A truly hue-man conversation with Vivian Acquah, Hung Lee, and Olga Piehler

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Value through Vulnerability (boosted by HumansFirst) Host Garry Turner, Sponsored by Aequip

VtV Coalition

Truly Hue-man Conversations are a series meant to amplify the voices and learn from the teachings of individuals not from the dominant culture.

Garry Turner  0:00  

Welcome to today’s Truly Hue-man conversation. I’m really, really grateful to be joined by three friends, but also inspirations in their own way to me, as we explore today, a truly human conversation as we look to share a lived experience and look to co create better. And as we move forward, both of them work also society at large. So, I’d love for our guests today to introduce themselves, because I’m going to be super vulnerable and say that I completely forgot to get them in advance for this call. So I’m very sorry Hung, Vivian and Olga Piehler. So may I ask you, Vivian, to please introduce yourself, it would be wonderful for you to let the viewers and listeners know a bit more about you.

Vivian Acquah  0:42  

Okay, my name is Vivian Acquah. And as of this moment, I am about to turn 40. I know I don’t look like it, but I need to say that anyway. I’m a workplace wellness advocate and helping organization helping managers to create environments where people can thrive and I’m also the the weird creative the lady with a purple hair pink and purple hair, who is hosting weekly shows of Let’s Humanize the Workplace. And that’s where I met Garry or that’s where I had different conversations with Garry and so many other experts on a weekly basis. And I’m also the weirdo who is starting something new, creating a huge summit Amplify DEI which is going to be awesome. That’s it.

Garry Turner  1:33  

Thanks so much. Vivian. Hung, would you like to introduce yourself, please?

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Vivian Acquah

Hung Lee  1:37  

Yeah, sure. My name is Hung Lee and I basically write an email newsletter called Recruiting BrainFood. And through that sort of simple act, I guess I’ve just connected with lots of amazing people including Garry here a couple of years ago and, and now with Olga and Vivian. I’m delighted to be with everyone here and looking forward to having this conversation.

Garry Turner  2:01  

Thanks very much, Hung and Olga, please.

Olga Piehler  2:04  

Hi guys. I’m Olga Piehler. By day I have a fairly traditional corporate life. And I am the director of program and business development for a Software as a Service company where we actually help people tell their life stories and celebrate the life of a loved one after they have passed. We work in the funeral home space. And by night or throughout the day is sprinkled here and there I am passionately interested in the human aspect of who we are in how we show up, and how can we help leaders be more authentic and have a vision of their future self and as well as the future of an organization and work backwards to establish goals to sit within their purpose and their mission.

Garry Turner  3:00  

Beautiful. Thank you so much, Olga. For those of you listening, thanks so much for joining the four of us today, it’s going to be a facilitated conversation where we have the first round is where we get each of the guests lens or their aperture point of curiosity, or being involved in this Truly Hue-man conversation will then have a second round of what we hope will be the result of having more of these Truly Hue-man conversations, then we’ll have an open flow for around 20 minutes. And then we’ll wrap up with a closing round around maybe some invitations for you kindly joining us today as to what to think about and maybe how to challenge ourselves around ensuring that we intentionally diversify our worlds. So as we get going, I’m going to go back in the other order, if I may, Olga. So as we do the first round, what was your curiosity point for wanting to be involved today? How did that you know what’s the lens view on it?

Olga Piehler  3:56  

Sure. It’s a for me it’s continuing to be intentional about understanding better in learning more about others and and what their point of view is and their experiences. And we were talking earlier about how the George Floyd murder occurred. And there was a big reaction for many of us. And then the conversation says start to slow down. And I want to be intentional about it takes time to absorb some of what has happened throughout. So, so long as we start to unveil one thing and learn about systemic racism. There’s so much to do today that it just you just I just, I personally want to keep having the conversation so that I can be I can keep learning from it. And not just Oh, check. I had the talk. I did. I read the book at the time because or I had to I read the blog or that it just takes time for me.

Garry Turner  5:09  

Perfect. Thanks so much Olga. How about yourself, Hung, what’s the what’s your lens of curiosity to be here today?

Hung Lee  5:16  

Um, you know what I’m kind of hesitant to say and that’s not because I’ve got opinions that are controversial. It’s more that I’ve got opinions that aren’t particularly well informed. I’m so I’m kind of approaching it with a view of look, I feel so many things I feel that there’s there’s a there’s a huge I feel almost as an enemy to be fought. And I feel I feel mobilized to try and fight that enemy as much as I can. And that enemy being racism, fascism, right wing ism, we see that on the right is everywhere. 

