Episode 99 – Unstoppable DEI Thought Leader with Martine Kalaw

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Martine was born in what is now Zaire although at the time of her birth the country’s government was different. When the government changed, so did the name of the country. When Martine and her parents immigrated to America Martine did not know that she was undocumented and thus had no status. After the death of her parents by the time she was 15, she was on her own. Only years later did she discover how tenuous her status was in the U.S. She will tell us her story.
Because of her life’s experience she became interested in DEI, and for her especially, Equity. You will get to hear how she went from being “stateless” to being a U.S. Citizen.
During our interview we get to have quite a discussion about DEI including, as you might imagine, some discussions around the topic of disabilities. Martine’s viewpoint and observations are quite refreshing and worth hearing.
About the Guest:
DEI thought leader, TedX speaker, and author, with over 10 years of Learning & Development experience, Martine Kalaw understands the challenges that organizations face in driving DEI in the workplace. Her book, _The ABCs Of Diversity, A Manager’s Guide to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the New Workplace _makes DEI accessible to everyone in the workforce, including managers.  
Through her company, Martine Kalaw Enterprises, Kalaw incorporates DEI into cornerstone manager development programs. Martine works with Human Resources professionals by helping them save time, reduce burden and drive ROI, with their DEI efforts. Martine Kalaw Enterprises also offers consulting and training directly to HR professionals. She’s single-handedly built and executed onboarding solutions, management and leadership programs, global mentorship programs and designed and customized training for Macy’s, Xaxis, Wheels Up, and Education First.  
Martine’s additionally conducted work on diversity, inclusion, and leadership at companies such as LinkedIn, Tiffany & Co. , Hogan Lovells USA, LLP, Howard Hughes Corporation, and Cornell University. She partners with global professionals to implement learning and workforce development strategies and solutions aligned with race and biases, manager training, and inter/intra department communication.  
Martine has written for Huffington Post and appeared on syndicated networks like C-span.  
Martine holds a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Immigration Law. She spent her early career in the public sector working in budgeting for The New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. 
How to connect with Martine :
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/martinekalaw/?hl=en 
Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/martinekalaw 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MartineKalawEnterprisesLLC/ 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/35649968/admin/ 
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQTb6zI5m4jehE-czyT8SvQ 
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
You are listening to unstoppable mindset where inclusion diversity and the unexpected meet. I’m your host Mike Hingson, and our guest today is Martine Kalaw I made sure I pronounced that right because I even asked her. She is a she Yeah, how are you?
Martine Kalaw  01:39
I’m good. Thank you, Michael
Michael Hingson  01:41
Martine’s, an author, she has written a book entitled The ABCs of diversity. And she’ll tell us more about what that’s all about. She has been involved in diversity, inclusion and equity for some time, and has a lot of stories to tell. So we’ll get right to it, Martine. Thanks very much again for being here.
Martine Kalaw  02:04
Thank you so much for having me, Michael to pledge.
Michael Hingson  02:07
Tell me a little bit about you growing up sort of how, how you got started and all that kind of stuff. That’s always a fun place to start.
