EP 46: Inviting Lived Experience and Empathy to the Philanthropy Table with Carmen James Randolph

April 18, 2024

Show Notes

Imagine a world where philanthropy isn’t just about the size of the donation but the depth of the connection. 

Where the voices of those closest to the challenges—especially those from marginalized backgrounds—are more than simply heard; they’re invited to the table, amplified, and made central to the mission.

This is the vision Carmen James Randolph, the pioneering President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of the South, brings to life in our latest episode of THRIVERS. This subject is especially pertinent to Carmen’s work with communities of color, which are notoriously underrepresented in philanthropic conversations.

Tucker and Sarah open up a deep conversation about the heart of philanthropy as Carmen shares her journey in philanthropy, emphasizing the importance for impact-driven leaders to involve the people at the front lines of their mission and recognize their lived experiences as a guide to impactful work. 

Through stories of innovative grantmaking and partnership building, Carmen illustrates how embracing personal experiences and fostering genuine connections can lead to significant social change.

Some of our favorite moments from this episode:

  • The significance of personal connection in philanthropy
  • The critical role of self-care and sustainability in leadership
  • Shifting grantmaking practices to support lived experience and urgent needs
  • Supporting leaders through crises with trust, respect, and amplification

The conversation also tackles the unique challenges leaders face in impact-driven work, including burnout and the need for sustainability, with a special focus on how these issues impact communities of color. By sharing practical steps and personal anecdotes, Carmen provides invaluable insights into how leaders can prioritize their well-being while pursuing their missions.

Tune in to understand how small acts of care, respect, and collaboration can build a foundation for lasting impact, and how leaders can nurture themselves and their communities in the pursuit of a more equitable and compassionate world.

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Tucker: Welcome to THRIVERS, Impact Driven Leadership for the Next Normal. I am your host, Tucker Wanamaker, the CEO of THRIVE IMAPCT. And if you’re listening to this, you’re probably someone who doesn’t just wanna do nice things in the world, but you want to create positive change in the people’s lives that you’re serving and also not burn out while doing it. Well, how do you do that? Well, our mission is to redefine what normal is for workplace leadership to be about cocreating impact from the inside out.

Burnout is the enemy of creating positive change, and we wanna connect you with impact driven leaders and ideas so that you can learn to thrive in today’s landscape. And today, I’m joined by my cohost, Sarah Fanslau, our chief of impact as usual. Sarah, it’s good to be on the podcast with you today.

Sarah: Great to be here, Tucker.

Tucker: You may not if you’re listening, you may not be able to hear it, but Sarah has this awesome green sweater on today that I just I don’t know why.

Sarah: It matches Tucker’s eyes.

Tucker: It matches my eyes. It’s so fun. I don’t know. I just had to throw that out there because it’s fun. And, but we also have a guest here today that we’re really excited to introduce because, and I I have not known her for very long.

Of course, I’ve known her for the last 20 minutes, basically. But, Carmen, I just wanna appreciate you for your presence even in just being able to kind of prep for the podcast, talk about what you do. And, also, you just came right into a breathing exercise with us and just were had some space with us, and I feel like we had a really beautiful space there for a little bit to just be present with each other and to connect within ourselves, do some deeper breathing, and, get here. So, Carmen, I really appreciate that. A little bit about Carmen, her name is Carmen James Randolph.

She, worked at the as the vice president of programs for the Greater New Orleans Foundation until she decided to found be the founder, the founding president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of the South. And, I’m gonna let you, Carmen, actually I’d love for you to share a little bit about tell us a little bit about the Women’s Foundation and, also, what’s what’s burning in your soul right now around what we, may be really awesome for us to talk about today.

Carmen James Randolph: Sure. Thank you, Tucker. And thank you, Sarah. It’s a pleasure to be here with you today, so thank you for having me. Yeah.

I will say, first of all, I, cannot take credit for being the sole founder of the Women’s Foundation of the South. I had the absolute pleasure of working with 4 other women who are grantmakers, women of color and allies to help create this foundation. And the guiding question, I would say, that led to the the creation of the Women’s Foundation of the South is what if women and girls of color in the South had what they needed to thrive. Not to just survive, not to barely make it, but to thrive. So that question really has shaped our mission.

