Welcome to Crazy and the King!!
Nov. 4, 2021

Calvin Ridley, Black CDO Fired, and Hospitality Woes

Calvin Ridley, Black CDO Fired, and Hospitality Woes

Calvin Ridley leaves the NFL, Houston hospital fires a Black CDO before he starts, and the hospitality industry has over 10% of all roles unfilled.

.Calvin Ridley leaves the NFL for his metal well-being. Was the response different from a female athlete's focus on mental health? Memorial Hermann Health Systems, Houston hospital, fires a Black CDO before he starts because of his focus on race AND he drives a Porsche. Restuarants and all of forms of hospitality are having an especially tough time restaffing after the pandemic. In fact, more than 10% of all hospitality roles are unfilled. Is it money or something else?

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Production and Music: DJ Cellz

Intern: Elizabeth Duff

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

Thank you to our sponsors and to the team at Evergreen!

Interested in sponsoring Crazy and the King? Contact us today! Email us at CATK@CrazyandtheKing.com

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Production and Music: DJ Cellz


Julie Sowash     “Welcome, Welcome, Welcome to Crazy and the King! Welcome to November."                                                                                                             

Torin Ellis            “You do this thing with so much like pizzazz now you got little you know you freaking up a little bit, you change the cadence, you changed the staccato-like I actually was gonna say you know maybe in 2023 we'll switch it around. We'll do a little bit of roleplay or cosplay. Bit of change up you know I'll try to do the opening. You do the second half but now you got it. So, we're going to stay with that thing. We're going to keep that going and you're right. Welcome to November which means we just came out of National Disability Employment Awareness month"                                                                                                                                                                              

Torin Ellis            “I like to say employee, but I think officially it's employment, right? Yeah, so NDEAM it was all the rave last month and part of that rave was Julie and I got to rock with. Well…"                                                                                                              

Julie Sowash     “Yep. Yep, officially but I tend to like employee better.”                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Torin Ellis            “We rocked in different ways I was a bit on camera you were a bit behind the scenes making things happen, but it was magical with Bristol Myers Squibb, right!”                                                                                                      

Julie Sowash     “Yeah, I mean an awesome conversation about Ableism. It's a term that everyone in 2022 needs to get more comfortable with. It’s definitely not going away and going to come into more prominence. And BMS, as always, is leading the way with fantastic discussions kind of pushing at the edges of what people need to know about the community."                                                                                                                             

Torin Ellis            “Maria Towne and her personal story around having a disability and trying to get primary care during the pandemic was incredible, Dr. Feranmi Okanlami, I always say his name the wrong way, but he knows I mean it genuinely. Loved his contribution and the dichotomy of being able and then not, but still being that doctor or position figure of authority that was incredible Tinamarie, you know who spearheads the internal group inside of BMS or Bristol Myers Squibb, her sharing around you know carrying multiple, not one, multiple layers of disability, intersectional like infusing it into how she shows up and why all this work is important.  It was those sharings and so many more that made the hour an incredible experience and I got to thank you publicly for making the connection introducing my name to their orbit and their radar. And Tinamarie and her entire team over at Bristol Myers Squibb for allowing me to host that incredible conversation I wish that you all could hear it. Maybe we can get Tinamarie to share a couple of clips You know sixty seconds here. Ninety seconds there that we can post on social. You know that that's   I guess viewable for the public."                                                                                                                 

 Julie Sowash    “Yeah that would be awesome! I mean I'm pretty fangirl especially over Dr. O. I get the chance to work with Tinamarie every day and BMS is doing the work.”                                                                       

 Torin Ellis           “Yeah. Yeah.”                                                                                                   

Julie Sowash     “…And even challenging some of the things that I think and prioritize. So very great. Great. Great event. Glad that you could do it; couldn’t think of a voice that I would want to hear more when we're setting the table for such an important conversation as ableism."                                                                                                               

Torin Ellis            “I love that you know after Donald Trump won the election. The first time I put up a Facebook live and said the table is set and there was a woman in Illinois who's a friend of someone that I went to high school with I have to send this picture to you Julie this woman is a white woman older white woman. It was so cute. She went out and got a shirt and put on the front 'The table is set", and she made her take a picture and send it to me. She was like Torin…”                                                                                             

 Julie Sowash    “Wow."                                                                                                               

 Torin Ellis           “We are going to fight to make some things happen but speaking of tables being set you shot me a text and that text had me smiling because you said your conversation to end the month went incredibly well and I don't know if we can reveal the name of the organization. But hats off to you for going in and dropping beautiful vocal bombs."                                                                                                                              

