Leah Urzua is the founder and CEO of Results by Riviera which is an online business that serves other service-based entrepreneurs who are looking to streamline their business so they can leave their stress behind and work within their passion. She specializes in systems and overall business management. In addition, she’s a racial justice advocate and activist who is eager to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy in today’s society.
The problem with the way we run our businesses today
Many entrepreneurs and CEOs tend to treat their business like a completely separate world from politics, social justice, and everything that triggers strong feelings. But just as a school is a small representation of what goes on in the rest of society, so is the workplace. It’s time we take a closer look at just how connected business is to the systems of racism. The way capitalism was built was to lift up anyone with white skin while forcing the Black diaspora to be the ones who labor to keep it running. So think of it as a large gap that started during the era of slavery and never really closed since. So now we have normalized white businesses as being the go-to. We seek out white coaches and hire white candidates. We collaborate with other white entrepreneurs. The list goes on and on.
When you’re searching for new business accounts to follow and connect with on social media, have you ever looked at an Black owned business account who shows up with expertise on social media and then ended up following a white owned business account with more followers and pretty branding? You’re not the only one who has experienced those feelings of internal bias. They are more a part of our decision making process than we care to admit. But continuing to give in to these biases is what perpetuates the inequality and racism that affects Black and Brown entrepreneurs. Leah tells us if you want to start being a better, more equitable leader in your business, it’s time to make yourself aware of the privileges you hold and be more mindful of what you can do to be a more justice-centered business and human.
“[My] dream is to have a marketplace that's liberated from oppression and inequality and racism. And ideally, that would be, because all businesses and corporations are collectively deciding to do the work—to take action.”
Things to pay close attention to:
Creating an anti-racist business
These are just some of the ways to hold yourself accountable. The hardest part of ending racism will be changing our world on an individual level. We have to be able to all take responsibility whether you're in education, business, or any other constructed institutions. Consider how it affects the people of color who follow you and buy from you when violence and oppression hits their communities and they hear no one talk about it. Being silent or neutral is never the right answer. You can do a lot of good by staying up to date on what’s happening in the real world and make an effort to be supportive to those who might be affected by systemic racism. Leah shares how much she strives to integrate more justice in her own business. She says,
“I said in the beginning that I work with systems and usually, my job entails building and implementing systems. But if there's one system that I really want to be known for working against, in my business and my life, it's systemic racism and oppression.”
Some of the things that Leah does to make this a reality is that she makes sure she is very clear about what her values are, she openly talks about injustices and demands action. In addition, she amplifies Black and Brown voices as well as learns from women of color who teach people how to make change. To get started on your own journey with intersecting racial justice and your business, Leah created a resource made called “Strategies for Justice” that you can access at the link below. As a final note, this is possible for everyone no matter what type of business or field of work you're in. I hope you feel inspired to take more action for justice in your own career and business.
To continue the conversation, you can head over to our Time for Teachership Facebook group and join our community of educational visionaries. Leah can be found on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Email. Until next time leaders, continue to think big, act brave, and be your best self.
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.