“Every single one of those obstacles, every single one of those challenges, every single one of those humans...were just literally helping me point back to myself. They were helping me point back to my highest self. And allowing me to grow and expand."--Aurora Archer
On this episode of Mother Tree Network, I interview Aurora Archer, a former corporate marketing executive and founder of The Opt-in, podcast and beneficial corporation. Aurora shares her belief that corporate America is at a moment of transformation and discusses how her diverse background and marketing career helped break the generational legacy of debt and poverty in her family.
A native Texan with a Mexican immigrant mother, Aurora grew up with a strong sense of identity and pride. She shares how her mother's teachings about the beauty of her culture, her connection to nature, and the belief that everything we need is provided by Mother Earth shaped her perspective.
Aurora shares her personal journey of growth, the importance of representation in leadership roles for people of color, and the challenges she faced fitting into binary categories. She also discusses her successful corporate career, the challenges of entrepreneurship, and The Opt-In’s focus on developing racial literacy and cultural competency in Corporate America.
Aurora's company, The Opt-in, offers workshops, coaching, and product development sprints. She highlights the importance of diversity in product design to avoid oversights and accidents, and how addressing simple issues like Zoom backgrounds reflects the ability to tackle complex innovations.
The episode ends with Aurora sharing her gratitude for supportive educators who believed in her potential and the power of Black women’s sisterhood, as well as her father's emphasis on the importance of one's heart and mind.
Tune in to gain valuable insights and inspiration from Aurora Archer's experiences and advocacy for diversity and inclusion in corporate America.
For more on Aurora visit her on LInkedIn at Aurora Archer or go to https://theopt-in.com/
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00:01:41 Growing in self-awareness and embracing change leads to grace, insight, and wisdom.
00:04:11 Aurora, a mixed race Texan, discusses her indigenous Mexican heritage and her identity as a black woman. She emphasizes the importance of culture, language, and connection to nature. Despite challenges, she takes pride in her identity and acknowledges ongoing issues in Texas.
00:08:33 Aurora discusses their upbringing, challenges fitting in, and their successful corporate career in various industries.
00:14:32 The speaker discusses feeling excluded at her predominantly white high school and finding comfort in family and personal goals; emphasizes the importance of love and self-worth.
00:18:08 Two impactful experiences: a supportive fourth-grade teacher who saw potential, and a ninth-grade teacher who doubted the her academic achievement.
00:23:04 Aurora discusses the concept of obstacles and challenges in life, emphasizing the perspective that obstacles are opportunities for growth.
00:27:04 The speaker started the opt-in because she believes corporate America has potential for transformation and growth.
00:30:35 Entrepreneurship is glamorized but not readily accessible. It took Aurora until adulthood to afford it. Her company focuses on promoting racial literacy and cultural competency in corporate America.
00:35:54 Aurora discusses the impact of a diverse team on profitability and challenges faced in promoting diversity in hiring and decision-making.
00:38:36 The speaker wants to create change in corporate environments for black and brown individuals, as little progress has been made. They aim to improve skills and inclusivity through workshops and coaching, and ensure that products and services are representative of diverse backgrounds. They highlight the importance of considering factors like hair texture and skin color in design, as even basic things like Zoom backgrounds are not accommodating.
00:41:44 The website is simple: the0pt.com. Find me on LinkedIn as Aurora Archer for thoughts on evolving our work.
Amanda Aminata [00:00:03]:
Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Mother's Tree Network, and our special guest today is Aurora Archer, who is the founder of the opt in and a member of a board of directors and a woman around town. So welcome, Aurora.
Aurora Archer [00:00:21]:
Thank you. Thank you. You I am so delighted to be here. Thank you so much, doctor Kemp, for inviting me to join you in what I have, no doubt, will be a beautiful and loving and hopefully shifting conversation.
Amanda Aminata [00:00:39]:
Absolutely. And it's so fun. I realized to be here now because I was on your podcast in 20 20. Yes. We were. Yes. And and at that time, I had no idea, no desire to start my own podcast. So it's beautiful. To see what's happened with us both in the course of 3 years.
Aurora Archer [00:01:01]:
Yes. Much has changed for each of us individually, for our companies. But I think that 1 of the things that hasn't changed is our passion, our love, and our advocacy. For humanity -- Yes. -- and the quest, desire, and love for its evolution -- Yeah. -- in our evolution.
