Sarah talks with Latasha Reindl, Director of Service Operations Excellence at Schneider Electric Digital Buildings, about the central theme that is key to making further progress in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today we are talking about a very important topic, one we hear about a lot, which is diversity and inclusion. We’re going to have a very honest conversation about what my guest feels is the real key to driving progress when it comes to diversity and inclusion. I’m excited to welcome to the podcast today Latasha Reindl, who is the Director of Service Operations Excellence at Schneider Electric Digital Buildings. Latasha, welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast.
Latasha Reindl: Thank you so much, Sarah. It’s an honor to be here today. Thank you.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. So I’m excited to have you. So Latasha and I had the good fortune to meet in September at the Service Council Smarter Services Symposium in Chicago. And I started in this space, Latasha, in 2008. And I will say there was very often, I was the only woman in a room at any of these conferences. And we still were. There wasn’t very many of us at the Service Council. And I think we both took note of the fact that among the few women that were there, you were the only black woman there. So there’s still some progress to be made when it comes to diversity in this industry for sure.
Sarah Nicastro: So Latasha and I caught up after the event and had a really good conversation about this topic and she was kind enough to agree to come on the podcast and talk with you all about it as well. And I’m grateful for that. So Latasha, before we dig into the topic at hand, why don’t you tell folks a bit about yourself.
Latasha Reindl: Sure. As you mentioned, my name is Latasha Reindl. I am first and foremost, excuse me, the wife to a wonderful husband. His name is Steven. We have two wonderful children, Jasmine and Joshua. It’s pretty cool to have such a great support system, not only from my husband, but from my kids as well. When you, as a parent, you want to be the best that you can be to lead by example and pave the way for them and ultimately to give them the things that you’ve never had.
Latasha Reindl: But one of the things that I do think is important that I share with you today, just so you understand how I got to where I am today, is a little bit about my background. At a very young age, I made the decision to make some changes in my life. And let me just tell you why. I was put in foster care when I was six years old. So I am the product of the system. I was exposed to some very bad things. I was exposed to physical and emotional abuse like domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and poverty. I wouldn’t take those things back for any reason. It helps define who you are as a person and gives you perspective or your lens on life.
Latasha Reindl: But those experiences made me believe at a very young age that I want something different in my life. So never had alcohol before. I made that decision at a very young age that I would never drink. And I have adhered to that as I am a middle age woman, as well as I am the first person in my family to get a college degree. My grandparents who ultimately raised me, my grandfather couldn’t read or write. And my grandmother had a middle school education. So it was very important to me. It’s something that I instill in my kids as well. My daughter is a dental hygienist. She’s doing fantastic. She’s a successful business owner as well, online business owner. My son is studying biochem at the University of Wisconsin Madison. And he will be pursuing his eye doctor degree afterwards. So very proud of those things.
Sarah Nicastro: Yes, absolutely. And you should be. And before I have you tell folks a bit about your role at Schneider, when Latasha and I caught up and talked about these things, it was really just a conversation, two people getting to know each other. And those of you that listen to this podcast regularly know that I’m a pretty inquisitive person and I kind of naturally have a lot of questions. And so some of the questions that I asked Latasha that she agreed to talk about today I didn’t really go into that conversation thinking we would do a podcast on this topic. And I just want to be clear that when it comes to the role of non-minority folks, so people, white people, men for sure, all of those things, it really is our responsibility to be willing to expand our own minds, to learn, to take the time to read and to listen to stories and to understand.
Sarah Nicastro: And I asked Latasha very frankly if she would be willing to have this conversation because there are many people that feel it is not the people of color’s responsibility to educate everyone. And so she was kind enough to come. And I think she has a bit of a unique perspective on that point. Latasha, I don’t know if you mind speaking to that, but I know that for you, you see it as an opportunity, not a burden, right?
Latasha Reindl: Absolutely. And one of the reasons why I’m so willing to share this story is I want to give others that are out there who were like me in that position as a child, hope that where you are at this moment doesn’t necessarily determine where you can be in the future. That’s one of the key reasons. This is my way of giving back.
Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes. And I think for the people that have a genuine desire to really positively impact the diversity and inclusion in their organizations, while there is a lot of research that can be read and books that can be read, wonderful authors that talk about bias and all of the things that we really do need to educate ourselves on. I don’t know that there’s anything more powerful than hearing people’s personal perspectives. And so that’s why I’m very thankful that you agreed to have this talk today. So tell the audience a bit about what you do at Schneider.
Latasha Reindl: Day-to-day, I mean, I’m responsible for driving consistency and standardization throughout the organization, managing a centralized team, as well as making sure our frontline workforce have the tools and processes that are needed to execute our services to our customers. And that’s very important to me. We need to make sure our frontline workforce is happy because they are the face of Schneider when they’re interacting with our customers. And if our frontline is happy, the customers are happy.
Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes. And the title of operations excellence, I mean, that is a very, very important job, particularly when you talk about standardization at the scale that Schneider is standardizing. And so I think based on what I heard at the Service Council and what I heard talking with you, the approach you’re taking is very good because it’s respectful of the frontline, which obviously is very important.
Sarah Nicastro: So, okay. All right. So the key to making real progress here, we talked about the fact that the word you would put as the key is courage. So we need to have courage to continue to drive progress when it comes to diversity and inclusion. So let’s talk about a couple of areas where we need to continue to nurture and find and create courage so that we can move the needle.
Sarah Nicastro: The first is courage in conversation. So I think we’re walking that talk right now. So we’re here. We’re having a conversation for everyone to hear. But talk a little bit more about some of the ways that it is important to bring courage into different conversations related to this topic.
Latasha Reindl: So I read a book a while back called Crucial Conversations. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of that. I thought that book was fantastic. It talks about how important effective communication is as well as making sure you take advantage of opportunities that you’re in and have that courage to speak up in that moment, because they’ll be more impactful. I was having a conversation with one of the leaders of Schneider Electric and it was pretty interesting and I just want to highlight it quickly. They were sitting in a board meeting and they’re very mindful of diversity, equity and inclusion. And as they’re sitting in this meeting, they realized there’s a gap here. And I think when you recognize things like that, it’s important that you have the courage to say something. It’s important that you have the courage to take action as well. Those are all important things.
Latasha Reindl: As you were talking about this event that we were at and not many women were there. I was the only minority woman there. And to actually have the courage to speak up and say something to the leader, I noticed that. You put it at the forefront. So they realize that this is important. It impacts other people. So I think when you have the courage to have these types of conversation, it puts it at the forefront. And then maybe they will have the courage to say something and take action in the future.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a really good point. And like I said, looking back on my years of going to some of these events year after year after year, I mean, I see the progress. But I think it’s important for us to respect the fact that progress is good, but until things are equal, it’s not good enough. And I think that this idea of courage is important because I think, well, I know for myself, I consider myself actively anti-racist. I mean, I read. I research. I donate money. I mean, I do a lot of things intentionally. I surround my children with a diverse network. We have a lot of people in our close, close friends and of all sorts. So it’s very important to me.
Sarah Nicastro: But I think the thing we have to understand is even when you can say that that’s a value you have as an ally, you don’t reach a point where the work is done. And everyone still has things that they don’t know how to bring up in the right way. Or so I think that one of the points around courageous conversation that I think is important is intent because that doesn’t mean you can just, as a non-minority, say whatever you think with no repercussion. But I think sometimes we are so fearful of speaking because we’re so scared to say the wrong thing and have it perceived the wrong way that then we are silent just because it can be scary. Especially in today’s media and social media, you can think of an executive thinking, hmm, something’s not right here, but I don’t want to say the wrong thing. And then so it’s a delicate balance for sure.