 Julie Sowash    “Yeah, no actually two that just killed my month and made me so happy.  I got to close NDEAM with Rite Aid for their NDEAM celebration and brought together their entire team. A fantastic organization asking fantastic questions about how they are valuing people with disabilities that are already in their workplace that are going to come in as customers. I also got to do a fireside chat with West Pharmaceutical and got word today that the conversation was so well received that they're going to move forward with pushing up a disability ERG. So, you know those conversations are important conversations that we have, and we can't take them for granted. You and I have talked a lot the last few weeks about like we're having conversations over and over again. We want to see progress. This is the kind of progress that we're talking about and it's because we're having those conversations. So just really kind of lit me up for the rest of the year, for sure.”                              

 Torin Ellis           “And for anybody out there wondering let me just put this in perspective I'm going to brag a little bit. You just give me a little bit of space. You understand what I'm saying, give me a little bit of space. Bristol Myers Squibb a 22-billion-dollar company in 2018. By all accounts they are certainly in the top 10 ranking of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, definitely in the top 15. Rite Aid ranks number 150 on 2020 Fortune 500 list of the largest firms in the US, by revenue."                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Torin Ellis            “I just want you to know that when Julie and I are working not only are we doing the podcast, but we are trusted, and I am underscoring trusted by very large brands here as well as abroad. So when we ask you to ask your HR team, your Corporate Comms team, your marketing, your employer branding team when we ask you to consider sponsoring and supporting some of the new segments things that we want to do we are asking because we know that other people trust us they value our commitment to the space. So, with that being said, let’s get into some of these folks who have created some news and one of the pieces that have created news.”                                                                                                                      

Torin Ellis            “We still have a whole lot of angst around people wanting, or not wanting, to return to work and Chipotle don't seem like they doing a whole bunch of salsa-ing. I know that was kind of corny but they're not doing a whole lot of cha, cha cha-ing up in that joint we got some problems and behind the line, but it's not just Chipotle. It's a number of organizations that are struggling. I'm curious. Why do you think they are struggling? Why do you think these fast food, hospitality, airlines, I mean, why do you think these companies are being challenged with people being interested in showing up for work?”                                                                                   

Julie Sowash       “Yeah. This is a group of workers that I am very passionate about. I was in hospitality. I was in a restaurant whether as a waitress, a bartender, a manager, a cook, a front of the house whatever. I have done it all in restaurants. That's how I got through college. It's how I paid the bills a lot of times when I was starting my career with a second job and I think there's some things we critically need to understand as Americans. One is that the rest of the world can take a break from dining out sometimes. I'm in Portugal and things are closed between 3 and 5 or 3 and 7.  If you want to eat, eat at home and then people come back and work an evening shift. It's not like kind of that 24/7 demand culture. Where restaurant workers get, I mean it would be no unusual thing for me to work, three to four twelve-hour days in a row sometimes 16 hour days in a row when I was working in restaurants and that's freaking tough. Right? And we just don't give people even the opportunity for a break. I mean obviously the pay is starting to come up and that's important, but this like on-demand culture I think has kind of broken the service industry for a lot of American workers and I think that the other thing is that people are I have read an article I think this New York Times a couple of months ago that the pandemic has exacerbated our personality traits. So, if we were kind of rude to customer service-facing folks before now, we're aggressively rude. If we were nice, now, we're overly nice. It’s always a really tough industry to be in customer-facing roles. But now when people are so angry and feeling so empowered to act any old way. It's even harder. I mean I was reading that article you sent over today 1.7 million open positions in the restaurant industry or the hospitality industry right now.”                                             

Torin Ellis            “Yeah and even with that you mentioned it you know that particular article it says that many of them, maybe not all but many of them, are being compensated even more and so what that suggests is that it's not just about raising their wage. It is about appreciating them. I've always said it's about recognizing them. It's about saying, listen I see you working 3 twelve-hour days or shifts in a row. I know that you are bouncing between trying to get children to childcare or support them after school, so that they are not latchkey or being sitted by a computer screen, if you will. It's really about our, I guess, our showing up as an empathetic and aware and present leader and while we may not be able to alleviate that like as the leader, I can’t alleviate the shortages of products materials supplies. I may not be able to change the fact that you are working those 3 straight shifts because we are short on staff, and everybody's got to put in but as a leader, I have a responsibility to be aware enough emotionally situationally that I take a moment to pause and say Julie I appreciate you."                                                                                                               

Julie Sowash    Yeah."                                                                                                                  

