EP 26 Grace, empathy, and asking for change with Darian Kovacs

How do we open up doors and break down barriers for Indigenous peoples to get work?

To get mentorship? 

And to be leaders in that sector? 

Darian Kovacs asks “what if we equipped Indigenous folx with the best education, the best resources, the best credentials, and let them loose into the world of marketing and advertising? And what if they happen to rise up as the leaders? Because they’re incredibly brilliant people that are resilient, understanding, and empathetic of stories and storytelling because of the way they are brought up in their history. 

Darian Kovacs, seasoned podcast host of Marketing News Canada and founder of Jelly Marketing joins Susan Diaz and Rohini Mukherji.

We tackle the phenomenon of the new found anxiety of someone who want to be an ally who is moving from a place of privilege to just becoming aware of the real state of things I- whether it was the George Floyd murder of last year or the unearthing of over 1000 children’s graves, covered up in the Canadian residential school system. 

We touch on

  1. How to operationalize empathy
  2. How to get past the fear of doing the wrong things and paralysis by analysis that stops people from doing anything to help
  3. Some of the really practical pieces marketers struggle with – Darian talks of  a tool like Canva which many digital marketers within amazing organizations use. If you look up the stock images and try to find Indigenous people you’ll find very generalized/racialized images. When we come up against that, he suggests that we reach out to the platforms and get dialogue started on how it can change. (spoiler: they’ll likely be open to it as Darian discovered) 

This episode is super fun; complete with Grey’s Anatomy and Suits analogies and even examples of power sightings of Canadian political nerve centers (hint: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau were in Tofino, BC in early October 2021, catching a lot of bad press on the bad taste of taking a ‘luxury vacation in this time’. Darian channels some primo empathy in his approach to that narrative)

About Darian

Darian Kovacs is the Indigenous founder of Vancouver based SEO company Jelly Digital Marketing & PR and digital marketing course, Jelly Academy. He brings 15 years of marketing experience and a passion for education, and creativity.  He is the host of the podcast Marketing News Canada. Darian specializes in mixing PR with digital marketing and has worked with numerous internationally renowned brands on developing and executing their digital marketing and PR strategies. Darian lives in Fort Langley, BC with his wife and four children and likes to mountain bike, watercolour and read in his free time. 

EP24 A is for Ageism

In Episode 24, we mull: is age just a number? There are so many preconceived notions around the connection between capability and age. Unlike race, gender, or other forms of identity, age is a universal truth. We’re all going to be in our teens, our 20s and our 70s. So, age is a good place to start checking our biases.

Inclusion involves stepping away from the boomers, Gen X and millennial stereotypes and beginning to see people more fully.

Our two spotlight guests represent two different generations. The first was episode 16’s Jacqui D’Eon, owner of Jade communications, PR school instructor and the author of Stuff Happens. Jacqui can credibly speak from both ends of that discussion, from her lived experience as an older adult, as well as experience from being an educator and teaching young people.

In episode 13, Susan’s own daughter, Yara, with her wise-beyond-her-years take on whether passing down traditions blindly could stunt the next generation’s ability to be their whole selves. 

So have a listen to this curation, on the universal truth of aging.

EP23 M is for Monolith – the need to better representation in the media

Let’s focus on going beneath the surface on the inclusion front, shall we? No matter what the marginalization or points of difference might be, how do you take a step back? Being especially careful in the media to NOT treat any group as a monolith, or stereotype. How can we push ourselves to really focus on distinct and powerful lived experiences, even if the people in question look similar.

In this episode, we’ve curated a few conversations with prominent media voices. 

First, Mohit Rajhans, an early media personality on the Toronto morning television scene, doing great work for representation in the media. 

We also spoke with Ali Kazmi, star of the Oscar-nominated film ‘Funny Boy’, who talked to us about his experiences with typecasting, tokenism, and intentions misunderstood in the film world. 

And finally, Stacey Lee Kong, creator of one of our favorite newsletters, (and one of the best in the country, we’d argue) “Friday Things”. 

3 amazing communicators and artists who dug into the concept of superficiality at various levels and the need to build foundations, not just facades.

EP22 Digging Deeper: Correcting Radical Wrongs in Canada

In episode 22, we continued digging deeper into some topics from season 1 and 2.  There’s something decidedly different about next week’s federal election: it’s the first time we’re going in with our eyes wide open. To the existence of racism and discriminatory systems, to the ugly history of this country’s residential schools and to the need for leadership that is going to bring real change.

