Episode 28

Let's Talk About Race with Alistair and Peter

Published on: 13th April, 2022

Alistair Maigurira & Peter Guess run a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Consultancy in South Africa called SALTAR (South Africa Let’s Talk About Race). Their vision is to create connection between people and ultimately a more inclusive world. In this interview, Alistair and Peter share their thoughts with us on:

  • what exactly ‘race’ is and how we can best talk about it
  • viewing race from a trauma-based perspective in order to find solutions
  • the challenges around inclusion in the South African context
  • how storytelling and coaching can help connect and de-traumatise people
  • why their ultimate aim is that their services will no longer be required

The TED Talk that Alistair mentioned in this episode is Fadzi Whande: How Diversity Heaven can be Inclusion Hell.

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Music: Pablito's Way by Paolo Pavan

Transcript
Maribel:

Thank you very much to be joining us today. I want to introduce Alistair and Peter, who are joining us today. It’s the first time that we have two guests on our podcast and at the beginning when Alistair suggested ‘Hey, let's invite Peter to our call’, I got a little nervous. I sad, ‘Oh my goodness, we've never done this. Helen, what do you think? Should we do this?’ And she said, ‘Yes, let’s go for it.’ So, welcome both of you, Alistair and Peter, to our podcast AudaciousNess. I would like to start with my first question that we usually ask to all our guests: what is it that you do and what audacious things have you done?

Peter:

Alistair, can you go?

Alistair:

I'll go first. Hi Maribel, Helen and Peter. Thanks for having us over on your show for today. To answer your question, my name is Alistair Maigurira. I am based in Cape Town and I run a diversity and inclusion consultancy called SALTAR. It's an acronym for South Africa Let's Talk About Race. And how this journey started was I moved to South Africa 17 years ago. I was born and raised in a neighbouring country called Zimbabwe, which is next to South Africa. And the racial dynamics there are totally different to what I was experiencing and noticing in South Africa. I always wondered why people don't really connect across racial lines. So about four years ago, I was quite nervous, I think that's where the audacity started when I said to myself. ‘Let me start a YouTube channel on talking about race.’ So it was different topics where race impacts pretty much all walks of life, like in sport, in schools, in business. So the idea was to always have a panel from different races to discuss something happening, say in sport or in schools, or, I remember there was an episode we were planning to do on white parents who adopt black kids, apparently it’s a whole community and they have their own challenges. So what I’d realised was we come into this race conversation from different perspectives and different lenses in life that we view this conversation from. So I wanted to include everybody. The show never really took off because I couldn't get funding from corporates, because I wanted the show to really have impact. So I only shot one episode, which I never published. If somebody wants to watch it, they can contact me. I just interviewed different people to share the story of how they want to talk about race. So that was the birth of SALTAR. And then in the wake of George Floyd’s unfortunate murder, the whole world had this whole awakening around issues around diversity, inclusion and race. So, I pivoted all that knowledge and content and networks I had from preparing for the talk show to set up a diversity inclusion consultancy. So what we do is we get into businesses and we support leaders to have an inclusive workforce. That is the goal of the work that we do. Because people spend most of their time at work, so I think that's where most of the work needs to be done. So along the journey, I met Peter and he is aligned to the same vision. We don't always agree on everything, which is a good thing. That means we have a cognitively diverse team and then we challenge each other and that's how we can move forward. So that's my introduction from my side.

Maribel:

Beautiful. Thank you, Alistair. Well, over to you, Peter.

