Dr. Sheldon L ...:              What's up advocates? Dr. Eakins is here again with another episode. And of course, if you are looking for some training, if you need some keynotes, I'm not going to spend too much time on it, but you can definitely hit up the Leading Equity Center. If you need some training done, if you need equity audits, if you need any student work done, we can help you out and support you. Feel free to follow leadingequitycenter.com/consulting, or you can always shoot me an email [email protected]

                                             Now, today's episode, we're discussing identifying white supremacy culture. I have a special guest, Ms. Aasimah Navlakhi is here and she discusses some of the things that she identified and her team identified as they shifted to change in some of the culture and some of the practices that had been taking place within their organization. So if you are a leader, if you are in a position for change and you have opportunity to support different things that needs to take place in order to annihilate any racial injustice, white supremacy culture that might be prevalent within your school system, this is definitely an episode that you want to listen to.

                                             Now, Aasimah Navlakhi, having experience firsthand, the life changing power of great schools is committed to ensuring that all students have equal opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. Aasimah began her career as a speech and performance teacher in her hometown of Bangalore, India, and now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of BES, formerly Building Excellent Schools, a national nonprofit that identifies and prepares excellent leaders to transform education in their communities.

                                             Welcome to the Leading Equity Podcast. My name is Dr. Sheldon L Eakins. And for over a decade, I've helped educators become better advocates for their students. What is an advocate? An advocate is someone who recognizes that we don't live in just society. Advocates aren't comfortable with the status quo and are willing to speak up on behalf of others. No matter where you are in your journey towards ensuring all of your students are equipped with the resources they need to thrive, I'm here to help you build your knowledge and confidence to ensure equity at your school.

                                             Welcome advocates to another episode of the Leading Equity Podcast, a podcast that focuses on supporting educators with the tools and resources necessary to ensure equity at their schools. Today, I have a special guest, Ms. Aasimah Navlakhi is here. And so without further ado, Aasimah, thank you so much for joining us.

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Thank you for having me, Dr. Eakins. I am very glad to be here.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              Pleasure's always mine. We're ready to get into this. This conversation is going to center around what happens when we recognize that we need some changes that are heavily when it comes to, I don't know, maybe just systemic issues that we've had for overtime, and we're looking at making some changes in the process that we go through. Before we get into that, though, I would love for you to share a little bit about yourself and what you currently do.

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Sure. So as you said, my name's Aasimah Navlakhi. I am currently the CEO of BES, which stands for Build Excel Sustain. We are a national nonprofit that identifies and prepares excellent leaders to transform education in their communities. We have existed as Building Excellent Schools since 2001 and recently rebranded to go by Build Excel Sustain about three years to really expand our scope from just incubating schools, to really providing leadership development supports across the whole range of leadership journeys that folks might be on.

                                             Myself, I grew up in India and went to really strong schools, had a really excellent educational experience myself and my parents and family, parents, grandparents, brothers always instilled in me the importance of a strong education as really the pathway to success in life and in the school that I was in, I really saw a double standard that the teachers really brought, which is that they supported and challenged and pushed me because I was a good student and really pushed to the side or ignored students that were really good friends of mine that just didn't have the access or opportunity to be able to even be challenged or pushed in the way that I was.

                                             And so our paths really diverged. And when I look back on that experience, it has always been really important to me to have the right adults in front of students who really believe that every student can succeed and deserves opportunity to do so. And so being at BES, which really focuses on discovering and supporting and really providing development to those adults, to make sure that they are the right adults in front of kids, is really personal work. And I love it. So that's what I currently do. And I'm really honored to be able to lead the organization into its next stage. I've been at BES for about eight years now, going on eight years and in the CEO seat for three years.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              I can't tell you how many people that I've had on this show that are attuned to equity, and this social justice, and just wanting the best for students, all students. I can't tell you how many folks have had some sort of lived experience that has kind of called them to this work. And I hate it when folks make it seem like it's like a missionary type. I've been called to do this. And if it wasn't for me... I don't like that savior mentality, but I think just being just upfront and being authentic with your approach to, okay, I'm in a position to where I can make change. And I'm really excited about that opportunity. And so I just want my kids to thrive. And I think just listening to some of my guests on the show and including yourself, just hearing their background story, where they came from and how they got into what they're doing to me, just, it makes so much sense. So I appreciate your time and I'm glad that you're here.

