Episode 92 – Unstoppable Creative Force In Motion with Lindsey T. H. Jackson
On this episode, we get to meet Lindsey T. H. Jackson who grew up in Pittsburg Pennsylvania, as she describes, a little black girl who thought she was different. Later she realized she was by no means alone as she discovered that there were many black women who grew up like her. She talks about how she went so far as to decide to compete with boys and play baseball, not the traditional softball that girls were encouraged to play. Needless, she succeeded as she will tell us.
As Lindsey tells us, later in life she realized that she did not have to live her life by proving something to others on the job or in anything she had to do. Instead, she realized all she needed to do was to be herself. Lindsey and I discuss prejudices and perceptions whether they be about race issues or even issues surrounding blindness and how people view someone who happens not to be able to see. Our discussions are fascinating and, I think, what we discuss will be helpful and informative to you.
About the Guest:
Lindsey T. H. Jackson is a creative force in motion. Each year, organizations call on her to welcome tens of thousands of leaders into the shared journey of Unlearning our cultural biases. Lindsey’s natural storytelling and her cheeky humor invite people into their authentic selves, allowing people to enter those charged conversations with genuine curiosity. Lindsey brings more than 20 years of experience clearing the path to wellness & liberation alongside leaders, teams, and organizations with her ongoing research on the root causes of our current culture of pressure and burnout. Now, she serves in the role of Founder & CEO creating the future of work with the team at LTHJ Global — expanding access to leading-edge Diversity, Equity & Inclusion methods for healing and innovation at work and beyond.
Lindsey’s audiences have been known to follow her wherever she’s speaking, magnetized by her down-to-earth approach to helping leaders reach their highest human potential across their various life roles. Her natural storytelling, artistry and research-backed practices have allowed for some of the most cutting-edge methodologies to liberate ourselves, our workplaces, and our world from structures of oppression — and lead future-ready teams along the way. That’s why she’s regularly sought after by platforms like King5 News, The Superwoman Summit and Washington’s LGBTQIA+ Chamber of Commerce (the GSBA) as well as hundreds of other businesses, nonprofits, podcasts and outlets each year.
These days she’s hard (but not _too _hard!) at work with the LTHJ Global team, pioneering the brand new tech-enabled platform, Sojourn. Sojourn brings small to midsize organization leaders a DEI Journey with the plans, tools and guidance to sustainably grow a more Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive culture. They’re building the platform as an anti-racist, anti-oppression organization, which impacts every choice they make as they build the future of work they wish to live in.
Ways to connect with Lindsey:
Main website – www.lthjglobal.com
New platform, Sojourn website – www.sojourndei.com
LinkedIn – LTHJ Global page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/lthj-global/
LinkedIn – Lindsey’s profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsey-t-h-jackson/
Instagram – LTHJ Global: https://www.instagram.com/lthj_global/
Instagram – Lindsey: https://www.instagram.com/lindseythjackson/
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.
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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 01:21
Hi, and yes, once again, you are listening to unstoppable mindset where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet, this is what we say. I am glad that you’re here with us. Once again, thanks for being with us. And we have Lindsey T. H. Jackson as our guest today. She is a creative force according to her biography, which is cool. I would say she’s unstoppable. And we’ll talk about that, of course, Lindsey has been very involved in diversity, equity inclusion, she works with leaders and speaks all over creation as it were bringing more people into the whole discussion of dei as well as bringing leaders into the discussion of how we unlearn a lot of our biases. And I’m really interested in and excited to learn something about that. So we’ll get to it. But Lindsey, welcome to unstoppable mindset and glad you’re here with us.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 02:17
Thank you, Michael. It is my pleasure. What a wonderful way to begin easing into the weekend spending some time with you. So
Michael Hingson 02:26
Oh, listen to her. Well, let’s start. Like I usually like to do tell me a little bit about kind of your early life kind of where, where you came from, and all that and a little bit about how you got where you are.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 02:41
Wow. Well, I am from the hidden gem of the United States, which is, of course, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And I think it’s funny when I meet people who have never been to Pittsburgh, and they hear Pittsburgh, they kind of scoff at it. Like, oh, you know, that kind of steel, new town will the Steelers and the pirates and blah, blah, blah. But it was actually a really wonderful place to
Michael Hingson 03:10
Yes, yes. I remember the first time I went to through Pittsburgh airport, which was pretty new at the time, it was a pretty big place and an interesting and a lot bigger of an airport. And I didn’t think it would be a little airport, but it was a lot bigger and more bustling than I thought. And I think over time, it’s kind of quieted down. But I’ve enjoyed time in Pittsburgh.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 03:33
Absolutely. And it’s so interesting. You say that about the airport, because they’re about to build a brand new one tear down. What was that new one and build a brand new one. And I’m like, why are you why are you really changing these things? They’re renaming the stadium again. She’s, yeah, I don’t know. I loved growing up in Pittsburgh, and I just find myself not wanting anything to change about it.
Michael Hingson 03:58
What do you do so, so you’re from Pittsburgh will tell us more about all that. And early life and such?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 04:04
Yeah. Early life, I was an only child. So that meant naturally that every holiday season I asked for a brother and sister and a puppy on my Santa’s list and never got either of them. So it wasn’t a miserable childhood, but I certainly never got what I wanted at Christmas time.
