Episode 68 – Unstoppable DEI advocate and Conscious Capitalist with Alissa Bartlett

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Our guest this episode is Alissa Bartlett. Harnessing the power of marketing, technology, supply chain, and leadership development, Alissa ensures that startups and small businesses are putting out quality products that are needed in the marketplace. More important, especially for Alissa over the past few years she has become a staunch advocate for inclusion and diversity. I was singularly impressed that Alissa understands, especially in our current environment, the difference, and the importance of moving from diversity to inclusion.
Alissa also is a supporter of Conscious Capitalism. What is that? Listen and discover as she describes the concepts around it.
Alissa’s stories and thoughts are entertaining, but they also are quite informative. I hope you enjoy this episode and will send me your thoughts.
About the Guest:
Harnessing the power of marketing, technology, supply chain, and leadership development, Alissa ensures that startups and small businesses are putting out quality products that are needed in the marketplace. As a Senior Consultant with A. Bartlett Services, she’s currently working with Authentify Art, a startup who brings trust to the entire art ecosystem by securely connecting physical and digital art to its verified provenance and due diligence data. Leveraging her CliftonStrengths of WOO, Communication, Includer, Positivity, and Connectedness, Alissa is the Director of Product Quality for Authentify Art, working with products such as RFID tags for art and an IoT environmental conditions tracker. 
From 2018 to 2021, Alissa served as the VP, Volunteer Experience for the American Marketing Association, Minnesota chapter where she recruited and retained a team of diverse, engaged, talented volunteers. During this time Alissa also served on the nation-wide Professional Chapters Council DEI committee, where she worked with leaders from AMA chapters across the US to improve DEI policies and practices. 
Also a member of the Conscious Capitalism Twin Cities community, Alissa believes that businesses have both the opportunity as well as the imperative to elevate humanity. This can be done by creating organizations that follow 4 tenets: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Integration, Conscious Leadership, and Conscious Culture & Management. 
How to Connect with Alissa:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alissa-n-bartlett 
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
accessiBe Links
https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/
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Transcription Notes

Michael Hingson  00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i  capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson  01:20
Welcome once again to unstoppable mindset. Thanks for joining us wherever you happen to be today is summer is basically almost here. And that’s a good thing. We’re supposed to have hot record records. Whoa, I can’t talk today. We’re supposed to have hot weather here in Victorville California, it’s only going to be about 100. And that’s just the start. Anyway, I’d like you to meet Alissa Bartlett, who is a leader in dealing with all things marketing and a lot of different ways. And you’re going to learn about that in the course of the day. So listen, thanks for joining us on unstoppable mindset.
Alissa Bartlett  01:58
Friday. Michael, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor to be here.
Michael Hingson  02:01
Well, it’s our honor to have you. Why don’t we start a little bit by you discussing kind of your life a little bit where you came from you growing up and all the usual sorts of things so that people can get to know you a little better.
Alissa Bartlett  02:14
Sure. So I grew up in Oakland, California, I have to say go warriors, because my parents are rooting very hard for the basketball team today.
