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.




[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.




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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