The Business of Belonging

Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Movement.  A force for belonging at work and in advertising, she’s contributed to transforming the advertising space and moving the needle on helping women gain decision-making roles in advertising.

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Are you building a team or business? Do you want to bring out the best, most courageous, most creative ideas? Belonging is the unlocker.  This conversation will help you tackle belonging as a business edge and bring more humanity into work. 

Kat and her team conducted a white paper that details the experiences of women in Advertising and the details don’t add up to belonging (linked below).  Kat’s work continues.  Follow her today and listen to this episode now. 

Find out more about Kat Gordon

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

The 3% Movement site

Use the code DIA to get a 10% discount on a ticket to the 2021 fall conference

Get The 3% white paper Elephant On Madison Avenue

Zoe Scaman’s Article

Check out Dia Bondi's work here


Dia Bondi  00:04

It is ceding some power, even in that moment, like,


Kat Gordon  00:07

Yeah, but I mean, I guess I think that power was always illusory at best. So are we really losing anything? I don't know.


Dia Bondi  00:15

Maybe we're having to let go of just Alright, our ideas or attachment or ideas about how things should go. Yes. And by the way, that's like, life lesson number one. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Dia Bondi Show. I'm Dia Bondy. This is a big podcast for your big goals. It's a big podcast for your little goals for your medium sized goals for your quiet goals, your loud goals, your heart centered goals, your pocketbook goals, if you've got goals, we're so glad you're here. I'm Dia Bondi longtime leadership communications coach and creator project ask like an auctioneer and I have with me our lovely on air producer, Arthur Leon Adams the third aka baby Hello, baby a adea all the goals, squad goals, all the goals Hey, everybody, you're gonna my voice sounds weird. And that's because I just got a cold this last week for the first time I'm having a little cold. First time in almost two years COVID hit and I had nothing we had. Nobody in my household got sick with anything had cold flu like anything non COVID related because we were all nobodies. It's we're not in the petri dish, you know. But I've got a cold so


Arthur  01:44

well as to I mean, you know, we're following all the guidelines and distancing wearing masks not going to things and everything got shut down around here anyway. So yeah, you know, we have this brief period of things opening back up, but now it seems like things might be shutting down. We're recording this at the end of July. And I had these weird feelings a few weeks ago when everything started to open it back up again. And you're watching TV. And it's like, Stephen Colbert is back with a live audience and Jon Stewart's on and they're hugging and everyone's cheering and everyone's sitting next to each other with no masks on and stuff. And, and I had this thought this like future vision. And I was like, they are going to show clips from this shit in like, how about halfway through the COVID documentary for a brief time, things went back to normal


Dia Bondi  02:31

people were dancing in groups, they were hugging it


Arthur  02:34

out. But all good things must come to an end. Ah, record scratch.


Dia Bondi  02:39

Well, nothing's coming to an end here. This podcast is not coming to an end, because we can record virtually everyone can stay safe in at home. And we can keep rocking and rolling this thing. And I have to say today I was rocking, rolling in my house kind of talking about something really quick. Let's talk. So I have a I actually have a cleaner who comes to my house, which is like an amazing luxury for me. It's not what I grew up with and did not grow up in a household with, you know, with a cleaner that would come You know, once a month or twice a month and really, like, fix it up. You know,


Arthur  03:09

we were that Me too. Yeah, I


Dia Bondi  03:12

grew up in a really small household. I have one brothers as the four of us in a very tiny house, postwar, you know, stucco house. And I mean, itty bitty, you open the front door, and you're like standing in the middle of the living room. And so she was at the house cleaning Oh, no, as I was picking up around the house, right, get my kids to pick up. They have chores, they do lots of stuff. Let's do because we have a cleaner doesn't mean they don't do the work. They got to work work. Well,


Arthur  03:37

we have to clean the house before the cleaner comes.


Dia Bondi  03:39

Well at least she can come on. So I'm straightening up and I'm kind of in the mood. So I'm poking through. I have this sort of like, dresser inside of a closet. It's like this built in our house was built in 64. There's all these kind of cool built in. So I'm rifling through there and finding this scourge that I have in my life. Do you have this Arthur? headphones, earbuds wrapped around earbuds? Your independent earbuds over the head earphones, one with cord, one without cords and like half? It's like they're they're just prolate I don't know, they're reproducing in the corners of my house. They're just freaking everywhere. And what makes me so nuts is half half of them are broken, or they have one earbud that works and the other one that doesn't. And I came across a set of headphones actually that are an outcome of a project that a creative project you and I did Oh yeah. For a brand. Remember we did that?


Arthur  04:30

Yes. The ones that kind of right.


