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Erica Courdae sitting and smiling at table

Episode 48: Taking Imperfect Action Toward Equity, Equality and Diversity with Erica Courdae

I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. That makes it hard for me to take action because I never want to take the wrong action. 

As entrepreneurs, we can’t let this hold us back. We have to learn to take imperfect action to understand that we don’t always have the answers, but we always have to be seeking them out. 

Erica Courdae has dedicated her life to expanding how others interact with the world through powerful conversations. As an entrepreneur and certified coach, her work is focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), imperfect allyship, and imposter syndrome.

This work has taken her into communities and onto national stages as a speaker and educator at noteworthy industry events like AltSummit, ShePodcasts Live, and Being Boss.

In this episode, we dive into diversity, equity, equality, inclusion, health disparities, systemic problems and everything in between. Erica has an enormous amount of knowledge to share on these topics, so there are many takeaways throughout our conversation.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • Why everything comes down to taking action
  • Why you need to get clear on your values
  • The impact of having a personal brand
  • The importance of being intentional in business
  • Differences between equity and equality
  • Systemic issues and health disparities
  • How to create a work environment that gives your employees the life they need


I really enjoyed this conversation and highly recommend you all go to Erica’s podcast, Pause On The Play, listen, and follow it. It contains so much powerful information that we can take away and incorporate into our businesses. 

Make sure to join my free training to learn the 3 secrets to creating digital products that sell like crazy.You can sign up for the training here!

Head over to http://monicafroese.com/listen to listen to this episode and previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform!

Resources Mentioned:

Monica Froese  00:04

You are listening to the Empowered business podcast. I’m your host, Monica Froese, a mom of two and your secret weapon to creating a six figure digital product business. I am on a mission to help 1000 Women make $100,000 a year. That’s right $100 million towards financial independence for women. As an online business expert, I am teaching you everything I know, right here week after week. So you can join us on the journey to $100 million dollars. Sound good, then let’s jump in I don’t know about you. But I’m a perfectionist. And that means I often don’t take action because I don’t want to take the wrong action. However, it is so very important that we learn how to take imperfect action to understand that we don’t always have the answers, but we always have to be seeking them out. So today I am talking to Erica Courdae who has dedicated her life to expanding how others interact with the world through powerful conversations. As an entrepreneur and certified coach. Her work is focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, imperfect allyship and imposter syndrome. This work has taken her into communities and onto national stages as a speaker and educator at noteworthy industry events like alt summit she podcast live and being boss. Erica is also co owner of pause on the play the brand community and podcast that features open dialogue on topics like company culture, visibility and mindset. Erica and I touch on so much in this episode, there is something for everyone in this episode, I am confident there’s going to be some truth bombs dropped, that you are going to walk away with that aha moment. And at the end, if you do nothing else, I really want you to go follow Erica’s podcast pause on the play it is one of the best podcasts I have ever listened to. So you can even hit pause and go do that now and then come back, listen to the interview and then catch up on all of her back catalogue. So let’s welcome Erica on to the show. Erica, welcome to the Empowered Business Podcast. I’m so excited you agreed to join us today.


Erica Courdae  02:33

Thank you so much for having me, Monica, I’m excited.


Monica Froese  02:37

I am to I feel like you have just a wealth of knowledge to share. And your journey is super inspiring, too. So that’s where I’d like to start is for you to tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. What made you want to be an entrepreneur? How did you get there? And what are you doing today?


