is joined by Zulema Bennett, DEIB Program Specialist for 1Password! Zulema shares her journey in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and how she got involved in this field and her journey to 1Password. Zulema also shares her insights on how to take care of yourself when doing this work and how she balances her passion, resilience, and belief in this work to keep the fire blazing. Join us as we explore Zulema's story and insights on DEIB, self-care, and the future!

At the top of the episode, Felicia and Rachel spend some time talking about burnout and what we do to combat it. Pro tip: it helps to have people in your corner!

Felicia Jadczak (00:08): Rachel, how's it going?

Rachel Murray (00:10): Hey Felicia. It's going.

Felicia Jadczak (00:12): Yeah, I, I hear that.

Rachel Murray (00:14): Yeah. Well, if it's okay, I'd love to share with you please. My, my feelings right now.

Felicia Jadczak (00:22): What are you going through right now,

Rachel Murray (00:24): <laugh>? I'm so serious. Well, we, and I, you know, I wanted to share this with the world, with the universe because I think it's probably pretty universal. But, you know, I'm definitely feeling a lot of burnout right now and I want to name that I'm so fortunate to have such an incredible teammate, business partner, co-founder, all the things to recognize when I'm feeling a little burnt out. And so you lovingly dmd me on Slack a few days ago and was like, Hey, I noticed, no, you didn't even say, I noticed you said, I've been thinking a lot about vacation time and my vacation time and I was just wondering like, do you have a vacation plan coming up? And I was grateful for that because my first instinct was like, well, yeah, like I've got this thing in June and then I got this thing in August, so I've got time that I'm planning for in future.

(01:20): And you were like, maybe something a little bit sooner because I've been recognizing maybe a little bit of sense of burnout. And I was like, oh wow. That's so cool that you noticed that. That's fair. Yes. Okay. So I've been thinking a lot about that and I've been thinking a lot about how yes, doing the work that we do, but also just existing in this wild world that we live in. It is exhausting. And so I, I think about the blog post that you had written a year or two ago maybe, um, which was, this work is a marathon, not a sprint. And so I've just been like, oh, I feel like, you know, I'm in that. But I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that concept.

Felicia Jadczak (02:03): Sure. Happy to, and always happy to ask people to take vacation time. <laugh>, it's very important as someone who has been burned out before, it's, it's very valuable and critical. So anyway, with the marathon metaphor, you know, we do talk about a lot about that, especially if I put my d e I facilitator hat on. I like to say that the work is a marathon, not a sprint. And what we mean by that is you can't just check something off the box and say, great, we fixed racism or Great, everything's solved now and everything's amazing. It doesn't work that way. It takes a lot of work. It takes sustained work, it takes work over time. But the extra piece that I personally like to add in is that there is no finish line to the marathon. Ooh. Yeah. And that can be really depressing for people because Yeah.

(02:51): I mean, I know that we have both run half marathons. I have only won one and I will never run anything again. But you have run a couple in your life and have plans to run more, I think. Yeah. But part of the joy, and part of the reason why you do that is to cross the finish line at the end of it. Right. Like it's what you're aiming for. And when you get to that whatever mile it is where you're like, I can't move anymore. My feet are really hurting, everything is terrible. You're like, okay, I can see it, or it's there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or I'm only a couple miles away, or whatever that thing is that you're telling yourself. But with d e I work, there is no finish line. And that is hard. That's a hard thing to wrestle with.

Rachel Murray (03:33): That is so deep. And I'm just gonna just be here <laugh> not to be morbid or anything, but like, eventually it's gonna end

Felicia Jadczak (03:40): Well, death comes for us all. But,

Rachel Murray (03:42): You know, <laugh>, oh my gosh, I got wildly dark. So I, I was thinking about this too. And I feel like I, and so I've only done a half, I've not done a full marathon cuz I, I give mad respect for anyone that does a marathon. Halfs are fine. Even those are hard.

Felicia Jadczak (03:59): Basically the same thing in my mind.

Rachel Murray (04:02): <laugh>, then they're, and I love the, I know they're saying that

Felicia Jadczak (04:03): Not, I know they're not, but

Rachel Murray (04:04): Literally half the distance I can, people who do double that is just mind boggling to me. Cause I'm like, I got the half. But I feel like at mile, like I feel like I'm at mile 16 of a marathon, like when you've done the 16 miles, but you still have an enormous amount to go and you're feeling exhausted. And I don't know if you're familiar with this term called like bonking?

Felicia Jadczak (04:27): No. Tell me more.

Rachel Murray (04:28): Okay. Yeah. So basically what it means is like you get to a point in a race where you are just exhausted, you like hit a wall and you just cannot find a way to go any further. And some folks can and other folks can't. And what you do is to try to avoid the bonking is, and you can't always avoid it even though you've done all the things, but you try to do your best, you prepare, you eat well, you train, you sleep, you do all the things. So that hopefully come that day you'll be able to get through it. But yeah, I feel a little bit like I'm bonking now and yeah, the the burnout. The burnout is, is real and I love the work that we do, but

Felicia Jadczak (05:10): Woo,

Rachel Murray (05:11): Also stepping away from the screen,

Felicia Jadczak (05:15): That's important. And you know, I think going back to what you were just saying around like taking vacation time and, and just taking care of yourself. So if I understand correctly, with boning, you're trying to prepare yourself for that moment so you can push through, right? Yeah. So how can we translate that to the workplace or to the work that we're doing or to everyday life? So when I had lovingly called you in to take some time off mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it was because, you know, maybe you can take a week off, maybe you don't want to, or maybe you can take a day off or anything, but that's gonna be these little moments that will help you alleviate further feelings of burnout now and in the future. And, and I know this is true because I, I've been there like last year I was so severely burned out at the beginning of the year and I had just come from two weeks off.

