Britt Hunter is a former D1 college athlete, academic educator, coach, Microsoft Manager and speaker. Her inspirational topics range from growth mindset portrayed through her sports and career experiences, the importance of core identity in education, the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives at a corporate level and the subject of pivoting for those in entrepreneurship and business.
Hunter is adept at speaking to audiences on the subjects of growth and pivoting by using her own experiences in her career as the foundation for the discussions. After suffering a career-ending basketball injury her freshman year at Duke University, Hunter transferred to the University of Connecticut (‘04-‘08). She was forced to find a new purpose, which she found was tied to advocating for others.
That passion led her to return to UConn to pursue a Master’s Degree while working for Husky Sport, a non-profit that collaborates with the Hartford community to support youth and college student development through shared teaching, mentoring, learning and practice committed to equity.
That experience propelled Hunter into the world of education where she served as a fourth-grade teacher, Dean of Students and Vice Principal in a Harlem Charter School in New York. After seven years of servant leadership, Hunter decided to pivot her career and pursued an MBA at Vanderbilt University.
Upon graduation in 2020, Hunter landed a role at Microsoft in Atlanta, originally in HR but now in Business Operations, creating sustainable pipelines for filling engineering roles with more diverse talent.
Hunter is an active member in the Blacks at Microsoft Employee Resource Group and speaks at internal events and panels to express DEI and career development as a black woman. Her ability to connect with audiences has provided her a platform to convey her positive and negative experiences in her career as a way to uplift and inspire others.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Stone Payton: Welcome to the High Velocity Radio show where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this morning and you guys are in for a real treat. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast professional Speaker Britt Hunter. How are you?
Britt Hunter: I’m great. Good morning.
Stone Payton: Good morning. It is such a delight to have you here in studio. I’ve really been looking forward to this conversation. I’ve got a ton of questions. I know we’re not going to get to them all, but I think maybe a great place to start would be if you could share for me and for the benefit of our listeners, mission, Purpose. What are you and your team really out there trying to do for folks with your speaking?
Britt Hunter: Yeah. So I would say inspiration is is key, right? I want to inspire people to do more and really reach beyond what they think their potential is. And there are so many ways you can do that. And so some of the ways I talk about it is through self awareness and servant leadership and positive self-talk. And so those are the three things I really want people to hone in on and think about. It’s not it’s not so much like a Tony Robbins speech. It’s more of a storytelling. I love storytelling. The Moth podcast is my favorite podcast. I think we can learn so much about each other through storytelling, and that’s how I lead conversations with people like, Listen, I’m not going to be like your grandpa on the porch. Like, come over here and let me tell you a story, but I am going to be like your grandpa and be like, You know what? You got a situation. Let me tell you a quick story and you know, you take from it what you want. But I want people to to know and understand that whatever they’re going through or whatever they’re thinking about, you’re not alone. And I know people say that a lot, but I really want to inspire people to to to reach beyond what they think they’re capable of and go go for it, whatever it is.
Stone Payton: What a noble pursuit. And I’m sure it’s a lot of fun. I got to know what is the backstory? How does one find themselves in this role of a professional speaker trying to serve folks in this way?
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I think I proved what I’m selling to myself. So I have gone through many different transitions in my own personal life from being a prolific basketball player playing at the highest level, going to both Duke and UConn, being the number one player in the country, having a lot of notoriety and getting hurt really quickly. And my whole identity having to change in college, you know, having the prospect of playing professionally taken away at the age of 18 after having, you know, reached the climax and precipitous precipice of my career. It was it was really hard. And I had to shift the way I thought about myself. And that led me into servant leadership, working with students. And that really changed my self-talk. Like I really took a step back and wasn’t worried about myself anymore. I was really worried about my students and their success, and I poured so much into them that they inspired me to pour back into myself. So that led me to business school here at Microsoft. And, you know, I’ve just proven to myself time and time again that I can do whatever I want. It’s something you hear a lot of the times, but I think as a black female, like I was like, Well, I don’t have the resources. I didn’t grow up with the resources to do whatever I want. It’s like, you know, that’s fairy tale talk. Yeah, I just had to go different avenues about things. I had to go different routes about things. But so much of what I wasn’t doing was in my head. And I really, you know, I learned that from myself. So I want to teach people how to get out of their head and get out of their way.