Dia Bondi  04:33

Yeah, yeah. Did I have that and that there was videos. That's right. And that and another anyway, we worked on an ad campaign together. Or it was just a bunch of content for point of sale. I don't know why later on like Motorola, right? Yeah. You're like, What? Why are you a leadership communications coach? I'm also working in ADS. And the answer is for fun. That's the all the answer that I have. Scratch a little bit of coin here and there, but it wasn't you know, wasn't a huge project. Anyway, my point is I How to set those. And I, you know, one, the earpiece had sort of sprung away from its main structure and one of the little cords that is supposed to be soldered to another section of the little earbud was a spring as my dad would say it was disconnected. And I know and I've known about these sitting on my dresser for like, literally like a year and a half broken. Because I have some fantasy in my mind that I'm going to take them into the garage, and I'm going to solder them back together and continue to use them because one ear side works great, it's just this one that because I am I am, it is a scourge to me all these little itty bitty electronics things that break easily and then go into the garbage can makes me nuts. And there's a chance actually that, you know, we could take him into the garage out of the back together. And because we have a major, like six things value in our household fix things, we keep the box when the kids you know, grow out of something, they go back in the box, just like when they were and they can get handed down in a way that is, you know, usable. And they don't just turn into a junky pile of used stuff like I have that and we have, oh, your rollerblades you know aren't so smooth anymore. Let's pull the bearings out and like repack the bearings with new grease and see if that makes a difference. I want my kids to have some agency on, you know, fixing and just understanding how things work and not have that be such a mystery. But this whole electronics broken electronics thing. It makes me insane. Yeah.


Arthur  06:32

Well, they make all of it to just break down and you get a new one anyway because they continually upgrade quote unquote, the functionality of them.


Dia Bondi  06:44

I tell you, I get another year out if I could just solder that little tiny, delicate. It's just I'm such a brute with so many things that I don't think I could do the delicate soldering necessary. I know it's a personal challenge. I feel like you know, we're heading into the fall, kids are gonna go back to school, now's the time for us to put all our broken stuff in a pile. And like, fix it or fix it. This is you guys fix your stuff. Don't throw it away, fix it.


Arthur  07:12

Today, we have another nice little note from a listener that was put on Apple podcasts. Episode after episode gives me more courage to take action in all different aspects of my life says Boone law 2019.


Dia Bondi  07:25

Ooh, yes, thank you.


Arthur  07:28

Yeah, people are really listening to and they're really, they're really getting something out of it. Yeah.


Dia Bondi  07:32

Well, what I love about this, too, is that, you know, the focus on action. You know, I think folks have heard me say before, and if you haven't, I'm sure they had a good A lot of times, like right now that, you know, we all want confidence in order to do the thing that we want to do in the world. And sometimes confidence is an outcome of action can't be holding our action hostage. So this is a beautiful and very aligned review on the podcast and its intention in the world to help you take some action that makes meat that's meaningful to you. And that also is aligned to who you are and your goals. And also maybe even produces the confidence you need to take the very next action.


Arthur  08:11

And, you know, if you really liked this podcast, you can take some actions of your own. You can subscribe rate and review on any different podcast platform, and you can share it with your friends. There's lots of ways. We also you know, this is a show where you can call in and ask a question and Dia might answer it on the show, you can call us at 341-333-2997 you can also just call us and tell us you know how much you love it.


Dia Bondi  08:37

Tell us stuff I want to I want to just point out really quickly that it is true, everybody that when you when you click the Share button and you share it with one friend or colleague that you think would have fun listening or might get something out of one of the episodes, something concrete and actionable for them. You are helping the show grow and have more impact. And interestingly, you know 100% I've been in leadership communications coach for nearly two decades and the second half I really got into I really leveled up and did a lot more one on one work for really really high stakes moments for folks who are under incredible pressure. And that is a thrill to me when the stakes are high. That's that's a thrill and that's where I can really help folks be successful. And what's what his what his what is true in my career is that 100% of the most important work that is that I've done in the world has come to me through word of mouth and referrals. Only. Your your being part of this podcast, its mission and and the I don't know the conversations inside of it. You have you make a difference in its success and and its reach. So we're not kidding when we say share it with a friend and it makes a huge difference. To help it spread like a positive virus.


Arthur  09:55

Yeah. And then you know, eventually we don't have to do such a long section in the middle. With the show where we tell you to share it with people,


Dia Bondi  10:02

I don't know if we'll ever be able to cut that out. But maybe that's a great ask. That's a goal. It's one of our big goals have that.


Arthur  10:08

Yeah. All right. So today we have a guest. We've got Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% movement.


Dia Bondi  10:15

Absolutely. She is the visionary behind the 3% movement, and the tagline of which is diversity equals creativity equals profitability. She's built a community dedicated to diversifying the creative industries. And she's got an eye and the the the, the movement itself has an eye towards inclusion, belonging and corporate social responsibility. Now, that is the bio that she and her team sent over. But I also want to name for folks like, who are not familiar with Kat Gordon or the 3% movement, just some of the accolades that that speak to her influence and how much Her work is recognized in the ad and creative, the ad space and creative industries. She is was inducted into the advancing diversity Hall of honors for ces 2019. She is a marketing and social media top voice for LinkedIn in 2019. She is an advertising age, visionary of the year awardee for 2018. She's been listed as the top 101 of the top 100 people to make advertising great. She is she is an ad week disrupter, she is winner of 30 most creative women in advertising by Business Insider, change agent award for add color, the event innovators by bizbash, and winner of 40 over 40