It has shaped the values of the foundation as well as the vision for this work. And we exist to build health, wealth, and power for women and girls of color in the south.

Tucker: I love that. Thank you for sharing that. That was great. Yeah. I love that vision.

Sarah: I love that vision.

Tucker: Yeah. Well, I love that it’s a question, too. Yeah. It’s a driving question. We we speak a lot about questions in general in our work around co creating is inviting people into questions, and I love that the very founding of this organization was based on the question that was inviting you into something beautiful.

What if they did this? Yes. Then what? Yeah. I love that.

Carmen, tell us a little bit about what’s what’s stirring for you around, around your work right now, around being as an impact driven leader yourself, you’ve been in philanthropy for a long time, and you, you know, shared a little bit about the foundation. But what’s what’s stirring for you right now as an impact driven leader?

Carmen James Randolph: Well, what’s stirring for me is how for those who are most proximate to the issues, to the challenges that face us in community, that that proximity and often the shared experience of people in community, it can lead to the founding of everything from a foundation, like the Women’s Foundation of the South, to these nonprofits, that are working tirelessly on the ground to feed, clothe, house, shelter, fight for rights, build power, in community, do leadership development, workforce, climate change work. Because there’s a deep personal connection and often personal story and experience that connects those leaders and the folks who get involved, whether it’s board leadership, whether it’s on the staff as volunteers to that work. And what’s stirring for me is that as we are going, into the 13 states within our footprint. We have presence in 4 states. We’re expanding to 2 more this year.

As we are talking to women leaders who are working on the ground and surfacing these issues, especially as it relates to reproductive health, maternal mortality, and morbidity, that we are and I’m saying we, meaning my myself, my staff, and in some cases, my board. But definitely my staff and I are confronted with. It’s not even just the driving question that I started with, that is fueling the experience and the work that we’re doing on the ground, but it’s also acknowledging a deeply personal experience. And how you wrestle with that experience for ourselves as we look to help work with leaders on the ground to solve these issues. And so to take that a little deeper, you know, as we’re learning about the challenges confronting women, particularly women of color, in states where black and brown women are 80% more likely to die in childbirth or after childbirth than our white and other counterparts.

Many of us come to understand that we have experiences that tie very closely to this work. And understand also that just as a community of women, we’re not talking about these experiences enough to truly understand and and to elevate these issues to the point that we can drive positive change.

Sarah: I’m curious, Cameron, as you talk about the lived experiences kind of driving some of this work. Curious from a philanthropy perspective, what, you know, what does that look like going dictates priority? How do you think about shifting that, balance, if at all? And what is the role of folks with lived experience, not just in sharing their voice or being at the table, but being at the head of the table? Curious.

Carmen James Randolph: Sarah, that’s an excellent question because, like, for instance, I wish I could say that the circumstances that women of color find themselves in is are are are new. That the problems are new. I will say they’ve increased over time, But I’ve worked, for instance, in foundations where it wasn’t even though women were you know, we have a high maternal mortality rate, for instance, in Louisiana. This was not the priority of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The we didn’t have a women’s fund there.

We didn’t have dedicated resources or lifting up this issue. So it’s like, who is this top of mind for? So as you look in philanthropy to say, okay. This is not alright for us to be losing so many women, so many babies, and we have to elevate these issues. Reconciling the connection to these issues in a way that helps those on both sides of the table.

Both those who are doing the work on on the ground in community as well as those working to advance the issues and raise the money or bring the money, to the table or sometimes it’s more than money. I think that when we think about philanthropy, we only think of money, but it’s more than money. It’s it’s convening power. It’s using your voice. It is leverage It there are so many other things that we can do in philanthropy.

And I think the challenge becomes when those issues are so deeply personal, how we can work in a way as well as help those leaders on the ground work in a way that is healthy. Yeah. Because there’s such tremendous urgency, there’s such tremendous urgency that it’s easy to be blinded by the urgency and just go go go go go back to your earlier point, Tucker, about burnout. And if we are just going going going because, hey, women are dying, babies are dying, or or x y z is on fire, then what happens? And what we’re finding and this is across the field.

