René Carayol and the race conversation at work

On May 25th 2020, the world changed. And it changed forever.

After the tragic murder of George Floyd, something happened.

Three days after that murder, 80 countries had protests of Black Lives Matter.

Today I speak with Rene Carayol about this, and much more. René is the accidental Executive Coach and has worked with many CEOs of multinational companies, heads of state and leading global entrepreneurs.

Rene has also worked in the area of Diversity and Inclusion for many years, but this tragic event was the catalyst for René to truly stand up for those marginalized people who don’t have the platforms to speak up.

After the 25th of May, his phone went crazy.

It was all white, middle class men who he looks up to. CEOs and Chairmen who he has coached. They all needed direction.

And they asked one question.

“I want to engage with my colleagues at work and initiate the conversation around race, but I don’t know where to start”.

They were scared to say the wrong thing. Worried about being clumsy. Making things worse. They didn’t know what to do.

And it was clear, they aren’t alone.

Rene talks about what he told these company leaders.

And what happened when they followed his advice.

I ask Rene about the social element of ESG corporate strategy, and what he would tell corporate leaders as they develop them.

And then he tells us the key to making change. You’d be surprised at how simple it is.

If you are serious about diversity and inclusion and looking for direction. Have a listen. If you want to know how you can be a driver of change in general, this is also for you.

Rene tells it how it is.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed having the conversation. Thank you, René.

So, throw on those running shoes, or grab that favorite beverage, and have a listen!

Please do let us know what you think of this episode. And don’t forget to leave a review, rating, and subscribe.

If you would like to get in touch with René or find out more, you can find more about him here:


Company site: (where you can also find his book Spike)

Twitter: renecarayol

Instagram: @renecarayol

If you would like to get involved with TIE and be a part of the important change that needs to be made in the world, do get in touch: here.

00:00:07:19 – 00:00:29:12
Philippa White
So the questions are these How can we really activate the best of the private sector to meet the challenges of the real world? Is there a way to accelerate my career that doesn’t involve boring online or classroom courses? And can I really impact people in the developing world with the skills that I have? Can I finally feel proud of what I know?

00:00:30:04 – 00:01:01:12
Philippa White
Those are the questions and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Philippa White and this is TIE Unearthed. Keep listening and you can follow us on our journey as we show you how we’re connecting the private sector with the social sector to make change. Hello everyone Philippa here and welcome to episode 23 of TIE Unearthed.

00:01:02:01 – 00:01:08:05
Philippa White
Today I’m speaking with René Carayol. René, it is such an honor to have you with us today. Thank you.

00:01:08:11 – 00:01:11:13
René Carayol
My pleasure. My privilege. Very pleased to be here.

00:01:12:13 – 00:01:42:01
Philippa White
I am to. Now, let me tell our listeners a little more about you and your background. René is the accidental executive coach and has worked with many CEOs of multinational companies and heads of state and leading global entrepreneurs. He is an author with spite being his latest critically acclaimed book. He is a TV presenter, media pundit and currently writes a column on inclusion for management today.

00:01:42:15 – 00:02:16:15
Philippa White
He is a visiting professor at Cass Business School. But most of all, he’s an ardent student and practitioner of inclusive leadership. As he says, good leaders create followers. Great leaders create leaders. Rene, it is just wonderful to have you here. And we’re going to be talking about leadership, diversity and inclusion and probably so many more things over and above that, knowing you as well, all of these are hot topics, but there’s just a lot going on at the moment and I know there’s a lot that you have to say.

00:02:16:16 – 00:02:24:06
Philippa White
So let’s kick this off. First of all, just Rene, if you could just tell people about you and your background in your work.

00:02:24:18 – 00:02:49:01
René Carayol
I’m a business about crumbs, so no leaving list. My parents were born in Gambia. West Africa, came over to London in the UK in the early 1960s, and they came with that dream, the immigrants dream, that we were a British colony and they were going to they we in Gambia we had primary education. At secondary education. We didn’t have any tertiary, no colleges, no universities.

