In this moment, it can feel exhausting standing under the weight of the world and its problems. It’s going to take all hands on deck to speak the truth about what isn’t working so that we can figure out a solution together. In this episode “A Lesson On How To Change The Conversation”, author, speaker, and movement builder Alexis Jones shares her belief that audacious ideas have the ability to change the world. Her company I Am That Human works with the biggest, baddest people, brands, organizations, campaigns, and initiatives to inspire people and innovate humanity.
Alexis founded the girl empowerment organization I AM THAT GIRL, which currently has a 1.2M+ online community and a presence in 24+ countries. Alexis hosted a TV show on the Red Carpet, worked on shows at Fox Sports, ESPN, CBS, MTV, and TLC. Alexis also founded the company ProtectHer, the first ever educational program for male athletes on the importance of respecting women. Alexis founded a general purpose committee called Project 254 (named for the 254 counties in Texas) allowing her to raise money to support good humans running for office in 2020 and just started writing her new book, Joy Hunter.
Alexis consulted on the most successful show in the history of NETFLIX (13 Reasons Why) and executive produced A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story which received nine out of nine film festivals awards after its debut at SXSW. Living at the intersection of activism and entertainment, Alexis has been invited to speak at The White House, The United Nations, Harvard, Stanford, West Point, The Naval Academy, ESPN, NIKE, Google, Facebook, Pepsi, DELL, SXSW’s Main Stage, The NFL and The Girl Scouts.
Alexis most recently won The Jefferson Award, our country’s highest national honor for public service alongside past winners: Steve Jobs, Bill and Melinda Gates and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She has been featured as Oprah’s #SuperSoul100 (along with Blake Mycowski, Deepak Chopra and Brene Brown) and AOL’s MAKERS (along with Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, Ellen, Gloria Steinem and Serena Williams). Alexis was an Ambassador for L’oreal’s STEM initiative, DELL’s #Inspire100 List, Fast Company’s “Female Trailblazers,” ESPN’s “Pop Culture’s Top Ten,” Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction and highlighted as one of the five most influential women in Texas as a Profiles in Power winner.
Fun facts: Alexis survived 33 days on a deserted island, has backpacked to 50+ countries, hiked 150 miles to the Basecamp of Mt. Everest, is an ordained minister and won the showcase showdown on the Price is Right.
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“I think it’s really easy to loose who you are in a world in which we are crowdsourcing confidence outside of ourselves and I think visibility offers you that temptation of saying ‘Oh, all of these people have all of these ideas and all of these opinions’, because that’s really what visibility is, right? It’s the mirror recognition that people now have an opinion on your life and often strangers have an opinion on your life.”-Alexis Jones
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The vision behind #IAmThatGirl and what girls wanted and needed at that time
- Building a brand when you make people a part of it
- What are her squads?
- Visibility can be a double-edged sword
- Staying authentic in who you are
- Alexis’s spiritual practices
- How to get specific about the thing that you love the most and not apologize for that
- What the E-Myth taught Alexis about shifting gears within the leadership roles and leaning into different communication styles
- The differences between feminine and masculine leadership.
- What cause is Alexis willing to be unpopular for?
- What is a “good man” and do women who are raised by them have an advantage?
- Kobe Bryant and how do women approach the conversation of forgiveness with Men
- Making the invisible bro-code system visible and rewriting the rules of it
- We need to talk to young white men about privilege
- How Alexis got involved with “13 Reasons Why”
- How movements like Black Lives Matter and #METOO are changing the cultural conversation
(5:25) And I think if you’re a true founder, you have the humility to recognize that it’s just a tapestry and everyone is a different color thread in that tapestry. And so for me, I think having the initial, the impetus and the spark for I am that girl, but truthfully, women have grabbed it and run with it and created so much of their own thing. And I think that was a big part of kind of our pillars in it were I am but one girl originally from Texas, I have a very, very specific perspective to myself. We wanted every single girl, every single woman, every single person who identifies as female, we wanted all of them to be able to feel like it was a home.
