Gabrielle Claiborne – Pride Month 2022: Including everyone benefits everyone

How do we create cultures of understanding and belonging for gender-diverse individuals? And what role can each of us play in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces? Gabrielle Claiborne, co-founder of Transformation Journeys Worldwide, works with corporate clients to address the cultural assumptions we all have and develop strategies to create inclusive cultures and workplaces that embrace LGBTQ colleagues–with a focus on trans and gender non-binary people. It’s Pride Month and in light of the anti-transgender legislation that is rolling out locally and nationally now is the time for allies to show up and support their gender-diverse colleagues. The more we show up, the more we elevate conversations, and the more we advocate than collectively we bring visibility to a topic and someone’s lived experience. Get courageous and have uncomfortable conversations–tune in to learn more.

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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

Amanda Hammett: Well, good afternoon. Today we are talking with Gabrielle Claiborne about pride month and the role each of us can play in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. My name is Amanda Hammett and y'all it is summer in Atlanta. I am drinking a little vodka club soda, dress it up with mint and lime.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Very nice, I liked the mint part.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: You know, I go to my ice tea of wines, a little French Rosé. Uh you're right. It's Atlanta, it's hot. And so, you know, you gotta, you gotta refresh, you gotta refresh. Um, and, uh, what a great show we have planned. Um, it's my honor to introduce, uh, Gabrielle Claiborne. She's a friend, a colleague. I'll share more about how we came to meet Uh, but first I have to, uh, introduce her. Uh, Gabrielle Claiborne is the co-founder and CEO of "Transformation Journeys Worldwide" inclusive training and consulting firm with a transgender and gender expansive focus, her award-winning and certified LGBTQ business helps cutting-edge organizations position themselves to attract and retain the best talent and foster collaborative working environments. Directly impacting the bottom line by creating fully trans inclusive cultures, really impressive resume. She currently serves as the co-chair of the national LGBTQ chamber of commerce TGX initiative. We're going to hear about more of that later. She's co-chair of the trans affair committee on the city of Atlanta's LGBTQ. Mayoral advisory council. She's secretary of out Georgia business Alliance and as chair of the TGX 360 workplace and enterprise initiative, how you do all that is beyond me. In 2020, she published her memoir a self-help book. Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity She is a sought after speaker. She's a TEDx speaker, she's an activist and a thought leader whose work has been featured in Forbes and the Atlanta business Chronicle. Wow.

Amanda Hammett: I mean, I'm tired, just hearing about, I mean, all that you've been able to accomplish that is amazing. Well, Gabrielle, welcome to the show. Welcome to Win(e)d Down Wednesday. So Jeff and I have shared, what are you drinking today?

Gabrielle Claiborne: Well, I would be dragging a Molbak, but I'm heading to the beach in two days. So I'm trying to stay clean and drink water. But typically my drink of choice is a Molbak. So thank you for having me. It's so great to be a part of this conversation today.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Well, Gabrielle, it's been a while since we've talked, but I have to share the, uh, uh, the way we met, uh, and, and the growth that I have just seen you take exponentially. Uh, Seven or eight years ago, I think I was doing an event for the Georgia Tech Women in engineering. Gabrielle is a Georgia Tech engineer. And, um, she was an audience member and we connected following our talk. And I just said, oh my gosh, you've got such an amazing product. You've got so much to tell. And, and she took off from there. She got a TEDx, She wrote a book. She's in all these huge board seats. Uh, and so, uh, I am just so proud of everything you've accomplished, the amazing work you're doing. Um, it's, it's truly, truly amazing, but I want to share, I want you to share just a little bit more about your personal story. And your background.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Yeah. Thank you, Jeff. And, uh, it, you know, I can't believe it's been seven to eight years already. Oh my goodness. Where's the time gone, right? Um, so, you know, for much of my life, I was raised in a culture that expected me to show. The way that culture expects a white cisgender straight male to show up. Right. I've got a great education. Uh, grew up in a home of family where, you know, I was a Pentecostal preacher's kid. My parents raised me in a wonderful home. Life with my sister. Um, I got married and we had three amazing kids. I own the construction company for 30 plus years, uh, and, and showed up that way, uh, in our culture, all the, all along. There was something playing the background around this internal agenda dilemma that I still had no words to describe. I mean, I, I knew that there was something different about me at the age of eight, but because of the environment that I grow in, because this is way before the internet, I'm not going to tell you how far back that was. Uh, you know, we just didn't have the language to understand these types of dynamics that were happening. Not only my life, but many folks. You know, across, you know, throughout our world, we're grappling with those same internal agendas, dilemma dynamics. And there were a number of invitations throughout my life that were inviting me to get honest with who I really was. Right. And what I didn't, what I didn't see at that moment was that they were invitations. I perceived them as setbacks, as failures, as disappointment's. But I learned to reframe those things to invitations and it wasn't until 2010. When I finally met myself for the first time internally and externally aligned, I saw myself in the mirror as Gabrielle in my true feminine expression. And immediately when I saw myself in the mirror. I said that's me. So that set me on the course of finding, not only me, but what is mine to do in this world? I'm a big app for purposeful living. I'm all about leaving a legacy in our world. Unfortunately, when I came out as is the case with many trans and gender expansive individuals, my life turned upside down with my family, with my vocation, with my friends, with my spiritual community. I mean, everything turned upside down and I had to literally start my life over at the age of 50. And so this set me on the course of You know, finding, what can I do to survive as a transgender woman. And so when I first transitioned, there were a couple of vocational integrations. I had a cleaning company and a home renovation company because I was somewhat bringing that forward into my new, you know, existence in this world. But over time as I continue to step more into my authenticity as a transgender woman, those vocation iterations really didn't work for me anymore. And I've always wanted to be an advocate for my community. So, uh, seven years ago, my business partner and I co-founded Transformation Journeys Worldwide, which you kind of gave a brief description of who we are and what we do. And so today, What we are doing is we're in now showing up in fortune 100, 500 companies, medical and mental health care providers, municipalities, educational institutions, even spiritual communities, and helping them create cultures of understanding and belonging. For gender diverse individuals. And it has been a journey that has been so rewarding. It has been a journey that has been so scary because, you know, starting from scratch and starting in starting this type of company with a message that was so new to so many folks we were concerned, you know, is this actually going to be something that folks are going to invest in? So we're very grateful that seven years later, We're saying yes, folks are really leaning into these conversations and we're very grateful for that.

