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Human Potential at Work Podcast Show Flyer for Episode #77: Should we work with "Bad" Brands
Human Potential at Work Podcast Show Flyer for Episode #77: Should we work with “Bad” Brands

Guest: Doug Foresta        Guest Title: Producer of Human Potential at Work with Debra Ruh

Date: October 11, 2017            Guest Company:  Stand Out and Be Heard      



[Intro Music]


Debra:                     Hello everyone. This is Debra Ruh and you’re listening to Human Potential at Work. Today, I have my good friend and my producer, Doug Foresta joining me. We are talking about whether or not you should work with a brand that might be considered and “bad brand” by some people. Welcome to the program, Doug.

Doug:                       Thank you so much, Debra. Always great to be here.

Debra:                     I always enjoy having your voice. Your background as a psychologist and you’re a licensed, clinical worker, but …

Doug:                       Thanks for making me a psychologist.

Debra:                     I always shortcut it, but I think this is a really important discussion because recently we had a conversation about this. My company at Ruh Global Communications and I have a lot of different aged groups at the company, which is great. I also employ a lot of people with disabilities, very talented individuals with disabilities.

                                    I had two of my team members, one that is a millennial, a very wise millennial, that happens to have a disability and another team member that I think is a Gen X. You’re a Gen X.

Doug:                       I’m a Gen Xer, yeah.

Debra:                     Yeah, yeah. This Gen Xer also happened to have a disability. There’s a reason why I bring that point up, Doug, because what happened was these two very talented women, they pushed back on a brand that we were starting to work …

                                    They pushed back politely and said, “Should we be working with this brand because this brand has done things in the past that they haven’t really been very welcoming to individuals with disabilities. They’ve been in the news, making some bad business decisions,” and that thing.

                                    It’s interesting because I’ve had these kinds of conversations, Doug, with other business leaders. I know I was talking to one business leader and he said, “I would never do business with an organization like Altrea.” Formerly …

Doug:                       Philip Morris.

Debra:                     Philip Morris.

Doug:                       Right.

Debra:                     He said, he’s even had Altrea reach out to him and say, “Can you come in and do some coaching for our executives? We really want to be better people,” and, blah, blah, blah. He’s like, “No! I will not work with them. They are bad people.”

                                    I was listening to him and I was, “Would you work with, say a brand like, McDonald’s?”, because McDonald’s has some really fattening things on their menu. Are brands like McDonald’s making Americans fat? Of course, we also choose healthy items on the McDonald’s. Some people might disagree whether or not they’re healthy items.

                                    For example, you can get oatmeal. What they do, and I definitely have to complain about this, but I can’t do dairy. My body and dairy, unfortunately, don’t get along. They put cream in their oatmeal. The price is … I just always assumed you just put water and fruit in there. I’m, “Why are you putting cream …”

                                    Some people probably think their oatmeal tastes much better with cream and maybe they’re right, but anyway, are these brands bad? I know you and I had had this conversation.

                                    Should a company like Ruh Global Communications that’s trying to really make a difference in the world for the community of people with disabilities and certainly the brands that want to work with them, do we work with brands that have made some very open, maybe sometimes really stupid mistakes?

Doug:                       Right. I think it’s one of those things, and we’ve been talking about this a little bit before the last couple of days, and this idea of I’m only going to work with the good companies, I’m not going to work with the bad companies, but unfortunately in life, it doesn’t work. It’s not as simple.

                                    We have to make decisions about who we’re going to work with. By the way, just really quickly. I wanted to share with you a mime that I saw. It was a clown mime speaking of McDonald’s. It was the clown from It. You know the movie It is out now.

Debra:                     Yes, and it’s such a scary clown.

Doug:                       Yeah, that clown says, it’s that clown, and he says, “Ha! I’m a much scarier clown than you and I’m more dangerous.” Then, Ronald McDonald’s on the other side, and he goes, “Buddy, I’ve killed way more people than you have.”

Debra:                     I know. You’re like, McDonald’s. They actually …

Doug:                       I’m not saying that I go to McDonald’s.

