The Visionary's Journey

Healing Perfectionism with Empathy - with Josh Martino and Natalie Egan - S2 E1

September 03, 2023 Emily Falcigno Season 2 Episode 1
The Visionary's Journey
Healing Perfectionism with Empathy - with Josh Martino and Natalie Egan - S2 E1
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever gotten triggered and done something really embarrassing?

I did... right after I hit publish on Season 1 Episode 9 - which was about embracing imperfections and rolling with intuition. When you listen to that episode, you can hear the joy in my voice about starting my new holistic space organizing business, Room to Transform.

Right after I hit publish, I picked up my Choate Alumni Magazine, The Bulletin, opened to my high school class' section... and read one guy's most perfectionist  class note! 
It sent me spiraling!

To discuss the surprising outcome of my action, I invited  "perfectionist", Josh Martino (he/him), President of Home Team Restaurant Group,  to be my guest.

I also invited our classmate, Natalie Egan (she/her), who is a Trans Woman and founder of Translator.inc, a tech company focused on teaching empathy in the workplace.

Yes, it can be done! It's a new  frontier organizations can't afford to ignore.

Together, we reflected on our experiences of perfectionism and empathy; and the importance of active listening.

Thank YOU for listening, my visionaries!

P.S. I'll leave you with a 1995 song lyric that intuitively came to me during this episode.

Slip inside the eye of your mind,
cause you know you might find,
a better place to play.


Don't Look Back in Anger, Oasis


0:03  Season 2 + Room to Transform + Community Vision + Juicy Confession + Reconnections
9:44  The Pressure of Perfectionism + How We Met + How We Reconnect Recently + The Perfectionist and Snarky Class Notes
26:01  The Benefits of Calling Out + Learning Other People's Perspectives
29:40  Prep for Compassionate Spaces + Natalie's Story + Reframing Excellence
40:09  Telling Stories as a Path to Empathy + The Secret Sauce + How Translator.inc Works
55:33  Identify Your Own Values with our "Got Alignment?" Journal
58:26  How to Change Culture in Organizations + The Problem with Disconnecting with Employees
1:08:58  Feeling Seen as Who we Want to Be + Reprogramming
1:14:55  Vision Board for Safe Supportive Community + Refraining from Labeling + Healing My Inner Child


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Podcasting transformed Emily's career.

In Season 1, Episode 9, Emily processes her own Visionary's Journey.

It led to her Holistic Space Organizing business, Room to Transform.

We reorganize your space as a Walk-In Vision Board where you feel supported on your next phase of life, so you can manifesting your dreams.

Thanks for listening and good luck on your Visionary's Journey!

Emily Falcigno:

Welcome back to the Visionary's Journey. I am your guide, Emily Falcigno she her pronouns and I'm so excited to have you back for Season 2. Curious about manifesting? Learn how to recenter on your unique path and manifest your true desires. In Season 1, episode 9, I showed my own wiggly path. My intuitive journey inspired me to start my holistic organizing business called Room to Transform. Room to Transform is for those of you feeling burdened by shoulds". It's for those of you who want to convert that embarrassingly messy storage space into an inspiring one. It's for those of you who are feeling overwhelmed by the very thought of reorganizing. Remember, on the Visionary's Journey, we're all about imperfections, so have self-compassion. Life transitions can be pretty hard. To make life easier, I help disorganize professionals like you, clarify your life vision and reorganize a supportive physical space to jump into new things, jive with new habits and thrive in your next phase of life, career or exciting new hobby. With our collaborative walk-in vision board process, you resuscitate your neglected life goals and reorganize a supportive space so you can manifest your dreams. In Season 2 of the Visionary's Journey, we'll gain insight from fellow journeyers who are identifying their values and aligning with their dreams. We'll hear from visionaries who cross our paths. They'll show us how they embody their values, how they translate them into their spaces and how they take action based on their own values. Room to Transform's core value is to lead with compassion to build stronger communities, especially now that people's actual lives are at stake People who are LGBTQ+, non-binary, Black, Indigenous, Asian, different religions, different levels of ability, and economic status. We need to identify community values and stand up for them. This season, we are doing a special community vision board segment. I am asking each guest to contribute to our community vision board on Pinterest. You can follow along at Pinterest. com/RoomToTransform. Life is a big experiment, and so is this show. We embrace imperfections and learn as we go. Come on, our future selves are cheering us on! Hello, my fellow visionaries. Once again, we are on this journey we call life. This season starts off where season one left off. Isn't that weird? I keep having these weird, like intuitive connections that link each of my episodes, and for this one, I have a juicy confession. Ugh god, I did something so embarrassing and not just embarrassing, but totally against the grain of what I preach, which is compassion. Have compassion. I say that all the time, like have compassion more than prejudgment. You don't want to act on that. You want to act based on compassion, and I was judgmental in letter form, so you know I could have stopped myself while I was doing it. Was I angry? Not really. Was I envious. Probably Was I trying to be funny as a way to look for connection and attention. Talk about high school drama like coming back up. Remember last time I was talking about perfectionism? The theme of perfectionism is making its way into this episode. The high school I went to is called Choate and it is a prep school. I appreciated it for what it was while I was there, but I had a hard time making friends because I was spending so much time doing work. Before I get to the incident, I need to introduce my guests and former classmates, Natalie Egan and Josh Martino.

Natalie Egan:

My name is Natalie Egan. My pronouns are she, her and hers. I run a tech company called Translator, where we build technology tools for trainers focused on soft skills development, with a DEI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Josh Martino:

My name is Josh Martino, I am the president of Home Team Restaurant Group, and my pronouns are he, him.

Natalie Egan:

Hello Josh, How's it going? How are you? I'm good.

Josh Martino:

It's so good to see you. You made me laugh so hard when I read your email yesterday. I was trying to tell Emily a little bit about the story of what you were talking about with my roommate and I forgot that you was it you who gave up their room so that I could have their single.

Natalie Egan:

That makes you sound so nice. But yeah, that's what the transaction probably ended up looking like.

Josh Martino:

Yeah, oh my gosh, that was so funny because that was such a funny memory Not funny at the time, but very generous. I don't think I've realized at the moment like how much giving up a single was very generous at the time.

Natalie Egan:

Second semester it worked out really really well. So, Josh, anyways, it's really good to see you. There's been a lot of things have been going It's been what 20, 30 years, 25

Josh Martino:

96 when we graduated, but 94 when we first met. I mean that's wild, that's a wildly long time. I kind of geek out over reconnecting with everybody, and every time I get back to campus I like have to really tone it down, not to like buy everything in the campus store and, like you know, run around campus with a dumb smile on my face.

Natalie Egan:

I just spent like $100 there like a couple of weeks ago. I buy every one of my, like I bought sweatshirts for everybody.

