This episode is a conversation between Meg Brunson, the founder of Just Marketing, and Alison Tedford Seaweed, an Indigenous woman with a disability who has worked on issues of inclusion and equity in the public and private sector for almost 20 years. They discuss the importance of creating inclusive spaces and how small businesses and solopreneurs can make a difference in making their businesses more accessible and inclusive.
In This Episode You'll Learn:
- What is a diversity statement and why your business should have one.
- How to write your diversity statement.
- What to do once your diversity statement is written.
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Meg Brunson: Hello everybody. I am very excited to have Alison Tedford Seaweed with us here today. Alison has worked on issues of inclusion and equity in the public and private sector for nearly 20 years, an indigenous woman with a disability, she has lived experiences of navigating a world that's not set up for her, and she likes to help create more inclusive spaces where more people can shine. And I am very grateful that she has decided to spend some time here with us today in this space and to help us create more inclusive spaces and specifically create diversity statements within our business. Alison, thank you so much for being here today.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Thanks so much for having me, Meg. I'm so excited to be here.
Meg Brunson: What was it in your life that made you realize that you wanted to do this work?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I think, Having my own experiences around maybe not always fitting in or having challenges, trying to navigate spaces that aren't set up for me. And having to self-advocate and also watching my mom advocate for me, I just realized that I would like to be part of the solution and help people create spaces where people feel more welcome to, to come in and do what they need to do, and also to learn how to talk about it.
Meg Brunson: I feel like for a lot of small businesses and solopreneurs, it feels like we're too small to make a difference. What do you have to say to that?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I hear that a lot, and I have to say you don't have to have a budget like Apple or Google to make a difference in making your business more inclusive. Not every solution costs money, and even though time is a very valuable commodity and things that don't cost money often.
Cost our time. It's something that you can approach with a growth mindset around what can you do now? What can you do in the future? You don't have to change all the things overnight. This is something that can grow with you and your business as you're able to take on more things or do different things or as things become more important for you depending on.
What the needs are. And as technology develops, there's also often new ways to be more inclusive that your software providers are working on also. You're not alone. You don't have to do it alone. You don't have to do it all at once.
Meg Brunson: I love that. I always say, start with one thing.
Kind of get to a point where you feel... mastered it is a hard word, right? Because like you just alluded to, we're never done. We've never reached a point of, yay, I'm inclusive, I'm done with that. But get to a point where you're comfortable with one and then add a second strategy, and then eventually you're building those building blocks.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It's I always tell people as entrepreneurs, you're already, you really uniquely qualified to do this work because you're trying something new. You are researching how to make it happen, and. You are serving customers and finding out what they need and how you can help them.
And that's really like customer service is like one of the main entry points for accessibility accommodations is just asking what do you need and how can I help you?
Meg Brunson: That's awesome. I also recently started reading. I did not finish it despite all of my best efforts to finish your first book. Stay Woke not broke.
But I'm about halfway through the book. I love it. You wrote that book in 2020 right after the George Floyd murder during the pandemic. Can we talk a little bit about what that idea for the book, where that came from and what inspired you to write it at that moment?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I just, I had a lot of business owners who were talking about how they wanted to do something to help people feel more welcome their business.
They wanted to take a stand and show their support. They weren't really sure how to do that in a way that, wasn't either cringey or performative and, to be able to genuinely speak to what was on their hearts and also to not just say something but also do something. And really that was where that came from, was wanting to be able to be there for people.
Cuz I was watching all sorts of people who were either not sure how to handle it, so they weren't addressing it and that was creating challenges or they were addressing it, but. Without a full context and struggling or feeling overwhelmed or finding that they were. Going on this journey for themselves and feeling overwhelmed because, once you learn about one thing and then you wanna do all of the things, it can be really overwhelming.
And, you find yourself trying to run into every fire and it's, it needs to be something that's sustainable cuz like you are also operating a business, right? Helping people be able to find that balance and also do things that actually make a difference is something that I really wanted to be able to support and I felt the lessons that I learned working in government around inclusion might be helpful for business owners as well.