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Yeah. I think, we talked about this a little bit before my skillset has really always been communications, that's what I went to school for. I love telling stories. I love writing. I love photography. I love all of those pieces. And I realized very quickly if I wasn't writing or picturing or interviewing about something that actually meant something to me or that made a difference, it really felt hollow. And so bringing those skills to the work that actually has some personal meaning and where you actually see so much need and so much missed opportunity is really an honor. So I think we're on the same page.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              Let's do it. All right. So you say you've been in your position for three years. Now, I don't know how far you can go into a little bit of history behind kind of the transition between yourself and your predecessor, but when you first got into your role as CEO, what was your first approach? What were some of the first things that you wanted to initiate from the beginning?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        When I first got into that role, it was really important to me to listen really deeply to not just the staff or the team, but also to all of our alumni and all of the leaders who had been through our process. And so the first thing that I did in the first six months on the job was really to embark on a listening tour. And this was pre-COVID, pre pandemic, I actually could get on a plane and meet leaders and talk to them. And the questions I really asked were I think, basic and simple, which is what did BES get right? And in what ways did we really support you to get to where you are and what are some challenges? What are ways in which the organization needs to grow?

                                             And I think it was very clear that the things that rose to the top in all of those conversations were one, BES really needs to develop a focus and awareness around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. That really did not exist in the past. And so we really needed to examine our own biases, our approach to the work, not just from a interpersonal perspective, but also from a systems and policies perspective of how we were finding those leaders who were raising their hands to start schools. How were we making sure we actually had equal access to the supports that we provided? And then how were we ensuring a really strong experience for those leaders within our programming? And the second was our approach to communities. How were we really thinking about developing strong partnerships with communities and understanding the assets and the gifts that already exist and the good work that's already going on in so many cities and states?

                                             So to your point, we're not coming in with that savior mentality, right? This is something we know and understand, and we are now going to come and do unto you. Versus we really want to come in to understand what's working well, what's a challenge and how can BES best support the leaders that already exist in this space and the leaders who maybe are coming into this space with new schools. So I think that focus on DEI and really anti-racism in our own work that was missing in the past, honestly, and the approach to entering new communities or continuing our work in communities was what rose to the forefront in that listening tour. And then I think the next steps were really guided by that, which is hearing what our alumni had to say and starting to think out now, how do we actually take action on those pieces?

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              No, your response is really interesting because my understanding is part of the nonprofit BES, a big mission behind it was just supporting a lot of our communities, especially our communities of color in support of in schools and providing leadership in those schools that are equity focused. So it sounds interesting that even though the organization's mission was one thing, but sounds like the actual outcomes was different. Could you help me understand what do you mean by as far as we didn't have the diversity equity inclusion that we needed in order to really help our kids be successful?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Yes, absolutely. And I think our goals and our mission stays the same, right? We're focused on equity. And the reason the organization even existed was to provide more excellent options for students who were so often under-served. Over 90% of the students that are served by leaders in BES schools are students of color and that's true across the board, right? That's not just in the past two years. And so the organization's focus and mission always has been equity. And the end goal has always been more high quality seats for students. I think where we really needed to make a shift was in our approach. And that's in a few ways.

                                             So one is thinking about the school models that we would support. So over the first, I would say decade of BES's existence, maybe a little bit more, and this, I think, maps to just the ed reform movement in general, the approach was very much a no excuses approach. So the one model that you were looking at was a no excuses model. And we were really looking at replicating those types of models across the board in different states, in different cities, in different communities versus what we're doing now, which is trying to be more responsive to community need. So what works in the Bronx may not be the same thing that would work for a community in New Mexico or a community in California. There's so much difference in the students who are serving in what families are looking for for their children, what already exists in the educational ecosystem. And so how we think about developing those models needed to shift.

                                             And so over the past few years, we've expanded the number and types of models that BES actually supports, moving away from a no excuses model and really thinking about how we support our leaders to build school models in partnership with community that are responsive to the needs that communities are expressing. And that's just one example, but I can pause there and I let you ask your follow up that you looked like you were about to.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              Yeah. Okay. I'm intrigued because when I think about, again, there was a big push for no excuses and zero tolerance. And we saw a lot of research that went against that, which said basically that actually is perpetuating a school to prison pipeline. I've actually have a few episodes where I've had some guests on that have discussed that. And so I think sometimes when you have leadership that does not reflect the community or have the same background experiences that the community that they're serving, they just have a different mindset.

