Today, I’m talking with Genesis Amaris Kemp, author of Chocolate Drop in Corporate America: From The Pit To The Palace, about overcoming systemic racism in corporate. She’s sharing her experience as a young woman of color, including overcoming bullying, systemic racism, and oppression. She’s sharing her breaking point and how she found the courage to speak up, and she’ll be diving into her drive to help others navigate a system that’s designed to hold them back more often than not.
What to Listen For:
- About Genesis
- Her early career and how that has molded who she is today
- Taking a leap of faith and jumping into a large corporation
“It felt like I was starting all the way over. And when I say starting over, they brought me in as an administrative assistant, although I had the technical experience, what they sold me to bring me in the door was literally a pipe dream because once I got there, I kept hearing, ‘Oh, once the admin always admin.’”
- How she moved out of the admin position after four years
- The boss from hell
“You would think that women, when we see another woman in a career field that’s not populated by women, we’re in it together. We should be able to complement one another, not be in competition with each other. And I felt like, no matter what I did or what I said, it was like her horns were always up. And she had her daggers and her darts ready to throw at me, but I had to snap one day and let her know, ‘Hey, you will not talk to me this way.’
And it was in that moment that she started to turn a little bit and realize that she wasn’t going to treat me like she did the last woman. I don’t care what race you are; you don’t treat someone any kind of way just because they look different.“
- How her very passive mom contributed to her persistence
- How she balanced the risk of standing up for herself
“I could either speak up and get some mental release and some clarity, or I could remain quiet, continuing to be bullied, hate going to work every day, and roll my eyes when I pull up into the chemical plant. Or I could just take a stand, not only for me but think about those who were coming beside and behind me and paved the way for future generations, because who knows how long this lady’s going to be here. And if she keeps repeating her behavior and no one is checking her in, like, how is she going to be aware?
Does she really want to be that office witch, or is it going to take someone who’s going to be bold and courageous and unapologetically themselves to let her know you shouldn’t talk to people any kind of way? I don’t care how you grew up, or I don’t care if you’re having a bad day; check your emotions at the door because at the end of the day we’re a team, and we should be able to win together.“
- Microaggressions from other people on the team that affected her work
- A new manager who finally gave her a chance
- The person at her company who became a mentor
“He just started coaching me and giving me tips and tricks. And that really helped because he didn’t know me from Adam or Eve, but he showed that he cared. And I felt like there was transparency there, and he did it authentically.
So I felt like I was able to trust him and go to him with different things that were going on.“
- How her faith helped her find peace and navigate challenging situations
- Shifting her degree plan to fit her company’s mold
“Whenever I started with the company, I came in as a psychology major. So I had two years within the psychology program, and my very first boss in 2013 said, ‘Hey, what do you plan on doing with a psychology degree working for this company?’ And I was like, Oh, that’s a good point.
I didn’t really think of it. And so, I changed my entire degree plan to fit this company’s mold. And once I did, I was like, okay, this company started paying tuition reimbursement. So that was good. I was like, okay, they’re investing in me. So surely they’re going to want a return on investment.
And once I got my degree, I was ready to move on, but it took so much trial and error. But what broke the camel’s back was when that lady retired, and she put my name in. So when I got her role, her role was deemed as a professional role, but when I moved into the role, they were paying me as an administrative assistant.“
- Her salary not justifying her commute
- Asking them to find her another role back at headquarters so she could be closer to home
“Why do I need to interview for a role with the company that I already work for? It should just be a chance for me to sign the papers and whatnot.
So I felt like that was another hurdle and roadblock that I had to jump through. And the only thing that I could see was like, okay… maybe it’s the color of my skin because all of the other people that had transferred, it was just wham, bam, sign the paper. And then they bring in the moving team; they move you to wherever you’re going. It wasn’t like that for me.“
- Her advice to people in positions of leadership
- How the George Floyd incident created a turning point for her career
“There were two managers and two supervisors, and then HR was there, and I kid you not after I spoke up in that meeting the next week, my salary increased by 20%.
So you can only imagine. For three years of doing this current role that I’m in, I was underpaid by 20% in comparison to my peers. So who knows how long I’ve been underpaid as a whole in the company. So now I felt like they were just giving me the 20% increase as hush money. So they’re like, okay, we’re just checking the box, we’re making things right in case someone were to come in and audit us on how we were treating our employees.
And I felt, I guess I’m grateful. I’m very thankful for a 20% increase, but why did you have to wait until I spoke up at the happy whole black lives matter movement discussion, and why now?“
- How her dark season inspired her book
“Had I not gone through that dark season, I wouldn’t be walking out my ways to the palace.
And now I’m more confident in who I am. I’m able to advocate for other people because I went through certain things. So it gives me more credibility to talk to you about things because I lived it. I breathe it. And I have tips and tactics that can help someone else out. And I feel like there’s power in sharing my testimony and that sharing, you’re freeing yourself from so many emotions, but you’re also helping someone else out because I feel like we don’t go through things in life for no reason. We go through them for a reason and a particular season. But if we never share what we endured, how is that helping someone else?”
- Her three R’s – Refuel, Refocus, and Realign
- What’s next for Genesis?
“I want to take it worldwide because I feel like more people are dealing with systemic racism as well as systemic issues.
And we really need to talk about what inclusion and diversity looks like and what it feels like. It’s not just for the company to hire some Hispanics, Latinos and Latinas, Asian, or African-Americans to check a box to say they’re inclusive and diverse. It’s actually about how you develop those individuals that don’t look like the rest of the crop.
How do you develop those minorities and use them to their best assets, but also make sure that you all are complimenting them?“
- Getting into schools and helping kids learn young to embrace differences
About Genesis Amaris Kemp:
Genesis Amaris Kemp is a woman of color who said, “Enough is enough,” and is now bolder than ever. She tried to remain quiet, but that didn’t work because no change occurred. Today, she is readapting to the current times and making some life-changing decisions. She is stepping outside of her comfort zone by speaking up, challenging the status quo, and refusing to let limitations placed on her keep her down.
Genesis is the author of Chocolate Drop in Corporate America: From The Pit To The Palace and she desires to encourage others to help those who may not have a voice. She is a trailblazer who wants others to live out their dreams, goals, and visions. If it takes her writing this book to accomplish those tasks, then so be it. We all have been given a wonderful purpose in life. It is up to us to walk it out and live victoriously!
Website and social media links:
Get your copy of Chocolate Drop in Corporate America: From The Pit To The Palace here: https://amzn.to/3qenaDh
Access our free 8-part Journey Mapping™ sampler program and begin uncovering the purpose of your path at www.TalesFromTheJourney.tv/Free/.
Read my memoir, Unravel: Rising Up and Coming Back from a Season of Living that Damn Near Killed Me at www.TheUnravelBook.com.