Meg Brunson: And what are some those lessons? Can you give us a overview of the top two or three? .
Alison Tedford Seaweed: So I would look at what are the policies that you have in your business and the processes? And look at, are they barriers to people participating? And do they have to be the way they are? Or did we set them up because that's the way everybody sets it up. And that's how we are all taught to set things up. And also looking at like your policies, are they a ceiling or are they a floor? Is this the minimum people can expect from you? And you are open to working with people. In order to welcome them and how do you communicate that?
And then also looking at like, how do you share about what, how, who you wanna include in your business and what you're doing, what you want to do, where you wanna go from there. Those are some entry points. I think is like looking inside and then looking how you talk about it outside.
Meg Brunson: And it would seem that having an outside person doing that work with you is essential.
Because you need somebody with a different perspective.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: What I found is that often business owners are doing things to be inclusive because that's something that's important to them, but they don't necessarily recognize the things or they may not be able to articulate how the things they're already doing are making their business more accessible.
Often people walk in and be like I need to be more inclusive. I'm like if you're someone who cares about inclusion, you've probably built some of that already into your business and you're not giving yourself credit for it. You're not letting people know about those things because that's just who you are and how you exist in the world.
There's also areas where we can learn and grow and implement new things, but I find that most business owners who are coming into this work are not coming from a place of, having an inaccessible business. If you care about that. That's something that tends to be baked in because you're somebody who's an includer who wants to welcome people in already.
Meg Brunson: are there any like areas that you can think of that are big, like wow moments, like things that people are doing or not doing that may unintentionally be shutting people out? .
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I think that sometimes like the language that we use can be a barrier that maybe isn't necessary. So going through and looking at how do you talk about the work that you do?
Is it clear that you're open to people from all sorts of different lived experiences? So that's one aspect. That I think the people can look at. And then also looking at what's your give back program? Do you talk about it? Do you share about it? What kinds of causes do you support and letting people know about that because I think a lot of people wanna be able to support things that they care about.
And when they know that, when they invest in your business, that they're also helping make things happen that are important to them, like that can be a way to welcome people in because you're able to help them reach more than one of their goals, right? They wanna give back and they also wanna be able to get what they need from your business.
Meg Brunson: So that would be something like donating a percentage of your profits to a cause?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Yeah, or if you support, like if you pay your staff to go and don volunteer somewhere, or if you provide in-kind donations to local charitable organizations, if you offer scholarships, there's all sorts of ways or even like sharing about how you integrate in your procurement processes.
Like what diverse businesses is your business a patron of? And it might be that the people that you serve might wanna be working with them too.
Meg Brunson: I love that. I love that you gave a couple examples that. There's ways that you can support causes, even without making monetary donations in that, by choosing the businesses that you do business with can accomplish the same thing. Money you're already spending.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Exactly. Yeah. Even just looking at what, who do you do your calendar bookings through? Calendly is a black-owned business. So that's one that I use and that I support and and from a consumer perspective, like I do my email marketing through Convert Kit because I've seen how they.
Walked the walk around inclusion and being supportive of the black community. So that's where I wanna spend my money, and that's why I also encourage people to share about what they do and what they believe in, because it can make a big difference around lots of different places I could be using.
But I'd like my money to support work that's being done that I believe in.
Meg Brunson: I definitely believe in that too. Now, what role does a diversity plan play in this process?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I think that it really guides what you're doing and gives you some structure to things so that if you're feeling inundated by all of the things that are happening in the world, and all of the options and all of the possibilities, it gives you a framework of okay, this is what I'm gonna do now.
This is what I'm gonna be working towards in the future. And, these are the things that are, currently out of reach that I'd like to, be able to plan for them moving forward. I think it just helps guide the work so that you don't get overwhelmed so that you know where you're going so you can budget for the things that need to happen and you can make your way where you want to be in a way that's sustainable for your business. And that moves at the speed of change to, recognizing that like you have a plan, there might be legislative requirements or industry requirements that you need to consider, but it at least gives you a starting point to filter things and also to keep you motivated so you can measure your success.
