1614 – Igniting DEI Efforts by Measuring the Impact of Every Employee with Aerodei’s Netta Jenkins

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Chief Executive Officer of Aerodei/ Holistic Inclusion Consulting, Netta Jenkins.

Jenkins Wide

Netta Jenkins is a trailblazer in the field of diversity and inclusion. Her work is particularly relevant in our current climate, where these topics are making headlines. Netta has developed a unique platform, Aero, which gamifies measuring the impact of every employee within an organization. She firmly believes that seeing the tangible impact of one's efforts is crucial for individuals to continue championing diversity and inclusion.

Netta's platform, Aerodei, is a testament to the power of gamification in driving change. By making the process engaging and interactive, employees can see the direct impact of their efforts. Netta believes this is key to sustaining the momentum in diversity and inclusion work.

Netta suggests that there could be a system similar to the Better Business Bureau or JD Power and Associates that assesses and rates organizations' DEI efforts in the future. She emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability in driving sustainable change.


About Netta Jenkins:

Netta is renowned for her expertise in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and is the CEO of Aerodei, a platform leveraging gamification to propel DEI efforts in organizations.

A doctoral student in quality systems and management, Netta is a prolific author named by Forbes as one of the top 7 Anti-Racism educators globally. Her book, “The Inclusive Organization,” ranks among Forbes' top 4 DEI books.

She co-founded Dipper, a rating platform for professionals of colour, and founded Holistic Inclusion Consulting, leading to her recognition as one of LinkedIn's Top Voices for Equity in 2020.

As VP of Global Inclusion at Unqork and IAC/InterActiveCorp previously and an advisory board member at Betterment, her work in corporate diversity has won her numerous accolades. She collaborates with ex-Walmart CEO Marc Lore on building Telosa, a city aiming to epitomize inclusivity.


About Aerodei/ Holistic Inclusion Consulting:

Aerodei is a pioneering platform employing gamification to stimulate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts within organizations. It measures individual employee impacts and furnishes real-time demographic data, aiding companies to gauge their DEI landscapes accurately.

Aerodei's offering extends to benchmarking tools that facilitate meaningful comparisons, driving organizations towards their DEI goals. Its innovative system's core lies in a proven framework designed to augment representation, retention, engagement, and growth. This is achieved through fostering cross-functional collaboration and encouraging a more integrated, inclusive work environment.

Aerodei's innovative strategy establishes it as a powerful instrument in propelling DEI endeavors forward. And this allows them to cater to organizations aspiring to comprehend their current state and effectively strategize and implement transformative measures for improvement.


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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Aerodei website at

Check out Aerodei on LinkedIn at

Check out Netta Jenkins on LinkedIn at

Check out Netta Jenkins on Twitter at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now. Netta Jenkins. It's a pleasure to have you. Netta, you are the CEO of Aerodei and you are also the C, You're also the founder of Holistic Inclusion Consulting. Your websites are Netta Jenkins dot come and Aerodei and forgive me, am I saying that correctly? Aeordei here. Are you sure? Yeah.

Josh (00:01:24) - Let me give the website it Aeorodei and that's a e r o d e i. So to our friend this. Listen to our conversation. Click around, find the show notes button. We've got a direct link, Netta, to your website and it's so great having you here. Thank you for the work that you're doing. Particularly we're recording this during June where diversity and inclusion is absolutely been in the news quite a bit. So I just want to say thank you so much for the work you're doing and I'm just grateful to have you on the show.

Netta (00:01:57) - Thank you so much for having me. So excited to be on your show today as well. Yeah.

Josh (00:02:01) - So tell me about Aerodei.

Netta (00:02:04) - Yeah. So, no, it's okay. So as you can see, it's a platform that ignites Dei efforts by measuring the impact of every single employee within an organization. And what it is, is it's a gamified platform. So my background is in behavioral psychology and communications. And so what I always say is as human beings, we love the gamification element of almost about everything, right? We're very competitive as human beings as well.