Torin Ellis           "Like even this right here we went when we go back and forth on scheduling as long as we've been scheduling and working with 1 another. We don't make a schedule of the flexibility that the other extends to the recording. So, I just think that it's around."                                                                             

Julie Sowash     "Yep."                                                                                                                                   

Torin Ellis            "Being better and more intimate leaders now there is also that part for some Julie that you know they just reevaluate their life. They're like look I'm just tired of doing this and there's nothing you can do about that you can just simply you know wish them well and find out if they got a referral and you keep growing your team."                                                                                                      


Julie Sowash     "Yeah.”                                                                                              

Torin Ellis           'And I want to see people grow but I just don't think that this is an issue that we are going to be able to you know escape or ignore anytime over the near future which takes me into coding boot camps like the question becomes you know are they helping or are they hurting."                                                                                                                           

 Julie Sowash    “Yep. Yep."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Torin Ellis            “You know? and so many people over the last decade you know we had general assembly. We had flat iron we had lambda. We've had black girls code. We've had I mean we've had so many. Coding boot camps and while they've played an important role some are asking the question are they helping or are they hurting because we still have this incredible shortage of technical talent. What say you? I mean. Do you have any experience? Do you know anyone? do you all over at Disability solutions. Do you ever partner with them? What do you know about that space? “                                                                             

 Julie Sowash    “Yeah, I mean I would say it's fairly limited. We try to make sure that we have partners that are providing you know those kinds of training for people with disabilities and those kinds of things but I would say you know there has to be like another layer. I think that the coding boot camps are probably they're good. But then what's getting enacted are companies hiring are they pulling from that pipeline first are they outsourcing not outsourcing yeah outsourcing or moving out of country more of those coding jobs as Indian coders become much more agile and able to take on different programming languages and things like that I think it's you know I think there are just a few different things that that are impacting American coders period that are probably more so impacting coding boot camp diverse talent underrepresented talent that that needs to be able to get that opportunity and it may be more about a global market than it is about the camps themselves failing.                                                                                        

Torin Ellis            “Yeah, I want to just and in in ah in that same vein again and we're not trying to cast dispersion or minimize the presence of coding boot camps. I think I raised the issue landing on the side of it's not enough but I'm gonna attach it to what I've been saying since 20 I don't know 14 or 15 this just dropped within the last 2 or 3 days. That ah Google is going to begin offering career certificates at every community college or continuing education credits at every high school for free."                                                                                                                     

 Julie Sowash    “Yeah and we're actually…. It’s huge. Our parent company Ability Beyond is taking advantage of that for some of the jobseekers with disabilities that we're supporting getting into jobs. I think it's amazing. “                                                              

Torin Ellis            “That's major."                                                                                                                

Torin Ellis            “Now see you just said something really beautiful. So now what we're saying is you all are going to focus on. However, you decide to structure it. But you're going to be skilling up people with disabilities because that's the audience that you support and serve. You're going to be skilling them up in the fields of data analytics I t support project management user experience or UX design getting them ready for jobs roles that they can secure in 3 15 months and my understanding is that these certificates should net them opportunities that have an average compensation around 60000 dollars that is I'm lost for word thinking about last week"                                                                                                                  

Julie Sowash     “Yep."                                                                                                                 

Torin Ellis            “Talking about subminimum wage and how that was a learning moment for me something I had never heard about to within a year many of those individuals if you listen to this Julie if you shared last week's podcast where we talked about subminimum wage and the struggles there."                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Torin Ellis            “And then you share this week's podcast with people in the same disabled community. You're talking a year from the moment they listened to that one they can change the entire trajectory of their life from unemployed."                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Julie Sowash     “Yes, these are game-changer kind of conversations for a whole contingent of people.”                                                                                 

Torin Ellis            “To 60,000 dollars"                                                                                                                        

Torin Ellis            “An entire contingent so I am very, very serious for those of you who are out there listening I'm challenging you to get on social media to get your community to get inside of your digital tribes find hashtags. People that have connections to that community and share it and if for whatever reason you don't want to share our pod because you don't like our voice, we cuss too much I don't know whatever if you don't want to share the pod at least share the fact that Google and a couple of others are putting these certificates out I know that they're going to be readily available and that within twelve months somebody some thousands of somebodies can have an entirely different 2022."                                                                                                               

Julie Sowash     Yes, yes, yes, yes! So, let's talk about Calvin Ridley’s 2022. Did you see this story yet?

