Adam Torres and Jessica Nava discuss Jessica’s new book.
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Creating a safe and inclusive workplace is the goal of many employers. In this episode, Adam Torres interviewed Jessica Nava, Chief Growth Officer at The Moxie Exchange, explore The Moxie Exchange’s Everyday Inclusion App along with Jessica’s new book, Mission Matters: World’s Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Top Tips To Success (Business Leaders Vol. 10, Edition 8).
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About Jessica Nava
Jessica’s leadership motto is to ensure every voice is heard! She loves building and growing diverse teams that not only feel included but know that each person truly belongs, and their ideas make a difference. The impact Jessica has on organizations is her ability to connect the dots in overall strategy, but then also in taking action. She aligns cross-functional teams to ensure their customers see the business impact of our solution. It takes a world class team to ensure inclusion and belonging, and Jessica delivers that through their app “Everyday Inclusion”.
About The Moxie Exchange
inclusion for real culture change. Scalable, actionable, and measurable, Everyday Inclusion is a powerful 360 DEI platform that organizations of all sizes can use to create a workplace where everyone can thrive.
The Moxie Exchange was founded to make workplaces more inclusive. For over a decade their mission, passion and the reason they get out of bed each morning has been unleashing human potential by creating workplaces where everyone can thrive.
Workplaces are the one place where we all still must interact, regardless of our beliefs and backgrounds. At Moxie they create tools and develop technology that build understanding, respect and belonging between people – one inclusion nudge at a time.
They believe that when workplaces are inclusive, we will begin to solve large global problems in a meaningful way. So they’re willing to push the envelope, innovate, and be first in bringing new inclusion technology to market. They believe that most people want to do the right thing, they just need the right tools and knowledge to do so. So the company relentlessly creates practical, actionable, tangible content that drives behavior change. They believe that mistakes are going to happen, the wrong words are going to be used, that inclusion can be messy and hard.
So they build psychological safety and a growth mindset into everything they do. Their approach to their work and partnerships with their clients is grounded in authenticity and real relationships. They’re boot-strapped, women-owned and tenaciously optimistic that they can create a ripple effect that turns into a positive tsunami. Companies who are serious about creating inclusive cultures turn to Moxie, and they’re honored to be a part of their inclusion journey.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of mission matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest in the show, just head on over to mission matters. com and click on be our guest to apply. All right. So today is a very special episode we’re bringing back onto the show.
Jessica Nava, who is the chief growth officer over at the Moxie Exchange, which is home of the everyday inclusion app. Jessica, hey, welcome back to the show. Thanks Adam. So excited to be here. And your title is getting longer and longer because you’re no longer upcoming author. You are officially an author in our best selling business leaders book series.
How do you feel? Amazing. It’s an honor to be. Highlighted with all of these other offers and start to tell my story. So thank you. Yeah, no, and we’re, we’re happy to happy to help get your story out there in the message. Because it’s, it’s a well needed one and we’ll go further into that in a moment.
But before we do, we’ll we’ll start this episode the way that we start them all with what we like to call our mission matters minute. So Jessica, we at mission matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs. Executives and experts. That’s our mission. Jessica, what mission matters to you? Yeah. So Adam, it’s really ensuring that every voice is heard growing up as a woman in tech and sales leadership.
I found myself to be the only, and as I progressed through my career, I thought that was going to change and the bigger the companies that I worked for, the bigger the positions, the more I realized that representation wasn’t at the table. And so not only do I want to ensure those voices are heard, I want to get those voices to the table.
So my mission really is around spreading the word and increasing representation in corporate America. It’s great and love bringing mission based individuals on the line to share, you know, why they do what they do, how they do it and really what we can all learn from that so that we grow together. So I guess just to get this kicked off, let’s let’s kind of start at the beginning, especially for some of those that net that didn’t really catch some of the previous work we’ve done together.