And I feel that Okay, I need to take action against that. I’m number one, because it’s against my principles. Number two, potentially, I’m in the line of fire for a number of different reasons. So there’s a selfish motive there also. And thirdly, it’s like there are some outrageous scenes, it seems that it gets more outrageous over time, so I feel like highly mobilized in that regard. So half of me thinks, okay, I need to get involved there. And second half me also thinks, you know what, I also need to learn a huge amount more from everyone involved in this. Because it seems that a lot of the energy that comes from this type of conflict, a lot of the anger that happens and what have you stems in my belief through a lack of communication or lack of being heard, a lack of, you know, recognizing each other’s humanity so I feel like having more conversations in this way is a positive thing. 

Hung Lee square
Hung Lee

Regardless of it being specifically or forensically focused on one point, it’s like, okay, I’m not sure what the point how you know how focused this is. But let’s step forward and blunder your way in there and see what you can do. So those two things may in fact, be in conflict. I don’t know, um, on the one hand, you know, you’re highly mobilized, potentially, you know, have a, I wouldn’t say conflict, but you know, to have resistance against this, what I perceive is a movement. On the other hand, I’m kind of keen to have conversations everybody, including some of the people are might be, I’ll be antagonistic towards so I’m confused. I’m here to learn. I’m here to have conversations with people, but that’s basically where my informed opinions currently are.

Garry Turner  7:50  

Great. Thanks so much. And Vivian, if I may ask your your lens of curiosity for today.

Vivian Acquah  7:56  

For me, I’m thinking about is 2020. And even though I am, you know, one of the victims who has suffered from this whole racism and discrimination and so many other isms, I am being motivated by my son, my son who is six at the moment who is asking me particular questions that I hope that he would never ask me and is also making comments like, Mom, is somebody going to hurt you? And that in itself is my my light my fire to fight this fight and to join this conversation and to have conversations with people who are curious who are open more want to raise awareness and those who want to become allies to do better, because I truly believe in the quote that Maya Angelou is sharing when you know better you do better and it’s 2020, people, it’s not that we’re are talking about the 1900s, it is 2020.

 Yes, we are feeling a lot of us are still feeling the pain that started 400 500 years ago. But you have to see that I don’t want to be seen as a second class anymore. And my son, who is biracial does not deserve that at all. So I’m moving the needle together with others to really amplify whatever is needed to, to demolish it, to demolish racism, to demolish discrimination and to see people more as equal instead of second class or third class or maybe fourth class, people.

Garry Turner  9:34  

Thanks so much Vivian. And for me, because I’m very grateful and so privileged to be sort of hosting a few of these conversations, I find it the lens changes, and I think that’s probably something that I’m learning, actually, is that the more we are in these conversations, that’s actually okay. Because that’s actually growth that’s understanding is it’s not, it’s not about the one thing is actually what’s other people’s experience. My aperture is really just to learn from you three. Yeah, just just read, just be openly curious, you know, genuinely curious around what, you know, what can better look like what then what do I not know? or What am I not considering? is sort of why I am in this conversation you three today. So we’re going to the second round of hosted rounds, and then we’ll go into the free flow. And how what are your hopes are like a bit of a bit of a sort of big question, but what are your hopes? You know, if we go forward sort of 6, 12 months from now, let’s assume positively, these are regular conversations everywhere in society. What are you hoping some of the outcome could be from us having more of these more meaningful, connected conversations?

Hung Lee  10:43  

I think I think there’s a chance of substantive change is my hope. I think we’ve got a chance of that, the way I see these last a few years, but particularly in 2020 Is that we’re the old system that we’ve been living in the last 30, 40 years or so the old economic political system that we live in, over that period of time, I think is under threat and it’s under. It’s being shook. And I think the future is basically in play as part of the reason why I feel motivated, because I think, who is the who are the groups? What are the ideas that help shape that future? 

And it’s very, very important that, you know, you mobilize to defend the ideas that you want to see happen, because he could easily go the other way. You know, whenever you’ve got what I think is looking like potentially chaotic change. I mean, I think it’s right there, right. You have in the United States and Vivian correct me if I’m wrong on this, but there is a cutting unemployment payout, $600 a month or whatever, that’s just going and apparently there’s going to be loads of people that simply cannot pay rent and next week or so. 

Now, we’re talking millions of people that cannot do this kind of go out of work, they’re going to be in arrears, landlord can’t collect the money, they’re going to be in arrears. We’re talking about a house of cards that collapses, situations like this occur. This is the this is the time we do get systemic change. Now, whenever you look at the history of I hate use the word revolution. I don’t think we’re anywhere near that. But it doesn’t feel like it’s incremental change. But whenever you have substantive change, let’s see if some type it can go either way. 

