Pause On The Play Ep 8

Hello hello, and welcome back to Pause On The Play. As always, it is amazing to see you here, where you are challenged to examine your beliefs, question your predisposed notions, and consider realities you may be unfamiliar with to understand that they too are real. I am your host and conversation MC for the day, Erica Courdae, and I am here to get the dialogue going.

It has been a very long week, and I am glad to just pop in here and get this done for you guys. I really like podcasting. I have loved being able to show up and have this conversation with you, whether it's solo on my own or with my guests, but I just love having the conversation. You guys are coming over to Instagram, you are reaching out to me, and you're letting me know that you're hearing me, and we are talking, and that's the entire point. For all of that, I say thank you.

Today, this is actually going to be an interview. It will be myself along with the Stacey Harris. I have done a podcast with Stacey on her podcast Hit the Mic Backstage. Well, Hit the Mic. Hit the Mic Backstage is a group that I'm in with her. I love Stacey, but I'll talk about that elsewhere. I did her podcast a few months back, and we have really good dialogue, so I'm extremely excited to have her back. And we're talking about voting with your dollars.

Stacey is one of the people that I know that is very adamant about this, and she'll talk about how people that know her know how adamant she is about it. It is a part of her identity, and she takes very seriously using her money to stand behind her beliefs, her values, the things that she supports, and not using it where she does not support what a business stands for. It could be a big ethics thing, or it could just be simply that your service sucks. But she brings up very important points in the sense that, when you begin to talk about your values, your beliefs, and you begin to step into things like allyship, a part of that that you can do on a daily basis to really stand squarely in that is to vote with your dollars.

Where you choose to get your coffee, where you choose to get your groceries, where you choose to go to dinner after work, where you're getting your supplies for your house, what your supply chain looks like for your business. This shows in a lot of different parts of your life, and I think that it's very easy to forget how easy it is to inadvertently support things that you don't mean to, and how easy it can be to support the things that you do stand for simply by choosing different outlets to supply your money with. I can go on and on about this, but I really want you to hear this dialogue and to hear how we had this conversation. So, without further ado.

Erica Courdae:                   All right, ladies and gentlemen. I am back, and today I have with my Stacey Harris of The Stacey Harris and Uncommonly More. She is my social media strategist and guru to everything that you need to know online, how to make yourself fabulous in that space. Hello, Stacey.

Stacey Harris:                     Hi, Erica. That's the best intro ever. I'm just going to write that down and make every podcast host I go on their show introduce me that way.

Erica Courdae:                   It's all true.

Stacey Harris:                     It's better than my bio, let me tell you.

Erica Courdae:                   All true. We've talked a lot about this, in that you are very vocal about voting with your dollars, and-

Stacey Harris:                     Period. Vocal.

Erica Courdae:                   Because I think that it's very easy for people to just think it's a thing, but for you, people that know you are like, "Ah yeah, Stacey's not going to do XYZ, because you know how she is." This is a thing for you.

Stacey Harris:                     It is a thing with my friends, yes. Legit, "Stacey won't go there, because they XYZ and she won't buy their stuff." Or, "She won't eat at that restaurant," or whatever. There are places ... I am not quiet about it. Yeah, you're right. You're 100% right. It's a thing.

Erica Courdae:                   But I think that that's good, because that means that you are aware of where you're putting your money. But even for the friends that are saying that, then it now brings awareness to them about where you will or won't go, so things that they may or may not have paid any attention to, it's like, "Ugh, why is she not going there now?" And it's like, "Ew, I don't want to go there either." Or, "Hm, okay. I need to consider whether or not I want to do that anymore."

Stacey Harris:                     It's a non-annoying, passive aggressive nudge for them to be aware of what's happening in the world.

Erica Courdae:                   I love that phrase. And-

Stacey Harris:                     It's strange, because I am in no way passive aggressive.

Erica Courdae:                   No, you are not.

Stacey Harris:                     I'm fully, actively aggressive, not passive aggressive. It's true though. I'm a big believer that money makes the world go around, and the way we impact businesses and politicians and the people around us to do things better is to put our money in it and to invest in the world we want, and not necessarily spend on the world we have, and voting with my dollar lets me do that.