Michael Hingson  02:27
day could be the day
Alissa Bartlett  02:28
today could be the day today, hopefully will be the day. So I grew up in Oakland, spent most of my time growing up between Oakland and Berkeley. Little bit ventured to San Francisco, but not too much. That’s considered you know, the other side of the bay. So there’s kind of a divide there. I went to a university down in San Diego at the University of California, San Diego, where I majored in psychology and human development. I graduated from UCSD in 2004. And I got an amazing job working for a nonprofit called the Center for Creative Leadership. They are a leadership development firm specializing in leadership development, training and coaching. And they also do a ton of research and, and publications around leadership. It was a great place to start my career, I learned a ton and got exposed to a lot of wonderful content and mentors. And that was really great. After being there for two years, I took on a role as a consultant. And I was doing supply chain and logistics consulting for fortnight. And my main client at the time was proflowers.com. And that was a really good gig. I had some other clients including fox racing, Burlington Coat Factory, as well as all clad which was really fun, we actually got to see how they the process that they go through to clad the metals together and create their pots and their pans and everything like that. So that was really fun. I was traveling all over the country for three years with that job, then decided I wanted to get off the road. So took on a role working for a small marketing research firm called Market lab. Market lab was an entirely remote position. So I went from being on the road every week to working from home. And that was of course working from home back before it was the cool thing to do as it is today. So I was doing project management and then I was managing a team of project managers. And then I was managing the whole operation of the company. And then finally I was doing sales and business development and and project direction for the company. So that was great for 10 years and then I decided that working From Home was just too hard on me being the extrovert that I am. And so I wanted to get back to a job where I was going into an office. So I found a company called improving. And they’re a technology management and consulting firm. And they have an office here in Minnesota in Bloomington. So the commute was about 45 minutes for me from Stillwater, but I didn’t really mind because I really liked the job, and I loved the company. And I was in a sales role. And so after three months being at improving, and starting to feel like I was getting the hang of the sales role, the pandemic hit. And so all of a sudden, I could no longer meet with people in person, we couldn’t hold our in person events that we would do for marketing, I had to be working from home again, rather than going into an office. And it got really hard to do my job. So I struggled through another year or two of that, and got to the point where it, it was just really hard to do a sales job for a company that I was so new to and an industry that I was so new to. And then an opportunity came along for me to do some contract work with a former client of mine. So I mentioned that I had worked at proflowers. And my client, there was a man named Curtis McConnell. And he
Alissa Bartlett  06:27
had had gone out on his own and started a company called authentic by art. They’re an art technology firm. And what that means is that they have a platform that that is used to manage art. It’s kind of like Zillow, but for the art world used to manage art as assets. And you can have a profile of your artist and all their artwork and have upload documents that are all the supporting documents to prove the authenticity of the artwork. And they have a number of other supporting products around that that primary platform, including ID tags for art. So these are RFID tags, utilizing Near Field Communication, or NFC technology, as well as using UHF or ultra high frequency technology. So these tags can be used for tracking artwork, also for doing inventory on on a collection of art. And also for providing enhanced digital experiences to go with viewing a physical work of art. We also have an IoT tracker that tracks the environmental conditions around a work of art, including temperature, humidity, light, gyration, air quality, air pressure, and things like that. So it’s kind of like a Fitbit for RT. And we can use that data to generate alerts that get triggered when something is above or below a certain threshold. So if it’s getting above 90 degrees, you can have an alert get kicked off that says, hey, there may be a fire. Or if it’s getting above 90% humidity, you’re gonna have an alert that kicks off that says, you know, that says, hey, there may be a flood or a burst pipe here. And so these are all things that the insurance companies really care about when they’re insuring the paintings because these are all things that will compromise the quality and the value of the work of art.
Michael Hingson  08:38
So what is it that you do relating to that?
Alissa Bartlett  08:42
I’m in? Yeah, I’m, I’m serving as the Director of Product quality. So what that means is I’m responsible for the quality of the products, including the tags and the art tracker, and as as well as the platform itself.
Michael Hingson  09:02
So I’m curious, you went to UCSD. I was up the road at UC Irvine, although before you. So how did you get from there? And Oakland, California to Minnesota? Oh,
Alissa Bartlett  09:16
that’s a really good question. So, um, during the time that I worked for market lab, where I was working from home, I was fortunate enough to have three children. So we had one, we had one kid in 2012. And then in 2015, we became pregnant with twins. And so we ended up with three kids and we were living in a two bedroom one bath, California bungalow that we were renting. And so looking around at you know what there was available for us to buy the housing market in the Bay Area is just so bonkers that we really didn’t feel like we could afford the space that we need it. Meanwhile, my husband grew up in Minnesota, and we would come to visit His family out here. And I always loved coming out to visit. And so on our last trip, we, you know, I just said to him, I think we should consider moving back to Minnesota. And he said, Well, what do you mean back? You’ve never lived there. And I said, well, but you know, you live there. And that’s like, basically the same thing. And I think we should consider moving there. And he was pretty resistant to the idea. You know, he was like, I made it out of California. Why would I want to go back to Minnesota? I mean, I mean, I made it out to California. And I said, Well, why don’t you just look at what we can afford and get back to me. So he looked at houses online. So we were in California at the time. And he looked at houses online. And the third house he looked at was just our perfect dream home. It was the type of house we always talked about wanting, you know, the layout, the location of it, everything was just perfect. And so I found a realtor and I said, Hey, I want to buy this house. And the realtor said, Great. And my inlaws came and did a tour, and they did like a FaceTime tour of it. So we could see the house on FaceTime. And they said it looked good. We trust their judgment. And so we made an offer on the house, and it was accepted. And we moved in, and the whole process took less than two months. Wow.
