Minisode: Get Connected with Tamara Ghandour, Tyrone Holmes and Nora Burns, Featured Speakers at Crestcom’s Virtual Leadership Summit

Get to Know the Featured Speakers for Day 2 of Crestcom’s Upcoming Virtual Leadership Summit! Connected

Jenn DeWall:  Hi everyone! It’s Jenn DeWall. And if you’re tuning in with us each week, we know that you’ve invested in yourself and furthering your leadership journey. At Crestcom, we believe great leaders aren’t born, they’re made! They turn skill into habit and habit into instinct. Continue your growth journey and learn to make leadership instinctual by joining us for a complimentary Leadership Summit around the theme: Connected. Connected is a two-day virtual leadership event where we’ll discuss what it means to be connected, whether that’s creating meaningful connections with customers, building connected teams and inclusive cultures, having the courage to innovate, leading with compassion, or becoming more authentic in our professional and personal relationships. We have a packed lineup of speakers ready to help you build authentic and strong connections. Save your seat now and get connected with like-minded individuals on April 28th and April 29th. That’s this week from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern, you can register at

Now on today’s episode, it’s a mashup— you’re going to hear from three of the speakers that will be appearing on April 29th, Tamara Ghandour, Tyrone Holmes, and Nora Burns. Here’s a clip of a recent episode that I did with innovation thought leader and expert and founder of, Tamara Ghandour.

 Clip From: Everyday Innovation with Tamara Ghandour

Intro:  Hi everyone, Jenn DeWall here, and on today’s episode of The Leadership Habit podcast, I sit down with author, speaker, and founder and president of Launch Street, Tamara Ghandour. Tamara shares her insight as an innovation expert on the four traps of certainty that leaders and organizations fall into that jeopardize innovation efforts. I’ve found a lot of value in Tamara’s episode and I hope that you do too.

Jenn DeWall:  Hi everyone and thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode of The Leadership Habit podcast. It’s Jenn DeWall and today I am so excited to introduce you to innovation thought leader, the creator of the IQE assessment,, and the president and founder of launch street Tamara Ghandour tomorrow. Thank you so much for joining us today. So it’s so great to have you. I’m- look, I just like love everything about you and I’m just was so excited for our interview.

Tamara Ghandour:  Well thank you for having me and we have so much to talk about. I’m just don’t know where to start because it’s going to be so good.

Jenn DeWall:  I know. Well, first we have to talk, we have to go to the basics because I have gotten to know a lot about you and what you do, but could you just tell us a little bit about what you do, what Launch Street is and how you play in the innovation space for those that may not have heard of you yet?

Tamara Ghandour:  Yeah. I love how you said that. Play in the innovation space too. So my company— Launch Street. What we do is help individuals and teams gain a competitive advantage through the power of innovation and what we really do as the human side of innovation. We, we’d like to think of it as we unlock the “I” in innovation. So you can think about innovation in the sense of what’s the process you use or what’s the culture we want to create. But all of that is really built on the foundation of how do you, individuals, how do your teams, how do they innovate as humans? How do we bring that to the forefront? Because the reality is we can invest in all the processes and tools and flavor of the month technology we want. But if our people aren’t being innovative, none of that actually works anyway. So companies will work with us, really come to us because they say, Hey, we know people are our best asset. So we want to get them to be more innovative both as individuals and then as high-performing teams so that we can build a culture we’re looking for. So that’s, that’s ultimately what we do. And I have to say, Jenn, it is, it’s so rewarding because we get to see transformations, not just at the company and bottom-line level. That’s super exciting. But where it starts, which is that the people inside the organization,

Jenn DeWall:  Well and I think what’s so inspiring about what you do is you gave people the everyday person that may not be, or even think of themselves as innovative. You give them the opportunity to identify as someone that is an innovator. And I think knowing the importance of innovation, it’s so important that we give people that power. And I love that you, you take it down to that human-level or you have the eye-level because it is so essential and everyone should be innovative.

Discouraging Innovation Starts Early

Tamara Ghandour:  Well, and I think, you know, we could go and on about why innovation is so important if we want to. I mean we, a lot of us know that the times are changing. The competitive landscape is fiercer than ever before. The rate of change is faster than ever.

The pressures are bigger. Like all that is true. But at the end of the day to, to win in this marketplace, the company has to be innovative across all the departments, right? All the people. And that means not just the cool people, but it means all of us. And I love the way you said that. We call them everyday innovators because that’s what we all are. We’re all innovators in some way. And I think for a lot of us, we just trained ourselves out of it over time. In fact. So there was a super cool study that I found that, uh, it’s so fascinating.

