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816: Dr. Gena Cox – Being Inclusive as Small Business Owners

A new, important role has entered the lives of business owners – the role of Chief Diversity Officer. This is a role in which we, as business owners, ensure we are being inclusive in our businesses and in our communities, with greater consciousness of the messages we’re putting out into the world. It may seem like yet another hat we must wear as small, self-employed business owners, but being inclusive is equally important for the self-employed as it is for large corporations. But as usual, how we can be inclusive is different for us than it is for large corporations. To help us navigate this topic, I speak with Dr. Gena Cox, author of Leading Inclusion. In our conversation, Dr. Cox breaks down the difference between diversity and inclusion, and how inclusion is particularly relevant to small businesses and the self-employed. As Dr. Cox says, all of us can be more inclusive than we currently are. We discuss how inclusion and respect can impact many of our daily business activities (for example, even in things such as decisions about how and to whom we offer discounts). Dr. Cox also offers practical insights and solutions for increasing inclusion, such as looking for things we have in common with others who are different from us, and how having a “comfort goal” can help us be more inclusive more easily.

After a decades-long career advising leaders in some of the largest companies in America and beyond, Dr. Gena Cox concluded that the pace of workplace inclusion change was unacceptably slow. She harnessed her organizational psychology and executive coach insights, her understanding of c-suite dynamics, and her personal workplace experiences to write a book, Leading Inclusion. Her book helps leaders connect unfamiliar dots to drive inclusion from the top of their organizations. Gena asks her clients to remember one simple idea: “Inclusion tops diversity!”

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Everything you need can all be found at

Dr. Gena Cox, thank you so much for being here!

Remember, you might be in business FOR yourself but you are not in business BY yourself. Be your best self. Be proud and keep changing the world.

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Host Jeffrey Shaw is a Small Business Consultant, Brand Management Consultant, Business Coach for Entrepreneurs, Keynote Speaker, TEDx Speaker and author of LINGO and The Self Employed Life (May 2021). Supporting self-employed business owners with business and personal development strategies they need to create sustainable success.


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