Amanda Aminata [00:01:24]:
Yes. Absolutely. That's just for me, that has probably it's not that it changed. Maybe it's just that I feel so much wiser and and more whole in approaching it. How about you?
Aurora Archer [00:01:41]:
Yeah. I mean, I think I think with with each year, if we are leaning in to our self awareness and our excavation and our commitment to grow. Yes, absolutely. It comes with I think for me, it's come with more grace for myself. It's come with more insight in wisdom. Is I continue to traverse this world in all of its complexities and all of its beautiful nests. And, yeah, I would offer if we weren't if we weren't changing, I would be worried.
Amanda Aminata [00:02:25]:
Right. Right. Then we'd be kind of, like, holding on to something -- Mhmm. -- which is, you know, as we all know, it's It's a losing battle, but, you know, sometimes it takes us a while to to realize that. Ajax. Well, let's start with what's good. Tell me, Aurora Archer, what is good today? What is good in your life? What is good in the world? What are you thinking that's good?
Aurora Archer [00:02:50]:
I think so many things are good. I am first and foremost, I am grateful and good for my health. I am grateful and good to wake up and know that my family is well and Thriving. We just celebrated my mother's 90 fifth birthday. That is hella good. And she is bright and bright and as spicy as ever, and that is real good. Because at 95, she's seen a thing or 2.
Amanda Aminata [00:03:29]:
Wow. Wow. So, you know, Akshay, I hoe, I men, I mean, everything, all good to your family and especially your mother. Yes. That is awesome. 1 of the things, Aurora, that's interested in me about you, there's so many things. But 1 of them is because most of our listeners won't be able to see you unless her watch it on YouTube -- Mhmm. -- your background. So III know in conversations we've had, I can't remember if you self described as an Afro Latina or a black Latina. But tell me a little bit about that and And and and somehow that question came to me when you were talking about your mom, and you were giving such honor to your mom. Uh-huh.
Aurora Archer [00:04:11]:
Yes. So I'll I'll start at the beginning. My pronouns are she, her. I am a native Texan. I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. I am the proud, proud product of, a Mexican immigrant from Monterrey, Mexico. And Hugh Archer junior, Hugh Cepha's Archer junior, may I correct, who was a black cowboy from Queer Road, Texas, and a cook. So my mother was a housekeeper slash maid. I actually don't like using the word maid, but that was her role, and so both of my parents were domestics. And I grew up, although being mixed, I grew up with a very high sense of identity. My parents had my sister and I when they were a bit older and wiser. And so I grew up with a mother who was very clear on the fact that she was an indigenous Mexican woman. She was adamant that while she had immigrated to the United States that there was such richness and beauty in her culture, and she instilled that in me. She was extremely adamant that I would learn her native tongue So my first language was actually Spanish. I did not learn English until I went to school. I learned all of the rituals, all of the indigenous, cultures that she passed down. My mother was what we now would call an herbalist, a natural path. Any time that any of us had any ailment, whether it was a headache or we scraped our knee, played it on the sidewalk. She didn't reach for the medicine cabinet. She reached her nature. And she always had a lovely Biden, and so she would go out to her Biden, grab a couple of verbs and making a mixer, and really connected me to the fact that all that we need is actually provided to us by Mother Earth. And then secondly, I had an incredible branny archer and sister aunts, aunties that were my brother's sisters, who were very clear in instilling the fact that I was a black woman. And that while Mike Kearls, I know folks can't see them who are listening audio, I have cute. They're like, yep. You got those sweet, cute, soft curls, but don't get it twisted. You're a black woman, and the world is going to see you as a black woman. And so that was very much instilled in the sense of my identity as well as pride and pride in who I was despite the fact that, you know, I was growing up in an environment where we were you know, very humble beginnings aliphore. And in a state that didn't quite recognize our humanity, our value, and our worthiness. Some would argue that that continues to be the case for many different identities here in Texas.
Amanda Aminata [00:07:33]:
Mhmm. Wow. So, Aurora, that is beautiful. That is beautiful that both of your heritages married inside of you -- Mhmm. -- and that you have as your first language is Spanish and your second language is English and you know, you have your beautiful soft curls, and you have your your your aunties from your dad inside a affirming that you are a black woman and so it it sounds it sounds easy, but I have to ask you Have you noticed tensions between black women and Latinas, Latinx, Latinx, And, you know, how have you navigated it if you have noticed that? Oh, absolutely.