Arthur  11:44

aka badass,


Dia Bondi  11:45

aka badass so I'm super thrilled to have her today to talk about something that we think is that I think is really important for folks listening who are going to be building teams or building companies and want to make sure that they're producing fabulous content and, and enabling teams to show up as their most creative, most courageous selves. Cat, welcome to the Deobandi show. Thank you, I'm so grateful to be here. So in prepping for this call. I, I reviewed sort of what the 3% movement, you know, wanted to do and impact in the world. And I just want to say that when you started and for folks listening, three, when you started 3% movement 3% of career directors were women. And today 29% of women are creative directors correct. And you say, half of all creative juries are women, which means you say we are effectively changing the way women are depicted in the world's most pervasive media, which is advertising. Congratulations. Thank you. So you will actually the first conference I ever shot a cold proposal for project asked like an auctioneer I you know, I haven't had I had three sort of beats one was, I got invited to test it in front of a group of women in Silicon Valley. They told me like, this is not crap, keep going. And then I had an opportunity to do it at an in house conference at at Pandora and those folks, I thought in house folks are not going to want this. This is all about money. And they were like, no, please come. There's so many different kinds of asks we have to make. And then I was like, okay, so as part of this, continue to test and iterate Let me see if the conference world is interested in this. And I shot it to you and you actually responded back you're like, this is interesting. Yes, please. And so I came to the 2018 3% conference, which is my first exposure to you and actually all your work, except that we're both shijo activators that same year. Oh, nice. Yeah. So um, today, I want to be talking to folks who listen, all of you who are listening in who are on the verge, so many of the women and folks that we really want to impact and reach our, our women who have goals and they're on the verge of a level up or a level out, meaning you know, they're looking to gain more responsibility and authority at work, maybe they're leveling out, which means it's time for them to leave an organization and go start something on their own so they can grow something that matters to them and have the impact they want on their own terms. And so for those of you listening know as if you are someone who will be building a business, going from being a product manager to a people, manager, someone who values collaboration or uses collaboration as a tool for you know, better outcomes on the projects that you work on. If you are someone who just simply works with other people. You know, and you want to build teams, either formally or informally, that can produce their best work technology. Advertising CPG I don't care what category this conversation is for you. So, Kat, you started in the world of Let's help get more women into creative director roles. And now you're in the business of belonging. Yes, I love that. And I want to name a few things for listeners. So from 3% movement's elephant on Madison Avenue white paper, where you surveyed 600 women in advertising, I'm going to read some of the stats from that work. And by the way, we will link to in the show notes where folks can find and download this paper, which is also by the way full of sort of micro actions folks can take to address some of the things that show up in this white paper. So, from your elephant, on Madison Avenue white paper, you you learned that 54 54% of your of your respondents have been subjected to unwanted sexual advances during the course of their career. And that that when asked about what they might do about that 37% said nothing at all, they were afraid they would it would negatively impact their career 35% nothing, I didn't think that reporting would make even an ounce of a difference. 31% said nothing I wanted to just forget about it. 19 said nothing. I was too embarrassed. Nine in 10 women in advertising have heard demeaning comments from male colleagues, six in 10. hearing them monthly, and the percentage of ad women experiencing certain kinds of biases are like this. 91% have heard demeaning comments from male colleagues 78% have clients and colleagues who make eye contact with male peers but not with them when they're collaborating in a meeting and 83% of say that clients and colleagues address questions to their male peers that should actually be addressed to them. One in four women in advertising feel they have some they have the same they do not excuse me, only one in four in advertising feel that they have the same opportunity as men in their profession to in three women in advertising don't feel like they are on equal footing with their male colleagues. 68% of women have been told they are too aggressive and 64 that they are to 64% that they are too emotional 60% believe they are less well paid than their male counterparts and many of them have proof 49% say being a mom negatively impacted their careers and 29% of your respondents believe that there are other factors which have impacted their careers like race, sexual orientation, age, weight and or Other appearances and anecdotally, recently Zoe escapements article Mad Men furious women, tells the tale of her sexual harassment, lower pay tone and personality policing that she has experienced in advertising. It is a shocking read, and we will link to it in the show notes. This is not belonging.


Kat Gordon  17:55

Well, it is for one group that it was designed for they belong and everyone else's kind of tolerate it. And that's that's what culture most work cultures, you know, the kind of the central question I always ask companies to inquire around is, who is centered, and who is an afterthought. And so many of those statistics you just shared about what women have endured, are because the system was not designed for them. They're an afterthought. So yes, you're right, that is belonging for one group, that is the in group, and everyone else is forced to either fit in, which is not what belonging is, it's having to shape shift or code, switch or camouflage, choose your verb, otherwise not be yourself. And the real arc of my work is to make people aware of what gets lost and that math, you know, that's an equation where people don't have psychological safety. And if especially if you're in the creative industry, which I am, creativity is active vulnerability, you're, you're sharing a piece of yourself. And if you're working in a workplace where you are not centered, and you are an afterthought, there's no way you're bringing your whole self to work. I mean, that platitude every time I hear it, bring your whole self to work, like the workplace is not set up currently, to be safe for you to do so. And that's me talking as a white woman who's you know, cisgendered and it's, there's so many communities of people that have one or several aspects of their personality, that aren't welcomed and art centered, and all of that beautiful brain power and creativity lost.