Michael Hingson 04:24
Not a puppy either.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 04:26
Not a puppy, not a brother, not a sister, not a Plano. I was like, why can’t we adopt? Come on, people helped me out but as an only child, I was just always out. I was out and about I was down the street. I was creating clubs. I was joining everything that I could join and really living. You know what, at that time, I know we can’t say this now but at that time, it was kind of Bill Cosby upbringing, but you know Like Bill Cosby, we grow up and we learn new things that we didn’t know. And our kind of youthful naivety. But
Michael Hingson 05:08
well, we can’t change our history, Bill Cosby, back in those days was what he was and television show and his comedy routines and so on. And yeah, we have what he became, but we can’t deny what was and he did bring a lot of entertainment and humor to people.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 05:25
Yes. And that image, Michael Wright of that black family that was together, that was upper middle class that was figuring life out. That was very much my childhood experience with my parents, Deborah and Jeff had been married something like 44 years now. We were figuring it out together.
Michael Hingson 05:49
Wow. So, so you, you went to school in Pittsburgh,
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 05:55
I started, you know, I was very much a little private school kid. And often the one of very few little black people in predominantly white bodied spaces, which I think colored a lot of my experience as a child. Now, when I read things, I am finally hearing from other little black girls who grew up to be strong black women about that common experience of nobody had hair like us. Nobody had that experience of k this person. That’s my cousin. Oh, is it your real cousin? What is that question? Of course, it’s my cousin, even though I’m not actually sure how we’re related, you know, these very common black experiences, I thought I was different. But now, I’m realizing that that was actually a very common experience for a lot of black girls in predominantly white spaces, that feeling of being outside somehow looking in.
Michael Hingson 07:00
Do you think I think it was true for boys as well?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 07:04
I think it was, but in my experience, something about masculinity allowed them to fit in a little bit more. I think we still, at that time, and even now, we still struggle with outspoken, Intel intelligent little black girls, you know, a trope or a paradigm, at least when I was growing up to fit that. And so I spent a lot of time in detention being told, you know, stop asking questions, stop questioning what the teacher was saying, even though, you know, at that time, I was already a bit of a scientist. I was like, I don’t believe what you’re telling me show me some research to backup that opinion. And they would go go to detention. I was like, wow, that’s not a good argument. Yes.
Michael Hingson 08:01
I think it’s, it’s somewhat true for white girls, too. But I understand not the same. And it’s not it’s not as much and it’s, it’s an evolutionary process. But I think for any of us who were different, I never got sent to detention for asking questions. I think I was tolerated. But as a blind child, it was still very much, in some ways, a challenge. I grew up in a pretty rural area in Palmdale, California. So didn’t face a lot of I think some of the things that other people did. But I was always still a curiosity. Nevertheless.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 08:39
Yeah. How did that shape who you’ve become now, as an adult,
Michael Hingson 08:45
I think for me, because mostly, people didn’t know what to do with me, because I was the only blanket for quite a while in the Antelope Valley. We moved from Chicago when I was five. So we were mostly out in California, and I was the only blind kid. And the only blind kid going to school later, while other other kids the only one really interested in science and those kinds of things, and very academically oriented. So again, teachers didn’t know a lot of what to do with me. So somehow, I sort of fit it in, like teachers to give me tests, we would stay an extra period after class and they would come in and read me tests or asked me questions, and I would answer them and so I got to know some of the teachers pretty well. And I think that the result of that was that I was accepted because they discovered that I wasn’t really, maybe what their original misconceptions were about a blanket and high school students didn’t do a lot of bullying but again, I think I was was tolerated. Of course, I had an extra asset in that when I went into high school I got my first guide dog so the only kid in School who got to bring his dog to school. But even that caused a problem when the superintendent decided that since the school district had a rule that said, no live animals a lot on the school bus that I wouldn’t be allowed to take my dog on the school bus and go to school with the dog. So they had to hire somebody to take me to school because I was using a guide dog. And that didn’t last very long, because we took it to the school board. The board sided with the superintendent, even though the high school rule violated state law. So we actually had to get the governor involved. And I think that also taught me that you could fight city hall and win. And it sent a message to people that I was going to be a part of the system. And that should be allowed. So I again, I think it was a little bit unusual compared to other people’s stories who I’ve heard.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 10:48
Yeah, yeah. I mean, Michael, as you’re sharing that reminds me, I think, one of the formative experiences, it’s not the same, but that similarly shaped me was that I grew up wanting to play baseball. And at that time, it was very clear that girls are meant to play softball. And boys are meant to play baseball. But I have seen a little movie called A League of Their Own league of their own. Yes. Which, you know, just last week at the Emmys, they were honoring Gina Davis for the work that she’s done in film, around. Representation around measuring the relationship between what little girls see on the film and how it impacts their relationship to self. But that movie, I was determined, I am going to play baseball, good for you, this character. But you know, here came this little black girl down, you know the street in Edgewood and shows up to an all boys League and says, I will be playing best baseball. And they had no idea what to do. And they armed an odd and you know, unbeknownst to me in the background, my mother, you know, who is a force to be reckoned with was also having conversations with the city to make sure that, you know, nobody was going to say no to me. But for my little eight, nine year old self, I really thought that I was leading this conversation in this charge. And I eventually got assigned to a team, the enjoyed pirates, they were called. And I was just thinking about my coach, Coach, Tony DeFranco, who, all those years that I played for him never once did he, you know, he just kind of accepted, she’s here. And now that she’s here, we’re going to be the best team possible. And, and we were I have a trophy or two actually above my desk right here, commemorating those years. But that those early moments really shaped who I am now in the trajectory to becoming the CEO of this company, I think
Michael Hingson 13:09
and what a great story and and an absolutely relevant story. And yeah, your parents were your mother was especially involved in the background and so on. But still, that support system always helps. Absolutely,
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 13:23
absolutely. And that’s in our work. One of the things that we’re always for lack of a better word fighting for it’s to make sure that everybody has some sort of Angry Black mom in their corner, who’s saying, you know, we’re here to advocate in the workplace to make sure that employees feel supported based on all of their intersectional identities, blind, black, queer, you know, living with dyslexia and feeling like they cannot share that within the workplace. All of those things. I think that’s often what draws you and I together, right? Our own experiences have shaped the work that we now do.