Erica Courdae:                   Well, and when you said the investing, that word's important, and I think a lot of people don't always understand that you're not always just buying a thing or a service. You're investing in a person or a mindset or a stance, and it's easy for people to just say, "Oh, I just ordered something from Amazon." I order from Amazon, so that's one of my struggles, but-

Stacey Harris:                     Regularly, I'll be honest. I just want to say, voting with my dollars does not mean that I'm not at Target or on Amazon.

Erica Courdae:                   Right. It's an imperfect thing, and that's the whole ... But at least in understanding it, if you go on and you buy something, I've seen enough things to know that, sadly, part of the allure of Amazon is the low prices, but that means that they've undercut things so low that sometimes these suppliers, and I've seen that a lot with writers, you can't sell it anywhere else, and you're stuck. It's just having that awareness around it, but there's a lot of places that you can vote with your dollars and you don't even always realize it, even when it comes to just finding the local restaurant versus the chain.

Stacey Harris:                     Right.

Erica Courdae:                   But what comes up around it is is that there's voting with your dollars in the sense of retail, which is a big thing, and there will actually be very soon coming up, if it isn't already live by the time you guys hear this, a voting with your dollars opt-in for our email list. What that does is it gives you options for businesses that are going to be good places for you to vote with your dollars based on different things.

Erica Courdae:                   It could be that it's a minority-owned business. It could be who they give back to. It could be their ethics around things like maternity leave or highlighting and using models of different ethnicity, sizes, ages, abilities, things like that, and how they showcase their products. There's a lot of different ways that that can happen, so that is coming, but the other side that comes up for me, and it's come up a lot lately, is how people are so quick to vote with their dollars when it comes to their allyship, by going to a third world country, taking these selfies with these kids ... By the way, I want to kick you in the throat when I see them online. And you're taking all your money offshore when there is money that is necessary right here.

Stacey Harris:                     Yeah.

Erica Courdae:                   It needs to be here, and it's so easy to outsource that emotional labor, because you can go there and see it, and come back to your bubble and you're fine. And people don't always even consider that, there are things that you take for granted, but five miles, 10 miles, 20 miles in pretty much any direction, do you know that that's the case for everyone? I think maybe people do have more awareness around that, and they don't do that because then they don't want to have to really look at it. I don't know.

Stacey Harris:                     It's interesting to me. This has come up in a lot of different ways. I've, for a long time, been a believer in, again, investing in my community. I'm very community driven online and offline, and I like knowing that I have an impact in my neighbors' life. And I don't mean the neighbors, like literally the people who live next door, because generally I don't want to talk to my actual neighbors, but the people who live in cities near me, because I ... What springs to mind is a story.

Stacey Harris:                     At the beginning of this school year ... I live in Southern California. Los Angeles Unified School District, the teachers were on strike, and it came out that these kids are 40 and 50 kids to a classroom. We're talking about schools with no nurses and no librarians, and although I'm upset about the librarian, I'm real upset that there's not a nurse. I'm talking about classrooms with more students than desks or books. Let's not just get in even to the fundamental maintenance of these buildings and safety of them. There's literally just not a place for a kid to sit.

Stacey Harris:                     I live in Irvine, California, which is a very affluent neighborhood in a very affluent city, and it's number two happiest city to live in in the country, so that tells you a little bit about it socioeconomically, right? My kid never has to worry about those things, and I remember talking to a mom of another kid in my class, and they were like, "Oh well, that's all the way, all the way, all the way in LA. That's not our problem." And I'm like, but these are the same women who want the kids to all donate pictures to this foundation to raise money for quilts for kids in wherever.

Stacey Harris:                     But they're not concerned with the fact that 45 minutes away, there are kids with no desks in one of the largest cities in the country. And not ... Los Angeles, not a low income city overall. There's a big discrepancy. There's not a lot of middle, but there's a lot of money in the city of Los Angeles, and it was so interesting to me to hear this dichotomy of really impassioned about helping people who live in these far off lands, but who aren't all that worried about essentially their neighbors, people who share the same state with us.