Stone Payton: So now that you’ve been at this a while and you have you’ve done quite a bit of speaking, it’s not like you’re just now trying to get a speaking career off the ground. What did you find the most rewarding about the work? What’s the most fun about it for you?
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I love going into a room where I feel like I’m not sure if they’re going to listen to what I’m saying. So that could be middle school students. I mean, that is one group of children. I was like, I’m not going to teach middle school. I just I don’t have it in me. I’m not patient enough. But when I get into a room like a group of middle schoolers and they are on the edge of their seats or they’re actually not talking to their friends or they’re actually not on their phones, that feels really good because I know they’re taking something in and I don’t need them to change their trajectory tomorrow. I just want them to keep a little nugget, keep one thing and. And refer back to it know months from now, years from now, and encourage them to listen to other people, to listen to people’s stories, listen to what you know, whatever you’re going to go and go through in life. Someone’s already done this. Life is life is not a novel concept. You know, challenge is not novel. People have done this. And so anytime I see a room of people that I was doubting would listen to me, listen. I’m like, Yeah, good.
Stone Payton: So, so much of this wisdom that you are now pouring into other people came kind of the hard way. Take us back a little bit. If it’s not too painful to where you had this abrupt shift in your how did you put it? It it threatened you. It put your identity in jeopardy, at least for for you in your mind, right?
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I think and I think a lot of athletes can relate to this and not just athletes. Right. I think people when I went to business school at Vanderbilt, we had a lot of military current active and formerly active military people. And they were also going through the same thing. You know, when you’re an athlete and you’re doing something for your entirety of your life, I had I hadn’t really played basketball for so long, but between the ages of 13 and 17, I went from missing every layup to becoming the number one player in the city. The State. The Country Parade. All-american USA, all-American McDonald’s all-American. I was the first girl in the McDonald’s dunk contest, and it plays every year because it’s LeBron’s year. It’s 2003. And, you know, this is like the most notoriety I’m getting. It’s it’s crazy. It’s not it wasn’t a goal of mine, So I’m taking it in stride, but I am getting used to it and I am getting used to people associating my name with basketball. Their third game of the season. I’ve never had an injury before in my life. I tear my knee and I have a knee reconstruction, so I have a cadaver meniscus put in my knee. A 40 year old man died and he donated organs and tissue and I got his meniscus, which is awesome. But when you have a surgery like that, you’re not meant to play basketball on it. You’re meant to walk leisurely around the park. But I had four more years left and I wanted to try.
Britt Hunter: So I was actually only able to play 15 minutes a game. There was a stopwatch, a literal stopwatch on the sidelines with my trainer. I was only allowed to practice for 15 minutes and I went back to kind of missing every layup. You know, my mechanics were way off, but more than anything, I was in my head. I was very confused about who am I now that I’m not this thing. And. It was I was I was really depressed. You know, I do talk about this part openly because, again, I want to make sure people know that you can see a successful person, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t go through anything. So I was extremely depressed. I developed an eating disorder. I mean, and I did that thing that every that most people do, they pretend like they’re fine. And I read a ton of books. This was my escape. Like, I’m going to put on a happy face and be present and be this silly, jokey teammate that all my teammates know me to be. But I you know, every time I was reading, I was deeply, deeply sad. And I think my teammates now, even today, if you told them that they wouldn’t remember the sad part, they’d only remember the reading part. I’m like, Yeah, I was going through it, but. Yeah. You know, time and changing my self-talk and finally asking for help really helped me climb out of that.
Stone Payton: Well, that’s important. Council, I think. And I think so many of us who have accomplished a little bit of something and some domain, maybe we’re I don’t know, maybe it’s for me personally, maybe because I want to have a certain position or image in the marketplace for me. Believe me, I’m no basketball star. But in the marketplace, I’ve had some success and I think maybe I have fallen into the trap periodically of don’t want to let anyone know that I’m vulnerable or need help. And then when I have asked for help, people help immediate help.
Britt Hunter: Right immediately. And they’re you know, it’s kind of like it’s weird because you’re like, man, this whole time I got to just set this. Well, you also you also kind of go through this moment where you’re like, It’s not that bad. You know, you start to compare yourself to other people’s problems. People have real problems. My problem is not a real problem. Right. And it is a problem. You know, you know, there’s no qualifier for problems. You know, you don’t have to compare yourself to someone with less than you to say that you need help. So.