Emily Falcigno:

One thing that I really love doing is connecting people and you know whether they never knew each other or whether it was a situation like this where I created a reunion kind of situation. I really love doing stuff like that and it's really fun for me and it gives me a dopamine hit. But this situation I had to be careful. I really had to kind of swallow that rush that I get in order to make a safe space for other people. So Natalie is a trans woman and you know I had to ask specific questions like how do you want to be called in this episode when we talk about high school? And something that she told me that I didn't know was that trans people like to be gendered as they are now. So we'll refer to Natalie in high school as Natalie. So you know, I was talking back and forth to Natalie and Josh separately and I had to just make sure, double check, and make sure that Josh was on the same page, because, you know, I didn't really know Josh in school and I didn't really know his personality and he was totally on board and totally empathetic and, by the way, he treated me in this incident that I haven't told you guys about yet he really showed me empathy and so I had a feeling that he was going to be a good guest to have on the show with Natalie, and I've been wanting to interview Natalie since reunion. So I just wanted to preface it with that, because it's really important to check in with people and make sure they're treated the way they want to be treated. Wait, we were all incoming sophomores.

Josh Martino:

We were. Yeah, I guess that's pretty unique yeah.

Natalie Egan:

That is an interesting attribute. There wasn't very many of us.

Josh Martino:

Now that I see it's like after my daughter just finished applying last year, I realize now how hard that is. You know harder to get in that way. I guess I just was naive at the time, I didn't realize. So you know, good for all of us for taking that leap when everybody was connecting freshman year.

Emily Falcigno:

Oh, I thought it was easier to get in that way now.

Josh Martino:

Now there's fewer. There's fewer slots. The older you get, the fewer slots there are to get into.

Natalie Egan:

Where did you live? So how far were you?

Emily Falcigno:

I was a day student.

Natalie Egan:

Oh right, right, yeah, you came in sophomore year too. Oh God, okay yeah.

Emily Falcigno:

Yeah, I wanted this to be the first episode of the next season for my podcast, because I talk about all of this in the last episode of the last season, like why it was so, like pressuring for me to be an incoming sophomore and to even go to that school, and how it stayed with me. All of the anxiety of going to prep school stayed with me. I never raised my hand, I never spoke up in class, and now I'm using this podcast as a way to speak up and have my voice heard. So something happened. Something also happened that I instigated with Josh over between then and now, and it made me realize how strong empathy can be and compassion, and so I wanted to use this episode to talk about perfectionism and how we were trained, especially going to prep school, like what excellence is supposed to be and how it can be transformed now into setting up more compassionate spaces than I experienced in high school. I usually start these by introducing how we met. I don't have a clear memory of how I met you both in high school. I have a recollection of you both like walking around campus somewhere, like. I have a distinct memory of seeing Josh walking down the PMAQ like walkway with like a hat and a sweatshirt on, and then I have a recollection of seeing Natalie walking down the path from upper campus to lower campus, like maybe playing frisbee or something.

Natalie Egan:

I don't have many memories of Choate. I do, but not those synopses, those little moments. I have bigger memories, besides probably meeting Josh because he was living in my dorm. I don't know how did I meet those people, it was through osmosis.

Josh Martino:

You say like a name, like anybody on our hall, I get immediate imagery of these people but maybe somewhat caricatures of who they were and who they probably are today. But it makes me smile, makes me laugh just thinking about it. But, Emily, I'd say probably the same thing about you. My distinct memories of you probably just not sure we ever shared a class or anything together. We walked down the same path every day for three years and saw each other and said hello and had a casual, friendly relationship just on the path, that kind of that way, just being in the same community.

Emily Falcigno:

Community.

Natalie Egan:

Yeah, I was in a bubble in that community, so apologies for like again. I just sort of was on my own planet, which we'll get to in a little bit.

Emily Falcigno:

Did you take any art classes, Natalie?

Natalie Egan:

Yeah, that was like actually my main thing. I was hard.

Emily Falcigno:

I feel like I might have had an art class with you, I'm sure we did probably with Miss Guston. Yes, yes, did you take your life trying?

Natalie Egan:

I just don't remember anything about the class, like you know. That's like I remember Miss Guston, like I couldn't remember the little, like I mean I wouldn't remember who is in the class or what. Yeah. I remember. I actually remember some cool stuff, though, like some cool art that I made. That was my thing art at school. I thought that was that's about all I had.

Emily Falcigno:

Yeah, well, me too, I think. Um, okay, do you mind if I share how we met recently? Yeah, of course. So, on the topic of empathy, I remember when you came to reunion in 2016 and there was a Winnebago parked on the football field Josh, I'm totally sorry you missed this part and we were walking from the theater to the Winnebago and you were a little bit cold, so I gave you my jacket and my jacket isn't usually something I just lend to anybody, because I'm usually freezing all the time.

Natalie Egan:

I forgot about the jacket. Thank you for that.

Emily Falcigno:

You're welcome. But I was just like, oh no, she needs this right now and I'm just going to make sure you're comfortable. And that was the first time that I really felt empathy, because I was like I don't usually give up my jacket. The way I reconnected with Josh. This is good You're going to like this. It was very snarky kind of it was. See, I think this is what happens when. I'm not making any excuses. I really thought hard about sending you that email. I read a class note in our alumni magazine and, after having just done my last episode of the last season, it was all about floundering through life's curveballs and I felt in kind of a low place. And then I opened the class notes and there's a class note from Josh Martino who I haven't heard from. I mean, I always read the class notes but I haven't heard from him, and I don't think you've ever written a class note. And that's a confirmation. I'm getting a head shake from Josh, Correct? Correct, yeah no go ahead and it was all like I did this and then I did this. Oh, here it is Okay, cool, cool, cool. Josh Martino is founder and president of Home Team Restaurant Group, which combines his passions for small businesses, local philanthropic involvement and the culinary industry. He graduated from Blah blah blah and earned his JD from Blah blah blah law school in New York. Josh has also served on the board of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens that's pretty cool and blah blah blah Student Affairs Community Council, as well as the Blah blah blah Leadership Institute.

Josh Martino:

He sits on the boards for the the board for the Tiger Academy Charter School. Bla, blah, blah, blah blah, blah, blah blah and Feeding.

Emily Falcigno:

Northeast Florida. Josh also serves on the advisory board for.

Josh Martino:

In addition to that I serve on the advisory board for the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University and the Student Well-Being Committee at the University of North Florida.

Speaker 5:

He also has been a member of the Bar Association since 2003.

Natalie Egan:

He graduated from the leadership class of 2015 and was named to the business journals 440 and 2016.