Sarah Nicastro: But I think that if your intent is good and your intent is right, then you are better off speaking up and having to apologize for maybe saying the right thing in the wrong way, then you are not saying anything at all. So that’s just one point I want to make as someone that has had a hard time with that myself is in situations where there’s a blatant act that is just needing to be addressed, that’s a very clear cut situation where I would never have issues speaking out. But when it comes to the idea of kind of the continual improvement and understanding some of the layers that you might need to understand to make real change. There’s a lot of conversations I think that can get avoided because people are just fearful of tackling them the wrong way. So I think have the courage to have the conversation. And know that if your intent is good, do it in the most sensitive and respectful way you can. But understand that missteps are not the end of the world as long as you are acting in earnest. Would you agree with that?
Latasha Reindl: Absolutely. I would absolutely agree with that. And again, it’s about having the courage to have the conversation. But transparency, it’s okay to say, “I may not say this right, but just bear with me here.” Put it out there, be vulnerable in those situations. I think Schneider Electric, today is my one year anniversary and I’m so excited to be here. I’ve taken a moment to reflect over the year. And Schneider Electric does a good job, a great job at being people-focused as well as creating, I feel like I am in an environment where I am safe to talk openly about things. Just me and my colleague, just I can have an open conversation and it’s okay if it doesn’t come out right. That is okay. But being open and transparent is a part of that as well.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think it just, it can’t be a crutch though either. I mean, that’s the only thing is it’s okay to say, “I don’t know if I’ll say this right.” But that can’t be an excuse to also not educate yourself and to also not do the work on your own. So that’s why I say it’s a delicate balance. That’s not just a free card to show up ignorant and let everyone give you a pass for not caring enough to dive into all of the resources that are out there to… I mean, I have a stack of books next to me I can go through that I would recommend to people to read on this topic because it is important to invest your time and energy into the things that you care about. But that being said, no one is going to show up perfectly. So we can’t wait to be able to do that to have those talks.
Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So the next area of courage is in examining our biases, including unconscious bias. So what would you say related to that?
Latasha Reindl: I think it’s important to understand that we all have some kind of unconscious bias that we’re not aware of. I think Schneider Electric does a great job at sprinkling the concept of unconscious bias throughout their organization, whether it be initiatives, business processes, communications. And when they sprinkle those little topics and things throughout the year, it makes you think not only at work, but outside of work as well.
Latasha Reindl: I’ll just give you an example of one of the business processes that they’re using in order to sprinkle in this unconscious bias. I was interviewing candidates for a global position and working with the recruiter. They send you the overall package that includes the candidate’s resume. And then there’s this interview tips and tricks. And it specifically talks about leave your unconscious bias behind. Don’t look at weight. It’s okay if they don’t look like you. I mean, this was the first time that I’ve ever experienced that before in the 20 years that I have been managing people. And I’m like, wow, we are on a spectrum right now of change when you talk about diversity, equity and inclusion. And I’m so proud to be a part of an organization where I can see it, where they’re really taking steps. And so when you are put in a position like this, just in that interviewing situation, you step back and you begin to reflect as well as an individual and your personal life as well. So I’m very proud to be a part of that change that’s going on right now in our organization.
Sarah Nicastro: I think on this topic, one of the things I would point out is to understand that what you said. Everyone has biases, so having them doesn’t make you a bad person. Being unwilling to examine them is the problem. And I think Robin DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility, really taught me that because when I started reading it, to be honest, I went into it thinking I don’t need to read this. I’m not racist. And the intro is, if you think you’re not racist, you’re racist. And I was like, uh-oh. I need to read this. But the point of the book is you can’t go around thinking you don’t have these biases. Everyone does. And that’s the problem is we associate guilt with them. And so we are unwilling to say, yes, I have biases or yes, I’ve acted in a way that is racist because that’s associated with being bad.
Sarah Nicastro: But in reality, everyone has it. So if you can separate the label of guilt. Now, of course there are people that are just bad and have biases. So that’s a different situation. But the idea is on the average, someone doesn’t want to admit to a bias because they think that makes them a bad person. But when reality is we all have them. So as long as you’re willing to continually check yourself against them, that’s where it’s about doing the work. So I think the understanding of everybody has these. It’s just whether you’re willing to admit it and work to correct them or not that can be important. Also recommend that book to everyone.
