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In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge talks with the Principal, CEO, and owner of Evans & Associates and the author of the book I'm Black, I'm a Minister, and I'm Gay, Benjamin Carlton. 

Benjamin shares that in 2012, he began his career in finance in accounting. He found he wasn’t in love with the work, so he began using his skills to volunteer to help out his community. The more he spent his time that way by helping others around him with their own ideas and ventures, the more people wanted to pay him to set up their events and businesses. He then went on a journey to discover himself while encouraging other black men to be themselves. The truth? He had been hiding himself from the world during that time. He came out as gay and now he teaches others about social equity, love, and acceptance. 

Benjamin shares that the pandemic truly changed how the world has expressed itself. Seeing injustice live on our television screens drove people to their tipping point. After the events of the year 2020, between the pandemic and social issues around the reality of police brutality against people of color, Benjamin has observed businesses and companies dedicating themselves more publicly to these issues. 

Communicating values around fairness and equity is required now of most brands. In order to build a community around these values, you have to do the right thing right away. Don’t wait until it's too late to show your team that you and your company’s mission care about those values. America is shifting, Benjamin shares. We are becoming less of a white majority country and this is upsetting to those in power, resisting these changes. He shares that certain things can’t be fixed overnight. When companies ask him to restructure their business in a more equitable way, it has to be strategic and all encompassing. Who is on their board? What are they communicating about equity to their team and the public? There’s more to being equitable than just messaging. 

Josh and Benjamin also explore that there are those that might accuse allies of being disingenuous or of “virtue signaling’. Number one, most people say those things from their own trauma and experiences. Benjamin explains that the truth is that you shouldn’t let fear, or the fear of being accused of such things, stop you. What someone else feels, and the narrative you assume is playing out, is on the perceiver. Be an ally anyway and take action because it’s the right thing to do. As long as the action leads to equity and helping someone – let reactions happen. Don’t ever avoid taking action that’s on the right side of history. 

Want to learn more? Check out Evans & Associates at their website, https://www.theevansbrand.com/.  

Check out Evans & Associates on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/evans-&-associates-llc/

Check out Benjamin Carlton on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/benevans3/

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