As a leader, how willing are you to be different than the norm, by intentionally supporting those individuals who’ve historically been under-supported and overlooked in your organization? Although it might be a struggle to change your habits and build a true diverse workplace, you must be willing to have hard conversations to develop a deep culture of belonging.

Alicia Newton, the founder of Learning Path LLC, puts diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in true context and shares why mental and emotional self-care is an important part of any DEIB initiatives. She also explains how to exercise vulnerability as a leader in order to allow different voices at the table to cultivate inclusive workforces and workplaces.

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  1. How organizations can intentionally manage and progress diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts.
  2. The importance of leaning into vulnerability as a leader and encouraging your team to also take the chance.
  3. Alicia’s addition to the LATTOYG Playbook
  4. Alicia’s Fun Facts – massages, transparency, and her perfect birthday

“If your brand does not promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging, then what’s unsaid says a lot.”


    [4:01] Alicia shares her personal and career background.

    [6:35] How she supports organizations with their diversity, equity, and inclusion journey.

    [10:33] How to intentionally manage and progress diversity and inclusion.

    [18:14] Alicia’s entry into the LATTOYG playbook: Learn to lean into vulnerability and “not knowing” as a leader.

    [28:54] Alicia’s Creating Cultures of Belonging program and how it helps leaders.

    [32:15] Signature Segment: Alicia’s LATTOYG Tactic of Choice

    [31:36] Signature Segment: Full Disclosure

    [38:57] Signature Segment: Karan’s Take


    Alicia Newton is a wife, mother, author, grandmother and the Founder and Chief Encourager at Learning Path, LLC, a learning and development company focused on Inclusive Leadership development. She holds a MA in Information and Learning Technologies with a Concentration in eLearning Design and Implementation, from the, University of Colorado, Denver. She is an experienced learning professional with a track record of developing new, experienced and executive inclusive leaders.

    Helping leaders grow and helping leaders build their inclusive leadership skills is Alicia’s talent and passion.  She has been an inclusion, diversity, and equity, builder practitioner and professional 10+ years and a professional within the leadership development space for over 15 years. A trusted consultant and learning partner Alicia has built her organization on the values of:

    • Prioritize Growth – It’s a choice
    • Inclusion – Be intentional
    • Achievement – Get it done
    • Autonomy – It’s the results not the process
    • Fun – Lighten up

    Alicia’s signature “Creating Cultures of Belonging” learning path for inclusive leaders is an experiential deep dive into the skills of practicing inclusion, recognizing and interrupting acts of exclusion and being an ally.

    She has worked across industry in organizations such as The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Meta, Cox, SweetRush, Fortive, Vontier, Core and Main, Alliant Energy, Chick-fil-A, and the U.S. federal government helping to build the competencies of inclusive leadership.

    Alicia also has an ebook called Believe, Begin, Become; Affirmations to Remember What You Know, because in a world of so much noise and pain the ability to remain resilient, agile, and in a growth-mindset requires support.

    She is also a speaker and community advocate. She loves to learn, travel, spend time with her three grandchildren and laugh with her whole face. Alicia resides in Marietta, GA with her wife Sharon Hardnett.





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    EPISODE 13 | Adding Self-Care to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Allyship Efforts with Alicia Newton

    Voiceover  00:00

    Organizations struggle with a person getting honest, useful, specific feedback in a regular performance review. Let alone when we talk about your marginalized identity, and if it’s being supported or not supported in the organization. Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.