Dia Bondi  19:46

So this question is kind of loaded and has a an assumption inside of it, which is, why does belonging scare the shit out of people?


Kat Gordon  19:55

Let me make sure I understand. Are you saying Why do why do companies really Resist actually doing the hard work around the cultural shifts? Or why are people afraid to attempt to belong? The folks who are blocking belonging? What are they so afraid of? So many things. I mean, if they're in that group that's historically been centered, then inviting others in, they feel like they're ceding some control some power. They're afraid of being called out at being of having been clueless. I mean, you know, I just had this experience, I was on an airplane, and I was waiting back by the bathrooms to use the bathroom. And, you know, both bathrooms were occupied. And I was standing there waiting. And you know, a woman was exiting one of the the bathrooms and a guy had just come down the aisle, and he just went right in just cut right in front of me. And the flight attendant was next to me. And she and I kind of exchanged a knowing glance. And she said something to him when he came out of the stall. I didn't ask her to, but she said, you know, she was waiting. And he initially said, Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't see. I mean, he apologized. But then apparently, when I was in the bathroom, he kind of, he got really uppity with her because he was ashamed. You know, it's, it's the shame of realizing what you didn't know, and that you were unwittingly excluding people. And we just have to get a little hardier in that we can, we can withstand that. I mean, it's nothing compared to what these communities of people that have not been given access and opportunity have endured. So I mean, in essence, what you are talking about is playing out on a world stage, this isn't about just the corporate world, this is about life, and how we're living through a time of such accelerated social change, and people are afraid because change is something that there's loss involved in any kind of change. And people do not like that. It's it makes them feel they're standing on sand. But we just have to get better at having faith that we can, we can withstand that, like that we're sturdy enough as as humans to, we're supposed to evolve, you know, we're not supposed to stay the same 510 years into our life. So


Dia Bondi  22:15

and when we do cede some of that power, when we do, you know, make make it possible for folks make up an atmosphere and mechanisms that allow for belonging, so people can bring, you know, their own thinking their own ideas, their own creative selves, their they can take risks by, you know, sharing far fetched or stretch ideas that can push the thinking of the group, like when we see that when we actually let go of that power. What do we actually get anything?


Kat Gordon  22:47

Oh, my god, yes. In fact, I tweeted something recently, I wish I had it, you know, on my phone just to read verbatim, but essentially, it was, I wrote something like what I wish more diversity leaders talked about publicly that on the other side of very messy, very uncomfortable, early ally ship is a bounty beyond which you can even imagine, it is like the ultimate life upgrade. And that's the thing, I think we need to show more visibility, and is that it is uncomfortable when you're living through a change in culture, it is, you do feel uncertain about what your role is, you're going to step in it sometimes like that guy in the bathroom line, like you're going to have to apologize, you're gonna have to kill small, you're gonna have to build, you're gonna have to not know. But if you can just get through that. All of a sudden, it's like, your life becomes Technicolor, you're exposed to so much more interesting ideas. You get to know people on a deeper level, because they're not again, you know, covering any aspect of their being, you get to learn about yourself. I mean, it's, it's magical.


Dia Bondi  24:00

I had a couple of years ago, I worked with a woman as a client and colleague who is um, she teaches applied improvisation in organizations. And you know, a lot of her work is around the framework of Yes, and and allowing others to, in basically allowing of not whole having a stranglehold on how the collaboration goes down, or how the, you know, in her language, it's like about the scene, right, like the scene playing out. But it could be a collaboration, it could be a brainstorm, it could be a project, it could be like, whatever the thing is, and you know, her early story is wish, actually, by the way, maybe we should have her on the show. You know, her early story was one of incredible exhaustion that she held on to what she was supposed to do and own so tightly, that she burned herself out in a way that was she was unrecoverable. She had she changed careers. And you know, I think when we we do just like stop white knuckling the power we You know, we can use our power, we can have power, we don't have to white knuckle it, you know, we don't have to constrain it. But we actually gain more when we, when we open to other people's ideas when we let more in.


Kat Gordon  25:13

So true. And you know, in the 10 years that we've been putting on conferences for 3%, we've had so many amazing speakers, I think, the speech or the the presentation that I think was the most important to this, the what you and I are talking about right now, was delivered by Derek Robson, who is a partner, it could be Silverstein in San Francisco, and it was called The future is female, and why men need to get over it, I think was the title, you can find it on our YouTube channel. What he did, and it was so smart, is he basically really shared with our audience, the trajectory of the agency over the past, I think was five years. And this is an agency that, you know, came up with the Got Milk campaign and is just has a tremendous creative legacy has so much respect in the industry. And then kind of behind the scenes, they were suffering as an agency, they weren't winning new business, they were hemorrhaging people, they were really struggling to stay afloat. And they made a decision to make their partner group gender equal. And and they actually surveyed their people as they were doing this transition. So first, they put Margaret Johnson in as the chief creative officer, and they surveyed people. And what happened is that men that worked for good be reported feeling less happy to be employed, their women were more happy. And then within a year's time, everyone was back to their normal levels of happiness. So again, back to like loss, the men were afraid what's going to happen, am I not as important, and I don't say this with any kind of judgment, this is a human response that anyone would have. And then within a year's time, which is nothing, everyone was back to, you know, the same happiness. But what had changed was the success of the agency, and the more women they put into that partner role. Currently, it's gender equal partners. Everything improved for the agency there, they were winning new business, the business they had was more profitable, people were staying longer, people were reporting happy, you know, happy, more satisfaction of being employed there. And I thought this was such an important presentation, because he's a white British guy, basically telling the world that this is the way to future proof your company. And at the end, he said, the only regret I have is that I didn't do this five years sooner, because he sees what they lost in those five years that they could have possibly retained. Had they had this, you know, epiphany that gender equality just makes business sense makes people happier. And yeah, produces great work. Yes, exactly.