(06:07): Mm. And that was my August vacation, you know, to use your, your upcoming thing. Right. I was like, okay, if I can just make it through this year to those two weeks, it's gonna reset my life. It's gonna be amazing. I had the two weeks off and it was not enough time. Yeah. And so when I came back to work, I felt so depressed and I was crying all the time and it was just not me. And what I realized is I really have to maybe take longer time off longer, longer chunks of time or I need to take better care of my schedule or my calendar. But there's little things you can do to build it in and there's no like magic pill that we can all do to figure this out. But we have to work to see how can we take care of ourselves Cuz it is a marathon and the marathon is just gonna keep going. Yeah.

Rachel Murray (06:53): And never end. Whew. That's really solid.

Felicia Jadczak (06:57): And you know, and I think if we talk about time, I think time is so important too because Yeah, like time off time from this green, as you said, time to reflect, I am recording this after having been in back-to-back meetings for like hours. Yeah. And it's wild and it's not something that I like to do, but I just came from a meeting, well not even my most recent meeting, but one of the meetings I was in today, I was chatting with someone and it was some coaching work that I was doing and she asked me to, every time I talked about time to replace time with life and that really hit me because what I was saying to her were things like, oh, time is a luxury, or I'm running out of time, or I don't have enough time. And she was like, place that with life. And I was like, oh gosh. Well the minute I say I'm running outta life, my priorities immediately change <laugh> like immediately. So I just think I've, I've been thinking about that for the past like two hours. And so I think it's super relevant to what you're sharing right now around that.

Rachel Murray (07:54): Yeah. You know, it is so funny that you say that because I also got something that I'm probably not gonna find. You know, you just gotta thank that little Instagram for like finding stuff. But it was something very, very similar to that and I just really, really appreciate that perspective, cuz I think it is really important. So thank you for sharing.

Felicia Jadczak (08:15): Oh, you're welcome. You know, I love to share everything and anything <laugh>

Rachel Murray (08:20): Well, let's talk about what's gonna happen today, uh, on this pod.

Felicia Jadczak (08:26): Yeah. So we have a lot going on, but we're excited for this particular podcast. I actually was not there for this one. So

Rachel Murray (08:32): You were not, you were missed. You were missed.

Felicia Jadczak (08:33): I missed, I I'm glad to hear that, but I'm sure the conversation went swimmingly without me. I've actually not listened to this yet myself, so, oh dear. Listeners, I'm right along with you <laugh> about to hear all the, the pearls of wisdom that I'm sure were dropped <laugh>. But yeah, why don't you take it away from here, Rachel? What? Yeah. Who, what, who, where, when,

Rachel Murray (08:53): What happened? What happened? What is, what is about to happen? It didn't happen if I was not in the virtual room. <laugh> nothing.

Fatima Dainkeh (09:00): <laugh>

Rachel Murray (09:02): Doesn't exist. <laugh>, well actually you were, your virtual seed was temporary replaced by one of our lovely teammates, Fatima Deke, who has had the pleasure of also working with this wonderful company. So we actually talked with Zulema Bennett, who's the D E I B program specialist from One Password. And she also, I love on her LinkedIn, she says that she's also a D e I B geek, which as you know, speaks to our hearts. Right, of course. <laugh>, I mean, delightful. Yeah. We chatted about her path to getting to do this work, her work in coordinating the d i b needs of a large organization like One Password. And it was really cool, we sort of, we talked a bunch about her being a mom and she took a pregnancy pause. So we'll get into that conversation as well. It was great. You were missed as always. It was a fun time. So yeah. Hope you enjoy it. Well, hello. Hello. Hi Fatima. It's lovely to see you.

Fatima Dainkeh (10:00): So good to be here. Good to see you as well. And I guess for folks who can't see us, good to, to have y'all witness us here today.

Rachel Murray (10:08): Yes. In our ears, <laugh> in your, in your ears. Yes. I am so excited to introduce the lovely Zulema Bennett, who is the D E I B program specialist for one Password. Hello, welcome. And thank you so much for joining us.

Zulema Bennett (10:24): Thank you for having me. I'm so, so excited to be joining you both on this podcast. It's a dream come true.

Rachel Murray (10:31): Oh, yay. Well you're a dream for us too, so it works out really well. Well, I think we should get right into it, not waste anybody's time. First question, which we love to dig into is tell us about your journey. How'd you get involved in this work? And I should also make it clear for folks that D E I B stands for Diversity, equity, inclusion and Belonging. And would love to hear about your path,

Zulema Bennett (10:53): How did I get into D E I B? I'm a woman of color, so I was born into it. I say, so I've always been interested in D E I B because they have always affected me personally, my loved ones. Personally, I've seen the impact it has on people when D E I B exists and when it does not exist. So that's how I got into D I B When I went to school, there were no D I D E I B programs like there are now. I think I'm aging myself by saying that because, you know, these programs started at a certain times and I am way older than that. I got involved in D I B because of need. Uh, meaning that when I entered the workforce, I saw and was affected by all kinds of biases. Underrepresentation, I got involved in ERGs because I was looking for community and a safe space to be myself.