Debra:                     I know, I know. They employ a lot of people including people with disabilities.

Doug:                       McDonald’s is a great example. Walmart is another great example.

Debra:                     Walmart.

Doug:                       A lot of people really are down on Walmart. They say, “It’s driving down production. They don’t pay people a living wage.” First of all, they do pay people a living wage. I have found … I had an opportunity to meet Kathleen McLaughlin, who’s the CEO of the Walmart Foundation. I’ve been very impressed with everyone that I’ve ever met from Walmart. I think their heart is in the right place.

Debra:                     I do too.

Doug:                       Like anything else, there are consequences to every action you take.

Debra:                     Right.

Doug:                       Philip Morris is a really interesting one because I used to ask myself that question. Years ago, when I was going to go into advertising. I wanted to be a copywriter. I used to ask myself, could I work for Philip Morris, if it was … At the time, it was still Philip Morris. Could I do it? Could I work for Philip Morris and do a campaign for cigarettes?

                                    I thought, “Well, I don’t think I could do that and sleep at night. I don’t think that I could do a campaign encouraging people to smoke.”, but Philip Morris also owns a lot of other things. Could I work on a campaign for something else that wasn’t cigarette-related?

                                    I think one of the things that we’re talking about here that’s really interesting and I’d love to hear from listeners what they think about this, but corporations can have massive social impacts. If we just write people off because they’re evil, I think that we may be shooting ourselves in the foot.

Debra:                     I agree. I also think speaking of Philip Morris/Altrea, I live outside Richmond, Virginia. They’re a very big company here in Virginia. They’re a very big employer too. They used to, speaking of other brands, I believe that Kraft Foods was part of their brand. They actually spun Kraft Foods off because Kraft was getting some of the bad brand pressure.

Doug:                       Sure.

Debra:                     I’m going to say this wrong. I think that they owned Miller Beer. I think it’s Miller Beer.

Doug:                       I’ll have to look it up.

Debra:                     At the same time, where is that line? When my team came to me, they were actually talking about Uber. We had this really pretty amazing grounded debate about this. What happened was, of course, we have had Uber on the show. We had Malcolm Glenn.

Doug:                       Right.

Debra:                     He’s a pretty amazing guy. If you haven’t watched or listened to that show, please go back and listen to it because it’s really amazing. The thing that I like about Malcolm’s voice is, he doesn’t shy away from the hard questions. He knows, we all, anybody that has been watching media and stuff, know that Uber has had a lot of complaints, complaints about not paying attention to human rights issues and the CEO had to resign.

                                    At the same time, they’re a disruptor and they’re being innovative and the taxi drivers don’t like them, blah, blah, blah, blah. What happened was, we also had Malcolm Glenn on AXXess Chat. A-X-X Chat, which is one of the programs that I cohost. Somebody on social media was saying, “How can you have Uber on this channel?” They’ve done so much bad and blah, blah, blah.

                                    One of my team members said, “Debra, how do I answer this? Should we be working with companies like Uber?” To be honest, even though we’ve had them on our programs, they’re not a client. I actually hope that they become a client because …

Doug:                       I was going to say, would you work with them?

Debra:                     I would. What I said was, first of all, I listened to the grounded comments because I want my team to be heard. I don’t want them to be told things that I was told. I remember when I first started my career, I would have an opinion. I was pretty much told to shut down, sit down. If you don’t like your job …

                                    I had a manager tell me this. “You don’t like your job, I got 1,000 people waiting to take your job.” It was extremely un-empowering and what I decided at that moment, even though I was 19-years-old, was that I’m not going to work for this company. This is a very large company that still exists and I resigned.

                                    I went and became a waitress. Friends were like, “How would you leave such a good company?” I said, “Well, because I wasn’t happy there.” I think I was a little ahead of my time because the millennials are better about that.

Doug:                       Yeah, they don’t care.

Debra:                     If you don’t value me, why am I here? I want to be very careful and I want to really value the people that work with me and I want to listen to them. When they were talking about this and giving me these grounded comments and stuff, I came back and I said, “Okay. I hear what you’re saying but at the same time, regardless of Uber,” using Uber as an example right now.