Stone Payton: So have you developed discovered some sort of discipline, rigor, methodology structure around shifting your self-talk? Like beyond just saying I’ve got to talk to myself differently? Do you have some sort of process or some some way that you try to help people revisit the way they talk to themselves?
Britt Hunter: Yeah. So I really like for people to go to another time where they maybe weren’t feeling the way they’re feeling right now, and that has been really helpful for me. So perfect example, when I was applying to business school, I was deathly afraid of taking the GMAT, right? I don’t know. It’s just it’s it’s that fear and anxiety you have of standardized testing. And I used everything. Standardized testing is not fair. Standardized testing is wrong. You know, we shouldn’t do this thing. I’m not a good test taker. All of these things. But then I kind of thought like, you know, I also used to be really bad at basketball, and the only way I got really good at it was spending. An increasingly serious amount of time working on it. And so you go you have to go back to you’ve been in this position before. What did you do that worked for you before? And it seems obvious to do. But I think walking people through taking, taking an example from someone, letting them walk through that example and talk, talk to me about it. What did you do? And I think people look for 1 to 1 connections like, Oh, I worked out in the gym. Well, working out in the gym is not going to help me on the GMAT. But. But what was it tangibly that I did? Well, I was disciplined about getting up and doing it. I also practiced against boys because they were better than me. And so that meant practice tests needed to be rigorous. They needed to be harder than the actual test, right? And so it’s like trying to find those transferable skills that you’ve already actually used and apply them here.
Stone Payton: So when you’re on stage or one on one or small groups, what are some of the key? I don’t know what to call them points, pillars. Like I know I’m going to if I’m going to visit with this group, I know we’re going to cover this, this and this. Is there something like that for you?
Britt Hunter: Not all the time. So some people have different messages that they want to get through to their group. They’re typically all the same, though, right? Persevere. Do your best. Be kind. These are typically the big rocks. But I really like to I really like to personalize what I’m talking about. I don’t want to come in with something canned. And this is where the storytelling comes in. I mean, I have thousands of stories. I just feel like I’ve been through so many different things and on purpose. They were all some of them I fell into, some of them were very intentional, but I make it a point to learn something even when the situation is horrible and bad and I don’t want to be there. There’s something to be taken away from that. So no, I really like to meet the person and say, What is it you want to get across to your group? What is it that you you think your group is struggling with? What is a core pillar that you guys already have that I can help you stand up? So no, I really like to speak to what the what the audience needs.
Stone Payton: So did you study in some regard to become good at speaking? Did it come very naturally? Was it a little bit of both Because you mentioned mechanics and basketball? Yeah, I didn’t mention it to you before we went on air. I did grow up around the game a little bit as a young kid. My dad was a high school basketball coach. Oh, nice. I’m a little bit familiar with I know how important the mechanics, the fundamentals, all of that stuff is. Are there some some things like that that you studied up on and or maybe got a mentor to help you become a good speaker?
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I’m doing that now, actually. I mean, I’ve been kind of, you know, I’ve got this like, raw talent in me. And like I said, this kind of spurred from people have always been asking me to speak since I was 17. Oh, can you speak at this event? Can you come here? Can you be on this panel? Can you moderate this panel? Can you be our keynote? And I say yes to everything, right? So long as I’ve got enough sleep and I have time to prepare. But I want to say yes. And even if I’m terrified, I want to challenge myself to to make a connection with groups. And so now I am actually working with mentors and I am getting more formal training because, yeah, I could go on this way like, Oh, I’m pretty good. People want me. Yeah, right, right. But, but no, I want to I want to get to my best potential, right? I want to do that thing. I’m preaching to other people. Like why I just do something? Why not be the best that you can be at that thing? So that’s what I’m seeking to do.
Stone Payton: All right. So let’s talk a little bit more about the work. There’s there’s the speaking. Is there an opportunity to do more like, I don’t know, like a workshop kind of environment or a facilitator? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, say more about that.
