Faith Clarke

Empowering Inclusion and Balance with Faith Clarke

About the episode

In this episode of the Mom Owned and Operated podcast, Rita Suzanne and Faith Clarke discuss raising a family, running a business and remembering yourself.

Organizational health and teamwork specialist Faith Clarke, is committed to helping business leaders cultivate a values infused, inclusive culture where people feel like they belong so that they can deliver on their business and social impact promises. Faith is particularly passionate about inclusion for BIPOC and neurodistinct individuals, grounded in her experience as a Caribbean immigrant and as a mother of neurodistinct humans.

Faith’s background in computer engineering, doctoral research and numerous experiences with organizations who care about their social impact curate a high-touch, systematic approach to building strong teams, which has helped her clients improve operations, maximize productivity and double their revenue.  Faith is a published researcher, author of the Amazon bestseller Parenting like a Ninja and host of the Peak Performing Team podcast. She has contributed widely to publications and online shows in the US and UK, and delivers workshops and lectures in a variety of academic and professional settings.

You can connect with Faith on her website, on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

—–

Tired of business as usual? Join a community that’s rewriting the rules.

  • Proven strategies to attract more clients and boost your income
  • Free weekly networking events to expand your reach
  • Authentic relationships and support from fellow entrepreneurs

All the details are here: https://ritasuzanne.com/community

P.S. Listen to more interviews at https://momownedandoperated.com and learn about working with Rita at ritasuzanne.com/apply/

Listen to the episode

Show Notes

SPEAKERS

Rita Suzanne, Faith Clarke

Rita Suzanne 00:01

Welcome to the Mom Owned and Operated Podcast, the podcast about moms and for moms, where we have candid conversations about running a business, raising a family, and remembering ourselves. I’m your host, Rita Suzanne, a single mom of four, digital strategist and provider of no nonsense business strategies and tactics.

Hi, this is Mom Owned and Operated. I am Rita, suzanne, and today I have my guest, faith Clark, with me. Faith, I’m so excited to chat with you. Please tell everyone all about you, your family, your business and all of the things.

Faith Clarke: 

I am a mom of three maverick superhero kids, right, and I think I see them almost the same way.

Faith Clarke: 

I see the school, the X-Men school, that what we did I homeschooled for 14 years and what we basically did was to pay really close attention to each other and teach other strengths and create a community where we felt we could thrive regardless of our differences. And so my kids are neuro distinct. My son has autism, my other two vary on the spectrums between anxiety and OCD and executive functioning issues, and so I have constantly worked on the margins of inclusion, whether it’s inclusion for my kids in school spaces and in community spaces, inclusion for myself as a mom who’s advocating for kids who have all these or people whose differences are not supported in the workplace, and as an immigrant mom of kids with complex needs. Then I sit oh woman, oh Black woman, oh immigrant Black woman, oh mom of. You know there’s lots of spaces where I encounter this question of inclusion. Right now I support organizations to build organizational cultures that are more restorative, that’s more generative, that’s more nourishing, that actually organizations for humans, not computers or many.

Rita Suzanne: 

So yeah, I love, I love all of that. So when you talk about inclusion, and one of the things that you say is that inclusion starts with you, can you elaborate on that? What does that mean to you?

Faith Clarke: 

Yeah. So I think early stage my kids are adults now and that does mean that that I am not. I am as immersed in their lives. It just looks different because I can’t pick them up and carry them around. So in the early years I would say when they were under 10, there’s a mindset that you can develop that says let’s do all the things. We’re going to do all the things, we’re going to intervene in all the ways, we’re going to try everything and we’re going to help those developmental gaps close.

Faith Clarke: 

And I think that most moms approach burnout roundabout when kids with complex needs are somewhere in the seven, eight, nine years old. And so I hit a wall and I basically stopped everything. I stopped all the therapies, I stopped all the driving around, I stopped all the scheduling and just started to listen to what was going on for me. And I realized that, fundamentally, if I am not whole for myself, and I had to get to the place where I decided that my peace was the medicine for my kids, that my settledness was the medicine, so including myself meant how do I design a life that meets my core needs as the anchor to my family and as the anchor to the nourishment that my kids need, and so when I think about inclusion, even in the workplace and for many of us as business owners, I think we design businesses for those people, whether it’s for the client or for the market. What they’ve told us, maybe what patriarchy has said business should look like, maybe it’s what corporate, the way corporate which we’ve left because we hated it. Now we’re listening to, oh, but this is what good business should look like.