Michael Hingson 14:12
What position did you play in on the team?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 14:16
Well, I mostly played shortstop, for anybody who’s a baseball fan out, I’m just gonna say it is the hardest position to get so just whatever. And then pitcher Oh, well, there you go. Yeah,
Michael Hingson 14:30
yeah. How’d you how’d you do as a pitcher?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 14:33
Well, I was cracking up I was telling my kids this just the other day, I remember this one day. And it was it was a good movie moment. It was bottom of the night. And they had kind of one player in on third base scoring position. We were up and I was, you know, just kind of losing Steam losing gas. And here comes Tony DeFranco. Coach moseying out to the pitcher’s mound. And, you know, we all took our hats off and tucked our gloves under our armpits. Mason was the catcher. And he goes, Lindsay, every once in a while in our lives, we have a choice. We either have to choose that we don’t have it. And we need to sit down and come back another day. Or we choose that we have it, and then we have to back it up. And he said, Well, what is that moment right now for you? And I said, Well, Coach, I think I have it. And I’m going to back it up. You said fine, any mosey it on back off the field. And I threw a strike and the game was over. So you know, those, those sorts of things? You know, I think the there was a little bit of every time I was out on the field, I will say there was a an underlying core idea that I had to prove something. And I think I played like I had to prove something. And now as an adult, I’m trying to unlearn that habit, that I don’t have to go into every space trying to prove something, I can just be myself.
Michael Hingson 16:15
But probably when you were growing up, it was good to have that to keep your edge nice and sharp.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 16:23
Yeah, yeah, it has been I you know that when I left Pittsburgh, it was still with that edge. I started college when I was 15 years old. By the time I was 21, I had three degrees under my belt. I moved overseas. Actually, the year I was turning 21, I had already graduated with my graduate degree in another degree under my belt, and I felt like I just had to keep being on the move, always be on that cutting edge. And that has led me to do some amazing things. And it’s also landed me in the hospital rooms needing to rest in, you know, be pumped with fluids, it’s, I can see sometimes how it impacts my children. So I’m trying to trying to not feel as though my otherness needs to be the defining factor in my life anymore.
Michael Hingson 17:26
Well, and hopefully what you will discover is that your otherness is as much there but you can bring it out in different ways. You don’t have to constantly be running. And I think we, we all tend to do that a lot. We tend to run we got to do things all the time. Even when we take vacations, we got to get extremely active and do this and that and the other stuff. And then we got to come back and we have to have a vacation from our vacation. And we don’t we don’t stop and recognize that. In reality, we don’t need to do that all the time.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 18:03
Yes. How have you in your life? Do you still think? How do you define yourself now? I mean, you’re maybe one or two years older than I am Michael. So I get to learn from you. How do you
Michael Hingson 18:20
Oh, could be could be maybe one or two years or so hard to say? Well, you know, I, I like to do stuff. And I like to be active. But I don’t need to be active and be the absolute number one person all the time, because I think opportunities will will come. So I love to speak, I love to travel and speak and continue to do that when the opportunities arise. And I’ve been doing it especially ever since September 11. But I, I don’t need to be the president of one thing or another, although I own my own company. And it’s just my wife and I so I get to be the president. And we we did it that way because it’s called the Michael hingson group. So it kind of makes sense that I get to be the president. But if she wants to run it, she can run it, but she doesn’t. So I’m stuck with it. But we I believe that, for me and my place in life, I’m going to do whatever seems right to do on any given day. But I like to take time at the end of the day to stop and go, What did I do today? How’d that go? Could I learn from that? And I will always ask those questions and I will always take that introspective role and start each day with what’s coming up. What have I learned that I could bring an add value and in a sense that started significantly before September 11. But especially it started when And I opened an office for a company in the world trade center, and decided that, as the leader of that office, I needed to do whatever was necessary to function as a leader. And defining that meant to meant that I needed to do things like if we were gonna go to lunch, know how to go wherever we’re gonna go to lunch, because I can’t let someone just leave me around, well, how’s that going to look, if we’re going to negotiate contracts, or know how to travel from place to place, know what to do in case of an emergency, be on top of whatever was going on with the company, understand the products, and take the initiatives to make sure that I could do whatever, any good leader based on all the things that I’ve seen people do and what any good leader would do. And I will still continue to do that. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to work 24 hours a day. But over time, I’ve learned what the process needs to be to make that happen. And so the result is that I’ve developed a mindset that says this is what you need to do. Or in the case of the World Trade Center, I developed eventually a mindset mindset that said, You know what to do, if there’s an emergency, you know what to do in order to be involved in a situation, which doesn’t mean I have to be in charge of doing everything to take responsibility for whatever happens. But I need to know enough to know when I can use my gifts and other people should use their gifts. And I should encourage that.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 21:45
Yeah. Can I ask a question about something you said? Out of my own curiosity, you named that you had a thought that there would be difficulty in negotiating contracts, if somebody were to support you on the walk to lunch? Or to say, you know, coffee shop, etc? Do? How do you think that that should be that within that relationship, that that creates a difference of power within the relationship? If we need to honor the other person’s humanity in any given moment?