Britt Hunter: So I am currently in the process of building content. Like I said, especially for student athletes, there is a big need for explaining the transferable skills that student athletes bring to the table. So I love to use this example a lot. I say, you know, when you go into a networking room, for example, and you’re maybe at a job fair and you’ve got corporate people there, corporate people don’t really understand what athletes bring to the table either because they don’t have any work experience on their resume. And so there’s this stifled conversation that’s just not happening. An athlete doesn’t know how to sell themselves and a company doesn’t know what they bring. And so I like to ask them like, okay, so, you know, as athletes, we’ve been through actually quite a bit. There are some things that we have as leaders that companies spend millions of dollars on, and it’s leadership. And these millions of dollars go to explaining to managers how to be agile, right? How to be adaptable, how to be personable, how to leverage your team, how to trust your team. These are all things that athletes do every day without even blinking, but they don’t know how to explain that to an employer. Right? And so that’s just one example of something I would walk them through, but also walk them through like how to network effectively. Right. And a lot of the things that I would be focusing on aren’t things that they can take and apply right away. And I think that’s something that everybody wants. People want an answer right now. I want to know how I can land this thing today and be done. And it’s like, no, this is a journey. So here’s some things you can do today, next month, next year and the next five years. And so working on some workshops in that regard. But I also I’m a facilitator, so I love presenting. There’s always an opportunity to freshen up or liven up some content that someone’s already created.
Stone Payton: Well, it’s a great example and it it strikes me as you were talking, it’s. It’s an interesting example for someone like you that had the talent and the drive and you were so successful and then, you know, you got you got hit by a bus, figuratively, right. But there’s also all of these kids and they’re all kids to me. I had my 60th birthday a couple of weeks ago that, you know, maybe there are no Brett Hunter, but they were good, successful Division one, Division two, whatever, ballplayer athlete. And now they’ve got to take this different path. They still have some of those same transition challenges, right? They’ve got to shift because they’ve been pouring their heart into anything from, you know, the high jump to the baseball or softball or.
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I’m and, you know, I think that’s it’s so interesting. I can run into an athlete from AD3 school and they did crew for example. Right They’re doing rowing. It’s not related to anything that I’ve done before, but their self-talk is also different. Oh, well, you know, I only played at D three. It wasn’t like a big deal and I’m like, I’m sorry. You balanced a, you know, academic schedule and I know you were on the water at 530 in the morning. Everybody’s not doing that. Right. And if you’re at AD3 school, you’re not necessarily getting funding to be there. This is like a whole new level of passion that you had. And so it’s really I just I have so much respect for people who are juggling two things at once. Like there’s so there’s so much skill in just doing that, and they don’t really see that all the time. You know, you you had to be present for practice. You had to be ready for competition. You had to encourage your teammates, you had to build yourself up. There are so many things that you have to do that goes into just one event that a lot of people struggle with just on a regular day to day basis, and they’re not necessarily performing at anything. So again, it’s that thing like reach into what you’ve done before and really consider the success that was sitting there. Success is not going to AD1 school. Success is not going pro. That is a kind of success. But. Just there’s just so many levels to success, you know.
Stone Payton: How great would it be? And maybe this is happening for an athletic program to have you there working with their athletes all the way through.
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I would love that.
Stone Payton: Their athletic career at that school because this is incredibly helpful, I’m sure, to someone who’s about to graduate or graduated six months ago and is struggling. But you catch them coming in. Yeah. And you prepare them all along the way. Even more powerful, right?
Britt Hunter: Yeah, And I love that because there you are a different person your freshman year, your sophomore year, your junior year. You are you are completely different human and your priorities shift dramatically. And so what a freshman wants and needs is definitely not what a junior going into their senior senior year need or want. And so definitely speaking and acknowledging those differences and celebrating those differences is definitely something that I want to do because, yeah, I grew tremendously in that time and. Yeah, it’s a great time.
Stone Payton: All right, well, let’s get to them early and often. Yeah, absolutely. Well, and along those same lines, I am curious, how does the whole sales and marketing thing work for you, for your speaking practice? Do you find that you do need some process for getting out there and kind of shaking the trees and cultivating relationships and conversations with prospective clients or because of the notoriety and because of the prolific work? Is it pretty much just coming to you and you’re working your way through it?
Britt Hunter: It’s a little bit of both, right? And so part of getting better is me honing the skill of selling myself. I’m not super. I always tell my friends, like if you have a fundraiser or you have an idea you want to sell, I will be on your team because I am the best at selling someone else’s idea when it comes to me and what I’m doing. I’m a little bit more modest about it, right? And I’m working through that. I know what I deliver. I know what I offer, but I don’t I don’t want to be the cheesy speaker that’s like, Oh, I can solve all your problems. I’m like, No, I want to be a good fit. I want to be something that you actually need. So I do quite I mean, I’m a social butterfly. I go out quite a bit and I just really start to talk about things I’m passionate about. And so I’m just talking about the things I’m passionate about. People will tap me and say, I’d love for you to get in front of my team and talk to them about x, x and x and some people I need to like, you know, reach out cold, call a little bit, Hey, I really be interested in and talking with this group. I’d love to talk to your sales team about X and really going after targets and what that means and what that entails and how to leverage each other and the importance of communication and asking for help and things like that. And so I’m stretching myself. I am doing a little bit of both, but I’m definitely not taking it for granted, you know?
