Classism on The Blended Podcast with Sarah Barnes-Humphrey.

328: Blended – Breaking the Class Ceiling


It’s episode 30 of Blended: I’m joined by a brand new panel of inspirational professionals and, today, we’re talking about classism.

Now, some people believe that we’ve left classism behind. But, sadly, studies show that it’s alive and well – and its impacts are huge. The bottom 80% of the United States holds only 12% of its wealth; the bottom 60%, is just 3% of its wealth. And despite this huge disparity, little is being done to drive change.

In a world where we’re working hard to tackle issues around gender, race, sexuality, religion and more – why are conversations around socioeconomic groupings still so often missing from the conversation? Surely it’s high time we address class barriers, build bridges and work harder to become a more equitable society.

So today, our guests will be diving into classism and what it means to them; sharing their personal experiences; reflecting on education, privilege and pedigree; and discussing what organizations can do to tackle classism in the workplace and create more truly diverse communities.

 

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

 

[01.01] Introductions to our Blended panelists.

  • Elise – VP of Customer Experience at Parade
  • Courtney – Co-founder and CEO of Renewal Logistics and ReNew
  • Amanda – Associate Director at Savills
  • Christine – VP of Product Marketing and Go-to-Market at Nulogy

“When I think about classism, it’s really class discrimination. We live in a system where people are valued and treated differently based on their perceived class…. It’s so systemic and it reaches every single part of our system.”  Elise

[05.27] The group discusses classism, the complex issues that feed into it, and what classism means to them.

“It goes beyond how others perceive you – classism is also about how you perceive yourself. You grow up in a particular socio-economic group, and often you can self-limit.”

  • How others see us
  • How we see ourselves
  • Self-sabotage
  • Imposter syndrome and mindset
  • Privilege
  • Access to/relationship with education
  • Etiquette and formality
  • Generational money/mindset/networks
  • Communication between classes
  • Building communities and relationships
  • Meritocracy
  • Criminalization of poverty
  • Entrepreneurship, financial security as a safety net and how money allows you to take more risks
  • Perceptions, and Illusions of social media
  • Power of networks

“We would be so much further along as a society if everyone was comfortable talking to other people with an open mind, more like ‘what can I learn from this conversation’ rather than ‘what am I going to disagree with.’” Courtney

[47.17] The panel shares their experiences of classism in the workplace, and the impact of pedigree and education.

“I didn’t think I was enough, I’m not good enough, I don’t have the pedigree – I never saw myself being someone that could be at an elite level. And it wasn’t because intellectually I wasn’t enough, it was because of that class that I was born in and what I saw all around me.” Christine

  • Christine’s experience of educational hierarchy and her reflections on classism in the Ivy League
  • Elise’s experience of start-ups, the ‘typical’ type of founder, leader and C Suite member, the ‘boys club’ and how she developed her own biases
  • How we can work on ourselves and tackle bias

[58.02] The group share their ideas for how organizations can help to tackle classism in the workplace.

  • Amanda shares how Savills are helping to support young people entering real estate
  • The importance of mentors
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone
  • Celebrating small wins and sharing expectations
  • Creating opportunities for success
  • Creating development plans for staff
  • Respect
  • Thinking about people holistically and making changes
  • Innovative thinking
  • Potential classism in remote work
  • Ensuring class is part of DEI policy
  • Team-building
  • Education and training
  • Translating values into behaviors
  • Tackling classism through supplier diversity

“It’s the subtle shift from looking for culture fit, to looking at culture add… we want someone to both support and challenge.”

[1.22.37] The panel sums up their thoughts from today’s discussion.

 

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

 

You can connect with Elise, Courtney, Amanda and Christine over on LinkedIn.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, why not check out 215: Blended – Shining a light on social inequality, or 323: Blended – How to Foster an Inclusive Workplace.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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