                                    “Making mistakes, and they’ve made some mistakes, absolutely. I believe that we at the same time should be working with them because they’re also having some great successes. They have an amazing program where they’re including drivers that are deaf.”

                                    “They’ve updated their app so that it can work for people that are deaf. They’re giving employment opportunities to some very talented drivers that are deaf. Some of the things that they’re doing with wheelchairs.” Are they perfect? Nope. Nope. We don’t know what perfect means, but at the same time, instead of saying, “You’re bad. We’re not working with you.” I think that doesn’t say the wrong thing either.

                                    I have actually fired brands before. I worked with this one brand, which I will not name, that they hired us as a strategist and I was giving them grounded strategy. I was telling them why. They didn’t listen. At one point, they actually asked me … This was many years ago, they actually, one of the executives asked me to lie for them.

                                    They said, “Debra, will you say this-and-this-and-this, because you’re well-known and everything.” I stopped. I said, “Are you asking me to lie because you know I am actually part of the community of people with disabilities? Are you asking me?”

                                    By the way, I said that and they were like, “No, no, no, no, no.” I fired the brand. I sent them an email and I said, “Yeah. I’m not going this. Blah, blah, blah, blah. You’re doing the wrong thing. I’m not going to be part of that.”

                                    Boy, let me tell you. They started scrambling and coming back. “No, we didn’t mean that.” Not that long afterwards, that brand actually got bought by another brand. I had fired them because I’m not going to be part of something where I know I’m not going to be your whip to beat somebody up. I don’t know what analogy to use there, but at the same time, how do we humanize a brand?

                                    Brands have made a mistake. I’ll tell you, Doug, the other day, I had the pleasure to speak in St. Louis for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. Very, very innovative talented group led by Erin and her amazing team. We had about 30 corporate brands in the room.

                                    On break, I was talking about branding, obviously, and how important it is for the brands to be included in these conversations. When I’m talking about them, I’m talking often about very large multi-national brands because that’s just where the kind of customers that we work with.

                                    On break, a gentleman from a very big brand came up to me and it was Monsanto. This gentleman’s name is Alejandro. He was just a real delight. Talk about a brand what people don’t like. He said, “I don’t know if you heard, but we’ve been purchased by Bayer.” At the time, I had not heard that.

                                    I just was being a smart aleck and I said, “I wonder what name you’re going to keep. Monsanto or Bayer?”

Doug:                       Or Bayer, right, exactly.

Debra:                     Many of us perceive Bayer to be a really good brand.

Doug:                       Right.

Debra:                     Yeah. Bayer is a German brand, but the good news for the United States is that even though Bayer has bought Monsanto, they’re still going to stay headquartered here in the United States in St. Louis, which is good for that.

Doug:                       [crosstalk 00:14:10] Right.

Debra:                     We need our employers, especially employers that hire a lot of people there. This gentleman, Alejandro, said, “We have made a lot of efforts to make sure all of our websites are accessible.” I had no idea the efforts that they’ve been making to make sure that they were fully accessible. He said, “Now, we want to do, really be better at employing people with disabilities.”

                                    It reminded me of this Uber conversation. I thought, “Well, if I’m getting a little pushback from Uber, what are people going to say about Monsanto?”

Doug:                       About Monsanto, right.

Debra:                     Monsanto has some real bad press out there. I’ve seen some of it, but at the same time, do we decide entire corporations that are made above thousands-and-thousands-and-thousands … For example, we’re really blessed to work with Accenture. Accenture has 465,000 employees.

Doug:                       Oh my gosh!

Debra:                     Only 10% of them are in the United States.

Doug:                       Wow! I didn’t know that.

Debra:                     I know. They’re huge.

Doug:                       That’s mind-boggling. Yeah.

Debra:                     You mentioned Walmart. Walmart’s enormous. Does Walmart make mistakes? Absolutely. At the same time, these big brands actually can be innovative and creative and do things for our community that will enhance our lives in ways that we’ve never seen. Do we decide, “I’m not going to work with you because you’re a bad brand?” No.