Peter:

Okay, my journey and I think it's always been my most exciting journey as being into the area of what was then called in the 90s Diversity Management. I was initially a social worker doing social work and addiction work, and then I moved into industry and did management training and development, and then eventually, with the preparation for our new South Africa, and the release of Mandela in the 90s, I got involved in diversity management, or managing diversity. And that took me unexpectedly very deep into the whole issue of culture change in South Africa, preparing South African business for the changes that were coming about, like affirmative action and really confronting some of our past in South Africa. And if you know anything about South Africa, one of our initial big strategies to move the country forward was called a reconciliation process. And it was spearheaded by a number of people but what we did then in the workplace eventually, after I left Old Mutual, I was working in the financial and insurance environment for seven years. The end of that is when I got involved in the diversity area and then moved into doing culture surveys in the workplace, across the whole of the organisation, working with developmental teams, task teams, top management teams to initiate change in the organisation. And the changes were critical because of the barriers between the different cultures, specifically black and people of colour in the South African context, were left out of everything. They were left out of industry. They were left out of jobs, jobs were blocked for them, and we didn't know each other. So we had to go through, what we eventually used was a storytelling process and many other processes to change the landscape in South Africa. I think that's all I want to say for now. I think there's so much I can talk about but it's been a really exciting process, which I was involved in for a period of about 10 years in my life. And then I've moved into other things. I'm doing as a main business area, some other things on the technology and also people side, coaching, etc, etc. But the work that I did, for me was the most exciting and that was, as I say, from the 90s to the end of the nineties.

Maribel:

Thank you so much for those introductions. There are lots of things that I would love to ask but I need to start just with one. So I'm just going to choose the first one that comes to mind. And that question is, race. What is that? And how do we talk about it? How can we have a conversation about race that is inclusive and respectful?

Alistair:

I think the first thing around race conversations is creating psychological safety on both sides, or should I say on all sides. So one of the biggest hindrances from having the conversations are people are just too scared to have it. You can easily get cancelled and, we’ll maybe talk about this later, the trauma impact of race and that also makes people not want to get themselves involved in a race conversation. So I would say the best, which is our approach at SALTAR, is to use a coaching approach to having a conversation around race, because everyone, every single human on Earth has had a different experience around matters around race. So that's why storytelling and coaching is critical in this line of work because if you have a cookie cutter approach, then people will not be able to connect with you and each other in having this kind of conversation.

Maribel:

And what about the concept of race? What is that? Is race just the colour of your skin? Is it connected to some cultural identity? How do we define race? Just to have a starting point that we all have a common understanding of, or I understand your definition of race.

Peter:

Can I respond to that quickly? And I think that Alistair and I will disagree on this. We've actually never sat down and defined this, which is interesting. Maybe it's the nature of it, it’s actually undefinable and I'll tell you why. In the South African environment we have 11 different language groups. The majority of them, except for two, let's call them accepted as national languages. Two of them is English and Afrikaans — one you know, the other one is sort of a Dutch derivative of the language. But the other nine are all African black languages. So the history of South Africa has been very very polarised, as you know, along race and colour lines, mainly colour — when people talk about race very often in the South African context, you’re talking about black, white and coloured — those three kind of groupings. But for me, race goes far beyond that. If we think of countries where there's been ethnic cleansing, the Hutus and the Tutsis. Are they different races or not? They have different languages. They saw themselves as different races, that's why they had the wars that they had. I think there's many cultural elements that define race, and not only colour. I think there's many, many other aspects that define and set them apart. If I think of the Jewish people, I think of them as a very unique breed of people. I mean, they'll never accept that they are part of the normal run of the mill of human beings. They will see themselves as a separate race with their own language, with their own culture, with their own... I'm trying to think of the word now, their own rituals. And so for me, it's probably, if I have to put it together, it’s colour, it’s culture, it’s language, it's where people stay on the planet, it's also how people define themselves. So that's my take on that tricky question.

Maribel:

What do you think, Alistair? What is race for you?

Alistair:

For me, race is simply one’s lived experience. I think it is very critical to understand what we're trying to solve. So, what normally happens is we look at skin colour, or even gender and try to solve that, and then it leads us nowhere. What we need to solve is the human connection. And human connection, or rather call it inclusion, is through understanding each other's lived experiences. So, even if you grow up in the same house, or even if you're twins, your inclusion journey in the world is totally different because every human is unique. That's the first thing. And the other thing is, within that lived experience, there is the impact of trauma. And how that now becomes an issue in your life depends on whether it's big trauma or small trauma. So that's what race is to me, in a nutshell. It's about your lived experience. So the whole idea is to see the world through somebody else's lens, and that way we can create that connection.