Stacey Harris:                     I see it a lot with online entrepreneurs, who want to build in a giveback component to their business, and it's building schools or digging wells. I personally am probably not ever going to be like, "Well, that's not good, because ..." At the end of the day, you're trying to do a good thing, and I'm absolutely cool with that, but I don't like it being there at the sacrifice of being able to do something else. For me, I always always donate local. A, because I also vote with my dollars for non-profit organizations. I like knowing how they're being run and where the money is going personally, but also, again, I want to help my neighbors.

Stacey Harris:                     I want to help the people who live right here, and I think you're exactly right when you say it's easy for us to hide in this idea that we're helping these people far away, and because we're able to help them, there's nothing actually wrong here. That's not true. The reality of the situation is we have a massive homelessness problem. We have a lot of hungry people in this country, and most of them are kids. These are the same ... It always baffles me when I see people writing big checks to No Kid Hungry and those kind of charities, but then voting against the Free Lunch Program at the elementary schools. You can't have it both ways.

Erica Courdae:                   No.

Stacey Harris:                     And I won't say that I never donate overseas. I'm a huge, huge fan of Kiva loans. I do them regularly. They are a no-brainer thing that we do, and we have a goal inside of my businesses to do a loan to every country, a woman-owned business in every country on Kiva, because I don't think all countries in the world are on Kiva. And so again, it's not either/or. It's and for me, but too often, we're seeing it be either/or.

Erica Courdae:                   Well, and I think that it can absolutely be an and, but I think what happens is it's too easy to outsource it all and to not have to actually look at it, and somehow that disconnect, it doesn't paint an accurate picture when you think, "Oh, I've done so much, because I sent these girls in this faraway land to school." But the children that are right here, that are going to go into the workforce, that you're going to be pissed off messed up your latte at Starbucks, they can't get anything.

Stacey Harris:                     Yeah.

Erica Courdae:                   Literally, this is the next generation going into the workforce, and when they don't get things, guess what? We're going to be the ones complaining about stuff, but if you don't do anything about it and you are okay to not support them, but you want it to go support someone else somewhere else, and it doesn't mean that they didn't need it, but if you have a house full of hungry children and there's a house down the street with hungry children, do you not feed your children, and then go feed that house? No. You feed your house first. Take care of home. Take care of home.

Erica Courdae:                   Again, it just feels like people don't want to do it, because it doesn't give the epic selfie that you can put online. It doesn't give this, "Look at how awesome I am" performance of your allyship that you can immortalize in your feed, and so it's like, "Oh, well that's nowhere near as much fun. Why would I want to do that?"

Stacey Harris:                     It's interesting to me, because I don't ever talk about my own charitable whatever, that kind of stuff, so the selfie thing is really interesting to me. I will say though that I want to believe that talking about this stuff and building this awareness and using our voice around the causes we care about, whatever those causes may be, is really, really valuable, but it's got to be given in context. When I talk about voting with my dollar via where I donate it with non-profits or where I spend it in for-profit companies, or even whether or not I will use it on company or use it with companies who have a giveback component, because personally, I don't think every giveback component is actually any good.

Stacey Harris:                     For me, it's about looking at what's the larger impact here in discussing this. We talked about at the beginning this being a long-running joke with some friends and I about me voting with my dollars, and not going to XYZ store because I don't support maybe how they treat their employees or maybe where they spend their money or maybe the kind of products they carry, or whatever that thing is. It has, at some point, been all of those things. But again, that discussion is so important.

Stacey Harris:                     And so maybe what it is is looking at, where can those of us who are spending some time donating locally, and let me just caveat this by saying it doesn't just have to be money. I think a lot of times also we think, "Oh, it's so ..." Here's the reality is it's a lot cheaper to donate money overseas, because a lot of these third world countries, my five dollar donation goes further than it does to the youth program down the street, and so you can feel like you're making a bigger impact.

Erica Courdae:                   Well, and I think-

Stacey Harris:                     And where can we-

Erica Courdae:                   No, go ahead. No, go ahead.