Stone Payton: So I have my marketing hat on now, right? So now I want to get you in front of every athletic director across the country, right? Because I want you in there early and often. And then my vision for you, if we if we play this out, is that it’s like the Carfax. You know, when you buy a used car, you want to see the Carfax. So if I if my son is a college prospect and you’re recruiting him heavily, then the Carfax for me is. Well, tell me about your Brett Hunter program. Yeah.
Britt Hunter: Yeah, absolutely.
Stone Payton: Like that’s that would be Nirvana right there, right? Yeah.
Britt Hunter: You get all the information. Just tell me everything. The good, the bad and the ugly. That’s a favorite question I ask in interviews. Tell me three things you don’t like about this job. Tell me three things you don’t like about this. And so, yeah, I’m. I’m all about transparency and sharing what I know.
Stone Payton: So how do you and you touched on this a little bit earlier. We often have conversations around metrics with a variety of guests who come in here. They do work and they have a way of measuring the value of their work and the return on investment and all that. How do you apply measuring to your to your work? Like you mentioned, that’s not success. That’s a pat that is an example of a way to succeed. When you talked about becoming professional, like at the end of the day, at the end of the month or quarter, how do you look back and say, Yeah, Brett, you’re on track or Yeah. Brett You’re a little off. Like what’s, what’s your yardstick or Yeah.
Britt Hunter: So I love when people refer me to other people. And so if I can impact a group enough that they were compelled enough to say, Hey, you want or need or something, this person, or even if they don’t have that, they say, Hey, listen, I think you’d be great over here. You should. You know, it’s that networking piece for me because I do want to be in a space of like minded people. Like I said, I don’t want to give talks in a check box fashion, and I’m not going to do that. You know, I do. And I work at my job currently. And so I know a lot of people want to, you know, have DNI speakers and things like that, but I’m not going to do it if it’s a checkbox exercise. So I really want to be in a space where people are like minded and actually want measurable. Changes that they want to see and an ongoing relationship. So if someone can get me somewhere else where we are all thinking the same way and being open and and really wanting to do the work, then to me that’s perfect.
Stone Payton: Do you mind if we dive into DNI?
Speaker4: Yeah, let’s do it.
Stone Payton: Diversity and inclusion, if I got that right. Yes. And you just kind of glossed over it pretty quickly, but apparently you have a day job.
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I have a day job. I work at Microsoft all day.
Stone Payton: You know, I’ve heard of them.
Britt Hunter: They’re pretty they’re pretty well known. Maybe a little.
Stone Payton: All right. So diversity and inclusion, what have you learned and what are you working on in that regard in that space? Yeah.
Britt Hunter: So I work in the cloud business at Microsoft. And so that is that is our moneymaker, right? We are trying to lead an AI in the cloud. And so I work with a ton of engineers, really, really smart people. And you know, engineers come from all walks of life. But I think the other thing is everybody, while we’re they’re all doing the same work, they’re all different people and they want that acknowledgment of being different. And they actually do want storytelling. They do want to hear about each other’s perspectives. And it also helps people collaborate more. When I know a little bit more about you and your personal life, I don’t need to know all the intricate details. But if I can just learn one little thing about you that can increase my empathy towards you, we’re going to work better together. And so what I’m doing is we’re starting off pretty basic. We’re going to just make sure we have accountability. And so we work with the leaders in in the organization and say, Hey, what are your goals? What are your actual DNI goals? And it doesn’t have to be, oh, we want to hire, you know, 50, 50 women by the end of the year. That’s not necessarily diversity and inclusion. That’s a that’s a target. That’s a checkbox. What are you doing to actually build more community where people feel comfortable and safe being at work, talking at work, sharing ideas, disagreeing, right. Like everyone feels included in the conversation. There are some things, metric wise, like who are you promoting, how often are you promoting and are you even considering this diversity portion of it? You have to think about it sometimes actively.