Emily Falcigno:

And he probably resides blah, blah, blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, which ties up his perfectionist legacy in a nice little bow. Okay, that's not how I feel about this now, because all of the things that he did is pretty interesting and it's like whoa, how do you do all of those things? Now, I'm pretty amazed by it, but this is how I read it. After doing season one, episode nine, when we were talking about unlearning perfectionism. That was the first class note I read after that episode, and I was already talking about high school in that episode. So, ugh, I was just like oh my God, I gotta call this a dude out. Why is he writing like this? It just sounds so polished, too polished for a class note. They need to be a little bit more casual. However you look at it, I was reacting. I was reacting to a visceral feeling in my body, a feeling that wanted to call out this ingrained perfectionism that prep schools drills into students, the environment of competitive behavior with prizes and sports and achievement measurements. Perfection to me is the idea that failure is not allowed, which is why I never spoke up in classes, which is why I never felt like I was good enough in high school. I was constantly comparing myself to others. And that is exactly what happened again when I read Josh Martino's class note in our alumni magazine and remember in season one, episode nine, I was looking for Bono. As I was writing to him, I was looking up this home team restaurant group, right, and guess what? The first restaurant that came up was it's called Bono's Dude guys. This is weird. I felt like that was a sign that it was okay to get in touch with him. So I get in touch with him and I'm like oh, I wrote it in the little contact page so I knew everybody else was like other people might read it. Hey, Josh Martino, in parentheses, in case there are more Josh's, I saw your class note Awesome. I was going to write a cheeky response to it, but I'm doubtful Choate would post it unless I had you on board. I talked about entering Choate as a sophomore in the latest podcast episode. Here's the link LMK, if you want to hear my silly class note idea. He wrote right back and he was like yeah, sure, send me your class note idea. So this is my class note idea. Great to hear about Josh Martino in that last issue. "Hi, josh, I wish I could say I were so accomplished. Josh and I met as incoming sophomores. Why didn't I apply freshman year? I talk about it in season one, episode nine of the Visionaries Journey podcast. This episode is for all of you who don't write class notes. It's an imperfectly musical episode about floundering and finding your way again by trusting your intuition. Thanks Emily Falcigno, formerly known as the quietest girl in school." And yeah, he's like you sound bitter, but you sound bitter. Maybe you should write it as a letter to the editor instead of this bitter sounding class note. And actually we ended up having a phone call conversation about this and he was like I just didn't want you to like. I wanted people to hear your message, but not stop at you sounding bitter in the first sentence. Wow, okay, that was a great constructive criticism and to say that, yes, your story does need to be heard, but not this isn't the format. And so I invited him to be on this podcast today to talk about empathy in a more constructive form, and I included another classmate, Natalie Egan, who owns a company where they teach empathy. I'm so excited about this episode. It is all about owning your shit, not dragging other people down with it, and healing. So I really am so excited to share this episode with you. I felt like that was like very compassionate response to like what could have gone really wrong in my class note. I think I thought that was a very kind gesture to create this like supportive environment.

Josh Martino:

I'm glad that was your take. I could tell that was your takeaway. I feel like I kind of stopped you in your tracks a little bit and it was something that I hated to do [write the class note]. I mean, I hadn't written a class note, even though I check them out all the time. I kind of dig seeing what everybody's up to you know and I don't know how there's another way to do a class note. I mean, they kind of give you a guideline of just tell everybody what you're up to.

Natalie Egan:

But, Josh, I don't know if everybody knows what a class note is. Like we know, the two of the three of us. But like does the world that's listening to?

Josh Martino:

like I feel like oh, so you get a good call, so we get a, we get a bulletin the Choate Bulletin, like a magazine that updates us on these groundbreaking things that Choate students are doing out in the world. And then what's going on on campus, any new developments, and then in the back you know, a class note. They put what year you graduated and then what you've been up to. You know anything from so and so got married to. And usually it's like here's Aaron Zubaty. He's solving the world's energy crisis in Africa this week, and then next week he's moving on to then like, oh, okay, well, I sold some barbecue last week, so, and you know you can't laugh about you know what you're up to, but it's kind of meant to be an update, anything exciting going on in your life. Or you know, hey, I haven't talked to you in 25 years. This is what's kind of being gone. This is what's going on in one paragraph or five sentences. So it's a tough task to do without sounding. Here's my entire list of accolades and you know, it's basically like the Instagram of keeping up with your fellow classmates. Here's a two second snapshot of where I am today, and it looks like I'm in front of the Eiffel Tower I'm eating a bowl of pasta. And Rome, and you know these are my 17 lovely children, you know who are all Rhodes scholars. I mean, it's hard to do it any other way and I'll be honest, I was pretty lazy about it. I've got, you know, kind of a standard bio that I use for board service and philanthropic work and I was like, well, this sums it up and I really don't want to, but they're kind of counting me to write one so I copied and pasted my bio that I used for that and sent it in, which sums up kind of what I've been up to and the family stuff and the job stuff. And it was so funny because I hated putting it out there. I just because it sounds like that, it sounds like, look at me and I'm not really a look at me kind of person. And of course, the one the one that a feedback was from Emily, and I was like, oh, that's exactly what I was afraid of. Like she thinks I'm such a you know braggadocious putz, like and I appreciate her take that we should want to do that differently. Right, go kind of in a different direction and not so much the. Today I woke up and had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I said my dog, and saw a beautiful sunrise today. You know if I'm. If I was reading what you were writing, it was like I think we should try and keep it real Right, like it doesn't have to be sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. You know, but I don't. I don't know that a class note is. Like you know, I'm really struggled the last five years. You know, I don't know what the forum is for that. You know so it's kind of it's kind of tough, but it was great, no matter what. I love that you. You reached out, you called out I listened to your podcast. I went for a long walk listen to your podcast and I responded. You know, and I think our reintroduction to each other all these years later was so great in that it wasn't just hey, what have you been up to, and the conversation with a class note it was. It started off with a little bit of a challenge to each other and an appreciation, kind of immediately, for you know what were our views of chose, how those things affected us in the moment, and I think I was able to enlighten you that what you may have thought. My experience was there. You know, look at how layers right I came into that school with I guess I was 15. 1515 years of stuff. You know my own stuff and it's not to say that everything was so peachy coming in and and you know it's funny the incident, the battle and I've been joking about, you know, in our dorm. That incident had a lot of like triggers for me, Based on difficulties I had and one of the reasons I came to chose. But yeah, we had these different experiences there and it was important for me to hear yours and I think it's important for other people to hear your experience because I was well aware that, while I thought it was the greatest place on earth and changed me forever, I definitely I give Choate credit for changing not changing me, I guess bringing allowing me to be more of who I already was and the first time I'd ever been really seen or appreciated or, you know, welcomed for who I was, and it was like no more, give me more, give me more. It was awesome for me in that regard and I've never veered away from that Since I was 15 years old, that that kind of mindset, and it's been great. But I value that there were other kids there who hated it and went for different reasons than I went and and didn't have a great experience. It's really important for current students to hear that what the pitfalls can be, you know. So I really did appreciate the way you, you know you came to me with all of that and I think it was a really cool launching point for reconnecting.

Emily Falcigno:

Yeah, I like to skip the small talk.

Josh Martino:

The title of your book, sweat the small stuff.

Emily Falcigno:

Certain small stuff. I guess I should say a little bit about my perspective about coming into school. So my my experience was education is very important in my family, because my grandparents went to high school and I was like what was it Like? My grandmother couldn't go study fashion in New York because she had to help raise a family and make money. So education was just like really drilled into us that you had to achieve, you had to get good grades, you had to. I guess my parents would probably say, like, do your best, do your best. I felt like I just couldn't have a social life. I like totally lost some friendships because I just was never around. I was always in the library falling asleep. Anyway, I felt like all this pressure to achieve, If we were to prep people for a compassionate living situation, how would we do that? What are the elements that we need for that? And I wanted to bring Natalie into this conversation because she is running a company that does that for people. So I would like to like I have to open the conversation that way. So okay, so Choate was based on excellence. My question is what did it mean to you growing up and how can we reframe it today?

