Guest: Doug Foresta Guest Title: HPAW Producer
Date: January 3, 2018 Guest Company: Stand out and be heard
Debra Ruh: Hello everyone. Welcome to Human Potential at Work. Today, I am going to be talking to my producer and mentor, Doug Foresta and we’re talking about how grateful we are for 2017 and also where we’re going in 2018.
Doug, welcome back to the program.
Doug Foresta: Thank you. It’s great to be here. I haven’t been on this side in a little while. It’s great to be here with you.
Debra Ruh: I know, we’ve missed you. I always enjoy your voice.
Doug Foresta: Thanks.
Debra Ruh: I know that it was a wonderful year. We had so many terrific guests on the show and we have a full line up again for next year.
Doug Foresta: We do.
Debra Ruh: It’s very exciting to see how many ways that you can slice and dice this particular topic that we both care about so much, don’t you agree?
Doug Foresta: I do. I was looking at what we’ve done this year. Obviously what you’ve done in terms of Ruh Global Communications as a company as a whole, but also we’ve done at Human Potential at Work. It’s really amazing because I was looking at where we started. When we first started this program, Debra, for the first good couple months it was you. It was just you talking about your work and then slowly we added some guests in.
We’ve had some amazing people, first of all, I guess the first thing I would say is 2017 has been … I guess I’ll ask you this, if there’s one word that sums up 2017 for you, what would it be?
Debra Ruh: I would say, based on the guest dynamic, I just think, the guests that we had on, they’re such amazing leaders in their right and coming at these topics of human potential. Now of course, we talk a lot about inclusion of people with disabilities, which is so near and dear to our hearts but we also expanded that conversation to really be about human potential.
Doug Foresta: We did, we did.
Debra Ruh: I think that dynamic, authentic I [inaudible 00:02:10] think of other words.
Doug Foresta: That’s awesome.
Debra Ruh: What about you?
Doug Foresta: Yeah, you know the one that I thought of, just in general in 2017 is speed. Just the pace of life and there’s so many things that happen in 2017. We had several hurricanes, we had … we had all different kinds of things happening and the news … you’d be focused on one thing, you go, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that’s going on,” then it would be something else. There’d be something else. You wouldn’t even remember … there’s so many things that happened this year and yet I think the program has been a great …
I think one of the great things about what you do, Debra, is that really been an anchor in so much change where it can seem chaotic or what do we focus on next. Yeah, there’s been an absolute evolution. I’m looking here as I’m saying this. We started off the year … just some of the guests, for those of you that, by the way haven’t listened to these episodes, maybe you’re watching on Facebook or maybe you’re listening to this on iTunes or on the website but you haven’t listened to previous ones.
We have had … this year alone, we had for example, towards the beginning of the year we had personal stories, like Michael Schwartz, who’s a blind film maker, but we also had The Carter Center talking about human rights and disabilities. We’ve had Ted [Rubin 00:03:37] whose one of the leading brand experts.
Then as you said, it’s really been an evolution of talking to companies like Uber and Microsoft, right? I’m gonna obviously miss [crosstalk 00:03:54]
Debra Ruh: MassMutual.
Doug Foresta: MassMutual .
Debra Ruh: Yep, and Barclays [inaudible 00:04:00] Those were very exciting. I loved the interview that we did with August with Pinterest. That was a brilliant interview.
Doug Foresta: Yes, that’s right. August de los, August de los Reyes, I’ll say his name.
Debra Ruh: Yes, yes, yeah and he … the words of wisdom that he gave us during that interview was spectacular.
Doug Foresta: I think you’re right about
Debra Ruh: And Amazon, we had Amazon too with Sandy.
Doug Foresta: That’s right, that’s right.
Sorry to cut you off there. I think the other thing that for me is exciting is like you said, the evolution from … being about, obviously, we’re talking about accessibility for persons with disabilities. We’re talking about business … disability inclusion for business. We still talk about those things.
You and I had reflected on this before that, off air, that where it seems to be going, where you seem to be heading is that it’s really moving from, if we can do this for persons with disabilities, why can’t we broaden and realize Human Potential for all people.
Debra Ruh: Right, right.
I also think, when we first started this … excuse me, I have a teeny bit of a little cold here.
Doug Foresta: That time of year.
Debra Ruh: It is that time of year. I know when we first started this, I knew I wanted to talk about Human Potential and really help the audience understand the value that people with disabilities bring to every aspect of society if we let them. It really did expand and shift the conversations. I remember we started early on and I talked to some millennial rising leaders. People that are leaders now and they’re going to be leaders in the future.
I like though, the depth of the conversation. We’re having conversations about so many different aspects of this. We also had The Carter Center twice.
Doug Foresta: That’s right.