00:02:49:15 – 00:03:17:23
René Carayol
So the dream for many people from the British colonies was to come to the UK, get their kids a university education, go back there, be someone in this world. Well, it was underestimated. The pool, the glamor, the allure of the most cosmopolitan city on the planet, which is London. They also underestimated just how expensive London was in the early 1960s when they came over and they were middle class in Gambia, having sold off everything and moved to London.

00:03:18:17 – 00:03:39:24
René Carayol
It was so expensive that the only properties they could afford was in not the best areas, which meant not the best schools, which meant not the best education. I was lucky enough to get to university. I was lucky enough to start my career at Marks and Spencer, which is the biggest retailer in Europe at the time. The ten years there, they taught me everything about management, not a lot about leadership.

00:03:40:15 – 00:03:59:02
René Carayol
I went into the order of Pepsi in the UK, in the US, I worked out of Purchase New York and for three years they taught me everything about leadership, but not a lot about management. So I came back to the UK, I was on the board of OPEC, made it, we did a management buyout, we bought the business, sold the business to AOL Time Warner.

00:03:59:12 – 00:04:35:04
René Carayol
And I retired in 2000. When I got home, my wife picks me out two weeks later when I was back on the road again. But this time I’m running my own business. And I started speaking, writing, thinking, breathing, leadership. And not only that, I’d realized that so many people of the time they were managers, they weren’t leaders. But I had this dream of get it convincing the world to manage a little less and lead a little more in an era of change that we lived in about the same time.

00:04:35:11 – 00:05:02:12
René Carayol
It realized to me that when I looked up in every business I worked with, the leaders tended to look the same. They would tended to be male, they tended to be white, they tended to be middle class. They tended to come from prestigious universities. There wasn’t a lot of places left for others. So at another BMI body, we’re going to change that.

00:05:03:09 – 00:05:30:24
René Carayol
We’re going to change that with inclusive leadership. And I’ve been fighting that battle for the last 20 years, and I’ve been lucky enough to become the accidental coach. And I’ve coached more chief executives than I could remember. And of multinationals, as you say, of Fortune 500 companies and of coach, heads of state and of coach big entrepreneurs, I’m very privileged to have done so, but I suppose May the 25th, 2020, the world changed.

00:05:30:24 – 00:06:00:05
René Carayol
And I think it’s changed forever. With the tragic murder of George Floyd, something happened, something happened. And you couldn’t have planned it. You couldn’t have predicted it. You couldn’t have made it happen. And three or four days after that tragic murder, 80 countries had protests of Black Lives Matter, including the UK. And it wasn’t people of my vintage that were on the streets.

00:06:01:12 – 00:06:34:11
René Carayol
I’ve left and lived the life of for far too many years, wanting to be accepted for far too many years, wanting to fit in, not speaking out, not speaking up, feeling really strongly that I might be might be career limiting. It might label me difficult. It might hamper where I wanted to get to after May the 25th last year, I realized that is my job with my battle scars to speak for many of those who would be marginalized but may not have the platforms to speak up.

00:06:34:24 – 00:07:04:14
René Carayol
Yeah, and something really strange happened, Philippa, from two or three days after the 25th of May. My phone started to go ballistic. WhatsApp was going mad and it was all white, male, middle class men who I look up to. Chief Executive and chairman who I’ve coached were coming through and they were asking me one question. I want to engage with my colleagues at work.

00:07:04:14 – 00:07:30:20
René Carayol
I believe I need to initiate a conversation around race, but I don’t know where to start. I’m scared to stop. I’m paralyzed with fear of saying the wrong thing. I’m going to be clumsy. I’m going to make some gaffes on the use of wrong language. I might make things worse. What do I do? And I found myself giving a series of 15 minute coaching sessions, and they all went something like this.

00:07:30:20 – 00:07:51:24
René Carayol
The only thing you can’t do is nothing. Neutrality is no longer an acceptable position. Non being non-racist doesn’t exist. You have to be anti-racist. You don’t have to commence these conversations. And it doesn’t matter if you’re clumsy, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. The only mistake is one you don’t learn from. Everyone will gauge your intent straightaway.