And even when you have if you’re like, well, meaning people that want to want to change things, it can easily go wrong by people who are more well organized, more disciplined and more determined. And if you look at every revolution that’s ever occurred. It’s always started with optimism and hope and people thinking it’s going to be this and then boom, before you know it, the people who are better organized, understand how to win. Understand how to win on the streets. They’re the people that actually determine that future and it turns out to be a complete hellhole. So I think we’re kind of like fumbling towards that point of view. And I think we need to be ready to defend the values that we, that we so-called core values, that ultimately means we got a defendant, you know, and yeah, my hope is, is that those values that that I believe in, will will be will be emergent and we will be the ones that win.

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Olga Piehler

Garry Turner  13:31  

Thanks very much, Hung. How about you, Olga?

Olga Piehler  13:34  

I know, I’m actually quite moved by what Hung Lee was to sharing and when you first ask a question, my maybe my Utopian view was first and foremost action. So obviously, we need change has to happen we have to, it has to lead to some sort of action and in really accountability in responsibility personal accountability and responsibility for. For all of us, armed by a conversation, hopefully our army aligns with awareness, and to Vivian’s quote, once we’re aware we cannot help a change, we must change in that should lead to action. And I’m I was actually the Utopian view of this change URL the same deadline, as Hung was sort of talking about what also could happen and, and maybe how to stretch your ties better than it’s where my hope is going and how maybe the conversation is not just about a change that’s needed, but how to be smart about making that happen. So having broader conversations as to how you get there versus just this is what we need to do and we’re going to do it.

Garry Turner  14:55  

Thanks for that. Olga, it’s really funny, like literally like he through him speaking just now. Like what What I thought was my hope for today’s conversation. It just got over there some other direction because, you know, I know from Hung’s work as well, you know, this this universal basic income is one of the systemic leavers that could be very, very positive that comes out of all of this is it’s it is a big Utopian view on the one hand, but the obviousness of the solution is also what I’m hopeful about is like, it’s literally a belief, like the belief structures have been shattered by the pandemic. So like the ability to actually enact change, it’s probably never been so easy inverted commas, because what we believed was fixed eight weeks ago, is no longer fixed. 

And as I just said, my hope is that we these conversations and that action, we actually hit maybe a short term pivot quite quickly, something big, like a UBI or something, actually ships in a real tangible way in the next like 12, 16 weeks, that really then sets up momentum for whatever else needs to happen. So that’s my story. We all hope from this campaign, just one small part of that momentum to try and actually hit something that’s going to be tangible. So maybe we could go, I don’t want to go, like, can’t help but touch on politics, we will try and stay away from the deep politics of all of this. But where do we want to go in terms of the free flow? I spoke about basic income. Maybe there’s other more tangible things people can be thinking about joining us today? Where do we want to go in terms of like the next 20 minutes? What’s coming up for people? Is there anything in particular that’s like rising up? that we’d like to go next?

Olga Piehler  16:32  

I would like to hear what Vivian hopes.

Garry Turner  16:36  

Did I miss you, Vivian. I’m sorry.

Olga Piehler  16:39  

You did. 

Garry Turner  16:40  

My apologies. But my mind was running and going if I miss somebody, and I did so my apologies. 

Vivian Acquah  16:46  

No, no, no worries. No worries. I’m glad that Olga mentioned my name. So my my hope is seeing more companies being outspoken or being anti racist. Or having policies and having strategies to dismantle racism in the workplace because that’s, we have a long way to go. And now we’re starting to have much more conversation about what is racism? What is microaggression and I shared in a previous a previous article that I’ve written, for me personally microaggression feels like I’m being stung not only by one killer bee, but by the whole, you know, the whole bee hive that is stinging me along the way. 

Because imagine having 30 colleagues and they are all making micro aggressive comments towards you. It’s a lot to deal with that. So I am hoping, dismantling racism, much more strategy and embracing the fact that we are different. The demographics will be different in a few years or definitely within 20 years will be different. So you have to you have to amplify diversity right now. You have to do something about it right now, and not only look at the diversity part, but also look at the inclusion part because people will remember what you do now, within a few years definitely with this millennial and also with with the older generation, they know how to use social media. And if you don’t walk the talk, they will remind you of what you’re sharing at the moment.

