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It’s not easy to be compassionate and clear when discussing controversial topics. To prepare for my session at the TLNT Harassment Summit, I’ve been watching videos of preachers and politicians who have unpopular POVs and, yet, somehow manage to deliver a message of hope and redemption and win audiences over.

How do you walk into a room of sinners and enablers and get them to acknowledge the elephant in the room and aim to do better? From Martin Luther King Jr. to corporate preachers like Simon Sinek and Mel Robbins, you have to step on stage with the goal of changing the world and making life better.

It’s easier said than done, especially if your audience is complicit in whatever you’re trying to fix. That’s why I’ve been studying Dave Ramsey. He tells poor and working-class people that they caused their money problems; however, they can also fix them using his simple plan.

I’ve had a few moments where I’ve nearly stormed the stage at HR events during the Great Recession because Dave Ramsey was there telling women that the first step to personal freedom is personal accountability. He never once mentioned the beauty tax, the tampon tax, and the overall expenses of raising children that consume much of a working-class parent’s earnings. Wealthy people earn beyond those necessary costs, and those wages and earnings are taxed differently.

It’s frustrating.

I had my pitchfork ready to go, especially in 2009 when I saw him at an event in New Orleans. Even during the worst economic time in modern American history — where rich people walked away from debt, but poor people lost their homes — the audience nodded their heads and seemed to believe that having an emergency fund of $1,0000 and using a zero-sum budgeting system to pay off debt could work for them.

It gave me pause.

Years later, and especially during this #MeToo movement, I think that people could walk away from horrible bosses and have more mobility in the job market if they had an emergency fund and less debt. I also think it would be cool if unicorns existed. I’m not naive.

Maybe HR professionals can’t storm into an office of a sexist, bigoted CEO and fire him on the spot. But they can implement and support fair wage and gender parity initiatives. They can advocate for employees who are traditionally overlooked during the year-end compensation cycle. And they can expand their employee benefits packages and offer financial coaching and literacy programs.

Can’t attack a problem head-on? Work backward and make inroads where you can. Be like Dave Ramsey. Fix the small stuff, gain momentum, and snowball your efforts into lasting employee reform.

And, if you’re doing some of this good work, I want to hear about it.

Tell me one way you’re working hard to enable employees to take charge of their financial lives. Email me at laurie@thecynicalgirl.com, and I’ll pick a winner. If you can get to New York City on January 29th, you’ll have a seat at the TLNT Harassment Summit.

Hope to see you there!