Faith Clarke: 

And I’m like well, fundamentally, we can’t serve people, which is what business is about offering love and care and service to people for in exchange for compensation. We can’t serve people if we ourselves are not nourished, and that means our business models must include our core way of being. So I’m pure, I’m mostly relational, I build, I can intervene in really difficult situations because I know how to build deep trust quickly. And I realized that I was building a business model that was like a quick touch business model and as a person, I do deep touches for longer period of time.

Faith Clarke: 

And I had to redesign my business. Instead of the typical group coaching and group like one hour with a client, one-to-one, I redesigned my business so I could spend a half a day, so that I could spend, because that was my sweet spot, that is my sweet spot and that was nourishing to me. It didn’t exhaust me. It doesn’t exhaust me to be with a person for a day. What exhausted me was being with five people in a day because of my own system. So, starting with yourself, it’s a deep understanding of who you are and how you function, and then how do you design your business around that and design your life around that, and then expand that as you invite people onto your team.

Rita Suzanne: 

There’s certain things that you said just reminded me of when I left corporate.

Rita Suzanne: 

So there’s some things that kind of like trinkle, like kind of stick with you, right, you leave corporate and one of the habits that you have when you are in corporate is to be ultra responsive to email, right, and you keep your email open and then you’re very reactive and you’re responsive to your emails at all times.

Rita Suzanne: 

And I remember being like that when I first started my business, so it’s been 10 years and just always having my email open and just being very responsive to that. And then I had to retrain myself not to be like that because it was creating so many problems for me, exhausted, and I was burnt out and I and I think that a lot of times we don’t recognize that until it’s a little bit too late in the situation. And then, like you, I started out where I had long projects, right, and then I instead started doing days with my clients and that, for me, is the best model that I could have and you know, breaking it and separating it out. And so I think that what you’re saying is so true, because we are taught to build our businesses in these certain ways and really what we find out later is that that’s not going to work for us, because we’re just one person, right?

Faith Clarke: 

Yeah, and you are just one unique person in this whole thing about inclusion. If we don’t know how to include our own differences, then we have no chance at including the differences of others right, and what many of us have been taught to do is to judge or suppress our differences. So, yes, yes, I’m a morning person or I’m an evening person, but you want me at this eight o’clock meeting. I’m going to be at this eight o’clock meeting. It’s important for me and I suppress that right.

Faith Clarke: 

So when we are running our businesses and we encounter diversity in the workforce as it comes to us, we carry that forward. And so learning how to be compassionate and integrative and restorative with others’ differences starts with the let me stop suppressing my own, the way my brain is, the way my body is, pms, and what happens to me and how I need to plan and as I get older now, what’s perimenopause and what’s. What does that, how does that impact, how I need to show up and what I need to do in my business so that I’m caring for myself. If we can’t do that, then the person with autism can’t be in our business because we won’t. We haven’t built those skills.

Rita Suzanne: 

So you would go into a business and kind of help them create these systems and processes that would embrace these different types of thinking and processes together to help them run smoother, correct?

Faith Clarke: 

I like to think of it in this way Systems and processes automate the thing we know we want. Often we don’t know yet what we want. We know we want to include difference, but we haven’t worked out the how. And before we put systems and processes in place, we need to, mechanically in our bodies, figure out the how, because we’re really good at tricking systems. We can put inclusive systems in place and then the humans override it and we’re still not inclusive right? So it’s really about culture design, because for me, culture is developing, cultivating thoughts and behaviors and emotions associated with how we want to be. You know, how do we? What kind of behavior modification, what kind of heart transformation do we need to put in place so that we become these people and show up as these people? And then what kinds of systems and processes reinforce that make it easier, make it faster, make it a no-brainer?

Rita Suzanne: 

So give me an example of that. Is that more like your excuse me like your values of your company? Or is that more along the lines of what we were talking about, like being a morning person and not doing like morning meetings, like? Or is that kind of both of these things kind of together, kind of both of these?

Faith Clarke: 

things kind of together, Exactly Because it is about your values. But how your values show up with these five people is specific to how these five people are, and we’re used to kind of blanketing people out. So if you have a value around belonging and then you have a virtual person in Indonesia and you have two local people who are both mourning people, but you can’t have a meeting that excludes this person in Indonesia, so that all the time they’re meeting at midnight, then how you operationalize inclusivity is specific to these people. So it has to then be what are my values? Yes, but what’s the practical application of this value for these humans?