So this is across the field, but in particular, for leaders of color and women of color who shoulder a lot, who have a lot on them in their personal lives and taking on a lot in the the in this work. We’re not only burning out, we’re dying. And it’s like, how do we do this work in a way that sustains the very solution architects who are doing the work and sustains us. So that is the thing that I am wrestling with because, you know, I even though self care and thinking about restoration and the power of rest and and the fact that there’s very little rest equity for, those who are doing this work that, to actually do it for myself and to make sure that this is a constant consistent practice and not just something, oh, I’ll schedule it on the weekends or, oh, I’ll do it here and there. But just like the breathing exercise we did at the beginning together, this should be a part of our everyday experience because you have to shore yourself up and, strengthen our ability to withstand the pressures that we face.

Tucker: Yeah. I wanna dive into you know, we I think we’re really hitting on these pains and these issues. Like, we’re we’re we’re going too fast. We’re driven by the urgency because of the proximity. Right?

Because it’s so close to our hearts, to our lived experience perhaps that we’ve had, that maybe we’ve even had trauma around this, you know, whatever that particular issue might be. And I I wanna I wanna dive into what is this next normal of impact driven leadership. I mean, you’re hitting on, I mean, you’re hitting on a a topic that has been close to our heart. Our our our mission, we’ve recently refined it a little bit, but was to solve nonprofit leader burnout. That’s what we said all the time.

And that was the the whole reason for THRIVE IMPACT existing was to go upstream with nonprofit leaders to help them to thrive so that they could have the impact that our communities need from them. And and so I wanna unpack your wisdom here and your lived experience around what is this next normal for us to be able to, you know, to be able to sustain. I mean, I think you’re hitting on this of a sustainability, and you were you mentioned, like, multiple stories. I’d love for you to even bring those stories in of lived experience of of real people that you just talked to or weren’t a part of situations of they weren’t able to be there because they had a high blood pressure. Right?

Like, tell us a little bit about what you’re seeing, like, the the reality of what you’re seeing, and and what might that next normal look like from your perspective?

Carmen James Randolph: Well, I I I, have two thoughts regarding this. Well, probably more than 2, but 2 that I’ll start with. 1 is this new normal of and and this is, like, radical for women and I think for women of color, but a new normal of putting yourself first in the equation for doing the work. And that’s radical. We we often put the community.

We put the children. We put the women. We put the families. We put the issues. We put whatever the thing is that comes first and not us.

So putting yourself first in the equation for doing the work and doing it well. And that has to mean taking time for yourself, to unplug, to rest, and to restore. And for me, rest can be, having moments of just silence, of just stepping stepping away, putting your feet in the on the ground literally

Tucker: Yeah. Yeah.

Carmen James Randolph: And being silent. Because sometimes it’s in that silence that solutions come, ideas come. It doesn’t necessarily mean, you know, pulling the covers up and going to bed. I mean, it could mean that, but it could mean other ways of just, you know, collectively taking a breath and understanding that there’s a book called The Body Keeps the Score.

Tucker: Oh, yeah.

Carmen James Randolph: And truly, when you are working at with or working with levels of high stress, you know, you’re in communities are that are deeply stressed or working on the issue that is urgent and pressing. I shared a story earlier. I just was on a panel on birth equity in Atlanta, and, a leader who was supposed to be on the panel with me who is working on issues for equity in birth for those who are birthing people who are incarcerated. And her work grew out of her own personal experience of being shackled and miscarried and being shackled while miscarried. Being shackled prior to the miscarriage and that led to the miscarriage, she fell, and then having to be shackled through the whole experience of the miscarriage.

Tucker: Wow.

Carmen James Randolph: And just that experience of having her humanity stripped from her, and it’s a she has there’s a very painful video. And she had someone from the organization, a young woman who also had, some similar experiences, share and speak on her behalf, and she did that because this woman was in the hospital with life threatening blood pressure levels. So I just acknowledge that this work comes at a cost. Yeah. Especially for re for leaders who were doing this work so deeply under resourced and are working at high levels of stress in doing it.

And so that’s that’s the first thought. And then the second is, so how do we do this? How do we approach this beyond understanding that putting ourselves first has to be a part of the equation. I think the other piece is, let’s just say this, every day and I haven’t done it today, but I’ve been lately wearing these earrings that are very long and they say hope. And I just consider that every day I’m putting hope on every day.