When there's always a need, it can feel very overwhelming to be like, wow, maybe I'm not really doing very much. But when you have something to grade yourself against to be able to identify this is what success looks like in my business for being inclusive, then you can keep track and hold yourself accountable.
Meg Brunson: I love that, and it sounds very much like an internal tool. Is it also an external tool? Is this something that you recommend that people like post publicly on their website, or is it something just for internal use? .
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I think it's definitely something that you could share with your community in terms of these are all the things we're doing now.
These are the things that we're looking into. Cuz it demonstrates that there's an awareness, right? And that it's on your radar and it's something that you're working on. So people know okay, they're not able to offer this yet, but down the road this is an option. If that's something that better meets their accessibility needs.
And. and also leaving things open so that people can provide feedback in terms of if you have a plan to make your business more inclusive and accessible and they have a need that you're not yet meeting and it's not on your radar yet, that might be something they could bring to you and be like, Hey, you haven't considered.
X, Y, or Z, it looks like you're really open to, welcoming more people into your business. This is something that could be helpful to me. Is this something that could be possible? Right? And it just opens the door for those conversations. And it can be an accountability tool in terms of maybe your community will check in with you to say, Hey, how's this going?
I'm so excited. I can't wait till I can start to work with you. And that's another reason why it should be kept as a living, breathing document. So that it's not just a thing that you throw up on your website and be like okay, ticky box, I'm done there. It's something that you can update and be like, Hey, these are the new things that I'm doing and this is the new ground I'm looking forward to covering.
And this is where things are at now,
Meg Brunson: like a roadmap. I feel like, if you're familiar with like tech companies, they typically have a roadmap of what features they have now and what features they're gonna have in the future. And you can do the same thing for your business.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Absolutely right. And it gives them something to talk about with your customers.
Not that you might ever feel like you don't have something to talk about, but being intentional about having those conversations is important, right? Because often we're, we spend so much time in our business and less time on it, and taking the time to communicate those pieces also is an important way to welcome people in and to keep things moving from a communications perspective around your inclusion journey.
Meg Brunson: Awesome. I can't wait to get into, to dive into your presentation, so I'm going to turn off my camera, turn off my mic, and let you share your brilliance with us today in guiding us through creating a diversity statement. I know this is typically a big long workshop that you're condensing to fit this space today, so I appreciate your willingness to condense it for us. So thank you so much.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Awesome. So thank you so much everybody for joining me on for this training on making a diversity statement and sharing your values. One of the quotes that inspires me when I think about diversity statements is by Brene Brown. She says, daring leaders are never silent about hard things. And it can be intimidating to talk about inclusion and to put yourself out there as somebody who cares about inclusion.
But. I think business owners are so brave. You're going out there and you're creating something from nothing. And so I feel like that makes you uniquely qualified to do this work. And and I think that you're all daring leaders in learning about inclusion. So one of the things I wanna talk about first is why should you make a diversity statement?
One of the reasons is that it supports purchase decision making. People want to work with businesses that are aligned with their values and a diversity statement can make it clear like what those values are. So people who are thinking about working with you can look at, how does this fit?
And is this something that they want to be able to support with their purchasing dollars? It also lets you share your story. Oftentimes we share diversity statements and that, this is what I care about and this is what's important to me. Without sharing why. And so a diversity statement can be an opportunity to explain why does your inclusion goals, like where do they come from, how do they relate to you in your business, and how did this become important to you?
Obviously we don't want to necessarily center ourselves, but it is a way for people to get to know us and to understand that these aren't just words that are performative. This is where it's rooted in and this is why it's important. It helps you make your position known so that there's no ambiguity.
And it helps your ideal clients find you, particularly if having those values is something that makes the work that you do deeper. It helps you form a connection with your client because you care about the same things and it helps people find you based on the things that you share, that you care about.