(11:42): That was my, the first time I was exposed to D E I B in the workspace in regards to my career trajectory. I started my career in hr, which very traditional HR career, HR ops, R B P, these roles that I came up in, exposed me further, exposed me to a lot of employee relations issues. And it, it's there that I began to be interested in dove deeper into things like bias training, the importance of BRGs cultures, uh, pay gaps for presentation, et cetera. So that is how I got started in D E I B.

Fatima Dainkeh (12:19): That's really, really powerful and I just appreciate what you said, z limo when like Rachel is like, how did you get involved? And you're like, okay, first of all, <laugh>, I'm a woman of color. And that's so important because a lot of times when we talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging work, sometimes some of the work that we're doing is because of our personal experiences. And then before we jump to another question, I'm just curious to know, like, what has it been like being a woman of color doing D E I B work?

Zulema Bennett (12:48): It's exhausting. Like emotionally training. It's, especially because, you know, most of the people you are trying to get either buy-in from or expose these ideas to are not people of color. They happen to be white, they happen to be white males. They, it can be emotionally exhausting at times when you just feel like, why don't you get it? Why is this a new concept for you when you, the team or I have lived with these things our entire lives, so it should be like common sense or it should be like, so it is emotionally exhausting when, when folks just can't relate or just don't get it as easily as we expect them to. So I, I think as a woman of color, as a mom of two biracial, multiracial kids, I also see the struggle in them. So it's, uh, it, it's, it, it's emotionally exhausting.

Rachel Murray (13:47): Thank you so much for sharing that Selema, that is really powerful. I'm curious to know, what are you doing to take care of yourself because this, this is such deep hard work, would love to hear.

Zulema Bennett (14:01): Self-care is so important. I mean, there was a point, I think, you know, I think motherhood took that away from me to, like all moms will say, they kind of lose themselves in motherhood. Um, and I, I was, I think I was one of those that really lost myself in motherhood, starting to find my way back now that my kids are a little bit older. But I learned, I think the hard lesson that, you know, you know that saying that you need to fill your cup first before you can take care of others. So true. It's not just a saying, trust me, therapy therapy's, uh, a big, uh, important self, self-care for me, being able to talk to somebody else that I know that you know, that it's without judgment, it's with, uh, so just being yourself and being vulnerable is a very important part of my self-care.

(14:49): Working out is important to me, uh, makes me feel good both physically and again, mentally. And also, I, I can't like just going to taking care of yourself, going to the salon or going to the spa, I'm sorry. But like, I grew up with women in my life. My grandmother who passed away a few years ago in her coffin, she had her red lipstick on. Like, it's just, yes. Like, it's like you have to feel good. If looking good makes you feel good, whatever makes you feel amazing, do it. So to me it's things like that. Like I love going to get a facial. I love going to the gym because it makes me feel amazing. I can be a better person for the people that are important to me. So things like that are important.

Fatima Dainkeh (15:35): Listen, y'all can't see me on the screen, but as Juli is talking, I'm like clapping my hand, snapping my fingers. Yes. Because yes, this work is hard. And, you know, started, you started off talking about like your identities and like how that brought you to this work, but that does not make it easy. Just because you have lived experience around bias or discrimination doesn't necessarily mean that you're gonna know everything either, right. And so I think as you were talking, I'm hearing both the personal and the professional a lot of times merging and just wanna honor you and your experience with motherhood and what that brought out for you and what it means to translate some of those things into the work you do. So with that said, Deliman and I had an amazing first call once upon a time, <laugh> when we were like chatting, thinking about like, what does conversation look like within one password, which is where you work. And I think our first time we talked, I was like, I really like this person. Like we could talk forever, <laugh>, but I think it would be so helpful for folks to learn more about the work that you're doing at One Password. Would love to hear from you, like what does that work look like? What are some of the challenges or wins that you're witnessing? Whatever you feel comfortable sharing.

Zulema Bennett (16:48): I'm very proud of the work that I'm doing here at One Password because I've had the opportunity to lead and lay the foundation for our d I b strategy and initiatives at the company. This is the first time that I've, uh, had the opportunity to do that. I've always worked in places, uh, big corporate companies where these things or this foundation is always there, so you just maintain them. Um, and this is the first time I get to lay the foundation and build and I love that I get the opportunity to do that. I get to build our d I B program out as well as building and growing our company-sponsored E R G program, which I'm very, very passionate and proud of about Rachel. As you know, we've just launched our diversity committee. We've done a whole bunch of programming in the almost two years that I've been here.