Erica Courdae  02:55

The funny thing is, I think like a lot of people, I didn’t really plan it, I definitely consider myself an accidental entrepreneur. And it really became more of a necessity of realizing like, I can’t make things better for those that I serve working for someone else. And so for me, it really started I’ve been in the beauty industry for almost 25 years now. And so I’ve worked in a lot of different capacities within the beauty industry, one of my favorite was definitely being an instructor because I really loved supporting people and how they kind of brought what mattered to them into the industry for betterment of everybody that was influenced by it. And I was working in a salon and I was the only stylist of color at all. And I really wanted to support my clients differently. And I was not able to get that from the corporate office. And I’m like, This is not okay. And the long and short of it was I had a manager at that point that was like, I’ll get you a call with corporate, we’ll talk about it. We get up to that day. And they’re like, yeah, we’re just gonna cancel it. I just don’t feel like coming in today. And I’m like say what, and in the back of my head, I’m like, you probably never scheduled this. This was your way of just stringing me along and something snapped that day. And it was just like, No, no, this is not going to work. And I looked at my numbers, and I was like, I am fully aware of what I bring in here and what I’m taking home, that will not happen anymore. I’m out. And so in less than a year. That was when I finally left and fully June of 2009 fully worked for myself and I had been working for myself at that point, but I no longer worked for any other companies anymore. Everything I did was something about me freelancing or me working just for myself and I built a successful beauty business. I’ve now moved into coaching and consulting which really was just an extension of what I was already doing when I recognized that a lot of the efforts that I was taking, and the way that I processed information was through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. It really did make sense to focus efforts there and to not focus on Oh, here are all the things that are wrong. But what can we do differently? What actions can we take? How can we be imperfect by trying to figure out how to make this better for us and everyone involved. And it’s moved me to this place now that I have Erica Courdae, which is my coaching and consulting brand as well as pause on the play with myself and my business partner, India Jackson, we do coaching and consulting, that goes around values, reconsidering your normal marketing, branding, visibility, and really supporting people in figuring out, what is the change that I want to see? What normal do I want to reconsider? And how can I be a part of making things different starting today?


Monica Froese  05:56

And one of the things I’ve really taken away from listening to your podcast and other podcasts that you’ve been on is the action, everything always comes down to actually taking action. It’s not just a matter of sitting there and absorbing it, even recognizing, yes, this needs to change. I completely agree with what you’re saying, but then not doing anything about it. And oh, yeah, I think it’s pretty common that a lot of people I know a lot of people, you know, I get it like, you can acknowledge something, but that doesn’t mean that you’re walking the walk in embodying it to an everyday and that’s a that takes a lot of work to do. And it can be hard, of course, but it’s necessary work. And listening to you, I feel like a sense of calmness, about the taking action part, it’s less scary the way that you present it. And I love that I love that about you. So one of the things that really sticks out about what you do is about it, tell me if I’m wrong and how I’m saying this, but I feel like embodying your value. So it’s one thing to identify your values, personal values and your business values. But then how do you take those and exhibit those out into the world? And those are two different things. And that’s like a big part of your work right? Spot on.


Erica Courdae  07:17

Because if you’re not clear on what are the values that matter to you, as a human, so for example, for me, I compost recycle, like my kids know, like, if we have to use a straw that’s not reusable, it doesn’t go in the trash, it goes in the sink, and Mommy cuts it up, because she one time had to watch that video of her being stuck up, like the animals knows and was scarred for life. And so that’s something that for me is a personal value. And then it goes into how it impacts what I do professionally. And so when Andy and I send out thank you gifts, we specifically choose things from ethical brands, but we also use things that you know, part of the materials are recyclable, like we specifically sourced things, from a lens of does this go through the values that matter to us? And these are actual actions that we take, because we’re voting with our dollars in that way. And so so often people are like, Oh, well, I am my business, which in its in itself is already an issue like there is a demarcation that needs to be there. And they seem to think that all these values are mixed up. No, there’s what matters to you. There’s what matters to you within your business. And there’s, you know, what are the things that are consistent with what your business does and the impact that it makes? And so there does need to be a clear understanding of not only what these values are, what you will and won’t do, because of these values. And what’s the impact that you want to be created with them. If we have these values, and they live and die in an HR binder somewhere that doesn’t help and it doesn’t create a filter through which all of our actions are going through it. For me, that’s a huge piece of it. Because then you don’t know whether or not you’re acting based on your values or arbitrarily.


Monica Froese  09:04

So their a filter of how you show up in the world. I have some that. What do you do when you have a personal brand? Because that’s basically like we put all of our stuff as a hub under my name, Monica Froese. And even to the point we’re changing our company name that was Redefining Mom now it’s just Froese Media. Because I felt like I did more than just what my brands started LLC naming, naming thing right there like when your name your LLC, maybe like beyond the immediate thing that you started with, which I wish I’d done. But when I think about it like that, and you know, and this is why it can be very hard not to take things personal in the business to if someone writes in a complaint. Well, it feels like they’re writing it directly to me because I am the brand so so I love this idea that you should have and you need personal values, and then business values but when you have a personal brand, what is the difference?