Maribel:

Thank you for that. I like that definition of lived experience because, well, this topic touches me because if I think of myself and my identity, people would describe me as I'm from mixed race. I'm from the Caribbean. I'm not white. I'm not black. I'm a little bit of everything. I get light in the winter and very dark in the summer. So is it the colour of my skin? Is it the first language that I speak? When I meet here other African women and hear what they say, I don't connect with that because that's not my experience, because I'm not African. So is it more like, yes, that's why this lived experience…

Alistair:

So how do you identify as, if I was to ask you that question? Do you identify as Latina?

Maribel:

I’m Maribel.

Helen:

I was going to say the same thing. Is that a valid question, to identify as something? I am a human spirit.

Maribel:

Could it be that using the word ‘race’ is blocking our ability to talk about the topic? If we're thinking in terms of I'm from this race or whatever, automatically I feel like we're trying to compare. So what am I? What is my identity? Do I identify with any one of these labels and who are you? Like I said, I'm comparing myself to other people who come from different experiences and I think, well no, that's not me. I don't feel like that or I don't speak French or English, that's not my first language. Should we leave that word, the word ‘race’, outside of the conversation and then just focus in inclusive communities, would that be better?

Alistair:

So, going back to the issue of lived experiences. People are on different levels of development, or should I say awareness. So we need to be cognizant of the level of development of maybe, say, language around these issues that people are at. So there are certain people who understand it from a race perspective, as in the word, and some people understand it from the term inclusion. And like Helen, from what I'm getting, she's more on the spiritual side of things. So the idea is to meet Helen where she's at, to understand her view on race from a spiritual level, for example. And now there's so many acronyms around this industry — there Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, and now there is Access as well. So I think that distracts us from the main issue of human connection. So I think going back again to that lived experience, and it comes through conversation to understand where another person's coming from, that is very critical. So I think using the word ‘race’, I guess, is to bring attention to the topic because it's still just a social construct, like most things. But how we do the race work is where the difference comes in. Some people would do for example — something I don't totally support, it’s got a place in this whole industry, but I haven't really seen it being effective — unconscious bias training. I mean, Maribel, you also went through training at the Neuroleadership Institute for Coaching, and they’ve identified that there are just under 200 biases. So how can you get rid of 200 biases in a three day workshop, for example? You have to come up with innovative ways for people to have psychological safety, to have a constructive conversation moving forward.

Helen:

I'd like to ask a question about the challenges that you faced in doing what you're doing. Peter, you specifically mentioned that in the 90s, you were doing diversity management and then this reconciliation process and obviously South Africa has had its own particular history and particular challenges and problems. And we just had the discussion about race, even identifying what race is and all of the myriad different ways that people can view race. Alistair, you mentioned at the beginning of the conversation about the YouTube channel, that you needed funding and that wasn't available. So you've mentioned some challenges already. I'm just wondering what other challenges you faced, particularly in your situation, to get out there and do the audacious work that you're doing?

Peter:

Well, if I can answer initially just the past obstacles and some of them are still very relevant today. The past obstacles was obviously the actual distance between people, where they stayed, for example, on the mines. I did work on four different mines, very, very big mines. And there was pressure from the external overseas community that actually had all their shares in those mines to change. They didn't want any change. Essentially, management didn't want to change because they were run by white aristocrats. But there was pressure from the outside and one of the realities of the design of the mines was the compounds — blocks of houses for only the black people and many of them actually came from the northern areas of South Africa, outside of South Africa, and from Swaziland, which is inside South Africa. And so these had to be dismantled or they had to be relooked at because they created barriers, actually physical barriers. And in our society as well, there still are these physical barriers, the physical barriers of how we live. So if you look at a concentric circle, three circles, the inner circle would be the white people staying closest to the metropolitan, the closest to the actual city or the CBD areas. The next ring outside of that would be the coloured communities. And the outside of that would be the black communities. And they were strategically designed like that. And to dismantle that, to do actual, not just social reengineering, which we need to be doing and we are doing through black economic empowerment, affirmative action and this diversity inclusion work, that's what we have to do. We have to change the nature and the fabric of our society. So, getting people to talk across those boundaries and borders and meet each other. For example, who goes to the movies and films in town, and who's got the money to travel from the extremities of our cities to the inside? It’s the people that have got the money. So even if they are affluent black people, they're going to have the money to come and to move wherever they want to. But people who don't have the money, they're not going to even go up Table Mountain, where we stay in this most beautiful, beautiful city, because the cost of going up the mountain, if you had to go by the cable car, is extremely expensive. So then the disproportionate incomes, that is a big barrier to us changing our society. It was a big problem then, and it still is a big problem now. How do people meet? They meet over coffee and a meal and all that, but what if you can't get the money to go to your local restaurant or a restaurant in town, or go to theatre, all these kinds of places, culture, theatres? So those are some of the really big stumbling blocks. In the workplace, I think something that Alistair and I are still finding and hearing about and we are confronting is affected people that management and businesses, they are still switched off. They feel it's business as usual. In South Africa we haven't had the George Floyd situation… yet. We've had that in the past, which is what precipitated a lot of our change in South Africa. But at the moment, in a sense, there aren't the hotspots, the places of heat that bring about or will and can bring about change. People would say to you, ‘Yes, we’ve got black economic empowerment policies and plans and we got a bit of this and we got a bit of that’ but in actual fact there's a sense of, ‘We're okay, we’re actually okay.’ And this is a problem for me, from my point of view.

Helen:

So do you think there has to be some kind of major event, like there was in South Africa in the 90s that you were talking about, or the example of George Floyd that you gave, for something to happen? Because you're saying, it's okay, it's moving on, but there's not the impetus to do something about it. So are you saying something bad is going to have to happen before it gets better?

Peter:

I think I'd like to hear Alistair’s idea on this but my experience, because I've specialised in the pathological world of addiction work with alcoholism and drug addiction, etc., what I've realised very clearly is that people really only change when there is a significant crisis. So yes, I believe we should have a crisis to facilitate a change. Or, as change agents we need to facilitate a crisis. We need to bring about crisis, which can be through facts, information. conscioustizing people. What we did in the 90s was to use industrial theatre, and industrial theatre was provocative as well as evocative. And I believe if we can do things in our society again, which bring forward the realities, we can do the work that we must do. On the other hand, there are hotspots and that spikes every now and again. We hear about these in a school or in a business, but I think it just gets stifled. People don't want to confront it, they don’t want to confront the race issue, they don't want to confront the language issue, they don't want to confront the diversity issues, such as gender, etc, etc. So, that's just my take on it. Alistair, what do you feel about this?

Alistair:

Well, I would say, it's all on us, the change agents. I would like to consider myself a D&I evangelist at this point. And Helen, you were asking about challenges. Depending on where you do your research, the D&I industry is, I read somewhere it's a $300 billion industry. So it can be lucrative, but we need to be aware of the kind of interventions that are in place to deal with these issues. So a lot of money is spent and coaches and consultants get wealthy and there is no true transformation. So that's a challenge I have faced in seeing that, because it's very lucrative. It could be beneficial for people to have the problem, for the continuation of the problem, because then, those doing business... One of my favourite TED talks by this lady called Fadzi Whande and she says, our job as D&I strategists is to work ourselves out of jobs. That is the goal. So if we continue doing this work, it means you're not doing it right. So what should we do? Another challenge that I faced is lack of collaboration in the industry. You reach out to people and emails get ignored. And these are some people that I really look up to as gurus in the D&I space. That's the one thing. Another thing that I've faced the challenge is, I guess this is now a deep issue of different perspectives where I was misunderstood a lot in the beginning. Because I came from a corporate background in finance, had to upskill as a coach and, because I had new ideas I wanted to inject into the industry, I faced a lot of friction in the beginning. But one thing I realised in that process is that people have different levels of understanding what's really going on, so most of my work, particularly one on one work is focusing on trauma. There's a huge impact of racial trauma that people of colour have experienced, not just in South Africa, across the globe, in America and Brazil. So when people are dysregulated and they are going through trauma or have been triggered, it’s very difficult for you to have any form of rational intervention without handling that trauma aspect. So that whole concept of trauma, I feel it's misunderstood. And it's gaining traction. You've got your Gabor Matés and Thomas Huebls that are sort of evangelising the whole trauma thing. But I think where I am right now in South Africa, there's a lot that we need to do to conscioustize leaders that there’s a history of trauma. And the way trauma works is it comes up again. So people talk about microaggression — that is a trauma incident that needs to be managed well.