(17:38): A lot of education. None of these things existed before I joined the team. So I'm very proud of the impact, uh, my d i b work has had and will have on one passwords culture now and going into the future as we grow. I mean, along the way I've had the pleasure of partnering with other D e I, uh, practitioners like yourself, Fatima and Rachel, and the rest of the SGL O team. So that in itself is amazing. Joining One Password has been a really fulfilling experience and I've, I've grown as a professional and I know that this type of work is my, is my passion is is what I, besides my kids, is what I wake up to and, and enjoy in my life. It's my little contribution to the world. I say

Rachel Murray (18:25): Love that. Also just like a little plug for one password. We hear it, she geeks out actually use, we hear one password users, team users. I'm so big fan of, of the product also, we have not been paid to say that it is just the truth. This is not a paid sponsorship. This is just love. I have a question around all the great work that you've, that you've been doing. If you were to give advice to someone else who's maybe starting to think about how to create a D E I committee at their company, I would love to know what advice you might have for them.

Zulema Bennett (19:01): D i committee specifically, or D

Rachel Murray (19:03): Work work? D i we could say d e i committee or d e I work in general open to however you would like to answer it, because this wasn't even in the list of questions that I gave you. No, I just, it's a surprise question. So, but I thought it would be useful.

Zulema Bennett (19:17): Absolutely. Actually, someone uh, approached me recently and who was aware of all the work that I've been doing at One Password and just was so lovely and generous in their compliments of the work that I've been doing. And I was like, honored to hear all of this. And they're like, I wanna do the same thing you are doing. How do I get into d I work, do I get to school and get this diploma or this credential? And I'm like, yeah, sure, you can go ahead and get all the credentials you want. But the one thing I think that you need to work in d you need to be passionate about the work that you are doing. You need to be resilient because I've learned that d e I is a lot of times an afterthought for folks up in higher levels, right? Is it's you sometimes you hear a lot of nos before you get that yes.

(20:14): For something. So you just have to keep on pushing to getting your yes, you hear a lot of resistance, you get, you get a lot of resistance, a lot of pushback in d E I that you don't for other things in the workplace in a corporate culture. So I, I feel like you need to have passion. You need to have resiliency, and you actually need to, you need to really believe in the work that you are doing because like I said, you'll hear a lot of nos, a lot of you, you have to work a lot harder and if you don't believe in the work that you are doing, it can be very demoralizing. Again, like, you know, like we have, uh, I think we've all heard of DI practitioners just burning out or quitting the field because it's just, it it, it's exhausting to, to fight hard for the things that you believe is right.

(21:05): So yeah, so in regards to R I D I committee buy-in, like again, getting that buy-in, it took from the moment I started to now almost a year and a half to have that buy-in, to have a lot of people actually believe in this type of work, believe in the benefits of D E I to the company culture to profit. So now having that buy-in, right? So it wasn't easy, but I feel like, you know, we have a great, um, leadership team at One Password that believes these things and wants to have d e I as part of, uh, our D N A wants it to be just natural and not, you know, so just again, push resilience and passion for this work is important. You can go ahead and get the credentials. Of course I'm big on education, but if you don't have that passion for it, <laugh> <laugh>, the credentials won't help you. <laugh>,

Fatima Dainkeh (22:05): That's important. Talking with my credentials, because especially living in a western society that prides ourselves on like productivity, the degrees, and there's nothing wrong with that if you got it. Amen. Like we're, we're celebrating you and recognizing that the work still needs to happen beyond that degree or education. And I think some of the key terms you mentioned, like you have to be passionate, resilient, have faith or belief in that, like perhaps change will happen. I think those words are really beautiful and I can tell you like as someone who's been a practitioner of D E I, sometimes that's very easy for me and other times it's not. And so I'm curious to know like what does this practice look like for you? Like the practice of passion, resilience or belief? Like how do you keep the fire blazing? And I'm sure, I know you said like, leadership at one password is amazing and really interested in doing this, and it doesn't mean that the work is easy. And so how do you keep yourself sort of moving through recognizing that some days you might be like, uh, I don't wanna do this anymore.

Zulema Bennett (23:11): You know what, I have to say that I've always been fiery. I, I don't know if I was just born that way. I don't, uh, I believe in the work that I do. I believe that it's good work. I believe it's for the benefit of everyone. And just that thought alone, like if I get a no to me, it's not like a no no. It's like, okay, I'll pause, I'll come back and present it a different way kind of thing. But I know that I can, where there's a will, there's a way. So to me, like I've just always been that scrappy, that fighter that, you know, your no might be a no for you, but to me it means come back, reiterate and present it a different way. I think my parents would say the same thing. I would <laugh> as a child do the same thing, right?

(23:57): So I think it's just natural for me to be that. And I see it, unfortunately, I see it in my children as well because it annoys, annoys the hell out of me because they will do the same thing to me now. So it's just, I, I've always been, when I believe in something strongly, I just, there's no, there's no no for me, I will get to that. Yes, it's so, I, I I think it was just built in me, thank goodness because I've, I've heard a lot of nos in my life, so, and it's helped me to get to where I am. So just being that little, you know, fighter and has helped.

Fatima Dainkeh (24:35): So basically y'all, you have to Lima <laugh> <laugh> to do this work. No, but I, I think you're hitting on this piece of like resilience. And as you were talking, I naturally just thought about like, and, and Rachel knows this because we, we do this a lot, but like in the facilitation world, it's always yes and right are there multiple truths can exist at once. And so when I heard you say like, when someone says no to you, it's not a no no. In my head I heard like, I can just see you, your wheels turn and being like, no, and, here's another option, <laugh>.

