Punk Rock HR Episode 137:
My guests today are Deepa Purushothaman and Rha Goddess. They are the founders of nFormation, which is a first of its kind, app-based community created by women of color for women of color. The community provides a safe space for these women of color as well as career advancement opportunities.
Deepa and Rha are on the show today because they are really trying to reimagine traditional power structures. They not only want to help more women of color find their seat at the table in corporate America but also want to leverage their collective power to change the way the table is formed.
I like people with big ideas who do brave things and Deepa and Rha are doing just that. I am thrilled to introduce you to nFormation and these women who are shaking things up. If you’re like me and want to be a co-conspirator on this journey to revolutionize the workforce, tune into this conversation with Deepa and Rha.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Why they came together to create nFormation.
- How nFormation works and why women of color should join.
- Their vision for recreating the corporate structure.
- Why community is so important, especially right now.
- How to overcome the terrible biases in the world.
- What listeners who are not women of color can do to help their efforts.
HOW DOES NFORMATION WORK AND WHY SHOULD WOMEN OF COLOR JOIN?
The whole premise of NFormation is that it is meant to be a safe and brave space. However, at the moment, the more successful women of color become, the more isolated they tend to become. In a community like NFormation, they can share their unique experiences. In corporate environments, there’s so much pressure to perform that these women of color lose their full voice. They need a space where they can let their shoulders down, let their hair down, and really speak in their full voice. Additionally, women and color have insights and perspectives that are really important. In the NFormation community, they are encouraged to be bold and bring their ideas forward. This allows them to individually and collectively think about what the new structures and paradigms need to look like for leadership today.
WHAT IS DEEPA AND RHA’S VISION FOR RECREATING THE CORPORATE STRUCTURE?
They have realized that a lot of the processes within corporate structures are set up for the advantage of the corporate structure. When issues are raised, there aren’t processes set up to even listen to the women of color who raised them. Rha and Deepa want to create a space where these women can come in and share what happened to them at work and then get feedback on how they can respond. They also want to provide resources such as a list of lawyers or counselors they can go to for help. Finally, they want to create an innovation strategy and a success plan to help women of color find new positions and then thrive in them.
HOW CAN I OVERCOME THE TERRIBLE BIASES IN THE WORLD?
Women of color need a space such as NFormation where they can be their full selves and express their honest emotions. This is a great first step in overcoming biases. Being in this environment exposes us to different conversations than we’re used to. Stop keeping everything separate and get into diverse environments and conversations.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP THEIR EFFORTS I’M NOT A WOMAN OF COLOR?
Before you even think about what you can do, you have to look at your own attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions. Figure out the degree to which those attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions lend themselves to being part of the solution or to being part of the challenge. We’ve all been conditioned to operate in certain ways and in certain environments. However, if we’re committed to being part of an environment where everyone can thrive, we have to be welcoming to all perspectives, thoughts, and identities. Create spaces where all people can feel welcome, and where true and genuine inclusion can really take place. Change won’t happen if we don’t get healthy in this way first. From there, just be open to being a part of the conversation and encouraging women of color to use their full voice and be their full selves at work.
Resources from this episode:
“How Do Professional Women Of Color Rise To Meet This Moment” article