Stacey Harris:                     Where can we talk more about the impact financially or otherwise that spending time and investing in our own community has on all of us? Selfishly, I like to give back locally, because I get to see the results of it. When I donate to a domestic violence shelter here in Southern California, I get to hear stories of the women who find their way through that, and I get to hear stories of their kids going to school and being excited and growing up and doing these things that maybe weren't going to be an option if they'd stayed in the situation they were in.

Stacey Harris:                     Selfishly, I get to see that, and that's really cool. Maybe if we start talking, maybe it's not about just looking at, where can we shuttle this money, but where can we see what the impact is for all of us when we do this stuff in our neighborhood? The same people who are complaining about the homeless guy at the end of the freeway, you know what gets the homeless guy off the end of the freeway? Let's give him a house. Let's give him a job.

Erica Courdae:                   Correct.

Stacey Harris:                     Let's make a change there. It impacts all of our lives.

Erica Courdae:                   Well, and I think that there are some people who do it because they want the accolades, so that's where you can get some of the posting vomit of just doing too much, because they want the accolades. They want the pat on the back, the "oh you're such a good person," that validation, but I think that, with someone like you, you're not putting that out there, because the validation isn't what you're doing it for. That part doesn't matter.

Erica Courdae:                   I think that, while that part is important because that speaks to the fact that the purpose and the intent is authentic. The other side of it is that that's where you have people not understanding how important it is to do this, why seeing this is so important to see it local versus "I'm only going to show this if this makes me feel better, because flew and went and did this big thing. What does it look like to do it? It's really coming from a truly altruistic place, but yet you still want it to be understood that this is what you do, this is why you do it, and this is why it's so important.

Stacey Harris:                     Absolutely.

Erica Courdae:                   Just trying to find that happy medium there, but yeah, it's very easy for it to be one of those things where you don't talk about it, but then people ... I don't know. I don't know if maybe people don't understand how important it is to do things here. I think that it's very understood, from all the things that you see online, that you see on television, the commercials, of giving to the ... When I was a kid, it was the, "Just three cents a day will give this little girl clean water," and all these kind of ... You would be bombarded with those commercials watching TV.

Erica Courdae:                   And so there's a lot of that, and now you'll get a lot with animals and things like that, but I think that it's very easy for people to get lost in that whole, "Yeah, I'm going to send this money to be ..." Again, shipping, in my opinion, shipping that emotional labor overseas, but it's like, "Well, what about here? Have we done what we needed to here yet?" Because it's really easy to just do that and feel like you checked your block, but what have you done right here where you live? How have you contributed to the place that you call home, the same place that you'll talk about has all of these problems and is terrible in all of these ways? But you haven't done anything.

Stacey Harris:                     I also think though that there is a ... A, there's a marketing component. They have made it easy for me to feel like I solved a problem, and the problems at home always seem harder to solve. Think about your literal home. Fixing my hot water heater seems a lot more stressful than talking to my friend about their hot water heater.

Erica Courdae:                   True.

Stacey Harris:                     You know what I mean?

Erica Courdae:                   Yeah.

Stacey Harris:                     It seems more insurmountable, and I think that oftentimes, we can get what we need to get from sending our three cents a day or whatever, than really looking at, what is it going to take to turn this boat around? What's it going to take to see a change in our neighborhood? And I think also we, especially here in the States, are so often bombarded with these smaller, less known non-profits being super skeevy and scammy. And it's hard to say, "Is this worth my time? Is this worth ... Is there going to be value in this money for someone, or is this a scam?"

Stacey Harris:                     And so it can be easier to look at these large organizations and be like, "Well, this is a large organization, so clearly I can trust it." Which is A, not always true, but it allows us to be like, "Well okay, this is a safe place. They're going to have a real impact." And also, giving somebody clean water versus giving somebody on your street corner a sandwich, it feels massive, like, "I have changed their life." Whereas when you give somebody a sandwich, you're like, "Well, that ... and they at the sandwich, and now here we are in problem land again," you know what I mean?

Stacey Harris:                     I think that there ... It's understandable how people end up in that place, and like I said, for sure there are times where I donate to places overseas, but my priority, those are donations after I've made my baseline. And I think also, that box used to be filled once upon a time in our society by tithing to the church, and I don't know if people still do that. I'm not a religious person. I don't go to church, but that was how we felt like we were investing in our community locally, because everybody did it back in the day, right? Whereas now that's-

Erica Courdae:                   That's a really good point. That was a thing.