And part of that putting on hope is understanding if if we just live and think from a perspective of abundance. Yeah. That we have everything that we need around us to do the work that we’re doing effectively. And that means it is not all inside you. It doesn’t just reside with you.

And it also is about building very strategic and collaborative partnerships. And some of those partnerships are with unlikely partners. Unlikely partners, not just the people who you might think would be a good partner, but unlikely partners. And so it’s sharing it that whole African adage about we can go further together. You you wanna go far, go with others.

Go on. Yeah. But that you do not have to carry all of this alone. Yeah. And, building very strong partnerships with likely partners as well as those who are unlikely.

People who you wouldn’t even imagine would share interest from variety of perspectives to making sure that your issues are addressed or elevated. And I think this new normal has to be, a part that we think more strategically and carefully about ourselves and then beyond ourselves to how we build alliances Yeah. With those who we otherwise might not recognize as likely partners to get the work done.

Sarah: Well, I’m curious, Carmen, on that. Sorry. We just have all the questions for you.

Tucker: We both have so many curiosities.

Sarah: Yeah. As a grant maker, you are now in a position in some ways to change, you know, grants forever have been, you you you know, so long to fill up the application and just a little money and not for staffing. Right? No overhead. And I’m curious thinking about, you know, you granting money to organizations and folks who are, you know, women of color who are, you know, in or have experienced or are experiencing the trauma they are addressing through their work.

How is your grant making shifting because of of your knowledge? What does that look like? How are you pioneering, you know, shifts or changes to this field?

Carmen James Randolph: Well, I think the first is, there’s been a long standing practice in our field of talking to people on the ground to understand about the challenges that they are confronting. I just had brunch with a colleague, the other day who told me who worked for a national foundation. She says, oh my god, Carmen. This is what we did. You know, I’d go into community.

I’d go to states, and I’d talk to leaders, especially leaders of color. I asked them what the problems are, the issues were that were confronting them in the work. And then I’d go back to my national foundation, And I knew when I was talking to them that we were not gonna give them any money.

Sarah: Mhmm.

Carmen James Randolph: But I took their time As much time as they would give me, I took their time and, you know, took their ideas. And then often who I could fund words was more mainstream organizations. Yep. And ask them, if you can, try to partner with such and such. But it didn’t ever often result in them getting any resources.

So this is a common practice. And we’ve we’ve we’ve called it everything from site visits that are not connected to dollars to listening tours, so on and so forth. And this is all about learning. So it’s great. It’s I mean, in this field, we are to be learners and respectful learners and partners, but then what happens with that knowledge?

So in starting a foundation from the ground up, we were very clear as we needed to learn. I mean, there were things that we knew coming in the door having been a grant maker in this space for a long time. But to really understand the issues from the perspectives of the folks who are working on the ground, we understood that these leaders had been addressing the COVID 19 pandemic for two and a half years. This is in August of 2021 when we opened our doors. These leaders were already burned out.

They were pressed. They were stressed dealing with the pandemic, and whatever impact that had on their organizations. And then to come and say we need to learn from you, we wanna engage you and so on and so forth. And then for starting this work in our home state of Louisiana, we understood that these leaders also, 30 days after we open our door doors, our state was hit with hurricane Ida. So then we knew these folks were dealing with compounding disasters.

We had a housing crisis here, an eviction crisis happening. The hurricane Ida happened. The pandemic was still raging. So we’re like, we need to love on these leaders. So how about we lead with love, literally?

And we started asking, who’s responding? Who’s doing this? Who needs help being stood back up? Let’s connect to those leaders, and we sent love boxes. And I say we sent love boxes, but that’s not accurate.

We took love boxes across the state all the way down into coastal communities and across to Baton Rouge and throughout Southeast Louisiana. And in these love boxes, we had cards that said we see you, we respect you, We trust the work that you were that you’re doing and we invite you to rest and care for yourself. And we had all kinds of things in the box that were, curated by businesses owned by people of color, everything from teas to oils to candles to a journal to books all about connecting and caring for oneself. And then we invited them to a day and a half retreat where they were able to come. They, it was grounded in movement, and, we had some artists who spoke of work, poets, all just, and we elicited their stories.