Zulema Bennett (25:12): It's true, it's true. Sometimes people just don't understand, especially I think with this work, an automatic wall goes up depending on your audience, right? So you just need to poke holes and find the right entryway. But it's just, it's again, resiliency is, is a must in this, in this type of work you need to, it's hard work, it's good work, but it's hard.

Rachel Murray (25:34): I just wanna honor the Lady Gaga energy that you gave by saying that you were born this way. <laugh>, thank you for doing that <laugh>. So we're here for it. I would love to switch gears just a little bit. I know we noticed that you have something called pregnancy paws on your LinkedIn profile and I would love to just learn more about what that is.

Zulema Bennett (25:55): That pregnancy pause was such a life changer for me, as you both know. I'm a mom, a mom of two little boys. I had my kids very close in age, 15 months apart, so I was like on maternity leave. So here in Canada, I'm in Canada at the time. We get one year, we get 18 months now we get one year maternity leave, right? So amazing. Wow.

Rachel Murray (26:20): In

Zulema Bennett (26:20): Canada. Thank you. Canada. Yes. So while I was on maternity leave with my first, I got pregnant with my second, uh, not planned. Don't, I don't suggest it having two under two is the hardest thing you could do. Yeah. At the time, uh, my husband and I decided that it was the best for our family situation for me to stay home with our kids. I mean, childcare for two babies under two is expensive here in Canada, I'm assuming probably in the states as well. So I was like, well, I might as well just stay home and take care of my two babies instead of giving my entire paycheck for somebody else to take care of them. I stayed home for a few years with them and that was, yeah, that was my pregnancy pause and I chose to, uh, when I decided to come back into the workforce, I would always get questions as to that gap.

(27:14): So I was like, you know what, I'm just gonna put what that gap is and if you like it, the explanation, good. Well, if you don't, then I'm not the person for you. Right. Because I don't like it when people who are interviewing, and I, and I've been on interview panels, interviewing candidates as well, get offended or don't accept that people have lives outside of work. So whe whether it be having children or taking care of parents or elderly folks or, or just taking a break from your career because you need it. Like, we all have the right to have a pause in our career without, without it being a negative thing, right? So I, it was a way for me to, you know, put it out there without, here's my explanation. If you like it, good. If you don't, well I'm not the person for you. That's why you see it on my LinkedIn. It's my hardest role that I've ever held in my life, but the most fulfilling role as well.

Rachel Murray (28:17): Oh, that's beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that. I love that you added that to your, to your profile. I think that's just so right on because you're modeling that behavior too. It's really cool that psychology. And I'm curious, just a little quick little follow up. Have you seen a shift in attitudes toward break, especially with, given the past three years and or do you feel like, uh, maybe things are shifting back?

Zulema Bennett (28:43): You know what, I would like to think that things have gotten better. I would love to think that, you know, new moms or people having their children now don't have to make decisions. Like, do I have to choose my career over having a family or do I have to choose family over career? I was in a position where I had to choose my family over my career, and that had a great, I I was always a career girl, so that had a great impact on me. There was a time where, and there sometimes even recently where I wonder, hmm, where would I be career wise had I not taken that pause? Right? You have that, that what if, and someone told me, don't, don't think about that. You did what you thought was right at the time. Right? So now I've moved on and I'm like, I'm, I'm exactly where I should be.

(29:39): So there's no guilt there, there's no regret there. But, you know, during the pandemic I saw this was when the pandemic first started, I was not with one password, I was with another company. And I saw a lot of women having to make those difficult choices because they had ev all, all of us were isolated in our home with our kids, homeschooling our kids, trying to have a career. At the same time I saw women having to make that choice again over career, over family, right? And yeah, it felt, it, it didn't feel good, right? To see that because I, I I, I experienced that, right? So having to make those choices, unfortunately falls on one parent and you still see it. And this is the reason I think I'm so, so very grateful that I get to work for a remote company. Like One Password being remote has given me the opportunity to thrive both in my career and as a parent.

(30:36): I can do good work professionally and still, you know, run off to soccer practice, run off to without having to commute to an office. And do, I just think in regards, uh, to D I D I B, being inclusive, respecting all intersections for me, I'm a woman, a woman of color, I'm a mom, I'm a, I'm a lot of things and just I'm a career woman. Being remote has helped me thrive in areas that I want to thrive in. It, it helps me not have to choose. If I had to commute for two hours and then commute back and do put my mom hat on, it would be very hard for me.

Rachel Murray (31:16): And that's the loss of a great human in the workforce to, to be able to contribute that as well. So thank you for sharing.

Fatima Dainkeh (31:24): Yeah. Plus winter, Rachel, it's, it's really sad because when we were looking at research like 20 20, 20 21 and seeing who Covid 19 specifically, the pandemic was impacting, of course people within marginalized identities were being hit the hardest. There's a lot of data around working woman or pregnant people or parents because of our systems and structures. If, if it's already inequitable, then if and when a virus comes along, it's just going to bring everything to light and really show where we're, we're missing the point. And so, on one hand, like it makes me sad, right? To recognize that folks are still struggling in this space. Even what you're talking about about women having to choose, I mean, a lot of women and people who identify as parents or pregnant persons had to quit their jobs during the pandemic because it was like, Hey, my child is at working or being at school from home and I have to work and, you know, I can't work from home so I have to quit my job. And so there's that piece of me that's like there as I listen. And then there's also gratitude and happiness for you that you have choice, um, and that you have the ability to navigate, which still sounds challenging regardless. And you have the ability to navigate and do this awesome work. So you me, you mentioned like you're career oriented. You're like, I'm gonna do the things. And so we're just interested to learn like, what's the big vision for you? What are you thinking for, for future? What do you want? What are you desiring?