So in schools with teachers, they asked them to rank what are the most important skills for your students. And of course, creativity was at the top. Then they asked them to rank their students on who, which ones were the most creative. Then they asked them to rank how much they like those students. And sure enough, the T, the kids that were ranked highest, and creativity were ranked lowest in terms of teachers liking them. And don’t get me wrong, this is not about teachers being bad. If 30 kids, 35 kids in a classroom, they’re just trying to like manage to the test these days. That’s a system issue, which we can talk about another time. But what was fascinating to me is it’s because when you’re being innovative as a kid, you’re being disruptive. You’re not following the rules. You are thinking differently. You require different learning styles. So at a very early age, most of us are taught to fit within that little box and to not be innovative.

There’s consequences for being innovative. Yet it’s our greatest competitive advantage. So over years, and I hear it all the time. People go, Tamara, you know, Jenn’s innovative, you know, with her cool outfits and stuff, but not me. Like I’m not the innovative one. I’m just in engineering and I just do my job. But it’s because we’ve been trained over time to think that. But it’s actually all our research has actually shown that that’s not true at all. We all have it and it’s our greatest competitive advantage, not just for performing at our peak. So that’s one part of it, but also for having a stronger voice in the world because when we innovate, that’s how we actually contribute.

Jenn DeWall: In our next clip Tyrone Holmes will talk about our role as leaders in diversity and inclusion.

 Clip From: Diversity and Inclusion with Dr. Tyrone Holmes

 Intro: Thanks for listening to The Leadership Habit Podcast. This week, our host Jenn DeWall talks to Dr. Tyrone Holmes. Dr. Holmes is a professional speaker consultant and author of making diversity, a competitive advantage. Enjoy this great conversation about being aware of unconscious bias and leadership and how to make diversity a competitive advantage in your organization.

Jenn DeWall:  Hi everyone. it is Jenn DeWall, and I am so excited to interview Dr. Tyrone Holmes, Tyrone, thank you so much for joining us today on the leadership habit. We are so happy to have you. It

Dr. Tyrone Holmes:  Is my great pleasure. Thank you for having me.

What is Diversity and Inclusion?

Jenn DeWall:  So today we’re going to, we’re going to talk about the topic of diversity and inclusion, right? This is something that I think we see more and more in the news. We know that it’s an area of importance, but for those people that may not be familiar with diversity and inclusion, they may be outside of our space of where we live in play. How do you describe what diversity and inclusion is, Tyrone?

Dr. Tyrone Holmes:  That’s a great question. And if you ask different quote, unquote diversity, experts, they might give you some different answers, but I want to focus on one. That’s grounded in our ability to connect with each other as human beings. And when I think of diversity, I think of it on a Broadway. I think of the ways that we can be different and we can be different in a lot of ways. We could be different based on a position we hold in an organization, we can be different based on our hierarchy in that organization. We can be different based on our race. We could be different based on our gender. We can be different based on our age. We can be different based on our socioeconomic status. We can be different based on our physical appearance or physical characteristics. We can be different based on physical abilities or disabilities.

And when I think about diversity, I think about creating opportunities for people, with those differences to come together in ways that will allow the individual and your organization to be successful and, and allow people to be effective in what it is that they’re doing. Uh, whatever it may be that they’re doing in their jobs. And so I tend to think of diversity inclusion as steps that we take that create opportunities for people who are both culturally similar, as well as those who are culturally different, to connect with one another, to build powerful relationships, to build powerful connections, to engage each other in ways that will be of benefit to both the people, as well as the organization, and to do anything we can to create the situation and circumstances that will allow that to happen.

Jenn DeWall:  That’s I love the purpose of diversity and inclusion to connect, to unite people into have them come together, to be able to maybe seek, to understand, seek, to learn, seek, to connect, and just see each other, despite our differences. Why do diversity and inclusion matter for an organization? Why does it matter to have diversity? I know that that sounds like probably a silly question that seems obvious, but why does it matter?

Diversity is a Competitive Advantage

Dr. Tyrone Holmes:  The first thing I would say is that diversity isn’t necessarily a goal, but it’s there already in most organizations, particularly if you think about diversity in a broad way, looking at some of the dimensions that I mentioned a moment ago, the reality is that we have diverse organizations. We have organizations that are, have different genders and have people of different sexual orientations that have people of different races and ethnicities and religions and political affiliations and things of that nature. And so we’re already diverse. The potential problem is we don’t always engage each other as effectively as possible. We don’t always connect as effectively as possible. We don’t always interact as effectively as possible. And diversity and inclusion become important for at least one reason that being that we need to create the opportunities that people or we need to create opportunities for people to engage each other and to interact with each other and to connect with each other and to operate effectively in teams and workgroups in ways that allow them to be successful in ways that allow them to do their work efficiently, to do it effectively, to allow teams to work together for suddenly and effectively.