Latasha Reindl: It was eye opening.
Sarah Nicastro: So okay. The next area is courage in challenging faulty thinking in harmful beliefs and actions regardless of motive.
Latasha Reindl: Yeah. That’s a very good one. And overall, I think I lead by example around this topic. And I’ll just explain that a little bit. I feel like there’s this stigma or perception about the African American woman that we are loud, obnoxious, argumentative, and combative. And I do everything in my power to try and defy that myth. I live in an area called Sussex, Wisconsin. It’s a suburb of Milwaukee. It’s less than one percent of African Americans in that area, not very diverse so to speak. But I make every effort when I am in the community to make sure I’m leading by example. And I’ll give you an example.
Latasha Reindl: I went into a coffee shop, it’s a local coffee shop in the area. And there’s some retired white gentlemen in there reading their paper. It was probably four sitting at the table and you walk in there. I need to feel like it can be uncomfortable at first, but you got to feel like you belong. So you hold your head high. You go in there and you order your cup of coffee.
Latasha Reindl: And I was shocked by the fact that someone actually looked over to me and said good morning. And I turned back and I said good morning. And this began to happen repeatedly as I would go get my coffee two or three times a week. And one morning the gentleman was like, you’re going to have to sit with us because we kept having this little banter. But the whole point of this story is, is I want to make sure that I’m presenting myself in a way that is positive, that I’m articulating myself in a way and that I can carry myself and be present in the moment. I think all those things are important. So I can say to someone else when they look at me, I am defining that myth that they have about the African American woman.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yes. And I think that going back to the courage to speak up, I think when we see someone say… The reason that I said regardless of motive is because it goes back to the intent. I mean, unfortunately there are some people saying and doing things out of some hatred. And it’s just malicious. And that is very unfortunate and it deserves to be called out. It deserves to be addressed. It deserves to be punished. I think what gets a little trickier is when you hear or see someone do something where it isn’t a poor motive, it’s just ignorance, because I think there can be kind of the question of, oh, do I say something? Or, well, they didn’t really mean it that way.
Sarah Nicastro: But the problem is, it doesn’t matter if you meant it that way. If you hear somebody say something that is a microaggression or anything. I mean, those are the things that make, we’re talking about work, make a workplace not a positive environment for certain people. And so sometimes you might be further along in examining your own biases or actions than some of your colleagues. And to me, I see it as a responsibility to speak up and help educate those around you to say, hey. And not to make a big deal of it, but on the side, “Hey, I don’t think you meant anything by this, but when you said X, I wonder if so-and-so could have perceived this in a negative way.” So just to point things out to people. And I think to your point, going back to the environment at Schneider, if you can create an environment where this is an important objective for everyone within the organization and have that transparency, that person should want to correct those things and have the opportunity to do that.
Sarah Nicastro: And so I think, again, it can be a little bit uncomfortable because maybe it’s a situation where it’s even you’re a subordinate and it’s your supervisor or what have you. But this is where we need to feel empowered to help raise one another up. And again, that’s how we move the bar forward. So, yeah. I mean, I love your perspective. I think it’s awesome the way you look at the opportunity you have to shift that perspective. And I have a ton of respect for you for seeing that as an opportunity and not a burden. But we all have a responsibility to make sure that as we are seeing and hearing things, they get addressed.
Sarah Nicastro: So okay. The next one is having courage to hold yourself and your business accountable for progress. So what are your thoughts on that one?
Latasha Reindl: As it relates to me personally, I think it’s important when you find yourself in a position where you can give back. I mean, I think about my life along the way and all the different people who helped me, other parents that didn’t look like me, teachers that didn’t look like me, friends. Having that support system around you is important. And if I can provide some hope to someone, I want to take the opportunity to do that. I’m becoming more and more aware of how I impact others. And I want to leverage that whenever I have an opportunity.