Michael Hingson 22:36
It depends on whether you’re honoring the person’s humanity, or whether you’re making an assumption that isn’t true. So, for example, there are certainly places that I don’t know how to get to around New York City. But or even here in Victorville where I live today, but do I need someone? Do I need to hold someone’s arm or Be Led there? Or can we walk side by side and carry on a conversation? Do Do I need to be the one to absolutely know where to go or not? The answer is, in my basic home environment that is in the case of what we’re talking about the World Trade Center. Yes, I should know how to go to Finance Shapiro’s down in the lobby of the shopping mall between the towers back in 2002 1001. Because that’s where I resided. And if I allowed, if I chose not to know any of that, and needed to be led, that’s the issue. Not that I didn’t know or wouldn’t deal with someone’s humanity, but rather, if I didn’t know, and didn’t take the time and the responsibility to know and so needed to be led. I’m reinforcing a stereotype about blindness and blind people. And so part of it is also getting people to the point in their own mindsets where they recognize that in reality, I’m as competent and as capable as they are. So it’s not denying someone’s humanity to say, I know how to get there, I can do it. But rather to say, what would you expect anyone else to be able to do and why should it be different for me? If the opportunity and the ability and what I need to make it happen are available to me? Yes. And so that’s, that’s really the difference. I could just as easily be going out to lunch or dinner with people and did oftentimes in other places where I didn’t necessarily know exact actually where to go. But even there, the issue is, how do you do it? Do you assume the blind guy can’t walk next to you without holding on to you or not? It’s all about stereotypes and the problem that we face, when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, is disabilities are left out of that discussion most of the time, and they’re left out, because no matter what group you are from, most people have the same perception about disabilities that other people do. And so we tend to not be included in the discussions. We don’t, we don’t deal with recognizing the disability doesn’t mean the lack of ability, that that word needs to change, just like we’ve changed the meaning of diversity, because diversity doesn’t include disabilities today. By and large, it’s it’s not inclusion should. But even then people try to say, Well, I’m inclusive, because we deal with racial issues and racial bias, and we deal with gender, but then you don’t deal with disability. So you’re not inclusive, but just diversity is has has gone a different way, which is extremely unfortunate. So it’s not about appreciating someone’s humanity. It’s about do we continue to promote and enforce the stereotypes? Or do we really try to change people’s perceptions? And part of my job, as the leader of an office happening to be blind? Was it, it was important to be able to change people’s perceptions? Because if I weren’t viewed as a competent, capable individual, how could I expect to be involved in and or negotiate sales contracts and other things like any other manager would do?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 26:58
Yeah, this is so interesting. You’re naming something that I’ve been really personally vacillating back and forth on in terms of, as I started to name earlier, realizing in a lot of spaces that I felt the need to represent all black women, wherever I was, in school, in other parts of the world that I traveled extensively, and to always kind of be a monolith, representing the majority. And I think a lot of people who come from historically excluded cultures or communities can relate with that. But now is a near my 40th birthday, which I’m super excited. Because I hear more and more people say, once you get closer to 40, you start to care less when people think, and I’m so excited for that. But as I get closer, I find myself really trying to separate what parts of me, am I still living my life trying to prove that black women should be could be are on par with their contemporaries? And what parts of that are a burden that I don’t have to bear anymore? And in the reality is, I don’t have an answer. So I’m listening to you. Also trying to mind through my own thoughts. And an example is, for example. You know, I have had a partner relationship come into my life over the past couple of years. And, you know, their love for me, has been teaching me that I also deserve nurture and care. I don’t always have to be strong. I don’t always have to, you know, I don’t always have to have my emotions down. And I think for so many years in professional spaces, as a black woman, I just didn’t give myself that grace, that that part of myself. And now, you know, we’ve met some of my team members, the great Laura Kay or the great J. Alba and the rest of our team. You know, they’ve been trying to coach me like, it’s okay, if you cry, too. Yeah. It’s okay. If you’re having a bad day, you know, like, you don’t always have to have it together.
Michael Hingson 29:34
Well, and, unfortunately, and this gets back to something that we talked to just a second about at the very beginning about unlearning attitudes, because I think anyone who works toward being successful, ends up believing that they have to be strong all the time, and they have to be on top Have everything rather than finding that there is so much value in creating a team. And everyone on the team has to rely on each other. And that the strength is in the team, not any particular individual. And yeah, the leader of a team has to and should have certain gifts, and maybe they’re the the outfront strong or viewed as being strong person. But that still shouldn’t work without the rest of the team being part of the process. Yes, yes. And so, you know, in talking about what what you’re talking about, and and what we’re discussing here. So what do you think about the issue of with whatever you’re doing? Are you representing all black women or women in general, I wouldn’t even extend it beyond black women. But I realized why you’re, you’re talking about it in terms of black women. But either way, what do you think about the fact that in reality, what you do is, or you don’t represent black women?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 31:09
Yeah, I think it’s an ongoing, unfair unfurling, for lack of a better word, I was really relating in my own way to what you said in terms of wanting to make sure that the stereotypes about black women that I was never feeding that, that I similarly, going to dinner, an example might be the expectation that black people or black women don’t have money couldn’t, you know, cover the cost of the bill, or we’re not as smart. And so therefore, always feeling as though I had to give an opinion, but not only give an opinion, or to be the best opinion or that they’re lazy, whatever. And so, I think, on some hands, that’s still very much true that we know that if you are a representative, I was still historically excluded, group or community that you are still expected as a duo Lu talks about in her book mediocre, you are still expected to give 115 120% to other people, 75% just to be considered on par. But I don’t think that that has to always be our responsibility anymore.