                                             And so from there, it says, well, in order for us to serve this community of color, we need to teach them structure. We need to teach them this, we need to teach them that. And I think that that's the wrong mindset to have. I mean, you mentioned that yeah, what works here doesn't necessarily work there, but yeah, across the board, I think in general, zero tolerance policies, I have never been a fan of that approach, especially because it's usually zero tolerance we see in our communities of color. And that's often by leadership that do not have the same background or they can't identify with a lot of the challenges that that community might be facing. So I'm glad that you brought that up.

                                             So that could sometimes lead into white supremacy culture. I want to see if you could talk to our audience about how do you identify what white supremacy culture may look like and what are some of the steps that you can start taking? Because I love how you came in and you did your listening tour. And I think that was awesome, but I think there was some stuff that really came out that I want to bring out as far as like what does white supremacy culture look like in our school systems and how are you able to kind of start shifting into a different direction?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Yes, absolutely. And I just want to pick up on one point you just made, Sheldon, which is representation, And having leadership actually reflect the student populations. And I think that was one of the tweaks that we actually made initially, which is how do we overhaul our recruitment systems to make sure that one, we are able to lift up talent that are coming from within the community that leaders would want to serve and how do we have more representation at the leadership level? And then also support our leaders to have more representation among their teaching staff because leaders and teachers who share lived experience with students, and we know this, the research shows this, really makes a huge difference in the success rate for those students going forward.

                                             So that's definitely one of the things that we focused on. Our fellowship cohorts in the past two years have been over 80% leaders of color where previously we were probably maybe 40 or 50% and really understanding that that is the basic fundamental shift that you can make in terms of just making sure that you have the right people in the room and making sure that the access and opportunity that we're fighting for, for our kids is also something that we are holding ourselves accountable to in terms of the leaders that we're bringing into the work.

                                             And so, yes, I will go back to, we did the listening tour, had a lot of things come out from our leaders and then basically sat down and said, "now what?" Because our team really needed to do the work around identifying white supremacy culture that showed up within the organization that was really baked in and identifying individual level biases and mindsets to be able to even get the team to the place where we could start taking on some of the more systematic work or the systemic work.

                                             And so what we did is we understood first that this is not work that we could take on by ourselves. We were not the experts. We really needed someone to help us through this journey. So we partnered with Onward and brought them in to really work with us and audit our systems, our processes, and really do some individual level work with our teams. And I'm sure you can relate. I'm sure that in your work with doing this with principles, it has been beneficial, for them to have your eyes or an external perspective where there are things that you can't see. Even myself. Having been at BES at that point already for five years, there were things that I had seen, but I also had been part of this organization for a while and needed my own perspective to be pushed. And I needed to grow myself.

                                             And so having Tally Jermaine and the team from Onward come in and really work with us to do that individual level work and create almost an arc of the work that would span a few years. We continue to work with them today, understanding that this is a journey. There's no real endpoint. We started the work at the individual level. So we had work with our staff. We had work with multiple teams on our staff and then we had sort of full staff work around identifying our own biases, doing some identity work ourselves, really getting to just the 101 basics around diversity equity inclusion. And at the same time, knowing that we didn't have all of this luxury of time where we were working on ourselves because the organization was continuing to do the work of finding leaders and supporting them to both schools. We worked with Onward to really overhaul our, like I said, talent recruitment processes, and then also to audit all of our documents and our sort of policies at the structural level.

                                             And then what was really helpful was to have team members sit in not only on large trainings that we held that were external, but internal meetings, just our team meetings, even one on one sometimes, our all staff meetings where they were able to identify and raise up things that were micro aggressions that they were seeing, things that were upholding the culture of perfectionism, which we know is a facet of white supremacy culture, places where voices were being marginalized or there was group think at play, or there were older sort of mindsets that were still driving the conversation.

                                             And that was really helpful because it gave us tangible evidence as to what was going on and what needed it to change. And because we were doing the individual work in parallel, people on the team were ready to accept that there were things that needed to change and were in the space where they were ready to make those changes. So it was really important to do those two pieces, I think in parallel to have the team be ready to move and to have the buy-in of the team as we're trying to make a lot of shifts.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              I'm liking this because I wanted this conversation to be beneficial to administrators, superintendents, leaders, those because I mean, any leader, a building, whether it's a school or district, organization, you are the chief diversity equity inclusion officer. Okay? Whether that's your official title or not, but I mean you have access to external consulting, you have access to resources, hiring and all those type of things. So you are the chief diversity equity and inclusion officer. And so like when I do a lot of trainings, when I come in and I have a school or I have a district that will reach out to me and say, Hey, we need an audit or we need some training done for our staff.