We gave them the opportunity to talk and share with one another. We listened, and then we let them go. We put them up at a hotel. We had heavily programmed, and we gave them gift cards that they could order dinner and just have dinner in their room if they wanted to or have dinner with one another. And then we brought them back together after a nice night of rest for brunch and then what have you.

But that and then we gave them a grant, small grant of $5,000 that they got to determine how it was that they use those funds. And we had their board chair sign the grant agreements as well as them saying, hey. We want you to understand that this grant is to support the development of your leadership and the restoration of your leadership, However, you determine that looks like. Now keep in mind for tax purposes, if it’s strictly personal, these dollars could be, you know, would be taxable. But otherwise, you get to you get to spend this money however you need it.

Yeah. And so that is something that we’ve done differently for our approach. And for a a report, we don’t require written report. We call. We do a a a check-in conversation about 6 months after we give the grant.

And, we check-in with them as a group at the end of the year. So that is just a way that we’ve approached our grant making differently. And so we started that approach in Louisiana. We continued it in Mississippi, again in Texas and again in Georgia. And what we have found, 1, we’ve had leaders say, is this a hoax?

Tucker: Sure. I’m not surprised. Yeah. Is this Are you for real?

Carmen James Randolph: Are you for real? Is this a foundation really dedicated to us, and this is what I have to do or don’t have to do? We even had leaders in Mississippi ask us, who gave you the permission to start a grant making program like this?

Sarah: Wow.

Carmen James Randolph: Because they said to us, they’re when we asked their experience with philanthropy, the first word that came forward was trauma. Wow. So we are not seeking to be that at all. We want to trust and respect the leaders that we support and, amplify their voices because the business of changing hearts and minds is tough, tough business, but we understand that’s a very important part of changing policy.

Sarah: Wow. That is so powerful. I mean, and imagine if imagine if there were foundations like yours all across the country. Right? Allowing folks and supporting folks to do the work.

And what a state what a testament it is to most folks and folks of color’s experience that that first word was trauma. You know, that that first word was trauma.

Carmen James Randolph: Now please keep in mind, you know, as grantmakers, my VP of programs is a former program officer at Kellogg. I worked at, at the Community Foundation, as you mentioned, but I also worked for the Meyer Foundation in DC. So I’m skilled and have experienced moving serious dollars. Right? So a $5,000 grant for me was a little bit. It was a stretch for me to think about how so little dollars to be impactful.

Sarah: Yeah.

Carmen James Randolph: And I can tell you for these leaders, they have said it’s been life changing. It’s changed their approach to how they work in their organizations. It’s changed their approach to leadership with their staffs, how they’ve changed policy within their organizations, and it’s also changed, in some cases, their approach to working with their clients. So it’s been a lesson to me about how the dollars and and our goal isn’t to just make these small tiny grants. We’re also interested in raising the dollars necessary so that we can make larger more impactful grants, including much needed general operating support for these organizations so that they can, you know, build their capacity, to do the work.

But, this is the first step. This is how we are understanding the places and the people in the places in which we aim to do the work.

Sarah: It reminds me a little of the, you know, the kind of conditional cash transfer approach in international development work where, you know, folks started saying, let me just give you all the money. Right? And particularly let me give women the money, because there was some work specifically in Brazil where I did some research where you know, they just started giving heads of household, women heads of household, just straight up cash to do the things they needed to do. And through an evaluation, they found that that was money much better spent, right? It went to the things the woman knew she needed to take care of her family, right?

And she’d have to jump through the hoops or over the bars or across the fence to get it. And so I just, it’s trusting the people. It’s trusting people that they know what is best for them in their lived experience.

Carmen James Randolph: This one woman, who is a cancer survivor had a double mastectomy. And when she said what will make me feel restored or help restore my leadership is getting these very expensive compression garments that will enable me to wear professional clothing and go out and present into whatever. And so that was what she used resources for. And then she said, but I couldn’t stop there. I know that I’m not the only person who has this need.

We have clients who also have this need. So they started a fund within their organization for cancer survivors. So in terms of women understanding what they need and also understanding what others need Yes. And how that often is multiplied

Sarah: Yes.