Michael Hingson  11:25
Yeah. And probably a whole lot more affordable in terms of price.
Alissa Bartlett  11:30
per square foot, it was about 1/8 of the price of what a home in Cal, California would
Michael Hingson  11:36
have cost. Yeah. which counts for a lot. Needless to say, yeah. So
Alissa Bartlett  11:40
we basically got three times the space that we had for a third of the price.
Michael Hingson  11:44
And you’re happy back in Minnesota with all the cold weather and the snow and all that.
Alissa Bartlett  11:49
Yeah, I love it having grown up. Not really having seasons. I do like the seasons and the changing of the seasons, it makes me feel like I live in a completely different place every three months. So I think that’s really fun. And right now we’ve got gorgeous, whether it’s in the 70s. Or maybe it’s up to the 80s. Now, you know, beautiful green and lush and you know, water everywhere. And you know, it’s not it’s not the California desert. But we’re getting close to California temperatures now. And it’s really nice.
Michael Hingson  12:25
Yeah, but this too shall pass
Alissa Bartlett  12:27
it Sure well, and it’ll get cold again. But the snow can be fun, too. We like to we like to ski and do other kinds of outdoor activities in the snow like sledding and building snowman and having snowball fights.
Michael Hingson  12:40
There you go. Well, you have along the way become sort of active in the whole concept of diversity, equity and inclusion. How did that happen?
Alissa Bartlett  12:51
So I’m growing up in Oakland and Berkeley, I was always exposed to a pretty diverse group of people. So my best friend from elementary school is black. My best friend from high school is Asian. And I just was always surrounded by people with different backgrounds. For me, I was raised Jewish. But I was surrounded by people of all different religious backgrounds and people with you know, no religious affiliation whatsoever. And I was always just surrounded by diversity. And so I never really thought much about it. Until, let’s see, it was about 2017 When we were attending a Unitarian Universalist Church, and we were exposed to the work of Robyn D’Angelo and her work around white fragility. And she was talking about progressives, who will look at a situation and say, Oh, but I’m not a racist. So, you know, we don’t need to talk talk about this, and kind of shutting down the conversation. And I realized that that’s something that I had been doing. And then I was exposed through a gentleman that I met on Facebook, in in one of these sort of progressive groups, Facebook groups. I met Marshawn saddar. And he said to me, you know, I asked him if he considered himself a progressive, and he said, I don’t think that that’s really very well defined. I am an anti racist. And I said, Tell me more about being an anti racist. And he said, Well, it’s not just enough to say I’m not racist, you have to stand for something and be specifically anti racist. And so that really inspired me to take a more active role in specifically being anti racist. Not just I am not racist. So I started attending events that were put on by organizations that are in the In the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion activism space, so there’s an organization that’s newer to Minnesota, called the Center for economic inclusion. And I was actually at the kickoff for their organization, the kickoff event, which was really interesting here in Minnesota. And there’s some other organizations that I’ve been exposed to through the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, that are, you know, doing this kinds of kind of dei activism work.
Michael Hingson  15:33
How is any of that translated being prejudiced about this kind of subject? How is that translated for you in terms of ever dealing with disabilities, because typically, in the diversity world, disabilities are left out, we talk about differences, we talk about race, we talk about gender, and, and other kinds of things. But when it comes to dealing with disabilities, those of us who are involved in that tend not to be included, which really tends to be a problem. So how does how do we deal with that?
Alissa Bartlett  16:05
That’s a really good question. And I think that part of it is that oftentimes with a disability, you can’t see it. So sometimes you can, right. So you can see race and ethnicity, you can see gender, there are some disabilities that you can see, you know, when we’re talking about kind of physical disabilities and limitations, but there are a lot of disabilities that you can’t see whether it’s a mental disability or chronic pain, or, you know, other types of disabilities. And so I think when you can’t see it, it gets harder to measure. And it gets harder to take into account. But there’s some, some Well, I mean, I think that your organization, for example, is a really good, really good example of a company that does cater to inclusion around all different types of disabilities and making websites accessible to people with with many different types of disabilities, including disabilities that you can’t necessarily see.