Netta (00:02:33) - And so we try to add that element. The other thing about Dei that I absolutely love is that as an employee, when you take those actionable steps within the system, you're able to see the impact of your efforts and you gain points, right? So there's the gamification element, but it's so critical for us as human beings to see the impact of our efforts. So what I typically say is, let's say, Josh, I brought you to a clothing store right now. You try it on a shirt and that shirt looks amazing on you, like, Damn, Netta, I look good. What happened? You saw the results of your impact, right? Or the shirt that you're wearing. Now, what's going to happen? You're going to go back to that store and you're going to say, Netta, I like you, thank you for introducing me to that store. But now I can go there on my own because you saw the impact. And it's the same type of psychology built into erudite.

Netta (00:03:26) - People need to see the impact in order to continue to build the muscle to do the work.

Josh (00:03:31) - Yeah, and I bet that you could probably well, before we get into kind of like why it works so well and why is such a timely solution for right now. Would you mind maybe just kind of giving us from your perspective, your vantage point and by the way, Ned, I forgot to mention you're the author of the brand new book, The inclusive organization Real Solutions as Impactful Change and Meaningful Diversity. So congratulations published by Wiley. So again, congrats on the book launch, and I'm hoping maybe you can kind of just if you're willing to kind of give us a State of the Union on little mini State of the Union on where we are with Dei today, I'm really would value your perspective on this.

Netta (00:04:20) - Yeah, absolutely. So where we are with the today is we're in a very interesting time. We see the political climate, the narrative that's being shaped about Dei. And when I speak with leaders and even employees within organizations, I say that all the Dei solves for is to simply remove barriers.

Netta (00:04:42) - So think about it. If you're within an organization, wouldn't you want barriers to be removed? It helps you to advance and it helps others around you to advance as well. We take it a step further. We have to assess, okay, what type of barriers exist for what populations within an organization, right? Who are those people that are truly being impacted? How do we remove them so that they're able to advance? So we're at a very critical point in time. And, you know, many people ask me this question, well, Netta, how are you feeling about it? And I say, you know, any time we're in turmoil, right, or things are being challenged or maybe there's negative narratives being painted, that's when breakthroughs begin to happen. And so I do believe that there is we're going to eventually, soon see a breakthrough that happens because we see that more people are coming together to say, wait, hold on, why is this narrative being painted about when all it's doing is to help those excel within organizations, right? Or to ensure that they're inclusive workplaces that foster a sense.

Netta (00:05:56) - Of belonging for people to advance. It's that simple. Why wouldn't we want to have that right? So it's we're at a very interesting time, but I think we'll see the light as well.

Josh (00:06:10) - Yeah. What advice would you give to someone? Let's say that they're not at the top of the food chain, but they're an advocate, like they truly believe in equity and inclusion and diversity, and we want to be better champions in our own sphere of influence and our own worlds. You know, maybe we see conversations in social media. Maybe we see things in our workplace. You're like, you know, I want to take a stand for this. How can we do that in an honoring and authentic way? That I think opens conversation as opposed to maybe draws lines in the sand, which I'm honestly, I kind of you know, I'm feeling super sensitive right now because I'm like, whoa, I don't know why it's such a hot topic for you. Here's my point of view on it.

Josh (00:07:04) - But yeah, what would you recommend to those advocates?

Netta (00:07:09) - Yeah. What I recommend is I believe in the power of people, right? Don't do it alone. If you are someone, let's say, within an organization and you're saying to yourself, Well, you know, I really want to make sure that difference, that we're we're creating strategies, we're implementing policies and processes in place that really help to remove barriers that exist. Don't do it alone. I think oftentimes people try to do it alone and then you're just people get so overwhelmed and frustrated by the pushback. So find other people that are just as passionate about these efforts that will sit, that will ideate with you, that will talk through some of these discussions and that may perhaps say, you know what, I know a couple of people that may not quite care too much about this work, but because I have a relationship with them, I know that they will listen. I'm going to bring them in and let's have this deeper conversation as to how it advances Really, everyone, right? It's for the betterment of everyone.