Britt Hunter: It doesn’t just come naturally. So right now we’re just working on building the framework of what are the goals and we’re going to measure you against those goals and we’re going to make your goals public to your whole organization. Yeah. And so accountability is a huge, huge, huge part of DNI. You can’t just also you can’t just put it on the website and say, this is what I’m doing. You have to check in on it. We’re going to talk about it quarterly. Hey, these are our goals. Here’s how we’re doing towards these goals and being honest when you don’t meet those goals. And so that requires a conversation. It requires trust. But we’re trying to build that type of culture. And so that leads to more transparency. So that’s the first framework. The next thing is ensuring that employees feel empowered. So every company has employee resource groups, right? You have Hispanics at Microsoft, you have women at Microsoft, the queer community at Microsoft, Asians, et cetera. You have all these different groups. And it’s not like they it’s not I think there’s a perception that like these ERGs, these employee resource groups are going to like, solve world hunger. We’re going to get, you know, all of our friends at the company. We’re going to solve world hunger. And it’s like sometimes it’s not about that. Sometimes it’s just about having community. And so how can we help? How can I help them build community, especially when we’re virtual? It’s really hard, right? Like I’m based here in Atlanta, but my whole team is in Redmond, which is Seattle.
Speaker4: Really? Yeah.
Britt Hunter: And that’s that’s the case for a lot of people. But how can we build that type of community? And it really starts with leadership, right?
Britt Hunter: On top of that, leaders have to be present at these employee resource group events. So every leader is actually tied to a group. So they’re an exec sponsor and it’s like, okay, you can’t just say you’re an exec sponsor. What events do you attend? Do you have an AMA, which is an ask me anything, Do you allow this group to come to you and say, Hey, this is what we’re feeling, this is what we like, this is what we want changed. What can you do here? Hey, we want more learning opportunities. How can we do that? Like, how are you actually functioning? And so those are the first two things we’re working on. But like I said, it’s a continual it’s something you can’t just like, okay, boom, we made our core priorities done, okay? Boom. We made an employee resource group and there’s an exec sponsor done. No, it’s a continual ecosystem they have to continue to build. And then when you do that. They get to build their own thing, you know? Now I’m not needed anymore, which is great. I think that’s the ideal position, is to be somewhere where you can build something and walk away and be like, okay, I’ll go build something else somewhere else now.
Stone Payton: So have you had the opportunity? I’m almost certain that the answer is yes. So tell me about what you’ve witnessed, if you can, about the genuine intrinsic, real value of having a truly diverse and inclusive work environment. I mean, there is the it’s good marketing and mojo and goodwill and it’s good presence. Like I want everybody to know that we’re, you know, diverse and inclusive at the Business RadioX network. So that’s just good marketing. But that’s, that’s that. But there’s actual genuine bottom line, green dollar ROI value to having people with different frames of reference and culture. Exactly. Speak to that.
Britt Hunter: So yeah, so I think a perfect example and I don’t work in, I don’t work in a product sphere, but something that Microsoft does that is really awesome is they have a abilities lab. It’s often referred to as a disabilities lab. And so this team actually works within Xbox, and that’s because everybody’s a gamer, you know, despite, you know, you know, we have people who have appendages missing, you know, people with low vision. And we we can call this group the disability group. We can also call them neurodiverse. These are people who just they have different strengths and but they like to game. How can you build a game for community without the community? It’s impossible. You can’t really do that. And so creating diversity on a team just helps you better work and deliver to the general population. I mean, it seems obvious, but there are so many people in a room making a decision for another group with nobody from that group in the room. Yeah, and I think people are afraid about it because, oh, it’ll slow us down. This person will only come in to complain, you know, And it’s kind of like, well, that’s one way to think about it. The other way to think about it is they’re actually going to challenge you and then, boom, you’re done. You don’t actually have to revisit and redo things, right? It’s like you’re building something and then you have to recall it because you didn’t consider X, Y and Z. Well, you didn’t have X, Y and Z in the room. And so at a very basic level, within my team, within my org, I really we’re looking to build up the neurodiverse erg and I really like being in this position because I learn a lot more, right? I am queer, I am black, I am female.