Maribel:

If you ask any psychotherapist, they would say if you do not heal the trauma first, you won't be able to change your behaviour in a positive way, to deal with challenges in a healthy way, because you have this trauma. Now you both have been talking about changes that need to be done. And I'm wondering, do these people from different, as Peter was mentioning that there are these three circles in South Africa, do they really want to connect to each other? In order to make this change happen, do we need to heal the trauma first? And how do you heal that collective trauma?

Alistair:

The first point should be creating awareness. They say you need to name it to tame it. We need to know what we're dealing with. And going back to one of your first questions, What is race? If we look at things from a race perspective, I don't think we'll get anywhere. But if we look at race from a trauma-informed perspective, then we can find the right solution, we can design the right solutions moving forward. So I'll give you an example about the COVID pandemic. When it started, the information was, we need to get ventilators and this pandemic will end. That was the mainstream news, right? So all the efforts were focused on finding ventilators so that the hospitals have enough ventilators. But people were still dying on those ventilators until more information came along. And the first responders and the doctors were able to now find out what the real issue was with this pandemic. And I think the same applies to the issues around race and racial trauma is first to have that awareness that there is a racial trauma issue. And then from there, we come up with solutions that can solve the problem. And the thing about trauma is it's personal. Everybody has a different experience. Although it's collective, everyone has a different experience. Hence why coaching therapy, counselling, which is more on a one on one level, helps each individual to process that unprocessed hurt, and then from there, they can be more present in the society.

Maribel:

Thank you for that explanation. Would you like to add anything on a healing trauma, Peter?

Peter:

I want to keep something very complex a little bit more practical. Based on the experience that I had in those 10 years, if I was a psychologist, maybe I would have handled things very differently. I'm not a psychologist, I'm a social worker and I was a facilitator consultant. And my job I suppose, in the model we were using was actually working with groups of 30 to 40 people at a time. And that's after we did a culture survey, after we did a whole process of discussion with the management team and got them to buy into the process, we used industrial theatre, we sensitised and what Alistair was talking about, we sensitised the environment, people were then freed up to talk about the issues of race, of difference, of culture, etc. And we walked into very difficult situations. Our main organisation that we walked into had a lot of tension with the trade unions, or labour unions. So there was a lot of polarisation not only along race, but it was along race because the labour unions were also divided along racial lines. So our big groups came after a process of auditing, feedback to all the staff, negotiation with the unions, negotiation with management, getting them together around the boardroom, and then eventually diving deep into the workshops. And it was only a two day workshop for all staff, but everybody went through those two day workshops in big groups. And my belief is that through the storytelling process, which was the main process we were using and the main skill that we would facilitate, people started to connect with each other. They started to listen to each other’s stories and I believe they started de-traumatising. And I've got a lot of events to tell you about that, I've got a lot of examples. Now the thing was that it wasn't just a quick in and quick out. This was an 8-10 month process, because we left behind a task force that was orientated to take the results from the culture audits and to implement them in the workplace, whether they were communication problems, whether they were race issues, whether it was issues of disparity of salaries, whether people would perceive discrimination, whether it was real discrimination, they were meant to take those issues and deal with them in the workplace. And we were brought in when and as we were needed, and we did them after a six to eight months process, ot a year process, we would do a further updated audit. But in the meantime, we left behind the task force and we upskilled, we trained up facilitators to run those workshops and run any other workshops that were needed. But again, we had a recipe and I think if we had done more intensive trauma debriefing work, things could have gone a lot deeper. I do think that we needed to do more and if I look back, we needed to do more of the one on one work, or one on small group work. Because there were people that were obviously, that were maybe stuck in their traumatic experiences. And they were traumatised. But we used to, we had created by the time we got to our workshops, we call them diversity workshops, a two day workshop, we’d already created enough impetus and momentum for people to actually start sharing and opening their story. I think opening their wounds and starting to de-traumatise.