Erica Courdae  10:03

To me, even with having a personal brand, it’s still the same. Because so often, even with the personal brand, people will kind of think, for example, oh, it’s just me or Oh, I am the brand. And one of those things is that, even if it’s just you, if you have somebody that writes copy for you, if you have someone that does social media for you, if you have a bookkeeper, if you have platforms that you use for social media, planning your website, all of these are a part of your support systems. And they are a part of your brand, because you’re choosing them. And so it still matters, even if it feels like it’s a personal brand. Now, when it comes to it being named after you. And I say this as somebody who had a beauty brand, there wasn’t named after me, and then created my coaching and consulting. And technically, it’s named after me, but it’s not. Erica core data is actually my first and middle name. And that was intentional. Because it gives me a way of acknowledging that Erica core day is my brand. I’m Erica, I’m Mom, I’m free. I am all of these things. But Erica core Day is a brand that provides services to people to help them figure out what it looks like to live their life through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion period. I don’t look at it as if I am the brand, because I have done that even when the brand wasn’t named after me. And that can create a very unhealthy attachment. And it can also create a very unhealthy place of yes, you internalize it, and people have feedback good or bad. And it’s not helpful in the long run. And so I think that it’s important in your mind to kind of be able to draw that differentiator of, you know, this is when I am putting this hat on, and I am moving into this space, or when I’m moving out of it. I know for a fact it was interesting Indian, I talked about this recently. And she kind of looks at it, as they’re all facets of me. But I am not all of these facets at any one time. And so it might be that in this moment, I am in the business mode. In this moment, I am the human I am the friend in this moment, I am someone who is sharing information that matters to me, and I’m influencing people by simply sharing my experiences. So you have to find out a way that works for you. But one of the things that really does help me is being able to acknowledge that my office is, you know, in a loft in my home. And when I walk down those stairs, it separates. You know, that doesn’t mean that I may not ever have other work that I have to do or things that I have to think about. But I’m much more of Eric as a human. I’m not working in an on Erica Cordy at that point.


Monica Froese  12:49

That makes plenty of sense to me. Actually, that helps give me even clarity about the difference. Because because you’re right in the business, like I have employees, we work with a ton of contractors, I have a plan for my podcast. And so it is it is beyond me. Even if it is a personal brand. It is very much on me and what I do in the brand matters. It matters. I mean, both matter. Don’t get me wrong, I totally but it’s a bigger platform than what I have personally, I guess. Right? What I would say one of the things I know I still need help with reading my values. I was telling you before we started recording, I probably I’ve just been circling the drain on it for for two years. I think I have like a decent start. But I still think it was very much about me. I think that’s what it comes down to. And and I don’t know if that’s a common thing that you run into that, you know, because it’s it just like I still know that there is a disconnect. And one of the ways that it manifested for me was when I launched this podcast, I launched it in early 2021. And then I had surgery in June. And I quickly I did a bunch of solo shows. And then I did a first interview with a friend. And I realized oh, interviews can be mean they’re a lot less prep time. Just are they’re easier. And because the surgery was kind of looming, and I knew I had to batch my schedule. I got about 20 ish episodes in. And I realized even though a decent amount were solo shows I realized, Wow, I did a terrible job at showing diversity in like, amplifying the voices that are in my community. And so I went through this period where I felt I felt bad about it. And then I realized, well that’s ridiculous. It happened. This is what it is and now I need to do better and then after so and I think that leads to the imperfect action part that I know you’re also very passionate about. I am a self proclaimed perfectionist, and it business stretches you in all sorts of ways to not be perfect Yeah, that’s like kind of my default. And so there was this thing of, well, I already made a mistake. And it almost like I thought about closing the podcast, I saw all the things. And I thought was it I need to take a step forward? And it might not be perfect, but any step forward is better than not. Is that how do you see imperfect action, like when someone hits that what I did and realized I messed up, and I don’t want to keep messing up I want to fix this is that is that imperfect action?