00:07:52:12 – 00:08:12:12
René Carayol
They’ll understand you’re honorable. You may not be honest, but there are no experts. No one’s going to be perfect comments. Bigot theory gets you so far. You better get practical. It’s a bit like swimming. Yeah. You’ve got to get in that water. You’re going to get wet, you’re going to swallow some water. You might get a massive major bellyful, but there’ll be some allies who will help you.

00:08:12:12 – 00:08:22:16
René Carayol
Some you will after a couple of weeks for every single one of them started, every single one of them didn’t look back. Every single one of them has continued.

00:08:23:06 – 00:08:58:17
Philippa White
Yeah. And I think that, I mean, that was actually one of my questions for you. I mean, I’ve got so many questions for you, but, you know, the winds of change of obviously Black Lives Matter. We’ve also got me to time’s up, you know, just to name a few things I’ve learned on its distinctive gale force. Absolutely. And these issues of diversity and equality and social justice, I mean, they just cannot be ignored anymore by company leaders, but also individual leaders, as we talked about just before we started talking.

00:08:58:17 – 00:09:27:12
Philippa White
Now, this is also coming from people within companies. They feel this change and they know it needs to be made. And many companies are now in the process of writing their ESG, their environmental, social and governance goals. I would love it. I mean, you’ve you’ve said that you’re talking to various different company leaders about, you know, about their their their questions around, you know, how to respond.

00:09:27:12 – 00:09:44:14
Philippa White
And actually, that’s one of my other questions. But just purely from the point of view of these ESG strategies, which so many companies are currently thinking about when it comes to the social side of these strategies, what would you suggest to companies? What would you suggest to these leaders?

00:09:44:16 – 00:10:11:22
René Carayol
So there’s a few things. So I’m its biggest fan base proponent, and we’re in a world where purpose meets profits, where the business of business may no longer be just business. It’s going to be more than. But you know, there’s this predilection to get straight to strategy. Let’s get to actions, let’s execute, let’s do some stuff. Hold on a minute.

00:10:13:02 – 00:10:39:06
René Carayol
Wait until you’ve won the hearts and minds. Wait until you fully embrace it. Wait until you fully understood it. Wait until you fully understood the implications of what you’re trying to achieve. This. RUSH And I hear so many people in the street saying where the actions hold on a moment’s actions without purpose mean nothing. And we’ve got too many people rushing headlong into do stuff.

00:10:39:13 – 00:11:02:23
René Carayol
I do not want to be tick box. I want to show that we’re doing something, do real stuff, real. Some really understand it. So we’re working with many boards in the C-suite and it’s really difficult to tell. You know, Phillip, you’ve heard me on my mantra before that, you know, diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice.

00:11:03:08 – 00:11:19:08
Philippa White
Oh, gosh. And yes, you you posted this beautiful. You have your daily spike Sparks, which I read every single time you send them. And there is one that you said, diversity is inviting someone to the party. Inclusion is asking them to dance.

00:11:19:08 – 00:11:46:17
René Carayol
Oh, it’s relatively straightforward to be invited to the dance, to be asked to dance is difficult. So what we’re seeing is and this is why this why I say the doodle rush to the strategy and the action plan until you’ve won the hearts and minds, you know. So what we’re seeing is that it’s one thing and it’s a good thing to have that diversity.

00:11:46:17 – 00:12:31:11
René Carayol
But I think too many of the leaders I work with, they it looks good, but does it feel good? Yeah, I. Awesome. Hold on a minute. Does it feel good? Last night I did a session. I said it is a brilliant we had 15 top drawer black executives from an Anglo American insurance company and I’m and what they decided to do that they they just they realized that they no matter what the 80,000 employees no matter what they’ve done over the last five years, they cannot get African American colleagues or British colleagues to the executive suite.

00:12:32:20 – 00:13:07:11
René Carayol
So what they’ve done is they’ve put together a program, they’ve taken 15 that were nominated by their managers, have to jump through a lot of hoops. And there’s a six month program I’m leading, which the end game is to get them through to prepare them to be executives in the company. They’re trying to grow their own. I want to say that we’ve got our own executives with produce the brilliance of their program is that every single one of the 15 has an advocate, a spokesman, a coach who is a C, who is a different senior executive.