And when we do that, when we facilitate the circumstances that allow that diversity, that is always already inherent in our organization to come together effectively, the organization is going to function more effectively. It’s going to, I’m going to operate, uh, with a higher level of efficiency and productivity. And so there are a number of reasons that, that we could talk about in terms of why diversity inclusion and why do we have a focus on it. But I really like to emphasize because we’re already diverse and because we need to make sure we utilize that diversity in ways that are going to be a benefit and that we get a competitive advantage out of that diversity that we already have, that’s inherent to our organizations

Jenn DeWall:  In our final clip, Nora Burns shares with us how to overcome bias in the hiring process.

Clip From: How to Overcome Bias in the Hiring Process with Leadership Expert, Nora Burns

 Jenn DeWall:  On this week’s episode of The Leadership Habit, I sat down with Nora Burns. And let me just tell you a little bit about why this is going to be such a great episode, because we’re going to be talking about bias and hiring, but here’s why you need to listen to Nora. Think about it. What would you learn about leadership and workplace culture? If you step onto the front lines and mop the floors, stock the shelves, or made the deliveries. Nora Burns a leading expert in leadership and workplace culture did just that. And as a Fortune 200 Executive, Nora Burns witnessed the phenomenon of disconnection between the boardroom and the break room and its cost to the organizations. She became obsessed with understanding this disconnect in bridging the gap between titled and informal leaders while remaining in touch with all levels of the organization. In the years, she invested in analyzing leaders and working as the undercover employee for big brands, Nora uncovered some truly remarkable stories and enjoy as she shares with us, multiple examples and stories of how we can un-bias our hiring process.

Jenn DeWall:  Hi everyone. It’s been a while. And this week, I am sitting down with leadership thought leader, Nora Burns, and we are talking about the ever-important topic of bias in our hiring practices. Nora, thank you so much for sitting down on Crestcom’s Leadership Habit podcast. We are so happy to have you here with us today.

Nora Burns:  Of course, I’m delighted, you know, I’m a total geek on this topic, so this might be the longest podcast. Oh no, you’ve got a hard stop. Never mind. Okay. Seven-day podcast episode.

Jenn DeWall:  Yeah, we’ll just do the longest one ever. Let’s just talk a little bit about your background, what you do, because I know that you work with clients all over and you help them in a variety of capacities, but I’d rather hear you talk about it than me trying to fumble through. Because I, you know, I’m not always great in that capacity, but no worries. Just go ahead and introduce yourself to our audience. I know that you, Hey, we talked to you back, I believe. Oh my gosh, the pandemic, you know, 2020, this is your second episode.

Nora Burns:  17 years ago. I think it was about 17 years ago that we left.

Jenn DeWall:  But Nora, yeah. Tell us what you do.

Meet Nora Burns and The Leadership Experts

Nora Burns:  Yeah, so, well, my name is Nora Burns and my business name is The Leadership Experts. And I have this passion for how we lead effectively to ensure that the echos that we put out into the universe, both as leaders, as well as, as team members have a positive return. Right? So, so that’s kind of my passion. Everything I do is filmed around, focused around. How do you look from a different perspective? How do you shift your perspective to see this experience differently in order to improve it? So we’ve talked before in your previous podcast about the fact that I’m the undercover candidate and that I’ve been on over 250 job interviews, not as myself. Just looking for some things in the hiring process there to help organizations redesign theirs and I’m the undercover employee. So I worked for 15 months on the front lines of five different Fortune 500 organizations where they didn’t know that I’m an expert in leadership and workplace culture. And they saw me as the cashier and the warehouse employee and the person who cleaned the bathrooms a lot. So some of the things we’ll talk about today when we talk about bias. And the impact that bias has is informed not only by my own study, by doing a lot of reading and research, but also about my own experience during those research projects and what I saw and what I played with then and what kind of showed up. So, so that’s, that’s who I am and I’m based in Denver, Colorado.