    Karan Rhodes  00:55

    Hey there, superstars! This is Karan, and welcome to today’s episode! You know, last week I was in Washington DC, speaking at the Global Talent Smmit 2022, which was hosted at the Gallup headquarters. And if you’re not familiar with Gallup, Gallup is a major research firm that focuses on data and trends in the workplace, and definitely look them up because they have a ton of great data and information. But, anywho, when I was speaking, I did speak on some of the mega trends that are currently occurring in the world of human resources and the workplace. And one of those trends was involving companies, their ongoing efforts to keep diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging front and center, and to be honest with you, it is really hard work. You know, during the last few years of social awareness, laying a foundation of understanding was fairly popular and easy. However, creating systemic change within organizations is where many, many companies are hitting the wall. So, to help us pull back the layers of the onion of this very complex topic, our guest today is Alicia Newton, founder of Learning Path, which is a learning and development company focused on inclusive leadership. I have known Alicia for many, many years, and she has truly made moving the dial on inclusion in organizations her life’s work. So, please listen in on her approach and her perspectives, and pay particular attention to why she thinks self-care while being immersed in a focus on DEIB is so, so critical. And lastly, be sure to listen to her addition to our leadership execution playbook, and my closing segment called “Karan’s Take”, where I share a tip on how to use today’s insights from this episode to further sharpen your leadership acumen. And now, enjoy the show. Hello, superstars! This is Karan, and welcome to today’s episode of the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast. We are super thrilled to have one of my dear, dear friends and sister from another mother, Ms. Alicia Newton. She is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer–which I love that title–at Learning Path LLC, which is a learning development company that’s really focused on inclusive leadership development. So, welcome to the show, Alicia!


    Voiceover  03:30

    Thank you, Karan. I am thrilled to be here.


    Karan Rhodes  03:34

    I’m so elated on this episode. I’m so thrilled to have you. Well, before we get started, Alicia, I’d love for as much as you feel comfortable, if you’d share with our listeners, just give us a little sneak peek into like, where you, you know, grew up? Just a sneak peek into your personal life, and tell us a little bit about your professional journey thus far.


    Voiceover  04:01

    Okay, great. Alright, so, I have lived in three different places. I was born in a little town in West Virginia called Wheeling, about an hour from Pittsburgh, which I spent the first 10 years of my life and, then, there was a huge shift. I moved to New York City at 10 and spent the next 10 years there where… Yes.


    Karan Rhodes  04:29



    Alicia Newton  04:30

    Yeah! Small… So, I’ve lived in both: small city, you know, big city, went to high school there. I was always very much enthralled with… with theater and went to performing arts high school and and who knew that that training was going to serve me later as a professional as a facilitator and… and just, you know, speaker and all of that so, but I moved… I moved out of New York in my 20s. So, I’ve been living in Atlanta for most of my life. I live in Marietta, the company is based out of Marietta, Georgia, and I have two sons who are raised here and have four grandchildren who I love dearly, and I worked in corporate learning in development for about… about 15 years before I struck out on my own and started doing training, development, consulting on my own, and I’ve had Learning Paths since 2005. Yeah, yeah, I love what I do; I’m very fortunate to be able to do work that I love, that speaks to me, that helps helps me hold space for people to learn and grow, and… and it’s just, you know, I’m very fortunate.


    Karan Rhodes  06:01

    Yes, you are. I have… in full transparency, to our audience members, I have had the pleasure of working with, partnering with, masterminding with Alicia for years, and when I tell you, she’s, she is So, I really want to give some space Alicia for you to share with our audience listeners a little bit more about learning paths services, and, you know, where are your areas of passion and how do you bring value?


    Voiceover  06:35

    Yes. Okay, thank you for that question. So, you know, my… my journey into leadership development, you know, it started in corporate America back in the days when, you know, diversity and equity and inclusion work was primarily focused around regular regulations and laws and policies. And… and so, most of that early work was in response to an incident, you know. Company got sued. Now, we need to train everyone.


    Karan Rhodes  07:15

    They go directly towards training, right?


    Voiceover  07:17

    Exactly, exactly. Right? Great, though, that we have seen the evolution of this work to now really focusing more on creating equity and opportunity and equipping leaders that have those discussions to be curious to ask questions to actually want to and lean into broadening their worldview and then having some metrics on, you know, some DEI scorecard so that you know how you’re doing, right? It’s a business initiative like any other business initiatives. That’s what I tell, you know, ask my clients, you know, what… what do you want to achieve with this work? Right? Different organizations are in different places, right? And so, you know, my… my core… core offerings are really around equipping leaders with the skills to practice and live inclusion and it’s a journey. It’s not somewhere like, “Okay, now, I have a certificate. I am inclusive.”


    Karan Rhodes  08:36

    Right! You get the button, right? The button and I am inclusive.