Michael Hingson 32:33
Right? And so I’m going in a slightly different direction. I agree with you. Do you have to be 115%? All the time? No. But does that mean that you’re still not necessarily by virtue of being visible? And by virtue of what you do? Does that mean you’re not representing in some way or another all black women?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 32:56
I think that’s a great question, I think, and my personal why if I use Simon cynics language around finding our why, and other business leaders who have used similar language, I do, as part of my why want to be an inspiration, first and foremost, to my children, I have a 10 year old and eight year old. And I want them to see in me, hopefully something that they can see in themselves. And I know that for a lot of young people who I speak with that they go, Oh, you’re a black woman, CEO. I could be that too. And, and I definitely know that creating that representation is a part of what gets me out of bed on some of the tough days. And I think in our culture, we sometimes struggle to allow the full, vast experience of being a human, for anybody that we give the mantle of leadership to, I hope that I have given as much permission to succeed as I am to fail. I hope I’m given as much permission to have angry off days as I am expected to always put on a smile and show up looking good.
Michael Hingson 34:27
And sometimes you need to say and transmit the message. It’s okay. And it’s fine for me to have days where I’m not absolutely the only 180% person in charge. And that doesn’t make me less of a human being any more than it does you and how dare you judge me? Because in reality, we’re all from the same mold. We are We’re all made in the same image. And we all have good days, bad days, successful days, days where maybe it’s not viewed as being as successful as it could be. But when you have the off days, the real question, and so it’s always fun to turn it around. The real question is, what did I learn? That will help me not do that again. And that’s where it comes really back full circle, which is why I always talk about introspection, because it’s important to discuss this idea of what did I learn from this? I subscribe to the the whole discussion that failure, although I don’t say I will, failure is what it is. But that failure is only a learning point on the way to success. Yes. And there’s nothing wrong with having learning moments we all learn. And we always all better be learning, or we really aren’t doing ourselves or other people’s good services.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 36:09
Absolutely. I love that you. You know, I think in both of our work, we do so much training and teaching around the world. And I think one of the things I’m always surprised, most by is some people’s lack of curiosity, the assumption that are the take of there’s nothing more for me to learn about diversity, or equity, or inclusion, or these these topics. I just it you know, this is my work. I’m a nerd. So I could, you know, there’s no end to the things I want to learn. But I love meeting people. And I love hearing what is it like moving through the world, in your body, in your mind and your heart space? And so that, that, that take of I don’t have anything else to learn here about diversity? I never understand that. Because it just seems like an opportunity to live books and movies out loud.
Michael Hingson 37:19
Yeah. Well, and the other thing about diversity, and this whole area of discussion is how can we feel that we’ve learned all there is when society is constantly evolving, anyway?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 37:34
Yes, yes. Yes.
Michael Hingson 37:38
And so we, we may, on any given day, at any given second? No, mostly everything that we need to know. But in two seconds, something is going to change that’s going to change that whole dynamic. So there’s no way we’re going to learn all there is to know, the question is, are we learning it? And are we putting it into practice?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 37:57
Absolutely. I read an article, I think it was in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, and it was saying that old, quote, unquote, can now be defined as the scale of curiosity that one has. And so those who had a fixed mindset, I know everything there is to know there’s nothing more I could learn. Scientists were able to see how that fixed mindset was actually impacting their body, their brain, and how it was aging. And those who remained curious. Woke up each day with like you said, Michael, I have the intention to learn something new each day, that their bodies and their brains stayed Young. As a result, as well, Isn’t that so cool? That we can now put some science around that?
Michael Hingson 38:50
It is I didn’t see that article, I’m gonna have to go back and find it. But it’s it’s absolutely true. And we should constantly be curious. Because if we if we aren’t, then we’re not living. And I think that’s one of the reasons we’re all here is to be curious and discover. Life is an adventure and we should treat it like an adventure. I get yelled at lots when I reach out and touch something and people say, Oh, you’re not supposed to touch that. Well, that’s the way I get to explore things a lot. And the reality is even in museums where people say, too much oil on something may may help to damage it. But the reality is that it’s the way I N other people who don’t look at things, discover a lot. And there shouldn’t be anything wrong with allowing us to explore and I can appreciate. It may very well be where you got to have a wipe and get the oil off your hands first. No problem with that, but don’t deny me the opportunity to learn and discuss in fact, it’s one of the clues that led me to understanding the mindset that I developed on September 11, one of the things that that I constantly did after I learned most of what I thought I could learn about emergencies and everything else was I would as I went into the World Trade Center, most every day, I would ask myself, anything else to learn today? I go off and look, and sometimes I found stuff, and sometimes I didn’t. But asking the question is really the important part?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 40:28
Absolutely. I even do that in my own way, which is, I will intentionally some days just take another driving route, just so I can see something new the tree I haven’t noticed before, restaurant I haven’t seen before, just to break out of the monotony and feel as though I’ve entered into another vortex for a minute.