Aurora Archer [00:08:33]:
Absolutely. And so here's where, you know, I am lucky. I had the grounding and the clarity and the love from my aunties might be as my parents in my home. That does not mean that the world was kind, That does not mean that the world did not judge me. It does not mean that the world wasn't always asking me to decide. We live in a world that is very binary and that is usually asking us to make a decision between this and that versus How about we? It's an act. And so I also have the beauty that I never saw that stripe or that conflict or separation within my family, whether it was my Mexican family in Mexico who I loved and adored my dad and our family. And, likewise, my black family adored and loved my mother and her Mexican and Latino roots. For me, it was more a challenge when I got into the outside world. Right? As a kid, quite honestly, I didn't always fit in. Right? I wasn't black enough for the black kids. I wasn't lucky enough for the Latino kids. Or, actually, quite good. I was too dark for the Latino kid. Was just gonna say, yes. -- too dark than the Latino kids. That's the truth. And and then from from a white perspective, like, her her were having none of it. And so, yeah, that was very much I'm grateful for the reconciliation. I'm grateful for the integration, and I'm grateful for the spiritual alignment of that truth within myself and my phone that gave me the fortitude to be able to navigate what was not always kind -- in the outside world. Mhmm. You know? And certainly, traversing corporate America, I spent you know, 1 of the biggest things for for me and my family was education was the pathway out to a better world. So my parents very much inculcated that into my sister and I. My father, actually, when I was going into high school brokered a deal with 1 of the wealthy white families that he worked for so that we could live on top of her garage. My sister and I would have access to the right ZIP code, which would mean the right public school. That really was not a pleasant experience. I think there were maybe 4 or 5 kids of color in the entire school. It was a highly privileged environment. And I was not welcome. And while that didn't feel good, I wasn't there to be liked or to make friends. I was there on a mission to get an education and to leverage that as my pathway out to a different life in a different world, and which I did. And so I attended Syracuse University, went on to create over 25 years of a corporate career as a marketing executive. I had the pleasure of working not just in 1 industry, but in 4, started my career in retail, spent a chunk of my time in Silicon Valley in the tech industry, working for incredible companies such as Hewlett Packard, Xerox, and Acer, then spent time in the pharmaceutical industry working for AstraZeneca heading up her global transformation team, helping set up 1 of her first innovation hubs in London, and then wrapped up my corporate career in publishing and media working for everyday health in New York.
Amanda Aminata [00:12:24]:
Wow. Okay. Let me pause you there for a moment. Yeah. So you you went to this public high school and predominantly super super predominantly white where you were not welcome. You But you said you weren't there to to make friends or didn't have an expectation -- No. -- that you needed those people in a social way. No. You were there for your education?
Aurora Archer [00:12:48]:
Yes. And I think I think, you know, who doesn't want friendship? Who doesn't want connection. I think what's 1 of the core things that we, as humans, yearn and want. But that was not available to me. Mhmm. And that was made more than abundantly clear. Mhmm. I was the maid's kid. I did not have the right I didn't have the right jeans, I didn't have the right clothes, I didn't have the right hairstyle, I didn't have any of the right clothes. And so I think as a did, I learned very early on. Okay. Focus on the mission. Focus on the goal. You know, there was probably not a day that I didn't walk into school that I wasn't caught the n word or stick, which was not pleasant. I spent many of my mornings gathering myself in the bathroom stalls of school. And so --
Amanda Aminata [00:13:43]:
How did you how did you
Aurora Archer [00:13:46]:
how did you hold yourself together through that for 4 years, Aurora? What what do you think -- Well, I graduated early. Yeah. And graduated early. Okay. 3 years out. A sister got out as soon as she could. So, you know, you know, I think it comes from You know, the building resilience, it's it comes from being having a clarity of your goal. It comes from having a base of people that love you, my parents, my sister, and knowing that for the moment, that would have to hold and sustain it.
Amanda Aminata [00:14:28]:
Wow. And are you the older sister or the younger sister? -- the youngest.