Torin Ellis            “I didn't. I didn't. I didn't."                                                                                                                           

Julie Sowash     “So Calvin Ridley is a prominent, successful wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, who announced on Sunday that he is going to be stepping away indefinitely from football to focus on his mental health and his well-being.  So, kind of just real quick backstory, Ridley has been out for 2 games. Didn't travel with the team to London when they played the London game this year and when asked about why he was inactive.   I think did a nice job of saying it's none of your fucking business. It's a personal matter which I think people should take note of. That when your employees decide to take time off just get out the way and let them take time off. It's none of your business while they're taking it first of all and then this week came back and said you know what? it's been a tough few weeks and he wants to be away. But he has to recognize that he has to focus on his mental. Well-being and being the best version of himself and I thought you know how I am good for him I think it's fantastic and I automatically kind of said. I wonder how everyone else is reacting because as you know right? When we've had young women who've needed to step away this year young athletes young superstars pretty much given a lot of grief for taking that time for talking out loud about mental health whether it was selfishness shrillness. Whatever kind of adjective was that was demeaning to young women who are very capable of deciding how and when to take care of themselves. The reaction for Ridley has been mostly positive right? We've got Michael Thomas tweeting out 'I'm standing in the hole with you. Keep going you 1 of them.'   Alex this takes a lot of courage. You know really proud of you for talking about your mental health struggles. Do you think that there is a difference positive or negative about how when men talk about their mental health versus when women talk about their mental health and how it's perceived, say publicly? But then like we can probably translate that to the employer experience.”

Torin Ellis            “So I want to stay on task and respond to what you've asked me first and I don't have enough example of that to feel one way or another."                                                                                                        

Julie Sowash     “Okay."                                                                                                              

Torin Ellis            “I think if I were to kind of guess or put an opinion in there, I'd probably say that people tend to be more favorable to the men when they do it versus the women. But I wanted to go in a different direction, if you don't mind, I want to just stretch this side of our pod out just a little bit longer and I want to throw in a bit of an apple to your orange. You're sharing this story from a position in favor of positive and protecting your mental health. No orange. The apple of consideration is but Kyrie Irving is not receiving the same thing and for him, it's private that I don't want to reveal whether or not I've taken the vaccine. In some way stepping away from his team because he's not proven that he's been vaccinated, and many are giving him the business. He's getting the work for that. You know you got sports announcers and folks that have publicly derailed him if you will you also got other high flying athletes and regular folks like you and I commenting saying no we support you Kyrie so let me ask I'm a try to connect them and if it if I'm doing a terrible job of it. Just say you're doing a terrible job. But. Should we weigh them the same should we look at the mental health and the vaccine and in sport should we or just as you said an employer and to an employer if your people need time off its none of your business. How do you feel about that?”                                                                                                

Julie Sowash     “I think most medical issues should be private and people should be able to take time away from work, time that they've earned, to be able to do that. They have protections under FMLA. Whatever needs to happen. What I think is different about Kyrie Irving is that this is a public health matter he can if he's unvaccinated infect his teammates, their children, their spouses, their grandparents, their friends. You know there is a drastic difference between I'm taking care of myself, and I refuse to take care of others and that's how I feel about Kyrie.  I feel like for the most part we've had this vaccine for eleven months now and it's proven to be safe. It's proven to be effective and it's not really about your health that you don't want to get it. It's really about staking a political claim that you don't want to get it. And I feel like it's a lot of selfishness involved because we should be focused on taking care of one another.”                                                                          

Torin Ellis            “And there you have it the last word for this side of Crazy and the King. We'll do a quick commercial and we'll be right back.”

Commercial Break

Torin Ellis            “So let's talk a bit about progress because, J, when I think about, and thanks for sharing I appreciate how you added your points of definition around the scenario mental health, vaccine sport, entertainment. Good stuff. When I think about progress, you know what word that comes to mind for me is advancement, like forward, like further, like better. Well, I just gave you 3 or 4 of them when you think about progress just give me a word that comes to mind for you.”                                                                                         

Julie Sowash     "Change."                                                                                                                          

Torin Ellis            “Change. Let's stick with that for just a moment when you as an employer say you want to bring somebody in to do diversity equity inclusion work most times that means that change is going to happen. And I found a story where this hospital fired a d and I hire before he was able to even take his first day on the job because he was pointing out. Some of the bias in the microaggressions and they didn't like that and so they were felt like this guy is going to be a bit too disruptive. He's too sensitive so we'll just rescind our offer. And go in a different direction. Did you see that story.”?                                                                                                                        

Julie Sowash     “I did. And guess where it took place?? Texas!!!"                                                                                                                            