Erica Courdae  15:34

In a lot of ways it is because imperfect action is really just recognizing this did not have the impact that I hoped that it did. And I now recognize that but now I have a certain amount of data that kind of shows, if this is what I don’t want, then how can I get clear on what I do want and be able to move forward with that? And also knowing that it’s an evolution, because the reality is, let’s say you had done it all right, and it felt really good, it was aligned, you were amplifying the types of people that you felt good to be able to, you know, get their message out there in different ways. And to support them in that way, then there’s going to be a point that it’s like, okay, that worked. But do I want to continue doing that? Do I want to tweak anything? Is there anything that I want to evolve? What do I want to ship? How can I do more of this better? And so even if it had gone right, you still would have hit a point of like, all right, I want to figure out how I can do more of that. So it’s important to look at this opportunity to shift as something that would have happened anyway. And reminding yourself that the energy of I didn’t do this in the way that I wanted it to, I can either cause you to pause and stop and do nothing, ultimately, or it can cause you to pause and kind of regroup and start again, with a different level of intentionality. There’s, you’re gonna go through that process, no matter what, it’s the energy that you want to bring with you. Because the reality with anything that you do, especially in a business, anything that goes with your values, it’s not a Oh, I did it and someone done. It is I did it. This feels good right now. And now I’m recognizing these other things. I’ve evolved, the team has evolved, the people I’m serving has evolved, how do I want to continue that evolution into what I’m doing in the way that I’m doing it the outcomes that happen? So we have to give ourselves that grace of this would have been a part of the process anyway. But now I’m just looking at it through a little bit of a different lens. Awesome. I’m still gonna have to pause, what do I want to do now?


Monica Froese  17:39

I love that, because one of the things I said, while we were having a discussion as a team about this was, I don’t want this to be this idea of a quota that we’re feeling. I did not want to feel like that or embody that at all. Because to me, when it really clicked was this is my opportunity to give a platform to the people in my community who have made a significant impact in my community with showed up in my community, and that who deserve a platform to be amplified on and I do believe that that is not, that’s never ending, that’s just something that is going to go on perpetually. So it’s not a matter of Well, I did this and now I’m done. You’re never You’re never done. I think one of the things that is probably what you have expertise in is once you realize something like that, and how I because I intellectually understand that if you’re using your values as a filter, then likely I would have caught this before I got 20 episodes down. You know, because basically, when I started the podcast, I think I did it in this I was overwhelmed. We just had to get episodes out. And it was like I didn’t take that time to stop and pause. So how do you how do you get to the point where your see, where you do these projects and and how you show up with that filter of your values there.


Erica Courdae  19:04

And this is where I have to acknowledge when you’re in a space of of pressure, real or perceived, gotta get this done, this is a deadline coming up, you’re likely going to operate a little differently. And so there is this push of like, it just needs to get done. But it also means that you might be apt you’re operating in a vacuum, which means there’s no other checks and balances. There’s nobody that’s like, Hey, I know that this is what we want to do. But I’m looking at the show notes page, and everybody looks the same. And I’m not quite sure what to do, or I’m looking at all of the guests, and I don’t see any diversity. I don’t see, you know, our values represented and so, whether it’s maybe the producer that you have for your show, if it’s an executive assistant that you have, if it’s a VA that’s working with you, if it’s if it’s just you know your partner and then being like, huh, I know that this matters, but I don’t see this showing up in the way that I know you want to do it, it does help sometimes to have somebody else outside of us helping to kind of recenter us to be like, Hey, wait, wait, wait, wait, stop for a second, we need to actually be clear on what we’re doing. But that can also be preemptively addressed by having a strategy to start with, what are you doing? Why are you doing it? What’s the goal? Who’s a part of this? What are the supporting structures? Because without that, and I’ve had those times where I felt like I was just creating to create and it’s like, but what was the goal? What was the purpose of this? If there was no intentionality? Then I was just doing it for the sake of filling, filling the space and you know, getting something out. And it’s like, if that doesn’t help, that doesn’t help. And so I mean, I’ve had times I’ve recorded stuff, and I’m like, Yeah, I needed to record an episode. And that didn’t work. I’m not, and I just wouldn’t, I didn’t release it. But it takes being able to not have that pressure. And that rush and that perfectionism popping up, because the perfectionism is not just pushing you to do it. But the perfectionism is also prompting you to keep going to get it done from a deadline standpoint, but not to pause long enough to examine what’s happening. And so then it’s actually imperfect, but not in the way that you want it to be. It’s imperfect, because you didn’t allow yourself to acknowledge why you may not have done it this way, and why you need to go back to the drawing board. So then it’s like, by pause, and I acknowledge that I didn’t do this in a way that I wanted to, what happens? Does it all stop this? Well, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. So then sometimes the fear the trepidation, can pop up. And so essentially, it helps to have a plan. First, a strategy, it helps to have checks and balances in place, whether that’s moments that you pause for yourself to check in, you know, how does this feel? Is this aligned? Is this getting me to the outcomes that I’m seeking other people that are a part of your team that are checking in with you like, hey, how does this feel for you? Do you need anything else? Are you happy with what you’re creating? And being able to kind of have that understanding of them of like, Hey, I know this is what you want to do, is there anything that you need to get there? So I think there’s a number of things that we need to have in place. But we also have to acknowledge where sometimes life in business puts us in a place that we think we don’t have access to that we have to remind ourselves that we do. The only rush is what we impose on ourselves.