Natalie Egan:

For me, sure. So I guess I haven't really formally introduced myself to the audience, so I'll just kind of start there. So my name is Natalie Egan. My pronouns are she, her and hers. As Emily just mentioned, I do run a tech company called Translator where we build technology tools for trainers to help them do trainings, like live trainings with people, and a lot of that is anchored in diversity, equity and inclusion, work and belonging and all that stuff. So I was really focused on soft skills development, but with a DEI diversity, equity and inclusion sort of foundation, and so that's where I live my life. And to give some people some context for the conversation we're having today, like I'm reconnecting with somebody who I used to live in a dorm with for the first time in 30 years, since we went to boarding school together, and then Emily, our host today, graciously pairing Josh and I back up together for this conversation and then just having another really nice conversation with Emily, which has been a big part of my journey since I transitioned. What like eight years ago now seven or eight years ago I actually came out publicly at our 20 year high school reunion. It was our 20 year high school reunion, so I showed up to Joe as me, and nobody knew that except for the administration and a few of my closest friends from my bubble that I mentioned earlier, and it was actually a really amazing experience, but we're not here necessarily to talk about that. I just wanted to provide some framework or context for how I would answer the questions that Emily is asking, which are, I think, or based on my unique lived experience in a lot of ways. But when I went to Choate, all I cared about was not getting kicked out. That was the most important thing to me don't get kicked out, and I was not going to put myself in a position to get kicked out, but I did not want to get kicked out, and I wasn't a great student, and an excellence for me was not getting kicked out and not being the first Egan in my family to get kicked out of Choate. I think I was. There was multiple Egans before me at the school, and so I was in fear all the time of being the one that got kicked out. My sister was there, my older brother had graduated 10 years earlier, my dad went, my grandfather went and I certainly was not going to be the first to not graduate from what to me was an incredible opportunity, and I loved Choate. I loved it, but I was in a bubble and I didn't have my own identity. I wasn't who I was supposed to be. So I became what everybody wanted me to be, and that was actually pretty easy at Choate, given the amount of resources and access and the environment that we were in, which was very open. Relatively speaking, I couldn't be who I really wanted to be, but I didn't have to think about stuff. There wasn't judgment at Choate. We could just exist. I didn't start to feel the hardship of my identity really until I got to college. That was a big shift for me, but at Choate, all I cared about was that I fit in and I was cool and I didn't get kicked out, and it was easy because I had a lot of these resources and a lot of privilege, but I also had a lot of testosterone running through me and that made it really easy to fit in with that sort of crew, and that's why I was really disconnected too, because I was just really focused on my bubble. And anyways, I loved Choate, though. I loved the relationships that I built there, and it's a sharp contrast to really the rest of my life, which seemed a lot more judgmental and forced me to conform even more when I went to Choate in 94. When we arrived, josh, one of the people in our dorm, was the first gay person I had ever met in my entire life. I had never met another gay person in my life. My mind was blown. I was like I can't believe that this person can do. I wasn't upset about it or anything, I just was like, wow, this is amazing that they can do that here. And I was sort of secretly jealous. But I didn't really understand why. Because again, I didn't really understand my own identity. This person who eventually became I've become great friends with since Reunion. So when I was at Choate I didn't really know them that well. But since reunion, since I came out as a trans woman, we now have sort of a much deeper bond, which is cool. And then one of our teachers we had two teachers actually that were out as gay and that to me was so groundbreaking at the time. And again, I didn't understand my own identity. This was not even a possibility you talk about. How do we reimagine things today, Emily? And it's like we need more representation so that we can show more people. Those three individuals I just called out were the representation. They were the pioneers that brought the loud for the school to become a real safe haven for LGBT students. I think they've been doing some really pioneering work with the T. In particular, the trans and non-binary identity, like Choate, has been thankfully ahead of the curve in terms of adopting new policies and programs and support for trans and non-binary students. But in this vision board or this reimagining of what Choate looks like today, as good a job as they do do in some areas, they need better representation of certain areas In particular, in my opinion, which is, as an alumna, however, many years later, not currently completely up to date, but I'm pretty in tune with the LGBT stuff that's going on campus. I was there recently and I was there again not too long ago and I'm getting more and more involved to try and support the community. But they do need more representation of trans non-binary staff, administration speakers, people to come into school to destigmatize this identity, to help these future leaders go out and be able to help shape the policies and procedures of other organizations and firms that are part of shaping culture in this world. I think that's really important and I'm there to help the school with that. I wish there was more representation, but in the 90s this was my identity wasn't even like on the register, on the radar, as possible. We all existed. We were just super closeted and now we're all coming out because of social media and the media. The internet's connecting us all. So the world's changing and I'm happy to be here and be a part of it and be in this conversation and thank you for having me.

Emily Falcigno:

Thank you for all of that and for introducing yourself officially. I just wanted to make a note for everyone that I don't want to critique Choate necessarily, but just use the idea of prep school as if we were to make up the superstitious prep school for life kind of situation, the way we want to live it now. What would that look like? But you answered that too. I know that the work that you do with Translator helps people connect to their own stories first. Is that true?

Natalie Egan:

It was a yes for the audience. I couldn't see the audience.

Emily Falcigno:

So I found, even in the work that I've done over quarantine, meditation and inner work stuff to help me understand what triggers me in certain ways. Something that just came to my mind was business people in general. Whenever you're interviewing for jobs or you're pitching something, you have this story that you tell over and over and over again. But how do we get people to connect to the underneath story? What's driving them to act a certain way, and what resources do people need to express that?

Josh Martino:

