Taking on business partners and ego getting in the way of inclusion

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Katherine is a People and Talent Acquisition Consultant with a specialty in inclusion and neuro-diversity. She also invented a patent-pending ant-bias applicant tracking system which was featured at Web Summit and HR Disruptor! She is a dynamic, funny speaker who brings passion and education to the stage.

Biggest fuck up?

When I tried having a business partner, that was my biggest fuck up.

Twice in my journey, I took on partners. The first taught me a lot but didn’t want to put in work or money, so we separated on fairly good terms, but… the second one was a nightmare.

Again, he wanted me to do all of the work, but he put in money. That was his contribution, so it was fine at first. Then he quit paying bills and even our staff! I made it all right using my personal funds, separated (taking the entire client base with me) and rebuilt back under my brand name, which had never been deactivated.

I was angry with myself. I took an easy option to put more money into my business, and it bit me in the butt.
Never again.

The good news, I still have a terrific relationship with the staff and clients from that venture. All is well that ends well ultimately.


I work in HR and Inclusion.

HR is antiquated, and we have never really had inclusion, so everyone is really just winging it. The frustrations boil down to self-centeredness and the inability to think for the future. From insisting on using resumes, which are horribly ineffective and generate bias, to many DEI folks picking at each other instead of focusing on true inclusion. People’s egos, limited perspectives, and insistence on staying in their comfort zone are the biggest challenges in the market.

Useful advice

Break your ego defense and respond with curiosity.

Ego Defense is a natural phenomenon that once had its place but is hindering human growth and inclusion. Our brains need to be correct, so when something tells us that we may be incorrect, our brain starts throwing up defenses, essentially saying, “I’m right. I’m right!”. When we cater to this response and allow it to rule instead of keeping it in check, we limit ourselves and our organization.

Instead, respond with curiosity.

When you feel that ego defense starting, tell your brain, “It’s okay. This is not a threat”. Then, respond with something like, “Okay, tell me more about that.” Ask questions. Learn.

Ego stunts your growth. Curiosity accelerates it.


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