    Voiceover  08:46

    So, yeah. So, I’m excited. I’m excited that today we can have those, those comfort conversations around, you know, what are you willing to do? Because a lot of times it used to be… I don’t know and sometimes today it can be a checkmark, okay? We’ve done the… you know, we’ve done our inclusion work for the year right but not embedded. So, I help organizations like if you want to embed these skills, and… and really reap the benefit of having a diverse, inclusive organization where you are creating situations where people can actually do their best work, then, you know, I’m here to help and support that journey.


    Karan Rhodes  09:38

    I love that, and, you know, I was thinking about, you know, over the past few years, you know, there’s… of course, there was heightened awareness around social injustice and DEIB, uhm, I would say programs and activities as… as the corporate America, we tried to respond to a lot of the concerns that their employees are having, and I don’t know if you saw it at the time, but that… you know, there was a plethora everyone was reaching out trying to either create a program or enhance the ones that they have had. And I’m just curious now, do you have any thoughts or insights or perspectives of how companies are doing and sustaining those activities and plans that they originally started with?


    Voiceover  10:33

    Yes, that’s a great question. It’s a great question, and the answer is, you know, just all over the place. We… there’s a lot more work to do. Yes, in response to George Floyd, I think that combination of the pandemic, George Floyd that the frus… you know, the frustration like this is for… for black people, it was like, “Yeah, this is happening.” But for so many people it was a wake up call, which was… it was a good thing, because it was like, “Okay, like, you have to make a stance here, right?” And so, yes, I did a lot of… a lot of organizations where in a place that… I just need to have a conversation because I… you really already knew this but I had no idea this was going on. So, let’s have a conversation. So, I facilitated a lot of listening groups, so that… that people could share, you know, this is my experience in this workplace or other workplaces? And, you know, it wasn’t… it was… it was across the board, you know, whether it was people talking about race or ethnicity or age or sexual… sexual orientation, like it is across the board, right? And… and people were learning about each other, and about others’ experiences. And that was… that was a giant step for a lot of organizations. Now, other organizations have been doing this work, and had really good programs out there. They had scorecards, but they weren’t making the progress. And they were like, “Okay, so what is it about this culture that with all of these tools and programs in place, still making progress.” Right? So I encourage anyone who does this work to have a very intentional program of self-care because I’ll set you off… more often than I would like, you run into the willingness to actually create space and opportunity for people who have been historically marginalized, right? Because equity means that if I’m going to actually create equity, that means I have to start promoting who have always been promoting. That means I have to literally do something different. Like I literally have to step back and be that ally, and support for someone in my organization, who maybe that spot would have went another way.


    Karan Rhodes  13:36

    That’s right, that’s right. And I’m just curious, when you do those listening tours, where… where is an area or two that you see business leaders struggle with? You know, they go through and learn all the terminologies and what they mean, and what have you been but where do you… in your opinion, where do you see a lot of leaders struggle still?


    Voiceover  14:01

    That’s a great question. I think… I think what… what was eye-opening for… in these listening sessions was it’s so often… you know, we tend to live in these silos. So like, if you, anybody–black, white, male, female, gay, straight, doesn’t matter–like make a list of say your trusted 10, like those 10 people that you engage with. Also, often because we are creatures of habit, we do like people, ideas, things that… that support and reinforce our mental mindset, and so those people are just like us and so for the… as a leader, it is for anybody and am I going to lean into another way of being seen in the world, experiencing the world, and am I gonna really listen to understand and manage my own triggers and reactions and fears because nobody gives people a class. I mean, organizations struggle with a person getting honest, useful, specific feedback in a regular performance review. Let alone when we talk about your marginalized identity, and if it’s being supported or not supported in the organization. So, it’s practice in willingness and courage and… and long, long term strategy, because the world is diverse, the workplace is diverse. It’s not getting less diverse, it’s getting more. And so… and business is getting more competitive so, you need different voices at the table.


    Karan Rhodes  16:00

    Absolutely do.


    Alicia Newton  16:01

    Absolutely. Absolutely.


