EP 266: Building An Inclusive Community With Whole30’s Melissa Urban & Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • The day Melissa Urban realized she needed to do more to make the Whole30 community more inclusive
  • Why she’s chosen to be public about her learning when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • How Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison is taking the lead on efforts to make sure everyone feels seen and heard within the community
  • What unique challenges Whole30 faces in their DEI efforts
  • Why listening is at the heart of so many of the initiatives they’re rolling out

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Who’s missing here?

What points of view, what lived stories, what experiences aren’t represented here?

Up until a few years ago, this is a question I didn’t think to ask.

The reason I didn’t ask those questions, simply put, is because the spaces I was in—the spaces I had created—seemed so normal to me. The spaces I was in and the spaces I had created were full of middle class, white women.

If I’m being frank, the only question I would ask from time to time were: where are the men?

Which probably just further proves my point… I was used to seeing men around, so I questioned it when they weren’t there. I wasn’t used to seeing people who had different points of view, different lived stories, and different experiences than mine so I didn’t notice they were missing.

Who’s missing here?

It’s a question that asks so much more of me as a leader than to “simply” even out the demographics.

“Who’s missing here?” asks me to consider why people are missing in the first place. What is it about the way I’ve built my business, my community, my brand that doesn’t create space for people who are different from me?

Over the last few years, like many white women I know, I’ve been on a personal growth journey to better understand systematic oppression and internalized bias—and their role in my business.

I’m personally invested in this journey. I’m politically invested in this journey. And yes, I see this journey as integral to my effectiveness as a leader and entrepreneur, too.

I do not have answers. I don’t even have all the questions! But I’m learning and sharing that learning with you is important to me.

While there are many white women entrepreneurs who are on this journey with me, few have been so public about her learning, her missteps, and the action she’s taking in her business as Whole30‘s Melissa Urban.

About a year ago, shortly after I finished my own life-changing Whole30, I noticed that Melissa announced she was searching for someone to lead diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for her company. I kept my eye on those developments and always enjoyed seeing her update her audience on the hire and progress they were making.

So when we decided to do this month on leadership, I knew I wanted to talk with Melissa and the woman she hired to fill this role, Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison, now Whole30’s Director of People & Culture. I wanted to find out why and how Melissa has been leading so publicly on this front—and I also wanted to find out what Kholi was doing to lead this change internally in the organization.

This conversation has been several months in the making—even though we recorded it less than a week ago! And I am so excited to share it with you.

Before I tell you what you’ll hear in this conversation, I want to preface everything by saying that…

I understand that Whole30 is probably a much bigger organization than the one you’re running.

It might be tempting to think that these issues are something that you need to deal with when you grow your community to hundreds of thousands… or even a thousand people!

But creating systems to evaluate internalized bias, building more inclusive communities, checking yourself on how you might be doing unintended harm…

…these are things that every single small business owner needs to consider right now. “Who is missing here?” is a question you can and should ask from the very beginning—no matter your identity or background.

Inclusion is not something you level up to.

It’s something you build into the foundation of how you build your business.

If you want to make an impact, if you want to truly do good with your company, if you want to lead, this is your responsibility.

Together, regardless of our different backgrounds, different experiences, and different points of view, we can create communities that invite people to truly belong—no matter what their particular intersection of identities or experiences might be.

There are plenty of great ideas you can take from this conversation regardless of the size of your business. And if you’re unsure of where to start, I highly recommend checking out the work of Erica Courdae, who we featured in Episode 263, Alethea Fitzpatrick, who we featured in Episode 242, and The Opt In podcast with Aurora and Kelly.

Alright, here’s what Melissa, Kholi, and I talked about in this conversation: how Melissa gradually woke up to the lack of diversity and inclusion in the Whole30 community, why she thought free equalled accessible and open to everyone, and the work she’s had to do to not immediately get defensive when someone points out something potentially harmful. Kholi shares how she pushed Melissa on whether Whole30 was just a wellness cult for while women, the challenges of doing DEI work with an internet business, and the specific projects they’ve launched to make the Whole30 a more inclusive community.

Now, let’s find out what works for Melissa Urban and Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison!

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

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