Latasha Reindl: I was just talking to one of my employees and they’re interviewing candidates. It’s like, make sure you have the candidate pool is diverse. Work with your recruiter. If you’re in a position where you can make a difference and influence, you should take advantage of that. I always feel like if you have power to make change, to influence, make it for the better. And I feel like in the position that I am in, personally giving back to the community, making sure people see that there are people like them that can be successful. And then from a business perspective, making sure I’m making decisions where I can help influence and make change.
Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Are there any other areas of courage that come to mind other than those that we have brought up?
Latasha Reindl: I think it’s okay to be uncomfortable. I mean, we talked about this a little bit. It’s okay to be comfortable. It’s okay to have that courage to speak up. If anything, you walk away from this podcast, I want you to be mindful and understand that it’s okay. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. But the fact that you are aware that you’re uncomfortable is the first step. And being transparent and honest and having those courageous conversations is an important step in the right direction. It’s okay to be uncomfortable.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I mean, honestly the idea of change doesn’t come from comfort zones. So if the idea is we need to increase diversity, people are going to have to get uncomfortable for that to happen. So you have to kind of embrace that a bit. Yeah.
Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So I’m going to ask you, this is a really upfront question. But the reality is, I mean-
Latasha Reindl: I’m ready. I’m ready.
Sarah Nicastro: I know you are. I know you are. The reality is probably the majority of people listening to this podcast are white men. Okay. So I would just say I don’t know if it’s 51% or 85%, but I mean, that tends to be the audience still. And in your years of professional experience, as a woman of color you have come up against some very challenging, very unfair situations. We don’t need to go into any of those. But what I do want to ask is two questions. And the first is, for any white man listening to this, leading a business, what do you want that person to consider related to this topic?
Latasha Reindl: I think that’s a very good question. I would say what I would want someone to hear, my response is leave your conscious or your unconscious bias at the door. Look at me who I am as an individual. And as we continue on this spectrum that I say that we’re on, this change around diversity, equity and inclusion, ask yourself what you’re doing as a leader in your organization to make the steps for change.
Latasha Reindl: And I was looking at some of the statistics out there and there’s a lot of them, but I’ll just point out one where you talk about equity. And it’s not just about money. It’s about making sure everyone is on an even playing field. And if you look at some of the statistics, statistics about an African American woman, there’s like 64% of African American families are led by a single mom. And if you think about equity and everyone being on an even playing field, what are you doing in the workplace to attract and keep good talent when you have them? Because that’s a part of it, too. Not only did you got to get them, you got to be able to keep them. So leave your unconscious bias and your conscious ones at the door and reflect on yourself and look at what you’re doing to make change within your organization and for yourself. Part of it is reflective on yourself, too.
Sarah Nicastro: For sure. And I think this diversity, equity inclusion is one of those topics. There’s a handful of them, that are everyone says it’s important because they know they have to. But it isn’t a matter of, okay, well, did I check that box? Yeah. So for sure, we’re definitely focused on that. You have to actually care. You have to actually have a desire to make this change. And you have to be willing to put in the work. And I think also part of it is how are you driving accountability for these efforts? So they say only what is measured gets attention. So if you are saying this is important for your business, then what is the real accountability you’re holding the organization to, to make that progress?
Sarah Nicastro: Okay. The second part of that question is if there is a woman of color listening to the podcast who sort of may be earlier on in her career, what advice or words of wisdom would you share?