Rita Suzanne: 

I love that. I think that often as entrepreneurs, especially as solopreneurs, we maybe skip over the values, right? There’s often a lot of things that entrepreneurs skip over, you know, as far as business plans and things of that nature because it’s it’s just me, I know what I’m doing, right, but these are the things that they skip over. And knowing the values or your mission for your business is really important, especially when you start to bring on other people. And I think that having those things in place when you first start and having that culture already defined and developed and how you want it to be, makes it easier when you do start to scale and bring on other people.

Faith Clarke: 

Yeah, because you’re inviting people into something and culture either emerges or it’s cultivated. And if we don’t do some design work, we will absolutely cultivate the thing that we didn’t like. You know, just under pressure, when people are not doing what we want, what are we going to do? We’re going to resort to leadership practices that were harmful to us, the figuring out of how do I want to be and what am I inviting people into? Then, when you, even if that person is a VA or just a content creator branding person, you’re still inviting them into a culture.

Rita Suzanne: 

So what are some things that maybe mom business owners can do, especially if they’re solopreneurs that they could do in order to kind of incorporate or inject some inclusion in their businesses.

Faith Clarke: 

Now, the first thing that I would say to do is have a journal of how your day is and how you want your day to feel. How do you feel at different times of the day? What’s the rhythm? I found that I would think my kids are interrupting me at certain times of the day. That just means that I designed my day in a way that didn’t fit the way my family rhythm was right, and so if you can keep a journal of just all the things that are happening at the end of two weeks, there’s probably a pattern, one thing that you can change. That will bring yourself more ease. It could be a start time, a stop time, it could be that it’s three days a week that feel good to you or not.

Faith Clarke: 

For me, for a long time, I could schedule appointments in the first two weeks of the month and not in the last two weeks of the month, kind of willing to design according to your personal rhythm and your family’s rhythm. That feels essential. Clients get the best support from us when we feel more supported. And then, number two, think, ask for the support that you need. Who is around you? Your kids, whoever it is, partners, whoever it is in your space? Get super specific about what kind of support you need. I have somebody here who supports my son and she just noticed that I would be leaving without breakfast and so now she makes his breakfast and she hands me my breakfast. She’s just like you don’t eat here.

Faith Clarke: 

So what’s stuff that you’re not doing that you need support with that you could ask for, ask for that support, find, find support people to to help you with that. Those are the two things that became the start for me. And then when you find yourself either not being able to shift that’s that block there that you feel not deserving on, like there’s a bunch of underneath stuff there that makes us not able to just redirect our lives and kind of be autonomous, then that’s a therapeutic support. I had layered in therapeutic support, coaching, acupuncture, like what are your underneath support needs? You can’t move hard things if you underneath you’re not getting the care you need in your body. So like I did acupuncture, I did body work, I did offered myself some stuff that just to help me be able to move the needle in the places where I felt stuck.

Rita Suzanne: 

I love that. So one of the things that I love to talk about is so we’re going to switch, we’re going to pivot just a tiny bit, because one of the things I love to talk about is how moms are often, especially business owners we’re not taking care of ourselves and we’re not doing the things that we need in order to, kind of, you know, really support what we need as women, and so I love to talk about the things that you do to take care of you. So you already mentioned some of the things. You did some acupuncture, some other things so can we talk about some of those things a little bit?

Faith Clarke: 

Of course. Of course, one of the things that because I was, you know, with the homeschooling and running my own business as the flexible parent, right, so I’m the one that’s around all the time, and so I would just go in the car. I’m like, if there’s no bleeding, no dying, I’m in the car and I put in my audio book, I just sit in the driveway. My kids supermarket. They know that I’m just saying I need some alone time. So what are the pockets of alone time that you need? When you find yourself sitting outside the supermarket, not having gone in, just scrolling on your phone, that’s your body saying something to you about some time that you need. So now I just agree with my body and I take the time, either supermarkets or in the driveway. So taking time. I have people around me that remind me and I give them permission to remind me. So somebody I will be scheduling appointments on a Monday. I try not to work on Mondays, um, and I’ll be scheduling appointments on a Monday and a friend will say how come you’re scheduling this appointments on a Monday? So things like that. How do I protect time for myself or just for nothing? You know, um, different time for different aspects of my business, that kind of thing. And then I think the biggest thing is that I’m trying to agree with my body. So on the weekends I find that I want to be super slow, I want to take drives. I’m going to go shopping, allegedly, but I’m going to go to the shopping that’s far away, an hour away, to that special store I like or whatever it is. So it’s like I want to be on the long road using grass and I have chores. So how do I let those two things, how do I say yes, yes to those things? And then one example for me of I love, I have, I love plants. I don’t know if we can see that, but you can’t see this one here, but this one, this is one of my I. So what I decided to do is just how do I treat myself to big plants? And then just put them everywhere? And over the course of two years I’ve treated myself to many big plants, and several of them have died, but many have lived. The course of two years, I’ve treated myself to many big plants. Several of them have died, but many have lived. And then I just kind of just enjoy them and sit with them, and even you know, even when I’m not you know. So I think those are a couple.