Amanda Hammett: Well, Gabrielle, I just, first of all, I want to commend you for the bravery that, that this has taken. Um, and, and I just, I find her story incredibly inspiring. Um, so I would love you gave me a perfect segue. So I would love to talk a little bit about your clients, the work that you're currently doing. And if you can give us like a success story, I would love that.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Absolutely. Well, like I initially mentioned, you know, we have a. A plethora of markets that we show up yet. Right. I think our bread and butter is the corporate space because they have the dollars typically to invest in these types of conversations. So, you know, we have seven years ago when we first started the business, we kind of didn't know what we didn't know. So we started with, with, uh, the basic conversation, the basic training, if you will, it was called the trans 101 in interacting, respectfully. With gender diverse individuals. And it was kind of more of a personal cultural competency conversation, right? Where we talked about the cultural assumptions that we all have around gender. Uh, we, we integrated, uh, parts of the conversation, including the importance of language in terms and definitions, because it was all new for many folks and it's still new to this day. Uh, and I shared my personal story, and then we Ended it with kind of a call to action by inviting the audience to understand what they can do to be personally competent when it comes to being a good ally and advocate for gender diverse individuals. And that that training really took off and, Come to find out what happened is, is our clients were coming back to us and they were saying, Gabrielle, what else can we do? What else, what other conversations do we need to be mindful of? Do we need to be leaning into, so over the course of this last seven years, we have developed a very robust curriculum from trans 101 to trans 202, which talks about business case and best practices for. Not only that personal cultural competency track, but also an organizational cultural competency track. But then we also provide targeted trainings for talent acquisition, HR managers, even, uh, customer service reps at call centers. Um, so this conversation, I think what a lot of folks are now recognizing in we're actually encouraged in them To understand that this is not a 60 or 90 minute conversation. This is a journey that we're on, right? It's not so much about the destination. It's more about the journey. So we're, we're very grateful that we are now beginning to show up in this kind of thought leader space. Like Jeff said to where folks are now reaching out to us saying we need some support, we need some help. And I will tell you some of the amazing. What, what makes us feel good and purposeful in our work are the amazing strides that organizations are taking. I want to, UPS is one of our clients. And as a result of doing a number of different trainings with them, they actually implemented a implemented a gender diverse. Um, inclusive, an inclusive dress code policy across 500,000 people in their organization. It's things like this that organizations are actually leaning into so that they can create that space of belonging to become that elusive employer of choice for a very gender diverse marketplace.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Wow. You know, The impact you're having is just amazing. Uh, I want to stay on kind of this business track, but I also want to acknowledge it's pride month. And I know you're involved in, in a lot of pride activities. There's a lot of, uh, corporate involvement, but there's also a lot of, uh, allies who, you know, want to come to pride and be supportive. So I'm going to leave this really open-ended. Um, what are the themes? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities. That you want to talk to allies and non allies about during pride month.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Great question, Jeff. And I can tell you now more than ever, we need to be having some conversations around the things that are happening locally and nationally here in our country. I mean, my goodness, when you'll start looking at the legislation, the anti-trans legislation, that's rolling out across our country. You know, we have folks who are reaching out to us saying. You know Gabrielle, what can we do? I mean, how do we advocate for these types of, uh, anti led anti-trans legislation so that we can be good advocates? And, and so I think one thing that folks need to understand is that, you know, when, when we typically think about going to vote. We think about going to vote for things that are important to us. I think because of the dynamic of where we're living in the dynamic of our culture, we live in a very polarized culture right now. And because of that, I think we start, we start, we need to start expanding our, our understanding of what our vote really means. Our vote is not just for ourselves and it is for ourselves, but it also is for those who we're trying to advocate for, we're trying to elevate for. So making sure that you're. You know, thinking about the things that are impacting someone else who may have a different lived experience from you is very important. So that's what we encourage folks to do is really educate yourself on what your candidate stands for and make sure that you're voting for the person that really will, will make not only will not only allow you to show up, but also others that may have a different lived experience. So that's one thing I would recommend. The other thing is, is visibility. Visibility. I think visibility is all of our superpowers. The more we show up, the more we advocate, the more we elevate other conversations. I mean, just like you and Amanda are doing today, you're at, you're advocating by elevating this conversation today to hopefully. Expand the perspective and the understanding of humanity. I mean, my goodness, when you think about the diversity in our world, trans people are just another expression of the human experience. And so as we elevate, as we continue and lean into these conversations, we understand what it means to, even though someone may have a different lived experience than them. What it means to sit down across the table, get to know them. I know a lot of times folks asked me, Gabrielle, how can we dispel this polarization? That's in our culture. And my answers sit down across the table, get courageous enough, being uncomfortable, get courageous about being comfortable with being uncomfortable and sit down across the table with someone who is different from you and get to know them. And you will find out That you have more in common with them with not, I mean, we're doing this around race conversations, we're doing this around other conversation, ability conversations. It's no different when you're talking about gender diversity.