00:13:07:11 – 00:13:34:20
René Carayol
You see, doing two things, grooming the talent in a development program. But those who they touch, the advocate response from the coach is also learning how to work with people who are very different to them and come and walk in their shoes. We had a moment last night and I think this brings it all out. I’m also teaching about strength based leadership based on my last book, Spike.

00:13:34:20 – 00:13:59:14
René Carayol
We’re doing exercises on everyone’s brilliant at everything, but now everyone’s bringing something but no one’s brilliant and everything else. Showing me the route to the top is fun. The two or three things are outstanding at fine tuning. Those, but don’t try to be brilliant at everything. It’s a route to disaster, which is the old fashion tutors. And one of them said, You know, when we went out into the breakout groups, we realized that the majority of us had similar limitations.

00:13:59:19 – 00:14:26:17
René Carayol
One similar limitation I said was that and they said being assertive in large groups. So it became a recurring theme throughout our session together that many of the African African-Americans are really, really hard. You get it, Phillipa, straight away. But the two people from the leadership development side of the business didn’t get, Oh, we can train. Well, we’ll run.

00:14:26:17 – 00:14:46:11
René Carayol
I can give you some presentation skills. You can do small business. Yeah, well, we’ll teach us to be more assertive. You know, it’s not about being assertive in the language. This is deep seated. Be totally. Yeah. And in a way, when I say to you that don’t rush to stretch, you’ve got to understand things like that they complex yeah that’s.

00:14:46:11 – 00:14:48:13
Philippa White
Such a great example.

00:14:48:13 – 00:14:59:07
René Carayol
Yeah. And you know, it’s not everyone who gets that. Phillipa Yeah, and my, my, my, and then I realized I’ve got to coach the guys at the top of the organization to understand.

00:15:00:02 – 00:15:26:03
Philippa White
That actually does bring me to another question that I had for you. And it, you know, this area of diversity, inclusion, unfortunately, it is such a loaded subject, but it almost it needs to be as you know, it needs to be talked about more. It needs to just become an easy conversation for people to just for it to be easier to talk about.

00:15:26:03 – 00:15:52:11
Philippa White
But unfortunately, it’s still not. And it creates a certain amount of resistance and discomfort. And it’s not that people don’t want to embrace it, but I think it’s because you actually mentioned it when you started talking just at the beginning of our conversation that leaders or companies are desperately worried about doing the wrong thing. And I just would really like to know, what would you tell business leaders?

00:15:52:11 – 00:16:01:17
Philippa White
So, for example, if they wanted to create some kind of a discussion or an event, not a event, but some kind of a talk.

00:16:02:10 – 00:16:23:16
René Carayol
It’s really is it’s really, really, really, really. So a few things. So I would say that if there’s no courage, it ain’t going to happen. If you’re bold, you might fail. If you’re not bold, you will fail. So get your courage out. Yeah, and it goes with any form of cultural change. This is not strategy, this is culture.

00:16:23:16 – 00:16:43:08
René Carayol
Right? You’re changing your culture every time you are changing. Coach want to be more collaborative. If you want to be more inclusive, you want more leadership, you want more. Just whatever is or is going to take a bit of courage isn’t a curse on even start. Don’t open the book go do something else but you know the biggest way stories and similar.

00:16:43:13 – 00:16:44:04
Philippa White

00:16:44:18 – 00:17:06:17
René Carayol
Stories story stories. Until the Lions have their own storytellers. The tales of the hunt for the whites favor the hunter. It’s leaders tell stories, managers talk strategy, love stories. So when I go in before people have even settled in their seats, I tell them a story that’s going to create some discomfort. But no one was harmed and almost killed.

00:17:08:01 – 00:17:28:03
René Carayol
My very first job when I started my expenses within a year, I was given a team to someone somewhere, realized there was something about me and I was given a team to run. The first member of my team to join was Marty Martin was from the north of England from Leeds, and in the interview closing remarks and he said to me, I’m running, I’ve never had any black friends.