Aurora Archer [00:14:32]:
Mhmm. I am the youngest, and I am the Chaddie Kathy. I am the you know, wants to make friends with everybody. And so that wasn't you know, it was not great. But my family felt that boy. My auntie spilled that void. My b s in Mexico filled that void. And so, you know, it was -- So you could do it. -- this up you could do it. Exactly. It was like, okay. Heads down. Get it done. And, also, don't get wrapped up. And I think this is 1 of the you I mean, it gave me so many gifts. Yes. It was hella hard, and I do not wanna underestimate that. And III my heart breaks because I know that that was not just my experience. I think there are kids all over the world that are going through this experience of feeling separated, bullied, alienated, excluded. I had the gift of my family, and I had the gift of a goal, and I had the clarity through maybe at the time, it was I don't even want to call it a spiritual practice. But I think that our higher selves are always with us. I knew that what mattered most is what my family confirm to me that I was, that I was loved, that I was valued, and that I was born. My father was an incredible dreamer. And so my father would say to me, her can take everything away from you. her can take your money. her can take your car. her can take your book. But what is in your heart? And what is in your mind?
Amanda Aminata [00:16:20]:
Nobody can tell from me. You know, Aurora, my fosome of this said that to me. We might we might be around the same age then. Yeah. Yeah. Because remember, there was a generation of black of black people who were like, her could take it off you, but her can't she would say her can't take your education away from you. Yes. And this is why she was also promoting education as a route and not so much as a social or as a place to help you be whole
Aurora Archer [00:16:49]:
But as as a place for you to get skills that you need so you have more opportunities. Correct. It's a pathway. It is it is it's a it's a pathway. It's an access point. Yes. That is what it was. It was an access point. It was not a social playground. It was not a place for you gate get validation. It is not a place. And for me, it's like I wasn't getting validation from my peers aka the students. Mhmm. And I sure as hell was not getting validation for many of the teachers. If anything, I was a nuisance I was did not fit in the box, and I was something to be feared and to watch with a critical eye. For fear that I may steal, take, cheat, or do something out of what was defined as the normal. Box of behavior.
Amanda Aminata [00:17:40]:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I see that. I know we have a lot of educators -- who are in our community who probably listening to this. And and so, you know, it's so you can be such an impact, such a an impetus for somebody's
Aurora Archer [00:17:58]:
broken -- Oh, yes. -- liberation
Amanda Aminata [00:18:01]:
where you could just be an off cool. Just 1 more thing. her have to, like -- Absolutely. -- her have to walk across.
Aurora Archer [00:18:08]:
You know, I will I will show 2 distinctive experiences for educators as as folks that are in the audience. My fourth grade teacher, missus James, How new if I can tell this story without getting emotional? She was beyond exceptional. She was an angel. She was my fourth grade teacher at Bowden Elementary on the south side of San Antonio. She was black. She was smart. She was bold. She was sharp as hell. She drove a white Monte Carlo with a red interior, and she saw She saw things in me and the possibility of me in a way that I did not see in my staff. She was 1 of the first teachers that plucked me out and would have me go to speaking and poetry readings and writing events. And I was like, I'm not that person. And she's like, oh, yes, you are. And I am forever grateful to her for seeing me, for propelling me, and modeling for me. What black sisterhood, what womenhood, what sisterhood can do in inspiring anyone around you. By contrast, I had a ninth grade high school teacher, my English teacher who was somewhat perplexed that I had actually gotten a straight A in 1 of the exams, because how could it possibly be? I'm the poor kid. I'm the domestics kid. I don't you know, my parents don't have much more than a middle school education. How could it be? So she assumed that I had cheated on the exam, and proceeded to have me take the exam a different 1, but take an exam again, in a room by myself with me stripped of all of my belongings because somehow I needed to prove that I had not gained that aim in an undermined
Amanda Aminata [00:20:36]:
way. Mhmm. Mhmm.
Aurora Archer [00:20:38]:
And of course, I face the second exam. But I don't know if that teacher ever recognized. The humility an impact she's had on me as a child. Right. Because as you know, I mean, doctor Amanda, it's not like my parents were gonna come down and argue the fact that I had studied for the exam, and I was worthy of my first hit. Mhmm. Didn't didn't have time for that. her were out surviving. her were out getting the job done so that the lights could stay off. Mhmm. Mhmm. So I navigated that process by myself. And so I it pains me to think that an educator would choose to do that. Mhmm. And what I know to be true because I see the latest research. But it still happened. Mhmm. Mhmm. Mhmm. That we assume things about people's identities. And we don't examine within ourselves, where is that assumption coming from? And is that assumption true?
