Episode 49: About diversity and inclusion, with Kellie Wagner

podcast Jun 25, 2020

Kellie Wagner is the CEO and Founder of Collective, a diversity, equity, and inclusion lab. That means she helps companies - and humans - thrive.

Two months ago I called to schedule Kellie on this podcast. We were about a month into pandemic times, and I asked if Collective was busy. Were companies reaching out to utilize their resources? Kellie said no, you could hear crickets chirping. And then world changed again - George Floyd was killed and the Black Lives Matter movement surged - and now Collective has been deluged with more inquiries than in the history of the whole company, and this conversation couldn't be more relevant.

In this powerful episode, Kellie shares why active anti-racism is crucial in the workplace and at home, why trust is a key ingredient, and what allies can do to act consistently with true solidarity. 

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify

Want to practice raising your voice and speaking your truth beyond the podcast? Check out the Voice Body Connection Membership Community HERE.


Show Notes:   


  • 0:00 - Welcome to Kellie
  • 4:09 - Kellie shares her background
  • 9:11 - Elissa shares how a conversation with Kellie two years ago woke her up to the reality of systemic racism 
  • 11:24 - Kellie explains why we don’t get gold stars when we wake up to racism and white supremacy. We get to do the work to dismantle it. 
  • 14:03 - Elissa shares how anti-racism is new terminology for her. How do we talk about racism?
  • 16:14 - Our Voice Body Connection check in
  • 22:50 - Why self care is so deeply important as activists 
  • 23:42 - Kellie shares why trust is so important in creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive environment. How do we create trust across difference? And how do we repair trust?
  • 29:25 - It starts with one to one connection. We’ve got people afraid to get the conversation wrong, and others afraid to be disappointed. And so we get stuck at a standstill. 
  • 30:30 - Calling back to Brene Brown describing trust as a marble jar to talk about how we build a new relationship with each other around race
  • 33:49 - Elissa shares a personal Facebook interaction where she called a friend out in a way she wouldn’t in the past 
  • 38:34 - White allies, one of the most important things you can do is call each other out - or in - around blind spots you see
  • 41:35 - Kellie answers what it means to her to have a voice and speak her truth 
  • 43:50 - The key is to have humility and acknowledge where you’re at in the journey
  • 45:08 - How to get in touch with Kellie and Collective


You can learn about Kellie’s work and hire Collective for the diversity, equity, and inclusion needs of your organization at hello-collective.com.

This is the interview I did with Kellie two years ago as part of my “present & awesome” summit.

Kellie mentioned Mike Brown and Eric Garner as an inciting incidents in the Black Lives Matter movement and personal experience that led to creating Collective.

This is the cartoon I mentioned explaining systemic racism.


For information on how to join the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, visit www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.

As a member of the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, you get access to:

  • Live voice and movement warm-ups led by Elissa (twenty minutes each 4x/week),
  • A monthly live online group coaching session to practice using the Voice Body Connection process,
  • A monthly Community Concert, including sing-a-longs and opportunities to share your voice,
  • A monthly live recording of the coming month’s solo podcast episode,
  • And exclusive behind-the-scenes videos with every guest.

Learn more and sign up at www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.


Production Credits:

Our Editor is Sean Brennan

Our Photographer and Graphic Designer is Laura Sills

And our theme song is “Waters of Body” by Strange Weather


Please note that Amazon links in the show notes are connected to the Voice Body Connection Associates account. All other partner links are acknowledged. Thank you for supporting the podcast! 


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