Stacey Harris:                     That's not as a thing.

Erica Courdae:                   No. That's not as much of-

Stacey Harris:                     A, we're a much more multi-religious country, and one day our government will reflect that.

Erica Courdae:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Stacey Harris:                     But also ... We're making steps, but also, the way churches are are different now. Now, a lot of the churches are these big commercial conglomerates too, and so you're tithing to this big commercial thing. I remember going to church as a kid, because I was raised religiously. I remember going to church as a kid, and I remember this guy got laid off. It's funny. I told this story the other day. This guy got laid off a couple days before ... a week or so before Christmas? And so he wasn't going to be able to afford Christmas for his kids. Everybody in the church came together, put together Christmas dinner, got the kids gifts, and took it to the family.

Stacey Harris:                     That was the impact you had locally was the people in your neighborhood, the people in your church. You tithed every week to church. That was where that happened. I don't know that that component is still there for a lot of us, and so where it was easy in the 70s and 80s to be like, "I checked the local box, so now there's these kids who need clean water for three cents a day. Cool, let's do that too." Now we're still doing the three cents a day, and it's really easy to forget the local kids, because that was always just a default before, and it's not as much now. I have no scientific data to back any of this theory up, but anecdotally, this is my theory.

Erica Courdae:                   Well, but I think you're right, and I think, I think there's other opportunities, but again, I always go back to conversation. When you don't talk, you don't know where they are. And I remember a couple years ago, we adopted a family who had a newborn and had just lost their home in a fire. They were living in a hotel, and it was weeks before Christmas, so it was like, "Okay." We found out the sizes of everybody, what ages they were. We bought them clothes. We basically spent a couple hundred bucks to say, "Here's Christmas for your children, because you literally don't have the things that you need."

Erica Courdae:                   And we're couponers, so when we get these things, we take them to a local food bank. Or in the case of this family, we donated razors and deodorant and soap and things that they did not have, things that, again, that having those be a given, they didn't have it. And so it's like, "Here." But you don't always have that, and part of that is having that discussion to figure out maybe where are these places that it can happen. But yes, I do think that there was a place to where religion and the institution of the church did play a role of being the hub to figure out who needed something. Who had lost a family member? Who was aging and needed help to do whatever?

Erica Courdae:                   There was probably, at least in some ways, more taking care of your immediate community, because there was always somebody that said, "So-and-so needs this." And there was somebody that would step up. And now this doesn't happen.

Stacey Harris:                     Yeah, but I think this, to turn this around here, I think this is what's cool about social media. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of a friend on Facebook had something happen. I'm not going to go into detail, because it's a friend of a friend, and I don't want to ever divulge any confidences here. But it was a friend of a friend, and she posted on Facebook, "Hey, we need X amount of dollars. I do not have the money to pay for this." But there was a family emergency kind of thing.

Stacey Harris:                     The friend donated, so it showed up in my timeline. I was like, "Oh, it's a friend of a friend. They had had this thing. Absolutely." And I donated $25. It wasn't make-or-break. $25 alone wasn't going to change anybody's life, but enough of us came together that we covered the bill that needed to be covered to get this family through this emotional thing, this emergency. I think that's really cool, is we have this piece coming back together through social and connecting us, and things like GoFundMe and those kind of places. It's just a matter of maybe adjusting the frequency in which we're listening to things and our awareness.

Stacey Harris:                     Because when we start to consciously say, "I'm going to be more aware of what I can do locally, and what I can do within my circle, or maybe just outside of my circle," we see the opportunities more readily, and they show up as frequently to us as the three cents a day commercials do on TV. Or the animal one that I refuse to watch, because it makes me cry every time it's on TV, and then my dog ... My husband wants to adopt another dog, and I'm like, "No, the inn is full." Anyway. But looking at where our awareness is, I think, is a game changer for this kind of thing, because it does, it allows us to shift our perspective and be more open to seeing those opportunities to where we can do things locally.