Michael Hingson  17:12
Well, yeah, that’s true that we deal with a number of disabilities, which may not be visible. But even taking into account the visible disabilities, I have, for example, attended meetings on diversity. And I’ve actually been asked to speak at meetings on diversity. The problem is that when the conversations are occurring, and they’re discussing diversity, and such things, disabilities are still left out. And so we can, we can get granular and talk about specific disabilities, but it really doesn’t matter. We are still as a class of people, not included in the conversation pretty much. And that tends to be the problem, the unemployment rate among most persons with disabilities. And I’ll deal with physical disabilities, whether it be people in wheelchairs, people who happen to be deaf, people who happen to be blind, the unemployment rate is close to 70%. And it’s not that we can’t do the work, it’s that we’re not given the opportunity because people think we can’t. And in the whole diversity movement, we get left out. And that’s sort of the the frustrating part. How do we get the movement to truly be inclusive? Because you can’t be inclusive? If you’re going to leave segments of the of the group out?
Alissa Bartlett  18:38
Well, I think you said the key word there, which is inclusion. So it’s not just about diversity, which tends to be more associated with skin color, and gender and the sort of visible things that you can see. It’s about making yourself and your organization be inclusive of all. And that’s why when I was the VP of volunteer engagement for AMA, Minnesota, that’s American Marketing Association, non American Medical Association, American Marketing Association, Minnesota chapter, we were doing our strategic plan for 2020. And we were focusing on in being more inclusive, and we’ve been we purposefully use the word inclusion rather than the word diversity, because it is more broad in its definition. And so how do I personally handle it? So it’s not just enough to say I treat everyone the same regardless of their abilities or disabilities or skin color or gender. But what I actually do is I seek out people who are different from me, whether it’s different skin color, different age, different under different religious background, different culture or career, or different abled Enos able bodied gnus, I seek out people who are different from me. And I cultivate those relationships and I get to know them and learn about, you know, who they are and where they’re from, and their background, and you know, that sort of thing. And so I maintain a very inclusive group of friends and colleagues and acquaintances,
Michael Hingson  20:34
and you actually said something that sort of verifies something that I have thought, which is diversity, in the way I put it has been warped not to include disabilities, you’re right, it generally includes or involves people of different races, different genders, and sexual orientations and so on. But it doesn’t include disabilities. And the fact is, it should, because we’re still talking about differences, but it doesn’t. And that’s what really gets to be part of the issue. And so I’m seeing a lot of people who talk about inclusive today and inclusion today, but they’re not because they’re still doing the same thing, it still comes down to not including persons with disabilities. And the reality is if unless we change the language, and I sure hope we don’t, inclusion and inclusiveness means inclusion, and you can’t leave people out. But the problem is that as a society, we still haven’t gotten to the point where we accept persons with so called disabilities as equals. And disability is is an unfortunate term, but it’s the best there is we can’t, I don’t I don’t know another term to use differently abled is horrible, which a lot of people have tried to use, but we’re not differently abled, we’re just as able in the ways that we always have been, we do it differently. But so do a lot of people. Sharp people do things differently than do tall people. But it doesn’t make them different or less equal. So it is a it is a challenge. And somehow, we really need to change the conversation to truly be more inclusive right from the outset. And that’s the the thing that I think is still lacking a great deal.
I agree with you. And I think that that’s the importance of podcasts like this one where you’re talking to a lot of different types of people about these concepts. And alissa
Michael Hingson  22:30
We do talk to all sorts of people, even if they like the Warriors, as opposed to the Lakers, but it’s okay. Oh, sports is fun. But but you know, it and I asked the question, because I was curious to, to get your responses. And they they really do sort of validate the thoughts that I and then others have had. And it is also important for people like you who are out in the world and dealing with a lot of these things to find ways to broaden people’s eyes about inclusion and diversity. And hopefully that will happen. Well, you said, you’ve been doing work with the American Marketing Association left to learn more about that.
