Gabrielle Claiborne – Embrace your truth: a journey of authenticity

"What does authentic leadership look like in the workplace? How do we encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work? Authenticity is a journey and is unique to each of us. In her memoir meets self-help book, Gabrielle Claiborne, co-founder of Transformation Journeys Worldwide, shares her insights into what it took for her to embrace her authenticity as a trans woman, and invites readers to embrace new facets of their unique truths—whatever those look like for them. In this dynamic conversation, Gabrielle outlines steps into your ever-evolving authenticity and tips to connect with your purpose. She also details actions that trans allies and advocates can do right now to foster inclusivity and respectful interactions. Listen today for a portal to living a purposeful life."

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Interview with Gabrielle Claiborne

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Well, good afternoon. Today we're talking with Gabrielle Claiborne. It's pride month. We want to explore deeper the previous conversation we had with her. And this time we want to talk about her book, talk about more gender equity to include all women and, and a term that she uses that I'm actually going to ever expand on later in the call. And that's this notion of gender expansive. And what do we mean by that? Um, so it's my pleasure to welcome my co-host Uh, Amanda, uh, first of all, I want to start by saying I'm, I'm enjoying, you know, my beverage of choice, typically a nice dry French Rosé on a hot June day in Atlanta. What about you?

Amanda Hammett: Well, um, you usually refer to it as the ice tea wines

Jeffery Tobias Halter: The ice tea of wines, of course.

Amanda Hammett: So today I am back with my vodka club soda and lime. My traditional summer sugar-free drink, I guess. It makes me feel like I'm healthy.

Amanda Hammett: So, um, it is my absolute honor to welcome back Gabrielle Claiborne, um, back to Win(e)d Down Wednesday. Uh, if you have not seen her previous episode, please go back and check it out. It was phenomenal information for everyone, but we spoke with her recently about pride month and about building inclusive organizations. And today we're going to continue that conversation. So Gabrielle is the co-founder and CEO of Transformation Journeys Worldwide, which is an inclusive training and consulting firm with a transgender and gender expansive focus, her award-winning and certified LGBT business in enterprise consultancy helps cutting edge organization. Position themselves to attract and retain the best talent and foster collaborative working environments, which maximizes innovation and directly impacts the bottom line by creating fully trans inclusive cultures. Now Gabrielle currently serves as the co-chair of the national LGBT chamber of Commerce's TGX initiative as the co-chair of the trans affairs committee of the city on the city of Atlanta's LGBTQ mayoral advisory council as secretary of the out Georgia business Alliance. And, as chair of their TGX 360 workplace and entrepreneurship initiative, man. I mean, I don't know how you have time to sleep with all this that you have going on. In addition to all of this in 2020, she published her memoir, which was memoir meets self-help book. Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity Uh, Gabrielle is a sought after speaker activists and thought leader whose work has been featured in Forbes, and the Atlanta business Chronicle,

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Gabrielle, welcome back to Win(e)d Down Wednesday, what's your beverage of choice.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Thank you for having me back. My beverage of choice is typically a Molbak. I love the red wine today because I am heading to the beach in a few days. I'm staying clean and I'm drinking my water.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, I love it. Okay. So Gabrielle for listeners who missed the earlier episode that we briefly touched on, would you share a very short background and description of the work you're doing through Transformation Journeys?

