“If you’re designing a space for the most marginalized folks, by definition, the entire experience is going to be more inclusive for everybody.”
– Pam Slim
It is a gift to have Pamela Slim as our guest for the official start of Inclusive Life Podcast Season 2.
The conversation illuminates Pam’s skills at disrupting business as usual. She points out over and over again the choices business owner’s can make to cultivate one’s business as an ecosystem versus approaching business building as an empire, amassing market power through competition, extraction, and hierarchy.
The conversation opens with the metaphorical opening of Pam’s new book, The Widest Net, which she’s dedicated to her dearest friend, Desiree Adaway. Pam holds up Desiree as a model for inclusive business leadership. Clarity, honesty, and revolutionary love are what she brings both to their friendship and to those she manages. What Pam and Nicole are highlighting in this opening tribute to Desiree is the tap root of a thriving ecosystem: companionship and community built around shared values. As listeners, you will feel the strong weaving of the net.
Many of us are in the process of building business, with all the insecurity and fear that accompany this journey. And we may not notice the water we are swimming in and how it’s affecting us and by extension, our team and clients. We can’t underestimate the impact of this: a competitive, scarcity-based, transactional approach to business success is isolating and rigid. It leaves little room for mistakes or authenticity. And if there is no room for authenticity, then there truly is no room for inclusion.
Often, equity and inclusion are values we want to work in AFTER our businesses have reached a certain level of stability. Once we get “there,” we’ll really focus on equity. What Pam has seen in her long career in coaching business owners is that it doesn’t get easier to prioritize equity and inclusion later. In fact, without centering equity and inclusion at the outset (or starting now), business owners inadvertently build their businesses with practices that center whiteness and hierarchy.
This is where resources like The Widest Net come in.
Nicole and Pam weed out the central themes of The Widest Net and Pam’s evolving approach to business and coaching. They identify that practicing clarity, consistency, and ecosystems in an iterative and curiosity-fueled cycle is a way to weave a wide supportive, inclusive net.
Mind you, Pam is not talking about casting a net, which is much more of an empire building approach. She’s talking about weaving a net that draws folks (including you!) into a connected community where everyone’s unique gifts and lived experiences are valued and each can thrive.
This is not easy work. And that’s exactly why we need a wide net.
Listen in. We can’t wait to hear your takeaways.
This Conversation Also Includes:
- Equity and inclusion: not “nice to haves” but qualities and practices that fuel businesses
- The validation that all of us business owners and managers are agents of change doing transformational work
- The importance of being open
- Why there is never a better time than now to build an inclusive and equitable business
- Choosing curiosity as a posture when leaning into inclusion and equity, especially as a new business owner
- Disrupting empire building while building our businesses
- A discussion of transformation and transaction that transcends the binary
- The three themes of The Widest Net
About Pamela Slim:
Pamela Slim is an award-winner author, speaker and business coach who works with small business owners ready to scale their businesses and IP. She is the author of Escape from Cubicle Nation (Penguin Portfolio, 2009), Body of Work (Penguin Portfolio, 2014) and The Widest Net (McGraw Hill, November, 2021).Pam and her husband Darryl Slim co-founded the K’é Main Street Learning Lab in Mesa, Arizona, where they host scores of diverse community leaders and regular small business programming.