Zulema Bennett (32:57): I wanna keep growing in the d e I space. I, I, I want it all, you know that saying, and I, and I think I've learned the hard way you can, uh, especially with motherhood, the, you know, like I grew up with, you can do it all and have it all. Well, I learned that you can't have it all's just not at the same time, right? Just not at the same time. I love the work that I do and I just, I see myself just growing in this career, whether it's, you know, here with one password who, you know, I've been enjoying my time with and just helping them push and lay the foundation and, uh, lay the vision for d e I or wherever my journey takes me. I feel like I've found my life's work facilitating and teaching and having these conversations that are much needed.

(33:49): I'm all about learning and growth and I, I feel like I have a lot to learn, a lot, a lot of, I'm all about wisdom. Uh, I can listen to Fatima, uh, speak on topics, on D topics all day long, along with the other S g O facilitators. So this is a space that I, again, I feel very passionate about, very, I think it's important work and, uh, wherever it takes me, I think I just, I, I wanna stick with d e I, um, this is, it's a long journey. It's not a short sprint. So, uh, I think as long as I keep doing this type of work, my di I will be, uh, a very fulfilled and happy person.

Rachel Murray (34:25): I love that. And I'm very excited for future you and I think the world's a better place having you in it. So we, if you're open to it, are gonna do some fun, silly questions that we like to do at the end of our little time together. And I will just kick us off with what are you currently kicking out about? And it does not have to be work related. It could be literally about anything.

Zulema Bennett (34:51): I'm geeking out about two things and they're always consistent. My, my children, I'm very proud of the little kind, smart, funny, and high-achieving human beings they are. And I feel like very lucky to be on this life journey with them. I, I can't wait to see all of the things they will do in this life. I describe that pregnancy pause that, you know, mom pause as one of the most difficult times in my life where, you know, like there was a lot of self-reflection, a lot of growth, a lot of difficulty, but it's also been the most fulfilling. I think if I'm gonna do something right in this life, if I'm gonna be proud of something or someone in this life, it's gonna be those two little boys. Uh, my biggest accomplishments. So that's what I geek out about. You know, I complain about taking them to soccer practice or having to do this and that, but when those things stop, I'm probably going to miss it very much.

(35:42): So my children for sure. I also speak out on d e I and anything d e i related, I mean, I can talk about d e i topics at length with anyone who is willing to listen to me. I'm so passionate about it. I can have like a great conversation with Fatima about, and like an hour's just not long enough. There is always something to say, something to learn. So I'm, um, a lot of times I don't always find great people like Fatima and Rachel who wanna have these conversations and it's just a one way conversation, but I still like, love talking about these things.

Fatima Dainkeh (36:18): Well, you gotta call us after today we're gonna give you our cell phone number. <laugh>. Yes. We'll just be chatting once a week. Thanks for sharing us, us smiling, hearing about your little one. So congrats on on the work that you do on, on that end. So another question for you is, who or what inspires you?

Zulema Bennett (36:37): That's a big question. That's a very like, heavy question. I think on a celebrity level, I've always been a big fan of the Obamas for a very long time. Like everybody who knows me knows I geek out over Michelle and Barack's, like the dreamies, their journey to the White House, their time there and everything they've done after is just, has always been so inspiring to me. Not to mention their 30 plus year marriage. Like how, how have they done all of the things, right? So, uh, on a celebrity level, to me, I would just completely, like, I find them just so inspirational on a personal level, I'm gonna say my parents. It has taken me a long time to see and understand the resiliency and courage it took to be an immigrant and everything that comes with that. The older I get and now with my own family, I get it.

(37:34): And I'm so appreciative and grateful for them. Anybody can do easy. We can all do easy, but not everyone has a resiliency or life skills to do and go through hard times. And I'm very grateful for that and for them. And on a personal level, I would say that, and it's taken me right when you're growing up, you don't see it, you don't appreciate it. It takes your own journey, your own difficulties to kind of, you know, look back and say, wow, they did great things. Like not anybody can go through like hard times and, and come out on the other side smiling. So like, how can you not be inspired by that? Right? Yes,

Rachel Murray (38:13): Beautifully said. I mean, the both examples are just such, they're just perfect. And I think you're so right, especially when we're younger. To actually appreciate whatever our parents have gone through is really hard. I will say I'm similarly just in awe of, of some of the stuff, uh, my mom has gone through and just like respect for that as well. And so that's the benefit. That's the, that's the benefit of age. I feel like that's a little bit of the wisdom that we get from that. Yes. So thank you for sharing that. So what are your core values? Another big question, <laugh>.