Olga Piehler  18:23  

One thing if I may add to what Vivian is sharing that as a leader in my organization, I feel like there’s a very tactical aspect with the dismantling racism that we’re not doing enough of, which is equip people were identifying what it is, in our trainings or in our conversations, even starting to uncover some of what is a microaggression that right, nobody know. Besides the person being affected by them. Equip people, leaders, with the actual phrasing. Teach me how to call it like we say call it out, but we don’t equip. How do I. So have that integrated, I think there are very tactical ways then to actually equip people with the right words and so that then they can get to see. It’s like okay, now I see it, but I’m still scared to. So I would encourage us as we are creating this, more modules about our diversity and inclusion as we’re having this talk that’s providing these people some words that they can actually use as Sarah Morgan https://leadingincolorpodcast.libsyn.com/ , she is wonderful in that and she teaches me so much about how to say when to say it. And I would encourage that, that helps me.

Vivian Acquah  19:46  

Yeah, I told I can totally emphasize on that and also to add on because you mentioned something about leaders, and I feel like everybody should be able to call out if something bad is happening towards a colleague because I feel right now those who are silent, they are in the game as well. We have to stop being silent. We have to speak up for those who can’t and those who don’t know how. So I would rather have you speak up on behalf of me and I know it’s exciting, it may maybe give you know, some challenges along the way, but we have to speak up for each other.

Olga Piehler  20:25  


Garry Turner  20:28  

Anything coming up for you? Um,

Hung Lee  20:34  

You know, it’s probably down to my mentality when it comes to the future kind of keeping vague, and that’s probably not, not not to my credit, I have to say it’s simply a character flaw. Um, however, I mean, I want to see that keep my mind open and keep my mind open. To opportunity to do something. Um, I mean, oftentimes, I’m finding that I have sympathy with always point actually in supporting my comment, which is, you know, you need to be smarter, you need to be more strategic, but at the same time and risk contradicting myself, it’s almost like you also got to have a bit empty, emptiness as well to be able to allow for kind of emergent opportunities to come in, which might end up being much better advancement for what you want. And if you if you if you had the space for it to happen, um, so, yeah, I mean, I guess it’s a long, long, long about way to answer the question of what’s coming up probably not much. But I’m kind of keeping my eye and ear to the ground and connecting with as many people as I can, because I think that’s where that emergence will occur. Um, you know, through interaction with isn’t making sure the information keeps flowing.

Garry Turner  22:03  

Just I think there’s something really powerful in that actually creating the space to allow stuff to emerge. Because I know I’m guilty of while I’m starting, I’m just starting a five week social media ban. I tell you what the dopamine hit is real. Like, unless it’s like, oh my God, where’s my social media gone? But I think what I am experiencing is that expanse, like suddenly, I’m literally clicking my fingers going, Wow, I’ve actually got space now to connect or to read or to listen. So I think there’s actually something quite valuable in that. creating space for this whole conversation as well. Like one of the things that really hit me was I realized really quickly after the incident with George Floyd that like, I’ve never had a conversation around the dinner table with my Caucasian family about this topic. And suddenly, it was a topic at the dinner table. And it’s still a discussion weeks later, that pops up in depth guises I just wonder is that something that any of you have experienced that Olga with your family?

Olga Piehler  23:08  

Yes. And even calling  our own bias in certain ways, and having to acknowledge our own racism like, I am racist. And having to say that it’s you know, but that’s the beginning. If I can’t say that I could never change.

Garry Turner  23:36  

What’s your thoughts on this? Because I don’t want to take away from that acknowledgement. Thank you. Thank you for the vulnerability Olga, but I think they still to speak I listened to Brene Brown withbram Kendi. And Ibram Kendi was talking about the fact that the thing about identity with this as well which is actually are you racist, or is it the thinking that’s racist. I think it’s an important distinction. And I don’t know what’s right or wrong I don’t know Vivian, what are your thoughts on it?

Vivian Acquah  24:06  

 I’m the same. We had I had a conversation with a friend of mine saying that a lot of people don’t like to be called the name racist, but the way they are acting is really racist. So what I rather use for myself and also as a safety is saying, calling out people saying you’re dehumanizing me, you’re dehumanizing me at the moment, because it touches them on a different level. And it doesn’t block the conversation because once I pull out the racist card, or once I say that they are racist, it stops the conversation and then it’s going to be the conversation about No, I’m not a racist. Why are you calling me a racist? 

Well, I’m just acknowledging you are dehumanizing me, and this is what you’re doing, making me feel like you’re dehumanizing me. I want to have more of these conversations where you can at least address the things that people are doing? Instead of putting the Chinese wall up and saying no, I’m not a racist or not that I encourage embrace those who want to become anti racist because I do believe that that’s the future. But and I also think that you are embracing that you are racist because I don’t see you as that way, but I understand that you maybe have some ways of doing that feels like that.