Martine Kalaw  02:14
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I’ll start by I just, you know, I was unpacking some boxes, and I found my college senior thesis. And the topic was looking at, I conducted comparative analysis between Bosnian refugees and Sudanese refugees to see if there was preferential treatment in their assimilation acculturation process in the local community. So that just goes to show where my the background of di where it first came from, where my interest lies. So when I was in college, I was undocumented, I was stateless. And, you know, so part of my interest in the immigrant refugee community was also to see if there was preferential treatment based on race, but based on ethnicity, etc. So that just kind of illustrates, you know, this is dei has always been the, like the framework of a lot of the things I did, so immigration is a subset of Di. But then even within immigration, there are other subsets of diversity, equity and inclusion and categories of diversity. And then I’ll just kind of circle back around and you know, and it also highlight that my interest in dei and in the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion really stems from, like I said, Being undocumented, being stateless, and being orphaned and having to immerse myself in various in different communities. Right. So I had to learn to acclimate in different communities, whether I went to a predominantly white prep school in Charlottesville, Virginia, or I lived in the dorms with mostly other international students, or being undocumented and stateless. And being part of that subset, you know, that that community just gave me exposure to different communities, different subsets. And what that did was it allowed me to learn how to to navigate and speak their language or at least understand things and pivot my lens and understand their perspective. And my goal has always been to kind of be a bridge builder, where there’s lack of understanding or misunderstanding, what I can do is sort of help to liaise that so that’s really where the interest around dei really stemmed from and like I said it continued on to college And and it’s resulted in the work that I’ve been doing for the last five plus years. So
Michael Hingson  05:07
one has to ask, what did you conclude in your college paper about preferential treatment for one of the cultures or
Martine Kalaw  05:15
the other? There was, so that I actually did conduct field study, which was just absolutely riveting. For anyone who may have known, both of these countries were had gone through civil wars, experienced, were impacted by genocide. So the local upstate community that I was a part of, because I went to Hamilton College, you know, had, you know, in brought in refugees from these two communities, and help them in terms of, you know, I wouldn’t say rehabilitation, but settling into the communities. But there was there was bias, right, that the bias existed in, you know, their access to housing, access to ESL English as a second, second language, access for job two jobs. Right. And it had a lot to do there were some racial undertone current tied to that. So absolutely. That’s what I understood. And I learned and also really understood the distinction between when we talk about inclusion, what does that mean? does it really mean multiculturalism? Or does that really mean assimilation, US expecting someone else to assimilate to our, you know, our culture, our beliefs, our standards?
Michael Hingson  06:42
So when you say there was preferential treatment? And was that in a negative sense that they were not given the treatment that they really needed to have? Or they got too much or what?
Martine Kalaw  06:52
Yeah, so the the Sudanese refugees did not get the same adequate treatment as the Bosnian refugees in the local community in upstate New York.
Michael Hingson  07:02
And why what why was that?
Martine Kalaw  07:05
Well, I mean, one would say that there were a lot of biases related to race. Because when you looked at it, a lot of the Sudanese, the Sudanese refugees, actually there, it could have been raised, but then also religion, perhaps was an undercurrent ethnicity could have been another element of it. But most likely, it was driven by race.
Michael Hingson  07:30
primarily black, as opposed to, to white and so on.
Martine Kalaw  07:34
Absolutely. Yeah.
Michael Hingson  07:37
Now, you mentioned that you are orphaned. And stateless as it were, tell me more about all of that.
Martine Kalaw  07:44
Yeah, um, you know, I was born in Zambia, my family’s from the Dr. Congo, came to the US when I was very young with my mother. And, you know, she and my stepfather passed away by the time I was 15 years old. And, you know, my stepfather was American born US citizen, my mother was a green card holder. Unfortunately, as she was in the process of securing her US citizenship, she passed away. And then, you know, I fell out of status. And there I was trying to navigate, just securing having a home having place to live. And little did I know that I was without status, and did not learn that until many years later, when I was when there was very little recourse that I could take in terms of establishing or reestablishing my staff and my status. So my so and then at that point is when I learned that I was also stateless. The country that I was born in Zambia didn’t recognize me as a citizen, because because I needed to claim citizenship of the country. By the time I was 18, which I would, I didn’t know that the country that my birth mother and birth father were, were born in the Dr. Congo was Zaire when my mother and father left. So the the government change the country, the name, everything changed, the sovereignty change. And so there was there I couldn’t establish my status there either, and the US didn’t want me. So in that, in those regards. I was not a citizen of any country. And there are a myriad of people who are stateless. To this day, I mean, they’re talking about over 10 million according to you, UNHCR, there are over 10 million stateless persons in the world. In the US there are over 200,000 plus stateless people. These aren’t needed visuals that, you know, don’t have any recourse, they generally, they’re more likely to be human traffic because there are no laws written for them. And also, according to UNHCR, the statistic is that every 10 minutes, a stateless child is born, right? With climate change all of these different wars that occur, people are displaced. There are certain laws, where you can only obtain citizenship through your paternal connection, various reasons and laws and regulations that can lead someone to becoming stateless.
Michael Hingson  10:44
So, have you been able to resolve that in your particular case?
