With a worldwide pandemic, divisive politics, social injustice, and even the stress of our everyday lives, the heaviness of it all can make it impossible to bring our whole selves to work. It’s exhausting to put on a happy face on all the zoom calls. But according to Alissa Carpenter, Everything’s Not OK and That’s OK.


Jackie Ferguson:  Please welcome Alissa Carpenter. Alissa is the author of How to Listen and How to be Heard: Inclusive Conversations at Work. She is a TEDx speaker, podcast hosts and learning facilitator. Before starting her company Everything’s not okay and that’s Okay, Alissa worked as a higher education administrator at the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania. Alissa welcome to diversity beyond the checkbox.

Alissa Carpenter: Thank you so much for having me.

Jackie Ferguson: Of course. Well, let’s start Alissa with talking about the Wharton school. That is a big, impressive job. Can you tell us about that experience?

Alissa Carpenter: I love working there. I love working in just higher education in general. I think specifically at the Wharton school, you’re at the number one business school, which is these incredible minds. You have just incredible students and faculty and staff. And I think I grew a lot as a professional there,  just being in the position  to see these young minds grow over the course of the four years, I worked a lot with undergraduate students and it was incredible to see them as 17, 18 year olds, a little bit nervous, scared  to come in, what to expect and kind of being thrown in and then being able to walk with them through graduation and just that time and that evolution of just seeing people grow and develop to me is just so, so rewarding and incredible.

And keeping in touch with a lot of my old students now and seeing what they’ve accomplished, you know, at 2021, they’ve accomplished way more than I ever well, you know, in a lifetime. So it was just impressive to be part of a little part of their journeys. I’m honored to have work there and really meet these incredible people.

Jackie Ferguson: That’s so exciting. So your company now, Everything’s Not Okay. And That’s Okay. It’s interesting. Because so often we bring our pulled together selves to work. Right. We leave our concerns, our experiences, our situations, either in the car or, you know, behind the smile when we turn our cameras on, which is what we’re doing now. Right.

Why do you say that it’s okay not to be okay when that’s not how we’re taught as we enter the workplace?

Alissa Carpenter: It’s tough. Even in my first job after graduate school- I was 22, I had my master’s. I was younger than some of the students I was working with at the time. And I felt like I had to compartmentalize who I was.

Full Episode Transcript

Diversity Beyond the Checkbox is presented by The Diversity Movement and hosted by Jackie Ferguson. For more information including the latest webinars and other DEI content, head over to TheDiversityMovement.com. Podcast production by Earfluence.

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