It also can be a screening tool in terms of it helps people who don't necessarily align with your values, make decisions about whether this is a good fit for them, which can be good for you and for them in terms of you wanna make sure that the work that you do is a fit together and it may not be conducive for somebody who doesn't share your values to be working with you from your end or possibly from theirs because you're not operating from a similar perspective or value.
So that's something that can be helpful in terms of being clear about who you serve and how you work. It's also a good idea to create a diversity statement because it's a way that you can use your business to change the world. You're gonna put out into the world what you believe it should look like and how it should be.
And so making that statement can be helpful in terms of advancing thought leadership around social change. And also it can help you mobilize your customers to participate in that change and to be aware of issues they might not be aware of. So in terms of the diversity statement you're gonna wanna make sure that it's accessible.
If you have a statement that you wanna share, you wanna think about are people gonna be able to read it? If it's a bunch of text on a graphic that doesn't have alt text, then it's not a diversity statement that people who use screen readers might be able to read. So if you want to make a statement about accessibility, it's best if the statement itself is accessible, so just think about the information needs of your audience and make sure that your diversity statement allows people to take it in. You're gonna wanna look at the language in terms of level of language is it accessible from like an educational standpoint?
From a language learning perspective, if you're communicating with people for whom English is not a first language, and or also like just making sure that people can understand what it is that you're talking about. Another piece is that it should be consistent with the rest of your content, so it should make, it should sound like you and it should be recognizable from like a brand perspective.
Looking at the format, like beyond the accessibility factor, is this how your audience best receives information? And if you're dealing with an audience, maybe and I say this as somebody with ADHD, but, if you serve a neurodiverse audience where information is better communicated in more bite size format, you don't want it to be like a three hour lecture or something.
So think about what is the most appropriate format for the people that you're communicating with and how is it gonna resonate with them. It should be driven by your vision and your values and connected to those pieces within your business so that people understand how it relates to what you're already doing and what you're already talking about.
Your diversity statement should answer some key questions. Who are you looking to include? When you're thinking about inclusion and you say you wanna welcome more people, who specifically are you looking to include? Who do you feel has been, left behind in the work that you're doing? Or who do you feel you're not currently serving that you would like to be able to serve?
And being able to name those people so they know that you would like to welcome them. The other piece is how are you including people? What does it look like when you're offering inclusive service, and how have you adapted what you do to make sure that people are able to access what you're offering.
It should include which causes you support and how. So who are you donating to? How are you donating? Like how much are you giving if you feel comfortable sharing or if you're donating your time or products or services. Being clear about what are the organizations that you are supporting or what kind of, direct action are you taking on an individual level that relates to what you do?
And sharing that. It's important to be clear about like, why is this important to you? Why are you either making these changes or why did you make these choices? And why are you wanting to welcome more people into your business? Another thing to think about is what are the issues that are important where you live and sharing about that so that local customers understand what you Believe in relation to the challenges that they face where you are currently operating and if you serve customers who are in other locations, like what are the issues that are important to them and how are you addressing those issues?
Or how are you attuned to them? We can demonstrate situational awareness that you understand what their lives are like and what matters to them and finding ways to connect what you're doing in your inclusion journey to what is at present in their everyday lives. Another piece I encourage people to include is a land acknowledgement.
Where does your business operate? On whose traditional territories are you doing business? , if you have multiple locations, it's good to identify, the territories on which you operate for each location. Or if you're serving like a broader population, in many locations, That's good to include too.
There are a number of really great resources that are available to help you craft a land acknowledgement. Online there's On Whose land? And I believe there's another one called Native Land. And also I'll provide the name of a book that has come out around land acknowledgements.
And that's something that you can put on your website, your email signature. In your brick and mortar location, if you have one. And as part of your diversity statement. Your diversity statement should also look at what diversity issues does your industry face or perpetuate that customers might have questions about in terms of how are you addressing those things in what you do or what's your stand on those issues and how do you recognize that, for example, like it might be around regional pay, like if you outsource work to different locations, what is your stance in terms of how you compensate people who live in areas where there might be perceptions that a lower investment is appropriate given cost of living.