00:17:28:15 – 00:17:34:05
René Carayol
I didn’t think that was the best thing to do. Like when he’s coming to work for Black Horse. But that was okay. We got on great though.

00:17:34:05 – 00:17:35:17
Philippa White
I love his honesty.

00:17:36:02 – 00:18:00:23
René Carayol
Is always wonderful. To listen to is part of the story. You’ve just your catching on. I can say things in the story that’s not going to offend and I’ve just said something that no one would say in public. But Martin said it. Everyone feels, Oh, well, not no one’s crawling around. It’s okay anyway, we were based out of Chiswick in West London, and there was a and I had a fantastic team and we had one of those weeks where everything works.

00:18:00:23 – 00:18:15:18
René Carayol
Every deadline was set, every target was hit. So the end of the week, I took my team out to the local streets, a local pub on the corner, and I used to go in there. I was frequented a few times. All my team was in there. We had a few drinks. We had a fantastic celebration when everything went brilliantly.

00:18:16:13 – 00:18:42:00
René Carayol
As he gets to about nine, 10:00 in the evening, there’s only maximum. I left and I go to I ask for the bill. Lieberman comes over and he says, Is there anyone else who can pay a prostitute? Oh, sort of. Beg your pardon. Can anyone pay apart from you? I beg you. Furious, Martin comes over. I’ll pay someone to get that door.

00:18:42:00 – 00:19:05:01
René Carayol
Worry pay. Gary, the manager of the pub he is too loud voices wanders over and systems recognize me and says What’s going on? I tell him what is going on. He says to the problem of See you in the office in a minute. He says to me, the drinks from the house to him, Thank you very much. But by now I’m so angry I said I’m pretty crazy.

00:19:05:06 – 00:19:06:14
Philippa White
Why was this in England?

00:19:07:02 – 00:19:35:17
René Carayol
In London? And he says No, you’re not paying. Martin Eventually I calmed down. I thank you. And we leave. We’re walking down the road, Moxon says to me, You are so sensitive about race as to how day, and we have a blazing rail walking down the road. That way only friends can have that sort of work. We put our briefcases down and we’re going at a tall white man comes over and Sister Martin be having problems with him.

00:19:36:14 – 00:19:59:07
René Carayol
Do you need any help? Go and roll till Martin turns on him. And me and Martin chased this man down the road. Martin comes back for the first time in his life. He walked in my shoes and he knew what it was like. Yeah. MARTIN I’ve been friends for 30 years. Every time we meet, what’s the first thing he talks to me about?

00:19:59:07 – 00:20:26:01
René Carayol
It’s changed his life forever. Now I tell that story in the boardroom just to soften them up. Just what that does to the atmosphere in the boardroom, everybody opens up. I’ve told us really racy story and nobody died. Nobody was hurt. You know, I’ve said some pretty tough things in now we can have the conversation. I have to lead it.

00:20:26:11 – 00:20:31:00
René Carayol
I’m facilitating it. I’m pushing people. But I’ve opened up the doors.

00:20:31:10 – 00:20:43:17
Philippa White
Yeah. So with that in mind, with various global events that have, you know, George Floyd but other, other events, but that was obviously a.

00:20:43:24 – 00:20:45:20
René Carayol
Happening on a weekly basis. As we know.

00:20:46:07 – 00:21:13:16
Philippa White
A couple of days ago there. And this is very much in line with what you’ve said. And again, I’d love to know what you would recommend because there’s much panic emanating from the c-suites on how they should respond in a way that pacifies their critics, engages their customers, protects their brand. What what, in your view, is the answer to all of this?

00:21:14:07 – 00:21:47:15
René Carayol
It’s like everything else. We we saw it with me to engage. Yeah. So people say to them, you know, we don’t want to be political. Well, we don’t want to be we’re going to be apolitical. You can’t be apolitical. You know, if you decide a stance of silence is political, as we saw in Georgia, with the voting issues, you do have to get engaged.

00:21:47:15 – 00:22:14:14
René Carayol
How far you go is entirely your choice. Doing nothing is no longer an option. I think what I’m what I’m saying is there are no longer innocent bystanders. It’s inclusion is not a spectator sport. You can’t watch it. You have to participate. Yes. But I think what I like to seize with it, you may need a slow assault in some environments.

