The Lift 004 | The Impact of Culture on Supervisory Relationships
An ABA Technologies Academy Podcast
1.0 BACB, 1 Supervision
Dr. Linda LeBlanc and Dr. Tyra Sellers are joined by Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi to describe the content in Chapter 4 The Impact of Culture on Supervisory Relationships. The content covers why it is critical for the supervisor to take an active role in developing their own culturally responsive repertoires and how it is they who have the burden of creating a space that welcomes, values, and celebrates diversity. The podcast reviews several important characteristics and behaviors of a culturally responsive supervisor. This podcast will review the 8 learning hot spots that provide opportunities for cultural learning and highlight how differences require constant evaluation and adjustment of skills and strategies used in supervisory interactions. Finally, the podcast explores some paths that supervisors can take on the journey to learn more about other cultures and increase their culturally responsive supervisory practices.
1. Listeners will be able to identify at least 3 characteristics and behaviors of a culturally responsive supervisor.
2. Listeners will be able to identify at least 3 common learning hot spots for supervisors.
3. Attendees will be able to identify at least 2 paths that supervisors can take toward increasing culturally responsive supervisory practices.
The book focuses on the importance of strong relationships and teaching higher-order skills throughout any supervisory endeavor. The authors provide a conceptually sound set of supervision practices that will guide the actions of those who aspire to become better supervisors or mentors at any point in their careers.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:00):
Hi, everyone. Welcome to The Lift. It's Tyra Sellers and I'm here with:
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:21):
Linda LeBlanc. Hi everybody.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:23):
I'm also super excited to introduce our special guest. This is our wonderful, amazing friend and colleague, Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (00:32):
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:37):
Yes. We're here to chat about chapter four, the impact of culture on supervisory relationships, and really that main theme that within effective supervision relationships, particularly the supervisor, has a burden to recognize, make some space and in fact, celebrate the impact of culture on relationships. Really taking an active role in that. I'm going to introduce our lovely guest today, and then we're gonna jump right into some of the content. We're going to hear some information from Nasiah. Things that she's doing. So, Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi is a BCBA and an LBA in Illinois. She has dual master's degrees. One in special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and one in educational leadership from the American College of Education. She was busy for a while. In addition, she earned a doctorate degree in education from Loyola. She is a graduate of the infant studies specialist program at the Erickson Institute of Chicago, which I just think is phenomenal. Truckloads of experience. Special educator, clinician with experience working with a wide range of individuals from tiny little babies all the way through adulthood. She was an educational administrator and a professor of special education. I happen to know that she also is proficient in spoken word, poetry, and other theatrical endeavors, which is fantastic. Right now, she's the CEO and founder of ULEZI LLC. She also serves as a court appointed special advocate for children, which is phenomenal. Thank you for giving back to our kids that are in the foster care system. A board member for the Illinois association for behavior analysis. I have to just read this quote from your bio, Nasiah. It says that you are a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion, and you are deeply committed to using your skills and experiences paired with the science of applied behavior analysis to assist, uplift...Hey, The Lift... And transform the lives of people you support and serve in positive and meaningful ways. I can attest that you definitely live that so welcome and thank you and hi.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (03:09):
Hey. Thank you. I just couldn't be more pleased to be here with you all, so thank you so much for the invitation. I greatly appreciate it. Those bios that people give me just sound so good. [Laughing] Can I say that? They just sound so good, but it has been thirty years. It took me a long time to get there. I have one correction. I am a licensed behavior analyst only in Texas. Illinois does not have licensure yet. It's something we're working towards. I just wanted to clarify that.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (03:50):
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (03:51):
And Ms. Tyra, you know it has been a year? It has just been a year and it's coming on a year that I first had the opportunity to meet you two lovely ladies.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (04:04):
Yes, you really have brightened our professional lives. The first time we got to work together, Nasiah, and really the first time we met was when our mutual colleague, Patricia Wright, introduced us and just mentioned what a fantastic person you were and what a wonderful asset you would be to the panel we were putting together on professional relationships for the Women in Behavior Analysis conference. We had so much fun doing that and by the way, we crushed it.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (04:42):
Yes, we did.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (04:42):
It's a real Testament to the fact that your peers can be your best asset, your mentors, you can learn together. Just in that year, I feel like it's been wonderful to get to know you and to admire the great work you're doing. I just want to collaborate with you all the times that I get to.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (05:09):