Dia Bondi  27:53

So that's interesting segue maybe into my next question, which is around for folks who are on the other side of it, the folks who have not been part of the lobbying group, you know, how do we start to trust that belonging and, and move in ways where we're not pressing ourselves or flinching while we're doing it? How do you say you're part of the team that is now you're a part of an organization that has now made this declaration created actions? In the face of it, there is perceived or real power redistribution or power sharing? Like, I mean, how do you walk into the light? That's such a beautiful question Dia.


Kat Gordon  28:36

And I think that there is healthy skepticism that this is real, and that you will be received and that there won't be backlash. These are real, you know, possible. pitfalls of stepping forward, I think, I think you have to be prepared, that it might not be instantaneous, that you will be embraced in this new world. And that and to not let that discourage you. You know, any kind of change is incremental. And it's, it's based on trust. And that's based on relationships. So I think over communicating is key, you know, talking to your team, talking to your supervisors, reminding people of the commitments that have been made as company values and assuming good intentions. And then if you're not seeing that the company is actually embracing those values, and you're not seeing the results that you hoped you would have or the way you want to feel, then you know, it might be the wrong environment for you, instead of you having to keep trying to adapt to it. It might not be the right environment for you.


Dia Bondi  29:47

I love that. I love that we you know, so many of folks inside of project ask like an auctioneer or you know, they wonder how they can do their thing and be exactly where they are and sometimes the answer is like This was a moment there are other moments get out girl, you know, like, find another place stop, like stop trying to extract blood from a turnip. It's not it, you know, it had promise and it didn't play out. That's okay. You get to make a choice. Most of the time.


Kat Gordon  30:16

Yes. And, you know, I think one of the reasons that we've had speakers at 3% like we have Sallie Krawcheck talk. financial stability is a feminist issue. You know, Sally, Sally Krawcheck privately sometimes calls it the fuck you fund. I don't know if I can say that on your program. But sometimes she cleans it up to the Get your hand off my knee Fund, which is the ability to walk the ability to quit. And so you know, such an important thing for women in the workforce to understand is that having financial security, understanding the stock market, understanding your 401k having money put aside, and I'm not saying that this is within reach for everyone at every stage of their career, but at least having awareness of it and trying to have reserves, gives you the power to get out when it's when it's bad, and especially to get out when it's toxic.


Dia Bondi  31:15

So that's funny, because I so my next question is really about like, you know, the workplace culture sucks. Mostly, that's, that's my assumption is, I mean, I live in this little bubble of people wanting to talk to me about change. And so they're, you know, there's reason for change. And it's not always positive, but workplace culture is tough. From inclusion, you know, issues around around inclusion and belonging, as well as just the toxicity that you're that you're nodding to, to people feel people feeling less autonomous, you know, politics, that the things that keep you from doing your best work, that you spend cycles, dealing with stuff that doesn't let you you know, wrap your arms around your best work, what do you see the future of work?


Kat Gordon  32:08

That was actually the theme of our conference last summer was the radically inclusive future of work. And we divided it into four pillars that we went deep on each one, one was wellness, which is something that used to be kind of siloed in HR as like here are your benefits you get to go to the dentist and now wellness is so much more apart especially with you know the pandemic people working from home you know, leaders are realizing that there they need to check in on how people are doing how are they feeling? How are they managing stress, are they sleeping, these are not soft skills, you know, these are things that in evolve leader knows are central to their employees happiness. So wellness is one future of work and that's includes definitely includes mental health. We talked about emotional, emotionally intelligent leaders, we have Dr. Mark Brackett come the author of permission to feel and talk about how the ultimate leadership quality is recognizing emotionality and yourself, the ability to regulate it not stuffit but regulated and the ability to recognize and read emotions and others and support them. So that's, you know, so different than the old command and control version of leadership, so wellness, emotional leadership, you know, EQ leadership in multi generational workforces. This is the first time in history that five generations are in the workplace at one time. And we had AARP sharing some really interesting statistics about the beauty of that, like all the amazing, you know, learning that can happen, and also the ways you need to set up workplaces not presumed that again, who is centered and who is an afterthought, are you centering your young people are leaving out older employees or vice versa. And now let me remember what the fourth thing was. It's funny how when you put on an event, and then it finishes, so, wellness, multigenerational emotion, emotional leadership, oh, remote working just which was so timely with the pandemic, you know, this is something that a chorus of employees have been asking for, for years, and it's been assumed to be like a mom issue. People want to work from home. And that is so not true. And we're seeing all sorts of communities that are either preferring working from home or wanting the option. Sometimes it's issues of, you know, I'm a more introverted person I find certain workspaces overstimulating. Even the lighting can feel like an assault in certain workplaces. And so the ability to do your work in an atmosphere where you do your best work and where you feel most comfortable. I mean, that shouldn't be a revelation. But most offices are not set up for people that are easily overstimulated. And so that's the future of work. I mean, and if you look at all those four things, I think the key word that, you know, the through line is flexibility, you know, is not having this like one way things get done and one kind of roadmap for everyone to follow. It's really listening to your people where and how and when do they do their absolute best work? And how can you create environments where they have the fewest speed bumps?