Or maybe. If you're doing coaching work around mindset, how does the work that you do acknowledge the systemic barriers that people face and the actual issues that people encounter that are, beyond just really believing in yourself, but acknowledging the existence of external factors, that can be an issue for your customers, and just showing that situational awareness.
Your diversity statement can also acknowledge, have you borrowed to create your product, brand or service. So if you practice yoga talk about the roots of the service that you provide, your practice. Acknowledge the teachers that you've learned from and the people whose traditions are part of your business.
Your diversity statement can include a call to action. So how can people take what you're doing and be part of it? So are you asking them to donate to the places that you're donating? Are you asking them to volunteer for the organizations that you volunteer at? What are some ways that they can join you in what you're doing?
The next step would be to place it. So put it on your website. Wherever you want to share it with people. Sometimes it's a standalone page. It might be part of your about page, it might be part of your services. So just find the place on your website where it makes the most sense. Share it on your social media so people know that it exists.
And they can read it and know that it's there for them to review. And also keep it current. Keep it up to date. Make sure that you're updating people with the, your progress around the action items that you've set out, and then also the new things that you're looking to do in the future.
So those are the pieces that I think are. Most important when you're looking to create a diversity statement, and I hope it's helpful and I hope that it helps you welcome more people into your business and into your life.
Meg Brunson: Oh, there's a couple things. There's a lot of things that I loved about that presentation.
I think the first one I wanna point out, or I wanna draw attention back to was, Talking about the format, it doesn't, I think for me at least when I think of, especially in light of if we go back to 2020 after George Floyd's murder when Black Lives Matter regained some attention, a lot of the statements I saw were like essays.
They were like long, formal. Essays. And that to me feels very overwhelming and inaccessible. Or for me, cuz I get overwhelmed reading all of that. And then the thought of having to write it is even more overwhelming. But I love that you mentioned it can be short and concise. Like it can be bullet points, right?
It doesn't have to look how other people's diversity statements look.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Yeah, for sure. And it should suit you too Like it needs to be something that's accessible for you in terms of your ability to communicate. Like you shouldn't feel like you have to do a big long essay.
Meg Brunson: And I liked that you talked about a call to action cuz I feel like that's something that my current statement is definitely missing.
I don't know cuz I guess when I think of call to action, I think of a call to action that builds my business and I d just felt like that was inappropriate on the diversity page. But now I see that it's more a matter of how you position it. Asking, inviting people to join your movement or providing them ways to support the same causes that you support.
So I love, that's, I feel like that's gonna be my number one takeaway that I'm gonna start to think about is how, what I wanna call people to do after they consume my diversity statement.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Yeah, definitely. Just so that they don't sit there and be like, okay, well now I, right. Like, so just helping them along and being like, okay, so this is what I care about.
This is what I do. This is how you can be involved, donate here, join me at this volunteering opportunity. This organization needs these things. Here's how to get it to them and, let's work together on this because, we're working together on your business or we're working together on whatever goal that you have and this is something else that we can work together on.
Meg Brunson: Do you have any insight or recommendations? I feel like part of the problem I have is I wanna save the whole world, so I have trouble coming up with one organization to ask people to donate to, for example, because I wanna, I wanna help everybody. I wanna do all the things. Like how do we pick one thing.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I think that's something that like will come in time and it's something that can change over time, right? Like you can start somewhere and move from there. You can also look at what organizations in your area serve multiple causes that are important to you like the United Way or like where I am, we have something called the Vancouver Foundation, and that's an organization that resources charities and nonprofits from a range of services. So look at some of those more kind of one-stop shops that provide opportunities for a range of things if you're not sure where to start. And as you give and as you learn, you might find more information about where the best place to direct your resources are.
And that's something that you can refine over time.
