By Debra Gould
There's nothing like family, and Ebony Speaker Debra Gould shows us how thankful she is for spending time with her son and his family in Northern California during the Thanksgiving holidays.
She traveled from her home in New Orleans and enjoyed the warm California sunshine cooking, singing with Pandora radio, and jamming on Johnny Taylor and Classic Soul BBQ radio station. She reflected on her beloved late husband, Joe Gould II, singing and dancing to the popular group Maze and refereeing every football game on Thanksgiving day. Debra misses her husband but is thankful for their love through the decades.
Her son, Joe Gould III, brings her the joy that only a mother feels for her child throughout the years. And now her grandson, Joe Gould IV, is showcasing his talents as a point guard at Contra Costa College. He is a first-year student and has already been voted the Captain of his basketball team while maintaining a 3.5 GPA this semester. Joe's days are long at school, yet he brilliantly balances his academic activities with his athletic pursuits and an active social life with his girlfriend.
Church has always been a priority for Debra and her family, and during her Thanksgiving visit, she worshipped at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, where the Rev. Dr. Clayborn Lea is the pastor.
On behalf of the entire Gould family, Debra wishes everyone a blessed holiday season and a joyous New Year throughout 2024!
By Carole Copeland Thomas
What This Video!
I decided some time ago to determine how many countries I wanted to visit before I died. Now, I don't plan on dying anytime soon… But I still want to visit the world and see more people and cultures along the way. My original goal was to visit 50 countries. But now I've already hit 26 countries, so I am expanding my goal to at least 75.
I recorded this short video on my August 2023 trip to Montserrat, the 26th country I have visited. I had a marvelous time both in Antigua and Montserrat. They represent destinations that make me grow as a DEIB professional and a citizen of the world.
What are your life goals? Where do you want to travel in life? How can you get there? Perhaps you need to start planning now for a trip you may not take for five years.
Whatever it takes, go on out there and determine what your life goal will be and how you will accomplish it.
I'm next headed to the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and many other places along the way. May you find some inspiration to take your life in new directions. Go on and make it happen! You have what it takes to expand your horizons!!
By Debra W. Gould, MS
As a leader, do you realize that every action you take and every interaction you have leaves a lasting impact on others? You can have the best of intentions, but if your impact isn't aligned with the intention, then your leadership may not be as effective as it could be. Why? Because in the end, what matters is not who you think you are but the experience that other people have with you. Your impact leaves a lasting mark, and in this blog, we share these steps to ensure you have a positive impact.
1. Detail the kind of impact you want to have. Most leaders have never detailed their personal creed, but doing so can be incredibly powerful. Therefore, get clear about who you think you are. Who are you, and what do you stand for? What do you value? What is your personal creed or stance in the roles that are most important to you in your life? How do you want to be known in your company and industry?
Once you have those questions answered, ask the most important question of all: "How do the things I just detailed show up when I'm frustrated or when things aren't going well? Who am I then?" It's easy to be all of those lovely things when everything is going well. But what about when things aren't going well? How do you want to show up during the hard times? How do you want to be known when things are tough? How do you want people to experience you in the midst of adversity? Most leaders lose credibility when things are bad because they haven't thought about who they are in those situations and the kind of impact they'll have.
2. Change your impact, not yourself. If the results of the feedback you receive don't align with your personal perceptions about yourself, it's time to make some changes-not to you but to your impact. As long as the new approach you try supports your values and what you deem as important, then you're acting with integrity and in alignment with your goals.
In closing, find out how others view your impact. An example of a direct approach is talking with someone you trust face-to-face and asking specific questions so you can get key insights.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc., based in New Orleans, and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success.
Debra can be reached at (504) 244-6576
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
By Michelle Porchia
In the past, I’ve written a few articles comparing gardening to business practices. With your permission, I will continue that theme in this blog. In the process, I encourage you to consider gardening, even if it is one pot of herbs, like basil. This encourages you to use gardening to take time for yourself and do something that is relaxing and enjoyable.
Once again, I’m behind the planting calendar for getting my seeds in the pot to start germinating for spring, and that’s ok. As long as the seeds get into the dirt and get cared for, hopefully, they will grow. Debra Gould, Debra Gould and Associates, and a member of Ebony Speakers, in her “Mindful Magic” blog series, she talks about using various skills to be successful in business. (Stress management, motivation, and monitoring your thoughts, to name a few.) I’m reviewing the knowledge and experience I have gained from the past three years of gardening, and I hope to have a beautiful and fruitful garden this year if the weather cooperates. As we grow our businesses, we need to tap into our various skills, tools, and experiences.