                                             A lot of that is helpful because the leaders there have either been saying, here's some things that we need to make some changes, but maybe that's not my area. It's not my skillset. Or maybe I've been saying these things for a while. And it just benefits when we have someone else come in and basically say a lot of the same things or maybe utilize a little bit more turn or has some training or has that experience to be able to support their staff. So I like it when I hear okay. I'm in a leadership position. Again, I see there is a need. I did my listening tour. I talked to the staff, I talked to my principal, I talked to the community and these are some of the things that we came up with. And I think it's so helpful when we can bring in a firm or somebody to this is what they do all day and then they can kind of support the individual needs of that organization.

                                             So I love that that's the direction that you went. The question that I have though is you're talking about an organization that was about 20 years old at this point. Right? And so yeah, you are going to have some older mindsets that are very comfortable where they're at in their space. Maybe they even believe that, you know what, there aren't any challenges or the challenges that we're claiming aren't really there, or I haven't seen it or those type of things. Where they have that kind of fixed mindset. What is the process? How do you get folks on board when you're in a space where you have the OGs or the veterans and they're stuck in their ways and they're not willing to open up? Did you get any kind of pushback in that sense?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        I think so. I think there's always pushback. Pushback maybe is too strong a word, but there always places where there may not be as much alignment as you think. Right? And I think something that was really helpful to me as the leader of the organization that I really only realized last year is, oh, we're really in a turnaround effort. And sometimes when you're in a turnaround effort, which I just hadn't framed it in that way in my mind, there is going to be a lot of change. There are going to be conversations that need to happen one on one or larger group with folks who may not be aligned to the direction you're trying to go and, or might be really excited about the work, but might not be in a space where they feel like they can give so much of themselves in addition to everything else that's going on in life to be part of a turnaround organization.

                                             So there's folks like myself that really thrive on change and really setting goals that are different from the ones that we've set before. And I love that startup mindset. And so BES being 20 years old still feels very much like a startup in these past few years because we really are trying to establish ourselves as a leadership development organization. We have a new name, we're really turning ourselves around. And so I guess the strategies that we used to really test for alignment have been one on one conversations. Really thinking about like, here's the direction that BES wants to go. A year ago, we embarked on a strategic planning process. We have a three year strategic plan that is very specific in terms of what we prioritize and anti-racism is a top level priority for us. We have four priorities in our plan. That's priority number two, and then had specific metrics and goals tied to those priorities over the next three years.

                                             And when you go through that process and you have really clearly stated goals, metrics, and approaches, it makes having those conversation much simpler because at this point, it's not a conversation about philosophy up here in the air, right? It's a conversation about specific things and actions that we need to take. Specific directions for programs that we need to take. So having conversations with team members that are part of the team become easier. Having conversations with alumni that may have a different thought or a different mindset or a different perception of the organization becomes easier because you can actually point to specific rationale for why you arrived at a point in decision making. And then you actually have specific goals that you're going to hold yourself accountable to over the next few years.

                                             So I think it really comes down to having those conversations and then the other part of it, because our approach has shifted to be very community focused. If we have alumni or leaders who are running their schools in ways that maybe we're not aligned to now, our second layer of sort of a questioning to them when we have those conversations is have you talked to the parents in your community? If we're not positioned to have these conversations with you, then let us at least push you to take the same approach that we're taking as an organization now, which is check in with your parents, check in with your community leaders, check in with your students and your staff. Is this really what they want to see from the school that they're hoping their kids will go to, to be set up for success? And if that's not true, then those are the voices you should be listening to. Those are the voices that we're listening to. And so that's really our second strategy if the one-on-one conversations aren't enough.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              Okay, now, I am a qualitative dude. And so I love the interviews. I mean, this is what I do, is I love interviews. What other forms of data was collected? Because I know you said you did the one on ones and you did, you talked to parents and talked to communities and things like that. So you get that qualitative side, but was there any numbers that you were able to kind of in, how are you able to pull in some of that data in order to kind of, again, create this plan that you have going forward?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Great question. So I think the first thing we looked at was are we even collecting the data. And so when we were thinking about what do our cohorts look like? What is the makeup of our cohorts? For a long time, we were identifying on behalf of our leaders and leaders were not self-identifying even their own race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, any of those pieces. So some of those things were that basic, but putting those into place really gave us a window into what the makeup of our cohorts look like. We looked at our board composition, our board composition was not representative of the leaders and communities we wanted to serve. Now, over half of our board is people of color. Our leadership team was a hundred percent white leadership team before I transitioned into this role. And now we're a team of four and 75% of our leadership team are people of color.