Torin Ellis            “Texas! I was trying not to say it I was trying so hard. Not to say this was yet again and this is when I say we are not trying. To focus on the good people in Texas some of them happened in Houston Texas, so this black chief diversity officer lost the job offer after flagging racial bias and it goes back to something that I say often and have used as an example and. Don't use it anymore because I've used it for so long. But when you have a real estate agent helping you to relocate a family that real estate agent has to be sensitive culturally sensitive. They don't have to be the same color. They just need to have some degree of cultural connection."                                                                                                                   

Julie Sowash     Okay."                                                                                                                 

Torin Ellis            Because there are certain things a family is going to ask and if that family is from a different culture, you as a real estate agent should be able to respond to them, and if you don't have the ability or the competency to respond you need to get the answers. Would you agree with that like would you agree?”                                                                                                                             

Julie Sowash     “Wholeheartedly. yes, yes well, I mean I'm going to say it again. Dumbfounding.  That's going to be my word of the month. "                                                                                                                     

Torin Ellis            “Wholeheartedly. So, what do you think when you read the story?”                                                                                                                       

Julie Sowash     “This guy went through twelve, I think I read, twelve interviews. He has been a diversity director for more than 20 years he worked for the American Cancer Society, another hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, had his own consulting firm like the guy has the cred and to get offered the job after going through 12 damn interviews (Let's stop that first of all) and then them decide well, maybe he means that we're going to change things so we're going to have to just say no let's not do this. Let's go get a check-the-box hire who you know probably was a DNI manager somewhere and make sure they're the chief because we don't want someone to come up and do the big work out of the gate, give us someone we can control.”                                                                                          

Torin Ellis            “Yeah, I'm telling you when I saw the line about you know the real estate agent because he arrived you know how you out looking at houses. He actually ah arrived at the house in a Porsche truck or SUV in the real estate agent. Ass ed that that was a rental went back and told the employer that he rented a Porsche vehicle and not let's say a Buick or yeah so that was 1 of the issues and so the company felt like oh well he's out high faluting and he's renting expensive vehicles and.               

Julie Sowash     Ah I didn't know that."                                                                                                                 

Torin Ellis            It was his vehicle that was 1 of the reasons why they rescinded the office so not only because he highlighted some of these infractions and things that the real estate agent said but they also made a decision based on. Things that the real estate agent said they took the job offer away and that was 1 of the reasons why exactly he huge fail and up and additionally to that you know when we talk about change and people expressing themselves."                                                                                                                              

Julie Sowash     “Wow. Yeah, huge fail. Way to go Texas.”                                                                                           

Torin Ellis            “There was a piece in the Wall Street Journal that talked about women are less likely than men to ask for deadline extensions at work in in short because they don't want to seem incapable. They want. They don't want to seem like they can't handle their workload. They don't want to seem like they are letting the team down and I think that this is a reason for us to press pause."                                                                                                                         

Julie Sowash     “Yeah, I agree. I agree. I think it's very normal for women.  I think it's it happens more often than we think. You found a fantastic clip from the Harvard Business Review about Black women talking about the same thing. How do we say no?  How do we ask for more time and how do we as leaders and coworkers support women of color in finding a good balance and recognizing that they always have to work harder than a white woman would have to for the same recognition, and I think we've got a clip?                                                                                                                              

Torin Ellis            “Yeah. Absolutely It's hosted by Ellen bailey the VP of Diversity and Culture over at Harvard Business Publishing. She's in conversation with Octavia Gordima the author of Prep Push and Pivot an essential career strategies book for underrepresented women and Laura Morgan Roberts who's a professor of practice at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. It's a quick one-minute clip. Let's have a listen.

Clip here:

Torin Ellis            “Awesome! So, I think that that's an incredible place for us to end this segment. You know the bottom line is we are trying to encourage women to make sure that they as we end the last several weeks you know 5 or 6 weeks here of 2021 start making plans and preparations while we are doing manifestos and missives and resolutions and all of the other things that are going to make 2022 better. Let's go after that change. Let's go after that going forward. Let's go after progress. Make sure that your voice your confidence is there if you need an extension get an extension you are still a member and a part of the team. So, I don't have any resources that I need to share this week or name drops. Do you?”                                                                            

Julie Sowash     “I don't. I don't We had a great show and enjoyed this conversation and let's just take it home."                                                                                                                

Torin Ellis            “So everyone we will make sure that the links that we mention are in the show notes we might even throw in a couple of few surprise links. But for right now I close reminding each and every 1 of you to do a better job of building high-performing teams and building better workplaces as you move through the. On-site corporate corridors and virtual corporate corridors. Let's protect the women that are in our orbit for now J, and I are ghost."                                                                                                                              

Julie Sowash     “See Ya."