Alissa Bartlett  23:37
Yeah. So I’m ama Minnesota, has been around for about 40 years. And when the George Floyd murder took place in May of 2020, there was a big uprising here, you know, that was sort of Minnesota was sort of ground zero for this swell of activity. And we among the AMA board, were talking about this a lot. And what we recognized was that if you look at our chapter, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the makeup of our profession as a whole. Most of the people who are involved with our chapter are white. And most of the people who are involved with our chapter are women. So we were mostly attracting white women to our events. Interestingly enough, the panelists at our events were mostly white men, despite the fact that our membership was mostly white women. Our panelists were most still mostly white men. And I think that’s just a holdover from from previous eras where white men were seen as the sources of information and knowledge. So we recognize that we had a problem Not we weren’t reflecting the larger community of marketers that are in Minnesota. And we had some data around that. And, you know, it’s it’s a much more diverse population than what we had. We had some diversity in terms of industry and experience level and education and that sort of thing, which was great, but we didn’t have a good level of diversity when it came to skin color. And we didn’t have a good level of, you know, a reflective mix when it came to gender of our panelists and our speakers. So we started paying attention to that. And we started partnering with other organizations in the Twin Cities that could bring, you know, get us in front of a different audience. For example, there’s an organization called Black bloggers and creatives of Minnesota. And we partnered with them to put on events and invite their membership and our membership and sort of do some cross mingling there. We also took a look at our panelists and made a specific effort to make the panelists be more diverse. And of course, here again, I’m using that word, diversity. And I’m using that on purpose because we were definitely focused on what the panel’s looks like. Because that’s one way to do, it’s not the only way to do diversity and inclusion. But that’s one way to do it. So I’ll give you an example. We have a signature event that we do every year, and we call it ad bowl. So we do this event the day after the Super Bowl, and it’s all about the ads that were shown in the in the Super Bowl that year. So in 2019, the ad bowl panel was made up of three white men, and one woman woman of color. It was a great panel, I learned a lot, it was fun and funny, but it was definitely skewed. And so in 20, in 2021, when we did add bowl, we were very conscientious to pull in panelists who looked different from each other. And so that year, we had two white males, one white female, and two women of color who were, who were female, obviously, being women. And so we had a much more diverse panel, and the conversation was richer and brought in more different perspectives on the ads. And of course, that year, diversity and inclusion was a really big part of the Superbowl ads given the groundswell of activity through the Black Lives Matter movement. So it was great to have a panel that was really reflective of experts in this field, and people who have lived experiences that are related to the that content. So I was really proud of the work we did around that
Michael Hingson  28:04
was at Bull virtual and 2021. It was
Alissa Bartlett  28:11
so so it’s actually been virtual, we haven’t yet done an in person one. So my expectation is that next year, it will go back to in person, which is really fun. But the being virtual, we actually use it to our advantage because we were able to get some panelists that didn’t live in Minnesota, they’re thereby diversifying the panelists even more so. Well,
Michael Hingson  28:36
hopefully in the future. They’ll add people with disabilities, you know, what the if depending on who you listen to, whether it be the CDC or other places, the population of persons with disabilities in the United States is anywhere between 21 and 25%. So it’s a pretty substantial group. And hopefully, they will also get more involved in the whole marketing world. And that might be a fun thing to add to the mix.
Alissa Bartlett  29:07
I think that’s a really excellent point, Michael, I’ll have to take it back to them.
Michael Hingson  29:11
I think it’d be a fun thing to explore what happens at the ad bowl?
Alissa Bartlett  29:17
The panelists all present, which which one of their ads, which one of the ads was their favorite? Okay, so we get to watch the ad, and then we talk about it and why was it their favorite? We then do the ads that the ad that they liked the least. And we talked about how it might have missed, missed the mark. And then we talked about any other ads, ads or campaigns that were, you know, significant or stood out in a specific way.
Michael Hingson  29:44
We don’t discuss the puppy bowl or the Kitten Bowl.
Alissa Bartlett  29:48
No, I mean, the only way that would come up is if it was tied to some brand was running.
Michael Hingson  29:55
Oh, I understand. That’s that’s another whole story. Yeah. Well, I think you’ve talked about this a little bit. But you, you mentioned it as one of the things you wanted to talk about how do you practice diversity and inclusion in your daily life? I think you’ve touched on that some already.
Alissa Bartlett  30:15
Yeah, I touched on that a little bit. And that is that I really purposefully seek out people who are different from me. And so that’s one way that I do it. I have three sons, three boys, and I talk to them about people who are different from them, you know, differently abled, or who look different or who, you know, we I tried to incorporate, at a very basic level, I tried to incorporate toys and activities that are typically meant for girls, and I’m using air quotes here when I say girls, but my kids are really into My Little Pony, for example, which is something that’s, I think, typically targeted towards girls. We do a lot of arts and crafts in our house. So I expose them to things that are geared at a more diverse population. And the another thing that I do is I seek out authors that are that are like a diverse set of authors and content creators. When it comes to things like books, and podcasts and articles, just really seeking out sources of information that have a different background from me.