Dia Bondi  35:37

Yeah, I mean, this is this shows up even in my coaching work with communications work is not to say like, here's what a leader that I'm working with needs to say at that moment, it's not to say, here's what should work, it's instead to notice what works and do more of that. Which means you have to let go a lot of what we think is supposed to work, and notice what's actually working. And that's a hard thing to see through. You know, I mean, I think, when I don't have a team in my business that are, you know, on payroll that are, you know, 4050 hours a week like that, but I have this beautiful collection of, you know, contractors and thinkers and creatives that help push, you know, where I see my work going and help me build a thing that we're building today. Thank you, baby. And that the the idea of like, here's how we might start, but also then let go of what should be working and what shouldn't be working, and instead notice what is working and then do more of that. It's it is ceding some power, even in that moment, like, like ceding the power over what we think is it's supposed to look like


Kat Gordon  36:47

Yeah, but I mean, I guess I think that power was always illusory at best. So are we really losing anything? I don't know.


Dia Bondi  36:55

Well, yeah. I mean, it's, maybe we're having to let go of just all right, our ideas or attachment or ideas about how things should go?


Kat Gordon  37:07

Yes. And by the way, that's like, life lesson number one fortune cookie, you know? Yeah, come on.


Dia Bondi  37:16

For sure. So for folks who are for folks who are listening to this podcast, who maybe are like, this is the year they're going to be director, this is the year they're going to start that new company. This is the year where they will move into more intentionally having an impact or being able to architect spaces where people come together and produce work with one another. Like what's what are the three things they should be looking for and acting on to cultivate belonging?


Kat Gordon  37:52

I mean, I think the most important one is formalizing your commitment to that like having some set of values that are that you will never trespass against. I mean, the world is full of ambiguity and change. But if there are some things that you are committed to, in theory above, no matter what circumstances, so I think getting clear on what is that for you, you know, the hills you'll die on. And that becomes a mechanism to draw the right people to you, and the right investors, the right employees, everything. So I think, start with the values like how do you want your people to feel? How do you want to feel what's important to you.


Dia Bondi  38:29

And that counts, that counts. Even if I'm a 26 year old product manager, who now is managing two people and we collaborate, cross functionally by, you know, doing running, you know, I don't know, brainstorming workshops across the organization, like maybe I only have two people I'm managing, but I'm collaborating with others, like, I'm going to build that set of values, write it down and commit to it, even now, I don't have to have a team of 20 or 50, to make that matter.


Kat Gordon  38:54

Oh, for sure. In fact, I would even say, even if you don't manage people, it matters. Even if you're not even in the workforce, yet it matters. It's almost like having a personal mission statement for your life. It's a guiding force. And then I would also say, be be inflexible about what you're trying to accomplish, but be very flexible about how you're going to get there. I mean, you just touched on that when you said, people don't want to actually look at what's actually working and do more of that. Because they're like, Well, that doesn't fit the roadmap that I laid out for myself, and we get so tripped up by what how we think it's all going to unfurl and on what timeframe and I think that's a mistake. You know, I wrote about this recently about how we beat ourselves up about procrastination, things that we haven't pulled the trigger on, or that we know we need to get to, but we haven't, and I just love what Danielle Laporte says about that, that procrastination can be a form of intuition. I have found that to be true in my life so many times where there's something I'm like, why am I not finishing that? Why am I not following through on that, and then something will happen, some missing piece of information or something will happen in the news that makes it the absolute perfect moment for me to talk about that. And I move immediately, and it feels frictionless. And so, you know, trust the timing of your life, it's some things are gonna happen when they're supposed to not when you want to dictate that they happen.


Dia Bondi  40:30

So we've got, you know, identifying what your values are around creating and collaborating with other folks, you know, in architecting, a space of belonging so that can happen. What else can folks who are, you know, wanting to prioritize this? Do,


Kat Gordon  40:47

I think it's really helpful to create a personal board of advisors or a professional board of advisors, if that is suitable for your role, I'm amazed at how much having people around you that you've built a trusted relationship with. And you admire the way they think and problem solve, to have them bought into what you're trying to do and apprised of what your goals are, and your aims. And to be able to call upon people, I mean, you are going to have moments where you have to make choices that you don't really feel certain about what your consideration set should be. Or you're going to have to reimagine certain things that you thought you had already figured out. And to have that trusted board of advisors, people that you know, are rooting for you, and have really interesting points of view is just a goldmine. And to be on that for other people, by the way, this is a two way street.


