About the Episode
I’m so excited for this guest episode of Entrepreneurial Outlaws, Jenna Teague and Bre Byrd are here to chat about their work with LGBTQIA+ allyship in business.
Jenna and Bre are moving past “safe spaces” and into “affirming spaces” and today they are sharing exactly what that can look like for you as a business owner who wants to be an ally. This work is so needed and Jenna and Bre are doing the work to make it easily accessible.
This conversation not only made me think, but left me with a ton of action steps and I hope it does the same for you.
Topics discussed in episode #66
- Why Jenna and Bre decided to collaborate to create their LGBTQ+ allyship training program
- The difference between safe spaces and affirming spaces and why it’s important for business owners to shift to affirming spaces
- What empowered allyship can look like for business owners and queer folks
- How our blind spots as leaders can be an opportunity for growth and proactive allyship
- Identifying and moving away from preformative allyship
- The power of the difference you can make as an ally, even as one person
About Jenna + Bre:
JENNA TEAGUE is a business strategist, queer-identifed psychotherapist, and professional co-creator. For the past 15 years, she’s been helping clients dream bigger and execute their big visions, from her thriving private therapy practice to partnering with coaching industry leaders to achieve their first wildly successful launches.
Jenna is a multitool for your life and business. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from Boston University, two years of additional training in Clinical Psychology from the Massachusetts School for Professional Psychology, and a certification in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She’s also supported over 100 womxn coaches in filling their 1:1 coaching practices and launching membership sites, masterminds, and their first group coaching programs. Jenna is her giddiest when spending time at the ocean, playing with her pup Reilly, and geeking out on the thrill of collaborating to come up with the perfect program name or suite of offerings.
BRE BYRD (she/her) is a certified Quantum Coach who serves womxn and the LGBTQIA+ community. She believes healing is collaborative, cellular, and communal.
As a Quantum Coach and Cellular Release Therapy facilitator, Bre uses a combination of tools to assist you in your journey. Through deep trauma clearing, you will release the energetic charge held in the body and be able to see your unconscious patterns more clearly. Bre uses Empowerment Coaching to help you develop a deep sense of self-worth and guide you in building the life of your dreams.
Her mission is to help queer folks heal from trauma, not only on an individual level but on a community level, educating families and allies along the way so that future generations can thrive.
Connect with Jenna + Bre:
- Allyship in Action Training
- Jenna’s website
- Bre’s website
- Instagram: @jennateague
- Instagram: @prideandjoycoach
Connect with Melanie here:
Melanie Knights (00:05):
Jenna Bree, welcome to entrepreneurial Outlaws. It's so great to have you on the show today.
Jenna Teague (00:12):
So excited to be here.
Melanie Knights (00:15):
I have taken some time to introduce you both. And I was just saying your bio's, they're both incredible, absolutely amazing. And I'm so in awe of the incredible work that you are doing, and I'm really looking forward to sitting down and having this conversation with you and learning more about the training that you've put together, the program that you've created and continuing to recognize and understand the importance of allyship within entrepreneurship and employed settings. But I really wanna just dive in, I think that I wanna kind of sit back like a listener and listening to what it is that you're both going to share with us today. So Jenna, could you start by telling us a bit about why you decided to collaborate and create this training program?
Jenna Teague (01:03):
Yes, absolutely. So one of the things that I do outside of this work is I co-facilitate training in the quantum coaching academy, which is a coaching certification program. And we had decided within that program that we needed an LGBTQ plus allyship training. And I had been wanting to do that for a very long time. And at the time that we started putting it together, Brie was one of the students in the program and she is incredible as you already know, from just her bio in, and, you know, she specializes in working with the community. So as soon as we started thinking about putting this training together for the coaching academy immediately, I was like, we have to ask Brie, Bree has to be involved with this. And then, you know, Brie and I spent a lot of am preparing the initial version of this training and delivering it within the coaching academy.
Jenna Teague (02:09):
And it was such a, it was such a rich process for me because even though I identify as and gender fluid, you know, I learned so much through the research that we did to put this training together. I learned so much about history pieces that I didn't know some of the legal situations that still face the community today. And we got such an incredible response from the first training and people were so you know, invested and interested that it just seemed like a no-brainer to us to continue to spread this information and this message about proactive allyship as far as we can spread it. Honestly,
Melanie Knights (03:03):
I love that. I love the fact that it came from, it came from starting the process and then just evolved into something else. And presumably, but it sounds a bit evolved into something bigger than maybe what you had expected as well.