Michael Hingson  31:37
Well, I’m glad that you really do focus on looking at things that are different than you and people who are different than you and that you give your children exposure to that at an early age. If we start that earlier, then they’ll grow up thinking about that more than if we don’t do it at all. Indeed. And that’s kind of important to do. Yeah. So who inspires you?
Alissa Bartlett  32:03
So I smile when you’re asked that question, because the person who inspired that question to begin with is a dear friend of mine named Robbia, Koon. And Robbia works and lives in London. When I met her, we were both living in San Diego, we had both gone to UCSD. And then she worked for proflowers, who, as I mentioned, was a client of mine. Robbia has made her way out to London. And she has she works full time. But she also has a wonderful podcast called more than work. And who inspires you right now is one of the questions that she always asks her guests. And I just love it as a question. And so when you asked me for questions, Michael, I was like, you should ask me this one. So Robin inspires me because not only does she work full time, actually in a marketing role, as well as, but she also does this podcast, and she does stand up comedy. And, and to me, those three things are kind of three full time jobs in themselves. And she does all of them. And oh, by the way, she does it with a chronic medical condition. So she’s doing all this, along with this chronic condition, which, if you want to learn more about that you should go check her out at more than work pod.com where she will talk a little more about that. But she inspires me right now, another dear friend of mine, who inspires me is Rashida Mahane, and Rashida. I met Rashida through LinkedIn through some mutual LinkedIn connections. And Rashida has a startup in the financial services sector. And my former company improving was running a competition for startups. And so I didn’t know Rashida very well, but I knew that she was the CEO of a startup. And so I messaged her one day and I said, Hey, you should apply for this pitch competition that we’re doing. And she got back to me immediately and said, Absolutely, I will. And I said, and hey, you know, I don’t know that much about you or what you’re doing. But I would love to see your pitch, if you would just do it for me. I’m not one of the judges, but I’d love to see it. So we arranged a time for her to do her pitch for me. And it was incredible. And we hit it off right away. And what her what her app is. It’s an app that was originally she had it geared towards millennial millennial women. And it’s a financial management app to help people not only to improve their financial situation, but also to improve their relationship with money and their behaviors associated with money. So her business sits at the intersection of financial play anything, and psychology. And I just thought that that was a really interesting way to approach it. And one of the pieces of feedback that Rashida got from the code launch people code launch was the name of the competition that she had applied for. One of the pieces of feedback she got was that her her product was not specific enough with who she was targeting, because millennial women are a very large group. And it just didn’t feel tailored enough to one population. And so she and I had a lot of conversations around this. And I said, Well, why don’t you tailor it towards African American, millennial women? And she said, Well, I don’t really know that there’s a market for that. I don’t know, I think that she was just nervous about doing that. And she thought that that would make her market too small. And she said, I’m just going to design it for any millennial woman, and, you know, hope that African American women get interested in it. And I said, Well, I think you’re going about this backwards, I think that you should be designing it specifically for African American women. And other people will be interested in it as well. And I said, design, the app that you needed three years ago, when you had hit rock bottom design, what you needed, then, as a single mother, you know, raising her her daughter, and dealing with financial issues and work issues and all of this stuff, design the app that you needed. And she was like, You’re absolutely right. And that really set her off on this course, to develop an app specifically for women of color. And
Alissa Bartlett  36:53
she’s really taken off, she’s won a bunch more competitions. She applied to code launch again, the next time it ran and got accepted into the program, and got part of her app developed for her for free. And she’s just been kicking ass and taking names. And I’m so proud of her. And she’s a huge inspiration to me.
Michael Hingson  37:13
That’s pretty exciting. It’s It’s interesting when you can really have an impact on someone and their attitudes and what they do, I think that it’s important that we try to broaden people’s horizons. And I say it that way, because you broaden her horizons by getting her to focus in on a specific group of people. And I wonder if what you also said is true, which is that others outside of millennial African American women have gotten interested in her app.
