A New Kind of Revolution: The Politics of Listening

politics of listening

This may not be a popular opinion. I’m writing it anyway because my own integrity requires it. First, I do not like what I see and hear on the news about what is happening in our country. In fact, I became so disempowered by the news that I opted out about 18 months ago. I just stopped paying attention and figured if there was something I needed to know, I’d hear about it eventually. This chafes my mother to no end. I’m not saying this was a good approach nor am I advocating you follow it. I’m just saying it’s […]

The House of Bags

plastic bag

She never called. The police detective on my case never called. She promised me. She promised me she’d call. That’s all I wanted from the police officers. The results. I wanted to know the results of my lab work. If they found a match. A DNA match. My legs were spread wide for the nurses. No tears. Calm. I was so calm as they scraped, pricked, and exposed my body to find answers. Photos. They took photos of my insides. Displayed. My insides were displayed on a large TV screen. I could see. See what I looked like inside. Was […]

October 2019: Approaching Politics

Ciara PreGame Portland Oregon

Even though we’re over a year out from the next U.S. presidential election, we’re already inundated with reports of candidates, campaigns, and controversy. We’ve barely had a breather, and here we are avoiding the 24-hour news cycle again like it’s November 2016. Even if we can find a way to opt out of the minute-by-minute ticker tape of speculation and developments, to live in a society is to deal with politics. We each decide on a level of participation on the political spectrum, from habits of avoidance to a lifetime of public service. Eventually, politics demand interaction, if not on voting […]

Burn, Baby, Burn: Notes From the Ashes of the #MeToo Movement

me too aftermath

Forests recover from wildfires through the germination of seeds that are stored in the earth, some of which need the heat of fire to germinate successfully. Singed trees can sprout new branches that become new trees. In short, many forests benefit from an occasional fire. But what of the business landscape after the wildfire that is the #MeToo movement? It has been nearly two years since the movement spread across the country and then the world, like a climate-change fueled wildfire. The tinder? The untold stories of millions of women who had experienced sexual or physical harassment, assault, or abuse […]

Your Culture is Killing You

Taped Shut Bronze Angel, 2019
Patina bronze
25 x 16 x 18 inches

If you’ve brushed up against corporate hiring practices lately, you’ve probably encountered the concept of Culture Fit—the idea that you should screen job applicants so that you only hire people whose beliefs and behaviors will integrate smoothly into your organization. It’s true that hiring people who don’t integrate well with your company culture can be highly disruptive. If you bring highly-competitive people into a highly-collaborative environment, or order-takers into an initiative-driven system, the outcome can be as hard on your existing staff as it is on the misfit new hire. However, Culture Fit can also be used as a proxy […]

Dear CEO: Your Feel-Good Diversity Initiative is Undermined By Every Other Way You’re Doing Business

05Montalvo119_print

Last week, I sat in huge ballroom full of entrepreneurs and cringed as a white male CEO gave a TED-style talk on how he solved diversity. Yeah, that happened. You see, he has realized his business – oh! also his industry – oh oh! also his city – were too white and too male, and so he co-launched an initiative to place a one person of color as a paid intern at each of several dozen local startups. He had written an editorial on it too (not the kind of searching op-ed that’s designed to explore potential solutions difficult problems; the […]

Mixed-Race with a White Identity

02Grinnell_222_

What happens when a mixed race child only has a white identity and then goes out into the world? I have spent my entire life straddling many worlds culturally, socially and racially. I am a mixed race woman and I am in a family of transracial adoption. (Transracial adoption means adopting children of a different race). My biological mother was a white woman from Dallas, Texas. My birth father was Afro-Latino from the Dominican Republic, which is a recent discovery. Before last year, I had never seen a photo of my birth father nor knew where he was from. I […]

The Elephant in the Climate Change Room

architect game

2018 may well have been the wake-up call for human-caused climate change, which dominated news cycles for most of the year. Multiple climate study reports released in late November elevated the call to action as a clarion cry, sharp and urgent. When 97% of the world’s climate scientists reach a consensus that the extreme climate changes associated with the Arthropocene are caused in part or heavily accelerated and amplified by human activity, it’s self-defeating not to take it seriously. The National Climate Assessment released its latest two-year study of global climate change on November 23rd, followed by the United Nations’ […]

Life is What Happens While You Were Making Other Plans

monopoly pregame magazine

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” This question is so common, it’s become an interview cliché. But the first time I was asked, I didn’t know about any of that, I was simply unprepared. I didn’t have a good answer, nor did I want to. Five years seemed like forever, and I hadn’t been living with any kind of long-term plans. I was 28 years old, supporting my young family-of-four, with few resources and a lot of financial hardships. All I’d ever known was short-term jobs at hourly wages with few benefits. I’d attended twelve schools by 10th […]