Jenna Teague (03:20):
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, when we started working together, we thought it was gonna be a, you know, 60 to 90 minute training that we would deliver once in one setting and we've already delivered it another time beyond that. And we have another talk lined up. So, I mean, we've already re you know, multiple times the number of people that we thought we would ever reach with this message. And it's, it's a beautiful thing.
Melanie Knights (03:49):
Amazing. I love that. So you have said that being an ally is a proactive practice. I mentioned this in the intro that that's something that we're gonna be talking about today. Bree, could you tell us more about what that looks like specifically in an entrepreneurial setting?
Bre Byrd (04:08):
Yeah, absolutely. So I think when we're talking about proactive allyship, especially as an entrepreneur, we're really talking about shifting from inclusive to farming. And so when I think of inclusive spaces, it's inclusive is not excluding anyone. So it's basically saying like, yes, you can sit with us. But it's keeping folks as the other, the different than quote unquote, not normal. Whereas when we're creating affirming spaces, it's accepting and confirming the VI, the validity of queerness, it's saying, I really see you and you are just as valid and you're just as normal as I am and we want you here. And I think that's really what we're inviting allies to do is to stop making folks the, the other, and really create those spaces where everyone is valid.
Melanie Knights (05:14):
Jenna Teague (05:16):
And I would even take that a step further to empowerment.
Bre Byrd (05:20):
Jenna Teague (05:20):
You know, where, where we can actually be empowered just as much as any sort of non marginalized group is empowered. And that's what I hope for as the ultimate result of this work.
Melanie Knights (05:40):
I really love that. I love the fact that you touched on in inclusive spaces or safe spaces, because I know that this is something that has been incredibly weaponized especially in online business and an entrepreneurship, the idea of creating a safe space and safe spaces that are not actually safe. So shifting from the idea of safe and inclusive to affirming, that feels really transformative. It gives me a way of describing something that I'm trying to achieve. I, and I really love that you've shared that because I think that's so powerful for everybody listening, who has a community and who is trying to do, who is trying to create an ethical business and create an inclusive business and create a business that is as safe as they can make it for all people. And I think being, but to change that language from the language we've been given to something that, as you said, Jenna is empowering. And, and as you said, Bri, doesn't kind of have anybody sitting outside of the table. I really love that. I really think that's something that we can all sit with and think about and use. I did wanna ask, is there something you just mentioned about empowerment? I was wondering what, what does that look like? How do you, how do you see that within communities?
Jenna Teague (07:17):
I think one benchmark is that if we are able to reach a level of affirming and empowering spaces, then there are no need for safe spaces. Mm yeah. Because if we're affirmed and empowered, we are not fundamentally unsafe. Yeah. And in need of safe havens.
Melanie Knights (07:42):
Jenna Teague (07:45):
Okay. Yeah. it's, you know, this may be a kind of odd example, but I think of the people who might say, you know, I'm okay with people as they don't push their agenda on me. Yeah. And I want allies who push a agenda.
Melanie Knights (08:08):
Jenna Teague (08:08):
You know what I mean? Where a agenda is not a bad thing. Yeah. Just like any group is allowed to have their own agenda and their own needs and their own desires for Paul sees and treatment that empowers them like, yeah. Get on the agenda.
Melanie Knights (08:28):
Yeah. I'm already sitting here thinking I have so many things to, to think about in terms of the way I'm running my business, but I wanna keep going. And I want to kind of see where we end up. Because I feel like within our communities that, you know, and within our businesses, leadership can be so incredibly transformative in the online space, in an entrepreneurial setting, especially because many business owners have left the corporate world, myself included where they have maybe felt in less, less, they have had less control. They maybe feel undervalued and they see feelings within leadership. And When we're talking about leadership in entre, as entrepreneurs, Jenna, where do you see allyship fitting into these roles and what are some of the common blind spots that we have when hiring and outsourcing and leading a team?