Martine Kalaw  10:50
Yes, absolutely. I am a US citizen. And I haven’t I have been since 2013. So I’m one of the very fortunate ones. It’s very rare for, for the outcome for someone from my background, being stateless, and just my, you know, my background, my history where I come from, to be in this position where I am now running a, you know, a DI business and I have you US citizenship, I have a US passport, and so forth. So that is a privilege in itself,
Michael Hingson  11:26
how are you able to deal with it, since there’s so many that aren’t or can’t? What were you able to do? That proves successful?
Martine Kalaw  11:35
You know, there isn’t a particular you know, one of the reasons I hesitated in the past to speak publicly and give and mentor others was because there isn’t a prescription to this. The immigration system is broken in a lot of countries, particularly in the US, and it’s not designed for people to succeed, it’s designed for people to get stuck in this quagmire and fail, quite honestly. And so there isn’t, I cannot tell someone to if they do this XYZ, if they follow the exact process that I follow, it will guarantee the same outcome, because it’s, it’s almost as random as the roll of the dice the outcome that can occur. So what I do say is that, you know, it’s important to maintain your dignity, because this is the space this is a, this is an institution, or an ecosystem where one can lose their dignity. So it’s important to maintain your dignity. And one of the ways to maintain your dignity is to remember your source of power, it’s very easy to feel powerless, to not feel like you have any, any influence to not feel like you have a country to not feel like you have a home. But to remember that your voice is your source of power, that your intelligence that you can educate yourself about this policies, about the process, you can be your own advocate, even working with an attorney. So these are the things that I you know, I like to remind people, and also allowing others to understand and see and humanize individuals who are undocumented or stateless. And to see them as an asset and to see them as not charity, but as human beings who can actually be a great investment to our society, to our economy. And really, when you think about that, that translates into the work that I do within di right, it’s getting, you know, the work around that I do around dei and supporting organizations and companies and especially human resources professionals, is getting them to understand and see the value, the impact that diversity, equity inclusion can have on on the company, on the bottom line on revenue. You know, it’s not just the right thing to right thing to do. It’s a smart thing to do. And there’s an added there’s a benefit for everyone, right? It’s not charity work, and it shouldn’t be seen as charity work where we’re just giving back through this RDI efforts.
Michael Hingson  14:27
So let me let me make this observation about what what you were saying before, I think that the whole issue of being stateless the whole issue that you faced and that you saw with two different countries that you compared treatments of people about really plays right into the whole area of diversity and inclusion and in reality, I know I and other persons with this disabilities tend to experience that concept a lot. And I liked what you said about keeping your dignity because it is something that we all face. Blind people, for example, when we talk about diversity, blind and other persons with disabilities generally tend to be left out, we’re not included. When you talk about diversity, when most people talk about diversity, they’ll talk about race and culture, and gender and so on. And you rarely hear disabilities mentioned, which is unfortunate. And it’s really difficult to get people to start to talk about that in the conversation.
Martine Kalaw  15:38
You know, Michael, I absolutely agree. And I think that when we talk about, you know, blindness or any other types of disabilities, physical disabilities, you know, um, you know, neurodiversity, various other categories of diversity. I think that the overarching challenge, even when it comes to race, is that people don’t want to say the wrong thing, right. And so they say nothing at all, which they don’t realize is more can be more harmful and hurtful, and can mute people, right? And make them feel invisible. It’s like, you know, you hear, I hear when I lead conversations on race relations and leading workshops, people say, Well, I don’t want to say the wrong thing. So I’m not going to say anything at all. You know, sometimes CEOs who happened to be white males will say, you know, I don’t want to get involved. I don’t want to offend anyone, I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I’m sure. My opinion doesn’t matter in this conversation. And I say quite the opposite. Your opinion does matter. We want everyone’s voice in this conversation. And to me, diversity, equity. Inclusion means creating a safe space where people can engage in discussion, can share their stories, and can ask the questions without fearing saying the wrong thing. And the listener, the recipient can also when they they win, when they’re asked a question, or someone makes a statement, that doesn’t sit right with them, they can first consider that, perhaps the person’s intentions are good, they just don’t know it’s coming from ignorance rather than malice. And that’s really not, that hasn’t really been established, you know, in this space of di and that’s what I think is important for companies to do is to establish that, so that therefore no one, no one’s on the sidelines, no one if you’re if you have a disability, you’re not on the sidelines, because the conversation is solely about race, right? Everyone should be included. It shouldn’t be just focusing on you know, sexual orientation, or race or gender or ethnicity, or what have you, or nationality issue, it should include every, every category of, of diversity.