                                             Like I said before, our fellowship cohorts that hovered around 50% leaders of color are now 83 and 82% respectively in the last two cohorts. So one, we really wanted to look at just representation across the board and making sure we understood the makeup of our leaders and of the staff and of our board. And then second, when I said I had all of the conversations with fellows, we also did surveys that we continue to do every year. And then when we were in our strategic planning process, we had a lot of surveys that we shared with our leaders about specifically what they would expect, want, need from BES in terms of support and how that would help them.

                                             And really those responses actually informed our strategic plan and informed our shift away from solely incubation because so many of our leaders asked for bench building supports like, yes, you helped us get off the ground and we're here. That's great, but we need you to continue to support us, to identify our successors. As we're thinking about expanding or moving out, we need you to continue to provide professional development. We need continued coaching. We need executive search help and you have a talent team and a huge pool of talent you sit on. How can you start helping us in all of these other ways that will help us sustain? And that really got us to Build Excel Sustain from Building Excellent Schools, because building is wonderful, but if you're not in it with the leaders to help them continue to excel and then help them sustain their work, then you're just flash points and you're not actually making meaningful long term change with the communities you're working with. So I'm not sure if that fully answers your question, but those are really some of the more objective data that we try to collect.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              Okay. Well, okay. Let me press a little harder then. Because yeah, I think you touched on from a leadership perspective, let's move down to some of our individual schools. And first question I guess that I have then is, is zero tolerance still policy implemented in schools within BES and then if not, or if it is, what do you do as far as the data when it comes to discipline practices at schools?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Great question. So the zero tolerance is not a policy that is implemented in BES schools that are currently being incubated through BES. Given that we've existed for 20 years, there are schools that have been incubated by BES back in 2001, 2004 that may be continuing to have some sort of no excuses approach. But again, like I said, we are continuing to hold space for all of our alumni and I'm having one-on-one touchpoints with all of our alumni to really talk about what are the practices in your schools and how are you shifting that? That said, there has been, as we know, in the space sort of a huge shift across the board in looking at and really examining discipline practices.

                                             So what we have done for schools who have come to us and said, we really also want to examine what has been going on within our four walls and need your support in sort of shifting that is that we've done audits for those schools. So we've had our coaches go in and sort of walk the halls with the school leader for two days and said, okay, here's what we see that really should be shifted because it is not a practice that is getting you your goal of really working with all of the nascent talent and wonderfulness that your students are bringing. And you're actually doing harm to students' bodies and minds by having these practices.

                                             So we've done that hand in hand with some schools. We have referred several of our schools to Onward, to help with equity audits and sort of doing that work. And then we continue to hold space for our alumni full group and smaller group, because one of the benefits that always rises to the top when we talk to leaders about what they took away from BES, even in that initial listening tour was the cohort model, allowed for leaders to be able to have really strong support systems from their peers, whether that was geographically or just because they were all in the same cohort that allowed them to sort of connect with and push each other.

                                             So whenever we have found leaders who have made meaningful shifts, or there's a case study with two schools that we've done auto it's for and we've helped them make meaningful shifts, we really lean into our role as more of a curator and aggregator of those stories and information and are able to share that out through our coaches or bringing our leaders together to really share their experiences because you're right, given our space as a national organization and an organization that is staffed by coaches who are supporting our leaders in the work, but not in the work on the ground. Sometimes it is that much more powerful for us to bring in our leaders who have done that work and then have them share with the cohorts what has worked, what hasn't worked, what are challenges that they're still facing and how we can sort of thought partner together to move forward from there.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              This has been a very informational, like I've learned a lot just in general just kind of talking to you. And I hope that our audience has also been able to, especially our leaders in our audience that have been able to kind of think about, okay, I know that there's some changes that are needed. There's room for growth. How do I identify those things? And I love how you started with just the listening. Then you started collecting some data that was helpful and kind of looking at your representation when it comes to your leadership and staff and things like that and how that has implemented some changes. And then also looking at your discipline practices and the connections with the community. Are there any other things that you would suggest when we're looking at okay, what are some ways that we can identify how structurally there are some changes it needs to happen? Is there any other, I guess, feedback that you would provide to us?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        I think there's two last things that I would say. One, is as a leader and an organization looking to do this work, yes, first you look internally. You do the work with the organization. I think the thing that we have not underestimated also that we have positional power in influencing systems and structures beyond just ourselves and our organization. So as we're doing this work, making sure that we are continuing to raise up the challenges and issues, and even the learnings that we have to the funders we talk to, to authorizers when we talk to them, because if don't push for some collective shifts on those levels, then it's going to continue to be really hard for us to do our work. And we've seen some really positive shifts. I think we're working really closely with [inaudible] and know that he's really spearheading a community first approach for authorizers as we well.