Carmen James Randolph: When you help women address the things that are most, you know, near and dear and close to them. And I can tell you just last weekend, I one of the leaders in Atlanta was like, oh my gosh. She said, I don’t to have someone give something to me

Sarah: Yes.

Carmen James Randolph: That was for my leadership in restoration was just transformative. Like, through this whole experience that we’ve been through over the last several years, I’m giving giving giving giving giving to others, but nothing have has come to me. And you know what she told me? I’ll just share this. She said to me, you know what I did with the love box?

And I said, what? She said, I put all those items in my guest room and it looks so warm and inviting. Do you know what I did? She said, I decided I was gonna spend the weekend in my guest room. Yeah.

I was a guest in my house for a weekend, and I just thought that was the coolest thing.

Tucker: That is so good. I love that story. Well, it’s just so human. And it’s like, I may not understand that story of why that’s important to that woman, but that’s important to that woman. And that’s it.

Right? Like, it’s it is that Sarah, what you’re hitting on. It’s this no. Let me be curious about what’s important for you and and give you resources that help to support that.

Carmen James Randolph: Or just even think. We give what we would give to a guest, we wanna give the best for our guests. Right? You wanna set the best table. You wanna set the most welcoming and warm environment for a guest.

You know, I once had a therapist say to me, Carmen, for a moment, be your own best girlfriend. And if you were your own best girlfriend, what would you say Yeah. To her right now? And to me, that was like, I would set the best experience for a guest in my home. And for once, I decided to be my own guest and give myself the best that I had to offer.

Yeah. For a comfortable place to rest. That was awesome.

Tucker: You know, reminds me, Carmen, we we did a podcast interview, quite a few months ago with a a CEO of a nonprofit here in Denver, which is where I’m from or where I live anyway. And, he he has a Christian background, and he was saying he’s like, y’all Jesus was pretty straightforward. He said love your neighbor. That was one of the commandments. Right?

And he’s like, what does love your neighbor mean? Well, what do you love? I love a a roof that doesn’t leak. I love a reliable car. I love you know, I mean, he just brought it down to such a deeply human level of what are the things that you love now. So Jesus is saying, go love your neighbor. Like, just look at what you love and then go love that person in that way. You know? Like, you love a really good meal, not some crappy meal down the street.

You know? Like, you love, like, a really good meal. Well, then I’ll bet your neighbor loves that too. You know? It was just this really Simple way of thinking about it that was that we overthink it, and we deemphasize, the empathy side. Like, we deemphasize what it is that they may may love and may be supportive of them. I’m curious just to get into some practical steps here because what what I’m hearing, Carmen, I mean, we have a lot of resonance with you, of course, with our work, and, we believe that impact from the inside out is is the is the future. Right? It’s us embodying individually within our teams, within our organizations, embodying the very vision that we have for the people that we’re serving.

Because as as a there’s a old quote that we like to use from I think it’s Fred Kaufman that says, the greater that, you know, things like our values or our vision is the greater that the gap goes between that and the way that we work and behave becomes no greater corruption of the organizational soul. And but what we’re even saying is it becomes no greater corruption of our own bodies. Right? Like, our bodies are taking are taking the the brunt of this. And if we don’t create impact from the inside out, starting from within ourselves, we’re really creating a big problem for ourselves and for ultimately the impact.

Because I think one of the things in in in thinking rethinking this of when you were saying putting yourself first, one of the things I was thinking is is that when when these when these leaders are putting themselves first, is that they’re they’re actually creating more impact in the world. Right? And I I’ve realized for myself, anyway, this is my own lived experience, is that if I like, when I first say things like putting myself first, it feels it hits that, like, self uncomfortable. Like but then I realized, and the more I’ve started to incorporate recovery oriented practices for myself, Like, that is restorative for me, which allows allows for more for us at THRIVE IMPACT to create more conditions that help to heal leaders and help to create the conditions that we’re looking for. And I just realized the more that I connected it to empathy of what others what happens what’s made possible if I take care of myself is this impact is able to happen.

More of these you know, like, I think about that woman you were sharing earlier about mothers who are incarcerated and, you know, and the shackles that you mentioned. More people more women will be able to have their shackles off if I’m able to recover. That’s like trying to

Carmen James Randolph: Absolutely.