A throwback to episode 14 touches on the anti-Islamic hate that resulted in a heinous act of terror in London ON and still persists.

And in episode 15, Ben Borne really opened our eyes to the realities and barriers that Indigenous Canadians face to this day – and the systems that need to be rebuilt.

This episode will give you chills. Tune in and take notes.

#21 – Digging Deeper: A is for Anti-Black Racism

We’re kicking off season 3 with a deeper look at some of the topics we explored in Seasons 1 and 2. Thanks to the incredible expertise of the guests we’ve spoken to, we have a rich collection of actionable learnings that you can take away – and do – right now.

In Episode 21, we dig into Leo Johnson’s take on balancing the interests of those with funds and those with needs (Ep 7), Sherhara Downing’s perspective on the say-do gap when it comes to inclusion (Ep 12) and Gail Strachan’s assessment of the meritocracy myth (Ep 5).

So, if you’re looking to be a hands-on contributor to ending anti-Black racism, you’re going to want to tune in.

#20 – Allyship Manual: Embrace courageous action

In the final episode of our mini-series on allyship, this week we cover three tangible things you can do to be a true, non-performative ally. In this 3-episode allyship manual arc, we’ve covered what allyship is not and two key practices for shifting to inclusion by default. 

In the season 2 finale, we take inspiration from a popular pandemic pastime – baking – to illustrate three definitive actions that will help make you a better ally:

  1. Drop the defence. Respect someone’s courage when they share their truth.
  2. Don’t be a sheep. You have a voice and it counts.
  3. Don’t make it about you. When someone needs help, turn the focus on them. 

If you’ve just found us, please give us a rating (just hit the star of your choice, no review needed even). In the spirit of self-care, we will be taking a short break before we kick off season 3 on Friday, September 3. Until then, be good to each other and yourselves!

#19 – Allyship manual: The two mindset shifts critical to genuine allyship

In the second of a 3-episode arc on allyship, this week we cover the two key practices for shifting to inclusion by default. In the final episode of this arc, we will break down a few tactical things everyone can do toward being a true ally, but this week it’s all about the mindset shift that has to come first. 

1) The discipline of challenging the status quo
2) Exercising the inclusion muscle everywhere so you’re conscious of who might be left out at any point.

We hope you will tune into this episode and stay with us for the conclusion of this episode arc next week. Thanks for listening to us loyally for almost two full seasons!

#18 – Allyship Manual: What allyship is NOT

In the first of a 3 episode arc on allyship, this week we cover the five things that allyship is NOT:

  1. Allyship is not a self bestowed title. Don’t call yourself an ally!
  2. Allyship is not a box to check on our way to collecting a certain number of ‘woke’ points. 
  3. Allyship is not something that you earn once and keep for life. You need to keep at it, with continuous improvement. 
  4. Allyship is not one-size-fits-all. 
  5. Allyship is not a badge. There’s no Twitter verified check next to it. You do it anyway.

Over the the next two weeks, we’ll cover 

  1. The key practices for shifting to inclusion by default
  2. The need to embrace courage and forget ego (and how a baking analogy might help)

If you’ve just found us, give us a rating (just hit the star of your choice, no review needed even). Please and thank you.

#17 – Identity, inviting feedback and influencing through persuasion with Romesh Hettiarachchi

Romesh Hettiarachchi, commercial lawyer at B&I Legal Counsel, has a wonderful way of breaking down identity into a conversation between the individual and community. And so, the formation of an authentic identity does require being open to and even inviting input from a diverse set of external advisors. In sharing his decision to exclude his last name from the name of his firm, Romesh shares some really important insights that leaders would be wise to honestly consider when building an inclusive business. If you’ve ever wondered, “what’s in a name?” then you definitely should tune into this episode.

#16 – Ageism, assumptions and asking with kindness with Jacqui D’Eon

Jacqui D’Eon, founder and owner of Jade Communications, and the author of stuff happens, joins us for an honest conversation around ageism in the workplace. As an educator and a professional with over three decades of experience, Jacqui sees both ends of the age spectrum everyday. Jacqui’s message is clear: move past the assumptions already. We all stand to gain a lot from multi-generational workplaces. The opportunities for two-way learning, more diverse and well-informed perspectives, and of course, true inclusion far outweighs any bumps and awkwardness along the journey. If you’re in a workplace that has representation across multiple generations, you are going to want to tune in.