Jenna Teague (09:35):
That's such a great question. I think allyship should be, and will be the default where, where I hope we're headed is a point where, of course everyone is gonna be an ally to the community and everyone is gonna be a proactive ally. And I think some of the blind spots when it comes to hiring and building a team around allyship are similar to the blind spots that we have generally when hiring and building and leading a team, which are oftentimes as entrepreneurs and even within corporate settings, the person doing the hiring tends to gravitate toward people that operate in the way that they do that work in the way that they do that have similar worldviews to their own worldview that they feel that immediate sort of like that vibe with that connection, with that similarity. Because they think if I get people who are on my vibe, who are on my wavelength who think, and work and act similarly to me, then we're gonna be a wonderful, cohesive, beautiful team and a beautiful working partnership.
Jenna Teague (10:57):
And I think what people start to realize when they get into hiring and building a team is you actually need people to compliment you not to match you. Because if you have a variety of working styles, a variety of experiences, a variety of ages perspectives, then that's, what's gonna cover and fill in the blind spots. And that's especially true when it comes to having a diverse team around queerness. Like if you, if you are you know, a heterosexual, cisgender person running a business, entrepreneur, hiring a team and you hire all cisgender heterosexual people to work on your team, chances are unless someone that you hire has really done the work of becoming a proactive ally, you will never know where your blind spots are around the LGBTQ plus community, because you're not even in contact with it. And if that's the culture that you're creating within your own team, it's virtual guarantee that that culture is gonna be communicated to your potential clients, through your marketing, through your messaging. And the folks who need to hear affirming messaging can tell immediately when your messaging is not. But you will miss that because you don't have a variety of perspectives on your team.
Melanie Knights (12:44):
I have so many questions The first, so the first, so I had this, I had this thought, and then I was like, I'm not sure that's the right thought, but I'm gonna go with it cuz I wanna a line as well. And I'm willing to make mistakes. And, and, and it was what initially, when you, you said that we gravitate, we, we do, we, right. We, we gravitate towards coaches typically who we appear, who could appear to look like us and things like that. And I, I know that is, Has not just being something that I have been aware of in, in, especially in entrepreneurship, it's something that has almost been taught to me by, you know, coaches and, and, and other people. And at the same time, I'm, I'm seeing that being an ally is all so in leadership is also seeing that our blind spots can in some way, be an, an opportunity to bring other people into our team. As you said, who can different ages, gender, Ethnicity, he can bring in other perspectives, as you said, that fills that out. And it allows us to be challenged as leaders because to me, I think leadership as well, we need to be challenged as leaders.
Speaker 5 (14:17):
Melanie Knights (14:20):
Because we don't have all the answers. And I feel like the only way, well, not the only way, but one of the ways that we can grow as leaders is by being challenged. And There's so many other layers, also listening important, but being challenged and being able to who see where that is a blind spot for ourselves In that role.
Jenna Teague (14:45):
Yes. And proactive allyship as a leader is not about doing things perfectly, as you just said, you're willing to be imperfect, proactive allyship as a leader is about setting an example, setting an example of learning, setting an example of growing setting, an example of vulnerability, of being wrong of messing up and learning and course correcting because that's true leadership and that's true allyship.
Bre Byrd (15:14):
Melanie Knights (15:18):
Bree, have you got any other thoughts or anything you wanted to add? Because I'd love to keep discussing,
Bre Byrd (15:24):
I mean, just to echo what Jenna just said, and I think that's really something that we wanted to incorporate into the training was we aren't expecting you to be perfect and we didn't create this training to go through and be like, Hey, memorize these things. And, and then you'll be a great ally. It's really to open up the conversation and to make people aware of, of history and the fact that we have always been here and Hey, take a look at the systems that are still making folks, the other ones, the different ones, and then really be willing to look at how you're perpetuating that It's not an overnight, you're gonna be a perfect ally. It's a lifelong process, willing being willing to put yourself in different situations and mess up and be messy and keep growing.
Melanie Knights (16:23):
And I, and I guess Part of allyship, as you said, is, is you don't expect anybody to be perfect. I mean, we don't expecting to be perfect anyway, but I would presume if you go into anything expecting to be perfect, then it's, it's almost more performative than it is As a leader, Because I feel like the expectation can't be to be perfect, that we know we're gonna make mistakes. We know that we are, And we know that we are going to need to keep learning.
Bre Byrd (17:04):
Jenna Teague (17:05):
Bre Byrd (17:06):
And it can easily like that can start as a, a really well intentioned thing of, I just don't wanna say anything that's harmful or hurtful to anyone and, and that's great. It's great that you care so much. And if you're not willing to be uncomfortable and ask questions, when you don't know, then it is performative, then it's just, I'm just gonna add these pronouns in my bio, because that's what everyone's doing, but I'm not going ask why I'm doing that. I really look deeper into it.