What are the new lessons?
As you continue in 2023, may your business grow and thrive. My wish for you is that you make a difference, take time for yourself, and enjoy the journey.
Nancy J. Lewis, MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
Authenticity is key to building sustainable and meaningful relationships, whether in professional or personal settings. Authenticity is key as we reflect on Black History Month (which should be all year) and celebrate Women’s History Month. Authenticity is about being genuine and true to your core values no matter what. In today's world, we often have difficulty being authentic and transparent because it can come back and impact our careers. Sometimes authenticity is not appreciated or celebrated because things are being done or said that makes others uncomfortable. Consider the following questions on authenticity as it relates to your world:
1. Does the culture of your organization support and embrace authenticity?
2. Are people encouraged to bring their whole selves to work?
3. Are leaders authentic in your workplace?
4. How is failure viewed in your organization?
5. Can authenticity and transparency be a reality for your organization?
Something to ponder as you realize the value authenticity can bring to your company. Authenticity has been linked to better work performance, engagement, and total wellness of employees. That is a good enough reason to create a culture that is open to employees being authentic in the workplace.
We lose creative ideas, develop silos, and polarize work teams when we fail to embrace this important but elusive attribute.
I want to share five things to remember about authenticity.
1. Authenticity is about doing and saying the right thing even when it is unpopular.
2. Authenticity is about being consistent with who you are no matter where you are.
3. Authenticity is about knowing what the non-negotiables are in your life.
4. Authenticity is about encouraging others as you operate from the abundance mentality.
5. Authenticity is about knowing how to lead from your heart.
Strive to live authentically as you move forward to greater success, peace, and love. One of my Nancyisms is, "Do you because everybody else is taken."
By Carole Copeland Thomas
Five international holidays converge on the scene every December (and early January) to make our schedules hectic, exciting, and pressure-filled. Wrapping gifts while shopping at odd hours of the night either pushes us into the spirit of happiness OR helps us find an escape path until all of the celebrations are over.
Here are related links to five holidays with religious and nonreligious implications. You'll learn interesting facts and figures that will make you scratch your head in amazement. The marathon includes Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. Learn new traditions and pass them on as the merriment continues throughout the holiday season.
May you celebrate the Season and get ready for an awe-inspiring 2023!
-Carole Copeland Thomas
Links and Resources For The Five Holidays
2 Winter Solstice
Parenting Article Written For Kids
History of the Christmas Tree
5 Three Kings Day
By Debra Gould
Men hate each other because they fear each other, and they fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they are often separated from each other.”-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mentioning Diversity- It doesn’t matter how easy to get along with what we believe we are; there will come a time when someone or something challenges that belief. Usually, the challenge is related to one or more of the cultural landmines outlined below. Look at the continuum and mark an “X” on the spot where you believe you fall from 1 to 5.
Achievement Relationship to Personal
Physically Distant to Physically Close
Linear Time to Non-Linear Time
Authoritarian to Democratic
Direct Communicator to Indirect Communicator
My Goals to Our Goals
Aggressive Attitude to Passive Attitude
SO, what do you do if one of these landmines explodes in the workplace or in your personal life? The WAY you communicate is going to be very important. Use the following steps as your guide:
· Provide feedback that gives the person information about the IMPACT of their behavior
· Use “I” statements
· Make a clear request for the person to discontinue making those statements or exhibiting that behavior in your presence
· Inform the person of the consequences of continuing to engage in offensive speech or behavior
The Minute-Being mindful of your diversity assessment-What do you think and feel about this? What do you do about this? Is there anything you would like to do differently about this in the future?
The Meeting of the Mindful-for fuller minds and moving organizations…please contact
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. (DGAI) based in New Orleans, LA. DGAI is a Performance Management company that provides management consulting, training, facilitating, customer focus group, community outreach programs, research/analysis, and executive coaching services to commercial and government clients. Debra can be reached at (504) 460-9641
email: email@example.com and website: www:gouldassoc.com
By Michelle Porchia
Women are the backbone of the family, the country, the world! We were reminded when I shared the information from the International Women’s Day site, that women continue to break barriers and make a difference…we are GETTING THINGS DONE.