    Karan Rhodes  16:04

    And not only do you need different voices at the table. You know, everybody’s going through the war for talent, right, right now? And it’s gonna increase probably versus decrease, and if you’re really focused on building a strong employer brand, and having a strong employee experience, you’re… it’s counter productive not to foster a welcoming environment of understanding of people’s different backgrounds and perspectives. not acknowledging them can create a lot of trauma for employees. And if they feel that trauma, they’re gonna look for greener pastures elsewhere. Do you agree or you have a different perspective?


    Alicia Newton  16:46

    You said it. That is so so true. Well, well said, because if I’m looking for a prospective employee, the first thing I’m looking at is, you know, what’s their… What are their values? What is their statement around diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging? You know, people are looking at your organizations and deciding whether or not they want to engage or not based on, you know, your brand, like you said, your brand. And if your brand does not promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging, then what’s unsaid says a lot.


    Karan Rhodes  17:30

    It sure does. That’s a mouthful right there. That is a value bomb. And I know, Alicia, in your… in your both coaching and consulting, you have tons of tools and resources, but most of the listeners for this podcast are, you know, leaders that are just trying to do the best they can in their professional lives and careers as they manage both themselves and self leadership as well as their teams. Is there just one tip or tool that you can give us that we can add to our leadership playbook for them to at least take one small step and showing up as their best selves?


    Alicia Newton  18:14

    Yes, yes. Just know there is no perfection here. You have to lean into vulnerability and not knowing. And I don’t know, it’s okay, I don’t know. So that’s why we go when we ask people, you know, you don’t know what pronoun a person wants. Ask. You don’t know, what a person’s experience is. Ask. I think in the leadership positions, too often, we feel like we have to have all the answers, and that is… is counterproductive in this work because none of us have all the answers, right? And, you know, you don’t want to make a mistake… the mistake of “Okay, well, you know, I have my, you know, Latin X and my Asian in my…” like, like tokenism, you don’t want to fall into that, you know. You want to really understand how people are experiencing your workplace, and if they’re not telling you that’s data, too.


    Karan Rhodes  19:24

    Exactly, exactly. And how do you coach leaders when they say, “Well, I am curious. I do want to know but I’m so afraid of insulting them or sticking my foot in my mail.” Yes, how do you help coach them on approaching that conversation?


    Voiceover  19:49

    Right. I encourage leaders to give themselves grace. You know, you will… you will make a mistake you will say great things, you will say put your foot in your mouth, and it’s okay. It’s okay. Because nine times I’m… to most people, when you think about it, do you like appreciate the person who is trying versus the person who is hiding or not saying anything? Right? Right, right.


    Alicia Newton  20:23

    We’re all human, like, we’re all just human, right? And so what’s the alternative?


    Karan Rhodes  20:32

    And that’s not working (unintelligible)


    Alicia Newton  20:34

    It’s not working well.


    Karan Rhodes  20:36

    I’ll share really quick, I have a really good friend out of Chicago—Caucasian friend. And she one time asked me–well, we got to know each other the years–and then she asked, she says, “Karan, do you mind me asking you a question?” And I said, “Personal question? Go, sure.” you know? And she says, “Well, please know up front my intent is to better understand. I’m not trying to offend, I just want to better understand.” and I said, “Sure.” And she said, “I’m just curious, do you prefer being called African American or being called black?” And it was a valid question. She didn’t know, we had a such a great conversation about it, but the fact that she asked up front, she showed her intent. She said, you know, she… she wanted to be very mindful. Even if she had made a mistake, it wouldn’t have pissed me off or insulted me in any kind of way, shape, or form, you know.


    Alicia Newton  21:42

    And that’s a great story because you received… you received curiosity. Curiosity is one of the skills of an inclusive leader.


    Karan Rhodes  21:52

    That’s right.


    Alicia Newton  21:55

    I mean, I learn something almost every time I… I facilitate a session because people are different. And because we just… we,,, we’re just continuous learners. I mean the name of my company is Learning Path. You look at learning as a path from the cradle to the grave, we should be learning.


    Karan Rhodes  22:17

    Absolutely, we should never stopped learning.