Michael Hingson 40:52
Well, I always well, walking around the world trade center wanted to make sure my guide dog didn’t get into the habit of going one way because the dog’s job isn’t to know where to go and how to get there. That’s my job, the dog’s job is to make sure we walk safely. So I had to, as much as I could figure out new ways to get to the same place inside of a complex of buildings, which got to be a real challenge after a while. And sometimes I just took convoluted routes just to end up going the same route. But by going to different floors and doing other things, but, but traveling around to keep the dog from getting into the habit of memorizing something. And of course, all of that was extremely important on September 11, because I didn’t want the dog to decide where she thought I should go, especially if that way might happen to be blocked, which is another way of also saying I needed to know that information, so I could deal with it. And that also helped other people because going down the stairs. And, and being in the complex that day, giving the DoD directions I had lots of people following us because they said, Well, you’re confident you know what you’re doing. And I heard about it later. But they they said, if this guy can go, we’re gonna follow him, you know, and that was important to do. But what I eventually decided was to talk about all of that, because if it would help people learn how to move on from September 11. And if it would help people learn how to deal with developing better relationships, and trust and teamwork, and if it would teach people about blindness and guide dogs, then I was going to talk about it and continue to do that. And that was in part why ask the question before because I do think, whether we choose to or not any of us who get visible, even if we’re only visible to a few people we are representing whatever it is that people view about us. And so I want people to get the best possible view of what blindness is like, because they’re going to hopefully remember me and think about the next blind person they meet, at least in part in the same way. And it’s all too unfortunate that all too many blind people, for example, are not taught a lot of the skills and the way that they should be taught to develop a level of independence and self confidence. And that’s unfortunate, but it is still something we deal with. And it is still something that we all try to work to overcome. But I know that whenever I’m viewed up, I’m going to be compared to other people who happen to be blind. And I’m also hopefully going to be able to teach people maybe a little bit of a different view, which is okay, if I can do that and be successful. That’s great. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, but rather I’m just gonna live my life. But if I can accomplish something like that along the way, then so much the better.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 44:00
Yeah. It’s so interesting. As you’re sharing, I’m thinking back and I don’t think I’ve thought about this for years. So thank you, Michael. I was in my I was 19. Or maybe I hadn’t turned 19 Yet in my senior year of college, and I was a orientation leader. So you know that first week of college? Yep. Everybody’s coming. I’m in senior year we’re welcoming all the freshmen there was lots of screaming and shaking of pom poms, I remember. And this was in Boston. And when 911 That year, those events occurred, you know, very quickly, Boston started to be shut down as well. And I remember I was in dance class at the time and one of our other instructors came in and, you know, kind of told us what was happening and For all of the leaders of orientation, we’re quickly kind of cold to be present for these freshmen who were away from home for the very first time, most of them coming from other parts of the US and kind of just be there for them. And they were from all over the world all over the country. And everybody was having so many feelings. And we obviously had no idea what was going on any of us. And that experience was one of many experiences that led to the forming of LT HJ global and what is soon to be our dei tech platform sojourn it was that, that desire to create safe spaces for people across all of their difference to come together, to feel seen, to feel heard, to feel held and supported. And, you know, I haven’t thought about how that then shaped my graduate degree in, gosh, almost 20 plus years now. What,
Michael Hingson 46:12
Where were you going to school?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 46:13
Then? My undergraduate was at Emerson, which is right, in, you know, along the perimeter of the Boston Commons. And then I started my graduate work. While simultaneously I was doing a muscular therapy degree at another school, I started my graduate work at Lesley University. Cambridge, Massachusetts,
Michael Hingson 46:38
right. So, you mentioned dance. Were you studying that in college?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 46:44
Yeah. In my undergrad, I was still very determined to be a dance and theater start. You know, I had seen Janet Jackson. And that was clearly what I wanted to be in my life. A backup singer and dancer to Janet Jackson.
Michael Hingson 47:02
Don’t have any wardrobe malfunctions,
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 47:04
no word of mouth. If I had been there, Janet, I would have had, I would have been like, and it’s sorted. Just like move. Lindsay right there. Yeah. Some of the listeners or people tuning in today are not old enough to know. So we just made Michael. Go look it up.
Michael Hingson 47:28
That time? The Super Bowl,
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 47:31
though? The Super Bowl? Yeah. We’ve come many years from there. But yeah. Go ahead. Sorry. Go ahead. No, I still think, you know, a lot of times people will ask me, How does a dance and theater major become a CEO of a company? And I go, Well, I know how to pivot very well. And you need to pivot. When you are a founder and CEO. I know, you know that Michael, you can bob and weave? Exactly. As
Michael Hingson 48:01
well, how did being in dance and so on, move you toward the kind of things that you do today?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 48:10
No, I think. I think and you know, I’m very happy to have some of your listeners or, you know, viewers, however you are tuning in today, push back on this, but I still think that the arts is a space for little kids that are considered other to come together and feel that they have a sense of community. There’s, you know, maybe still 2030 years ago, you know, we didn’t have the language that we have around it now. But it was a space where little LGBTQIA plus bus kids felt safe. It was a space where black and brown kids from across many different cultural identities felt safe. It was a space to be creative with kids who were moving through the world, in wheelchairs, and other you know, just ways to experience difference as being something to be normal and celebrated, as opposed to something that everybody was trying to overcome, or trying to assimilate and fit in. And I think there was something about dance and theater where it was like, we don’t fit in. And that’s why we fit into this group or space.
Michael Hingson 49:42
Well, and the reality is there were other kids who had none of the characteristics that you’re describing who were from what people view as normal, who are also part of that society and the reality is everyone learned to I get along, and a lot of ways, a lot more than in other kinds of environments because everyone shared the arts.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 50:08
Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting. When we’re teaching, sometimes I think people think it’s so different. But I often sometimes I’m listening to people who grew up in military households or grew up, you know, in the military, and there’s a lot of similarities there to have, there’s a very strong culture, you have to learn the rules, and one of the rules is, get over it, we’re all different. And that difference is something that’s going to make us better. And, you know, in every culture, there’s still opportunities to continue looking at how we continue to grow and embrace different types of diversity. But there’s something about a group that is coming together, saying that diversity is what makes them better, as opposed to diversity being some type of problem that we need to get rid of.