Debra Ruh: ‘Cause we had The Carter Center talking about mental health, which is a huge issue. I think when … referring August again from Pinterest, when he talked about a good designer would not leave tons of people out. They wouldn’t. It is a design flaw if you’re leaving out large audiences of people. 20 percent of the population is large audiences of people.
Doug Foresta: That’s absolutely right. He said, the way he said, if I remember correctly, is disability is a design problem.
Debra Ruh: Yes. Yes, I loved that.
Doug Foresta: It’s not my flaw as a person if I try to go to a concert and there’s 14 flights of stairs to get into the concert and no other way in. That’s not my flaw as a person, that’s a flaw in design.
Debra Ruh: Right, and I also think it was an interesting point because just using those steps is an example. There are so many people that are impacted by those steps. People that are aging, people that have hurt themselves, people that are trying to bring a baby stroller up. It impacts everybody, or not everybody but a lot of people.
To not have a way that people can get into the venue is just silly. Don’t you want customers to come to your venue. It’s the same way with your app and with your technology. I have said this before but I programed for years and I never programmed something that 20 percent or more of the population couldn’t use because the people I worked for would have been really aggravated with me.
Think of the money that is lost. I think this is a year and it seems to be … somebody said to me, this is a year of big reveals. There was such … sort of trauma happening. Like you said, you talk about the weather issue that we had all over the world but just looking at it from the US lens, the fires, they’re still raging in California. The hurricanes that came through Texas and rolled over the islands and hit Florida, it was really traumatic.
Then we have the political trauma happening all over the world and then a lot of women stepping forward accusing men, a lot of these men that we … are highly respected men.
Doug Foresta: This is the year of Me Too, right? Something tipped to where we’re like, “Is this okay? Is this not okay?” And finally we’re really clear it’s not okay.
Debra Ruh: Right. The other day I heard Jodie Fisher, heard her … I think she was being interviewed by Stephen Colbert and I loved what she said. She said, “Okay, all these things have come out now. All these women have accused these men and they’re causing them of things that are really egregious. It’s mortifying and some of these men that are being accused, I know I’ve really looked up to.” But she said, “Now it’s time to have a conversation. A real, in depth conversation because one thing I would like to know is when you look at some of these male leaders and … I would wonder, what were they thinking? Are they really bad men? Do they just have really bad behaviors or did in some universe, in their mind did they think somehow this was appropriate behavior.”
I’ll pick on Matt Lauer for a minute, who I have always admired. He gifted some very inappropriate gifts to women. Did he think he was in a personal relationship with them? I would be curious, what were you thinking. I’d like to see some of these men stand up and not defend what happened. Certainly apologize, which a lot of them have but why did you think this behavior was okay. I would be curious about diving into that.
As a mother that has a grown son with … a grown son that’s man, I remember him being on the bus and this girl was picking at him in middle school and she was throwing things at his head and she was … she would just always mess with him. I translate that, when I heard about it was that she liked him. He was middle age and that’s what you do with each other.
He was getting really aggravated it and one time, she pushed his books down and he got really mad and he sort of shoved her back and he got in trouble and he came home and he’s like, “Well, [inaudible 00:10:47] should have been doing on this,” I said, “Uh-uh (negative), you’re a man and whether or not you think it’s right or wrong, the rules are you never put your hands on a woman like that, ever.”
“But mom, she pushed me and she did … ” I said, “Well, I don’t think that’s right either but your response as a male, is you go and you tell the bus driver. You do not put your hands on … ” and I mean he didn’t shover her down or anything, he just reacted and got in trouble for it and he was little kid but the rules … it’s almost like we don’t understand what the rules are anymore.
I can tell you, some of the things that have been done, like drugging women [inaudible 00:11:25]. I think we need to have these really strong dialogues to talk about, what is correct behavior and what is appropriate behavior and authentic behavior and to me, we’re having these conversations on Human Potential at Work and because what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be part of society and want to add value and … these times of us discounting each other because … “I’m not gonna like you Doug because you’re Jewish.”
Obviously, you’re wrong and you’re bad and … that seems so silly to say accept … [crosstalk 00:12:08]
Doug Foresta: I think you’re so right, Debra. Part of it is, for sure, one of the things I think is so exciting about the work that, again, the work that you’re doing is that the media piece of it, creating a media platform where these authentic conversations can happen because we’re not having, in the larger mainstream media, we’re not having thoughtful, meaningful conversations about inclusion, we’re having sensationalistic as you were saying, well so Matt Lauer’s gone, he’s gonna go live on an island somewhere. You’ll never hear from him again and we’re never gonna talk about it and problem solved …
Debra Ruh: And so many more, so many more.
Doug Foresta: Right, right.