So our newer audience, like how did you get started on this path? I started out in technology sales right out of college. I was super competitive, athletic. I played two division one sports. And while I thought I was going to go into a career in marketing I ended up getting all of these interviews for sales positions and I fell in love.
Honestly, I felt like. Women have a unique opportunity to really listen and consult and be be amazing sales executives. And I did really well, right? I was getting visibility in my company really early on. I was making great money. And I started to recognize the more I got into technology. I spent 18 years in the telecommunications industry.
There were very few women at the table. There were very few women when I looked left and looked right, and especially as I started to look up. And so not seeing those executives, executive females in leadership roles, I remember sitting back and asking myself is it, is it even possible for me to get into an executive role as a woman in telecommunications?
It’s kind of a scary moment. That’s a scary thought. Yeah. Right. And so my career progressed. I ended up working at a very large tech company. I was a leader in our partner ecosystem and I also became the chair of our women’s employee resource group. So this company was very cutting edge and it’s ERGs and had been doing this work for about a decade before I got there.
But being that I was one of the only female sales leader executives, the leadership team said, Jess, you’ve got to do this. And so that’s where my eyes were open to really the world of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And so we, we grew that ERG to 16 chapters globally from three chapters, and I wanted to get more involved.
So we decided to launch an additional ERG for we called it Mosaic for our employees of color. And I remember having a light bulb moment, Adam I was sitting back helping this group kind of get their mission, their vision put together. And I thought, yeah. Jess, why aren’t you doing this yourself? My kiddos are racial.
They’re half Filipino, and I’m not being an ally to my kids, to my husband. And so that’s where I really started to do more education around being an ally. So we had our annual conference and I invited in a friend of mine from about 13 years ago, Maureen Berkner Boyd, to speak at the conference. And she was just amazing.
And she had pivoted the business a little bit to launch to the technology, everyday inclusion. She built it from the ground up, and I thought this is exactly what corporate America needs. We need a way to operationalize diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the marketplace. And so for three years, she loved on me, planted the seeds.
And finally I said what the heck, right? Like I love the product. I love everything that you’re about. Talk about a mission driven business. I decided to make the move to become the chief growth officer here at the Mossy exchange a year ago. So that’s a, a shortened version of my history and how I got here.
It’s a great story. And when I think about your path, it was very like, it was almost very organic, like a natural. And as you, I feel like all of us, we, you know, we grow through our careers. And for yourself, this was a bit of a pivot of sorts. And for others. And the reason why I bring that up is because for others that are watching, like, there’s a lot you can do exact, we’re going to go further into the conversation, but you don’t have to think just about like, Making a complete career change, but within your departments, within your companies, within your teams, within your households, like some of the ideas that we’re going to talk about, like they’re, they’re important.
Right. Exactly. Well, let’s let’s get further. I do want to talk about the book a little bit. Come on, let’s have some fun there. So become a full time feminist and change the world. So I’ll read some of the headings just for the, for the audience and for everybody listening and watching, just know we’re not going to hit.
every point. We still want you to buy by the book, but we’re going to give you a good flavor for what was written. So for, for necessary changes to business environments never judge a book by its cover, create a safe place for all employees, activate allies, find your own voice. How my career path in sales led me to the Moxie Exchange and I picked sales and leadership for a few reasons.
So first off, a lot of different routes you could have went that you could have went with your writing and in this particular book. Why this? Why now? Hmm. So there’s one thing that we believe here at the Moxie Exchange through everyday inclusion is to call people into the space, not call them out.
And so you have to be super intentional with the language that you’re using to to create that safe space. And so I, right, I’m a woman in, in coming from technology, those are traditionally not very well represented, but I have a lot of privilege in my life. And so my call to action really is for women to take charge and to drive representation, which will then lead to representation for traditionally marginalized individuals.
I wanted to make sure that we’re looking at this through the lens of the privileged person, right? What can I do? As a white woman, specifically to create diversity and representation in corporate America. And so never judging a book by its cover. We make a lot of assumptions about people and about the privilege, maybe that we think they have knowing right, not knowing that my husband’s Filipino.
