Shayna Renee Hammond  00:03

Love is accountability. And when people understand that those two things can coexist and they actually do coexist. And it’s not about judging you. One of my mantras is the moment I judge you, I can no longer teach you.

Adam Baruh  00:26

Welcome to The Change where we share stories and inspiration from servant leaders working to normalize the mental health conversation and increase empathy and business. I’m your host Adam Baruh. Our guest today is Shayna Renee Hammond is the CEO and founder of Lead for Liberation and Indigo Women, and has spent several years developing leaders that demonstrate emotional intelligence inclusivity and diversity. Hey, Shayan, welcome to The Change.

Shayna Renee Hammond  00:52

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Adam Baruh  00:55

Yeah, thank you for being here. And just I was just mentioning before we started recording, you’re you’re my my guinea pig following my bout with COVID. So I think I’m I think I’m well enough here to do this. But yeah, I this is, we avoided it in my household this long, I’ve got two young kids that, you know, school and daycare. And somehow we avoided it this long and, but we couldn’t avoid it forever. I always kind of knew that we were eventually going to get it. And we all I mean, for the most part, we got better pretty quickly. My my seven year old daughter was the one who brought it in house, most likely from school. She had a fever for like a half a day, and she actually never tested positive. And then and then my you know, like dominoes, my wife, and then my three year old and then me and definitely there was a not fun couple of days there. But last night, we celebrated because we all tested negative and so we’re, we’re getting back to normal life. And that feels good. How about you? Did you ever have to deal with with COVID?

Shayna Renee Hammond  01:55

You know, it’s so interesting. Both of my kids had it, but a year separated from each other. And I still haven’t gotten it that I know of, right? Yeah. Yeah. Like crazy, kept testing negative. I didn’t have any symptoms, but I just made either I’m just one of those asymptomatic people, or I haven’t had it. I don’t know which one, but I’ll take it. And we’ll see how long it lasts.

Adam Baruh  02:20

I mean, there were several pretty hardcore colds that I had where every time I would test and it would come back negative. I’d be like, What the hell’s going on? Like, I have something right now. Just tell me I have COVID. So it makes sense. But yeah, anyway, yeah, we were fortunate that, you know, we didn’t get to second we recovered relatively quickly. I got my taste and smell back today. That was oh, no, it was a good thing. Yeah. But there was a great days, I was like, oh, no, I’m not. I’m not tasting this. Like, that’s not, I don’t know what’s worst, if the fever that I had, or just not being able to smell or taste anything.

Shayna Renee Hammond  02:54

I know, that’s not living.

Adam Baruh  02:56

Anyway, happy to have you here. So you, you lead an organization, a couple of organizations, one of which is called on leading for liberation. The other one is Indigo women or lead for liberation. Sorry. And then Indigo women. So you know, here on the change, we’ve had a little bit of a, you know, our own change over the course of doing this about a year now, we’ve been publishing our episodes on the change here. And we kind of made a shift where, you know, we explored a lot of topics around the great resignation, and kind of what’s happening in business in this shifting business methodology. And then about five months or so ago, we started talking about, you know, still business leadership, but in the area of like mental health and emotional intelligence, and trying to normalize the mental health conversation, at least kind of around the concept of business. So, so let’s, let’s turn it over to you if you want to just kind of introduce who you are, and, and where, you know, Lead for Libersation, you know, how that came to be as well as Indigo Women. And then and then let’s talk about leadership.

Shayna Renee Hammond  04:03

Awesome. One of my favorite topics, let’s get into it. So yeah, Lead for Libersation. I’ve been running that for 10 years now. And we focus on guiding organizations, nonprofits, school districts, and foundations to have a liberatory called workplace culture. So it’s those folks who are, you know, really understanding that unintentionally. They have tenants of white supremacy culture popping up within how they do their work and how they interact. And they want to figure out different systems, different ways of being that will provide a better workplace for everyone. And so that’s what we do for organizations. We’ve been doing that now for 10 years. And what I started noticing in that work, was there were black women executives who had very similar experiences. And it just didn’t seem right to just create a separate program within Lead for Liberation. And there was definitely a spiritual call for me for several years before I launched it, but it was the work through Lead for Liberation that actually birthed Indigo Women. And so Indigo Women is a coaching practice specifically for black women in leadership and all sectors. Our flagship program is the Indigo Women Group Coaching Experience, it’s a nine week virtual intensive, where really women are called back home, it’s spiritually inspired and research based. And we really do a lot of work to undo any internalized racism, internalized white supremacy culture, we do a lot of healing, we do a lot of contouring of joy. And of course, the tie that binds the skill that binds actually both organizations is the emotional intelligence, the four domains of emotional intelligence, and really, you know, gaining a deeper awareness of how some of us are, you know, really exercising that muscle really well, and how we can exercise it more deliberately to be even better leaders.