Monica Froese  22:33

Oh, story of my life. Oh, does that just sum up my personality? It’s like, actually, you’re right. Like no one said, I had to launch the podcast on the day I did. It was just a deadline that was set. And so I thought my perfectionist itself, we had a meet it no matter what, and rushed through all the tests to make sure it got done. And the thing you said that really stuck out to me is the intentionality behind it. Because to me, when I think about just a lot of stuff, actually, that I do, particularly in the business, it’s, it’s this is what should be done, or this is what we have to do next. That doesn’t necessarily make it very intentional.


Erica Courdae  23:12

No, we’re just going by the default. Yeah, we do it because that’s how it’s always been done. We do it this way. Because this is what everyone does. Or if I don’t do it that way, then what does that mean about me?


Monica Froese  23:25

Yeah, that is very enlightening. When you say it that way. I really, okay. So one of the things I wanted to ask is, I’ve had this conversation with a few people recently, which was when we were younger, all we heard was about equality. That was a big thing that that was a big part of our, I guess, schooling education system. I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it. But that’s when I tried to think like, where did this idea of equality come in. And then now with diversity, equity and inclusion, it took me a lot, I had to read a lot to grasp the difference between equality and equity, and why they’re not the same. And and so I know that, because I would consider myself intellectually a pretty smart person. And it took a little bit of education and stuff to grasp it. So I would really like to talk about how you define the difference and why it’s so important to understand equity.


Erica Courdae  24:25

Oh, thank you so much for bringing that up. I have actually actually now shifted that when I start workshops off I always define the main words that I’m using so people know what it means. And so when I do my dei foundations workshop, which is one that we have inside of our community, pause on a play the community, and I’ll do it for private groups because then they have the opportunity to ask questions which supports it as well. But I start off by defining diversity, equity inclusion and imperfect ally ship because these, you know, those first three are words that get thrown around way too much, and there’s no shared understanding of what they mean. And so that doesn’t mean that I think that any of the other definitions don’t matter. But here’s the base understanding of what it means when I use these terms. And when I go into equity, the first thing I say is that equity is not equality, equity, is the vessel that gets us to equality, because equity is essentially acknowledging that there are areas whether it be wealth, resources, visibility, access, and that can break down to money, housing, education, health care, food, time, all of these things are just examples of where there are disparities. And so addressing these disparities, to get to a place where people are able to be on a neutral playing ground, that is where you can acknowledge great now we can look at what equity looks like equity just means I’m giving everybody the same. That does not take into account someone that started with more, someone that started with less, or someone that is going to perpetually not be able to utilize the resources in the same way, whether that’s from a mental health perspective, whether it’s from a disability standpoint, whether it’s from a location standpoint, whatever that is. And we went out and we said, Great, everybody, here’s a million dollars, but you have people that already had Jeff Bezos money, we have people that have how many family members that don’t have anything, and now this, you know, million dollars, part of it is going to be the education of how to steward this money, and being able to then go purchase land, go purchase homes, be able to start businesses, you have the education that you need, you have access to somebody to help you to know where to put it, why to put it theren and when. If you don’t have these things, you’re at a deficit. And so I can’t give you equal and expect equal outcomes, which means that the meritocracy lie that we’ve been given. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And it doesn’t happen until we acknowledge that equity needs to be served way more frequently than it is to people that are not given the ability to live in an equitable environment.


Monica Froese  27:19

That was such a good explanation of it. I definitely feel in my upbringing, and through the education that I received that I was definitely told, if we were all given access to the same thing, then, like it’s our fault, if we don’t succeed. And then there was this falsehood that we were all giving the same access. The first time, I realized that there was that a really consciously sunk into me that there was something, something amiss was, when I had my first daughter, which really is why I got into business and what kicked off my brand, I was really upset about maternity leave policies. Now at the time, I worked for a fortune 100 company. And I found that I got 66% of my pay for eight weeks since I had a C section because you know, give me the two extra weeks because I got cut open versus other ways the babies come in. I have really bad undiagnosed postpartum PTSD, it took like 15 months for them to diagnose me, but I started doing research. And I found out things like 25% of women in the US go back to work after two weeks was the stat. This was in 2013, who knows, it could even be more now. And I sat back and thought, what? And then I realized, then I found out that I had in the top like 7% in terms of working, working moms, the top 7% of benefits, because I worked for a fortune 100 company. And I thought, wait, this is good? They consider this good. And, and so like, that’s when it started occurring to me that this idea, I didn’t have the word equity in my mind then. But I was given advantages to be where I was and I did not realize it. And that was kind of the beginning of me, understanding that we’re not all given the same access to things and there’s not like a blanket way to just say, well, we’ll all get this, and then we’ll all be on the same footing. That’s not that’s not the case at all.