My kiddos are by Rachel, and I’ve got that. And so, and so, for example, like you walk into a room and somebody sees you, they may not know, like, they don’t see your husband, they don’t see your kids, they don’t see, like, they don’t know maybe that you’re, that you’re an ally or that you’re at the Moxie exchange.
They just, you just walk into a room. So that’s what you mean, right? Exactly. And so I mean, let’s take that even a step further. We talk about the waterline of invisibility. There’s what you can see, right, that I’m a Caucasian woman, middle aged. We have no idea what’s underneath that waterline of invisibility.
Do I potentially have a disability and my LGBTQ plus, right? There are things that you don’t know by looking at. And so we make a lot of assumptions about people which can be, it can be really dangerous. So it lends to phenomenal emotional intelligence and really just getting to know people in a safe way where you’re being curious and not judgmental or making the person feel uncomfortable.
One of the other things that you, that you mentioned in the book is creating a safe place for all employees. So I know that, you know, this topic, especially for companies and organizations that either haven’t been measuring with, you know, by working with something like the everyday inclusion app, or maybe they don’t have any programs or anything else set up.
And they may even listen or watch this and think, man, I’d love to do that. But am I, am I opening up a can of worms, right? Like that’s. the, that’s the elephant in the room. Am I opening up a can of worms? It’s not a issue right this moment, or maybe it is, but everybody’s quiet. Like, like, how do you go about, or where do you start with that creating a safe place?
Adam, I’m so glad that you brought that up because it literally takes one person to start to create change and so to all of the companies out there listening, the leaders out there. If your organization hasn’t started, it’s taking one step. And by the way, that first step is usually the hardest.
There’s a lot of blame and shame. on this topic. And so folks are afraid to do the wrong thing to say that thing. And so know that whether it’s your C. H. R. O. Your director of people operations, your chief diversity officer. All of these leaders within the organization are leading the charge on creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace.
And so it’s, you know, especially right now, this work has been so politicized, people are scared. And so I say to you, don’t be scared. Do a little bit of research. It can be as simple as starting a mentorship program for traditionally marginalized employees. There are so many playbooks. It’s like what we have in everyday inclusion that can help you step by step in building programs.
It doesn’t have to be a sophisticated set of employee resource, have to go hire a chief diversity officer. It takes creating conversations. And so you really need to see that engagement from your executive leadership team. And I think most CEOs, they want to be that inclusive leader. Right? Separate the diversity and equity from the equation that systems and processes.
The other half of that equation is inclusion and belonging. And who doesn’t want to create a workplace where everyone feels included and like they belong? Yeah. So we’re really talking about culture change. And so you mentioned politicize, but also publicize when we think about things like you know, affirmative action and all the things that have been in the news lately, I feel like, and I’m not on the inside, you are, you work in the space.
Day in and day out, but I feel like that, like certain things like that can change climate, they can change investing from larger companies into programs, like all these things, like, I’m curious from your vantage point, like, like, what kind of effect are you seeing? So first of all, it breaks my heart to see traditionally marginalized.
folks be squashed down, right? This work is really difficult to do. It’s emotionally exhausting. So first and foremost, my heart goes out to anyone who is in that space. I think the beauty of everyday inclusion is that we de politicize that work. We actually give people language within the app. To learn how to talk about D.
E. I. B. In a non political way. And that’s the challenge, right? Because people will lean away from it and not even address it with a 10 ft pole because they’re scared. They’re scared of the retribution that’s gonna happen. And so to my earlier point, when you take D. E. Out of it, and we’re talking about inclusion and belonging, Mm hmm.
And you’re actually starting to see some of the acronyms change in organizations now, right? You’ve heard, right? People referring just to inclusion and belonging or Jedi, or there’s a slew of acronyms to, to lean away from that. The work is going to continue to be done. There are so many amazing corporations, chief diversity officers out there that are doing the work.