I think about … so many different areas you talked about this year, humanizing health care, inclusion in education and of course of work. Every aspect of life I think, as we as a larger society are trying to get our footing about what, what is okay. It seems like we go through this as a society, whenever there’s an evolutionary shift like, “Oh, maybe it’s not okay to have two water fountains,” right? Maybe that’s not alright.
Debra Ruh: The back of the bus.
Doug Foresta: There was a time, in a certain place and time that seemed okay and then there was a tipping point and an awareness and people said, “You know what? I don’t think we should have two water fountains, this is really wrong, but what should we have?”
Then you have chaos and unrest. I think that’s where we are now.
Debra Ruh: I think so too. The problem has been revealed.
Doug Foresta: The problem has been revealed.
Debra Ruh: Right? The problem has been revealed. Now what do we do with society and I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and I’m gonna have him on the program and his name is Tim Hayes and he is an African American man. Him and I got talking about what I have learned as a woman living in the United States as a Caucasian, ’cause we all have to learn and we all have to evolve and I remember when President Obama was elected, I thought it was good. I thought he a great candidate at the time, still do.
When I watched the African Americans on the lawn at the white … during the inauguration, the crying and weeping, I thought, “Debra, this is a lot bigger than you realize. This is not just about the first African American man to be our president, this is so much bigger.”
Then I think we realize, once again, the reveal has been happening and that … I was talking to a woman when I went to St. Louis and I don’t even know how we got on the topic but she was talking about when her sons first started learning to drive and comparing it with the experience I had when I was teaching my son to drive. When I was teaching my son to drive, I was saying, “Don’t be stupid, don’t leave stuff in your car, don’t be driving with 15 friends and … ” Just all the different things that you have to tell your son.
Well, she said … and I said, “Don’t be speeding … ” and you know all the naggy things we say as parents to keep our children safe but she had a different conversation with her sons. Her and her husband sat down with her two sons, African american sons and they said, “Okay, here, we got you a new wallet and when the wallet opens up there you can put a face card on either side of the wallet. Put your drivers license here and on this side put your student ID so if you are stopped, hopefully the officer is gonna realize that you’re a student, you’re a good kid and … ”
Doug Foresta: Wow.
Debra Ruh: I didn’t have to think about it that way. Just little differences like that. I didn’t even know that. That’s just one little tiny thing and we’re now starting to talk about … we have shows like Black-ish, which I love that show. Keeping on … that’s how we’re learning. We’re learning, we’re evolving.
Then you put it back to our topic, which is human potential. Stop hitting my microphone as I’m talking with my hands. Deciding that people with disabilities add no value to society is ridiculous. People with disabilities have been adding value to society ever since man began.
It’s interesting that all these different topics are coming up. Gender issues, religious … whether you believe in God or not. The color of your skin, all of these issues of who are we as human beings. Who can we be if we broke down some of these barriers that we built as society.
We’ve talked about the discrepancies of the pay, women’s pay issues. The numbers are 30 percent, a woman who has the exact same skills, the same background everything else, typically is going to make 30 percent less than a Caucasian man in the same field, I mean doing the same job. Now, you look at a woman with a darker color skin than mine and it starts dropping to about 50 percent. You make a woman with disabilities, if she’s even … can even get a job, it is like 70 percent.
The discrepancies, they start rising pretty significantly. I know that I’ve heard white privilege and I never thought about … well, I have never thought about that before only because I do not consider myself a racist. I have always wondered why we made such a big deal about who somebody loved, who they worshiped or didn’t worship. What color of their … I never understood all that stuff, even as a kid I didn’t.
I think it’s time to really look at each of us and the human potential we bring and we just … we have to have the conversations to break down the barriers. I want to say one more thing too, Doug.
Doug Foresta: Sure.
Debra Ruh: One thing that I’ve realized as we walked this together, cause the podcast now is several years old, that when I first started, don’t go to the early episodes.
[inaudible 00:18:31] I didn’t really know what I was doing. Some of them though …
Doug Foresta: You always say that but … yeah. I say you go because you can see the evolution.
Debra Ruh: Right, I know, I know. I was learning as I was going.
One thing I realized the other day, I was talking to several really big brands. I have the blessing to work with a lot of large multi-national corporations and two brands came to me right after … right before the Christmas holidays and they said, “We want to tell you what we’re doing for this community. We’re really stoked, we’re really excited and let us tell you … ” and I love that because … and we’ll use MassMutual as an example.
MassMutual did … it was really cool, their Adopt-a-Runner and make sure that they were supporting Achilles International, which is a wonderful nonprofit that supports athletes with disabilities. They came and they talked about it on the show. I wrote about it in a Huffington Post article. I love that the brands are coming to me now saying, “Will you tell the story about what we’re doing to help this community?” Because before, they were hiding and they didn’t want to tell us because they almost felt like it was … made them more of a target.
