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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

Step Out on The Curious Foot: Boundaries Surrounding Inclusivity

Episode 65 | April 23, 2024

Amanda Cole, Executive Director of LGBT + Allied Chamber of Commerce joins us to discuss exploring diversity, equity and inclusion with curiosity rather than judgment.

Listen in to learn about being curious when it comes to understanding other's identities and needs in the workplace. We discuss all forms of inclusivity, how allyship is a verb and how to best support our teams.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Amanda Cole joined Plexus LGBT + Allied Chamber of Commerce as the first Executive Director, she is an activist with an extensive history in the non profit sector supporting at risk youth living in vulnerable communities and her community involvement and training includes leadership and change facilitation through Points of Light Youth Leadership, People’s Institute for Undoing Racism, and Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Listen in and she talks diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace as well as making space for the LGBTQ+ community. Be curious!

Key Takeaways

“If you’re not walking the walk, there’s nothing to talk about.”

[00:02:25] Allyship in the Workplace

  • The personal does get professional
  • The burden is often on the person who is different to have to educate
  • Boundaries are critically important, we can choose to answer questions or not join groups or organizations
  • Do not feel required to answer for your community, the sense of responsibility is a heavy weight
  • Be curious, try to do research, find answers outside of spaces

“To get societal change, it is literally going to come from our storytelling, from our visibility, from our vulnerability.”

[00:08:01] Recognizing diverse lived experiences & diversity and inclusion in workplaces

  • Allies should be accomplices, they are not nouns – they are verbs
  • We need to support and be inclusive and being informed in order to be the best leader/manager/team member to create the right work environment for them
  • Allowing your knowledge to be nuanced, meet team members where they are at
  • Realizing that smaller perspectives are parts of identity
  • Being accessible to your team – ask questions

[00:16:26] Small Business Inclusion Hub

  • Spend in places your values align
  • Employees will be more productive, stay longer, be happier
  • Taking the lead from other practices
  • Learning together
    • Setting in place meetings and goals each year, specific to DE&I
    • Time off policies – be trusting, bereavement shouldn’t be quantified according to relation
    • Value and importance of what types of businesses we work with, we want to give advantages and elevate businesses of what?
[00:24:43] Intentions and consequences

  • Intentions don’t matter – we need to learn from the experience positive or negative
  • Set boundaries not to work with someone who doesn’t align with your values

“Where am I getting in the way? Where am I getting in the way in a good way as an ally? Where do I need to get out of the way? Even if I’m super well intended. Let’s be honest and humble about what we’re contributing.”

[00:30:30] Reclaiming the word “queer”

  • This has been taken back by the LGBTQ+ community
  • This can also mean being socially just
  • Don’t ask people about their body or medical history
    • Search medical affirming care
  • Do not treat them as dehumanized

[00:33:28] The platinum rule of compassion

  • Feel free to research – prioritize people’s privacy or one on one conversation
  • Give them an option to choose no

“treat people the way they want to be treated.”

[00:39:09] Importance of using correct pronouns

  • It’s respectful and as important as calling someone the correct name
  • Can feel fearful at times when it becomes confrontational
  • It’s okay to slip up – as long as you’re continuing to put the effort in and openly discuss it with the person
  • Default to they – don’t expect by how masculine/feminine presenting someone appears

“our practice is not to assume based on how masculine or feminine somebody appears to us. We’re just going to default into using they until we know.”

[00:49:28] Plexus LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce

  • 54 in the United States
  • Showing others that we exist
  • Education foundation
    • Recruitment
    • Inclusion efforts
  • Events

Where to Find Amanda
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer, Kae Holmberg