                                             And because we work with so many authorizers across the board, I think it's helpful for us to be able to see and share our perspective. So I would just say to other leaders and organizations do the work, yes, but also don't sit on what influence you might have for like the larger systems and structures that also need to change and shift in meaningful ways for us to see large scale shifts.

                                             And then the last thing I'll say is it can be, it was for me, almost really paralyzing to have that moment in 2018 or 19, whenever that was when I took on at the end of this listening tour, when all of these things came up to just sit down and I remember clearly sitting down in my office and saying, "Wow, there is so much that needs to happen. How am I going to do it? How are we going to do it? This seems almost impossible." And so I think it can be really paralyzing to think of all of the different things that need to happen to make change. And what was helpful was for us to really break it down and start wherever we could.

                                             So I guess the one thing I would say is just start. Start the work, because if the goal is to sort of get all of it done at once and sort of see change immediately, it's not going to happen. And I think that was humbling to understand, and it continues to be because it's year three and there's still a lot of work for us to do, but I'm proud of where we are so far and totally understand that it's probably about 30% of the way that we have covered right now. And there's a lot to do, but I try not to think about the hundred percent. Think of the next 5%. And then you're good.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              I like that. And I love that you said sometimes this is overwhelming. It seems like, oh my gosh, there's a lot. I mean, I do equity audits and folks will just recognize like all these different areas. And I say, let's do some short term. What can we do tomorrow? What can we do midway through the year? And what's going to take us a little bit longer than a year? And let's break it down that way. Because each project is not going to take the same amount of time. There might be some things you can easily fix within a day. You could just change it right then and there. It just needs to be identified. And so once we kind of approach it that way, I think it just makes it a lot easier.

                                             And like you said, this is not an overnight thing in general. You're on year three and we're about 30%. And so there's still more room for growth, but you are working towards that and you're showing progress and that's the way to go. Aasimah, I definitely consider you as providing a voice in leading equity, I'm going to just throw one more time. Is there one final word of advice you would provide to our listeners?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        The past two years have been really hard. Over and above everything that we continue to work towards. We're all in this, we're listening to this, your audience, right? Because we're committed to equity. And I think the multiple pandemics that have impacted us over the last two years have really stretched us thin. So I think the one thing that we're trying to focus on also amidst all of this is just everyone's mental health. And so I would say let's just give ourselves and each other some grace as we're trying to continue to do this work because none of us could have predicted where we would be right now. And that does not make the work any less or differently important. It actually really underlines why we're all in this work in the first place. So yeah, I guess that would be my final. It's not advice. It's just really a wondering and a comment on where we are today.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              I hear you. I hear you. Okay. If we have some folks that want to connect with you online and if they want to get in touch with BES, what are the best ways to reach out?

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Many, many ways. You can find all of our contact information on our website. It's just bes.org. And you can find us on Twitter at BES leadership and find us on Facebook. We're on Instagram. All of our handles, Sheldon, I'm sure you'll post along with this podcast, but bes.org is the right place to start. And my email address is on there as well. So if there are specific things or ways in which I can be helpful, feel free to reach out, would love to be helpful and to learn from everyone else in this space.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              Sounds good. Once again, I'm here with Aasimah Navlakhi is here. Thank you so much for your time and I appreciate you.

Aasimah Navlakh...:        Thank you very much. Appreciate you as well.

 Dr. Sheldon L ...:              This episode was brought to you by at the Leading Equity Center. For more podcast interviews and resources, head on over to leadingequitycenter.com.

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