Michael Hingson  18:20
And so I’m sorry, go ahead.
Martine Kalaw  18:23
No, I was gonna say, I do agree with you. I do agree that when we think diversity, when the conversation around diversity, equity inclusion begins, oftentimes, the focus the central focus are gender, race, and ethnicity. And the others are kind of like, you know, become a byproduct of those three overarching diversity categories. Now, even though
Michael Hingson  18:53
even though when we really look at it, the category of persons with disabilities is 25% of all Americans. It’s a very large group. And the fact is, it doesn’t tend to get included, which is why like, people like me, for example, I tend to define diversity as different from inclusion because if you’re truly going to be inclusive than you are or you’re not, there’s no middle ground. Well, we include some people, you’re not inclusive, then we have to change that attitude. And I think you sort of hit on part of it, which is mostly when it comes to disabilities. I think we’re dealing with fear. Yeah, we are dealing with people who are different and we tend to be uncomfortable with difference. But I think we also have been so conditioned, especially with physical disabilities, because non physical disabilities are less visible. Nevertheless, they’re still part of the process, but we deal with fear. Oh my gosh, I don’t want to become like them. I could become like them and I we can’t we can’t have that, you know, those are the kinds of things that we see all the time.
Martine Kalaw  20:05
Wow, I appreciate the honesty in that. Because I think that if we want to get to the root of the conversation on di, we’ve got to get real. And I do think that that is real. I will say, just to kind of backtrack a little bit. One of the reasons I agree with you that there’s a fear, but another reason why the the, the conversation around diversity starts with race and gender, ethnicity, is because it’s sometimes the most obvious, right? It’s not always so obvious, because sometimes our perception of somebody’s race or gender is not actually what how they self identify, however, it’s, it has their more physical attributes that we can pinpoint that tie back to race, gender, ethnicity, right. And so that is the reason I believe that’s one of the reasons why that’s a prevalent, you know, you know, that’s the prevalent prevalent conversation, but also, because there there is a gap, right? I mean, we know, and we we can acknowledge that, you know, race, race relations, is has been an issue in our country for hundreds of years, and it hasn’t really changed. And it’s showing up and structural racism in you know, different spaces in our society. So that’s one of the reasons right. But at the same time, I also agree with you that diversity in the realm of disability or abled onus has been overlooked. And I do agree that there are two elements of fear. One is fear of saying the wrong thing. And offending someone, right. I don’t want to say, am I using the right term? Right? Because di like the way that it’s been presented in the last couple of years, it’s like, it puts people on guard where they feel like they have to be politically correct. They have to say the right thing. They don’t know what to say. So they don’t want to say anything at all right. That’s why my book is called the ABCs. of diversity, because we, we make it too complicated. So that’s one of the reasons one fear is they people don’t want to say the wrong thing. They don’t want to they think back, right, we all think back, many of us can think back to when we were children, if we saw someone in a wheelchair, we pointed our parents would say don’t do that, like, like, the acknowledgement of the person in the wheelchair was a bad thing. There was nothing wrong with acknowledging that someone’s in a wheelchair, like, that’s actually good. But our parents didn’t want to, you know, would would, you know, try to, like, suppress us because they didn’t want us to offend the person. So we carry that into our adult life. And you don’t want to say the wrong thing. But in addition to that, what you’re saying I agree with, is there is that fear of, well, if I focus on this thing, or this person, or this aspect of this person, then it makes it more real, and then it could be me, right. And I think that’s very honest. And I haven’t heard that before. But I think if we want to be really honest with ourselves, that is part of the that’s the truth.
Michael Hingson  23:32
The kind of fear that I think is also typified by a lot of what you’re saying is, let’s look at blindness, for example. And this started with teachers with educators and a lot of the professionals in the field of if you will work for the blind, and with the blind, you generally hear people say blind or visually impaired. And there are two problems with it visually. I don’t think so we don’t look different because we’re blind. So visually, is a problem. Vision Impaired is a little bit more of an acceptable term, but the reality is, then you get to impaired. Why do we have to be viewed as less than other people, which is, deaf people have realized this because they would shoot you if you said deaf or hard of hearing or deaf or hearing impaired. They prefer deaf or hard of hearing. And I think that it is more appropriate to say blind or low vision, but get the impaired out because that is a buzzword that creates fear right off the bat.