Amanda Hammett: You know, I'm, I'm really glad that you brought this up. The, the being able to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And I think that that is an idea that sometimes in corporate America, is very uncomfortable for a lot of people and they don't push that envelope. So I'd like, I'd like a little advice from you. Um, let's lean into your insights. Let's lean into your process. What advice do you have for organizations as they strive to be more inclusive?

Gabrielle Claiborne: Great question. I think that. They not only need to establish a personal cultural competency within their organization, across the board. Okay. All employees, right. They also need to understand what are the best practices that organizations are leaning into when it comes to create that creating that culture of belonging. Right. Things like, You know, are you looking at your HR policies to make sure that trans and gender diverse folks see themselves in your, in your forms? Right? Are you, are you asking for pronouns? Are you asking for gender neutral titles? Are you asking for identities that a trans person can say, I'm comfortable checking this box. I see myself in this form, right? Making sure your HR Is doing those kinds of things, looking at your IT systems, you know, are you able to accommodate an individual who may not have legally changed their name yet, but they want to go buy a different, because it aligns with who they know themselves to be and how they're identifying, excuse me. So now organizations are recognizing the importance of making their IT systems flexible enough to allow for those accommodations, making sure your talent acquisition teams know how to navigate conversations with potential job applicants who may not have fully aligned legal documents. You may be sending across the table with a job advocate who is totally qualified for the role that you're trying to feel, but they may have. Uh, driver's license that doesn't have an aligned name. They may have a driver's license who doesn't have that doesn't have an aligned photo. These are some of the things that organizations have to start being mindful of when it comes to creating that culture of belonging. And then it's not just how they're showing up inside the four walls of their organization is how they're showing up outside of four walls. Are you showing up in the spaces? That my community are showing up been. Are you showing up at your local pride organization? Are you a member or a partner of your local LGBTQ chamber of commerce? The, when, when I see in my community sees an individual or an organization showing up in that space, then I'm going to lean in a little closer and say, Hmm, perhaps they are an employer of choice that I need to research. Right? So those are just a few things that I would recommend that folks really consider aligning to.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Wow, what a great session, uh, you know, we're, uh, we're planning on bringing you back. We have so much more to talk about that we haven't gotten to yet. So, uh, we're going to have you back in, um, in a future episode, but I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you are doing personally, um, for all our listeners and for all our allies out there, it's June. One simple action. And you know, Amanda and I talk about this. Every show, one simple action. You can take, go to a pride event, go as an ally. Just show up with an open mind and go learn and start a conversation. So that's our call to action for this month. Um, Gabrielle, we want to thank you. We're going to have you on again, but if you want more information about Gabrielle and her work, either personally or corporately, or to find out about her book, go to her website, www.TransformationJourneysww which is worldwide, but it's We will also post that on our link. Gabrielle, always a pleasure. Thank you for joining us.

Gabrielle Claiborne: Thank you. Thank you.

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.