Erica Courdae:                   Agree. Absolutely agree. Again, I think that being able to shift your support to being more local, which also, to me, says that you're having more awareness around what is going on locally and how you can extend your reach of support within that circle before you decide to outsource all of it. It's fine to outsource, but again, taking care of home. But it also, I think there's that huge benefit of just being aware of what is going on around me versus I'm only going to stick to my bubble. Just like you said, "Oh, 45 minutes away. That's not my thing." Having that awareness is huge.

Erica Courdae:                   For you, being someone that did that, I want you to send everybody off a little bit by giving them some ways to have awareness. Where do you start? If you have somebody that's like, "Okay, I want to do this, but I'm also like, this feels like an insurmountable thing. How do you I even begin to vote locally with my dollars and show that I am aware of who can truly benefit from what I can provide?"

Stacey Harris:                     For starters for me, it started with my commercial money, not my non-profit money. It seeped into my non-profit money after I had gotten an awareness of how I was spending my money on things like food. There are restaurants I don't go to. There's stores I don't buy from. And when I started being really conscientious as how I was investing my money, for lack of a better word, for pleasure, because obviously sometimes it's where I have to buy my groceries, which is less ... For example, I have not stepped foot in a Walmart since 2009?

Erica Courdae:                   Wow. You're not missing anything. It's been years for me, but yeah, you're not. No.

Stacey Harris:                     I know, and what's funny is my grandmother worked at Walmart. I knew, so I haven't. I should add that I pass no judgment on anyone who does. That's your prerogative, but that's where it started for me was being really aware of where I was spending my money at all and what that meant. You see these signs in entrepreneur groups a lot about, "Buying local means, instead of buying a CEO their third boat, you're putting a little boy through dance class," or whatever.

Stacey Harris:                     I thought, "Well, that's kind of crap," because A, I would like three boats, and B, I don't care how they spend their money, but for me, what really shifted was, "Where can I spend my money on companies that are running the world the way I want the world to run?" And so that was the first step for me. From there, it was being willing to do the work, which by the way, is just really Google, to find local non-profits who have actively, are actively doing the work that I care about.

Stacey Harris:                     For me, I donate to a lot of women's-focused organizations, domestic violence charities, things like that. Women and kids are my thing as far as non-profits. It comes down to ... I don't know why, but that's what it works out, and so it was Googling. It was literally doing the work. The cool thing is is more and more non-profits are getting their act together when it comes to this online stuff, so the work is literally easier than it's ever been before. But knowing, "Hey, I'm willing to spend an hour or two going down the depths of Google."

Stacey Harris:                     Also, for me, as a female entrepreneur, I go to a lot of female-focused entrepreneur networking things, and generally speaking, there's somebody there who runs a non-profit. Ask them questions. Ask them about organizations. Ask them about the impact they see other organizations having. Here's the cool thing is most people who run non-profits or are involved in non-profits know other people involved in non-profits, and are absolutely willing to tell you, "Yep, there's absolutely a non-profit that does this thing that you care about. Go talk to these folks."

Stacey Harris:                     Because they're all trying to have a good impact. There doesn't tend to be, "No, I won't tell you about them, because then you won't donate to us." Start having conversations. Start looking around. Start having that awareness, but I will say, for me, the switch, the lever in my brain ... I was looking at where I was spending my for-profit dollars, because that's where I started getting really aware about what my money meant to someone, what impact my dollars could have, and that awareness rolled into me being aware of how every dollar I spend ... and now it's even inside of my companies.

Stacey Harris:                     Who are we hiring? What organizations do our companies support? Where do we volunteer our time and our services? What companies do we hire? What organizations and coaches and resources do I invest in? Because I want to be aware of what the impact is of every dollar I spend. I don't know if that answered your question.

Erica Courdae:                   No, it absolutely does, because I think that it can be too easy to just say, "I'm going to ask someone," and while I don't think that that's bad, I think that there's value in doing the research yourself so you can find out what connects with your particular ethics. What are the values that you have that you would want these places to be able to actually support? Because somebody else can give you a suggestion, but you still have to go back and do the work to figure out whether or not it's aligned with you.