00:22:14:14 – 00:22:39:11
René Carayol
That’s okay. It’s just sitting there doing nothing, watching it go by. Your time is going to walk out that door. Yeah. When you see what was so cynical about six weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a climate change conference and the venerable David Attenborough, our very own David Attenborough from the UK he’s he’s got it. He speaks you listen but it never engaged business.

00:22:39:12 – 00:23:05:08
René Carayol
I never did anything different. Yeah. Greta Thunberg comes along with her generation. Business is listening, businesses acting, business is reacting. Sustainability. My daughter, she looks what goes into a make up. She cares about it. She thinks about what her food is wrapped in, what her coffee comes in. She looks at the one one of use of plastic. She’s worried about how much people are pay to make her fashion garments.

00:23:05:12 – 00:23:23:16
René Carayol
And she’s vocal about it. And businesses listen. And what happens about race is that we understand Netflix and like you being interested in the conversation about race, but I’m talking PricewaterhouseCoopers, British Airways, I’m saying Unilever, I’m saying Procter and Gamble.

00:23:24:07 – 00:23:39:06
Philippa White
And we talked about and we talked about that as well earlier before we started recording. In your view and from your work, how do you see the landscape of talent and also just businesses? Where is this movement coming from? What are people looking for?

00:23:40:14 – 00:24:06:24
René Carayol
Two things I think it’s where it’s coming from is the next generation of customers who are vocal, who are assertive, who are demanding change. And they they say louder than my my generation. They’re more assertive. They’ll get on the streets, they’ll boycott. They’ll they they they are so, so vocal about it. But businesses are responding to it and loudly and clearly and demonstrably.

00:24:07:24 – 00:24:27:05
René Carayol
And what I’m seeing is that one of the things you really Phillippa we’ve never been busier every and I’m doing so much work in the US and it’s been interesting because why would you import some black guys from the UK to come and work with the guys in the US? Because the US is so toxic, it’s so polarized.

00:24:27:12 – 00:24:57:15
René Carayol
Yeah, it’s so I can feel the negative energy. And what I’ve decided to do is we’ve built a reputation and all the work we do, we’re optimists. We think optimism is a force multiplier and what we’re trying to do is heal situations, bring people together, we’re stronger together. And separation doesn’t work. Polarization doesn’t work. And many of the books have been written or been written and they’re angry and every right to be angry.

00:24:58:08 – 00:25:22:12
René Carayol
But we finish reading them when you’re even angry. Yes. So anyway, I’m just not sure that takes us anyway. So we’re trying to find a different sort of solution and we think we’ve got to come together. Yeah, we think the strength of the pack is the warmth and the strength of the pack. Together we’re unbeatable with formidable. It’s when broken apart that it becomes very dangerous.

00:25:23:12 – 00:25:55:20
Philippa White
Yeah. And I would say that Ty has a very similar approach to, to all of this, both from a diversity and inclusion point of view, leadership, positivity. You know, let’s be the change. And I wanted to ask you as well, actually, because kind of back to the to the challenges that many of these leaders have around this conversation, around diversity, inclusion and the importance of embedding it.

00:25:56:19 – 00:26:27:15
Philippa White
I feel that, you know, for that to be possible, key decision makers and leaders need to themselves have an element of cultural intelligence or expose or to people who are unlike them. And as you as you mentioned about Martin, you know, it surprisingly isn’t that uncommon or it’s yeah, I mean, it’s surprisingly common that many of these leaders don’t actually have that much exposure to people, unlike them.

00:26:27:15 – 00:26:49:17
Philippa White
And I feel that the key is for people to expand their personal circle, you know, step out of their bubbles, have exposure to people and cultures that they wouldn’t normally have exposure to, so that they can then have that empathy and that understanding and that ability to be a better leader. And, you know, that’s where Ty helps. I mean, that’s a that’s a big part of what Ty is.

00:26:49:17 – 00:26:49:23
Philippa White
And it.