Jenn DeWall:  So your experience, Nora, as you know, I think it really, it blows anyone else out of the water. To know that many people in leadership positions maybe have never even experienced some of the things in their organization, whether it’s the experience of frontline staff or even what their specific hiring process looks like. They may only have experienced at the time they got hired, but they don’t see the consistency as they onboard new people. So I’m excited to be able to draw from all of this information and knowledge that you have to share with our viewers. Thank you again so much for sitting down with us. So what like so hiring, I mean, we, how we even came about, like we need to do another podcast was just a really interesting conversation that you initiated just around, you know, the unconscious bias. But the question to start with then is why do people with good intentions still accidentally discriminate? Because we know that it happens. You’ve seen it happen more firsthand than I ever have. So why does it still happen? People, you know, why are we still discriminating?

Nora Burns:  Well, it’s interesting because there is the spectrum, right? So there’s the spectrum of people who are purposefully willfully, discriminating, people who are like, I absolutely acknowledge the fact that I will not hire a woman or a man or somebody who is of a different color or race, religion. There are people who will still willfully discriminate. We’re not going to talk about those today. That’s the whole, that whole bucket over here that are those people who are purposefully willfully discriminating. And then there’s the spectrum across to the people who have just stumbled into it and are accidentally discriminating because of their own bias because we all have bias. Bias on its face, right? Is not- bias is really a preference for one thing or the other. Right? I prefer the mountains to the ocean, which is why I live by the mountains. Right. Still love the ocean, but my preference is for the mountains, right? So that’s, that’s a bias that I have towards where I live. That’s not a discriminatory bias in terms of the hiring thing, but it’s a bias. So I want to make sure that when we say bias, we’re not attaching it as like the word on its own on its face is bad. Right?

Jenn DeWall:  Yeah. Because I think that is a misconception. I know that I’ve seen it in my space where people, you know, it can feel like a label that people just don’t want. Like, I don’t want to say that I have bias, but we all have it. We can’t get away from it.

We All Have Bias

Nora Burns:  And we all have bias. And it’s based on all of our filters, all of our own experiences and it is living in our brains. So it’s really neuroscientists who are at the leading edge of the studies on how bias impacts all of our decisions on a daily basis. But really it’s a matter of us reclaiming that decision-making control and not letting biases make the decision, but having us purposefully, willfully making the right decisions. But the people who are unwilling to acknowledge bias are the people who will most often let their biases take control. So it’s when people say, Oh no, I don’t have any bias. Like, you know, don’t attach any of the ISTs to me essentially. Right? I don’t have any bias. I am. I am always looking at everything completely clear. And what have you, and that is the most dangerous person to have as your hiring manager, because we all have bias. And we have a society that doesn’t really allow us to talk about it. We often get shamed when we talk about it, but within our organizations, we need to be able to say, I know that I have my own biases. And so I want to make sure that when I’m hiring, I’m taking that into consideration so that I’m not tilting the scales. I don’t have, you know, the fingers on the scale of one side of that. And it’s small, they’re little things. They’re little things. Our brains are incredible. Okay.

So like today I’m drinking a hot coffee. I love coffee. So I’m drinking a hot coffee. If I were interviewing you for a job while I’m drinking this hot coffee. And then in the next hour, I interview an equally qualified candidate, someone who face on the face of your resumes and your work experience and your job samples, it would be difficult to discern, which of you is actually the stronger candidate and I’m interviewing them next. And I’m finished with my coffee and I go and pour myself nice cold ice water. My bias is going to give the preference to you because I was drinking a hot beverage and I, my unconscious bias, there’s just something about her that was just warmer. It’s just really warmer than that other person.

Jenn DeWall:  Wait, what!? That is mind-blowing to think that even some, a beverage choice, which I think, you know, I know you’re talking about accidental, you know, accidental bias, but I had no idea to even think that what I would have were a beverage could potentially play into how I perceive someone in an interview.

Nora Burns:  Yeah. So now let’s add asking different questions in a different room at a different time of day, or like all of the other things that change in a shift during a hiring process. And then we’re, and then when we get to the end of the hiring process, if we haven’t used a data-driven process, standard hiring questions in a data-driven process, oftentimes hiring managers will say, I don’t know, my gut just says to go with this person. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. As soon as, as soon as you use the expression, “I don’t know why I prefer them over the other one,” bias is at work. That’s your cue. You know, there is bias at work when you say that.

Join us to hear from all these speakers at Crestcom’s Leadership Summit

Jenn DeWall:  I hope you enjoyed this Mini-sode— this mashup of these great speakers. Don’t forget to register for this event at I hope to see you on April 28th and April 29th. Again, that’s this week at Crestcom’s Leadership Summit.