Martine Kalaw  24:39
And my question is, thank you for sharing my question, Michael is, is there a space for people to make those mistakes and learn because I think that’s part of the fear, right? The fear is, I don’t know, what’s the right terminology. And it’s similar to someone asking me or not knowing whether they can refer to me as Black or African American. So then they just try to avoid eye color. And it’s I’m okay with them saying, I’m not really sure what the right terminology is. And I can say, You know what? I’m not either, because someone who looks like me standing next to me the same skin tone as me might say, they’re, they’re African American. And I say, I’m black. So it’s okay to ask. And I’m okay with someone making that mistake, because I know that I expect everyone to know. And I think so that’s where we got to. That’s, that’s the crux of the challenge that we have run on di is just that example itself. I did not know that saying visually impaired is not appropriate. Right? Well, no.
Michael Hingson  25:46
And let me let me be real clear. Most people still say that, including blind people, I’m saying, think about the concepts of visually impaired visually, visually, what does that have to do with it? Because I don’t look different because I’m blind. Impaired. That means that I’m generally in the fear world considered less, because I’m not impaired, but you’re visually impaired. And so the issue is, I think blind people are still learning that words matter. So to answer your question, yes, there is always space. And some people might be offended, just like there are people of different races, who may be offended if you call them one thing or another. But there certainly should be space to deal with it. I was in a
martine  26:36
position to educate and to learn. Sure,
Michael Hingson  26:38
absolutely. And that is really what it’s all about. I was in a shopping mall, or actually at a store and an IKEA store. And this young man came up to me and he said, I’m sorry. And I said, Why are you sorry? And he said, I’m sorry, you can’t see. And my immediate reaction, and I said it was well, I’m really sorry that you can Why are you sorry? Well, you can’t see. I love that. Yeah, yeah. And I said, Look, I say really doesn’t have anything to do with it. And by that time, his mother came over and dragged him away, which goes back to what you said before, so we didn’t get to continue the discussion. But the reality is, I think on all sides, we need to recognize that words matter. And we do need to change and have the conversation. So it is something that is extremely important to do, because the reality is I’m not impaired. If we want to deal with it that way, then you are blind impaired. And I’m just as correct to say that, as you are saying that I’m vision are visually or sight impaired. And and both of those are not the way we should really deal with it.
Martine Kalaw  27:50
Yeah, and I, I, you know, something you said, around words matter. I was actually doing work with a client a few maybe last year, and, you know, with this company, and basically helping them to define their, what their di corporate statement was, you know, their, yeah, their philosophy. And as I was interviewing and speaking to different leaders, what I learned one of them said, you know, we should just wipe away the words that we’re using, like the, all this terminology that we use, and just come up with our own. And that’s really, you know, what, what I’m hearing you say, I feel like, in a space of Dei, in the history in the last couple of years, we’re just collecting a bunch of lingo for hearing right? In the media, coming from the academic space, and then we we don’t really know what it means. And we just use it because it sounds good, it sounds right. Whereas what we can do, what what probably would make more sense, is engage in discussion with people but asking permission, right? It’s one thing to just start to, you know, start asking someone to explain, you know, someone who’s blind, whether they prefer to be you know, called referred to as visually impaired or blind or what have you, rather than first asking, you know, is it okay for me to ask them ask you some more questions right about your idea? And then if the person says yes, then you can engage in that discussion. And that’s where the learning happens, right? And one your your interpretation, your feelings, your how you want to self identify might look different from somebody else who also happens to be blind, right? And that’s okay, too. But we can’t learn. We can’t we can never navigate that until we start to undo this. These terminologies that we we learned because we were so caught up in being politically correct and Using the right jargon, but in the end, we’re really not right. Like, when we talk about it’s interesting Latin X, you know, or Latina x is, you know, is a common terminology now that is used for individuals who are from, you know, our Latin American or Hispanic, but I’m learning that it’s generational, right? Someone who is in their 60s might not respond to being to being called Latinx, who’s from the Dominican Republic, they might just say, hey, refer to me as Dominican or no, I’m I’m Latina, or Latino. So I think it’s just about getting in a space where we can have discussion, ask questions, and not be immediately offended, because we know that your intentions are to learn, and something else that you said around inclusion, you said something around, like what real, real inclusion doesn’t necessarily what real inclusion looks like. And I actually, you know, as I mentioned earlier, in my my, my senior thesis in college, what I realized is that, you know, inclusion has different definitions. So you almost have to ask people, What do you mean by inclusion, right? Because inclusion can mean, hey, let’s all come as we are, and be in this space together. And we’re all equal in this space, or inclusion can look like, Come and join us and be part of us. So become like us. And that’s more of like a simulation acculturation, right. And so when organizations when clients say, we really want to foster inclusion, the next best question that I ask is, what does that mean? What do you mean by inclusion? Tell me what that actually looks like.