Erica Courdae  29:17

No, because the reality is, is that if you think about it from the standpoint of, okay, you know, you got eight weeks at 66%. Okay, that does not acknowledge, if you possibly were supporting that household on your own for whatever reason, you know, let’s just say you were the only one doing or you had other family members that you are responsible for. There’s all types of scenarios, in which case, you need 100% of your pay period. And now you don’t have it. Now you don’t have it, which, you know, because someone doesn’t have a uterus they don’t have to worry about having to take maternity leave and having to not have 100% of their pay. And so there’s this piece, but then there’s also no consideration of I now have postpartum PTSD, which eight weeks doesn’t seem very long. And it does not acknowledge what else do I need equity in order to be able to get through this, you know, that does not acknowledge, what if, what if the baby had colic? What if the baby had any other things going on? What if you were having troubles with breastfeeding? What if you were having issues with your Ceserian incision, there’s all these things that are not being addressed. And black women are I think it’s 200 and something percent more likely to die in childbirth. So for those of us that identify in that way, it does not address any of the things that we go through, which is another piece where the equity is missing. And there’s also no place of like, okay, well, what does reentry look like? What does it look like to have to adjust to, hey, I’m going to give my kid to a whole stranger and walk away and go work all day for you, and be just as focused as I was before. That’s not how it works. None of those things are being addressed. And, and yet, even at a fortune 100 company, that still really wasn’t enough. Now, not


Monica Froese  31:17

No. One of the things I learned back, when I was really doing all my research into the fact that we don’t have maternity leave policies or parental leave policies. I did it I forgot how I connected with her, but she was a doctor in Mexico. And she said to me, I had recently been diagnosed with postpartum PTSD. And they call it postpartum PTSD due to birth trauma, that’s what they diagnosed you with in the States. And she said, you know what we diagnose in the rest of the world what that is, maternal violence. And that is when I learned how we have like the worst mortality rates in the developed world. And that, and that black women suffer that five times what white women do, likely because of the access to medical, that white women have access to the adults.


Erica Courdae  32:07

And some of it is some of it is because our pain isn’t believed in the same way. And like, there was a story, and it was a mother. And I don’t remember where it was, it was somewhere in California, but she was at like Cedar Sinai, which is a is by no means a rundown or dilapidated, or unresourced hospital, and she was having trouble and the husband’s like, you know, she’s bleeding, she’s in pain, she needs help. And the nurse was just like, she’s not a priority. And there’s too often where black women’s pain is not believed. And so part of it is that, you know, the access to proper care before, during and after, you know, being pregnant and then giving birth, but part of it is just, we’re not prioritized. And we’re not believed when we say something is wrong. I’m in pain. I, unfortunately, I had an episode on the podcast of about three, four weeks ago, and talked about when I went into the hospital earlier this year, and I literally had an infection because the doctor did not give me the proper medication. And yet, the staff was, was treating me as if I was drug seeking. And so there’s a lot of issues, and they’re systemic issues, and they’re all accurate. And the system itself needs to be better, consistently, period.


Monica Froese  33:29

Yeah, thank you for pointing that out. I really appreciate you pointing that out. That about not being believed. And that that is so that just really angers me. Because, you know, childbirth is one of the toughest things you’ll ever do.