Melanie Knights (17:39):
Yeah. And such
Jenna Teague (17:43):
A good point.
Melanie Knights (17:44):
Performative allyship was, was a phrase that I had not heard until 2020. And I think a lot of people that I know In that year alone for me, the way I describe it's like I was ripped open to, to my blind spots, to the ways in which I was Buying into these safe spaces. And they certainly were not fam affirming spaces and the mistakes that perhaps I had made in, in my business and will continue to make, of course. But as I started to understand what performative allyship is, I realized that as someone of privilege, I, how easy it can be to find myself neglecting those commitments that I've made to my team, to my communities, to my clients, to my friends, peers. Bri, could you Des describe what practicing inclusivity towards the L G B T Q IA plus community really looks like?
Bre Byrd (18:48):
Yeah. I love this question and it's so perfectly just continuing the conversation that we were just having, because it really truly starts with the inner work and, and being willing to educate yourself. So I think it's so easy to fall into the trap of performative allyship and that just, I wanna say the right things and do the right things. And sometimes it's well intentioned. And sometimes it's just because you care about what people think about you and that's totally normal too, but being willing to sit with yourself and do your own research or join the trainings, or just diversifying your community, your team, your Instagram feed is a great place to start so that you can educate yourself and really take a look at at what you think is quote unquote, no normal and how you're perpetuating that for other people, because that's going to make all the difference between saying this is a safe space and folks coming in and being like, whoa, no, it's not. I'm the only person here. And it's very clear that I'm the other, or just creating the spaces and people feeling the warmth and the safety in it.
Melanie Knights (20:24):
Yeah. Jenna, is there anything else you wanted to add?
Jenna Teague (20:32):
I, I kind of wanted to follow up on what you were saying earlier of about the, the perfectionism piece with performative allyship. Like if you are just in the allyship game to collect your accolades, you know, to get your little props for participating in some Instagram campaign or, you know, having a post for pride month or, you know, sharing about black lives matter, like that's, that's not what proactive allyship is. And that is a sign, as Bri said, that one has probably not done the inner work.
Melanie Knights (21:18):
Jenna Teague (21:19):
Because when we do the inner work, we realize that allyship has nothing to do with garnering accolades for ourselves. It's about creating empowerment for others.
Melanie Knights (21:38):
And I would presume a lot of a, a lot of that, you know, as you said, a lot of that in a work Is, is done away. You know, it's done away from social media. It's, it's not about, It's not about sharing it on social media or, you know, of course There is a way to share about what we're learning in an empowering way or in an affirming way, because you do it through the actions and leading as, as a leadership and setting the example, versus as you said, you know, putting a pride flag up or a black square for black lives matter. Do you see that being, I dunno if I'm explaining that like in the right way or in a way that even makes sense, but I feel like That so much of this happens behind the scenes and that it is, It's not always, it's not something that we're putting out into the world as an obvious. It here's a post about my allyship. It's a, it's about doing that in a work it's about going behind the scenes and looking at those blind spots, looking at your team, looking at who you're hiring, looking at your communities, looking at each of those layers of your business, I would presume and, and seeing
Melanie Knights (23:10):
Where You are not empowering or you're not affirming all people.
Jenna Teague (23:19):
Absolutely. You know, allyship is about action and doing the inner work is taking action posting on Instagram about the inner work is not so like, and, and similarly, you know, if you change your marketing language to more inclusive language for the community, it's about doing that and yes. Maybe sharing about why you did it and why it's important to, to draw attention of other entrepreneurs. But not as I said before to like, get the accolades for having done it. Yeah. Like it's about doing it and, and doing it being enough, even if no one notices, even if no one who's approval you're looking for notices, the people who need to need the changes that you've made will notice.
Bre Byrd (24:23):
Yes. And they will notice if it's just surface level changes. That's just for the accolades as well.
Melanie Knights (24:33):
Yeah. Is there anything we haven't covered that either of you wanted to talk about share, discuss, or explore?