                                    Once again, I’m saying something different when I’m saying like that one brand I was talking to that were actually cheating?

Doug:                       Right.

Debra:                     I’m not working with you. Don’t ask me to do it. I own this community, but if a brand has a bad reputation, but if they actually, sincerely, are trying and they want to employ and include people with disabilities and other disability price markets, and they want to be better human beings and better brands, by the way, that are human being.

                                    Why would we not want to have them in the conversation and be able to say to them, “You know, if you have this many employees, if you could do this-and-this-and-this and be innovative here, you could actually really improve the lives of people with disabilities, not only in the United States, but in other countries as well. Why would you not want to be part of it?”

                                    Once again, if you’re doing bad things that are hurting people …

Doug:                       I think it’s about what’s actively going on, what the company’s intentions are. I mean, I think what I would say, if there’s a purity test, we’re all going to fail it. I mean, I think the thing that drives me nuts and I’ve seen people do this. Social activists who say, “We’re only going to work with the pure of the pure.” You end up talking to yourself. Right?

                                    You end up with three people who think just like you in a basement somewhere and you’re not going to have any impact. If you want to go out and make change, the reality is, these large corporations have the ability to impact change on a scale much larger than sometimes governments can.

                                    I think there isn’t just one answer is what I hear part of you saying, but obviously, if a company is stealing and cheating and lying. They’re, “Hey, can we use you as air cover to look like we’re doing something good?”

Debra:                     That’s right. I’m not interested.

Doug:                       If somebody comes to you, but if a corporation comes to you and says, “Hey, we genuinely want to do something different.” You know that their history is not-so-great in the past.

Debra:                     Right.

Doug:                       You have to make a decision.

Debra:                     Right. What if, once again, they have 400,000 employees? You could improve the lives of those employees. Why would you not want to be part of that conversation? I do a lot of work …

Doug:                       Because they’re bad.

Debra:                     Right, right, right. Yeah. I think this bad. You’re bad. You’re good. This is getting us all in trouble. You’re better because your skin is lighter or somebody was saying, “All white people are doubles.” I’m not a double.

Doug:                       Where do we go from there? Right? Where do we go from there?

Debra:                     Where do we go from there? Obviously, I’m not included  that conversation. I was born with this fair-colored skin. I understand a lot more today than I used to understand about white privilege and blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to go too far down that scary path, but I think that we all can make a difference.

                                    When you have a really large platform like we do, I think we have a social obligation to cross the aisle and say, “How can I be better?” You had said something else about innovation. I agree with you, Doug. I think the innovations are going to come from the corporations.

                                    We’re really seeing that in the United States. One thing, I’m really blessed as you know to be able to work with some of the United Nations Agency including [inaudible 00:19:27] International Labor Organization.

                                    Their group, the Global Business Disability Network, which I’ve consulted with them, trying to get more United States corporations to be part of the team, part of the conversations, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the 20 plus corporations that are today members of the ILO, Global Business Disability Network or GBDN, represent 4,000,000 jobs.

Doug:                       Wow!

Debra:                     If you’re impacting only 10% of those jobs and you’re saying, “Not only do we want you to make sure that customers with disabilities are included, that employees, that candidates with disabilities are included, once I’m an employee can you please make sure I have the same opportunities to be promoted and retained as people without.” Duh, duh, duh. All those things that you can accomplish, but their competitors are watching too. All of those people are impacted.

Doug:                       Exactly.

Debra:                     Your procurement can be impacted. So much good can be done.

Doug:                       That’s right.

Debra:                     When these companies really get onboard and these brands. I’m using companies, corporations, brands interchangeably because this is not just about corporations, this is also about governments and non-profits and large, large organizations and employers. I just usually look at this from the lens of corporate brands, but think of the impact you can have and how we can learn from each other.

                                    I think the innovation is really important and then I don’t want to work with companies that are openly … I don’t even know if they’re doing that. Openly taking advantage of people with disabilities, obviously.