Britt Hunter: I’m also six feet six three actually. So I have my own different I have my own, you know, situations with height. But you know, I think about myself and those spheres. But there are other spheres out there that I don’t even think about. And so when I’m in this role, I get to open my eyes and go, Oh wow, this group also needs advocating for. And so the Neurodiverse group is a perfect example. We held a session. It says, Hey, this is what neurodiversity is, this is how we hire for neurodiversity. And I think we had a huge attendance rate, people who were both neurodiverse and people who weren’t who were just curious, Right. And the comments the comments in the chat were. So it was it was there was so much curiosity. People were like, Oh, I didn’t know ADHD was considered Neurodiverse. Oh, I didn’t know that like low vision was an actual issue and that, you know, this, this email that I wrote, this PowerPoint that I wrote, I should actually put on the accessibility things because if someone can’t read it or see it, they can’t work on it. And now they’re immediately excluded from the project. And it’s like these really small things that you can shift that just you don’t even think about Why? Because you don’t hear from this group. And so, I mean, it’s just it just offers collaboration. And if people can go slow to go fast, everything is just better.
Stone Payton: And people who are members of these groups, they all have unique perspective or different than maybe we we have. And boy, they can come in with some real answers on some challenges that we’ve never thought about too.
Speaker4: Right. They can’t.
Britt Hunter: And and there’s there’s nuances within that group. I think a perfect example is and this was like I’ve taught many of my managers about this, you know, we sometimes we look at the metrics of like, how many African American black is the way they use it at Microsoft. Rb How many RB people do we have in the org? How many people have left? How many people have transferred out? You know, and let’s talk about that. Why? And I said, Well, let’s also figure out how many of the RB are actual African American, how many are actually African? She’s like, Well, what’s. Well, they’re both. I said, No, no.
Speaker4: They’re not the same.
Britt Hunter: They’re completely different. There is a nuance within that. Africans are very man, I went to business school with a ton of international students and the suggestion I got, you know, people give you tips when you go to business school. And the one tip I heard that no one else had said was become friends with your international peers. Period.
Speaker4: Full stop.
Britt Hunter: Period. Full stop. And I learned so much about their struggle and just getting here, being here, the visa process, their job hunt. I mean, it is hard and it put my life in what I was going through into perspective. But more importantly, when I would hang out with my African peers, you know, their dialect changed. They weren’t even fully speaking English anymore. They’re speaking just a lot of different other things. I mean, it is English, but it’s a different form of English. It’s kind of like patois for West Indian people. And I’m like, Wow, like you guys are only doing this with each other. I wonder how many times you guys wish you could just talk like this all day, but you’re not. You’re having to talk, you know, the queen’s English and some of them, some of them would call it. But you just see them open up and you see them liven up. And I was fortunate to be allowed in that space because they’re very communal, like the African people are very they not all, but they really like to be amongst each other. They have that kindred ness, especially when they’re not in their own homes or they’re not with their, you know, their families and those countries. And so, yeah, there’s just.
Speaker4: It was just.
Britt Hunter: It’s fascinating to me. And so I love the nuances within everything. And I love learning about all the nuances. And it’s not about solving for all the nuances. I think that’s another misconception we have to solve for everybody. And that’s not always the case. Sometimes acknowledging it is enough. It’s enough just to say I get it is enough sometimes.
Stone Payton: All right. Before we wrap, I’m going to shift gears on you a little bit and ask you about hobbies, passions outside the scope of the work we’re talking about. My listeners know that I like to hunt, fish and travel and that I have a real heart for young entrepreneurs and introducing young people to that path. Yeah. So how about for you outside the scope of what we’ve been talking about?
Britt Hunter: Yeah, I love cycling, so yeah, I try to go on a ride every Friday now. I used to cycle a lot when I lived in Seattle. You know, I never did a century ride. That’s 100 miles. Never did that. But I try to do 25 every week minimum on a Friday. And so, yeah, I love to cycle. I recently got certified as a yoga instructor and yeah, I by default had to love yoga just because of all the injuries I’ve had. I’m trying to envision it.
Stone Payton: I’m trying to envision six foot three. Yeah. Like, you know, bend over and take up space.
Britt Hunter: I take up a lot of space and it’s, it’s really, it’s, it’s fun because I get to tell people what I do in my body and because I, you know, I take up more space so I can’t do the pose just the way you did it. I have to do it this other way. And then they try it and they’re like, Wow, that feels different too. And I’m like, Yeah, my body’s a little different. So yeah, I love yoga, I love cycling and I love reading. Yeah, I still love reading. I’m a historical fiction nut. I love it. It’s like the best way to take in information in a narrative form. And I just think I love history and I think that’s part of it, right? Like I said, storytelling life is not a new concept. You can learn so much about yourself and other people through people’s memoirs, through people’s historical fiction readings. I mean, it adds so much color and nuance to everybody’s experience that it just I don’t know. I feel like it builds more empathy.