Adam Baruh  05:59

So, you know, something I’ve spoken about on on this and, you know, when I go as a guest on other podcasts around emotional intelligence is, you know, it seems like a young concept, I know, it’s that that concepts been around for a while, but in terms of just how people are adapting to an embracing the idea of emotional intelligence, especially its relationship to business, I mean, for so long, you know, and I come from this little bit older World Business methodology where, and I’ve spoken about this, like, for many years, I thought, my empathy, and my kind of sensitivity was, was really a flaw. I mean, I really tried to hide it, I thought it was that there’s something wrong with me that, that I just would, you know, maybe get a little bit emotional about projects or clients or, you know, just kind of thinking about things from a different perspective. And there’s, you know, for me, being in the IT consulting world, there’s a lot of ego, there’s a lot of kind of aggression. So, you know, in in your world, you know, where does emotional intelligence come into play, because you spoke about when you are on how I made it through with Kristin Taylor, you spoke about when you create, or when you were, I think you were still working as a principal, and you are creating a coaching program, mentoring principles, then you spoke about how you would mentor on emotional intelligence. And this is 10 years ago. So, you know, tell us where that came from, for you, like how you recognize the need for it. And then that the shift, you know, compared to what you were seeing 10 years ago, I think that’s that was around the timeframe where, where this was coming into play for you. And now, because I do think a lot more people are understanding now, especially in this kind of COVID, post pandemic world, like the need for having emotional intelligence. But, you know, tell me about the history of emotional intelligence for you in leadership, and how people were reacting to it when you started coaching on a 10 years ago versus today.

Shayna Renee Hammond  08:07

Yeah, so I probably have to go back about 15, maybe years ago. So I was a very young principal, I was a 25 year old principal, I’m 42. Now. And when I was in the principalship, much like most folks who are first in, you know, first time in their leadership role, I was learning a lot about myself, it was the most humbling experience, to date at the time. And I learned that while I was a great listener, as a teacher of students, I wasn’t that as great of a listener of adults. And I, of course, I got that feedback, very different ways, constantly, every single day. And so I for the first time source, my own coach, and while we didn’t call it emotional intelligence, a lot of the coaching work we did was seeped in that work. And when I came out of the principalship, I had the honor of coaching other principals through a National Charter organization. And it was actually there, that my love of coaching was born. And as I was coaching leaders around the country, I noticed there were two glaring gaps for them as individuals, but also within the programs that I was helping run to prepare principals. And one was an absence of emotional intelligence training and two, absence of any kind of, you know, real deliberate diversity, equity inclusion, you know, development, and it struck me and those were also the two skills that were causing principals to stay up at night that were causing principals to churn and to leave and to turnover. They didn’t feel successful because a lot of them didn’t receive that kind of training going from, you know, individual contributing or or teacher to a school leader. And so that’s when you know, I started reading Daniel Goleman is where on emotional intelligence, along with a lot of spiritual books, I also was going through my own spiritual growth journey, also at the same time, and I was noticing tenants of emotional intelligence also in spiritual texts that I was reading. And so whenever I see something like that pop up several times, I pay attention very, very close attention. And so as I was reading more and more, you know about emotional intelligence written more than 30 years ago, now, I also noticed some gaps. While it talked about emotions, it didn’t necessarily talk about the connection between emotions, and our biases and stereotypes and, and how we view the world. And to me, I didn’t see anyone else making those connections. And so that’s how lead for liberation was born, it was born out of making the connection between emotional intelligence, and how that skill is really, truly the backbone to help us lead people who are different from us. And then I started seeing as I started, you know, after I was training for another organization, other school leaders, and for, you know, a few years, then I decided to start lead for liberation, to start connecting those dots for people. And I’m really glad I did. So 10 years later, we’re connecting those dots for folks and light bulbs are going off, and relationships are getting repaired. And most importantly, folks are hitting outcomes that they haven’t ever before and in more sustainable ways.

Adam Baruh  11:27

I’m super glad you’re teaching on that as well. And so what did that look like? For you? Like, what? What does emotional intelligence look like when you train people on it? Who may? I mean, maybe people kind of understand implicitly the context around it. But what does it look like for people when you’re actually, you know, injecting it in your curriculum and your training? And you’re talking about it?