Michael Hingson 51:11
Yeah, it really is important to appreciate other people. And there’s no better way to do it than when you’re all working towards some common goal or are working in some sort of environment that that brings you all together. Like in the arts, whether it’s dance, whether it’s painting, singing, or music, and in any form, those are commonalities that we can all appreciate. And there, we do see all too often different people from different kinds of environments, who are successful, and maybe that helps us tolerate a much more diverse population within the arts. I don’t know. But it’s a thought.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 52:00
Yeah, yeah. And I think, to your point, there’s still, you know, we still look at conductors, for example. And we’re, I know that there’s still a lot of work to try to diversify conductors at the symphony, there’s still, in my lifetime been a lot of work to diversify the body styles. Within dance. It was very common when I was coming up as a dancer to kind of expect a ballerina to be almost 12% under the body fat ratio, which is very unhealthy. And to see normal bodies, which bodies comes in all shapes and sizes on the stage has really been something that’s developed over the past 20 years. There’s still a lot of work to do. But I think the mission statement at least is is is still an unspoken. All are welcome here. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Michael Hingson 53:09
And that’s, I think, part of what’s really important, and if we could only move that out of certain areas, like the arts into the rest of society, the whole idea that all are welcome or should be welcomed is so important. But we have so many places in our society where people say, Well, you’re great where you are, but you can’t really be where I am. And that kind of judgment never helps. Yes, yes.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 53:41
I mean, we recently had a teacher coming to our monthly unlearning series, Joy Braungart, who was talking about the relationship between capitalism and disability justice. And I think, you know, the same way that we do not prioritize arts in schools because they within a capitalistic model, we’re like, I can’t make money in the arts. So we’re just going to focus on math, science, reading, writing. And well, that’s it. Right. And so we’re still fighting for Steam as a huge thing within schools. But also, I think, in terms of disability justice, this idea that the stereotype that different bodies are still within American culture viewed through the lens of can you produce within a capitalistic system or can you not produce and that that has led to legislation that has undervalued our disabled community that has, as you said, created, you know, stigmas that are just so normal and normalized for people that they don’t even question the way that they A my infantilized, somebody who is in a wheelchair infantilized, somebody who is on the ASD spectrum, all of these things that tie up to? does it relate to productivity? Or not? And that is a flawed system and itself.
Michael Hingson 55:20
Yeah, we, we still have to compare and we shouldn’t have to compare. We should accept and encourage, and get people to be all they truly can be. But we, we just seem to talk about that a lot not do anything about it most of the time.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 55:41
Yeah. Well, that’s fine. You know, thank you for saying that. I know, it’s just a drop in the bucket. But just like your company, what ltj global and our new tech platform for small and midsize businesses soldier is designed to do is to try to bridge that gap to bring the value around humaneness back into workplaces, and to give leaders and dei champions and everybody in between the tools and resources that they need and ready made work paths, ready made resources and toolkits, educational videos so that we can no longer say like, Oh, our company can afford it. We’ve we’re leveraging technology to try to take that, that that kind of normal kind of objection out of the picture and saying, now it’s not that you can’t afford it. It’s just whether or not you want to do it. Do you care about your people? Do you care about inclusivity? Or don’t you?
Michael Hingson 56:50
So tell me what LTS j is all about.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 56:55
So l th j is our consultancy. And that, you know, was a bunch of nerds from social science and the DEI field, the mental health field, organizational change, management, psychology, etc. all came together and said, hey, you know, I think this next wave of Dei, all of our research is going to be really useful as organizations try to move forward and build strong dei functions within their organization. And it’s really designed to support companies that are done with just one off trainings. Or, you know, let’s talk about racism potlucks, or let’s talk about accessibility potlucks, and really want to do deep, meaningful transformation work. And then more recently, from really listening to our clients, we’ve started developing and incubating in house a new startup, which is sojourn Dei, which is to meet the needs of small nonprofits, small businesses, between you know, the size of two to about 150 employees, and make sure that they also have accesses access to revolutionary support and change tools. How does that work? Well, we’re so excited. There’s so many things, I think the easiest thing to say is that, once you log in at sojourn Dei, and the platform becomes available, you know, anybody can get on there and start going through guided step by step plans, surveys that you can use within your organization, training that you can provide throughout your organization, and really start learning how to build out dei and policies, procedures, frameworks, and et cetera, within your organization, all in a budget that is affordable for small businesses.
Michael Hingson 59:00
So again, what how to how does all that work? Do they is it all online? Is it meeting with people? Is it providing classes or what is it about?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 59:09
Great idea? A great question is, first and foremost, it is a software platform. So similar to MailChimp, or a HubSpot, where we have taken all of the tools that sit inside consultants heads and downloaded them into a software platform. And so you would log in and you would have a world for your company. And it’s going to allow you to have your own company dashboard where you are running initiatives where we’ve given you step by step work paths with templates and tools that you just apply at the right time. It’ll keep you on track with compliance and with rollout. But then to your point, Michael, when you do need that some weren’t the only person talking you through it on the other end of a phone or email could provide, you can actually reach out right through the platform and talk to a dei transformation manager.