I think we’re at an interesting time because of what we’re doing. we think might happen in 2024. And unfortunately some unethical folks are using it as a soapbox to get leveraged. It will come around. We do care about, I think as a society, employee engagement and increasing increasing employee engagement, it costs us trillions of dollars just in North America alone to recruit and retain individuals.
We can’t get away from inclusion and belonging. And so speaking of just the longer term vision here, like even things like the, the language to have in order to have these dialogues, like the acronyms you mentioned, like we’re really talking about a multi generational like effect and how this can continue to, to further the, the, the conversation, the cause.
And a lot of this mission, because when I think about it, I mean, Thinking back about my, you know, school years, I, I’m not claiming to be a historian, any of this stuff, but I wasn’t aware of many of these many of these acronyms and I didn’t have the language to be able to have a conversation probably even like 10, 15 years ago.
Yeah, no one did. Yeah, it is. It’s an evolving and growing space. And so what we need to see is we need to see this consistency in language and leaders in the way that we approach this space. Yeah, I think those differences can cause right? Unequal grounding for people. So it’s, it’s a dangerous place.
And you’re right, 10, 15 years ago, this didn’t exist. It’s new and it will take us, this is a multi generational challenge that we’re overcoming. And so we’re, we’re, we’re in it for the long haul, right? The goal here at the Moxie exchange is to have the app in 10 million hands. And we know. More inclusive workplaces create a more inclusive world.
Hmm. What excites you right now in your space? Like you’re, you’re at the forefront of all this, the conversations. You also have the vantage point of, I mean, the, the everyday inclusion app. I mean, that’s in some big companies, right? Not saying you have to say any names, but but like what excites you in the space right now?
Kind of behind the scenes. Well being the good chief growth officer that I am, I probably will drop some names. I just wasn’t putting you on the spot. I’m all about it, but I just wasn’t putting you on the spot. Do it. We have amazing partnerships with companies like Ford, Nestle Purina Fidelity, the Mayo Clinic.
We’ve got some contracts coming down the pipe that, I mean, amazing organizations who. They literally know this fills a void for them, right? So what are those problems that we solve? For a lot of these organizations, it’s about the inability to reach employees easily. When you think about manufacturing retail healthcare, it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to pull those employees off the floor.
And maybe in a healthcare setting, you can’t, I was just on with a hospital this morning and she’s like, Jess, we have employees that literally can’t leave the room that they’re in. And so they’re not getting the training that they need on D E I B. So really the, the goal is How do we get this app into as many hands as possible?
Because this gives people the training and the education that we know will drive change management in the DEIB space. And maybe let’s just go up maybe a step or two further into the app itself, especially because I know that, you know, our audience, a lot of executives, a lot of decision makers that watch this.
Like, why should somebody want to invite you know, this app into their workplace? I think the first thing that comes to mind is that we don’t collect personally identifiable information. And so when we talk about creating a safe space, that that is, we’re literally creating this bubble, the psychologically safe bubble where people can come and learn and we meet them where they’re at.
So if we have an executive who is really starting from scratch and isn’t familiar with these terms, they can go into the app and search if they’re in the moment and they’ve had a situation happen, they can go in and search how to handle it, how to have a difficult conversation. What is the definition of this term that I just heard me?
And so no blame, no shame, no fear of retribution or embarrassment. We executives, CEOs, C suite executives who open up the app every morning over their cup of coffee in the peace and solitude of their own home. And what they don’t realize is that they’re actually creating. Behavior change in themselves, learning and growing.
With no time to do this, right? Because that’s the resource that we all struggle with is time. I don’t have time to go sit down in an LMS, a learning management system and do an hour long DEI training. And so it’s micro content, right? Just to elaborate. Yeah. Thank you for that. Yeah. So we call them nudges.