In all of this happening, I think it is … I think it’s gonna really … I want to be the story teller, one of the story tellers that talks about what’s happening, what brands are trying to make a difference. Are they perfect, no, they still … who is? Right, Doug?
Doug Foresta: That’s right.
I think when … that’s like I said, I would encourage people to, if they haven’t … if they missed some of those episodes with the ones we were talking about, with Microsoft, with all the brands that we’ve talked about, go back and take a listen cause I think you’ll really … I think you’ll really appreciate them and I think that there is nobody else really having these conversations in the way that you’re having them, Debra, I really don’t.
Like I said, I know you always say, “Don’t go back to the beginning,” but I say go back.
Debra Ruh: Oh I know, I’m just kidding.
Doug Foresta: I think it shows the evolution to your voice and I’m excited about where things are going to continue to go in 2018 because the thing that seems really clear is change is going to happen. One way or the other, and then we get to be part of leaning into that.
Debra Ruh: Right, so what do they say, buckle up, it going [inaudible 00:20:54].
I want to say one more thing.
Doug Foresta: Sure.
Debra Ruh: We also created this year together, an entire network.
Doug Foresta: Right, thank you for [crosstalk 00:21:05].
Debra Ruh: And it’s called Global Impact Today. What we’re doing, and Doug, this was your idea and I thank you for this idea, it’s … and I’ll let you talk a little bit more about what it is but we’re inviting other voices to be part of this network and I think right now we’ve got about seven shows up there, Doug, you’re one of them. LaMondré Pough who has a brilliant voice. We have Trisha on there talking about accessibility from Canada. We have Ryan on there, he has a show about assisted technology.
Rick Sizemore is on there talking about [voc 00:21:41] rehab. We’re trying to bring in, we’ve invited other people to have podcasts, we’re hoping August is going to have a podcast. We enter, I enter to get … we interviewed a woman from the Mexican disability network and she’s [crosstalk 00:22:00].
Doug Foresta: Claudia [inaudible 00:22:01]
Debra Ruh: Claudia Wright and … I think it’s really cool to continue to not only talk about these things but expand the other voices and allow other people have voices as well. Will you tell the audience a little bit more about Global Impact and what it is?
Doug Foresta: Yes, thank you for saying that, I can’t believe I forgot to mention that. The one of things, definitely very excited about that, we did in 2017 is you and I were having conversation and we started talking and said, “You know what? We should create a network so that we can uplift all the voices that are having these conversation.” If people want to find Global Impact Today, they can go to ruhglobal.com and it’s actually right on, it’s the slider on the homepage and you can click and you can actually take a listen.
It streams 24/7. I want to say that we have exactly … August will be joining us. August is going to have a show on there. LaMondré already does as you mentioned all the other people. I want to say, for people that are listening to this or watching it, if there’s someone that you think is a thought leader in the space or a brand, that you think should be part of this network, let us know, reach out to us and let us know.
Also, of course make sure to … you want to make sure to like and subscribe, right? You want to make sure people subscribe to the podcast, obviously. Join the group, join the Facebook group as well.
Debra Ruh: Right, right. Absolutely. Anyone that wants to join the Facebook group, Human Potential at Work, just let me know. Facebook limits you to how many friends you can have on Facebook to 5,000.
Doug Foresta: But the groups.
Debra Ruh: Right, but the groups you can do as many. It gets to the point where if you’re not connected with me on Facebook, please do, it’s Debra Ruh and I’ll connect you to Human Potential at Work. It’s just one place. There’s a lot of other lovely, amazing conversations happening out there.
We’re not the only one but as Doug said, we want to help. We want to help broaden it, we want to give our … we’re gonna start giving brands the opportunity to tell their stories on the air, on the Global Impact network, Global Impact Today network.
Doug Foresta: Global Impact Today network, yep.
Debra Ruh: Yeah, there’s just so many different things that can be done. I think it’s time to really shine the light the stories that are changing our lives that maybe are not as sensational as some of these ridiculous things that we see on the news these days but are … there’s actually a lot for us to be hopeful for because there was progress made in 2017 and I’m actually, I’m really looking forward to 2018. I think I … I know I want to continue to grow.
Doug Foresta: As do I and I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you Debra, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this. I want to wish you and all of our listeners and viewers a happy, wonderful, safe 2018 and I look forward to the year ahead.
Debra Ruh: I agree, I agree. And I look forward to continuing the conversation so happy new years, everyone. Talk to you again soon.
Doug Foresta: [inaudible 00:25:21]
Debra Ruh: Bye, bye.
You’ve been listening to Human Potential at Work with Debra Ruh. To learn more about Debra and how she can help your organization, visit ruhglobal.com. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and you want to make sure that you don’t miss any future episodes, go to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast, Human Potential at Work. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll back next week with a new episode