Alissa Bartlett  37:49
Yeah, they have. And, you know, one of the things that we talked about, as I said, you know, it’s so often that systems in our country are designed for the majority, the, not the majority of the, yeah, the majority group, right. So if that, let’s say that, it’s, you know, the education system, which is primarily designed for white children, and then the minority groups just have to adapt. And I said, you know, don’t black women deserve to have their own financial planning app that’s designed specifically for them? I think they deserve that. And, you know, it’s not a ton of differences. I’m not saying that African American women are that much different from white women. But there are some there, there are differences there. You know, they’re they’re dealing with different challenges and different hurdles, and they really deserve to have something that’s designed specifically for them. And the thing is, you can’t, you know, paint everyone in the same group with the same brushstroke. And there will be other people who are not necessarily an African American woman, but maybe they are a single mom. And, you know, maybe this app would be helpful to them, too. And it will attract other people and other demographic groups, but to really make it for an African American woman.
Michael Hingson  39:15
Well, it’s, it’s, it’s also unfortunate that we have to spend so much time recognizing that everyone is different, rather than recognizing that there’s so many similarities in all of us and create products and apps that address all of our issues inside one app. But that is the way the world works today.
Alissa Bartlett  39:39
No, things are very specialized. That things are getting very niche. And that’s one of the things that we talk about a lot in marketing, is that you really have to get really granular and targeted with your marketing. And sometimes it’ll be like a multi pronged approach where you’re going after multiple segments of the population, but a lot of times, you’re going to segment out the population on something, you know, whether it’s race or gender or household income, or there’s far more complicated, attitudinal segmentations that we I used to do at market lab. And you’re going to pick one, one population to target because your product is going to appeal mostly to one specific segment of the population. And that’s who you want to target with your advertising and stuff like that.
Michael Hingson  40:29
Even though other markets may very well be able to use the product.
Alissa Bartlett  40:33
Yep. But those are secondary. Yeah. Oh, I
Michael Hingson  40:36
understand. They’re They’re definitely secondary. But the hope is, I would think that they will come along and recognize that maybe this is good for them, too. Absolutely. Yeah, it’s just, but you have to start somewhere. And I recognize the value of marketing to a particular group. And seeing how that goes. And maybe over time, we will recognize that, although we have a lot of different groups of people, we, we don’t look enough at the fact that we’re a lot more alike than we like to think we are. But right now we treat everything in as granular and as different. And that’s probably what we have to do, because otherwise we’ll leave out so many different people. If that makes sense.
Alissa Bartlett  41:28
Yeah, totally.
Michael Hingson  41:30
So you, since you, since you brought it up and said that I asked you questions. Tell me about the conscious capitalism market or philosophy guide you. And tell me a little bit more about Conscious Capitalism, philosophy.
Alissa Bartlett  41:47
Yeah, I love talking about Conscious Capitalism. Conscious Capitalism is a philosophy that I was exposed to when I was working for improving conscious capitalism is a philosophy and approach to doing business that has four tenants. So the first tenant has higher purpose and saying an organization has to have a higher purpose beyond just making money. Of course, the organization has to be financially solvent. But that can’t be an organization’s only purpose. The second tenant is a stakeholder orientation. And that is a stakeholder orientation, as opposed to a shareholder orientation. So it’s looking at all of your stakeholders, which for sure include your your shareholders, but it also includes your customers, your employees, your vendors, your distributors, your suppliers. It can include your community, it could include the environment, and it can include all these things. And you can make business decisions based on any one of those subgroups of stakeholders, and have that be a viable business decision, as opposed to making all your decisions, just thinking about your shareholders. The third tenant is conscious leadership. And what that is saying is that you are consciously leading the charge within your community, to a more conscious way of doing business. And then the last time it is conscious culture and management, which is saying that, you know, every company has a culture, whether you intend it to have it or not. And so you ought to be intentional about the culture of your company, make it fit with your employees, and also with what you do in the world, to make it be a really great place to work. And so I think about the concepts of conscious capitalism, you can really apply it to any business. And you can even apply it to something like your household.