Zulema Bennett (38:49): I know that's another big one actually. You just mentioned one of my main ones. I have a few, but one of my main ones is wisdom. Wisdom is a big one for me. You know, wisdom comes from the knowledge and experience gained in life. Not only do I want to learn and grow from my experiences and rely on my wisdom, it's important to me to stay open to other people's wisdom because I know I can learn a lot from their experiences as well. So wisdom is a big one for me. As you probably know, family, family is also a huge one for me. My family is my source of motivation and my why every day. So every day I wake up they're like, I'm getting up because, you know, my family needs me. I'm gonna be the best person I can be for my family.

(39:33): So they're my why. So wisdom, family. And now as a getting older, peace is a big one. Like peace, calmness in all areas of my life is becoming a priority. The older I get. That is huge. Huge. That's a big one. And finally, I think respect, respect is also a big one. Honor and care shown towards myself and to others is, is a big one as well. So those are the things that, uh, are anchoring me. I'm also a big believer. And you know, your values can shift, your values can change depending on what stage of your life you're in. So these are my anchors right now.

Fatima Dainkeh (40:15): We're about to have a therapy session, <laugh>. Yes, yes.

Zulema Bennett (40:18): Listen,

Fatima Dainkeh (40:21): The shift is real. And I think something that you and Rachel both mentioned is the thing about age, right? And, and not, and, and because of the experiences we sometimes obviously depends on people's personal lives. So I don't wanna make a general statement, but a lot of times there similar experiences that some of us have, depending on various decades that we enter. And like, I'm entering the third decade this year and it's really exciting for me. I think wild <laugh>. Yeah. But the, you know, you sharing about family and then like retrospectively thinking about what you've taken about like your mom and your pa, your fa your parents and people who loved up on you, took care of you is so critical. Because like now that I'm getting older, I'm like, I still side eye them. Well, not, they don't, they don't get all the love. And there's this, there's this piece that you mentioned around this shift around core values. It is like sometimes there's a shift in what you value, but also you might value the same things, but how you define that value looks different. That hit me right here in my heart. So I just, I just, I just wanna appreciate you for that. All right. You, you're kind of leading into this question already cuz you've dropped so many gems, but what's the best advice you've ever received and who gave it to you

Zulema Bennett (41:37): That you have the right to change your mind? That's exactly why I said the value shift, depending on what stage in life you're at, life changes as it must. And these changes shape your meaning of life, your emotions and how you feel about everything. Whether it's your career, your parenting style activities you're involved in, the people you give your time to, whatever it is, whoever has access to you, it's okay, you're human. We make mistakes, we learn, but nobody is going to hold me to those things if I'm gonna grow and evolve. That was, uh, a light bulb went off when I finally took all of that information in. It's okay, we can

Rachel Murray (42:24): Change. And that's like so critical. I mean, that's so critical to the work that we're doing. If you can't change your mind, I will just quote, this is the most amazing thing that I heard. Bill Maher, who is a mess of a human who is all over the place from like, he, one day he's like, I love being progressive. And the next day he is like I am. And he said something and I think, I think about a lot. He said, it's not me that's changed. It's the world that's changed. That's why he's so angry. I haven't changed the world. That's changed. And I think about that and I'm like, and he's saying that that's a bad thing. And I'm like, yeah, exactly, guy. That's right. You haven't changed. That's why you're struggling with what's happening in the world today. So just love that. And I know Fatima is there like nodding very aggressively on mute right now.

Zulema Bennett (43:13): <laugh>, especially the type of work that we do. Yes, we do. D e I work, we want to change a lot of people's ideas and perspectives about things. And if they are unwilling to change, then it, our job is more difficult. People need to believe that their mindset can change. Yeah, their opinions can change, their perspectives can change.

Rachel Murray (43:34): And what makes it even harder is that it's not like, okay, my mind changed this one time and now okay, I've got it all figured out. Well then the reality is the year later there's new things, there's new ideas, new ways of being in the world that people are bubbling up to us. And so it's constant evolution too. So thank you for sharing that. Zima, I have a pop culture. It could be pop culture question, what are you reading right now? Or what is your favorite book? And it'll also be like non-fiction,

Zulema Bennett (44:07): Either. I, you know what? I'm really into the self-help books right now. Like it's Right, right Fatima? Yes. Fatima's nodding right now. Like I'm all into like, all about the self-help books and one of my favorites is Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty. Like I am all into like, like, right? Like yes. And uh, just, I, I think my eight roles of love is on its way too <laugh>. Like I get, I'm all about the self-help book and I just find his, his content just motivational and fulfilling and yeah. So, uh, those are, those are the two and a, any self-help books that you have on your, uh, on your nightstand, Fatima and Rachel, please send me the list because I'm, again, I I I just, I I'm into them right now.

Fatima Dainkeh (44:55): I've heard about Think Like A Monk. I have not read it yet, but now I'm like, maybe I need to move it up to my list. I'm definitely the type of reader that would read three books at once and keep all of them on the fifth chapter at the same time. Think about the books for a month and they come back to them. Cuz I'm like, so I hear you about self-help books. One of my favorite favorite books is by Eckhart Tole and it's called The Power of Now. And it rocked my world upside down, sideways in the best Way Possible. And I often go back to revisit it because something you said earlier about just like life if things changing and also doing d e i work is like what does personal care look like? Like how do you navigate triggers for yourself and while you're supporting change for individuals, for groups, I would love to exchange some book lists with you. I don't know, Rachel, do you have any books that are like shining on your bookshelf? Oh

Rachel Murray (45:49): My gosh, it's not a self-help book, but I, and I mentioned this to Fatima last week, is I'm actually finally reading Sapiens, which is just really interesting, especially because like we've had conversations cuz it's like, you know, what is time, what is money? What are all of these concepts? And they're all created by humans and it's just a fascinating book because it's like they created these systems, we created these systems that we're all living in, that are all just figments of our imagination. So it's kind of wild. So maybe it's a little self-help, but it's mostly non-fiction. <laugh>

Fatima Dainkeh (46:24): <laugh>, I heard good things about Sapiens. I feel like yeah, it's probably both because it's like helping ourselves understand how we operate. Exactly. So that's another book we gotta read. Yeah.