Doug:                       I choose, for example, not to eat at … What’s the name of that place? Chick-fil-a. I choose not to eat at Chick-fil-a because their values just don’t match mine particularly on issues of gay rights. However, could I ever see myself working with Chick-fil-a. Perhaps. I don’t hate Chick-fil-a.

                                    I think that’s the part too. We have to realize that companies are made up of people and people, as people, we’re capable of changing our positions or seeing things from a different perceptive or doing something different. I don’t think any of us would want to be judged by the worst thing we’ve ever done.

Debra:                     On my gosh! I know. I’ve made some really stupid mistakes.

Doug:                       We’re very unforgiving as a society. We really hold stuff against people forever-and-ever-and-ever, especially in this day of the internet where it lives on forever. Right?

Debra:                     Yeah.

Doug:                       We really give people a really hard time and I just think being open to the possibility that … Like Uber, for example, Uber acknowledged they had a problem. Travis stepped down. Are they perfect? No. Are they working on it? Yes. Are there plenty of other tech companies that have similar issues? Yes.

Debra:                     Maybe they didn’t get caught though. I’m going to say one thing about Chick-fil-a because one thing that I was talking to a good friend of mine that is involved in the LGBT community and when they came up with Chick-fil-a, this person was really upset, blah, blah, blah.

                                    They came back after a lot of it that was happening and it exploded. They said, “Did you know, Debra, that what they did at Chick-fil-a to try to make this, I hate to even say, right, but how to make this better?” Was, they actually started working some very large groups of LGBT. They gave them grants and other money.

Doug:                       Interesting. I didn’t know that.

Debra:                     I know. I said, “But wait a minute. We heard that they did that wrong, but I didn’t hear that they actually …” To be honest also, my information is not up-to-date because that was a couple of years ago, but they had actually reached across that aisle and said, “No, if you want to come and eat at Chick-fil-a, we want everybody to be welcome.”

                                    I think we’re good at telling the stories of how you screwed up, but we don’t finish the story. I’m hoping that some day we’ll do a better job at that. Going back once again to, I can’t help but think of United Airlines. There was a lot more to that story than United Airlines drags their passenger, their Asian passenger.

Doug:                       It was pretty terrible, yeah. I mean, it was pretty terrible. We discussed that a bit when it happened.

Debra:                     Yeah, but at the same time, there was more to the story because there was a lot more to the story than …

Doug:                       It wasn’t United. United also got in trouble for it. I mean, it was the security person or I think he was a police officer or some security personnel. I mean, it wasn’t like the United steward was just smashing the guy’s head in and that’s how it played out.

                                    Again, companies, I mean, that’s another whole conversation, companies have responsibility to their brand, but how are companies ever going to get better if we don’t help them?

Debra:                     Yep. We’re not going to like you because you … Yeah. I think that there’s too much of that in the world right now, Doug. I try really hard not to be naïve and always look at the silver lining even though that’s how I’m made, but I look at the opportunity.

                                    Like, you take somebody like Uber, and I was in a meeting today about my daughter, Sara. As a reminder, Sara was born with Down syndrome. She’s 30-years-old. I live in Virginia in the Hanover County, in Virginia. Sara’s going to become part of this really cool program we have in Hanover, but there’s no transportation.

                                    They were using this one transportation, but funding’s being cut back, and duh, duh, duh, duh. For us to take Sarah back-and-forth to this program, it would put 100 miles on our car because it’s like over 100 miles. It’s like 28 miles one way and back, and back, and back. Over 100 miles.

                                    I thought of Uber. Some of the interesting things that they’re doing with the driverless cars and really encouraging disability inclusion, maybe they could be part of some of the solutions that we need to improve transportation for individuals with intellectual disabilities, cognitive issues, aging.

                                    Instead of once again deciding a brand is bad, is there an opportunity, if the brand is listening, first of all, the brand has to be listening and wants to include us. We’re just going to set that as a baseline, but is there an opportunity for these brands like an Uber and a Lift or others to actually help us solve some of the really critical issues we have.