(6:55) I think visibility is definitely double-edged sword and I think learning how to manage visibility, because I think the moment as a human and I think it’s something I’ve certainly struggled with over the years. Because the expectations and quite frankly the validation that exists outside of you. I think it’s really easy to loose who you are in a world in which we are crowdsourcing confidence outside of ourselves and I think visibility offers you that temptation of saying “Oh, all of these people have all of these ideas and all of these opinions”, because that’s really what visibility is, right? It’s the mirror recognition that people now have an opinion on your life and often strangers have an opinion on their life.
(14:32) Leading with a femininity, which I think leadership requires both of it. And it’s really up to each individual. I think of what you lean into. Because I grew up with four older brothers, I grew up in a very masculine environment. I was an athlete. I worked at Fox Sports, ESPN. I’ve always been around a whole lot of men. I think that a lot of it is nature/nurture and that nurture aspect was I learned how to communicate very directly, which men predominantly communicate very directly. And I remember being 14 years old and having this kind of aha moment of that distinction when we talk about feminine, masculine energy.
(16:40) I think it takes a lot of humility back to that word of like malleability back to that word of flexibility, back to that word of almost this emotional intelligence to recognize that whoever’s before you, whether it’s a man, whether it’s a woman, regardless of how they’re dressed, regardless of how they’re coming across or what their job title is. I think so much of leadership is recognizing my only job is to take the time to learn how the human being in of me needs to be communicated to.
(19:05) We are taught so much and we can unlearn so much. And we kind of this idea within technology, like we’re always like upgrading with our technology, are we upgrading within our humanity?
(31:48) If we’re ever going to get to a place of actual change, one is addressing, acknowledging, listening to the righteous indignation and anger. There’s righteous anger that if you’re a woman in America today and you see the things that are happening, if you are a person who is looking at statistics of one in five girls will be sexually assaulted on a college campus. One in two women walk around having been sexually assaulted in our lifetime. If we don’t all have a low grade fever out of like a mild rage that exists all the time, then we’re not living and breathing. And again, that’s just with women. And so I think when we look at social change, we have to make space, which I think is very much happening in this moment right now with Black Lives Matter. We have not made space in order to hear the righteous, indignation and anger that is so tangible in real.
(35:40) We can be messy and we can be mean, and we can make mistakes. And we can have a miraculous piece of us that is like God breathed and all of it belongs. And I think the bravest, most courageous conversations that we can be having right now in the midst of #MeToo and Times Up is what does progress look like? What, what does moving forward look like? And I do think that is having really great conversations around things like forgiveness and things like rehabilitation. And how are we better educating again? How are we working with young men to help them unlearn and to stop reading off a cultural script they’ve been handed, which, this idea of toxic masculinity is, is damaging to all of us. It’s not just to women, it’s damaging, the cost is so great.
(41:25) The trendsetters and the influencers within the male space, so many athletes or who like the little boys are looking up to. And so what we found was identifying those locker rooms and creating a new, normal, a new standard, a new expectation of what it means to be, this kind of a 21st century man who like boys will be boys, as long as there are always respecting women, like kind of these new adage bro-code. Love, support, defend each other, but not at the expense of other people. Can inject into this new concept of bro-code is I’m going to hold you accountable to being a really good human. It’s kind of this evolution because there’s a lot of really good about bro-code right about that brotherhood.
(44:30) I think we don’t realize the practicality of language and the power of language when you give people the actual words. None of these young men are talking that way. So can you give them actual tools in that moment and prepare them.
- I AM THAT GIRL
- Gina Rudan-Ted Talk
- Brené Brown
- Alexis Jones “Locker Room Ted Talk”
- The Mask You Live In
- The E-Myth, Michael Gerber
- Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr
- 13 Reasons Why
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