Shayna Renee Hammond  11:48

Yes. So in Lead for Liberation, we talk about emotional intelligence around the four domains. So of course, my background is teaching and so I break it down into digestible pieces. And first, you know, the left hand side, if you will, of the quadrant is about leading yourself, and then the right side is about leading others. And so I explained that, you know, and I get through how, first self awareness is the most important of the four of the four pieces. And we spend a lot of time talking about not just being aware of how your emotions impact other people, and how you can literally change the tone of a room. But also how your mindset, your biases, your confidence, and your self worth. And then the flip side of that how you’re received and how well you understand how you impact other people. And so we do a series of activities, we do what’s called Identity circles, where we have folks really think deeply about the different intersections of their identity, and how they all come together to create their personality. And then, you know, really guide people through some really targeted questioning around, you know, what, how do the intersections of your identity, how might they impact your team? What might your blind spots be, you know, might you need on your team that you don’t already have? And then we get into self management, and what are those strategies, those skills, those rituals, those routines that you need to have in place in order to be in give your best. And so we go through another series of questions, and discussions to really on Earth, what that rhythm needs to be personally. And then we go to the other side of leading others, once folks have kind of connected some dots for themselves. And then we get into social awareness, which gets back to your superpower empathy. And then we talk about, you know, why it might be that we’ve always kind of had that some of us have had that, that strength, but we may have hidden it. And a lot of that is because we live in a patriarchal society that purports you know, very kind of masculine traits to leadership. And what we have learned over the years, thankfully, is that there are beautiful feminine qualities as well, that are needed that may not be as maybe highly regarded, but are incredibly important and catalytic and actually separates good from great leaders. And so folks are starting to see that not only in practice, but you’re now starting to see more and more folks talk about it, read about it, accept it and culture is shifting slowly, which is exciting to see.

Adam Baruh  14:28

Yeah, I’m I talked about that as well, like I think popular culture is is now becoming the mainstream, you know, where people are talking about these these topics, right. And that’s great to see. I mean, television shows you see athletes, actors, you know, people of influence that are bringing these conversations to life. And another question I get asked often when we talk about emotional intelligence and empathy and business and inclusion, not just racially but also you know, like psychologic Pool type of inclusion as well. And the question I get asked is, you know, is this something that we’re seeing as a reaction to the pandemic that will kind of, you know, fade over time, and where we’re gonna go back to maybe some old belief systems and ways of thinking that are just so deeply entrenched in our culture? Or are we just headed in a different direction? Where we’re going forward? There? There is no going back. I mean, you know, perhaps it’s a, you know, one step forward, two steps back, but still with the progress, the where, you know, we are shifted, the times are changing, things are shifting to where do you fall in line with that, like, do you feel confident that, you know, a lot of these inclusion and empathetic and emotional intelligence topics are gonna continue to be the norm and kind of take over just what is in the mainstream?

Shayna Renee Hammond  15:50

It’s a good question. I mean, I think my view, my perspective is likely a little skewed, right. So I work with organizations who really are deeply committed to this being the new way of living and working and breathing. And so I have the joy and honor of working with so many organizations around the country who, once we you know, do a level of training, we have multi, you know, your commitments with them, where we’re teaching them rituals, routines, and policies that will live on in the organization forever. And so they will be truly their new way of working. And so that’s who I get a chance to spend most of my time with. So I am very hopeful. But I always, you know, take it back to and this is something I tell our clients all the time, it really comes back to us as individuals, if we decide that we’re going to live in a new way, and through a new paradigm, then so be it, we will attract more of that it really comes down to individual commitment to not going back to the old way of living. And so whenever I kind of encounter that question, I kind of turn it back and say, Well, how committed are you? You know, what? How, what inspires you? What anchors you to this new way of looking at leadership of looking at how you lead other people? And what are you putting into place to hold yourself accountable to that.

Adam Baruh  17:08

There’s a lot of systems that are still locked into this, these just hard belief systems where it’s, you know, really challenging for these organizations to question themselves and, you know, have that level of self awareness as an organization. You know, the police force is one of them, there’s been a lot of conversation around, you know, defunding police and stuff like that, due to a lot of the racial issues, we’ve seen so much polarization. So, you know, when it comes to working with those organizations that are so deeply entrenched in, in these, you know, kind of racial concepts, racial belief systems, like, what are you, I guess, what are you seeing, in your perspective in your world? Where perhaps you’re optimistic about, you know, where things are headed?

