Cindy 2021 15 profile

Cindy Gross she-her

Workplace Thrival Coach at Befriending Dragons

Professional Training and Coaching

Education: University of Oklahoma Business - , certificates: University of Pennsylvania, InviteChange, Saybrook+Leadership Eastside
Issaquah, WA, USA

Biography

I am a Workplace Thrival Coach, a Race+Gender Equity Adaptive Leader, an ex-techie, & the founder of Befriending Dragons. I lead & coach with empathy & an intersectional social equity perspective so you can unleash the change & impact you want to have in the world. I am a chaos dragon, injecting just enough disruption around me to open new perspectives and new harmonies. I seek wise justice.

Passion

Justice, Equity, Dragons, and Waterfalls.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

I generally get paid for speaking but make exceptions

Topics

antiracism diversity in the workplace diversity equity and inclusion technology women gender equity transformation perspectives dragons adaptive leadership workplace thrival leadership racial equity thrive career culture change quiet quitting

Best Story

How I pivoted from the hyper-logical world of one of the largest tech companies in the world to working for myself as a Generative Coach.

Origin Story

After 25 years in corporate tech I was burned out. I couldn't think. I couldn't make decisions. I couldn't cope with anything. So I took a lot of time off and slowly, so slowly, worked through the trauma of reporting harassment at work, of being involved in a pay inequity fight, of so much bias and so many white male shaped bars. I realized what was missing was connection, community, values-based leadership. So I became that. The connector. The community nurturer. The coach who really gets systemic inequities and wants to lead with relationships. I befriended all those dragons, and now I help my clients befriend dragons.

Example talks

"Question the Narrative" Anti-Bullying Toolkit - Tech Edition

You want to be a good person. You want to stop the racism, sexism, and ableism all around us. Maybe you can see the White Male Bars that make it so much harder for folks who aren't cis white men to meet tech success bars. But what are the practical steps you can personally take without waiting on HR?
A great first step is to listen differently to the everyday stories we hear and tell. Question the narrative. Who is centered, what additional truths exist, who has the power, who has choices? Reframe the narrative. Tell a different story to change the culture around us.
When we apply "Question the Narrative" inquiries, it's like changing our Azure Stream Analytics query. What we pay attention to, the actions that can be triggered, and the outcomes all change. Go beyond the data and the dashboards, live in the complexity of the moment, and put people first.

Prerequisites
• Willingness to sit in discomfort & prioritize the comfort and safety of those most marginalized in tech and in the world.
• Commitment to embrace Befriending Dragon's Community Agreements for the session.

Takeaways
• How to show up when you mess up and keep on advocating.
• “Question the Narrative” and “White Male Bars” framework for anti-bullying and anti-racism.
• “Gracious Space” relationship building.
• "Adaptive Community Leadership" to nurture anti-bullying cultures.
• Trauma framing around bullying, racism, sexism, and other *isms.
• Systemic + individual interventions.
• How common corporate DEI efforts sometimes uphold inequities by focusing on un-useful equality efforts.

Race + Gender Equity Toolkit (full day workshop)

DEI is tough to implement. We've been to training. We want our orgs to do better. We listen sympathetically to our coworkers' tales of bullies and harassers. But it's hard to know what to actually DO on a daily basis in the middle of our regular work. What do you feel and do when someone talks about the racism they just experienced? When you hear "we won't lower the bar" how quickly can you translate that to seeing how the bar is shaped like a white man, with the rough edges cutting the rest of us as we try to squeeze through? Is the bully a bad actor or is the system just flawed? What is YOUR responsibility? What's within your scope of control? How do you know which DEI changes to prioritize on your team?
Race + Gender Equity is a difficult, complex, and messy challenge that requires systems thinking leadership and a commitment from the heart. It begins with curiosity, relationships, empathy, and disruption of the status quo - starting inside ourselves. In this session, I’ll provide practical tools, probing questions, and frameworks to help you step forward from learning to equitable actions.

Prerequisites
• Willingness to sit in discomfort & prioritize the comfort and safety of those most marginalized in tech and in the world.
• Commitment to embrace Befriending Dragon's Community Agreements for the session.

Takeaways
• How to show up when you mess up and keep on advocating.
• “Question the Narrative” and “White Male Bars” framework for anti-bullying and anti-racism.
• “Gracious Space” relationship building.
• "Adaptive Community Leadership" to nurture anti-bullying cultures.
• Trauma framing around bullying, racism, sexism, and other *isms.
• Systemic + individual interventions.
• How common corporate DEI efforts sometimes uphold inequities by focusing on un-useful equality efforts.

Adaptive Leadership in Tech Workplaces

Adaptive Leadership is a model that equips leaders with the skills to lead people through difficult, messy, and complex challenges with a systems thinking approach. Addressing an adaptive challenge, by definition, often involves an honest examination of the current roles, norms, values, and priorities, how they maintain the status quo, and how they will need to evolve if equitable change is to happen. Learn how and when to apply adaptive leadership in the tech industry for maximum impact on workplace systems. This session blends Adaptive Leadership as taught in Seattle's Leadership Eastside programs, Cindy's 25+ years in the tech industry, and Generative Coaching principles.

Coaches: Disrupt Race & Gender Inequities in Your Practice

As coaches, we can be more intentional and impactful in disrupting racial and gender inequities in our practice and our coaching communities.
We can help clients balance thriving in existing inequitable systems, even when personal/org values aren’t quite aligned, with disrupting and changing inequitable systems.
We can help clients create lasting systemic change, especially changes which disrupt white supremacy (racism) and patriarchy (sexism).
As coaches, we can become more aware of how macro and micro aggressions that reinforce inequitable systems impact our clients, and how to help clients mitigate that.
We can reduce our own unintentional harm to “othered” (marginalized, oppressed, minority) clients by understanding and replacing common harmful words and acts that uphold white supremacy and patriarchy (word examples: tribe, crazy, bossy, hysterical, emotional, spirit animal, totem).

Stepping Stones from Diversity Learning to Equitable Actions

We are in the middle of an awakening, a disruption and reforming of norms, values, and expectations. Many organizations and individuals are rethinking how we show up in the world, how we see ourselves, our communities, and our organizations. It can be overwhelming to the point of inaction. We attend anti-racism trainings and book clubs, we commit to a couple of takeaways, and then.... we move on to other priorities. There's a gap between knowing we want to create change and actually acting to create that change in ourselves and our communities. Let's talk about how to move forward, nurture positive, intersectional change, and continue the momentum of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter. Let's each take the next right step forward within our scopes of control to nurture more equitable anti-bullying cultures.