Tucker: Connect that into the reason why we’re here because and why we we say impact driven leaders is we’re not just mission driven leaders. We’re impact driven leaders to create positive change and to measure that positive change. And the more of that can happen if I’m able to recover Mhmm. And to have have that space of of healing.

Carmen James Randolph: And not only thinking of it in terms of healing, Tucker, but think of it in terms of our dreams and our ability to create solutions and create conditions to make things better. And there’s a line that I say at the end of one of the impact productions that we made and that is how can we dream if you don’t sleep? You can’t come up with solutions. You can’t think about you know, there’s one thing about seeing the world as it is and accepting that that is the way that it must be. And there’s another thing to me about seeing the world as it is, and having the ability to see how it can be.

And we cannot do that, see how the world can be if we do not have moments of rest and restoration to fuel the ability to see things, to hear things, to visualize, to experience something different and to create it. So I see it as both the pouring in to restore myself, but also the, oh my goodness, the inspiration that can come.

Tucker: True.

Carmen James Randolph: The solutions that can come. And then think about there’s someone whose future is tied to your dreams.

Tucker: Mhmm. Oh, yep. Well, Carmen, just to close here, wanna get, like, what is hyper practical? Like, I love how you talked about your earrings and, like, the hope. Right?

But, like, that kind of practical. What are some real practical steps impact driven leaders can take around really doing this from your perspective and your lived experience?

Carmen James Randolph: One hyper practical step and it’s something that when I do it, I’m good. And that is, you know, I think it’s Michael Hyatt that said what is scheduled gets done. And if we do not schedule ourselves, schedule whatever that ritual is

Tucker: Yep.

Carmen James Randolph: That you should that you might do when you get up in the morning. Whatever that ritual is during to wind down your day or to even schedule 5 minutes to step away and take a breath or to take a walk or to, breathe, whatever that is, I think one hyper very specific way that we can begin to put ourselves first is to schedule whatever that restoration and break looks like for you in your planner.

Sarah: Yes.

Carmen James Randolph: Block it out. Schedule it. Calendar. Yep. Put it on the calendar, and that should be a daily practice.

And I’m telling you, when it is scheduled daily and I know, this is my walk time or this is what I’m doing x y z, then I tend to do it, which is crazy. But you do it when it’s scheduled.

Tucker: And it’s taken too. Right? Nobody can touch it. Like, that’s sacred territory.

Carmen James Randolph: It sacred. Absolutely.

Tucker: There no meetings can go on top of this. Yeah.

Carmen James Randolph: Then I think the other thing, in terms of building or being open, receptive to partnerships with unlikely partners. It is putting yourself, making sure that you’re not only in spaces with people who you know. And that is stepping outside our comfort zone, which is a way that I must, I personally have to challenge myself to be in rooms and spaces where I don’t know anybody. And begin those conversations and find those things that connect me with people in those spaces and be open to learning and connecting with them. And that often can lead to those partnerships that are unlikely.

Tucker: Mhmm. Yeah.

Sarah: I appreciate that last one in particular, like, get in those rooms where you don’t know us all and go learn. Yeah. I love that.

Tucker: Yeah. I love that. Carmen, thank you for your presence. Thank you for your, just your wisdom and sharing about your your lived experience and what you’ve done. Some of your cool practices too.

I love just the the, the I love the hope earrings. Like, I can, even though I don’t have pierced ears at all, I can, like, insert yourself. Like, I’m like, what is the thing I can put hope on with? You know? I was like, I wanna figure that out.

Sarah: Do a Necklace.

Tucker: Put on a necklace or something like that. That’d be great. Maybe I’ll go pierce my ears. But, I just appreciate your, just your presence and even your cadence. The way that you speak is really is really warm and connective and, just really appreciate that.

And thank you for the work that you’re doing, especially in helping these leaders to thrive. Yeah.

Carmen James Randolph: Thank you, Tucker.

Tucker: Have more impact. I really appreciate you being on the podcast.

Sarah: Yeah.

Carmen James Randolph: And, Thank you. Thank you for having me. This has been great getting to know you and Sarah. It hasn’t been a long time, but you made me feel very welcome and comfortable. And I really appreciate this time that we’ve had together so thank you.

Tucker: Awesome. Thank you, Carmen.