Thank you. Let me attack something else here that wee don't do enough of exactly what you two have done for me. What I see you doing for others in the field and what Patricia Wright did. I contributed a piece of literature to the field. A little over a year ago about barriers to leadership and one of the things I spoke about in that word, in that manuscript, was the need for not only mentorship but sponsorship. People who mentor you and then speak to your skills when you're not in the room. That is what Patricia Wright did. It was by no prompting of mine. I love Patricia Wright dearly. We are incredibly like-minded when it comes to what our values and work is, but I didn't prompt that from her so I greatly appreciate it. This year, I have had some amazing support. As you mentioned, Tyra, I do sit on the board for my state ABAI organization and you graciously came to do some group mentorship with our DEI board and I am incredibly grateful for that. I know people are still talking about it, I know Linda, you have been an amazing support to some of our early career practitioners. I know you are doing a lot of research mentorship with them. I know you have done a lot of presentation mentorship, especially with WIBA, with a couple of our early career members on the ILABA board. Thank you.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (07:01):
Well, you are so welcome. It's an exciting time in our field and for those who want to put some time and energy to supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and letting fantastic, talented people have opportunities and building us as a field. Making us strong. There's good stuff we can be doing. In fact, a lot of it's happening and you're doing a lot of it. I appreciate your thanks, but I want to hear about what your new company is doing because I've heard exciting things about it.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (07:40):
Yeah. Enough about us. Let's hear about you. [Laughing]
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (07:43):
I will gladly share. I have a few different projects underway. One of them, I gave birth to my baby. I gave birth to Pivot to Inclusion. We're coming up on the year anniversary. That was with my colleague, Scott Herbst, and it's a DEI company. It really was kind of an outgrowth of everything that disrupted our own behavior analytic community over a year ago. We talked and we said, "We need to do something. This is fertile ground for some change." We created pivotal inclusion and we have had the absolute pleasure of working with ABA organizations that provide services primarily to children on the autism spectrum. So we're providing them with tools to become more equitable in their practice, in their hiring and their onboarding and the way they deliver services. So more equitable, more inclusive and more diverse. This is what we move from. We take on clients who are committed to creating a more equitable environment as a long-term endeavor. We don't come in and do training. It is ongoing and it has been absolutely wonderful. The companies we've had the pleasure of working with are very pleased and we are exceptionally pleased with the progress they're making and their commitment to their values of becoming more equitable, inclusive, and diverse. Now, I have another project. This project is an outgrowth again of just the shift in the field. What my own personal journey has brought me to is at this stage, I'm a 30 year practitioner. That's a long time. What I have managed to do in my decades of work is accumulate some experience. Accumulate some tools and information. I'm ready to pass the torch and share it. Myself and two other colleagues, Georgiana Koyama. She is one of, I believe probably eight black BCBAs in the UK and our own Melody Sylvain, have partnered and created our organization called "Shaping Leaders". It is an organization centered around developing and promoting BIPOC leaders within the behavior analytic community. We're excited about it. We haven't launched our website yet. It's coming, but we are formally organized as a company, so watch out for us. Again, we are shaping leaders and what you will see is that the body of work is really going to develop leaders who have an understanding of some of what I believe we're going to talk about today. Understanding the foundational principles of supervision and mentorship. It's a relationship and supervision and mentorship requires leadership skills. So, watch out for it. I'm really looking forward to sharing more as this company unfolds. Again, my other company, Pivot to Inclusion, as we continue to move in the world and do more work.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (11:33):
That is amazing. Nasiah, tell me the name of the second company again? Shaping Leaders?
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (11:39):
Speaker 2 (11:41):
For listeners, Nasiah, you described that it's going to focus on leadership skills for BIPOC. Just in case people are not in the know, that is focusing on individuals that are black, that are of color, indigenous. Just in case and that is tremendous. We definitely need to be hearing from BIPOC people. We need them in leadership positions. We need them moving this work forward in an amazing way. Thank you all three for your work on that.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (12:22):
I love what you are doing because you saw some discomfort, some problem, and turned it into opportunity in a very forward looking way and just started building. There really is a reason why that's the first word of the title of our book. We've got to build it. We gotta build that world we want to live in, make our environment change it, shape each other, and build each other up through those relationships. I think that you are setting people up to do that with both of those efforts, particularly using your lived experience and your expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion. Let's talk a little bit about some of the content in the chapter. We introduce each chapter with a quote and I love the quote for this chapter. Would you be willing to read that for us?