Stone Payton: All right. Let’s leave our listeners with a couple of I’ll call them pro tips, right? A couple of things they can be thinking about reading, you know, like and maybe there’s some specific works that you’re you’re like, you know, go, go read this lady or go read this guy. But just some things that folks can do on their own just to start working on anything from a student, kind of prepping for that transition to an athletic director or a or a parent. Just a couple of actionable things. And look, gang, if and I’m sure it does, if any of this topic interests you, just reach out and have a conversation with Brett. That’s the number one pro tip. But yeah, some things to start noodling on, thinking about reading, doing, stop doing. Yeah.
Britt Hunter: So I would say one is to maybe slow down on social media. I, I have removed myself from the gram as they say about three years ago and an uptick of my just general productivity everywhere else has has increased significantly. It’s also just not great for my mental health. But I had to get honest about that. I don’t think I wanted to be honest with myself about that. So check in with yourself if you if you can do that with moderation, go for it. I’m not at a place where I can do it with moderation. So I just cut it out. And it’s been nice. It’s been quite nice. And even if you don’t get rid of it, maybe take a break from it every now and again. I find that information can be a little divisive. And I hate to see that, you know, I hate to see people share ideas and then get attacked for them. That’s not right. The other thing I would say is meet people who look and sound and seem different than you. I think that is so very important, especially right now. I see a lot of people, you know, everyone will say this, oh, black people are not a monolith. White people are not a monolith. But I’m seeing people kind of just gravitate towards people who think like them. And I really think it’s important to go talk to people who don’t look anything like you.
Britt Hunter: It’s so, so important to hear their story. You might have a lot more in common. And yeah, I would say if you have some books that you want to read, I really love the book. During the pandemic I read, Maybe you should talk to someone that was a very popular book. Maybe you should talk to someone. A therapist writes it, and she writes about her own patients and then her own therapy sessions. And it was a moving book. I recommend it to everybody. Any book by my favorite author, Colson Whitehead. He’s a two time Pulitzer Prize winning author. He wrote The Underground Railroad and Nickel Boys. Those are the two books that got the Pulitzer Prize and my other favorite. Author is Wally Lamb. Wally Lamb was actually a professor at UConn, and I didn’t know that until my third book. But also one of his books became a miniseries on HBO with Mark Ruffalo. So Wally Lamb is there you know, they’re on the he’s on the Jodi Picoult Lane. I don’t know if you read Jodi Picoult, but her books always involve a child being murdered some way. And it’s so sad. But the the writing is so beautiful and moving. So, yeah, I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t have ended on that one. But I love those people.
Speaker4: No, I think it’s marvelous.
Stone Payton: Council. I’m really glad that I asked. And another takeaway from earlier in the conversation, you guys call it over at Microsoft AMA. Ask me anything, ask me anything. Business RadioX may tear a page out of that playbook and do like a ask me anything because it’s easy for us to get on the mic, you know, and let our our clients and all. That’s fine. It has been an absolute delight having you on the on the show. Thank you. I want to make sure that our listeners can connect with you, tap into your work, So let’s make it easy for them to to do that, even if it’s not on the gram anymore.
Britt Hunter: So I am found on LinkedIn. This is my main site. I am on there every day connecting with my peers. Linkedin. My name is under Britt Hunter. You’ll see there will be a subheading DNI. Speaker Microsoft, Yogi It’s all there. And I also have a Twitter handle at the Britt brand Underscore And yeah, I’m also on Speaker Hub, so if you are on the speaker hub and you’re looking for actual speakers, my profile is there under Britt Hunter Yeah.
Stone Payton: This has been so much fun. It’s been informative, it’s been inspiring. Thank you so much for coming. Thanks for sharing your insight and your perspective and I hope you’ll come back sometime.
Britt Hunter: This is awesome.
Speaker4: Woodstock’s beautiful.
Stone Payton: My pleasure. All right. Until next time. This is Stone Payton for our guest today, professional speaker Bret Hunter and everyone here at the business radio x family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.