Olga Piehler  25:34  

And I can, I can share, I’ll share a personal experience of where I had to check myself and my bias. He was we were watching CNN, and I, I’ve seen pictures of Caucasian men armed to the teeth on TV, and I have some feelings, I have fear and I have some feelings towards it. And then there was the pictures of armed black men, same, same ammunition, say, and my feelings were different.

I had fear, but I also had a different eye and I checked myself on that. I said, well wait a minute, What’s what? What’s up with this?

Vivian Acquah  26:20  

And I understand because I do ever since George Floyd died, the death of George Floyd, I also had to conform to a certain bias. So I have a certain bias towards certain people may be from the eastern region, and I have to look myself in the mirror and say, Hey, I am doing the same that others are doing and it also I do have to admit that it starts with our education the way we are, you know, the way we get our education not only from the schools, but also from home. 

Also what we are learning so for me, the tasks that I have as a mother, not saying for instance, saying my son is watching a cartoon series where they are announcing these cartoon series are for boys. And I’m just saying, whoa, I am a woman, and I love transformers. So you’re not going to take Transformers away from me. And those are little examples of how we need to teach our children to be more included, because along the way, they learn a few things from us, where they change where they don’t become inclusive anymore, because in the beginning, they don’t. I’m not going to say they don’t see color, but they do see people and it starts from a certain phase as they adopt what their parents are doing as they adopt what their friends are doing and the education system is doing. That’s when they see the differences and start to distinguish themselves in a different way.

Hung Lee  27:53  

Can I just say something in support of Vivian’s point there in terms of proximity, the way I would look at this Vivian is actually the people that you’re around actually, like your ideas on your own, that you literally pick up the ideas of the people around you and you have most conversations with, which is why you can sometimes observe people’s change all the time and then adopting what you now recognize is Whoa, where the hell did this idea come from? Then you recognize that this dude’s been spending the wrong time in the wrong forums and the wrong groups and you develop, you can see the development of those ideas. Now, this is just a theory, right? It’s my theory. I haven’t validated it. I’m sure someone’s gonna contradict me or whatever. But I’ve kind of done some experimentation myself on, Is it possible for you to switch your opinion simply by inhabiting spaces with people with diametrically opposed views. 

Now, the reason why I was I’ve always been interested in this because I used to be quite a right winger. When I was a kid, and for no other reason, for no other reason than I worked as a Chinese kid in my parents’ Chinese restaurant, and the newspaper that was provided for the customers and the staff happened to be a right wing newspaper, most popular newspaper in the UK, the Sun. I just read that, I love the sport. I read the sport every single day read it, because I thought that was all that but throughout the pages of that newspaper, there percolates racism, sexism, hatred, contempt really for working people, even though it’s sold to working people. All of that percolated through until I realized I was holding these ideas, opinions where I didn’t have any foundational argument whatsoever. 

But I strongly believe for instance, some are factually right. why someone challenged me explain why you believe this actually couldn’t give them an answer, even though I personally believe that was true. This is back in the 1980s when there was a lot of unionism as a big fight really between right wing politics at the time, and left wing labor movements and all the rest of it. Labor movements lost and lost in the US lost in the UK US  started Reaganomics, etc. And I was like pro Reaganomics, like for no reason I thought Arthur Scargill, the man is I thought it really is thrown in jail, very passionately believe that at a young age. Right. And it was only until I grew up and moved away from the newspapers a little bit interact with the people that I recognize, hang on. I remember back then that I was that one of these right wing kids like Why? Why? How could I possibly be this person? So it was purely because I was consuming and surrounded by ideas with an empty head. So further experimentation as I grow into Being more of a left wing type fellow as I again maybe is my empty vessel approach I don’t know I went very hard hard left wing to the point where I thought oh maybe I’m too far left in why don’t I just hop back?

Garry Turner  31:18  

Isn’t this part of the thing? So I find it so curious… 

Hung Lee  31:21  

 I haven’t finished, Garry, I need to tell you, and this is really quite hardcore. Okay. And because I was starting to be really puzzled from my left wing position, how anybody could hold these like very virulent, what seems to be emerging Nazi type of behavior. Whoa, where’s this coming from? I thought we’d move beyond this. So this is like late mid to late 90s. We’re talking about where I’m observing. Remember the Rule Britannia era? No, you know the cool town USA, you know the cool things that seems to be going more progressive stuff. We say gay gay, gay rights. All this type of stuff happening, everyone seems to be going the right direction. And suddenly the percolation of this right wing kind of vibe starts emerging. I thought, okay, that’s interesting. I want to know how these people got there. 