Faith Clarke: 

And then, yeah, body work I the whole, how do I keep my body regulated is really important to me. Everybody I tell people that the kids are enmeshed, so everybody’s sensory stuff will trigger everybody else’s sensory stuff, and so how me being regulated is just really important and I’m I’m often not, their stuff triggers mine. So it’s like what are my practices to keep me grounded? And after I’ve helped them to be grounded, that’s usually a big deal. Somebody’s having a hard time, a panic attack or something, and I’m, I’ve helped them to be grounded. An hour has passed and then I’m wiped out. So then how do I kind of take time to just be with myself, read binaural beats, um, and then if I acupuncture, chiropractic body work, reiki, that kind of thing I think I think that’s great to just really be in tune.

Rita Suzanne: 

I think oftentimes we get so caught up, especially when there’s challenges around us, you know, especially with our kids that can be so draining, and, just, you know, take so much of us and and and.

Faith Clarke: 

then, though, to feel like we’re taking time for ourselves can feel so selfish, and so the fact that you’re able to recognize like it’s important I need to do this for, for everybody, right, it’s for the well-being for us all yeah, yeah yeah, it is, yeah, it is if for me, for me and I think I’ve said this to the kids often enough, so they agree and then they’ll tell it back to me when I’m not doing well and I’ve seen it when I’m not doing well, they all don’t do well. It’s worse If we’re going to trigger each other. It’s going to be faster If we’re going to have tantrums and meltdown. You know, humans are contagious. You can be in a room and there is a feeling of upset and it just spreads. And since I know that, then there is a love for my kids that is offered back to me so that I can love them. Well, you know, it’s that kind of circle.

Rita Suzanne: 

So yeah, yeah, yeah, cause people feed off of one another, and so I think that that’s important my sister has special needs and I am often sharing that with my mom that she could feed off of her energy just a little bit on. Who do you work best with, so so the audience knows who. Who do you like to work with? Who is your your favorite clients?

Faith Clarke: 

So there are two types of clients that I love to work with Women who are leading their businesses in the when I say early stage. A business can be quite mature but you don’t have a big team yet. But you have communal elements to your business. You may run a group program, you may have offers that have community elements to it and these community elements have the gift of being restorative. They could be, but often we’re integrating old practices from patriarchy or from educational systems.

Faith Clarke: 

I love working with those women because they already want to create something that feels primal and nourishing and family and may not know how to do that in a way that doesn’t cause them to be absorbed and take advantage of and so on. So redesigning communities so that they work in decolonized ways is a love of mine and to support this love I also support nonprofits and social impact organizations on their work culture. So again that’s back to community development, but it is the work community. How do you get your people to people healthily? Often that means unearthing supremacist structures and building trust and building safety and building belonging and building inclusion while building productivity and building, you know, interactions that really work towards the goals. So I am the people person. Often if it’s conflict or onboarding issues, that usually is my in and then we just support all the people things.

Rita Suzanne: 

Perfect. So where can we find you online? Where are you at?

Faith Clarke: 

Unfortunately, I am in social media altogether too much, so I’m Faith Clark, or Faith A Clark, in Facebook, instagram, linkedin and faithclarkcom.

Rita Suzanne: 

I love it. Okay, thank you so much, faith. It’s been such a pleasure I’ve had it’s. I love chatting with you. It’s been great. This has been lovely.

Faith Clarke: 

Thank you, Rita.

Rita Suzanne: 

And there you have it. I want to encourage you to remember that being a mom who runs her own business is not easy. We all struggle, but just keep moving forward. And don’t forget to make time for yourself. As moms we are usually the first thing to go to the bottom of the list. If your business is overwhelming you and you need real solutions, not just some sugar coated suggestions apply to work with me at ritasuzanne.com/apply

sound amazing?

Yes, yes it does!

Get the latest episodes, exclusive content, and business-boosting tips delivered straight to your inbox.

White arrow Moms run business
white down arrow owned business