                                    Also, I want to say this real quick because I’m talking about that particular thing from the US lens, but think about the innovation that could happen when you look at the ILO, GBDN and all those corporations that are saying, “We’re committed to including people with disabilities. We want to do it. Blah, blah, blah.”

                                    One thing the power of an organization like that has, is if you’re employing people with disabilities in the United States and in Europe and in the UK, is there an opportunity to employ with disabilities in Bangalore?

Doug:                       Bangladesh.

Debra:                     Yeah. I know I’m saying that wrong. In Africa, or Central America, or the Philippines. Is that opportunity so not only are you helping the developed but you’re helping the developing countries at the same time? This is the power that these major global brands can do. They can really, really change people’s lives all over the world. Why would you not want to be part of those conversations?

Doug:                       Right. Otherwise, you end up … I think maybe my experiences early on, in my 20s, in the arts, brought me that. It’s like the person who … I just laugh because there’s a certain group of people who are like, “I’m not going to put on a film. I wouldn’t make a film for 21st Century Fox because I don’t like their network. I’m going to make an art film that’s going to be seen by four students in the basement of whatever. Ever single of them will understand the purity of what I’m doing.”

                                    That’s great, but ultimately now, four people are seeing your film as opposed to, guess what? Maybe you don’t like 21st Century Fox, but they could get you seen in front of millions of people. Right?

Debra:                     Right.

Doug:                       So much larger reach, and you’re telling yourself that you’re doing this amazing this but the reality is, I think especially as I get older, I think that’s fine, if that’s what you choose to do, but understand that you’re choosing to have less impact.

Debra:                     Right. Any time that we get into that energy of I’m judging you, by the way, I’m finding you lacking, do you become part of the problem?

Doug:                       Right. Exactly.

Debra:                     Nobody likes to be judged. I’ve worked for very, very large corporations in my career. Very, very large banking corporations. They haven’t always been perfect. Once again, we’re all changing. We’re all multi-dimensional. Brands are made of individuals. Some individuals are more aware than others.

Doug:                       That’s right.

Debra:                     All of these brands have people that care. Are those people sitting in the executive suite? Are they the CEOs? Are they … Not always. There was a story I heard that … I’m trying to remember who it was. I just thought it was …

                                    It was when we had our guest on. I’ll think of her name in a … Lolli [Daskin 00:30:22].

Doug:                       Yeah, Lolli.

Debra:                     I was so impressed with Lolli where she said that she was at an all-hands meeting. The manager had asked the CEO a question. The CEO just blew the question off. Really discouraged the employee.

                                    She went up to the employee and she said, “You know, that was a good question. I’m sorry the CEO didn’t hear you, but do you know you could actually start …” I believe he was talking about how could he reach across the aisles and break down some of the silos and the communications’ barriers.

                                    She said, “Even though your middle manager may be not a CEO, you could actually start doing that now. It’s amazing what one person and a small group of people can do to change everything. It doesn’t have to be 51%. It can as little as 1% of us want the world to be a better place for everybody living here now, but also for your daughter that’s less than a year old.”

                                    I think anytime we get into the energy of I’m judging you and I find lack, I think there’s a danger of us actually becoming part of the problem instead of trying to become part of the solution. Sometimes, I talk to major global brands every day. It’s amazing who I talk to. Sometimes, I think, “Wow! I can’t believe I’m talking to this brand.”

                                    I find that everyone that I’m talking to, they’re just human beings that are actually trying to make a difference.

Doug:                       Life is complex and difficult and we’re all trying to struggle our way through, figuring out the best answers.

Debra:                     Especially right now. It just seems like right now, things that maybe took just a little bit of effort before take a lot of effort. I know when the hurricanes were barreling down on the United States and I was watching in terror. Sometimes, life is very overwhelming. I don’t care where you are.

Doug:                       That’s right.

Debra:                     Maybe that’s why we’re here because the deliciousness of the extremes. I’m crying one second. I’m happy the next.

Doug:                       The world is a … I was just talking. I don’t know if it was you and I talking about this. I think we were. The world is a volatile place. The Earth is a volatile place and it always has been.

Debra:                     It’s alive.