Meg Brunson: Do you think it's better in air quotes to pick an organization that's more national or global because it would have more, I don't know, maybe more support from your people like it's thinking from an online business standpoint. If I picked a nonprofit or a charity that's local to me, it may not pull at the same heartstrings for somebody who's not local in my area.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: I think it really depends on, the on your audience and how they typically relate. Whether if your business is strongly tied to your personal brand and that's personally something that's really important to you, that you wanna see these things happening in your neighborhood, you might ask.
Folks to donate to the cause in your area. Or you might say, I really strongly support, this organization's doing this work in my backyard. And maybe the call to action is find out who's doing this work in your backyard, and do that homework to find out like how to give where you live, right?
If you want to inspire local giving in your people, maybe it's not necessarily local to you, but it might be local to them.
Meg Brunson: Ooh. I love that. I love that idea. And it, we could have, as a marketer, I typically discourage having more than one call to action on a page. But I feel like on a page like this, we could have more than one.
Like we could have a donate to my favorite or a find the one in your backyard option. Ooh, I love that. That was brilliant.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Thank you. Yeah. And you could make a three pronged, give, go and grow. Give to these people, go to these events and grow by sharing this important message to your social media following, right?
So that you can tie it together.
Meg Brunson: I love that too. Oh, I love it all. Love it, love it, love it. Now I wanna, the book that you mentioned, is that your book that you were talking about, land acknowledgements?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: No, the Land acknowledgements book is not my book. I'll send you the title of it. I can't recall exactly what it is, but it's sitting on my bookshelf.
And because a lot of the times there's with land acknowledge, people feel like, why are we all doing this? What does it mean? How can we make it meaningful? And, when people get to a place of feeling this is, maybe performative, the first instinct is, let's stop doing the performative thing.
But it, does it need to be? Or can we make it mean something? And so maybe instead of not doing the thing, we actually make it relevant to what we're doing.
Meg Brunson: And I will admit, for me, land acknowledgements are something I haven't done. , and maybe it's an excuse, but primarily because we haven't been in any one place.
We travel. So, there's part of me that's like looking forward to settling down and finding like a community so that I can do some more of that deeper work. We try to do at surface level. We've used some of those websites but I can't wait to do the deeper work.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: And that might be something that you just built into a business where if you are, a digital nomad and you're traveling a lot as part of delivering your services. Cause you're location independent. When you're looking at okay, so I need to book my flights or plan my route and book my hotel and then also find out, whose territory this is so that when I'm working in the space, that's something that I can relate when I'm performing these services.
So, it could just be part of your trip planning and. Something that you can do. Or even if you are traveling to deliver, VIP days, and you're working with somebody who is wanting to do that inclusion work. Maybe that's part of the pre-work for your event, for your client to do the work of finding out on whose territory they are operating their business, and being able to share that back with you as you work together.
Meg Brunson: I love that. Now, I'd love to talk a little bit about your new book. Well, we could talk about both your books. We talked a little bit about Stay Woke, Not Broke earlier. And I can link to that. That book is out in paperback, audio book, Kindle, all the Ways. Your newer book, I don't have the title off the top of my head.
Please feel free to...
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Yeah, so it is the Canadian Business Owner's Guide to Reconciliation, and it is currently available in paperback format only. It will be available in e-version, hopefully soon, and within six months, it'll be available in audiobook format. So that's going to be exciting. It just came out on February 23rd, and it is about looking at how business owners can participate in reconciliation and to move forward on areas of indigenous inclusion.
It's been very well received and supported, and I'm just so, so grateful for all of the support the book has received. And it's actually my third book. My first one before Stay Woke was about it's called Chronic Profit and it's about chronic pain and entrepreneurship and how to make your business work and accommodate yourself in your own business if you're dealing with persistent pain.
Meg Brunson: Oh, I apologize for getting that wrong. I feel like that is another hugely relevant book. I mean, I encourage everybody to who's listening or watching or however you're consuming this content to follow Alison and get in touch with those books, whichever books you know are speaking to you.
I'm curious for your most recent book, is there still, is there things in it that us, Americans would still be able to get out of it, cuz I'm sure there's a lot of crossover. Especially when it comes to indigenous issues with the way that indigenous people were treated in Canada versus America or versus the United States of America, I should say.