Helen:

I like the fact that you're talking about storytelling, Peter, and Alistair you talked about it before. I think storytelling is a very powerful tool, isn't it?

Peter:

It is.

Helen:

I just want to go back to one thing. Alastair, I think you mentioned before about, is this your ultimate aim, that your services will no longer be required because the world will be de-traumatised and healed? What is your ultimate aim? What is your longer term vision in terms of this?

Alistair:

I actually took two months off work unpaid, working on vision, mission, values and all of that and the vision is to create an inclusive world. And I've been guilty of coming into spaces, even the race conversation with my own world view. I have a default of coming into the conversation from a headspace. But through coaching and training, I can now get into these conversations from an emotional place, from a heart place. So if you want to connect with someone, you have to connect with them where they’re at, from a heart perspective or a head perspective. And I recently was talking to somebody I used to work with in the finance space and I said, ‘Oh, I now run a diversity inclusion consultancy.’ And then he said, ‘Oh, that's very important, because these millennials don't like to work.’ The guy’s in his 60s and he’s got issues with the younger generation. And at that point, I was like, ‘Well, I've never looked at inclusion from a generational or other age perspective.’ So what I mainly do is actually create coaching products that address a particular D&I need. So I'm currently designing a D&I product that looks at D&I from a generational perspective, whether Gen Z, Millennial, etc. So, like I said in the beginning, it's about creating connection. So if you focus on the race thing, or the age thing, or the gender thing, we're gonna miss the mark. It's about creating connection. And if the entry point is using the word ‘race’, or using the word ‘generation’ or using the word ‘gender’, that will be the entry point. But the end goal is to create connection, whether it's across races or across generations. And in that way, we have an inclusive world. I mean, right now, we’re in April 2022 and there’s this Russian-Ukraine crisis. There are arguments on both sides of the fence. And those arguments will not take us anywhere. The whole idea is to now say okay, how do we create connection? That should be the end goal and not to say, this is the right country, or the right political party, because that creates polarisation. Because facts won’t get us anywhere. It's always moving to a place of creating connection and that's how we can create an inclusive world for future generations. And then we won't have any jobs by then as D&I consultants.

Helen:

Beautiful response. Peter, do you want to add anything to that?

Peter:

Well, simply just knowing human nature, and human nurture, and human choice, and human DNA, I think we’ll always have work. It's like all the psychologists, none of them will run out of work. None of the social workers will run out of work. In actual fact, the world's become more complex. There's more of an understanding, there’s Generation X, there’s Generation Y, and maybe there’ Generation Z coming on, Generation Zero. But it seems as if we still have so many of the old problems that we had, probably right at the beginning of our races, because of the human factor. So that's my feeling about it.

Alistair:

Just to add onto what Peter just said about the human condition. One of the things that helped me to really understand what's going on in the race space is the whole us-versus-them concept. It's always gonna be there because we're naturally biased towards our own kind. So that will never go away from a neuroscience perspective, from a spiritual perspective. But if we can have the systems in place for us to manage that, there'll be less work for us, for the industry to have. It'll be a one-off thing maybe in there. But I think it's critical for us to do the work now, laying down the foundations for the next generation to inherit, and not to inherit a crisis, but to inherit something they can build on, so that two, three generations from now, we can have an inclusive world. So it would be more about maintenance work, I guess, and not starting from scratch. That's the vision I have for my line of work and industry.