Erica Courdae:                   There's plenty of great causes. That doesn't necessarily mean that maybe that's the cause that you choose to invest in at that particular moment, so I think that understanding that doing the research on your own is a huge part of how you connect with it, but then really understanding the value of starting where you can, so again, how you do the smallest things. Are you choosing the local versus the chain? Are you choosing to invest in this person that is doing this versus giving it to the corporate monster, so to speak, that maybe does this same exact thing.

Erica Courdae:                   Figuring out the levels and layers of it, because I think it takes time to figure out where are these different places that you can make that impact and you can make that change, but simply saying, "All right, I'm going to start by going to this taco joint versus Taco Bell," which I'm sorry, nobody needs to be going to Taco Bell. No judgment, but that just makes my stomach hurt thinking about it. Just saying.

Stacey Harris:                     I find it delicious if I'm really drunk.

Erica Courdae:                   And that's a whole nother altered state.

Stacey Harris:                     It's always a really good idea about 2:30 in the morning.

Erica Courdae:                   That's an altered state. That's different. That's not the same. So literally, finding that local place versus the chain, and even just starting there, and just ultimately boiling down to, what am I investing in? Am I investing in people? Am I investing in a cause that I feel good about? And it'll snowball. At least to me, I think it's an easier thing to do than the, "I've got to do all the things at one time."

Stacey Harris:                     Well, and I'll add to that. Part of the reason I think that mine so started with that consciousness of where I was spending my dollars that I had to spend, like groceries and things like that, was because I didn't have a ton of money to be investing in and sharing and giving to a non-profit. That just wasn't money that existed in my bank account at the time, and so that was how I could have an impact even then. Now I'm going to sound really crazy, but it's why I don't ... When we have stuff to donate, it doesn't get donated to Goodwill, because that's not where the things we're donating will have the biggest impact.

Stacey Harris:                     I have a very quickly growing boy, and so if I can take those clothes that, quite frankly, look brand freaking new, mostly because I just freaking bought them, but he's grown out of them, and I can donate those to a shelter or I can donate those to a organization that is giving kids, homeless kids clothes or whatever, then that's the impact I want to have. I think just being super freaking aware of what you're doing impacting other people would help the world in so many ways right now, and when you have that awareness, you will see so many opportunities.

Erica Courdae:                   But you just made a huge point in that, I think a lot of people have the misconception that donating or supporting a cause automatically means that you need to have a disposable income in order to do so, and that's not necessarily what that means. Thank you for debunking that. That's huge.

Stacey Harris:                     No, and even still, one of the things that I'm conscious of and that I really make an effort to do is donate my time. It's not something I talk a lot about. Maybe it's something I should, but I don't. Whether it's helping non-profits from a social perspective, and literally just using my expertise to help them, or a lot of the, when you donate toys to toy drives and stuff, all those have to be sorted and wrapped and blah blah blah blah blah blah. We drop those off at the mall. We're like, "Okay, we're done here." There's six more steps after that, and so look at your time. Everybody and their brother is looking at if their socks bring them joy or not. If they don't bring you joy and you're getting rid of them, think about where you're dropping them off.

Erica Courdae:                   Agree. Absolutely agree. You are extremely helpful in just, again, that whole, "You don't have to have disposable income to make an impact." I feel like that was one of the hugest takeaways there, because it's so easy to think, "Oh well, I can't do anything." There's always a way. It's just, what's yours?

Stacey Harris:                     Well, and I come back to this idea, and I keep meaning to say this and I haven't yet. It can feel insurmountable to do this kind of work, so have a real impact. To actually make a difference. When you look at how many hungry kids there are or our homeless population, especially amongst veterans and things like that, when you look at that, it can feel impossible to even put a ding in that problem. But if each of us takes a tiny step, if each of us is really paying attention to the impact we can have, that's collective. That grows. That creates a huge impact.

Stacey Harris:                     And I also challenge you to think about all the tiny things that some stranger has done for you over the years, and the impact it had on your day, the impact if had on your life. Handing ... One of the things we do a lot is there's a huge homeless population where I live, a humongous homeless population where I live, and so I try to keep a little, we call them goodie bags, but basically toothpaste, toothbrush, pair of socks, those kind of things. I try to keep little ones and I'll give them to people as I see them. Those kind of moments can be hugely impactful for somebody.