Latasha Reindl: I would say performance is at the top of the list. Make sure you’re doing what you’re say you’re going to do or what they expect you to do. I think that’s very important. You got to be able to perform. But also I think it’s important that you continue to reflect and defy that myth, that false impression of an African American woman. And I’m not saying to not be your authentic self. I’m not saying that at all. But it’s important. I think if you are your authentic self, it’s going to have even more of an impact to influence other that are around you and have the courage to be that example for change within the organization that you’re a part of.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. For sure. I do really admire you a lot for the way you look at that because I think that that’s, I mean, it’s a heavy burden to bear to always feel like you are fighting someone’s interpretation of you before they’ve even met you. And to be where you are and to overcome what you’ve overcome and to get to where you are, but do it without any sense of bitterness or anger. And maybe you have it and you just don’t show it. I’m not sure, but it doesn’t seem like, and I think that takes a very strong person to be able to be proud of where you’ve come and grateful for your blessings, but also be able to see it as an opportunity. And yeah, but-
Latasha Reindl: Absolutely. I… Oh, sorry. Don’t mean to cut you off.
Sarah Nicastro: I was just going to say your attitude about it is admirable. But I do have a lot of respect for just the burden that that must be. I mean, there has to be moments of immense frustration in all of that as well.
Latasha Reindl: Well, let me just tell you something just really quickly, Sarah. For me, I look at things in a positive light. They can be good or bad but it’s how you interpret it. I think having a positive attitude about things is that that glass half full. I mean, I see a situation and I see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. If you make a mistake, okay, move on. What have you learned from this? And I try and have that perspective on everything that I do. I mean, I told you at the beginning some of the challenges that I’ve had in my life. They’ve helped define who I am as an individual. And it gives me a perspective. It gives me a lens on life that others may not be able to relate to or can relate to. And you just move on. You learn from it and be positive. #positive.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I love it. I do. Okay. So you’ve mentioned a little bit sort of the spectrum or the continuum we’re on of, okay, it’s better than it used to be. And in many organizations there is real progress happening. And I think it is important to point out the fact that we don’t need to aim for perfection. I mean, ultimately we do get to a place where this conversation isn’t necessary. I mean, I think that’s the end goal is that diversity, equity and inclusion reach a place where it isn’t such a hot topic because we’ve just gotten to that spot.
Sarah Nicastro: But until we’re there, we don’t need to hold ourselves to a standard of perfection. We just need to be continually looking at how to make progress. So you mentioned some of the things that Schneider has done in terms of making that progress. So you talked about the unconscious bias checklist in the hiring process, which you were impressed by. You mentioned that they have done some efforts around salary equality which is incredibly important, incredibly important. The other thing I was hoping you could tell folks about is the privilege walk because this is super unique. And I think it would be good for people to hear about.
Latasha Reindl: Yeah. Very first time ever doing a privilege walk. And I think when we talk about biases and that we all have some biases, but being aware of those biases are very important. And I think this privilege walk makes you aware of many things. And it was another opportunity to create that culture. I think culture is built on different experiences that you have along the way. And this is just one of them where you have this safe place where you can speak out and be vulnerable. So let me just give you an example about this privilege. Being right-handed is a privilege. Being raised in a home with two parents that love you is a privilege. We don’t think about those things every day. And being vulnerable, I mean, I heard so many amazing things about my colleagues that I didn’t know before. And it really changes how you interact with them going forward. It was truly, truly an amazing experience to go through something like that. I would encourage others to look it up, have a session with your managers, with your direct reports. It was a really awesome, awesome experience.
Sarah Nicastro: So tell people a little bit. What is it? How did it work?
Latasha Reindl: Yeah, so basically we had some leaders come in that led the conversation. It was very interactive. And when I say interactive, it’s not in person. We had to make it as interactive as we possibly could virtually. But basically they asked some very, very probing questions out there.
Latasha Reindl: And one example, if I can think of it, they talked about how in some industries they expect women to be a little bit more passive. And then if they are going to come across as aggressive, they see them in a negative light. And then I brought up the whole African American female. To be able to be open about things like that at work, I mean, it was just a pretty amazing. You find out what language do you speak? What’s your primary language? It is a privilege to be in the United States and have English as your primary language. There was some of my team members, they were born in Taiwan. English is their second language. And when I interact with them, I’m like, okay, he has to think even harder when he’s trying to talk to me about complicated things. It’s just awareness, transparency. And it allows you to relate to the whole person, not just my colleague, if that makes sense.
Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So it was a virtual session led by certain leaders where it was really just sort of an open forum dialogue around different, I guess just personal journeys of folks. And people talking about what their struggles are and things of that nature. Am I understanding correctly?
Latasha Reindl: Yes. That is correct. And these individuals were trained on this type topic in particular, to bring out the conversation, to bring out the dialogue and make sure people are aware of your privileges that you have. Did you ever think being right-handed is a privilege? Being white, does my husband see that being white is a privilege that I don’t have? It brings awareness. And I think that is a first step, an important step in the direction of change in my opinion.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think so. I mean, this idea of immersion in differences is important. It’s one of my favorite things about traveling and why I think traveling helps so much with broadening people’s perspectives. It’s if you’re just living in your own universe, you don’t have that view of what else is going on in the world. And it’s the same idea of people fear what they don’t understand, or they maybe have some misconceptions about things that are inaccurate that could be repaired by just hearing people’s stories and understanding some of the differences instead of misunderstanding them. So yeah, I think that’s a really interesting thing.
Sarah Nicastro: So the idea of the privilege walk is something folks could look up and other organizations do it, have done it. Okay. Yeah. I think that’s a really good takeaway for folks to look into. I know that you mentioned it was impactful. Some of the other Schneider team at the event talked about it. And these are the types of things I think that we need to be examining of how do we get creative? How do we do things maybe we haven’t done before to, like you said, get everyone to know each other a bit better and reflect on what other people are bringing to the table.
Latasha Reindl: Yes. I walked away from that session feeling revived. I mean, I think it was maybe an hour and 45 minutes, two hours. And you’re like, what are we going to talk about? It was amazing. It was amazing.
Sarah Nicastro: That’s awesome. And I think, too, when you get… I always say, in anything, we’ve done a number of podcasts on mental health. And so leaders need to drive these conversations because when people within the organizations see leaders getting vulnerable or see leaders confronting their own biases or saying, “Hey, I have a question and it might be worded the wrong way, but let me ask it anyway.” Or it’s leading by example. And that is opening the door for others to understand that it’s okay for them to also have the same courage. I mean, it’s important to show that. So okay.
Sarah Nicastro: So Latasha, in closing, do you have any other thoughts you would like to share or advice you would suggest for individuals or for organizations that really care about this and want to continue to make progress?
Latasha Reindl: I’ll just reiterate having the courage to speak up, creating a safe environment where people have a platform to speak up, to be transparent. And also understanding and recognizing that you have a gap and creating a plan, a meaningful plan to make change, meaning have good goals, understanding where you are today and say, I want to be here by when. And developing meaningful actions to get you to that place. I think that’s one of the most important things that you can do. It’s one thing to say, yeah, I know we have the gap. But what are you truly doing in order to get there? And can you measure it?
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think the idea of the privilege walk is super important. I mean, salary equity should be just table stakes. But I mean, that’s an area people obviously need to work on. I love the idea of the unconscious bias checklist. I think the other thing is, think about how you leverage your network. So I mean, internally, if you don’t know where to start, create some focus groups and give people a chance to open up and be honest about their experiences. And that might give you a really good indication of things that need to be addressed. Or reach out to a colleague in an organization that is maybe a few steps ahead of you and ask some of the things they’ve done and get some different ideas that way. I mean, yeah. The point is do something. Do something. Do it courageously. Don’t sit still. Take action.
Sarah Nicastro: And know that an honest intent and a real desire to educate yourself and to make progress here is what matters more than anything. So Latasha, well, thank you so much for having this conversation with me.
Latasha Reindl: Thank you, Sarah.
Sarah Nicastro: I appreciate it more than you know. And I’m sure that our audience will find it incredibly valuable. So I appreciate you being here.
Latasha Reindl: Thank you. It was an honor. Appreciate it.
Sarah Nicastro: You can find more at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn as well as Twitter @TheFutureOfFS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.