Doug:                       It’s a dynamic, living, breathing organism.

Debra:                     Yeah.

Doug:                       We’re on the ride on this spinning globe. Yeah, I agree with you that when we … It’s like putting water in an envelope. They say, “I am good. You are bad. This is good. This is bad.” I’m not saying that we don’t have discernment and judgment nor are you saying that because there are brands I wouldn’t work with and there are brands you wouldn’t work with, at the moment.

                                    I think the difference is, you might be open if things changed and they came back and said, “Debra, you know what? We don’t want you to lie, but we do really want to make a change. Would you help us?” You probably would work with them.

Debra:                     I would. I definitely would.

Doug:                       It’s the shutting the door and putting some brands and some people in a box that they can never come back out of.

Debra:                     That’s right. You’re bad. Go away. We never want to … It’s like, but wait a minute. I’ll say something about … I am not a scientist. I do not know if these hurricanes or the horrible earthquake in Mexico, I don’t know if it’s caused by climate control. I know some people are saying that. I just do not know.

                                    A friend of mine said, regardless of that particular conversation, in the past, these hurricanes came and we didn’t know about them and they would kill 10,000 people.

Doug:                       That’s right.

Debra:                     Now, people died, but not in the numbers …

Doug:                       Not 10,000.

Debra:                     Yeah. I love the Weather Channel, but at the same time, sometimes my anxiety goes through the roof watching [inaudible 00:34:31]. My brother-in-law was in Tampa. He said by the time Irma came and went, he was a nervous wreck because for days, he had been watching that it was going to barrel down and it was going to hit Florida and direct hit on Tampa.

                                    I appreciate that they saved lives, I do, but at the same time, the reality is, it’s still very stressful to walk through it and to see other people walking through it. I think if nothing else …

Doug:                       You know what’s funny? I know we have to wrap up, but I just want to share, it’s even people that are beating up on the Red Cross. I don’t know if you’ve seen this.

Debra:                     I haven’t.

Doug:                       Don’t give to the Red Cross. That was the big one. Don’t give to the Red Cross.

Debra:                     Oh, no!

Doug:                       They spend too much money on administration. I’m thinking, okay, maybe they do spend more money than a grassroots organization because they’re a large organization, but don’t give to the Red Cross? My God! I was there on 09/11 when the Red Cross was counseling and helping and giving people meals. I mean, I have friends who work for the Red Cross. How self-defeating is that?

Debra:                     I agree.

Doug:                       They spend too much money.

Debra:                     Right, right. I shop at Goodwill. The CEO! The other day, I got into this with a customer. “Well, you know how much the CEO makes?” I said, “I hope good money because I really want them to hire a qualified CEO to run this because they have very important job programs.” I want these non-profits …

                                    I know that when my family got in trouble when they told us that Sara had Down syndrome, Easter Seals stepped up. I love Easter Seals. Then, United Way supported. It’s the same thing. Deciding that brands are bad. It’s easy to do. It’s so easy to say, “You’re bad.” We’re doing that a lot and I think it’s time to say, “How can we help you be better?”

Doug:                       That’s right.

Debra:                     “How can we help you really include people with disabilities, solve these transportation issues? What’s going to be good for all of us? How do we bring you into the conversations so you can do better?”

Doug:                       Amen.

Debra:                     I think that’s something worth trying for. Doug, thank you for having this conversation with me today.

Doug:                       Thank you.

Debra:                     We definitely want to hear from the audience and tell us what you think. I like the word you used, discernment. It is all about discernment, but I really do think it’s a problem to decide. People and/or brands are bad or good. I think that they’re probably multi-dimensional.

Doug:                       Definitely. As are we all.

Debra:                     As are we all. Thank you so much, Doug. Thanks to everybody’s that’s watching and listening. We are so grateful. Please subscribe to the program. You can find past shows on We really value your input so let us know how we can do better and conversations you want us to have and guests you want on the program. We’re really appreciative of you for being part of this. Thank you and thank you, Doug.

Doug:                       Thank you.

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 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. We’ll be back next week with a new episode.


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