Dia Bondi  41:48

So folks who are listening, there's two strong pieces of advice right there, if belonging is on your radar, and you want to architect spaces where belonging exists, so you can facilitate making space for the best ideas that a diverse set of folks may bring to the table. And to produce work that is potentially better than anything you yourself could do. Let's be clear. So when we want to tap into the smarts of others, we have to make sure that, that there's there's a place for them to do it, and for them to bring their most courageous ideas. So I'm all about asking for more. Well, I'm all about so many things. But one big part of it is, I'm so much about asking for more and getting it and you know, this, you know, I made a big ask early in my career that changed everything. And I'm super curious, is there an ask cat that you've had in your that you made in your life, that changed everything, and it can be something, you know, big and fancy, and it can be something quiet the meaningful? So I'm curious, what's the ask that you've made in your life that changed everything? I would


Kat Gordon  42:54

say it was, you know, asking for financial support to launch the first 3% conference. I mean, the year was 2011. It was before lean in came out. It was it was a time when I was awake to some shifting realities and some stubborn patterns in my industry that seemed like suicide to healthy cultures. But I didn't have I wasn't a particularly connected person. I didn't have a board of advisors, I'd set up I'd been kind of a solopreneur for a long time. And I, I just made this audacious ask of like, what if I could convene conversation around this with an aim towards changing culture. And I had to reach out to some folks in my network. Some I knew some I didn't, but that other people said, I think so. And so who quite frankly, like Nancy hill from the forays, I didn't know her. And someone connected us. And she and I talked and she asked me some really good questions. And I think she saw that I was serious about this. And she pledged money to make that first conference happen. And without those few companies that and these are small investments we're talking about, but that this wouldn't have happened. Had I not asked.


Dia Bondi  44:12

Yes. And what was that like for you in the moment that you got the the Yes. Do you remember?


Kat Gordon  44:19

Oh, yeah. In fact, I remember the very first Yes, I got was from an Lunas, who's the CMO at Adobe. I knew her socially, we both lived in Palo Alto. I've actually gotten to know her a lot better since then. But I didn't know her very well. But we, we always whenever I saw her, I felt like there was a, you know, a kinship there. And I emailed her and just said, I'm, I'm, I have this new idea. Here's what I'm thinking. I didn't even have a lot of details yet. And she wrote back and said, I'll give you $10,000 and I remember exactly where I was sitting in my house when I got that email. And I remember I stood up and kind of did the fist raise, you know, like, wow, okay. And it's $10,000 and it's like, now I went, you know, in our budget. That's not A big deal. But back then, it wasn't necessarily how many zeros were on it, it was that she believed that it was worth investing in. And so then, you know, the next little bit of money came in and from Nancy Hill. And it's funny, all of these conversations or emails I remember all happened in my living room. And I had an office outside the house, I don't know why all the good news happens through the house. But you remember, as someone who has an idea, you remember the moments in which it starts to become a real thing?


Dia Bondi  45:30

And what are you asking for now,


Kat Gordon  45:32

I'm asking for the freedom at year 10, of the 3% movement, to trust myself and have my Community Trust me that there's actually a whole nother related problem that needs to be solved. And that's around who's leading these creative companies. And you know, when I think back to how I was trained, to enter a creative environment as a copywriter, what skills I was asked to learn it is woefully inadequate to what a modern creative leader needs. I mean, the changing landscape, back to belonging, creating atmospheres, creative departments that have true belonging, built into every aspect of the business, requires a lot of investment of time and commitment, and uncertainty and messiness. And then also, the work you do with your clients has changed. I mean, corporate social responsibility is absolutely the future, it does not matter who is on your client roster. It doesn't matter what sector they're from you as a creative leader, if you're doing your job, right, should be starting with what is your company stand for? What are its values? Where do you talk about that? How is that infused in every aspect of your branding, and your marketing and every campaign we do, it is not an afterthought. It is now the center piece to what you should be creating for clients. And so those two things, creating atmospheres of belonging, creating conversations where Corporate Social Responsibility is centered, no one is, is like creating a curriculum for leaders to master that. And so what I'm asking for now is the ability to step into a role of creating something for the industry around that.


Dia Bondi  47:31

So I'm Arthur and I have a thing we do, which is to name and claim our opposites, our polarities, oh, loves that. So for example, I and this comes from the idea that like, polarities exists everywhere, all the time. And sometimes we take the side that looks like our dark side, and we try to like cut it off Berry and get rid of it, you know, behave our way around it like height and all that, but it's actually can be it actually can serve us, you know, these aren't like angels and devils, they're two sides of who we are. So for example, and I found in my leadership communications work, that sometimes the very thing that a leader sees as a liability in their personality and who they are and the way they see the world is actually the thing that is the force behind their more powerful platform, you know, and what and the more powerful part of what they can share with the world that helps the world understand them, helps them world trust them, they can put that part to use and not just try to carve it off. So my you know, we all have many polarities, one of the ones that I the one that I talked about on the show a lot is I am a positive malcontent. And the trick for us is to name our polarities and then describe what we like about both of them and what I like about my positive Mel contentedness is that I have a sense of positivity to the future I can look to the future and keep my eyes on the horizon. I am optimistic in that way but I want to bring and enjoy positivity and my Mel contentedness my level of discomfort keeps me moving forward keeps me shifting in my chair keeps me wanting more keeps me hungry for learning and shifting and growing and that our therapy want to share with yours with cat


Arthur  49:20

Oh sure, is somewhat similar. I would say that I'm an optimistic nihilist. And what that really means to me is that I do think that you know, there isn't really any particular meaning to life and that things are random and that we're just hurling through space. But that makes me appreciate the here and now and the things that I love and find joy in my life so much more.