00:26:49:23 – 00:27:17:16
René Carayol
Certainly does. But it goes back to what I say to you. Before that, the insurance company I was working with last night, the beauty of what they’re doing is that the advocates, the sponsors, the coaches, they’ve got a mix with the black talent, and that’s not new for many of them. It’s brand new. They’ve not done it. I did a session with Microsoft and so I was talking to and it was Ralph Carter.

00:27:17:16 – 00:28:01:14
René Carayol
He’s the president of the email operation Europe, Middle East, Africa. It’s chairman fantastic guy. And we were he’s got 55 zero direct reports, 50 country managers, which is 50 different countries. And I was the longest some I was pitching to do some work with them around inclusion and we had a great conversation. Then I got the work and the following day Ralph called me and he said, Look, if you got 50 minutes, we spent two and a half hours on the phone and Ralph said to me that he’d never had a deep, such a soul searching conversation around inclusion as far as he was concerned, when Marks wouldn’t have spoken about diversity and inclusion, they’re

00:28:01:15 – 00:28:24:05
René Carayol
a bunch of engineers. It’s very mechanistic. They do the strategy, they do the process. No one had touched his mind for some reason or someone. I’d got through to him a few stories. He went home. We spoke to his wife and he said that something like said something I’d done. It made him realize that there was four guys of mixed heritage he’d grown up with in Germany.

00:28:24:16 – 00:28:50:04
René Carayol
They’d gone to junior school, high school, university together. They grew up somewhere near Dusseldorf and there was an American airbase and their fathers were black, African American, black servicemen and their mothers were German. And these four guys had grown up. There was some of his best friends, and when he spoke to his wife, she said he said, look, really made me realize something, you know, something all the time.

00:28:50:04 – 00:29:06:12
René Carayol
I’ve known them from junior school right through till now. I’ve never had them raise their voices. They’ve never had an argument. They’ve never raised their hand in class. They’ve never challenged never. Why? So what did you find out? One of the guys.

00:29:06:18 – 00:29:07:11
Philippa White
Oh, wow.

00:29:09:02 – 00:29:34:23
René Carayol
That night. And he called them. He said, look. And they had a very difficult conversation that ended with both images. And he said, you never even used to raise it. I’ve never seen of a sign of zero enjoyment. You didn’t say anything? Sort of. And even now, you know, you’re the calmest guy I’ve ever met. And so with the other three and his friends said to him, There were five of us.

00:29:36:21 – 00:30:13:08
René Carayol
Don’t you remember? Sitting on the 12th, he had a fighting class and his dad came up the following day because he got beaten up by a couple of guys that came to school and complained that might his house was firebombed. They’re all burnt to death. Oh, he said so. My father at the conversation that I know my brothers, their father said, You will never argue, you will never stand up, you will never challenge, you will never say a word.

00:30:13:08 – 00:30:42:00
René Carayol
Philippa I’ve had the similar conversation with my son. You speak to so many of us, parents of the marginalized. We know that our sons will be stopped by the police. We know that our sons will be arrested. We know that our sons we’ve had those talks. I’m used to having that. You talk to the black press. We’re used to having those tools in place for what police officers of sexual they call recognized sexual.

00:30:42:00 – 00:31:08:16
René Carayol
So when we sought to share what the experience is like, people say, well, it’s important that we will know. When Ralph called me, he couldn’t hold the tears back. And, you know, he kept saying it, but they’re my best friends. Why didn’t I know? Why didn’t I see it? Why didn’t I realize? That’s the question then. That’s what we’re trying to break.

00:31:09:04 – 00:31:27:14
René Carayol
And when I have these conversations in the boardroom, I don’t get any resistance. So I challenge what you say that people don’t don’t want is they don’t know how to go. I find that when when we start to break, you don’t have the conversations. They’re standing foursquare next to me. They want this world to change as much as I do.

00:31:28:20 – 00:31:41:07
René Carayol
But we’ve got to have that even tempered that conversation. I’m telling the stories, I’m sharing some stuff I’m sharing some videos on. And you know what? I find Phillip with the human kind, the majority of us are inside. We’re so similar.

00:31:41:17 – 00:31:41:24
Philippa White
You know.