I think it's about effort. I think about how you reconnected with me. You made an effort to reach out. You made an effort to just be pretty honest with me about how you were feeling and then you were also willing to listen. You were willing to be right or wrong about maybe your first take and then take it from there. I mean, like I said, it was a really fun launching point because there was all of that attached to it and we were both willing to listen. We were both willing to just be honest and make the effort to hear each other and allow that to be the truth, and that's just why I was excited to reconnect then. That's why I was really. I mean, I've been looking forward to this when you put me and Natalie together. I've been excited to reconnect about this since you said who we were going to be on this podcast with. But it really is just about making effort, not being distracted and then letting things sink in. You go back to the excellence word about prep school, but I promise you, not every prep school is built the same. There's a lot of misconceptions. You tell people oh, my daughter's going to boarding school, and they go oh my gosh, I didn't think, I didn't know you had problems at home and it's like no, no, it's a good thing. It's really a good school. She earned it. It's a good thing. Since I was three years old, I think I had Harvard sweatshirts and mugs and my parents were all about academic excellence and this is interesting to hear your backstory. My mother's parents were my grandparents on my mom's side were. They're born in Poland. They got put in the concentration camps. There's two kids at the time were murdered, four and six years old. They both survived, obviously, met up after the war, had my mom and then my mom ended up getting an art scholarship at Georgia State University in Atlanta and they came over and that's that side of the family how they ended up in Atlanta. My dad's parents were Italian immigrants, moved to New York. He went to law school in Atlanta, met my mom at a concert in Atlanta while he's in law school. They fell in love. That's how I ended up in Atlanta, georgia, and I think you take those cultures right and it's all about family, it's about education, family education, and so educational excellence was always kind of hammered home and I've got an older brother and he went to some of those prep schools that are not like the one we went to and therefore kids with maybe some disciplinary issues and having other things going on. So when you say excellence, that was hammered home for me and it was a big deal to get into these boarding schools. But I can tell you that when I was on campus, when we were just hanging out in Clinton Knight, when I was in Spanish class, the excellence factor it wasn't looming over me right, like I was in already. I was there, I must have belonged there, you know. I was able to get in. I wasn't walking around thinking you know, straight A's, straight A's, straight A's or bust, but this is a stepping stone to greater things and a higher salary and a CEO position. One day I was literally thinking about practice that afternoon, fitting in being myself. How would that be perceived? I was so excited to be there because where I came from, in Atlanta, you know, the school I went to from kindergarten through ninth grade was so one note right. It was the scholastic part of it was memorized, regurgitate and then forget it two seconds later. And it was a great school. It was a great private school in Atlanta, but it was not any sort of great educational experience. And then there was zero diversity. My freshman prom they were holding at a country club that didn't allow Black or Jewish members. Still, we're talking 1994, you know, I mean, and they wouldn't change it. It doesn't matter how much we asked, because you know, I think there were like three Jewish kids and four black students in our class. That wasn't enough to change things. I was yearning for so much more, right, like I wanted an experience, I wanted diversity, I wanted to, I wanted to be in a school that mirrored my community, and so that's what I was really excited about being surrounded by. And you know that I think the school motto this year and I know it's just a slogan, but be undefinable. You know it's not, it doesn't say excellence across the t-shirt and you know it's like it's presumed excellence, right, we all already know these schools are excellent academic institutions. But be undefinable. I just thought that was fantastic. I mean, what a great slogan. I'm no marketing expert, but if that's where they're going and that's the direction, that just hits home for me. Like I do not want to be definable and that kind of goes to the class notes, like everybody gets defined in a two second blurb in their class notes and that's just. I think I was trying to explain to you. That's, that's me in a two second blurb, but that's not who I am. So call me. Here's my cell phone number, let's catch up and then you can tell me what you think you know and this is who I am. And you know unapologetically, and and but lay all my cards on the table. So I know there's a lot of word soup, but that was kind of my path to to chose and then getting there and that place allowing me to be who I think I was the whole time, but it being acceptable and rewarding, coming out of my shell a little bit, and then a little bit more and a little bit more. Adults who are willing to listen and engage, students who could afford to be there, students who couldn't afford to be there, students who represent the world. You know, I mean our hall alone. We had kids from the Bronx, we had kids from Columbia, we had kids from South Korea. Natalie and I were there, you know, just mixed into this this awesome one little hallway in Clinton night. It was pretty cool, I mean that's, that's immersion. Now I got the roommate that looked like all the kids I went to school with in Atlanta and acted like those kids and pretty closed off from diversity, and that led to, you know, a skirmish that Natalie helped save me from, and that was a bummer, but that was probably the only bummer I had the whole time was that I got paired with the one person on campus and there might have been more. That was the person I was trying to get away from, you know and, and the person I didn't want as my roommate and the person that I could. I've already experienced that for 15 years Like, give me somebody else, yeah, so that's, um, that was kind of my past, but so so I get the excellent part of it, but for me, I wasn't thinking about it while I was there. I was trying to do the best I could. You know whether it was on a playing field, whether it was a breakfast, um, or whether it was in this classroom, but I was just, I was just soaking it all up.

Emily Falcigno:

Thank you for sharing all of that. Thank you for sharing your background and, yeah, your definition of excellence so interest. I'm so glad we're having this conversation because even getting all of these different experiences Back to my brain is Helping me see everything differently. I usually need to take like a night to think things through, to come up with like a coherent answer to things. That's why I wish, like my experience in English class happened that way I didn't like to read in school. Well, so you kind of got to the answer of the question I was trying to ask, which is like how do we set up a safe space for Getting those inner self kind of answers out? I know, natalie, that you have a specific way of getting people to answer inner self questions. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

Natalie Egan:

Sure, yeah, I mean so. So we use technology to do that. I mean that's, that's the Secret sauce. I guess I mean we're. I mean actually, technically, the secret sauce is is ancient. You know we're using technology to make it more accessible. You know the principles of empathy and empathy development, you know, have been around for a long time and I think people have long since. You know, a lot of people have debated whether or not it's even like a skill that you can develop. And I assure you that it is, and it requires Self-awareness, like you can't have empathy without self-awareness. And you know, when I was growing up, back in the day, back when we went to school Together, you know again, because I sort of didn't have my own identity and I was sort of a little bit like complete, like I was a little oblivious to Things in the world, you know, one of the things that I did was like I just I didn't understand the difference between Sympathy and empathy. Right, there was a lot of little things like that in my life that you know. I kind of use the words interchangeably and like no one ever noticed that I didn't know the difference. Reality taught me later in life what that the difference is and you know, and you know, sympathy is, is, is feeling bad for someone. Empathy is being able to sort of feel for them or walk in their shoes, right, and I never really experienced empathy until I came out as a trans woman and experienced bias. At the time I experienced Bias, discrimination, hatred. You know, for the first time in my life really, you know, like at age 38, like prior to that, like I never had to think about my identity. I'd never had to. I never had to deal with any of that of the marginalization that most people in the world experience. That Changed me, obviously, you know, like, like it changed how I view the world. It changed how I see my past, like and and it's been, it's been quite, it's been quite the journey for me, obviously. So, so, yeah, so, in terms of you know my own journey, you know and my own experience, you know my own journey to empathy, right, like my journey to Natalie also becoming my journey to empathy, like one of the things that we really tried to do, that we've set out to do, is sort of is capture that and and sort of use technology to help scale it and and what we've done is we've gone back and we've Discovered all of these like old-school exercises that used to be done on paper and you know with with pencil and you know in person. You know there are exercises that you used to do in in facilitated trainings to help you, you know, better understand the material. So we've digitized those exercises so you can do them kind of non. You can do them anonymously. You can do them, you know, privately in the, you know in your, in your own home, but in in these kind of cohort like learning circles that are real-time, so people get together in groups of, you know, 25 to 50 people with a Avatar that sort of facilitates a discussion and then people do Exercises on their phone and then there's a human also helping to, you know, facilitate the conversation as well, but people are participating anonymously. So it allows for people to explore their own identity and ask questions and share feedback without the fear of stigma or, you know, the fear of judgment and otherization For saying, for asking a question like that, you know people might have judged them for right or for or for being honest about their identity and their lived experience, and I think what we've experienced here today is is very real, right, like a lot of times, people don't feel comfortable being this vulnerable, so the technology sort of encourages and facilitates the vulnerability Because it's anonymous and we then we collect a lot of data that we can then feedback to organizations or you know, to help them better understand the lived experiences of their employees. So there's two sides to the impact of this technology experience. One is you change minds, behaviors, attitudes. You know at culture with people Actually cultures a longer term play but you use the data to change the culture over time. You, your near term impact is on on the people Right when you go through these vulnerable experiences and you share and you learn from this platform in real time. You're really learning from each other. You know, using the platform, that then the data that we create from that you know is what helps organizations change culture over time. You know, because you can measure Outcomes, you can see gaps in your culture, you can see where there's issues or hot points or questions that people have and it allows for you to be much more prescriptive with Policy changes and updates and you know new benefits and things like that. So that's, we can go geek out down that rabbit hole, but that's kind of what the technology does.