Netta (00:08:12) - And I think when you know folks that are advocating for these spaces, inclusive spaces, take that type of stance and lean on others, that's when you see true impact and real, real discussion happening in action as well.

Josh (00:08:30) - Yeah. I want to share a bit about your book, The Inclusive Organization. It's on Amazon, it's on Barnes and Noble. You can get it right now. And Neda, what is the transformation that can take place for someone who really takes to heart what you've written?

Netta (00:08:45) - And yes, there's so much transformation that takes place. I think the first step is really self transformation. It's understanding, okay, where did I grow up? Who? Who am I? Right? What are things? Maybe that I was I did not see due to the space that I was in. Right. What are some things that I experienced as well that I'm still harboring, Right? What do I. What am I holding? I may find that I'm feeling a bit guilty or I'm insecure about or I'm afraid to talk about uncovering.

Netta (00:09:17) - Those things are really critical to creating the real action because we have to really turn the mirror to ourselves and ask ourselves, what have I done? What work have I done? Why don't I care? Why do I care? That's the start. And I start, you know, the chapter off with human behavior, like, let's decode human behavior. What I love about the book as well is at the end of each chapter, there are worksheets. So I really want for folks, for readers to be able to apply their learnings so that they're able to create the action that they want to see as well. Also, there's an ability to create measurements. So where do you want to see yourself in the middle of the book at the end of the book, Right. What do you want to do in there? Space for that in the book for you to document and work through. So I'm just really excited to see that level of transformation. I was very intentional about not simply writing a book and forgetting all about it, you know, so that was critical.

Netta (00:10:19) - Oh, my son is popping in here as well.

Josh (00:10:23) - Hey, little buddy, for our listeners right now, right, we're recording this on Zoom. And so sometimes that happens. You know, listen, I'm a dad. I've had three kids. And, you know, or sometimes, you know, they're much older right now. Sometimes they'll just pop in dad and it's like, got it on airline. But, you know, so tell me more about the platform. Is this available? Who should be using it? This sounds like you've really jumped into a really great opportunity here because I think that there are some wonderful consultants and there's a lot of great workshops in education that I think is being done. But I think the tools just from my perspective. I think they're lagging a little bit behind. I think there's a lot of opportunity here to empower organizations with the tools that they need so that they can actually it's like, you know, let's say you have a consultant comes in, does it to our workshop.

Josh (00:11:24) - Everyone's like, rah, rah, rah, rah, cool. Yes. And then we kind of go back to our cultures and, you know, if we truly aren't making change, then it's like, well, that was a great message, but are we really doing the work? And, you know, like, so thank you for supplying tools that we could use, but please give us an overview.

Netta (00:11:46) - Josh, I'm hiring you at Arrow. Did you are you just told it that that's it? Again, I think there are so many Dei practitioners in this space that are doing exceptional work, right? And it's not easy work. Workshops and trainings are great, but to your point, what happens is people are motivated in the workshops, but then the sustainability and the behavior. Shifts, right? It's the same behavior and it's not sustainable. And so that's one of the reasons why it was really important for me to, you know, really create a product that or a tool, rather, that is really going to change the landscape of that will ignite employees and that will also offer organization sustainability.

Netta (00:12:36) - And so what Aerodei does is it provides the actionable steps. So it tells you step one, step two, step three support. Here are the steps that you take to make sure that you're able to see the impact of of what you're working on. Right. And there's that overarching goal. So it's I mean, it's really been incredible. It's been really cool to see organizations seeing the value in this and saying, oh, my goodness, we needed this yesterday. Like, we need this within our organization because we want to drive the sustainability. We want to see the impact. We want folks to feel safe enough to self ID. There are various features that we have within Aerodei as well. You know, our self ID feature, what happens is HR systems, the identity experience is not expansive, right? Folks are not truly able to identify the way that they want to identify. And we see identity as fluid. So within our platform, folks can also identify as a caregiver what type of caregiver if you're a veteran, right? Typically on surveys you see two or more races.