00:31:42:12 – 00:31:57:21
René Carayol
We want the same things, but we haven’t taken the time to share it. And I don’t find a lot of resistance. I really, really don’t. But I suppose I’ve learned I think I’m trying to learn how do we connect, how do we share? How do we become as one?

00:31:59:14 – 00:32:06:03
Philippa White
What really have I not asked you that you can tell our listeners.

00:32:06:03 – 00:32:32:11
René Carayol
Erm you know I suppose you’ve, you’ve asked all the right questions I think, but I think I need to say a little bit more about the power of stories. Yeah, please. You know, just that when we share each other’s backgrounds, we touch each other. And it’s the empathy, the emotional connection that you talked about, the cultural awareness that most of us, we may come from much different disparate places, but we can share.

00:32:33:14 – 00:32:55:12
René Carayol
And when we realize that our differences, our strengths, my strengths is our difference, you know, the power comes from seeing things differently. And we should celebrate that difference. Yeah, it can become extremely powerful. Extremely. I am so hopeful. I’m so optimistic. I see the bright future we’ve got to keep. We’ve got to learn to speak up. Speak up.

00:32:55:23 – 00:33:03:00
René Carayol
And I say to everyone, it’s everybody and nobody else believe in effort. Yeah, I.

00:33:03:05 – 00:33:30:02
Philippa White
It’s really inspiring. And we just need more voices like yours leading this charge because it’s just more of, as you say, it’s more of these stories, more of these voices, more of these stories. Then it just becomes then people do understand and then people do start to question and then people say, you know, but without the voice, without these stories, like you say, then it’s understandable why your friend called you and said, well, you know, I don’t know, you know, or called.

00:33:30:04 – 00:33:40:03
Philippa White
You were talking to the individual who called his friend and said, you know, why did I not see that? Well, it’s because no one talked about it and no one questioned it precisely.

00:33:40:06 – 00:34:06:09
René Carayol
Phillip, when become curious about each other, curious about difference, we we do. You know, as I said, as we say, it’s really difficult, but it’s not impossible to have a logical argument about racism because racism is not logical. It’s just going to drive itself. My trying to argue the racist but what we’ve realized is no one was born a racist.

00:34:06:24 – 00:34:13:21
René Carayol
Yeah. If you were taught to hate, you can be taught to love. And if we can teach you to love, we’ve won the battle.

00:34:14:13 – 00:34:34:20
Philippa White
Thank you, Renee. That’s really great to hear. And that’s just it. I mean, I think it’s so important. I had a conversation with Jim Bullock yesterday for one of our going to be launching that podcast on Friday. And and, you know, he says, if we want people to think out of the box, if we want people to do things differently, they need to live out of the box.

00:34:34:20 – 00:35:03:16
Philippa White
They need to have experiences outside of what they are used to. And it’s the same with this conversation of diversity and inclusion. And it’s just what we’ve been talking about. You know, if you just constantly hang out with the same people and are surrounded by the same issues and the same challenges and the same conversations, you aren’t going to be able to empathize and you’re also not going to be able to understand what the whole other part of the population is experiencing or doing, and how can you be a leader if you don’t understand those dynamics?

00:35:04:09 – 00:35:25:22
Philippa White
And so it’s absolutely fundamental, I think, just for leadership, for being a better leader point blank, you need to be able to expand your personal circle. You need to have conversations with people who have different experiences to your your step out of your bubble, step out of your comfort zone, feel uncomfortable, have those difficult moments because that’s when you start to have those Aha.

00:35:25:22 – 00:35:50:13
Philippa White
Moments and realizations. Yeah, really. Renee, thank you so much for this conversation. I so appreciate your time and your passion, your work, which is just so incredibly important and I will put Spike the link to it on on the on the link in the notes and a link through to you so that to people who are listening, they can reach out to you and and get in touch.

00:35:51:17 – 00:35:53:18
René Carayol
Thank you very much, Phillip. You look after yourself.

00:35:53:18 – 00:36:33:01
Philippa White
Thank you. You too, Renee. Take care. Thank you. Goodbye.


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