Erica Courdae  33:46

It is hard. And after two C sections, I’m like it and I don’t remember anyone really being like, you know, how are you? You know, do you feel like you’re okay, or, and I mean, I remember having trouble trying to get my son to latch, and they just wanted to push me on formula. And and then finally somebody said, Well, this is your first, you know, he does have a penis, and we just circumcised them. So there’s a number of things that might be contributing here. And it might not be anything that you’ve done, which helped because otherwise you feel like you can feel like a failure. Yeah. And nobody pauses to say, you just carried a whole human. And they like the lie tells us nine months and it’s 10 months is 10. And there’s not empathy to acknowledge, you have utilized your body as an incubator for an entire human. And in two months time, we expect you to go back to business as usual. There’s nothing equitable about that. It’s just a little less or more so equitable for some than others. But all all of that is trash. Yeah, trash


Monica Froese  34:59

And I believe, I just was reading that. The I don’t want to get it wrong. I think it was parental leave was on the table and the latest bill, and it got thrown out. And I thought it, I saw it in passing I, I have a love hate relationship with all things, social media and news, because it’s like, super important, but super overwhelming. And I just saw I saw it last night. And I was so triggered. Because I was thinking in my head. How are we still having this conversation? Like, why in the world is it still a conversation? And you know, and so it got it did it a part of me was reignited for why I started the business to begin with. One of the things you did say that I want to touch on because you did touch it out on a podcast I was listening to you talk on. And I love this concept of meritocracy. I was definitely told when I was a kid that we rise and fall by how hard we work. And that’s essentially how is this how we define a meritocracy? Is that how you define meritocracy.


Erica Courdae  36:03

Meritocracy is essentially what you achieve or don’t achieve simply by your sheer hard work and determination. And it basically says we can all achieve if we just work harder if we just whatever, that you know whether it’s hard work, whether it’s education, whatever, there’s always somebody that’s like you didn’t do enough of something. And so they base your lack of Oh, you must be lazy, you must not be dedicated, you might must not be loyal. It’s like doesn’t have anything to do with it. Nothing to do with it. Because it’s a lie it because the US is based on the idea that we are a meritocracy, which is a lie. Because everyone here no matter how hard they work, don’t have the same access to achieve the same thing. That’s not necessarily the case. And to assume that someone is working three jobs is working so, so hard, because you know, oh, well, you must not be smart enough. And it’s like, no, I am smart. But the same job that you went in and got paid double that I did, I have to work how much harder to make the same kind of money, or I have to work somewhere that as far away from my home, which means now being able to commute and then wherever I have to possibly put my child for childcare, if I don’t have a family member to watch them that cost me more. The housing, cost me more to have safe housing, or I’m not able to afford healthy food. And so this meritocracy that really addresses what you do and do not have as your resources. And one of those main ones being money, then impacts every everything else. Oh, you’re you’re you’re not healthy. Because you don’t work out. You don’t eat good food. It’s like but I live in a food desert. So how are you going to blame me for that. I didn’t put liquor stores on every corner around where I live. I didn’t get rid of all the farms where I live, I didn’t create a highway to go through the middle of this neighborhood that made it so industrious that they’re nothing grows here. Like you can’t put that ownership on people, and then blame them for their lack. That’s a system that created the ability for that lack to flourish.


Monica Froese  38:26

 Yeah. And it was created to benefit by people that it would benefit at the end of the day, right. Absolutely. I often hear it, I can say pretty aggressively thrown in my face that we live in a capitalist society. So basically, we’re all entitled to what we have and the wealth that we accumulate. And I have a really hard time. I guess in a nutshell, it’s pretty much a meritocracy being thrown at me because I, I really struggle with capitalism. But yeah, but I’m an entrepreneur. And I think this is also a topic that’s been out in the entrepreneur space, is how you balance that because one of the ways I have seen people recently, I feel like it’s been more public knowledge is about how they support their teams. And like, it’s not about just like business owner making a bunch of money and they’re, you know, on their yacht. Instead, it’s what are they doing with that to support their team and rising them to the same level? Because I mean, capitalism tells me that, you know, you started the business, you take the money, you go run with it, and aren’t you special that you did that right? And right. So how do we address that? In a capitalist society as an entrepreneur?