Amanda Aminata [00:22:06]:
Well, well said. And I do wanna talk to you about your company because I know that your company is on that. Yes. -- is really on that. Mhmm. So thank you for sharing those stories with us, Aurora. I wanna ask you from a spiritual perspective because I know you and I have talked about things. I know 1 of the things that I've heard you say, and I'm not this is not a quote. So let me ask you. When you look at, you know, the good and the bad, or let's call it the difficult and and and the and the really wonderful experiences of your childhood, you know, especially the the teacher, the black teacher who loved you and propelled you, and then this other teacher who really fostered a sense of doubt in you -- Mhmm. -- or, you know, When you look at those experiences from a spiritual perspective, from a higher evolutionary perspective, what's the gift?
Aurora Archer [00:23:04]:
So many. Right? I love that there's a quote in the book, Neil, oh, what's his name? Conversations with God. And in there, there's a passage where the He's asking, but god, like, but this person did this to me, and that person did that to me, and god's response is. I have only ever sent you angels. And her said, no, but her did this and her treated me like this and her said this to me and he's like, again my child. I have only ever sent you angels. And so that's for me the retrospect of my life is that every single 1 of those obstacles every single 1 of those challenges. Every single 1 of those humans that in that moment may not have had the consciousness or awareness. Were just literally helping me point back to my self. her were helping me point back to my highest self. And allowing me to grow and expand. Alright. And that does not mean that the pain in what I emotionally what I felt at the time was not real. It means that if I can zoom out and look at my life, I can understand. That nothing happened to me. Only for me.
Amanda Aminata [00:24:47]:
Okay. I feel like that is it's like a yes and -- Yes. -- you know, like, yes, there's impression, and yes, there are systems, and yes, there are individuals who are acting -- Mhmm. -- you know, and harming people in the course of -- Mhmm. -- you know, working through the system. And and, yes, there's nothing happening to me. It's happening for me. I'm here on this planet. For a reason, and this is part of my evolutionary path, all of it.
Aurora Archer [00:25:19]:
Mhmm. Mhmm. Because when I look back at that example, What did it teach me? It taught me a clarity of advocacy for myself. Because at the time, my parents, not because her couldn't or didn't, her just didn't have the time. So guess what? I had to navigate that. Situation with adults with a lot more power and a lot more control than me. I had to learn to stand in my truth because I never wavered. Right? Despite being asked several times, did I cheat? I was, you know, I was adamant. I did not buckle. I stood in my truth. When I knew clearly that's not what the adults at that time wanted me to say. And then third, it taught me resilience that this too will come to pass and it does not define Hawaii.
Amanda Aminata [00:26:17]:
We're gonna take a break. We'll be right back. So Aurora, that was so powerful. You know, the lessons that you learned as a little girl to standing your truth, to advocate for yourself, to be resilient, you know, in the face of all this. And now here you are after 25 year career in corporate America and all these different sectors. Now you I think you serve on boards of directors, and you have your own company. So tell us how all those experiences from your childhood and your time in corporate America what do you bring to those roles today as a business owner and -- Yes. -- you know, as a board member?
Aurora Archer [00:27:04]:
So 1 of the critical roles because I often get asked, so why did I start the object? I started the opt in because I think that corporate America is at a moment of incredible opportunity or evolution and transformation. And I was very lucky in the sense that I was able to identify and know that I had a knack and a gift for marketing that is very much tied to the fact of, as a kid, I had an opportunity to traverse so many different identities. I was an American, but I spent my summers in Mexico. I had a Latina Mexican mother. I had a black father. I grew up in the barrios of San Antonio, but, you know, spent time working and cleaning in the homes of very effluent white people in San Antonio. So I had this tapestry of being able to observe and watch humans across economic lines, across national lines, across race lines, ethnic lines, And then that's it. She would made me a pretty good marketer. It's the ability to tap into the human assets. Needs and aspiration. And so that gift propelled me into an incredible global corporate marketing career. And that career allowed me to do several fundamental things. It allowed me to break the legacy of debt that was generational in my family. It allowed me to break the legacy of poverty. That had been generational for our family. And yet, it should not have been so hot. It should the environments should not have been ones that many times broke my spirit. Should not have been environments that impacted my well-being and help. In many moments. And so, again, it's that either or that we were talking about, the ability to gain financial freedom and independence through an access point called corporate America to change the generational to change my family's historical generational legacy create a new 1. And I always say to people, It wasn't that the work was hard. I loved my job, and I strove for such a level of excellence. And yet it was the environment. And so my impetus for starting the opt in is that I believe that those environments have an incredible opportunity to transform and change. Because for many of us, Corporate America continues to be a pathway and access point for financial independence. That ultimately helps us close the equity gap in our country, but it should not be at the expense of our souls our well-being and our happiness.