So even though it's a Canadian guide, Is there still value for?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Yeah it looks at indigenous inclusion while the premise is based on the work that we do here in Canada relates to something called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They came out with a bunch of recommendations.
They studied residential schools. and looked at what are the things that people can and should be doing to make a difference? So there's a specific call to action for business owners that talks about how business owners can participate. And part of that is in relation to the Canadian context, but it's certainly something that an American business could implement in terms of looking at like, how does your business include indigenous people?
What are the processes that you look at? How do you engage with indigenous communities in your area? And. What are the ways that you can do things differently moving forward? So while there's a lot of reference to the Canadian history behind The T R C and its recommendations and specifically what happened in Canada.
There is information in there that can help you look at your own business wherever you are and say like, how am I welcoming people in? And the reality is, like within the us., you've got like Deb Haaland leading this investigation of Indian boarding schools in the US So this is going to become an issue that will be discussed, in your area.
The US had three to four times the number of schools as Canada had like in the hundreds, and US said three to 400. So this is something that's going to become a lot more prevalent as it is investigated. It's definitely something that was present on both sides of the border.
Meg Brunson: I'm glad it's gonna be talked about more for sure, because I feel like I've only heard it so far as a Canadian issue and I'm doing air quotes, because I know that's not true. . But I'm glad that there's gonna be more. More discussion.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Definitely, yes. Within the US there's the Native American Boarding School Healing Society, I believe. And they have a lot of information about what happened in the us and this investigation that Deb Haaland is leading, I think is also gonna be really informative in terms of understanding the American context.
But generally, just being able to look at Often, in indigenous people in the US and Canada have faced similar challenges around government interference, around intergenerational trauma, around the social determinants of health that can impact, our level of wellness.
But also, beyond shared struggles, there's also shared opportunities. There's so much excellence, innovation, joy within these communities, and there's opportunity in partnering. It's not just about fulfilling a moral obligation, but also being able to. Benefit from having these perspectives and lived experiences in your business?
Meg Brunson: For sure. I always say diversity strengthens everything, so being able to get as many diverse voices and perspectives into a space as possible is only going to be a positive thing.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Diverse organizations tend to make more money. They are more innovative cuz they can solve more problems from different angles and perspectives and they can get ahead of things in terms of having more people at the table will be able to be like, oh, that's terrible idea.
Or actually this would be even better. Right.
Meg Brunson: Yeah.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: So the more you can have, like the more smart people you have around you who have different viewpoints, the better because you'll be better positioned from a communication standpoint, from a customer service standpoint, and people can let you know Hey, like you might not have had this as a challenge before, but this is something that people with other experiences might be seeing as a barrier.
Because, we're like fish, we don't see water, right? So we're not always attuned to the things in our environment that we've taken for granted. So having people who see the world differently can only be a benefit.
Meg Brunson: Now Alison, where can our viewers and listeners connect with you and learn more about you?
We're gonna have tons of links in the show notes cause we've talked about a lot. But where's the best place for people to connect with you?
Alison Tedford Seaweed: So you can find me on Instagram @AlisonTedford
look me up on LinkedIn. Alison Tedford Seaweed.
And I believe my business Facebook page is also at Alison Tedford.
My website is AlisonTedfordSeaweed.com. I think AlisonTedford.com route there as well. But you can learn about the services that I offer and find ways to purchase the books that I've got out and ways that we can work together to make the world a better place.
Meg Brunson: Alison, thank you so, so much for being here today, for taking so much time with my community. This was extremely, extremely helpful and also a great conversation.
Alison Tedford Seaweed: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to share and and I just really appreciate everything that you're doing in the world.
So it's a real honor to get to talk to you today and always.
Meg Brunson: Thanks Alison.
Alison Tedford Seaweed has worked on issues of inclusion and equity in the public and private sector for nearly twenty years.
An Indigenous woman with a disability, she has lived experiences of navigating a world not set up for her and she likes to help create more inclusive spaces where more people can shine.