Erica Courdae  39:42

It’s funny because I talked about that with Kate Strathman. Earlier this year, I’d have to look up the episode number but we talked about that on pause on a play and there can be this. What feels like a disconnect of well, if you’re anti capitalists, but you own a business, how does that work and Part of what comes up for me is, if you don’t do something, that doesn’t mean that the thing stops existing. And so if we leave it all, to the top 1%, to decide what happens, then the rest of us kind of in a sense, are saying, well, I can’t impact this. And so one of the people that and I have a love hate relationship with social too. And so I take in very little content, if any, sometimes, and one of the people that I find that has been really interesting for me is Dan price, and he shifted how his business was structured. And he’s like, you know, I think it’s 70 something 1000 A year that he changed his salary to, so that his employees could make a better wage. And that completely shifted everything and his business grew. Because so many people are like, Oh, well, the business is not going to flourish, if I do this, and it’s like, that’s That in itself is alive, that’s just you’re clinging to it and not wanting to lose, because you’re more worried about, if I give you what do I lose, it’s a zero sum kind of game. And I think that essentially, we’re trying to figure out how we can create brands and company cultures that are structured in a way that we allow people to one be able to create the type of life that they want. Because it’s not just about how they work for you, it’s like this support the life that you want, and being able to figure out how that can support them kind of feeding into the shifting of generational wealth, which it has to start somewhere. But I think that being able to figure out how you can have people that work for you, and you’re creating an environment that allows them to be whole humans, and to take care of what matters to them and to grow that that to me is much more impactful than simply saying, I have all of this money. And so I’m going to give it where I want to give it because you’re still taking ownership of that and deciding who deserves it and who does it, which that’s not helpful. That’s still you wanting to be in control. And I think that’s one of the ways that I think, as an example, having an awards program makes a big difference in awards program is the answer that I kind of have created. That is an alternative to scholarships, scholarships are basically you don’t have money. So I’m going to give you money award, say, hey, I want to give you the gift of something in order to be able to learn this or receive this in order to be able to support you in the communities that you support. So you can take this back, not hey, I just want to give you money, it’s Hey, we work with NBI martabak, Incorporated. And when we help them to set up their awards program, they prioritize the AIPAC and LGBTQIA plus community to receive them. And so it’s basically you’re able to now take this back to communities that need it that are under service when it comes to coaching, but they’re able to receive it from people that reflect them. Versus we’re just gonna donate a bunch of money over here. Or we’re just going to do this because you know, anybody can do this. No, we’re gonna prioritize people that aren’t regularly centered in this industry, and shift what the kind of makeup is, which to me is a much more effective method of equity in trying to topple the lie of meritocracy in trying to not be so steeped in capitalism that is just spend more money to fix yourself. No, let’s figure out how to get it to people that have already had things that needed to be fixed. And they just need the support in order to be able to be reminded you are whole.


Monica Froese  43:37

Yeah. Wow. I love that I you just gave me so many ideas. Because we definitely positioned one of we did scholarships, right when COVID was becoming a thing. And then it kind of got lost in the shuffle because all things pandemic happened. And you just totally shifted my mindset about how we did it what we did wrong when we did it and what we could do so much better. Thank you. Oh, I feel like that was like a golden nugget of this podcast. Oh, well, I can’t wait to tell you what what we come up with now that you just gave that idea to me. I I feel like you’ve shared so much with us today. I am so thankful that you that you came on and gave all this to us. How can people find you and what would be the first step to work with you?


Erica Courdae  44:31

Absolutely. So again, my name is Erica Courdae Diversity Equity and Inclusion coach and consultant and half of the dual that is India and I the owners of pause on the play. So you can find out more about me at Ericacourdae.com Where you come on over to pause on the play.com where you can learn more about the community that we have. It’s a mighty networks community where we have people just like Monica you that are in there that are like let’s talk about these things. Let’s figure out how things can be different. What do I have access to, and you can take the trainings and workshops that we have in the resources area to figure out how we can support you and your brand and where you want to go. Pause on the play the podcast, wherever you take in your podcast goodness, you can listen to me having conversations very similar to this. And more and you’re able to take that in that is always a great entry point for people that are new to the brand. And the first step for being able to work with me alone or with India, we have found that everything does best starting with implicit to explicit, which is our values masterclass. That means that once you get more clarity on your values, any of the other efforts that we are moving into with you, it’s so much simpler to be able to do it because now we know what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how we can get there best.


Monica Froese  45:50

Thank you so much. And I can attest that your podcast is completely worth following and listening to get all the recent episodes because it has been I’ve been binging it on my walks. And it has been very, very enlightening. And I really appreciate all the content that you put out for us. So thank you very much Q. And it was Thank you. Thank you. Nice to talk to you. So thank you so much for coming on today to Thank you Monica. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Empowered business podcast. If you want to get started creating your own digital products and don’t know where to start, we have a brand new training that can help. It’s called the passion to profit. How to discover your unique million dollar digital product formula head on over to empowered business.co forward slash profit to join the training for free. Plus, we’ve added on a private podcast feed to make consuming the content even easier. You can choose to consume it via video or a private podcast feed. I can’t wait to see you back here next week.

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