    Alicia Newton  22:20

    Exactly. I remember one of my peers, one of my peers, we were talking about, you know, the different experiences of growing up in the South, as a black person, as white person, and those roots, and this is a Caucasian friend of mine. And… and they were explaining to me that the term redneck was termed because people worked in the fields. I mean, the South was rural and that working and they had their head down, and their necks to get red right. Now, I had heard other reasons for people for that term, right? And I was so grateful, like thank you for that information because, you know, I didn’t know that. We don’t… we… I mean, it is so cool to me to be able to get to really know people like to peek behind the mask that, you know, you don’t want people to have to come to work with masks, but you know, (unintelligible) people come to work with a mask. Okay, where do… I how do I need a cover? How do I need to fit in? What’s the culture, all of that, but just to be able to put that down and really get to see the person, right?


    Karan Rhodes  23:43



    Alicia Newton  23:43

    Because we’re all 99.9% the same in our DNA?


    Karan Rhodes  23:47

    We sure are. We sure are. we all bleed the same red so I mean really. Well, Alicia, can you share a little bit with our audience, you have a signature program called Creating Cultures of Belonging and I know you that’s your signature program, but you do a ton of other work. I don’t want us to leave this podcast without you being able to share a little bit about that piece of work with our listeners.


    Alicia Newton  24:14

    Okay. Yes. So creating cultures of belonging is a… is a cohort for for senior leaders or… and directors and above who really want to increase their skills as an inclusive leader. I want to be able to really, really practice inclusion, and so we start with ourselves. Everything starts with ourselves, right? Identifying. We need to anchor, you need an anchor for this work. And so in creating a culture of belonging, we start out with… with values and an understanding like where we are as far as emotional intelligence, around self awareness and… and really identifying, you know, who we are bringing to this work, right? What are my assets? What are my areas I need improvement with? And what’s my anchor? What am I going to do when it gets tough, right? And then we… we go from there to really breaking down diversity and all the different aspects of diversity and how, you know, intersectionality, and who we are, each of us diverse in our own ways. And we really go deep dive with that. And then, we do work around inclusion. So what are the actions, I have a signature model for people to have those conversations? And we will go there, and we go into allyship. And so that practice or, you know, what does that look like? How do I become an ally? And the program can be facilitated by pods or like maybe you… this client might just need an allyship for so of course I have offering for those and everything is also customized based on, you know, what the organization will need is and where they want to go. And you know, what skills, capabilities you want to build, and I always tell…


    Karan Rhodes  26:36

    And the modules, are there… they’re self-containing where they can either be augmented with what’s already in the company, or you can pull them together as a complete program, correct?


    Alicia Newton  26:46

    Yes, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And there’s, yes, and there’s some e-learning components of art for pre-work, post-work, things like that. I’ve got great… I mean the feedback for the leadership cohort groups that have gone through has just been phenomenal because I really believe in build… helping people build skills, right? Build skills, build skills, which is so…


    Karan Rhodes  27:17

    Well, listeners, we will make sure to have links to Alicia’s website in the show notes. So, you should definitely check that out and share the information throughout your organizations and, you know, reach out to her and see about bringing one or more of those modules to your organization, I think to probably nicely augment what has currently been done with your, you know, employers DEIB strategies. So, I’m sure she’d be happy to talk to you more about it? Right, Alicia?


    Alicia Newton  27:51

    Absolutely. We have custom programs as well. And so, yeah, I love marrying this work. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging, this is not as a separate… these are skills for leaders, period. Inclusive leadership skills. So, (unintelligible) marry those and find those synergies, so, yes.


    Karan Rhodes  28:20

    Awesome. Well, as you know, I’m a huge admirer of your… your work. And I’m also curious, you know, I… and thank you so much for supporting my book Lead at the Top of your Game. I really appreciate you. She shared with my listeners that she took it on vacation and read it cover to cover and I was like floored and appreciative about that. But I was curious, Alicia, if any of the seven leadership tactics kind of stood out for you, or was meaningful for you? And if so tell me which one and why.


    Alicia Newton  28:54

    I’m gonna say first and foremost, I love the functionality of this book, like give me something that I can employ, and that’s what you give in this book. And I mean, I love like… all of them were like, oh, and that was able to say, “Okay, so I need to work on this one.” And so you… you really captured actionable sustainable leadership growth tactics. And yeah, if you employ this that’s in Lead at the Top of Your Game, you will be leading at the top of your game.