Stacey Harris:                     Maybe that's how somebody gets to clean up enough that they can go ask for help. Brushing their teeth gave them the confidence to walk in to one of those support centers where they can help them find a job. Again, you don't have to solve the whole problem. You just have to be aware of it, and start making steps in the direction you want the world to go.

Erica Courdae:                   And that's the whole thing, not trying to bite off the hugest chunk. What's the saying? You eat an elephant one bite at a time. You don't have to try to fix all the things. "This is what I have access to. This is what I'm going to chip at today."

Stacey Harris:                     And this is why voting with your dollars in the commercial stuff you're buying, you buy groceries. I like to go to the farmer's market, because I care about the farmer's in my community. I'm not saying I don't also go to the grocery store. I like canned goods as much as the next girl. I like being able to throw the frozen veggies into the wok as we make fried rice as much as anybody else. It's not either/or. It's and, and so looking at where you're already spending money and the impact that that has is a really easy place to start, and it so often is forgotten.

Stacey Harris:                     It's why I will not shop at certain stores, because I don't like how they treat their employees. It's where I won't eat at certain restaurants, because I don't like the way they treat potential customers. That is a huge impact too. That's how we make a difference in how employees are treated, or equality amongst patrons of a restaurant, you know what I mean? Look at those things, because they're easy. They're really not that complicated. I have yet to miss Chick-fil-A. To be fair, I didn't eat at Chick-fil-A before, but I definitely don't now, because they don't align with my values. That's okay.

Erica Courdae:                   But that's the whole thing, figuring out what does and doesn't align, and maybe that means figuring out first, what are those values? What are those things that you're like, "Yeah, that's a non-negotiable. You can't go against that with me."

Stacey Harris:                     Absolutely.

Erica Courdae:                   Yes, huge. Okay. Before we hop off, I want you to tell people where you are online, what you have going on, and where they can find you, because if they have questions, I do want them to come and reach out, because we love Instagram-

Stacey Harris:                     We do love Instagram.

Erica Courdae:                   But I want them to know that they can come and seek you out and have that dialogue with you.

Stacey Harris:                     On social, I'm TheStaceyHarris. Stacey is spelled with an E everywhere, in all the places, and you can find links to everything I do over at I'll warn you right now, none of my non-profit stuff is there, because I don't talk about it. I really feel bad about it now. I feel like maybe I should talk about it. But yeah, I'm absolutely happy to continue this conversation, argue, debate, whatever.

Erica Courdae:                   I think it's important to have that conversation, and I think that you've given people some things to think about, and you've let them know that it's not as unreachable as maybe they thought it was, so that's awesome. Thank you, Stacey. I'm so glad that you came on with me today.

Stacey Harris:                     Of course. Thank you for having me. I'm excited that you have a podcast.

Erica Courdae:                   Yay. All right guys, we'll be back.

Erica Courdae:                   Pause On The Play is one iteration of how we use conversation to create connection. Our one-on-one calls is another. This is where you can get support on how your beliefs and values around diversity, equity, and inclusion are showing up for your business, how you vote with your dollars, how you are sharing your message to let people know that you curated a space with them in mind, that you want to talk with them and hold space with them to have a seat at the table. Hop on over to today, and register for a complimentary teatime chat. These are our connection calls, so we can hop on, discuss your needs, and create a plan of action that's personalized for your brand to further it's evolution.

Erica Courdae:                   The conversations we have here are to normalize the challenging things and make them a part of your normal exchanges. This is how we remove stigma and create real change and connection, cross lines and recreate boundaries to support, not separate. If you enjoyed this podcast, show me some love by subscribing, sharing it with a friend, or leaving us a review. Reviews are the fuel to keep the podcast engine going. Let's get more people dropping the veil and challenging their thoughts, feelings and actions.

Erica Courdae:                   Speaking of keeping it going, if you don't already follow and engage with us over on Instagram @EricaCordae, come on over there and do that. I really want to talk with you, so DM me and let's do this. I love being here and creating the bridge for you to walk over to become the change that you want to see, so join us next time, and until then, keep the dialogue going. Bye.



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