I wanted to highlight outstanding women in this blog, but there are so many, the blog would have been pages and pages long. There are so many phenomenal women who have chosen to follow their passion; defy the odds, who faced challenges, even death yet they persisted. They changed lives. They changed their neighborhoods, cities, countries even the world. Many are unknown sheroes. Many are noted in history yet people don’t know about them.
According to the LA Times, “The pandemic has disproportionately affected women, with significant numbers laid off, leaving their jobs or reducing work hours to care for children being schooled at home or to care for other family members.” “It had another effect too: Women, especially those who had never before started a business, took up entrepreneurship, spurring a wave of first-time business ventures that experts say is a pandemic silver lining worth investing in.” “This virtual presence has also opened a plethora of doors for people to connect with people around the world but also see how they can share ideas, start businesses, meet new friends, begin new relationships,” “It’s like no other time.”
What can we do to engage with other women not only during Women’s History month but year around?
You are successful women speaking up and speaking out. You are successful women who have spoken love, life and lessons into others. You have been selfless. I applaud you. I salute you. I also challenge you to take time for you. That is not selfish, it is selfless. Love yourself. Pamper yourself. Take care of yourself and continue to SPEAK up and speak out against bias. Remember also to CHOOSE YOU while YOU ARE GETTING THINGS DONE. #BreakTheBias
By Nancy J. Lewis
The only thing constant is change, and we clearly saw that over the last two years. To lead an effective change initiative in your organization, consider the following three strategies.
1. Put people first.
This is not just something nice to say, it must be demonstrated in your actions. When you want to create a successful change initiative, prioritize people. People fuel and sustain the momentum of the change. Change initiatives don’t succeed when people are not involved, don’t understand, believe or engage in the change. To make the change initiative easier, leaders must engage the employees in the change process from the beginning.
2. Empower employees through effective communication.
Communication is an essential part of effectively managing organizational change. Vision for the change is only as compelling as the communication that supports it. Communication during the change management process is not a one-time transfer of information. It requires commitment to follow through with updates, clarity, and consistency of the message. It is important to have two-way communication with employees through surveys, focus groups, and informal feedback collection throughout the change initiative.
3. Mobilize leadership.
Statistics and surveys state that the more active and visible top leadership is in the change, the more likely the change initiative will succeed. The challenge is to make sure leaders understand the role they play in the change and can convey it to their teams. Leaders must know they are responsible for achieving change goals from start to finish. They take on ownership and accountability of what they are expected to do in the change initiative. Leaders help the organization understand and interpret what the change means for their teams and the business. Leaders must be flexible and willing to change course as needed when a new approach is necessary.
These are a few strategies to consider as you look at your next change initiative.
The shortest month of the year should not limit the expansive contributions of Black people throughout the United States and the Americas. We salute African Americans' sacrifices, dreams, hopes, and opportunities, from Phyllis Wheatley to Dr. Ralph David Abernathy to Rev. Karla Cooper, who represent the best of our race.
Black History IS American History, and it should matter to ALL people throughout the land.
Carole Copeland Thomas
Black History Month and Dr. Carter G.Woodson
During the dawning decades of the twentieth century, it was commonly presumed that black people had little history besides the subjugation of slavery. Today, it is clear that blacks have significantly impacted the development of the social, political, and economic structures of the United States and the world. Credit for the evolving awareness of the true place of blacks in history can, in large part, be bestowed on one man, Carter G. Woodson. And, his brainchild the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. is continuing Woodson's tradition of disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community.
Known as the "Father of Black History," Woodson (1875-1950) was the son of former slaves and understood how important gaining a proper education is when striving to secure and make the most out of one's divine right of freedom. Although he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old, his dedication to study enabled him to earn a high school diploma in West Virginia and bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Chicago in just a few years.
In 1912, Woodson became the second African American to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University.
Recognizing the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks in 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
Under Woodson's pioneering leadership, the Association created research and publication outlets for black scholars with the establishment of the Journal of Negro History (1916) and the Negro History Bulletin (1937), which garners a popular public appeal.
In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, this celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February, and today Black History Month garners support throughout the country as people of all ethnic and social backgrounds discuss the black experience. ASALH views the promotion of Black History Month as one of the most important components of advancing Dr. Woodson's legacy.
In honor of all the work that Dr. Carter G. Woodson has done to promote the study of African American History, an ornament of Woodson hangs on the White House's Christmas tree each year.
Source: Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
By Korey Bowers Brown
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.