    Karan Rhodes  29:31

    Aww, thank you so much for those kind words.


    Alicia Newton  29:37

    And so for… for me, my Myers Briggs Type is is E-extrovert, senser, thinker. Yes, TP, right? So, so the T and then, on my StrengthsFinder, it’s achiever. Oh, about getting it done, right? I want to get it done. (unintelligible) So, you know, I love people, I love engaging with people, and then positivity, focus, and competition. So, in your book, the two that spoke to the T and the achiever in me is the leading with intellectual horsepower. Today, high performing leaders are required to simultaneously acquire knowledge, master skills, and use their talents to solve both the challenges of today, and those yet unforeseen tomorrow. Yes, yes, and yes. And it’s a strength of mine. It really is. I mean, people are amazed when I go into an organization, how quickly I’m able to do the analysis and really start adding value like…


    Voiceover  30:52



    Alicia Newton  30:53

    …immediately. And that… that one definitely spoke to me. And then, the other one is leading with drive for results because again, you know, if you are not getting any results, why do it?


    Karan Rhodes  31:04

    That’s right. That’s right, because we should have an end game and see it all the way through, right?


    Alicia Newton  31:10

    Yes, yes.


    Karan Rhodes  31:11

    Well, thank you so much for sharing those. Well, I can’t let you leave our session with that our final segment. It is called “Full Disclosure” but, I promise you there’s no gotcha questions. These are just fun questions so the audience will know a little bit more about you and your personality. So, you ready to go?


    Alicia Newton  31:33

    Yeah, ready.


    Karan Rhodes  31:36

    So, Alicia, would you share with our audience members, what is one of your favorite ways to decompress after a tough week? What do you like to do?


    Alicia Newton  31:45

    Karan, I love massages, steam rooms, and whirlpools. Yes, yes, yes. Self-care is so important. It’s important for all of us. If you are in the work of this work, I just… it just… it becomes more of an imperative, because you are going to run into that wall you are going to say, “Well, you could change it. You just want to.” I mean, you are going to do the work because you love it because it speaks to you so yeah. Yeah, I don’t know. I went to Thailand and listen, massages were like, I don’t know, seven dollars an hour. I had two a day. I was floating the whole time I could just (unintelligible) there. So that’s probably my… yeah, and then meditation and breathing. Just pause, just breathe.


    Karan Rhodes  32:46

    Love that. Absolutely. So my next question is, what is something that people get wrong about you? Like maybe they have a preconceived notion, but it’s something totally different.


    Alicia Newton  33:06

    Something that people get wrong about me. I think that, like I said, positivity is one of my strengths. But, you know, people don’t it’s like that song is a gospel song is “what they don’t see when I’m on my knees.” Okay, Lord, help me, please.


    Karan Rhodes  33:33

    There’s balance to that. You can’t be positive, but you are awesome. (unintelligible)


    Alicia Newton  33:38

    We all go through. Right. We’re human, we all go through. So, you know, like, yeah.


    Karan Rhodes  33:50

    I’m sorry. Go ahead.


    Alicia Newton  33:51

    No, I was… I was just adding but I’m very transparent with people. So, you know.


    Karan Rhodes  33:58

    I can vouch for that. You’re great. You’re great people person. So now, Alicia, tell me what would be a perfect birthday gift for you.


    Alicia Newton  34:10

    Oh, perfect. You got some great questions.


    Karan Rhodes  34:19

    (unintelligible) your birthdays so give me one thing on the list


    Alicia Newton  34:26

    Family is, you know, in my top five values, so this year for my birthday, I was here in Atlanta, and it was a first time for the last six years because I’m always somewhere. I go to the beach. I love beaches. I love mountains. So that’s why I’m using it on my birthday, right? But this year I was here and I had an opportunity to spend my birthday with my whole family. And it was so, oh, it was the best birthday. Oh, it was the best birthday. My sons was there. My wife was there, the grandkids were there, it was just perfect.


    Karan Rhodes  35:08

    Well, we get to have more of those birthdays with your whole family there, right? And our last and it’s not really a question for you, per se, but our last topic I have because you’ve been such a great sport, I always love to turn the tables back on me and give you an opportunity. So if there’s one question you’d like to ask me, either personal or business or what have you, what question Would you like to ask me? Or have me answer?