Kat Gordon  49:52

So the question for you cat is could you name your polarities and could you finish the sentence and what I love About that is Oh my god. First of all, this is the most inspired exercise. I want to figure out a way to use it. Um, yeah, I mean, I think the thing, I am a novelty seeker that also loves familiar routine. And so yes, so what I like about that is what I like about that is I'm always discovering new ideas, new people, new ways of being. And I'm deeply loyal to those that I have history with. It's


Dia Bondi  50:35

so much better than saying, I'm a positive malcontent, which means like, I'm really positive and I really should stop being so grumpy about everything, Rahel, these, these both have serve us. And they help balance our I don't know, they help. That's beautiful. Thank you for that. Yeah,


Kat Gordon  50:53

yeah. And in a way, I think if you dismantle all three that we've all shared, there's a logic to it, I mean, it because I am such a consumer of the world. And I mean, consumer not spending I mean consumer like gimme, gimme, you know, taking in and ingesting. Yeah, of course, I'm going to be deeply loyal to the things that made it inside the inner circle, because it's a very educated choice. I'm not someone that just grew up in the same town and married the high school sweetheart and never left. And so those are default choices. I'm someone that's actually like, tried everything on for size and continues to do so. And the things that please me, and that delight me, they have a very, you know, elevated status in my life, because I know what I gave up to choose that


Dia Bondi  51:46

on the thread of Oh, sorry, baby, I go ahead.


Arthur  51:48

Oh, I was gonna say, I think we all have a lot of different contradictions. I was just thinking about something similar to what you were saying is I think that I'm a extroverted homebody. You know, I don't like to, like, go out that much. But I am, I'm an introvert, you're also


Dia Bondi  52:02

in punk bands. So there it is. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, when I think about belonging on less of sort of a global, you know, external global scale, you know, internally, you know, it's important to me to let my all of me belong in all of me. And that the folks that are listening to this podcast, that you let all of the parts of you belong in you, they are all that's what makes us up. And those sometimes the intersections of these polarities is where some really awesome, magic can get created. Totally, totally. What


Kat Gordon  52:39

was that term that, um, I think Glenn and Doyle talks about when you don't let all of yourself show up. And she talks about it being her representative showing up where you're kind of like, you know, that you're softening all the edges of yourself and trying to make yourself palatable to the most amount of people but diluting yourself is suicide, like, why would you want to take what makes you like weirdness is so underrated. I feel like misfits are the most interesting people because what they're saying is that they cannot be contained by something that was a one size fits all. And so I feel like the most interesting people I meet and the people I actually want to spend time with are people that do that I can't categorize but I can't say they're a such and such in three words. It's like they just have all these polarities, and all these interesting nuances to their life experience, like more of that, please. Okay,


Dia Bondi  53:36

it's been so joyful, having you here talking to us about these super important issues that, you know, are about creating work in the world that impacts people's lives, but also impacts how people move and show up every day, how they live at work, how they, how they contribute and connect with other people. How people have a sense of, you know, belonging means that they, they can, they can bring all those polarities and put them to use in a way that matters. So thank you for that. And you were also generous enough, we're recording this at the time where you Tickets are on sale right now for the 3% movements 10th anniversary event, which will be held in Atlanta, and you generously are offering us a coupon code. So for folks who are listening today, if you go to if you go to the 3% conferences, website, you can purchase your ticket and get 10% off using a coupon code. I think it's Dia will live will list it in in the show notes. Cat it's been so great having you.


Kat Gordon  54:39

Oh, vice versa. I really enjoyed our conversation.


Dia Bondi  54:50

Great having cat on the show. She's amazing. Yeah. And so like so thoughtful about just so thoughtful. I mean, I think it's really getting to the heart of the matter, you know, when she started out thinking about, you know, elevating more women in Creative Director roles in order to impact and help women shape and have a more representative and real, you know, I don't know, experience in advertising and have women have a say in the narratives that are created by advertising that like now she's landed on belonging is just like it's great. All right, everybody. Thanks so much for listening today. loved, loved, loved having Kat Gordon and always love being with you, baby. Yeah, love it.


Arthur  55:37

See you next time.


Dia Bondi  55:42

This Podcast is a production of Dia Bondi Communications and is produced and music ified by Arthur Leon Adams the third aka baby a. You can like share rate and subscribe at Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Find us at Dia bondi.com or follow us on Instagram at the Dia Bondi show. Want to shoot us a question for the show. Call us at 341-333-2997

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