How Equity Fluent Leadership Inspired the Intersectional Perspectives Podcast

I rarely see or hear from people that look like me (Filipino, queer, non-binary, immigrant) in mainstream media and business. And, I plan to change that!

Since September, I’ve launched the Intersectional Perspectives (IP) podcast, which explores intersectional stories through intimate conversations and personal ideas on events shaping our world. It brings me so much joy when people share with me that IP has helped them through their personal struggles, allowed them to learn new ideas, or laugh at our antics. My podcast has been directly influenced by Professor Kellie McElhaney’s “Equity Fluent Leadership” (EFL) course. It is a living, breathing continuation of my final project in her class.

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During my past three years at UC Berkeley, I’ve been immersed in the type of social discourse and thinking that has completely changed the lens through which I view our world. Something I’ve struggled with in Berkeley classes is, I learn about the social issues and all the things that make our world messed up, but I rarely learn the tools or get the experience to make impact change. EFL is one of these unique courses that is so Berkeley. Kellie is an incredible educator, and I highly recommend folks who are interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) take the class!

Our class allowed me to learn the tools necessary to make the business case for DEI. Kellie and Jessie were able to facilitate a brave space to speak on our lived experiences, which is valuable in finding our authentic narrative as we continue to navigate our spaces and challenge the status quo within traditional academia and the business sphere. This inclusive space allowed our intellectual curiosity to flourish. Our dialogues of disagreement reshaped our perspectives on human identities and challenged us to question the status quo. We became critical examiners of our personal narratives and the materials and society before us. Our discussions generated insightful questions about how our communities have been affected, as well as deep reflections on the challenges we have faced due to the intersections of our identities. Without recognizing intersectionality, we are blind to the danger of one story and the biases that follow.

EFL also gave me the chance to lead a CSR consulting project with Gap Inc, to develop tangible solutions to advance gender equity throughout the company’s global supply chain as it relates to climate change and water stewardship. This not only gave my team valuable experience but also allowed us to make scalable changes for sustainability and social impact. One of my favorite moments was when we presented our final deliverable to a Zoom call of 40 attendees, which included the President of Gap Foundation and several program directors. It felt incredibly rewarding when our client told us they were impressed by the recommendations, and that our project would have a positive impact.

I will always want to use the privilege of my education to make the place a better world because I’ve witnessed and experienced social injustice throughout my life. During the resurgence of the BLM movement this summer, I founded and directed the BLM Fundraising Coalition to support Black communities during these pivotal moments, because I believe change starts locally. For me, the “Black squares” and “We stand in solidarity” posts were not enough; I called-in my communities for their performative activism. Collectively, we were able to raise almost $8000 to support various organizations that support Black and Brown communities.

I believe everyone has the capacity to change our world for the better. As for me, I’ll work towards highlighting intersectional voices and perspectives.

The future is bright! The future is intersectional!

At the heart of UC Berkeley's Business School, the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership educates equity-fluent leaders to ignite and accelerate change.

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