Emily Falcigno:

I Want to bippity, boppity, boop in with a note about taking action to make changes on your own wiggly path. I know, I know fairy godmothers aren't real and nothing happens with a flick of a wand. However, you can make magical changes by identifying your values and setting clear intentions for your energy, your lifestyle and your spaces. Aligning your values is the first step to manifesting more easily. That is why I made a free journaling exercise for you. It's called got alignment. The link is in the show notes. Before making a vision board, before making a reorganization plan, before Getting new containers, the very first thing you need to do is know why You're doing it. By reflecting on your values using our journal prompts, you'll start to see how your values are in and out of alignment in your energy, your lifestyle and in your spaces then, it's way easier to narrow down your vision and make a plan to reorganize. Say, you are frustrated with the tedium of your grinding job and you identified that you are craving creative collaboration. Great, now you have information. Now you can make room in your space for more than one person to ideate and create with you. Maybe you bring in pops of color to enliven your space to get those creative juices flowing. Do you see how identifying what you value Helps you create a more supportive environment for you to manifest what you value? This is how you set up your space as a walk-in vision board. You're shifting the energy, you're taking action. You're sending a message to the universe that you Really want to manifest this idea that you have. I included a list of values for inspiration and We've got a full season of inspiration coming your way. So at the end of this episode, go to the got alignment link in the show notes, download or print the PDF. Set a timer for 45 minutes to sit down, get grounded and give yourself Undivided attention. Let your intuition guide your answers and be honest with yourself. That will get you way farther, way faster, like magic. Now let's hear more from our guests You're talking about like culture over time? Have you seen it like a company's culture change and how much time it usually takes? I'm sure it's like subjective.

Natalie Egan:

Yeah, I mean like, I mean with or without the help of my organization, cultures do change over time, like for better or worse. You know, theoretically, the concept that we're trying to address, like at large, and we're not the only one. There's many Tech, entrepreneurs, startups out there, you know. You know going into the space of of culture change. You know culture used to be sort of a black box. You know, no one really knew what made it happen. And you know there's, there's some realities though that, like your culture, you know you may have, I don't know, 20 to 30 percent turnover, like we just have it. We don't know why, but you can't really afford to do that anymore, like companies can't afford to not understand and try and move the needle on culture to make it more inclusive, to retain the best talent, to attract the best talent, you know, to keep them engaged and productive. You can't not address this anymore, and so there's a whole Lot of innovation happening to build technology to help companies measure this stuff. It's kind of like digital transformation. If you're familiar with that concept of, you know digital transformation has taken over every part of every business, like from accounting and building to marketing and sales, to, you know, hr management, etc. But it has like culture is kind of the last Frontier of digital transformation, and I think that's what's happening right now. It's an exciting time, for sure, josh? You're nodding your head along. Do you have any comments?

Emily Falcigno:

I completely agree. I think culture.

Josh Martino:

Culture changes over time. I we kind of laugh. I mean, I'm running a business that's 74 years old right now, right? So what this? what this business was, who was running it. 50 years ago, 30 years ago, it looked very different. The people running it were very different, the, the culture was very different. And I think you know I think culture is earned. It's earned by the effort, the willingness to change, the willingness to adapt To and technology, everything Natalie was just saying I mean it's affecting our industry and literally everything you just said, from Sales and marketing to you know how we, how we get our food and people's hands, to how we, how we're perceived on the internet and social media. It's all just so vital, but we've been adaptable and open-minded. I like we kind of snicker and laugh at that. You know new companies, that you know they put a ping-pong table and a keg of beer in the break room and they call that oh well, our culture is just this and our culture is that and like, well, you've been your, your company has existed for three months. You know that doesn't? That's not culture, right, like culture, culture is earned over a long period of time and then that's who you are in that moment and it's it should be malleable, right, you should be able to keep forming. And you know you hire somebody new, just even one person and you put that person Into your culture, into your corporate culture. That's going to have a small effect on. You know the culture of that company or that culture of whatever it is that organization going forward, and as long as it's progressing towards Progress, I guess that's redundant. But you know, the culture is going to change. I think you just have to have a willingness to change. There's plenty of people who are stubborn towards change and you know, I think that mindset has those people falling behind. And you know, I really love and admire what Natalie's doing. I don't think I had an understanding of exactly what you're doing, but I think it's beautiful and I think it's really important work and I think the people who are willing to go through the exercise and what you're, what you're giving to the people who are willing to go through the exercise, you're what you're giving them With this platform are only going to get better and should improve cultures From not only their organization or their company but in their personal life too. So you know, that's just. That's just making people better.

Natalie Egan:

Yeah, thank josh, thank you for Thank you for that and Emily, thank you for you know having this conversation. I did. I do apologize. You asked me specifically like, you know, like, for examples of culture change and and you know there are. There are many, right, and it does take time, like, like, we always say, like behavior change is immediate, but like culture change takes time, right and like, but and behavior change like is also not sustainable unless you put in like systems to support it, right, so, and that's what changes culture over time. So that's why the data Is so important, right? So you, we have these events, these experiences that people go through. They're usually 60 to 90 minutes. You do that over and over and over again in a company over time, with different content, different topics. Each time, you're collecting a ton of data that helps the company change, change culture over time. But the people in the moment, it's feeling seen, it's feeling heard, it's feeling represented, right, it's the vulnerability like that that in the moment is, is, is, is what changes the behavior. And then, over time, when the company can see its people, when it can hear its people, like, like, through that data like that that we're collecting over time, that's what ultimately allows for the company to be empathetic, right and or it had to have organizational empathy. You have to have organizational awareness. It's the same framework for for self awareness, right, self awareness and empathy, like organizational awareness and organizational empathy, like, are developed the same way. So, and yes, there's case studies. I mean, you know, environmental social governance, is, is kind of a Is is what's driving a lot of organizations to have to start to measure this stuff. And you can see it. You can see it in retention, you can see it in diversity, recruiting, referrals. You know, when you see those things going up, especially for marginalized and underrepresented communities that are not normally at the center of Of power in your organization, that is going to change culture. That and that's, that's how it works.

Emily Falcigno:

I love it. Thank you for that breakdown and the yes, the analogy of organizational awareness to self awareness. It's like it's so obvious, but I feel like it needs to be said.

Natalie Egan:

Well, companies are just made out of people, you know, like it just there's lots of people right. So but, like, for some reason you get to a certain mass or like size and it's like all of a sudden we sort of disconnect from ourselves and we just look at the most basic things like headcount, right, like how many black people do we have Right, or how many, or how many black people do we have in management, or how many black women do we have in management, but they don't think about the lived experience of a black woman. You know, either in their, in their organization or in the world, right. That's the problem. So, like, if you don't understand how black women feel in your organization Not that how they feel necessarily even about your organization, but how they experience the world If you can understand that, you will attract and retain Black women who feel seen, heard, represented, valued in your organization because you get them. Most people don't get them. They just say, okay, we know how many we have and we don't understand why we have high turnover of black women in management. Doesn't make sense. They just say, oh well, we just got to deal with that. But they don't have to deal with it. Josh, were you gonna say?