Gabrielle Claiborne: Yes, so we are an inclusion training firm with the transgender focus, so we help a myriad of organization, whether myriad organizations, whether it's a corporate client, whether it's a medical or mental health peer client, whether it's a spiritual community, a municipality and educational institution, we helped them establish cultures of belonging. For trans and gender expansive individuals. And we do this through both personal cultural competency training, and also organizational and targeted cultural competency training. And we've been in business for seven years. And over the, over the last seven years, we have developed a very robust curriculum of, uh, the different services that we offer. And we're very grateful that organizations continue coming back to us to continue the conversation.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Well, that's great. You know, so our last episode, we focused on some of your corporate work. We're going to be a little more personal in this interview now, and I'd love for you to share with our readers, um, some, uh, insights from your book, Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity As you describe it, a memoir, meet self-help book. Tell us more.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Here's my book. Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity You can find it on Amazon. And I was very intentional and I'm writing this book because not only did I feel like it was very important for, especially in the times that we're living in for successful trans stories to be shared. because, I feel like a lot of our community for those who are just starting out on their journey, they need good role models to emulate and to look at and say, if this person can do this, then I can do this as well. So I want it to be very intentional in making sure that there was a positive story out there that the community and an ally or an advocate can really tap into. But I also wrote it because when we're on A Journey of Authenticity, Uh, authenticity looks different on us, right? I mean, it just so happens to that. My, uh, aspect of my authenticity is that I'm a transgender woman. So in this book I share the, the lessons learned the insights, spiritual insights. However you want to, whatever phrase you want to use, that we all have that are universal by the way that we all have to navigate and come to terms with. And when we're looking to embrace any aspect of authenticity that is waiting to come forth in our life. And so when I talk about these, these lessons learned that I had to navigate it's things like building a support system around you, because you know, when we're on a journey of authenticity, that journey is not meant to be traveled alone. We have to have a good support system around us to help us continue moving forward, because there's going to be days. And I can tell you this from a firsthand perspective, there's going to be days when you're not going to want to get out of the bed. And so you're going to have to add that support system around you to continue encouraging you and being your cheerleader. You're also going to have to learn to do things like listen to your heart. I didn't even know that my heart spoke with five languages. And so as a result of writing this book and doing the research and living my life. Did I understand that my heart had been calling me all along to embrace this aspect of my truth. I had to learn to love myself all over again. I mean, especially when we embrace certain aspects about the authenticity, that really, that really don't rest well with even our family or those around us, our workplace, right. When we get a lot of pushback, we have to be able to love ourselves enough, to continue leaning into what our heart is trying to tell us and leaning into that still small voice and learning to love myself was a huge learning experience. And one of the most valuable things that I came to term. Learning to navigate then pushback, you know, like I said, there's going to be folks who are going to say, you know, this is impacting me and I'm really not liking what this is doing to me. Right. So, uh, how do you prepare for that? How do you do that in a way that is in integrity with yourself and also honoring the other party that may be having their own journey with your, with your authenticity? Well, then I finish up by talking about, you know, what, what you could do, how you can live a purposeful life. And what I learned in my own journey is that there is a direct correlation between authenticity and purposefulness. You cannot separate the two. When you are authentic, when you're living authentically, you don't have to find your purpose because your purpose will find you. As you continue to show up authentically, you know, you will step into new spaces. Doors will open up for you to do new things, great things. And so that's kind of what the book is about. It's more of an invitation to the reader saying, okay, this is what I had do. Get honest with myself. What do you have to do to get honest with what your heart is inviting you to consider.

Amanda Hammett: So Gabrielle, following that thread for just a second? What conversations has your book spark? Has your book sparked?

Gabrielle Claiborne: Well, one of the conversations that it sparked is what does authentic leadership look like in the workplace? And I've actually started doing a lot of speaking around authentic leadership because, you know, when it comes to showing up in the workplace authentically, there's a lot of barriers that often times. We have to, we have to navigate over, around and through. Right. And what I've learned is that, and I think a lot of organizations are learning this as well. If you want to maximize your employees, uh, um, production, production, and productivity, you have to allow them to bring their whole self to work. Right. I mean, we ha we've heard story after story in the training work that we'd done, that when you know, a person finally lets go of people's perception and expectations on how they show up and they finally show up authentically their performance reviews actually improve. So when we're talking about authentic leadership, when we're talking about showing up in the workplace authentically, it means, you know, doing those things that we have, we have to do to honor ourselves. Be visible. And at the same time, perhaps providing educational opportunity and educational conversation for those around us, who may not really understand what we're having to navigate. Right. So it's opened this door up around authenticity in the workshop, in the workplace and what it means to be an authentic leader.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: So I think this is a great segue point to kind of bridge, you know, our previous conversation around the work you do and your book. And also as we always talk about allyship, so Gabrielle as an ally, how do I even start to have a conversation? You know, because I, you know, I we we've had other guests on, uh, and, and it's not your job as a transgender woman to teach the world. Now you take that role on, but most transgender women wouldn't necessarily want to go there.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Right.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: So, so talk to us about what allies can do. What would you like us to do to start this conversation?