Netta (00:13:49) - What like what does that do for anyone that that information if you don't really know the population? Also, what we see is many organizations will say, hey, we're shaping our benefits around another company that's of the same size and has great benefits. So we're going to do the same thing. And always looked at that and I said, Well, that doesn't make sense because you're not serving your population. You're serving an organization that's not even thinking about you. Right? And so with the Self ID feature now, leaders are able to say, okay, here's the demographic, the population we have within our organization. Let's make sure that our benefits and our policies serve these people right. Let's make sure that they actually are engaged with the benefits. They can utilize the benefits, and they see the value of that because it serves them. So there are so many cool features and components of ROI that that love.

Josh (00:14:47) - You know, this is interesting. I would love your opinion on this. I've seen a lot of good work from brands when they commit to diversity, equity, inclusion.

Josh (00:15:00) - Now I think sometimes you can look at that and sometimes you might look at that with a little bit of skepticism and in a healthy way. But asking ourselves, okay, is this just PR and marketing or are they just saying this? Or is there a way to actually tell if a company has really done great work rather than just put out some great press releases on it? And I'm curious and again, I don't know if this is the answer, but, you know, I wonder if there will be a future where there will be some sort of you know, it's kind of like you want your, you know, your Better Business Bureau or your JD Power and Associates, you know what I'm saying? So it's like it's like, listen, we've self assessed and you should know that as an organization, you know, we score an A-minus. Do you see a future where that might be possible?

Netta (00:15:57) - Yeah, through our Dei for sure. For sure.

Josh (00:15:59) - Okay, good. I was like, think that's what you were saying.

Netta (00:16:03) - On the team. Okay. This is the.

Josh (00:16:07) - It's not so much. Yeah. And I was curious about the like it's cool for top I think for leaders to, to really do a good self assessment and know that information but then you know then taking the next step and actually sharing that. Yeah that's kind of cool. Yeah.

Netta (00:16:24) - No it's so important, right? Because that's the thing. There's a lot of performative work that's happening because no one really knows what's happening within organizations, right? So an organization can put anything out or a statement and say, Hey, here are the efforts, here's what we've contributed or here's what we're investing. But did you actually invest? Did you actually follow through? No one follows through on that. Right. Or maybe they may have a reporter come in and check up. But still, that's not as sustainable in fluid. So with our platform and our benchmarking system as well, we'll be able to see, okay, well, who's doing the work? Because if an organization is utilizing Aerodei, then you are definitely doing the work because that means every single employee within your organization as a whole, they have steps that they're taking.

Netta (00:17:12) - And they're seeing the results. And as an organization, you see the results, whether it be from a product productivity, retention, representation, profitability standpoint, you see all of it, right? So that's how we will definitely be able to tell through the usage of ROI.

Josh (00:17:31) - If we had more time, I would love to hear more of the story about how you developed and you know, you basically created a whole new platform. We're short on time, so I really want to focus on who should be reaching out, what do they do? Like, how do they begin that next step of engagement with you?

Netta (00:17:51) - Yeah. So I say everyone, right? I don't like to just limit it to just one population of people. If you are interested in learning more about diversity, equity and inclusion, how you can get started within your organization. If you're saying to yourself right now, I'm listening to this and I actually never really cared, but I want to care, right? I want to understand this.

Netta (00:18:13) - Reach out. You can connect with me on LinkedIn. My name is Netta Jenkins. You can also connect with me, Head to Arrow Dicom or Netta Jenkins and definitely purchase the book because that'll help you guide you through your pathway. It's called The Inclusive Organization. And then of course, connect with me. I'm here to to support you. And I think the biggest thing as well is if you're really looking to do the real work and you're saying, I want my organization to do the real work, reach out to Arrow Dive, right? This is a platform that every single organization needs.

Josh (00:18:47) - I love it. Aerodei is And of course, now to your personal website with a link to the new book, The inclusive organization that's available at Netta Netta. It's been so great having you. Thanks for joining us.

Netta (00:19:04) - Thank you so much.

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