Emily Falcigno:

something.

Josh Martino:

No, I agree, I think it's gotta become more than just checking boxes and meeting statistics. And you know, I'm very fortunate that our business and the work I do in the community just has no shortage of diversity cultural diversity, economic diversity, ethnic diversity, gender diversity. I mean, I'm steeped in it every day and I'm just so grateful for it. And I think you know, one of the things I always say is you know, I will, I will never know right and I would never presume to know what it is to be Emily or Natalie or a Black man or a Asian woman. I'll never, I'll never be able to say I know what it is, I know what it is to be you, but I'm always going to try like I'm going to try to know, I'm gonna ask the questions, I do care, I'm always gonna Listen and do my best to understand what it feels like. But I know I can never walk a mile in your shoes. But I'm here, I'm listening and the more you share with me and the more I show you that I can receive it and I will honor that and I will pressure that and I will adapt to that the more I think I'm going to make you more comfortable being your unique true self, to me at least, and hopefully out in the world, that there are other people willing to listen and cherish it and learn and love, and it's okay. I think that's what we're trying to get to. So you know, it's about making the effort to listen and share and be vulnerable, but also to receive it well and try to have that empathetic reaction.

Emily Falcigno:

Any comments. Natalie, just going to get grin.

Natalie Egan:

No, no, I totally agree. Love it.

Emily Falcigno:

Okay.

Natalie Egan:

I was really just thinking about, like, how different our lives would be. No, not how different our lives would be, how different my life would be my experience of Choate would have been if I had been able to really be me there. I think about that all the time, to be honest. But there was something that Josh said that made me sort of wish that I knew Josh back in high school, not as who I used to be, but as who I should have been, which is a hard thing to say, to say like who I should have been. But I just think I would have seen it, because I don't know you, Josh, nor you Emily, like the way that I would have if I had been able to be me Like I only have my perception of Josh as living on my floor and, Emily, I didn't really know you in high school, Like I didn't know you at all. Like I didn't know any gay students, like except for Jed, who is one of my best friends.

Josh Martino:

We all knew Jed.

Natalie Egan:

But like I just I think about it all the time. I don't know if you all have ever seen or, Emily, you may have seen this on social media. We may have even talked about it. I can't remember. I'm sorry, but, Josh, I don't know if you probably haven't seen this and I don't know if we're connected on social media, but I shared a post. I don't know, I don't share very much, but like probably almost a year ago, probably at this point, I took pictures of me from my childhood and like put them through an app that like was transformative of my identity and, you know, allows for me to reimagine my youth as who I should be. Like it's just an exercise I do anyway. It's like I think about Joe and I think about college. I think about all these times in my life like if I could have been me. Anyways, I don't have any good pictures from Joe. You have to have like a good picture for it. Like that makes it work really well. So most of them are not from our high school days, but anyways, that's what I was thinking about and I just wanted to share it, just since we're like in this reflection moment.

Josh Martino:

I mean how was that? How did that exercise go Like? How was it to see those pictures in that app?

Natalie Egan:

I mean, it's very therapeutic for me, Like I. I I don't know where this came from, but maybe like five years ago I started to do this thing where it was kind of like kind of meditating, but I would. I would really focus deeply, really hard to close my eyes, almost like forcing myself to dream, but like reimagining high school as me, right, like going to what was. Did we call it the catillion? I think we did. Was it was a catillion? What was the day the Hurrahs, the Hurrahs.

Emily Falcigno:

Yeah, first Hurrah, last Hurrah the last Hurrahs.

Natalie Egan:

Like you know, what if I had gone to that, like if I could have been me, you know? And then I always have this thing in my head like what if I was trans and out? Or what if I had just been born a cis girl like everybody else? That was in high school. But I just I go through these like really deep, intense, meditative, like rewiring experiences where I just almost like repeat the memory, to almost kind of make that my new memory. So I've been doing that for a long time. It's really therapeutic for me and harmless, I think. It's just kind of me. Just I mean, if, if our, if all we have are our memories and our memories are sort of like you know, then why can't I rethink my memories? Right, that's my logic. But anyways, I found this app called Face app, which most people, a lot of people, know about. But it allows for you to like push a button and switch genders, and so I take pictures on my phone of old pictures of me from, like, middle school and things like that, and then click the button and then I can like style my hair the way I would have wanted to have it Like, and I can like, you know, make myself look a little cute, and then that becomes the new version of that picture and, to be honest, the old picture is kind of a funny reference, but it's not what I pay attention to anymore. Like I don't I wouldn't want to, I've given copies of these pictures to people in my family. I'm like put that picture on your fridge, or nice pictures, because I want to see it when I show up there and like they want to keep some pictures of me, but I don't. I want to see pictures of me, like who I, how I see myself, and that makes me feel seed. Talk about that. Just bring that right back into the corporate world. Help people feel seen in all the different little ways that we can do it for people and they're happier.

Emily Falcigno:

I absolutely loved that. When I saw that on social media, because as a photographer, I'm like capturing memories for people, but also like over quarantine, doing that, all that inner self work it was like it was self-hypnosis and I did similar things where I reimagined my life differently. That's where I found that re-parenting word, Josh, that we talked about. But it's like reprogramming memories so that you can not just be okay with who you are now, but like it was specifically related to manifesting, so that you can not believe inner negative self-talk anymore and move forward knowing that you can believe in yourself and live the life that you want to design for yourself. Do you feel like doing a vision board?

Josh Martino:

I've never done one before, but so yeah.

Emily Falcigno:

Ah cool. So the way I teach it is with this fun little anecdote from Dr Joe Dispenza "the best way to predict your future is to design it not from the known, but from the unknown. What do you imagine? A safe, supportive community. What are the elements that we need to create that? How about we just shout out to my ideas?

Natalie Egan:

Not for me personally, but society?

Emily Falcigno:

Yes.

Natalie Egan:

I mean representation. That's an easy one for me to say. It's literally diversity of representation of different people's lived experiences, which can't all be captured visually, but you could probably visually try and represent the different lived experiences of people as best as possible, which I don't think is just a bunch of stock photos of diverse people or diverse people of diverse backgrounds. People in and of themselves are not diverse. People come from diverse communities or backgrounds. So I'm not diverse. I come from a diverse, more marginalized community of people. Representation could just be words to visually represent all of the different identities. Intersectionality makes it infinite, though. That's the thing. That's why intersectionality is a thing. That's why we talk about intersectionality is because it's like what is the intersection of being non-binary, latin-identified, individual with a disability? When you couple those things together and then you start to also layer on socioeconomic status and other things, it becomes hard to represent visually actually. So I don't know how you would visually represent representation without that's. The struggle with organizations and companies and nonprofits and schools and communities that are trying to change culture is that it's hard, and representation means different. It leans more towards being undefinable. It's hard to when, it's hard to define, it's hard to put in a box and it's hard to label. Traditionally, that has been anti-capitalism. Capitalism is built on structure, conformity, command and control. Do as I say. Now we're in this world of mass personalization, where anyone and everyone should be themselves, because that's how we're going to get the best out of everybody. It's a completely different world. It's very disruptive there is no box.