Michael Hingson  31:58
Yeah, but if we look at the definitions that existed, that exists today, there are definitions of inclusion. And so I still submit that in reality in the long run, if we don’t force people to adhere to a definition of inclusion, that doesn’t leave anyone out, then we’re doing a disservice that we’ve already done that with diversity. And diversity doesn’t really necessarily allow for inclusion, it recognizes difference. But we don’t recognize all differences as equal anyway. But when you get to the concept of inclusion, you are either going to recognize that in some way. All of us are part of the same world, or you’re not truly inclusive. And that’s part of what we, we do need to deal with. And so, for example, when you talk about companies that are making statements and creating diversity and inclusion statements, I think one of the things that the industry has to start doing more of is making sure that disabilities are included in the statements because if we don’t start pushing the conversation, we’re not going to ever really be able to have the conversation because we will continue to be left out. attitude about blindness, for example, people constantly say to me, or I read when people write about me, leaving the World Trade Center, Michael Hinkson, was led down the stairs by his guide, dog Roselle, which is absolutely the worst and most atrocious thing people can say, because it implies I don’t really have anything to do with the process. And Guide Dogs don’t guide or lead they guide. It’s my job to give the dog directions command by command and the dog’s job to make sure that we walk safely, but people don’t get that. And we need to start creating conversations in general, that hopefully will lead people to an idea that maybe our view is not really what it ought to be.
Martine Kalaw  34:18
Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And I think it does, partly, it needs to also I mean, inclusion is one element, but diversity is another. And diversity is about representation. And if you think about, you know, a lot of organizations and companies, they they have not established a space where they’re inviting more individuals who have disabilities, sometimes the challenge right they there there needs to be an opportunity to, to, to to Have a broader reach, right? And find candidates who can work. First of all, they’ve got to create positions and jobs where someone with a particular disability can actually, you know, be able to fully, you know, do the job and has the equipment and, you know, all of that do the job. But then, in addition to that, we’ve got to have a broader reach, right? Organizations have not really in general, done a lot of that enough of that yet. So therefore, right? That voice is it reinforced in the conversation around inclusion in need.
Michael Hingson  35:42
And hence, we have the unemployment rate among persons with disabilities in this country today, being between 65 and 70%. And it’s not because people who happen to have a disability can’t do the job. It’s the others.
