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The Uplifting Impact Podcast is a platform that fosters dynamic conversations around the intersection of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Leadership. Directing our conversations are Uplifting Impact’s Chief Change Agent, Deanna Singh, and Chief Information Agent, Justin Ponder. Both are renowned thought leaders, teachers and consultants within the DEI space and are known for the ability to teach difficult lessons in gentle ways that inspire change and innovation within organizations.

Our mission is to provide actionable insights and wisdom from various leaders, executives, consultants as well as entrepreneurs. We’ve had industry leaders from companies such as Hewlett Packard (HP), Ford, Kohl’s and more come on board to share their expertise within the DEI space.

If we inspire one listener and leave them with ideas of how they can improve their DEI leadership and life skills, we consider that the ultimate accomplishment.


Justin Ponder

Justin Ponder is a professor who teaches courses on Ethnic Studies, African American Studies, and Ethnic Minority Literature. He has published in numerous journals and books on the issue of race and identity politics, exploring the ways to bridge the gap between who we are and who we must become to achieve a more equitable world for others. He has helped organizations and leaders consider connections between the historical past, the social present, and a more just future. He knows how to masterfully weave the academic with the practical, the political with the personal so people can better appreciate the complexity of the issues while finding clarity about their responsibilities. In his work on diversity, equity, and inclusion, he is known for his ability to teach difficult lessons in gentle ways that combine heartbreak and humor to inspire hope.

Recent Posts

More than numbers: Data and DEI

on Nov 18, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Dr. Anthony C. Hood serves as the Executive Vice President and the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for First Horizon Bank. In this role, he leads the development and execution of a firm-wide strategy for embedding DEI into the DNA of the organization. He previously served as the Director of Civic Innovation in the Office of the President at UAB as well as a tenured Associate Professor of Management in the Collat School of Business at UAB. Dr. Hood is a board member of a number of organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Birmingham Education Foundation, Urban Impact, and the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District. In our conversation, Dr. Hood discusses the importance of using data as a powerful tool for driving better outcomes in DEI work. He shares that DEI within an organization must be integrated into the DNA, beyond just HR practices and policies, and in order to build and implement the best strategies data must be ground zero. We also discuss ways to approach DEI work when facing opposition. To connect with Dr. Anthony C. Hood, you can find him on social media or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthonychood
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Bringing the Human Back to Human Resources

on Nov 4, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Andre Nellams is a human resource leader with more than 20 years of HR experience. In his current role as Senior Director of Talent Acquisition & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Accolade, Inc., he focuses on strategies that introduce, build and implement human resources programs and initiatives that deliver key results. He also enjoys creating and being a part of a work environment where the sense of belonging is true and honest. In our conversation, Andre shares many helpful strategies for approaching this work for those that may be new to DEI as well as for those who have been doing this work for a while. We discuss inherent bias, the importance of one-on-one conversations, and how to use the data that you gather to build policies and practices that will result in positive change. Andre also shares a strong sense of family and community, and how his passion for success shows up for him and impacts those around him. To connect with Andre, you can find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anellamshrleader
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Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

on Oct 21, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Joseph Machicote is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer of Premier Inc. Joe partners with the CEO, executive team, and other stakeholders to formalize a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the company. He also serves as premier spokesperson on matters related to DEI. Some of his specialties include human resource management, diversity and inclusion, organizational psychology and development, organizational design, employee relations, employment, labor law, and labor relations. In our conversation, Joseph shares that even though he is not new to this work, he never stops seeking new information and development that he can apply to his practices and his role. He shares his recommendations for those that may be new to DEI work on how to get started. He details the four categories of DEI within Premier, and the strategies for implementation within the organization. To connect with Joseph, you can find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-machicote-a3858a5
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Breaking the Mold: Social Conditioning and Its Effect on Leadership

on Oct 7, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Hira Ali is a leadership trainer, career coach, and Founder of Advancing Your Potential. She is passionate about empowering women and ethnic minorities, closing the gender gap, and advocating diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Telegraph, BBC, Harpers Bazaar, and Huff Post and in 2019 she released her first book, Her Way To The Top: A Guide to Smashing the Glass Ceiling. Just recently she released her second companion book, Her Allies: A Practical Toolkit to Help Men Lead Through Advocacy.
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Be Impatient in your Fight Against Social Injustices

on Sep 23, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Jose Antonio Tijerino is a proud immigrant from Nicaragua and President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, a national nonprofit focused on education, workforce, social impact and culture through the lens of innovative leadership. He also serves as executive producer of the Hispanic Heritage Awards at the Kennedy Center, and co-founded a leadership institute with Trinity University, which connects graduating high school seniors with mentors throughout college and their careers. Jose is the recipient of many prestigious awards, and through his leadership and inspiration, he has created many programs to help in the area of social justice.
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How To Be A Responsible DEI Leader

on Sep 9, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Sharon Harvey Davis is the VP of Diversity Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer for Ameren. In her role, she is responsible for leading all DEI strategic efforts, including diversity training, employee resource groups, diversity communications, and the executive diversity council. Under Sharon's leadership, Ameren has been ranked as one of the nation's top utilities by DiversityInc for 12 consecutive years. Throughout her 19 years of experience with Ameren, Sharon has seen many changes within the diversity space. She shares some of the developments and progressions that have taken place, both within Ameren and with diversity work overall. We discuss some challenges she has faced, and some of the coming trends for DEI work as well. To connect with Sharon, you can find her on Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-harvey-davis-76234a5
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DEI Is Not “One Size Fits All”

on Aug 26, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 1 Comment |
Excited to share a recent conversation with Girish Ganesan, a strategic leader and innovative thinker with a passion for improving organizational performance. In his current role as the Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at TD Bank Group, he is responsible for overseeing development, implementation of diversity and inclusion tactics, strategies, and programs for the customers, colleagues, and communities they serve.
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Connecting The Dots: DEI, The Media Industry, and Inclusivity

on Aug 19, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Caroline Chambers is the senior director of diversity equity and inclusion at Graham Media Group. In her role, she leads all aspects of the DEI strategy to ensure intentional, measurable practices for building core talent, fostering workplace culture programs that promote equity as well as inclusivity. While she may be relatively new to the broadcast space, she is definitely not new to the work of being a DEI practitioner. Her background includes management roles in financial services, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations. In our conversation, we talk about the changes and growth within the broadcast media industry with regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She shares some new approaches Graham Media Group has taken with respect to applying the DEI lens to all areas of the organization. We also talk about the importance of accountability, and even though it may be daunting, there are ways to make it positive and encouraging. To connect with Caroline, you can find her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caroline-chambers01cc
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Starting From Scratch: How To Start The conversation Around DEI

on Aug 12, 2021 3:00:00 AM By | Justin Ponder | 0 Comments |
Sabrina Griffith is a consultant, trainer, and strategist who works to encourage inclusion and belonging in corporations, businesses, and organizations, as they strive to create equitable practices. She uses her experience over the last 15 years as a DEI practitioner to develop and facilitate engaging and comprehensive sessions on DEI topics, including gender sexuality, LGBTQ+ allyship, bias, race, colorism, and classism to name a few. In our conversation, we discuss how she got started in DEI work, what it’s like to start from scratch with people who are new to these conversations, and ways organizations can approach talent acquisition with intention for creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces. To learn more about and connect with Sabrina, find her on LinkedIn, or on her website, https://www.griffithconsultingservices.com/
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