Shayna Renee Hammond  17:58

That’s a great question. And we actually, as an organization, we position ourselves to work with folks who are further along than a system like, you know, release system. And we do that, because we do think that it does, it does require a certain level of willingness. And so when you’re talking about systems like that, that are so deeply entrenched in racist systems and ideologies, it’s important to start small, like with any change, you have to kind of look wherever their energy is, you know, where are those folks within that system, because they’re there, they’re in every system, there’s a critical mass, it might be small, but there’s a mass of people within an organization within a broken system that are reimagining something new, that are not happy with it, that do you want to make a shift that do want to make a change? And it’s really about starting with those folks first, and then working yourself kind of out, if you will. And there’s like a ripple effect from those folks who are ready and willing, at least have the willingness. Because what we have seen is even those folks who are so nervous, or have had bad experiences or feel like they’re going to be shamed, or what have you, once they I mean, really the first 15 minutes of a session with us, and they’re like, Oh, I didn’t realize they’re vulnerable. They’re open. They’re saying the things they didn’t think they would ever say. Because really, the cornerstone of this work is really love. That’s one of our values, at least for liberation. It’s our first value. And love is accountability. And when people understand that those two things can coexist, and they actually do coexist. And it’s not about judging you. One of my mantras is the moment I judge you, I can no longer teach you. And so it doesn’t matter what room we enter how entrenched folks are in racist media ideology. Once we come in and I’m their teacher, I’m not there to fit. I’m there to love. I’m there to serve as a mirror. I’m there to serve as you know, a pathway to healing and understanding and insight and people feel that you know, and we’re able to move forward.

Adam Baruh  20:00

Yeah, so let’s shift gears a little bit and get back to talking about leadership. So you know where, I guess in today’s, you know, here, we’re at middle of October 2022. What’s different about today’s leaders? And where do you see leadership headed over the next five years or whatever, just in the future? What do you what do you see is as those, you know, true qualities of a leader?

Shayna Renee Hammond  20:25

I’m excited about the future of leadership, because I see more and more people opening up their minds and hearts around being way more open about what it means to be a leader and not so tightly held to the beliefs that, you know, we’ve had for maybe the same the past 30 or 40 years, you know, there, there’s a rise in feminine energy and feminine leadership and feminine qualities that is beautiful, that is needed, people are understanding on so many different levels, how much that is needed. So that gives me hope, I’m seeing more women, you know, standing up taking on leadership roles, creating more collaborative workplaces, that are getting outstanding outcomes that are longer lasting. And so I’m very hopeful about that. And also, I think people are waking up to the integrated nature of leadership, meaning how you are one place is how you are pretty much everywhere, you know, gone are the days that you know, you have a quote unquote, professional self, and then a personal self. People in the workplace are demanding higher integrity of leaders. And they’re demanding to see leaders who actually walk their talk, no matter where they are, we see that and how people are buying, we see that and how people are moving organizations, and it’s raising the bar on the character needed for a leader to have, which is promising.

Adam Baruh  21:56

Absolutely. And then, you know, there’s this really interesting aspect of leadership, it’s traditionally been recognized that, you know, to be a good leader, you have to be impenetrable, and invulnerable, and does this super strong, you know, charismatic person and stuff like that. But I think more and more, at least the way that I look at it, you know, the, one of the true qualities of a good leader is vulnerability, and modeling, and, and recognizing that you don’t have to have all the answers and everything figured out. So you know, where do you stand on that?

Shayna Renee Hammond  22:33

Vulnerability is power. And I think that, you know, social media probably has taught us that the most, I think, you know, there are dark and light sides, for sure, and everything in between around social media. But I think that we’re at a place in our world and leadership, where the expectation is that you are more vulnerable and open about the rationale, the why behind you do what you do, what wakes you up, what motivates you why you make these decisions, and vulnerability, those of us who are more willing, and courageous to kind of step into that space, create cultures where other people feel more comfortable being themselves giving more of themselves at work, and we’re finding they work harder, they work longer. And they feel more pride in being at a workplace where they can be vulnerable. It’s really hard to do that when your leader doesn’t do that. And so the bar is raised, once again, around vulnerability, and I think we’re all better for it.

Adam Baruh  23:35

Yeah, definitely. So something that we also spend a lot of time on this on this podcast on is, you know, around just balancing it all, you know, whether you call it work life balance harmony, people have called it and, you know, for you running to organizations, like how do you how do you keep yourself balanced? What do you do? So that you’re, you know, kind of, you have the ability to always maintain that really strong level of self awareness?

