Things we wish we knew while operating a WOC owned racial & gender equity consulting business

Lessons learned by Natalie Bui, Kausar Mohammed, Veline Mojarro

1. Don’t Sweat the “big” name clients.

If you lose them, it’s not the end of the world. They are never as important or as big as you make them out to be. Value alignment is more important than the “clout” of their brand.

2. Cut the respectability politics and code switching

Show up as you! You will get more aligned clientele, and build deeper relationships with your clients that will understand you and your process more.

3. Honor the work it took to get you there.

Whether you’re stepping into a predominantly white institution, or in a meeting with major executives, recognize the labor it took to get that seat at that table. Also recognize our power, they need you more than you need them, regardless of outcome.

4. Do NOT overcompensate.

Or be too accommodating. Know your boundaries with your clients. You can work hard for them because you care, but not necessarily because you feel like you have to prove something to them. Push back on deadlines that have a false sense of urgency, and don’t feel the need to respond to every client immediately.

5. It’s most likely white supremacy — not you!

Feelings of inadequacy are usually derived from the systems of oppression working exactly as designed. People not understanding the work or questioning expertise may bring up imposter syndrome. BUT remember, you know the way these systems work. Keep zooming out and trusting yourself.

6. What new business systems are you building? How are you not recreating the systems of oppression that you are trying to dismantle.

Running a care centered business will be in conflict with systems of white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy. Rethink how things are done. How are you centering trust and are? Or are we just doing things for the sake of efficiency? These conversations are often non-linear, take time, and a lot of care. We need to call ourselves into that too!

7. You are building your OWN table.

You make the decisions. You make the rules. You make the timeline. You have so much power to challenge and create new ways of being, and working outside of white, cis, hetero, homogenous ways of being.

Racial equity and gender equity consulting group founded by three women of color. •Natalie Bui, Veline Mojarro, Kausar Mohammed• Visit www.shiftingculture.co.