So I ended up saying, Okay, why don’t I spend a bit of time where these right wingers hang out? So I go to Reddit. And I, by the way, Reddit is quite left wing generally. But it is got lots of sub communities of places, maybe you don’t want to spend a lot of time in. But I wanted to spend some time in there to see what they were talking about. And also to see whether the proximity rule is actually the case. Like, can I actually develop some racism by spending time in a racist subreddit? Can I develop sexism by spending time in a sexist subreddit? Answer?

Yeah, you absolutely can do that. I caught myself thinking as I was walking down the street and that’s when I realized I got to get away from the subreddits, you prove the point. So the point of the matter is to combat these philosophies, you really have to understand how people get enrolled into them. Oftentimes, these are, these are the, the positive thing I see. And this is where within your boy, your story about your boy really triggered this monologue is because it’s you can change that you can change simply by changing the environment, changing the dialogue, changing the conversations that are occurring, that will basically change people’s ideas. 

Most people are empty vessels. They’re not walking around fixed mind, you know, whatever. You can change it simply by having new ideas around. And this is why we got to talk to people. This is why we have to talk to people even and maybe even especially those people that are antagonistic towards this because right now they’re only talking to people of like mind Right, in talking to people of like mine, as I’ll say one more thing on this before I get taken over, but basically the people who are marching on the streets, you know, the right wingers we saw, you know, people waving torches and all this type of stuff. Those folks are simply spending too much time with the same people and they’re self reinforcing their views. They’re validating each other’s views simply by doing all of this, and we’ve got to find a way to reach those people. We’ve got to oppose it for sure. We have to find a way to reach them. Because otherwise, the only other way to do it is to fight them

Vivian Acquah  34:39  

Is it our task to change their minds because I, I believe in bringing those in who are open who are curious about changing the mindset because I also want to I also acknowledge that not everybody will likes what I do not everybody likes where I want to stand. So is it our task to bring in everybody who has a different mindset.

Hung Lee  35:03  

I’m not talking about tolerating intolerance, you know, this person is a racist. And he comes into into an environment where I’m there, let’s say a white person or whatever, anti Chinese person, I don’t care what he is. But if he becomes a race that ends up having a huge implication on whatever relationship can happen, this guy, or this girl, and how, however, so that’s not tolerating thing. However, I need to find a common ground to be able to start a conversation with this person in some way. Otherwise, it’s just me othering them and  them othering me, I’ve got to find something. So started something recently and by the way, I’ll stop saying another word after this point. 

But I had an argument on the internet a couple of weeks ago, right, which I never do. Garry knows this story. And I just wanted to how the hell did I go from not knowing this person to the point where I was literally calculating my odds of getting away with you know, doing to me terrible. It was like, Yeah, can I fly over to Belgium and like, you know, push him into a canal and the terrible acts? And I was wondering, how did I get from zero to this? I didn’t even know the guy. Right? But I went from zero to this huge anger. Because everyone these days is just a status update. Everyone is just a comment online. Everyone’s a 2d character. I beg your pardon. From the sound. And, and essentially, because you talk about the dehumanization, we all dehumanize each other in this way. 

Because we accept oh, this is just the status of the one thing that is 100% true, no matter what side of the political spectrum, no matter what your ideas, however apparent they may be, is that we are all human beings. And we all have a right to opposition through a lived experience that the other person doesn’t have access to. That’s a fundamental truth. Um, now you can still dispute this sort of person, this person could be an existential threat to you, I totally get that. But we can’t deny that we’re both human beings. And this person is arrived at a position through a series of events that I don’t have access to. And my first step is to recognize that humanity, and then to investigate those steps so I can learn where he got away. And I think that’s the way in which we can maybe bring some of these folks along with us, because we ain’t gonna do it by ourselves, we have to bring him along with us.

Garry Turner  37:28  

It’s a little awesome sign I’d be it’s honestly all three of you, if not no, it’s brilliant, because I think you know, what’s coming up for me is that I’m still a work in progress, like, I really do feel it is this ability, and I’m not brilliant at it at all, but to hold two alternative positions in each of our hands. Like, concurrently, like that’s that not your view. That’s my view that no one is Each Other however, let’s investigate how we both see the world because that’s the bachelor point that lived experience. And I’m trying to practice with that what I’m not perfect at it. Like I’m looking forward to this conversation in six months time being full of exactly those people that you’re saying that completely disagree that clickbait you don’t get it. But hopefully with this facilitated way of communicating, we all see and hear each other like

Vivian Acquah  38:25  

I totally understand. But I also want to add a mindful thing because sometimes holding these conversations with people who are really blocking your way or really blocking the conversation, it’s not that I’m choosing to turn away from but I’m just so you know, a lot of people of color, are going through mental phases at the moment because they are reliving their trauma. They’re reliving a lot of the things that is happening right now and even I in the beginning, the first month, I cried. 