Helen:

Perfect.

Maribel:

So the last question that all our guests get to answer is connected with the name of our podcast, which is AudaciousNess. The audacious part relates to having the audacity to come up with such a goal in the first place. And the word ‘ness’ is used to describe a spit of land that juts out into the sea, so in other words, the solid grounding and you are surrounded by this constant change, by those waves and tumultuous motion of water. So for us AudaciousNess means having a solid grounding on which to practice your audacity. While you are pursuing your goal, your very audacious goal, where do you get the solid grounding to continue while everything else is in motion? How do you stay grounded in your vision, despite what life throws at you?

Alistair:

So, like I said in the beginning, I’d looked at race in the beginning from a headspace, a rational space. And I remember telling my friend about wanting to start a YouTube channel and he said to me, ‘You need to pray about this. You're going to need covering.’ And I thought he was crazy. And the more I moved into the D&I space, I know there's a spiritual element to it and particularly if you look at it through a trauma lens, and you’re one on one with a client, and maybe all the books you've read, all the seminars, courses you've attended, there is nothing in those books to help that person at that particular point. And I think and I feel that my Christian beliefs support me in this journey. It's not always easy, but I feel it's a calling for me to be in this line of work. I mean, I could share a lot of stories about what’s happened from just leaving the finance world to get into the human side of things. I don't think I would have done it without a higher power, just reaching out to the higher power and having hope through that higher power, as a Christian, just knowing that Jesus is there to support me in my line of work, regardless of the race or religion or gender of the other person that I'm working with. That is very, very critical because some of the things that happen in this space I cannot explain and no book or course I've attended can explain the transformation that I've witnessed.

Peter:

Okay, it's actually very simple. And it's in line with the spiritual side. It's my faith. I think my faith has been the strongest driving force in my life and certainly in the work that I do. And I do that with gratitude and a deep sense of awe that I can do the work I'm doing, because I do a lot of work. I do other things as well that aren't people orientated. I do web design and I do graphic design, all those kinds of things. But even those I do with a passion for the people that I'm working with, and the gratitude for that coaching work, I'm just aware of the difficulties that people are facing, that our society is facing. That's why I took on the work of being a social activist many years ago, but I've been able to do it I believe, the strength has come from my spiritual roots, and also my spiritual practices.

Maribel:

Thank you for sharing that.

Helen:

Perfect, thank you.

Maribel:

Well, thank you very much for this fantastic conversation. Alistair and Peter. It was such a pleasure to hear your views and to learn about race, lived experience and conversations that connect people. Thank you.

Helen:

Thank you so much, Alistair and Peter.

Alistair:

Thank you.

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AudaciousNess
A solid grounding on which to practice your audacity.
AudaciousNess showcases individuals who have set themselves bold, audacious goals and have worked to achieve them. Our purpose is to inspire people to act with the courage to create a positive impact in the world.

Through interviewing 'regular people' about their audacious goals, we highlight the fact that role models are everywhere. Each and every one of us can have an impact in some way. Our goal is to enable a courageous community that honours their genius and lives their calling.

The name 'AudaciousNess' has two components: audacious, meaning 'bold', and ness, meaning 'a strip of land projecting into a body of water'. We believe having a solid grounding on which to practice your audacity is crucial, or, in the words of the great philosopher king Marcus Aurelius (Meditations, 4.49):

"Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it."

About your hosts

Maribel Ortega

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I help women find their worth and be confident so that they can use their voice, speak up, take new opportunities and ultimately lead fulfilled lives.

Helen Strong

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I run an eco-friendly, vegan B&B in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. This is just one of the many audacious goals I've pursued in my lifetime.