    Alicia Newton  35:41

    How you have developed such a strategic mind? Like you are like the what if person, right?


    Karan Rhodes  35:52

    I am!


    Alicia Newton  35:55

    Right, and so like you just flow effortlessness, so it just flows from you. So, I don’t know, like, Where did that come from? How do you just…


    Karan Rhodes  36:10

    I don’t know, you know, I think I was born with it, as well as it being nurtured by my family. I’ve always been inquisitive about people environments, and what things tick and… and my family nurtured that in me as well. And so, I have… I (unintelligible) always been very strategic minded but my unique ability, what I always tell people, is that I’m able to pull that strategy into action, like, okay, out of all of this that’s going on, (unintelligible) back in and say, Okay, what’s most realistic? And what is the best move forward? So it’s expansion…


    Alicia Newton  37:02

    That is a gift. That is a gift. Yeah, you do that.


    Karan Rhodes  37:11

    Yeah. That’s a strategy all day… people strategy, because I love working with people. All day every day.


    Alicia Newton  37:18

    Right, right. Right. Right, right.


    Karan Rhodes  37:20

    I’d do it for free but we have to pay the light bill every now and then so…


    Alicia Newton  37:27

    Absolutely, I come to you often on that, and you will always give me such great advice and support. So, yeah.


    Karan Rhodes  37:38

    Your time has just flown by. We blinked, and I can’t believe we’re already at the end of our episode, but listeners, please make sure that you definitely check out our show notes to get some information on how to reach Alicia all her programs. She’s very open to discussions and conversations around there, and believe me, if she is one of the best friends you could ever have. I don’t think she’s she has an enemy in this world. So she’s very open, she meets you where you are. And especially if you’re working with your organization to build that DEIB muscle in your teams. She’s definitely an expert on that stuff. Alicia, thank you so much for your gift of time to be with me and the listeners today.


    Alicia Newton  38:32

    Thank you. Thank you. This has been a treat. And yes, I’m so excited that you had these podcasts and just everything that you’re doing around Lead at the Top of your Game and… and this was just great. This is great. So thank you so much. And yeah.


    Karan Rhodes  38:51

    All right, listeners. We will see you next episode. Have a fabulous rest of your week. Bye bye. Well, I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Alicia Newton, founder of Learning Path. Links to her bio, her entry into our leadership playbook, and additional resources can be found in the show notes both on your favorite podcast platform of choice and at Now, for “Karan’s Take” on the topic today of inclusion in the workplace. So today, I thought I’d just share a few inclusion-related best practice examples for you as leaders to take back to your teams. The first tip I have is for you to work hard to establish a sense of belonging for everyone everyday. For each individual to bring their best self forward, you know, you’re really going to have to create a sense of belonging. Having a connection to an organization or group of people that makes you feel like you can be your best self really helps to increase greater engagement and creativity in the workplace. And honestly, it’s a basic psychological need. But this doesn’t happen overnight. So see if you can find one small way each day to invite your team to take a chance and be vulnerable with their co-workers. Another thought I wanted to remind you of is that a top down approach to DEIB is just not enough. Top down approaches drive compliance, not commitment, and quotas don’t automatically translate into a culture of inclusion. To retain and nurture top talent is critical to take an honest look at the end to end employee experience with an eye towards creating conditions that promote inclusion on a daily basis, and designing ways to measure that impact. And my last thought I want to leave you with is to forget the whole concept of fit whether somebody fits your organization. Focus on helping individual thrives. When you’re doing that, you will automatically be helping to create a culture of inclusion. The norms, power structures, and inequities in society can easily become embedded into an organization so creating a culture where every individual can contribute their full potential requires investigating the systems and processes in your organization to uncover sore spots and blind spots, and then finding ways to reimagine them. Remember, looking for fit can be very dangerous, because in the end, it can end up excluding people. So, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, and if you enjoyed this topic, more information on developing a stronger leadership acumen can be found on our website at Thanks so much for listening and see you next week!


    Voiceover  41:56

    And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast where we help you leave your seats at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K-a-r-a-n. And if you liked the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand project or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Bye for now.

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