Shayna Renee Hammond  24:03

Yes, I’m actually living that today. So I have some pretty strong boundaries. And I have two amazing teams. So deadly in two words, delegation and boundaries. So I luckily, you know, I have had the honor and privilege of of holding many leadership roles, I know how to lead and manage and delegate pretty well. And because of that, I’ve attracted some amazing folks on both teams. And so the big rocks, if you will, that I have are the rocks that I need to have as a CEO. I’m not kind of the doer of all things. Like I was maybe first year and I figured that out, right, and how to really position myself in a way where I’m using my zone of genius, and the people around me are using their zones of genius. That’s number one. Number two is I have pretty clear boundaries about my time. So I also have two middle schoolers. I love him to pieces. They’re very active in soccer. And I share my calendar with my team with both teams. And they understand exactly you know, when those games are, I do not take client meetings, primarily on Fridays. Mondays I have a rhythm where I’m meeting with my entire team on both sides. So everyone’s clear on what the priorities are for every single week. And then, you know, Tuesday through Thursday, I’m with clients. And there are still even boundaries within my scheduled on all days around mealtime. So my calendar is integrated, I don’t have like a work calendar and a personal calendar, I have one calendar with everything on it, so that I can see the full picture. So then I’m also prioritizing when I eat, I’m prior to prioritizing when I have my appointments, when my you know, kids have their soccer games, it’s all on one calendar.

Adam Baruh  25:56

My brother actually was just talking about this recently, where, you know, just trying to balance, you know, he’s got young kids too, and pretty busy professional out in New York, and just, you know, how do we balance this personal, you know, set of needs, we have family needs work needs? And, you know, for him in the real estate industry, he’s working a lot of nights and weekends and stuff like that was just, you know, how do you how do you keep on top of all this, and he mentioned time blocking, which kind of sounds a lot like what you’re talking about here, which is where you actually have to put it on your calendar, working out, from this time to this time, I’m reading from this time to this time, I’m, I’m eating lunch from this time to this time, and and that kind of sticking to that. So, you know, that’s a great suggestion that you make, or at least just kind of highlight in terms of how you manage it for yourself. Yeah. What what I guess as one final message out to our audience here, you know, what’s, what’s what one big takeaway, or one big, you know, at least word of advice that you would give for, you know, people that are listening to this and wanting to pick up about leadership and what you do any final message or word of advice?

Shayna Renee Hammond  27:08

Sure, it’s actually connected to your last question around time blocking, I would actually say the time block that probably makes the biggest difference in how I show up as a leader is the time that I block every single morning, you’ve probably heard the phrase when your mornings, it cannot be understated. I don’t take meetings before 10am. And during that time, I’m working out during that time, I’m at my altar, I’m meditating, every single morning, I’m reading spiritual texts, I’m pouring into myself, I’m listening to books on tape, I’m using that time to really, really pour into me spiritually, intellectually, physically, that’s that my recharge time. So by the time I’m on, you know, at 10, I’m ready, I’m already filled up, I feel like I’ve already had a fill, you know, pretty full day, by that time. And so for leaders who are listening, I just really, if you haven’t already, I would really carve out sacred time, a good chunk of time, every single morning for you.

Adam Baruh  28:10

That’s fantastic advice, something I definitely need to start doing I, you know, will kind of go into this, you know, kind of negative way of thinking sometimes where I feel that, you know, I’m not in control that I’m I’m letting all the things I need to do, like run the show. And you know, when my brother mentioned about the time block, and she’s like, man, that’s just it’s kind of, it’s a simple concept to think about, but it really, if you can stick to it, it’s, it’s, it’s such a great way to not feel like things are out of control. Because, you know, I, I can’t, I can’t stop all the needs that people have of me. No, but I can be in charge. And I can be on top of that. Right. And that’s the big difference.

Shayna Renee Hammond  28:55

You got it.

Adam Baruh  28:56

Well, thank you. Thank you so much for being here today. And for carving out your time to join and to share your story and your perspective on leadership. I think it’s fantastic the work that you’re doing, and for standing up for for leaders out there. So thank you, Shayna.

Shayna Renee Hammond  29:12

Of course. Thank you for having me. This was fun. Thanks so much.

Adam Baruh  29:16

Shayna Renee Hammond is a serial entrepreneur with an extensive 20 year background in leadership and life coaching, organizational culture redesign, business strategy, and education leadership development. Her first company Lead for Liberation is a leadership development organization dedicated to guiding leaders of organizations, school districts, and foundations to redesign their workplace cultures through the lens of liberation. Through Lead for Liberation transformative group coaching cohorts, and long term partnerships. executive leaders within organizations and school districts across the country have co created high performing interdependent organizational cultures where leaders and staff members thrive, innovate and experience It’s belonging. You can read more about Shana on our website,, as well as her website Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti. You can listen to more of Shane’s music at If you have a story to share about making a difference in the lives of people you lead, or if you want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at Thank you all for listening. We’ll see you next time on The Change.

EIQ Media, LLC  30:38

The Change is produced and distributed by  IQ media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship and more.