Amanda Aminata [00:30:32]:
Aurora Archer [00:30:35]:
Mhmm. And because I will share another tidbit, I think that we overplay this phenomenon caught entrepreneurship and how yummy and fantastic it is, and it is all those things. And I remind people, it took me to this grown age to be able to have the financial wherewithal to do it. Because at 21, I became financially responsible for my parents, her mortgage payments, her health bill payments, etcetera. So that it was not an option for me. To become an entrepreneur, let alone the fact that none of us have friends in family funds, etcetera, etcetera, all the statistics that we know about. And so we started at the opt in, with the mission of all is 1 and the opportunity to help leaders and organizations create environments where everyone has an opportunity to thrive and be her best selves. And we do that by focusing on 2 things. 1, I believe that 1 of the biggest gaps in corporate America is that when we are neglecting to recognize that we need to invest time and money to upscale the racial literacy and cultural competency of our employees, period post op. This is not a character thing. This is a skill set, a skill gap issue. So we have to invest in the skills to learn how to navigate racial literacy, how to have a much more deeper and excavating sense of self awareness, how do we build cross cultural relationships? And last but not least, how do we build the stamina, the habits, the community to stay in the work of self exploration and growth.
Amanda Aminata [00:32:34]:
Define racial literacy for me, Aurora.
Aurora Archer [00:32:38]:
So for us, it really is the fact that racism, race is historical and current. It is also about understanding the components of what are the What are the biases? What are the I call you know, because I come from tech. I call it what's the hardwiring? What is the program? And how do you actually work to understand what are those biases be your understanding, first and foremost, of your racial identity. We all have a racial identity. Mhmm. And the 1 that we speak the least up in this country, is the identity of risk. Number 1, Albeit is the most influential 1 of all the identities. And then the 1 that we know the least about, particularly my white brothers and sisters, is the identity of white prints. Mhmm. Mhmm. Mhmm. And so our work is focused on how do we, without shame and judgment, unpack the self awareness and the understanding of racial identity.
Amanda Aminata [00:33:56]:
Mhmm. Mhmm. And how do you make the argument that this is going to increase the bottom line.
Aurora Archer [00:34:06]:
So I make the argument First and foremost, I wanna share because I lived it. Mhmm. As a corporate marketing executive, I was responsible for a p and l for almost 20 years of my career. I will tell you my teams never looked like anybody else's. My teens never produce campaigns, ideas, and innovation. That looked like anybody else's. The level of engagement on my team was always at least 5 point higher than any of my peers. And last but not least, my team always met and in most cases, over delivered on the productivity and the P and L of both the top line and the bottom line. So I want to share with folks I don't come to this work with that being theory. I lived it. And I offer that because 2 things. 1, nobody lets a black woman be in charge of multimillion dollars and a billion dollar revenue campaign without the ability of them knowing that she knows how to hella do it. And not like, hella do it. Like, okay. No. She has to be it. Excellent and exceptional because let's be very clear that today, 20 23 less than 2 percent people of color exist in the higher ranks of corporate America. Yeah. So my biggest thing is like if you see a brown or black person in 1 of those roles, Please don't question because you have no idea what her took, what it took for them to be there because we can't show up being just average. We have to be exceptional.
Amanda Aminata [00:35:51]:
Yeah. Yeah. So --
Aurora Archer [00:35:54]:
So let me and and let me let me also answer because I think the so So 1 is it's a lived experience that most of my career, 99 percent of the time I reported into white bosses, and 99 percent of the time my peers were white, and I never under delivered and never underperformed. So I saw the impact of how my team that was diverse and different, how the partners I chose to work with were diverse how we delivered on the bottom line. And I'm gonna tell you, doctor Manda, it was not easy because we were I was I was pushing against a status quo of how who got to be on my team, who was hired, who were the partners, that I got to choose. I mean, I can't tell you the number of fights I had with our procurement and supply chain folks. And, no, I understand that this is such and such big agency that we work with. But I wanna give an opportunity to this medium sized or small sized BIPOC led agency. No. I understand that you think that this person doesn't have the qualifications to be on my team, but her bring these lived experiences. And that's why I'm going to hire them. No. I understand that you think that I should have a focus group that only has this normalized identity at the table and I'm gonna strive for different identities to be part of the focus group because that the insight that we're going to bind in those focus groups is going to define the product that we are going to create. Mhmm. Mhmm. And that product is actually going to deliver a greater share of market and profitability because we are looking at the market in a much more multidimensional way, not just in what you have defined as main market which I don't believe that to be true anymore. And so I've seen it in action. Mhmm. And the numbers prove out, a diverse team increases the bottom line by 38 percent. The data is out there. It is not getting. It's been out there for at least 4 to 5 years by the McKinsey's,
Amanda Aminata [00:38:00]:
by the reputable -- I love it. I love you saying it's not it's not hidden.