I cried the whole time. time because it wasn’t about George Floyd. It was me seeing my son laying there and calling out his mom or some or my brother, laying out there and calling my mother. And that’s what I saw. And I felt the pain of the last, let’s say, the last 25 or 30 years. And whenever you’re doing these conversations, know that you have to check your mental state before entering these conversations, if that means that you have to move away or you have to pause, pause because you as an individual are much more important. Your health is much more important than starting these conversations where you might burn out.

Garry Turner  39:44  

Like thanks for adding that. Vivian. Really, really important point. Good point. And I think, you know, the reason is simple. I feel that a bit. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. But I do know what happened. We were going much slower than like then we were preparing them But I ended up like, I cry for three days. Like, after George Floyd. Like I felt for whatever reason, I felt like I was literally walking down the beach here and just suddenly just burst into tears, like just from nowhere. Like, like, George Floyd isn’t the first but for whatever reason, I felt that connection, like from across the world. Like I just yeah, I guess I’m just sharing that just just in case it helps other people I guess more than anything just to say it’s also Okay. Yes, we have to protect their hearts as you say, Vivian we have to give a good mental state. But is it also okay to feel into this conversation as is no, it’s okay to process those emotions. It’s okay to feel

Garry Turner  40:00  

I thought potentially part of this journey for all of us, is actually being okay with feeling because I, I, I spend even though it’s okay to feel emotions for like five years. I wonder if this as emotion part of this journey.

Vivian Acquah  40:21  

It should be. But you have to start the conversation with some safety guidelines some rules of engagement before us, you go into this conversations because whatever that person the other person might say, it might touch your, no no no line. And, you know, when you don’t listen to that person and know where they are coming from and you’re blocking that conversation. You have to start with rules of engagement before you cross the line. Everybody needs to, everybody. I’m getting emotionally right now but everybody needs to be where they are at, and also be open and also be vulnerable that they are doing their best when it comes to having these conversations because it’s important for us to have these conversations.

Garry Turner  41:17  

Thank you. We’re getting towards the end of our free flow. So I’m thinking it might be a good time to do the final rounds and find out what what are our invitations for them, or maybe what you’ve taken away from the conversation yourself, or what’s your invitation for other people that may kindly listen to us, you know what would we invite them to think about anything coming up for an interview, anything new that you’ve learned or anything else that’s on your mind as you exit this conversation, feel free to jump in anyone, but I’d love to hear from each of you. That’s right, start with Hung first, I’m feeling that I’m trying a little ring around your neck.

Hung Lee  41:54  

Yeah, I feel I literally spoke way too much I need to apologize everyone in the panel and also everyone who’s listening for that. And the takeaway for me is, is, you know, I don’t want to encourage anybody to do anything that is beyond the pale. They will or, or whatever I think the best that I can do is just do myself, make sure I’m kind of doing what I can. And then if other people can see some of that and then think okay, maybe I’ll experiment that way then that’s great because that’s the only thing I do is observe when you see someone amazing, and you see them do something you think wow. Maybe I can do the same thing also. 

An example I like to cite actually is, is actually a broadcaster. Very funny. British guy called me Louis Theroux. And he basically his, his entire thing is to go and interact with subcultures that are denigrated that are deviant in some respect that are castigated by the wider society, and yet he finds a way to interact with them in such a manner that they’re prepared to not only tolerate empathy, involve him in various things. And it’s all over the map, you know, it’s like, literally in swingers swingers over age 60. It is WWF wrestling. It is, it is right wing people, it is left wing, it is like everybody’s like you know these are so far off spectrum. They don’t allow anybody, because they always feel that being attacked, but he’s found a way. 

So a lot of what I’m talking about is kind of directly inspired from him. How does he ask questions? And if you study how we ask questions is actually very clear. And it does it. Number one, zero judgment. He doesn’t judge people, even though he might in turn, he does never articulates it. Secondly, he didn’t seek to persuade people either. There’s another important thing. If you’re trying to persuade someone through argumentation ain’t gonna work. Try it online. Try it in a bar. It doesn’t work.

To remove a person from anything if that is even your intent, it’s debatable whether you want to try to do that, and best way to do it is not to do it it’s almost like you got to go back to send some kind of weird Buddhism type with you to achieve your aim is like to not try and desire it. And I guess I’ve lost the thread of question I think your problem is by keep talking and I should stop so I’ll stop. Somebody else?

