The White Guy CEO Who’s Trying

I’ve been married for 18 years to a white, man, now CEO, who was born in 1968. 

He’s not the kind of CEO who was groomed for the role, or made that destination  part of his career goals; nor was he recruited from a fancy school to get a job in the first place. 

It was a role in 2009 that he had to create for himself when he was in the business of commercial lending and the banks crashed. Hard and fast.   

We put every last cent we had (which was not very much) into the hope that a business would work. And he became a CEO.   

Russ is a state school college grad from the low-end of the middle-class, and like me, we are the first generation in our families to make more than a household annual income of [$30k in my case], and [probably $50k tops in his]. My mom was an elementary school teacher, and his dad ran a newspaper production line. 

Both of us acknowledge and appreciate the privilege that is automatic, simply by being born white, in America. 


My husband has been honest with me about how he feels at work over the last couple of years. 

“In meetings I feel like I am going to say the wrong thing and offend someone.” 

“I get the data, and the indisputable importance of diversity, and inclusion, and being aware of unconscious bias. But as much as it is not other people’s fault for being born the way they are, it’s not my fault I was born the way I am. I’m really trying.” 

These are expressions from a loving, kind man who’s identified his own biases and actively working towards eliminating them. He is not perfect. The “system” is not perfect, and the workplace is not perfect either, but as a whole, there is progress. 

With education, practice and patience, every one can make a difference at work because there is room for everyone. And as a collective of good corporate citizens we should all be saying, “I’m really trying.” 

Introducing A Lot Like Mike, An Original Series About Psychological Safety in the Workplace

With five episodes under five minutes, coupled with six digital facilitation videos by Kahlilah Guyah, CHMM, CSP, we have created a learning experience that’s impactful for everyone in your organization who wants to CREATE psychological safety for one another.  

Psychological safety is the ability to show and employ oneself without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status, or career. It can be defined as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking and candor. 

With Kahlilah’s deep expertise in Environmental Health & Safety, she’s a Masters degree carrying chemist who teaches the key elements of #psychologicalsafety that are most often overlooked in organizations, and a business imperative for today’s workplace.

A Lot Like Mike Giveaway

We are launching Kahlilah’s signature course, 𝑨 𝑳𝒐𝒕 𝑳𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝑴𝒊𝒌𝒆, on October 18th, and we have a BIG OFFER for curious early adopters who want to make a difference at their place of work!

Who’s the character, Mike? 

Mike is an SVP who has been in the business world for more than a couple of decades. When it comes to work, he is “old school” and understandably so.

As a seasoned leader, walking on eggshells feels uncomfortable for him these days, and it seems at every turn he is afraid of “saying the wrong thing”. Mike feels like he needs some psychological safety too.

The winds of culture change are shifting quickly, and Mike’s team needs him to learn about how to create a better environment where everyone feels valued and heard. Who will help Mike make the turn, and what surprising lessons will his team learn along the way?

One lucky winner will be announced each month to receive 50 seats ($5000.00 value)!

Do you have any leaders on your team who could use a sudden gift in their training budget? 

Or is there a leader you can nominate/enter so their team can be gifted this learning experience? 

It’s easy to qualify:

  1. Do you lead an organization with over 1000 employees?
  2. Is leadership dedicated to driving positive culture change?

Those are the only two requirements to be entered, and we PROMISE not to spam anyone after the drawing on October 18th. Hurry up!