Martine Kalaw  35:58
Yeah, others think you can’t, and they’re not looking, they’re not searching. Their pools are so limited, right? Their pools are limited, the pools are out there. But companies aren’t reaching far, far enough, far out enough or far enough out to identify those candidates. And the thing about it that I always emphasize is that, you know, it’s not, you know, when you’re searching and you’re broadening your reach, it’s not what you’re reducing, or watering down the quality, the qualifications of the applicant, because the applicant is going to apply in the same pool, as, you know, other applicants, the ones that you the pool that you typically look at. So for example, if you start to broaden your reach, and you happen to have a candidate, you know, who is blind and can do the job, and they apply for the position and they’re qualified, and they’re competing with other candidates that are not blind, they get the position of what difference does it make, right? Because
Michael Hingson  37:05
that’s not usually what happens. Of course, what happens is in a job interview, the first question to the SAS is, how are you even going to get to work, it doesn’t matter that we got there to for the interview. And it doesn’t matter what the resume says. And most all of us can tell you horror stories about how recruiters and others if teach have have treated us when we get to an interview. And for the most part, people tend to not even say in advance that they’re blind, of course, it’s a double edged sword. Because if you don’t say you’re blind, and you get the interview, then the defenses go up when you get there. But if you do, say you’re blind before the interview, it’s a it’s a difficult way to it’s difficult process to deal with. But there’s a way to deal with to address that. But if you do say you’re blind, you won’t generally even get a letter back acknowledging that you send in a resume. And so that’s why I’m saying I think that the DEI industry, the professionals in the industry, need to start to really help push the conversation, because it’s not that we’re not trying. But it’s it’s that we’re, we’re being ignored. You know, we’ve got where this is National Disability Awareness Month, and national blindness Employment Awareness Month, October 15, is National white cane day, none of that gets mentioned in the media. None of that gets mentioned in the general conversation, and that’s what we really need to change. So, you know, those are those are things that that do have to be addressed. But I know your time is short. Tell me about your books. You said, You we talked about one, but tell me about your books. Yeah, absolutely.
Martine Kalaw  38:53
I mean, I, you know, Michael, we should absolutely circle back because this is something that, you know, I I definitely agree that dei practitioners in house out, out, you know, those who have their own businesses and work alongside companies, we can do more we can are, that’s, that’s one of the things we can do. And I’d love to learn about more organizations that, you know, that, you know, I can connect with, so that, you know, I can, you know, if I’m working with a company and they’re looking to recruit more applicants, they’re looking for interns, they’re looking, right, I can redirect them to an organization where they can find applicants who are from an underrepresented group, you know, one disability, a particular disability. So, I do think that there’s more effort that we can all do. And so I appreciate you sharing that. And then I so back to, you know, to your question, my book, my first book is my it’s called a legal On us a stateless woman’s quest for citizenship. And that was my memoir, which just gives you it’s kind of a guide on how I went from where I was as an undocumented stateless person to where I am today and how I navigated through broken immigration system. And the second book, which is also available on Amazon, and is also a an audio book is The ABCs of diversity of managers guide to diversity, equity and inclusion in the new workplace. So it’s really meant to read to to be like a primer on diversity, breaking it down, and how managers specifically can incorporate this into their everyday practices. So when we think about foundational Manager Development, diversity falls and reinforces that because managers are involved in hiring and recruiting in promotions and compensation, all of those elements of foundational Manager Development have an element of diversity, equity and inclusion within them. And so this book becomes a primer. Each chapter has an application that way you can, you know, self reflect and then a piece where you can apply it to your, to your, to your everyday job, and to your direct reports. And so, I encourage everyone to, you know, tune in, get a copy on Amazon and also, I have a masterclass every month, you can go on my website, Martinekalaw.com, and sign up. It’s a complimentary masterclass on Dei, its main mainly focused on it’s targeted to human resources professionals who are trying to implement DEI effectively in your organization’s so they can join in for an hour, I will give them the top seven things that they can do in the next 90 days to really move dei forward. The next section session is October 18. And then there’s another one November and then so forth.
Michael Hingson  42:10
Spell your your name and the website. Again, you’re not spell it all out if you would.
Martine Kalaw  42:17
Yes, absolutely. It’s Martine M A R T I N E K A L A W.com. So www dot Martinekalaw.com. And when you go there, you’ll be able to find a link to both of my books, as well as the masterclass.
Michael Hingson  42:39
Well, I hope people will reach out. I think this is a fascinating discussion, and I think we should continue it. I think what I believe it will be great to do that. And I think we between us have a lot to offer people. I’d love to hear how you who are listening to this feel about this, please shoot us an email, you can reach me Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. And you can go to our podcast page if you’re getting this elsewhere, Michaelhingson.com/podcast. But either way, we hope you’ll give this a five star rating when you review it. And I hope that you will email Martine and me with your thoughts. We’d love to hear what you think. And maybe you’d like to come on the podcast and talk about it. So Martine again. Thanks very much. I really appreciate your time and the chance to be here.
Martine Kalaw  43:29
Thank you, Michael. It’s been a pleasure.
Michael Hingson  43:36
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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