Michael Hingson 1:00:13
How do you or what would you advise people who are more interested in making their their companies more inclusive? What kind of advice would you give them? What are the pitfalls that you typically see,
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:00:30
I think the main pitfall that we see, is trying to do one off, you know, one off trainings or one off dei statements, something like this, but not really understanding that you’re implementing one of the most strategic aspects in a successful company. And so that requires attention. It requires budget, it requires time, both people time, as well as longitudinal time as you operationalize things. And so, for those leaders who are still stuck in the, oh, I’ll just pull off my dei initiative, you know, work plan once a month at Disability Awareness Month, or Women’s History Month or Black History Month, but then they’re not doing anything the rest of the year. Those are the companies that tend to fail. And they’re still confused why they’re not attracting the best talent, why their company is not having some of the best outcomes with their competitors. It’s because they haven’t yet learned that dei is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have in this growing economic climate.
Michael Hingson 1:01:54
One of the things that I talk about, and some others talk about when we talk about inclusivity. And we talk specifically about, say blindness and hiring blind people is that, in reality, you are doing a disservice to your company, and you are missing out when you don’t make inclusion. A recognized part of the cost of doing business pure and simple if you don’t allow the company to recognize that everyone has expenses that the company incurs for and we we make accommodations, we make accommodations for sighted people, we have lights for you guys, we have a coffee machine for you guys. Yes, yes, we have windows so that you can look out and, and so on, we provide computer monitors and so on, but we don’t necessarily provide the equivalents. The alternatives for those for a person who happens to be blind, or although it’s a little bit more common, we don’t necessarily tend to be as willing as we ought to be about making wheelchair ramps and other things like that. But the reality is, it’s all part of the cost of doing business. And when you hire someone, and you make it a point to recognize that difference isn’t going to matter here, and we’re going to provide you with what you need, then that person is more apt to stay with you, statistically speaking, and there’s a lot of absolute evidence to show that people will be more loyal, because we know how hard it is to get a job. When you’re dealing with persons with disabilities, for example, where the unemployment rate is among unplayable people is in the 65% range. That’s huge. And so, the fact is that we do appreciate jobs, and even more important, we are the ones who really ought to know what we need. And I applaud the interviewer or the employer, who will say to someone who is coming in applying for for a job, tell me what you need, and how we get it. Because a lot of times it doesn’t need to be a cost to the company anyway. But bring that person in as part of the team to get themselves hired.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:04:28
Yes, yes. I couldn’t have said it better. Absolutely. Inclusion is just a normal cost of business.
Michael Hingson 1:04:38
Yeah, it should be. And it is something that we we really need to work on all the more to make it happen. Yes. Well, we’ve been doing this a while, which is fun. But I’d like to ask you to tell me how can people reach out to you learn more about you learn more about LTE HJ and so During and so on.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:05:02
Thank you. And great now, either you can find us through LTHJ global.com. Or through sojourndei.com. And the difference there is really one solution is for larger companies 155 Plus ad LTHJ. And for companies between one and 150 people add sojourn Dei. And we’re excited to, as Michael said, helped make inclusion just a normal part of making your business great.
Michael Hingson 1:05:40
So they can reach out and . Can they contact you through those? If they want to talk with you? Can they contact you through those sites? Or how does that work?
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:05:49
Absolutely. Either. myself or one of my amazing teammates will respond immediately, you might end up talking to any number of wonderful people, the great Laura Kay Chamberlain, who’s one of our co founders, or Jay Alba, is one of our co founders. But I’m also at most things at Lindsey, th, Jackson, LinkedIn, or Instagram are a really great way to connect with me personally and track as we continue to grow and scale. And I’d love to welcome you on our journey.
Michael Hingson 1:06:28
And we met through LinkedIn. So I will tell you, it’s a great way to connect.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:06:32
Absolutely. Hey, we should make sure you get like some royalty fees for that plug.
Michael Hingson 1:06:37
Yeah, let’s let’s, let’s go into LinkedIn and say, you know, we’re doing all this for you.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:06:45
Absolutely. Oh, what a wonderful time.
Michael Hingson 1:06:49
This was fun. And I really appreciate you, you coming on and being a part of this. And I said I was going to do it, Laura, you don’t get to hide. Laura has been monitoring this. And I’m sure it’s going to have fun talking with Lindsay afterward. But Laura, do you want to say hello, you can’t?
Laura Kay Chamberlain 1:07:06
How much I love this episode, and I feel a little a little bad that I get to be the very first one to witness it. And I just took that opportunity from everybody else feel like, I feel like, yeah, they’re gonna be they’re gonna be excited to hear this one come out. And just such a such a natural conversation between you two, this is great.
Michael Hingson 1:07:31
No, this, this really was a lot of fun. And I appreciate both of you being here. And and I learned a lot, I always love to come on these episodes and have a chance to speak with people because I feel that I get to learn. And if, if I can learn then that’s important to me. I hope I learned at least as much as anybody else. And I will, I will be going back and listening to this episode more than once to get it all. And to get the episode prepared for going up. But I really appreciate all the wisdom. And I hope we can do this some more, and would love to work with you.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:08:11
Thank you so much, Michael, this was really lovely. Thank you for holding the space and creating it.
Michael Hingson 1:08:16
Well, I’m thank you for being here and helping to fill it in for all of you. Listening, I really appreciate you being here. So I hope that you will reach out to Lindsey and to Laura and I would love to hear your thoughts. So please reach out to me, you can email me through Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to Michael hingson.com/podcast. But I hope that you will definitely connect, love to hear your thoughts and please when you are done with this, which we’re about to be, I hope that you’ll give us a five star rating because your ratings and your comments are what really inspire and guide what we do from week to week. If anyone listening would like to be a guest please let me know. Please reach out. I would very much like to speak with you and we will talk about you being a guest as well. So Lindsay, one more time. Thank you very much for being here and let’s do this again.
Lindsey T. H. Jackson 1:09:19
Thank you. That will be our pleasure.
Michael Hingson 1:09:27
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.