Gabrielle Claiborne: Great question. The question we get all the time. Uh, I think the first thing that I would say is you can educate yourself. You don't have to wait on me. You don't have to wait on another trans person. Right? I mean, my goodness, we have Google, And if you Google trans advocacy or trans ally, I will tell you, you will have more information pop up on your screen, then you will know what to do with. So, and, and, and to your point, Jeff, it's really not, it's not realistic to expect for someone else to educate you. I mean, when we're talking about other, uh, inclusion and diversity inclusion initiatives, One of the things is that you've got to do your own work, right?It's no different in this conversation. So do your own work, educate yourself. We got a great resource on our website and I think that's going to be shared at the end of our time together today. So we really, you know, get plugged into that. That's a great place to start. I think another thing that you can do. To, uh, to be a good ally and advocate is understand the importance of pronouns. And I mean, my goodness, I feel like every time we have a conversation, pronouns comes up and as a trans person, I like, okay, let's get the awkward downs, but guess what? We're not beyond pronouns yet because people really don't understand why pronouns are so important to trans and gender expansive folks. Right. So something that you can do. Uh, to advocate for a trans person is add your pronouns to your LinkedIn profile. Add your pronouns to your Instagram profile, add your pronouns to your zoom name. Right. You can see my pronouns in my name here. If you, if you have a website showing, you know, uh, uh, Bio's, have your leadership team add pronouns to your leadership team's page. This is a great way to communicate to the trans community that you understand the importance of pronouns and that you're not expecting them to educate you on the importance of pronouns. Right. Um, I think another thing that is important to understand is that to your earlier point, Jeff, when, you know, not all trans people want to, you know, embrace and carry that mantle of advocacy, they just want to show up. They just want to be, right. And so consequently, you may not even know you're in the presence of a trans person. And so if a trans person decides to confide in you about their identity, That is for them to share and for you to hold in confidence, that is not something that you share outside of that conversation. So understanding the importance of not outing someone is important, and it's actually a matter of safety for many of us.

Amanda Hammett: Yes.

Gabrielle Claiborne: So those are the three things right off the top of my head that I feel like folks could do right now.

Amanda Hammett: Right now. You know, thank you so much for pointing out that safety piece. I think that that's something that I think that that's something that unfortunately we don't think about until it's too late until it's the new story. So specifically for sharing that piece, um, could you tell us a little bit more to switch gears a little bit. Uh, could we talk a little bit about the TGX 360 employment and entrepreneurship initiative? And specifically, I want to know for our listeners, is this a Georgia initiative or are there similar programs happening across the US or even globally?

Gabrielle Claiborne: So I'll answer the last question first. Yes, it is. Yes it is a Georgia initiative and yes, there are other programs that are already doing this work across the country and Philly. And, um, Seattle in LA, there's a number of different, uh, organizations, nonprofit organizations that are actually propping themselves up to advocate for equitable employment and entrepreneurship for trans and gender expansive individuals. And just so everyone understands what gender expansive term means. Okay. Um, over time. Our language continues to evolve, you know, just five years ago, uh, non binary folks started become becoming more visible because they started developing the language around their lived experience that they could actually use to articulate how they show up. Right. So non-binary individuals are those individuals who are that don't identify as neither male or female or a combination of both. And this, this non-binary gender identity that is really kind of an umbrella. If you will, there's a number of different non-binary identities that fall under this umbrella. And as our language continues to evolve, we're trying to find an acronym that actually works for everyone. So while trans is its own umbrella, typically, and sometimes non-binary folks sometimes fit under the trans umbrella, but not all the time. The TGX transgender expansive is becoming kind of an umbrella that encompasses all the different non-binary identities that fall under it. So that's what that TGX represents. So yes, it is a statewide initiative and it's actually an initiative that is supported by the out Georgia business Alliance, which is Georgia's only LGBTQ chamber of commerce. And this initiative is to advocate for equitable employment for TGX job seekers, as well as equitable entrepreneurship. Through mentorship opportunities for our TGX entrepreneurs. When you look at the data and the statistics of employment and entrepreneurship for the trans and gender expansive community, the data is woefully falling short of, you know, any other measurements or metrics that are out there when we're tracking impact of employment, equitable employment. So one of the reasons that we've develop this initiative is to meet those who are most marginalized in our community. That is our black and brown trans and gender expansive, uh, siblings, uh, brothers and sisters, who don't even have access a lot of times to these employers who could otherwise set them right side up and get them moving forward in their life, uh, from an equitable perspective. So this initiative is, is built strategically. To meet those folks where they are and bring them along through job readiness programs, to job fairs, where we're going to, we're going to position them in front of vetted employees or employers that will actually know how to navigate the conversations with a gender diverse individual showing up in their workplace so that we can set them up for success. That's what the initiative is about. We have an advisory group that we have developed that represents a cross section of our community, because we want to make sure that, uh, all of the voices in our community of all the different intersections of our lived experiences is informing our work. As we move forward.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Wow. Um, what a segment, uh, you know, how we never seem to have enough time. Um, but I want to, uh, personally, thank you Gabrielle for coming on. Uh, thank you as a friend and a colleague, uh, and for the amazing, amazing work you're doing, uh, that is, that is really driving differences. Um, you know, for our listeners, uh, just a reminder it's pride month, you can do one thing as an ally, and that is show up, just go to a pride event and take it in. And start to go from there. If you want to know more Gabrielle gave you some free, amazing tools that she has on her website, You can find out more about her and her book.
Uh, we're going to have you on again in the future. Um, and so, uh, it's just been, uh, our pleasure and our joy to, uh, to chat with you today. So thanks for coming on.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Thank you for having me.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.