Josh Martino:

There is no box to use. One of my biggest pet peeves is just someone trying to label me or put me in a box of one or even just a couple categories. Oh well, I can peg this person down in just a few adjectives. I think we're just kind of destroying the notion of being able to put everything in a box and having a definition for everything. Got to be more open-minded. You got to be more open-minded to experiencing all of these differences. You can talk about it, you can label it and you can use terms, but until you're willing to dive in and experience people and learn all the many influences of their life, you're never going to really know who anybody is. You could use a thousand adjectives to describe somebody, but what influence did their mom and dad have on them? They traveled somewhere one time and experienced X, and that changed them too. We're all Whether it's a 0.1% influence on who we are right now, in this moment, or a 50% influence. There's just no way to really peg anyone down. You just have to be so open-minded to who everyone is as an individual, without trying to over define and keep everybody in their cute little cubby so that you can feel better about. Okay, I've got that now, you might have it now, but five minutes from now that person could be five minutes different. We have to allow for who we each are and that that's an evolution and that it's capable of change. I think we're getting better, but I think we have a really long way to go. I think there's some people that are much further evolved towards that mindset of being open-minded and willing to experience and being more fearless and then learning that there's nothing to be afraid of. To begin with, I think the work Natalie's doing is helping with that. I think there's a lot of good work, but then there's a lot of people working against that. Right now, right where I live, it's tough, but that's when you lean in and you keep doing the work.

Natalie Egan:

Well, one thing I just want to quickly say that just respond to what Josh said is I think there's a lot of frameworks and things that we use in my company to help us understand things. We talk and we explain things to other people. One of the exercises we do is on labels and stereotypes and one of the frameworks is helps you understand what a label is and what a stereotype is. When we talk about labels, labels are really useful for inanimate objects like a rock. Literally label on a rock and put that rock in a drawer, label rock or whatever. The label's not going to talk back to you and say wait, I'm more than a rock. Labels work really well for things that are not human. When you put labels on human, it's like, yes, I'm white, but I'm more than just white. I actually there's a difference between being labeled as white and then just being stereotyped as white, which is different. I am white At the end of the day, that's how I would be labeled. But A, I'm more than that. And B, don't stereotype me as white until you know me. And then still, hopefully, we can work on whatever issues we're still having or talking about. But I just thought I'd share that quickly because it just helps. Some people go like oh right, labels can be really damaging for people, even though we are praying to use them for people.

Josh Martino:

If I'm reading them, if I'm reading maybe the goal of the vision board or one of the goals of the vision board, I've got to say, one of my least favorite questions to be asked and it seems like an interview question or you get asked this by typically pretty ambitious people is where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? And I've never liked that question because it doesn't allow for, it almost allows for like oh, I can plan this out and you can say certain things. Or I want to travel more, or you can be more specific, I want to move up the ladder of my corporation, whatever I just I'm content, right, I'm content now, I'm happy now and I hope, in five years from now, whatever happens and whatever changes in my life, I hope I'm still. I have this contentment and peace in my heart. I hope that everybody's happy and healthy. But I just want to allow for the next five years to be the next five years and keep growing and keep trying to just experience more. But you know, I've never liked that question and I just think you have to allow anything to happen and that's where I hope to be in five years, just as happy and as peaceful and content as I am now, plus whatever happens along the way.

Emily Falcigno:

I like that attitude. I don't like to plan either, and that's why vision boards are better for me, because they kind of just concentrate the ideas to materialize the thing, the thing that you want to happen, rather than like having to plan necessarily. But yeah, I understand that peace is the aim, is is definitely the aim, thank you. It's 10 o'clock on the dot, so thank you both for sharing this time with me and for reconnecting, and you know, reflections was always my favorite thing I chose, so I'm glad we had some time to reflect.

Josh Martino:

Thank you. This is yeah. This has been great. I've really had a blast. It's great to see both of your faces and just wish it could happen more often, and it's been as great as I thought it was going to be. So appreciate both of you being willing to talk and share, and it's always good to reconnect.

Natalie Egan:

Yeah, thank you, Emily, for putting this together and Josh, it's good to see you. Awesome. So I'll see you in a couple of years, at least at our 30 year reunion. I will be there. I believe that's going to be 30 years. I wish we could have done our 25. I'm bummed about the COVID thing, but it's great to see you both. Thank you, Emily, for hosting us and just the thoughtful approach and, you know, just being undefinable with all of us. We appreciate that, we appreciate your platform and thank you so much, thank you.

Josh Martino:

Yeah, good luck with everything.

Emily Falcigno:

Thank you. To being undefinable.

Natalie Egan:

Being undefinable. Cheers, cheers. That does resonate with me, Josh. That's good, that's good, but this is good marketing on their part.

Emily Falcigno:

Yeah, I think that would have helped me a lot. I'm going to go back and reprogram. Choate is undefinable. There you go. I do also want to mention that we need to think about people of color, indigenous people, as not just the color of their skin and how they are, also individuals. All of us on this interview today are white and, yes, we are very privileged. We all came from different backgrounds but had a very privileged experience. And I was having this conversation with my father, who didn't go to college but ended up running his own business. That helped get me through school. And he said to me you know, because I keep dissing high school, because my memory of the feeling I had then was that, you know, I didn't have a social life there, so that really took a toll on my experience there. And so I brought it up again when I was with my father one day and I pat it his hand and I said I appreciate that you sent me there. I do appreciate that you sent me there. And he said well, Emily, it's what you do with it, and this episode is my attempt and I'm getting a little verklempt, but this is my attempt to do something with it, and I love going back to reunions because I love reconnecting with people as an adult, as a healed, you know, a healing adult, and talking to people who you know maybe also didn't have the greatest experience at Choate because we were teenagers and because I didn't like to read like that. It just made things really hard for me and maybe if there were different you know supportive systems in place for me there, I would have had an easier time reading and getting my work done. So, yeah, this conversation was what I'm doing with my experience at Choate, Meeting these people who are doing really cool things and, you know, changing the world in ways that need to change right now. Having these conversations is a part of our vision board to be more representational of the diverse voices that are out there. So now you have some tools to be more empathetic in your spaces. To wrap this up, I will leave you with a catchphrase we all trip up and it'll be okay as long as you fix it with empathy. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you gleaned some helpful ideas to apply to your own visionaries journey. One action step you can take right now is to download our Got Alignment PDF. The link is in the show notes. By reflecting on your values using our journal prompts, you'll start to see how your values are in and out of alignment. Remember, aligning your values is the first step to manifesting more easily. When you need help taking action to reorganize your spaces around your values, reach out to at roomtotransform. com/ about. There's a contact page there and I would love to hear your ideas. Ciao for now, my visionaries. See you next time on the journey!

Season 2 + Room to Transform + Community Vision + Juicy Confession + Reconnections
The Pressure of Perfectionism + How We Met + How We Reconnect Recently + The Perfectionist and Snarky Class Notes
The Benefits of Calling Out + Learning Other People's Perspectives
Prep for Compassionate Spaces + Natalie's Story + Reframing Excellence
Telling Stories as a Path to Empathy + The Secret Sauce + How Translator.inc Works
How to Change Culture in Organizations + The Problem with Disconnecting with Employees
Feeling Seen as Who we Want to Be + Reprogramming