Aurora Archer [00:38:05]:
It's not his it's out there. Okay. So
Amanda Aminata [00:38:08]:
and if people want to know more about the opt in, though, because you left corporate America, and you created your own company. Yes. Tell us about that. Why?
Aurora Archer [00:38:20]:
I created the I created the company because I want to evolve our environments. I want to evolve our corporate environment so that we create more impacts so that everyone there can thrive. Okay. So you left marketing
Amanda Aminata [00:38:33]:
per se because you want it to affect the entire environment.
Aurora Archer [00:38:36]:
I want it to infect the entire environment because I don't want -- people that look like us, Amanda, to have the experiences that most of us have in corporate. And when I tell you very little has changed, very little has changed. Mhmm. Mhmm. Because I still mentor and mentee loads of young human beings, black, brown individuals that are in these corporate environments that are struggling with the same nonsense that I struggled with most of my career. So that tells me, qualitatively, very little has changed. And then when you look at the data, very little has changed. When you look at the level of representation across all 6 levels of corporate America, it has not moved more than 2 percent in 8 years. When you look at the funding that is being given 2 black and brown entrepreneurs is still hovering at less than 2 percent. Mhmm. When you look at at the back end, companies that are hiring partners and vendors that are diverse to work with them. We receive less than 2 percent of the supply chain and procurement dollars available across corporate So very little has changed. And my my goal with the opt in is to do 2 things. How do we evolve the humans through specific ratio Literacy and cultural competency skills through a learning program, workshops, and coaching, number 1. And then once you evolve those skills, taking my commercial and marketing background, we actually do product and service sprints where we examine specific areas of your business so that it is much more representative and inclusive. And I'll give you an example. I led innovation teams most of my career. I like another person want to be able to buy a flying car when her become available. But what I don't want is that flying car to hit me because the person sitting around that product design table didn't account for the texture of your hair or my hair or the color of our skin so that we will end up in an accident. And if we think that that is not a possibility, I just want everyone to put on Zoom. And the way if you put on your background on Zoom, and I put on a blurred background on Zoom. To this day, it's 20 23. I'm telling you, you and I will look radically different than a white person putting on Zoom because her have not accounted for your skin color and your hair texture and mine. So if you can't solve something as simple as that, how can I believe that you are pulling in representation and inclusion? To other complex innovations technologies and services.
Amanda Aminata [00:41:20]:
Mhmm. Wow. Wow. Wow. Thank you for that really specific example. That really helps And if people wanna follow you, Aurora, if her're if her work in corporate America, her wanna follow you, if her have her own businesses, and her like what you're doing, and her wanna kinda, like, be like, how do I be like Aurora? Yes. How do how do her get more of you? So please find us at
Aurora Archer [00:41:44]:
Our website is very simple, the opt in dot com. So that's THE0PT dash I n dot com. And I'm very active on LinkedIn. So find me at Aurora Archer on the LinkedIn platform and where I share a lot of my thoughts ideas, and quite frankly, how all of us can be part of this evolution and change. It's gonna take learning. It's gonna take self awareness, excavation, education and the motivation to evolve the way we do our work.
Amanda Aminata [00:42:17]:
Mhmm. Mhmm. Well, Aurora Archer, founder of the opt in. Thank you for being with us today, and I look forward to our next conversations. We can talk about Therese.
Aurora Archer [00:42:29]:
Yes. I cannot wait for us to talk about trees, you know, because I'm a big you know, told you about my mama, told you about nature, and I have a fascination retreats. So -- Yes.
Amanda Aminata [00:42:40]:
Yes. Yes. Yes. So follow her. Thank you for having me. Yes. Yes. And so we will see you on LinkedIn.
Aurora Archer [00:42:46]:
Yes, please. Aurora Archer at the opt in. Thank you so much. Appreciate you having me.