Jenna Teague (24:49):
I guess, you know, one thing that I wanna say is,
Jenna Teague (24:57):
You know, as, as someone who you know, is, is offering this allyship training for entrepreneurs and employers, I wanna be really clear in saying, yes, I expect things from you. I, I want you to make certain changes. I, I long for you to step into the role of a proactive ally. And also I have endless empathy and compassion for where you are now, wherever you're starting from, wherever your level of comfort or discomfort lies in this moment, whatever level of education you have around LGBTQ plus folks, whatever level of familiarity or interaction you have with our community. Like, you're welcome here. You know, this is an affirming space for people who want to learn and want to grow. I want to empower those people so that they can empower me and the people in my community and my greatest hope. And I expectation is an open mind and an open heart and a willingness to learn, not doing it perfectly, not never having made mistakes, just being open and willing to learn.
Melanie Knights (26:29):
Yeah, absolutely. It's yeah. Beautiful. And which I think leads me nicely onto how can people learn more about the training and the certification program?
Jenna Teague (26:51):
Bri, do you want to talk about that?
Bre Byrd (26:52):
Yes. So it will be on my website and I can provide you that link Melanie. The page will be up today actually, and we will be sharing more on both of our personal Instagrams. I'm at pride and joy co or I'm at pride and joy coach on Instagram and at, and
Jenna Teague (27:12):
I'm at yes.
Melanie Knights (27:16):
Perfect. Well, we will make sure that's your Instagram handles and also bring your website is linked in the show notes. And I encourage everyone listening to go and not just fully you both on Instagram, but also take a look at the training, take a certification program, whether you're an entrepreneur or you happen to be employed or both, and, and learn more and learn more from both Jenna and Bri as well, because just, I mean, I've been scribbling down notes whilst you've both been talking not just for the purpose of show notes, but also for the purpose of things where phrases and language and ways in which I wanted dig deeper into those areas as well. So I wanna just thank you both so much for, for coming on to today's.
Bre Byrd (28:13):
Thank you so much. Can I add one thing just
Melanie Knights (28:16):
Bre Byrd (28:17):
To add onto what was saying about we welcome all allies, wherever you are in your journey. I just wanna, don't underestimate the difference that you can make for the community, wherever you are.
Bre Byrd (28:33):
We were looking at statistics and we have a ton of great and recent information on kids and the struggles that they go through. And one of the ones that stood out to me most was that suicide, suicidal thoughts, suicide rates in youth go down exponentially when they have just one safe person in their life. And I think that's what I hold onto in every training is like we just send out 31 safe spaces to go and touch all of these people that they'll come in contact with throughout their lifetime. So I know that it can be overwhelming, especially when you're completely unfamiliar with the community. And I just wanna say it, it matters. And thank you for being willing to even show up and do the inner work, because it does matter so much.
Jenna Teague (29:36):
And as online entrepreneurs, like you might be that safe space for a kid out there, you might be the one person in their life online, right? Like, yeah. Think about the reach that we can have as proactive allies, you know, in our, in our presence as business owners. It's, there's so much opportunity that
Melanie Knights (30:02):
Yeah, especially as you say, as entrepreneurs, but also, you know, as content creators and, and the way in which content is consumed and yes, The, the age that we are now, or we see people consuming content younger and younger, and it's like, absolutely it's reaching. There are so many people who you could potentially reach it's the same as having that circle of influence it's you don't know who you're reaching. You don't know who is looking at your content. It is paying attention. And I believe everyone is always paying attention. And we, we kind of forget that sometimes.
Jenna Teague (30:44):
So true. I mean, I think of how forward you are in your business about being an anti-racist and inclusive business and how that is like on your website, it's in the signature of every email you send it is everywhere. And I can only imagine how many people you've called into allyship and how many minds you have opened up and, and gotten people to question how they're showing up in their businesses and their lives just by having that at the forefront of all of your communications. And I, I, so I so value your commitment to that and your commitment to creating spaces for conversations like this. So thank you so much, Melanie.
Melanie Knights (31:35):
Yeah. Thank you. So yeah, we'll, we will make sure everything is linked. I think I grab that link off of you and full transcription available over on the website as usual. But I just wanna take a moment to thank you both for not just to collaborating and creating the training and this program, but reaching out to me coming on here and taking the time, amount of your day to chat with us, because I know so many people listening are going to gain so much from this conversation. Thank you so much, Melanie.
Jenna Teague (32:15):
Thank you so much.
Melanie Knights (32:16):