Michael Hingson  43:52
And I really describe to a large degree, the concept of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Alissa Bartlett  44:02
I think the entrepreneurial spirit is woven in there. But conscious capitalism is something that can be taken on by any sized company at any stage in their, in their trajectory. Some good examples of conscience of companies that embody this philosophy. So Whole Foods is one of them. And in fact, the gentleman who wrote the book is John Mackey, who is the original founder of Whole Foods, and he wrote this book called Conscious Capitalism. Southwest is another really conscientious company that, you know, really thinks about not just their shareholders, but their customers and their employees. Same kind of course, I’m blanking on on all my other conscious capital. I mean, improving my former company is a conscious conscious capitalism company where they say, Yeah, we we want to make money that’s that’s a given. We do Need to make money but they also do all sorts of things that are not necessarily making them money seeing things that even cost them money, for example, improving hosts, local interest groups, at their, at their offices to do things like monthly meetings of maybe, you know, the, like, quality assurance Professionals Association, or tech masters which is like Toastmasters, but for technology, and they don’t just provide the space for people to come and convene, but they actually feed people. So they do pizza in the evenings or, you know, coffee and, and doughnuts in the mornings. And so they put money into the community. Because the those people are stakeholders to the company,
Michael Hingson  45:56
right. And that’s kind of why I thought of the whole concept of entrepreneurialism, because it really fits very well with that whole concept. If if somebody truly has that spirit, it’s a lot more than just a product, it’s a lot more than making money. It is all about trying to work toward a higher purpose of what effect you’re going to have and what you do with the company what you do to affect the world.
Alissa Bartlett  46:25
I agree, I think it’s a really great way to grow to start a company and grow a company around around a really solid philosophy. And so from that standpoint, I agree that it that it is that it does really embody the entrepreneurial spirit.
Michael Hingson  46:40
Yeah, we, we oftentimes lose that spirit is we are an accompany and it grows and becomes more successful, we get to focus so much on making money doing things for our shareholders. And I’ve been lectured to by many people on many occasions about how well our overall arching goal is to just do things for our shareholders. Really, I think that people lose a lot of the perspective when they take that position that made them what they were in the first place. So conscious capitalism idea is certainly a significant part of that.
Alissa Bartlett  47:25
Yeah, exactly. So the co author of the book conscious capitalism is a professor named Raj Sisodia. And he does research on companies. And he has hidden and the he’s he’s done research, which shows that companies that embrace the conscious capitalism philosophy actually do better financially than companies that don’t.
Michael Hingson  47:52
So and there you go. It, it proves the point.
Alissa Bartlett  47:58
Yeah. It’s not just a feel good philosophy. It’s actually a sound business strategy.
Michael Hingson  48:03
And that really is I think, the most important part of the whole concept is that by definition, the proof is that it it not only is a sound business philosophy, it makes for more successful businesses. Absolutely. And oftentimes, people in dealing with business, find that they do better when they recognize that there’s more to life than just making an extra dollar.
Alissa Bartlett  48:32
Yeah, that’s true.
Michael Hingson  48:34
Well, this has been fun. And I really have enjoyed having you on and I look forward to I’m going to have to go see if I can find the, the the book and read it. And can you give us the name of that again, in the author’s
Alissa Bartlett  48:50
conscious capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia.
Michael Hingson  48:54
There you go. We’re gonna have to go find that. Well, this has been absolutely a lot of fun. As I said, if people want to reach out to you and make contact with you, or learn more about what you do, how can they do that?
The best way to do it is to find me on LinkedIn. I’m Alissa Bartlett. And, yeah, just find me on LinkedIn, connect with me message me. And you know, that’s how you and I connected my phone. And it is definitely a great platform.
Michael Hingson  49:22
Oh, LinkedIn offers a lot. And it’s been fun to be able to connect with you and to connect with other people. And as I love to say, if I’m not learning from these podcasts, and I’m not doing my job, right, when I travel and speak, I always feel that if I’m not learning more than I get a chance to impart then I’m not doing it right, somewhere along the line, because I think that it’s important that we all learn and grow.
Alissa Bartlett  49:46
Yeah, absolutely.
Well, thank you again, for being here and for being with us and a part of this. I hope that people will reach out and will read the book. I think it sounds like it is something that We should all take to heart. And for all of you, and for all of you listening, please reach out to Alissa. And of course, we’d love to hear from you, you can reach me at Michaelhi@accessibe.com. Or go to our podcast page, Michaelhingson.com/podcast. And give us a five star rating. We appreciate your ratings and your feedback in in all that we do. So it’s the way that we get a chance to understand what you want to hear about, and we do our best to make your comments into a real wish that comes true. So thanks very much. And Alissa, I really appreciate again, you being with us today.
Alissa Bartlett  50:43
And thank you so much for having me, Michael.
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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