Nudges. There we go. And so the neuroscience of the nudge, the nudges range from 30 seconds to three minutes maximum, right? Quick and easy. And we know that we’re literally saving someone making that decision of, am I going to go to training or not? This just becomes a part of my day. I say, right. My app says in a push notification, it’s time for your daily inclusion tip.
I go watch it, there’s a green check mark, a little dopamine hit. I love it. Give me my check mark, Jess. That’s right. We have all kinds of amazing gamification built into the app. So you can unanonymize yourself and share those badges. And so imagine if your leader is sharing those badges on teams or Slack, they’re showing what great behavior looks like.
And I’m going to, I’m going to mirror that. So then it has this ripple effect throughout the entire organization. Yeah, I can see that. And, and we, I mean, for micro content or nudges in this case, I mean, it’s just, it’s been proven like this is the way we learn better. Like, cause they are not saying that there’s not different content that should be in a seminar or in a longer format, but.
Like in general, that’s the way I learn. I, and, and I just retain more. And then especially the gaming, the gamification part of it, like all these things make it so that like, you’re getting a return, not just as the company for on investment for doing this, but a return on behavior and behavior change and lasting change, you know, the, the, the person may not be with you forever, but you’re making like systemic change because they’re going to take those same skills to the next employer, the next workplace.
And we hope that that trickles and that. Multiplies, right? Well, and the reality is that next generation of learners, this is what they want. They want it at their fingertips. They want it quick, bite size. I’m on to my day. So really is we’re growing and developing those next generations. This is what they want to see.
Yeah. Love it. Well, Jess first off it’s been great having you back on the show and talking about the book, talking about the everyday inclusion app, what you’re up to. Just have to ask, I mean, what’s next, what’s next for you. What’s next for the Moxie exchange. Oh so many things from a product roadmap perspective.
First and foremost, we have our E I cubed conference coming up September 13th to the 15th in Fort Collins, Colorado. There’s no fee to attend the event. It’s really a place of respite. We’re inviting our clients, our partners our prospects to come join us. There’ll be fly fishing lessons at the end of the event, and really we’re building this community.
So become a part of that community. From a product perspective, we’re launching this quarter French, Canadian, Latin American, Spanish. And then by the end of 2024, we’ll have eight additional languages, languages that cover about 80 percent of the globe. Wow. We are looking to build a desktop solution for those that don’t have personal cell phones that they want to put the app on.
We’re really excited about that. We’re integrating to. a ton of different partner organizations that have LMS platforms. One that comes top of mind is Open Sesame. They’re an amazing partner of ours, so we’ve taken our content and they’re pushing it out to their clients. So really a lot of growth in the overall ecosystem of who everyday inclusion is available to.
That’s great. And it doesn’t surprise me. I mean, the roadmap, what you’re doing, I mean, rock stars over there. And and I, I know how much work this takes to pull off these things that you’re talking about. So I just have to have to commend you and your team for all that you’re doing to really further and advance these, these issues and these initiatives.
So I think it’s great. Jessica, if somebody is listening or watching to this and they want to follow up, learn more about the everyday inclusion app, especially those employers out there, or just to follow your journey and story. I mean, what’s the best way for people to do that? I’m on LinkedIn every day.
So follow me on LinkedIn message me on LinkedIn. We of course do free demos of everyday inclusion. But really as we’re building this community, I just want to connect with the folks I want to create this neck, this network of inclusion champions. So please reach out to me. I I’d love to, to meet up.
Fantastic. And we’ll put your LinkedIn link, of course, in the show notes so that people can just head right on over and connect with your profile and continue the dialogue. Because I know, I know we just scratched the surface here today. And there’s so much more that needs to be done. So speaking of the audience, if this is your first time with Mission Matters or engaging in an episode, we’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs and executives, and having them share their mission, the reason behind their mission, like what gets Thumb fired up to go out into the world and to make a difference.
Now, if that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, we welcome you hit that subscribe button. We have many more mission based individuals coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. Just as always, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so much for coming back on.