Zulema Bennett (46:34): Right? Yes.

Fatima Dainkeh (46:35): Yeah. Okay. So I think we're slowly wrapping up in Beyond Books. I'm curious to know, do you listen to podcasts? And if you do, what's your favorite podcast?

Zulema Bennett (46:48): Not religiously because lack of time sometimes, but I do. And the ones I, again, the ones that I'm really into are, are self-help ones. I'm into that. That's like the stage of my life that I'm in this year. I listened to the ritual podcast. There was an episode, a specific episode this spring that aired this spring that really like rocked my world. It was about happiness and purpose and servitude, uh, the importance of that, uh, when you reach a certain age and it just, I don't know, like, uh, it just, it was really impactful. It was, you know, you're responsible for your own happiness, right? Servitude, like the things, you know, in our twenties we all wanna, we want the career, we want the money, we want, you know, it's all about self-service, the wants, the wants, the wants. And then we reach a certain stage in our life where, you know, the, the servitude is what fulfills us. Uh, so it was just, uh, one of those episodes about happiness and purpose and servitude that really had an impact on me this year. And so, yeah, that one again with, I'm a big fan of, of Jay Shetty. So On Purpose was <laugh> is another one that I am into. Again. Any suggestions, anything self-help? Anything where, you know, we're humans, we grow, we learn. I I'm all about that.

Rachel Murray (48:08): I have a suggestion for you. Are you familiar with We Can Do Hard Things?

Zulema Bennett (48:13): Yes.

Rachel Murray (48:15): By, uh, Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach. Yeah, that one is like, she's, because she and I are basically the same age. So it's really interesting cuz so she'll, she'll be talking about like menopause and weight and like, just being a human in the world, being a human woman in the world. So it's good. It's just gets right in there. So. Oh great. Highly recommend. Highly recommend. I think that's it for our questions other than we just wanna thank you so much for being a part of this and hanging out with us for a little while. Wanna know, um, where people can find you to learn more, to connect. Is there anything else that you wanna share with us? Go for it.

Zulema Bennett (49:01): Oh, thank you for having me. It's been such a pleasure to get to work with the S G O team. I cannot wait to continue working with you all. I'm very excited where our partnership goes. But yeah, no, you can reach out to me on LinkedIn. You all have my email. Uh, currently I'm at one password, I'm doing all this great. D e I work. So reach out to me and to learn and grow with me.

Rachel Murray (49:26): Yay. Well thank you so much. Really appreciate it. It's been a joy. Thanks.

Zulema Bennett (49:34): Thank you.

Felicia Jadczak (49:37): That was amazing.

Rachel Murray (49:39): Did you enjoy it?

Felicia Jadczak (49:40): I learned so much <laugh>, so I hope you all did too. But it was great. Always love chatting with our clients and with people who are self pres, self-professed geeks.

Rachel Murray (49:51): Totally agree. Agree. But before our fearless listeners abandon this podcast episode, we do have

Felicia Jadczak (49:59): Some information. We have so much more. There's so much more. So you can't

Rachel Murray (50:03): Get rid of us. Don't get scared. You can see how much is left on the little time clock. Don't worry, <laugh>. So we have a couple of events that are coming up. We're so excited. So in this case they're all virtual, although we still have a sneaky peeky announcement that you'll get in the next one for another in-person event. But we have a women in sales addressing burnout, which as we just all covered, is a, in the beginning,

Felicia Jadczak (50:25): Relevant,

Rachel Murray (50:26): Very relevant. Sadly it's probably not going anywhere anytime soon. So that's coming up. Uh, we also have an allyship workshop, which is really cool. It's our signature allyship workshop that we've only ever been able to offer private clients. So we're actually doing offering to the public for the first time. Um, and then we've got a bunch of upcoming webinars. So you can get all of [email protected]. And you can also sign up for our lovely newsletter that is chock full of wonderful information from us Yeah. And from others.

Felicia Jadczak (50:55): In case you don't like getting the info upcoming events from the podcast. The newsletter will also tell you about all the things. It's true. But thank you so much for listening. Please don't forget to rate, share, and subscribe. It makes a huge difference in the reach of this podcast. And by extension, this work. Make sure to tune in for our next episode in two weeks.

Rachel Murray (51:15): And if you're looking to further your own knowledge and gain support alongside other incredible people, join our free community. You'll get a welcoming built-in support system grounded in the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. You'll have access to bonus episodes, additional resources, courses, webinars, coaching, and so much more. Check it out at she geeks or rise together dot she geeks Thank you so much for listening.

Felicia Jadczak (51:42): All right. Bye.