Garry Turner  44:46  

But there was some goodness in there, Hung. There was some good 

Hung Lee 44:48  

It’s hot weather, my brain is fried. In case you didn’t know, but really.

Garry Turner  44:57  

How about you, Olga, what some of your final reflections or thoughts.

Olga Piehler  45:00  

And so I was listening to Hung, I just thought about the discussion with us and, you know, all we have control over is us, we need to be the change you want to see in the world comes to mind. So that don’t force others to come along, don’t try to persuade them. But for us to truly understand and have a broader perspective in, and maybe get even more to the core of who we are, is how do we listen, how do we ask better questions? How do we expand the environments that we have around so that we can get a better, a better perspective, or information that we get to hopefully be critical thinkers about, in, where we’ll have the lenses of our own experience but how do we understand better, and then role model that out and help, it’s the whole how do we build the bridge, how do we build bridges. Instead of being on our own little islands screaming out of the top of our lungs. We are the right we have the answer we. And how do we expand our territory by building bridges across all the silent I guess my, my endpoint would be here. I read a quote last year. Andy Andrews in his book the bottom of the pool. 

And he said, and this is where he just stopped me in my tracks and I think it’s just put these points, there’s a danger in what is true.

For those who have found it for most of, for most who have found it cease their search for anything else besides what they already found. So, something can be true, but yet not be the truth, we may have an answer, and yet that might not be the answer. And that, to me speaks about continuing to be curious continuing to learn, expand our point of view. And yes kind of how do we build those bridges.

Garry Turner  47:17  

Beautiful thank you all again and Vivian for some of your final thoughts or reflections?

Vivian Acquah 47:22  

I want to build upon what Olga just said, but also start with a quote from Maya Angelou. So she says I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. And if I look to how I’ve been treated in the past, or friends, who are people of color have been treated in the past. I just want us to do better. In general, we owe it to ourselves we owe it to our children we owe to the next generation and how would you feel if you will be excluded from every conversation, if you will be excluded from getting a salary raise or, if you will be seen as a second class person. Mind you, I’m very tall and people don’t always say it in my face. But I know how racism feels, I know how the ISM feels so I have a double ism. That’s, uh, I don’t know if people discriminate or misjudge me because I’m a woman or because I’m a Black woman, and the loathe comes to the Black woman, I want that to be done and done after the death of George Floyd. I don’t tolerate anything anymore. At the moment, I don’t.

Garry Turner  48:46  

Thank you, Vivian. Thank you, Olga Thank you, Hung. I really appreciate you sharing your insights today for me. I’m just sort of marinating in the three. Three of share To be honest, I don’t really have anything else to add, which is very unlike Garry Turner, but I’m going to leave it there. So, how can people find each of you if they want to follow up and connect with you Vivian what’s the best way to reach you.

Vivian Acquah  49:09  

You can reach me on LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/vivianacquah/ Vivian Acquah and otherwise find me to Humanize the Workplace , and that’s the best way to get in touch with me.

Garry Turner  9:19  

Thank you so much, thank you, Olga?

Olga Piehler  9:22  

On LinkedIn or on Twitter @mywyio.

Garry Turner  9:30  

And the place that

Hung Lee  9:32  

I mean probably the best thing is the newsletters, so it’s just sign up on that, it’s RecruitingBrainfood.com

Garry Turner  9:40  

Thank you. All three have been amazing. My apologies for my terrible hosting today. All quite good fun though sort of learning process. So, love you  all, thank you for contributing, and thank you all for joining us as well. We hope you took value. 

Olga can be contacted via:


Website https://www.mywy.io/

Vivian can be contacted via:

Website: https://vivalavive.com/workplace-wellness-blog/

Let’s Humanize The Workplace videos: https://bit.ly/htwlive

Let’s Humanize The Workplace podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-humanize-the-workplace-real-talk/id1505138189

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/vivianacquah/

Twitter https://twitter.com/VivalaViveNL

Hung can be contacted via:

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/hunglee/

Recruiting Brainfood   https://www.recruitingbrainfood.com/subscribe-now/

You can contact Garry via the following means:

Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/414211396

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/garryinterpersonalcatalyst/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GarryIPCatalyst

Please Note: The content above is a semi-automated transcription of the podcast episode. We recommend listening to the podcast, in case any of the content above is unclear.

Garry Turner

Garry Turner

With over 20 years of international sales, business development and relationship-building experience combined with a deep understanding of people, team and culture dynamics, Garry Turner serves individuals, teams and leaders as a strategic advisor and interpersonal catalyst.