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (13:32):
Absolutely. It will be my pleasure. Here goes: "Instead of denying these differences, she accepts and explores them. She opens herself to the lives of these others. Allows herself to imaginatively feel their conflicts and pain and uses this empathy and openness as pathways to explore possible points of connection." - AnaLousie Keating.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (14:08):
Thank you so much. I just want to give a shout out to this author who is a professor of multicultural women's and gender studies at Texas Women's University in Denton. I want to also point out to listeners and readers that the quotes that we chose for this book mostly were not behavior analysts and that is because behavior analysts to date, haven't been doing a tremendous amount of work in some of these areas, but also as that additional indicator that we are always continuing to learn, and we can benefit from reaching outside of our field. From listening to poets, artists, women and gender studies, scholars. Thank you so much for reading that, Nasiah.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (15:02):
Absolutely. My pleasure.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (15:05):
Let's also give a shout out to the person who found that quote, Dr. Shahla Ala'i-Rosales, our coauthor, our colleague in this whole book fabulousness, and she'll be joining us on a future episode, but she really wanted to have Nasiah be our guest on this chapter because she respects you so much, Nasiah.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (15:35):
And I, her. Truly. I appreciate that.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (15:40):
She's a special person as are you. Again, it bears a lot of many years, many decades of experience, and also a real openness to the human experience and that's something that really shines forth about Shahla that she listens when she listens as do you. When she encounters you, she is attending to, and actively trying to explore the important thing about you. That has such a powerful, positive experience on the person that you are connecting with. You really do that in such a powerful way, Nasiah.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (16:34):
Oh. Thank you. This is just wonderful. Have me back anytime. [Laughing] This is just doing so much for me. I appreciate it.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (16:46):
One thing that Shahla really sprinkled throughout the entire book, but is part of the foundation of this chapter is that reminder that difference, diversity may bring discomfort. It certainly brings discomfort to the individuals that don't share the position of power and unfortunately they often are required to sit in silence with that discomfort. It brings discomfort for the individuals who are in a position of power and they often, myself included, tend to be a little bit more vocal about being uncomfortable. Shahla does this beautiful transformation that that discomfort is a gift. That discomfort is the moment wherein you can recognize you have the opportunity, like the quote says, for a pathway or a point of connection to learn about, to celebrate, to grow, because difference in diversity is beautiful and that it's worth it to sit in that discomfort and that the chapter and the information in the book, isn't going to be a set of rules or strategies for how to respond to someone who's different than you. Instead, it's a call to action to just throw wide open your arms and be willing to accept and sit in that discomfort because of all of the amazing things that will come from it. I wonder, Nasiah, if you can talk a little bit about whether or not that resonates for you and maybe enhance with your experiences that concept for us.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (18:26):
Absolutely. I appreciate this chapter so much, and I especially appreciate acknowledging the discomfort in this. Discomfort and the pain. It is real. I think about the work that all of us are engaging in now around DEI and it's uncomfortable in very deep and profound ways. It can bring up guilt, it can bring up anger. When I think about this chapter, it really does invite us to feel that. Not run away from it because we have a tendency to organize our behaviors around those feelings, by running, by avoiding, but it invites us to really confront it, reflect on it and move forward in service to what our values are. This is why I've made no secret in promoting the book, because it is the first book that I have come across in the field. I've been in a lot of classes. I've taken a lot of classes. I've taught a lot of classes. This is the first one that really taps into what I believe our field needs to move forward. I know we're going to talk about this. I may be jumping a little. That reflection piece. That reflection. Turning inward to think about our own thinking. Powerful. I love chapter four. Love the whole book, but I'm loving chapter four because it is calling us inviting us to be brave. Step into a brave space. I'm not sure everyone was present to the fact that when we speak out against social injustice, when we are really humble, practicing with humility. It does take some bravery, particularly in our field because there will deeply. This chapter in particular, I'm very much in alignment with my personal and professional values.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (21:16):
That idea of self-reflection, it's a theme throughout the book, but ever so much more important in this chapter. Many of us, in an unusual way, almost don't fully understand all about our own culture, because it's the background of everything we do. We live in it and it's not until we start to encounter some different things that we start to realize, "Oh, wait a minute. This isn't how the world is. This is how my world has been." Self-reflection, understanding your own culture, looking for differences, positive differences, interesting differences with other people. I think that does have to start with self-reflection, plus a little bit of that, "Hey, wake up. You probably haven't been noticing some stuff." Get to noticing, be okay with the fact that you haven't quite done it yet. Now start. It's always that first, next step. Self-reflection, I do think as an important part of it, and also just notice.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (22:46):
See, this is why I love talking to you ladies. This brings back my training as an early childhood special educator. This piece of just noticing. In our amazing field, there is a tendency to do something. Get out there and just do something. When I was trying, as an early childhood special educator, I remember the phrase. I hope I get it right. I had a professor tell me, "Don't just do something, Nasiah. Be there." Don't just do something. Be there. Powerful. Just that fact of really being there. It's a skill really, because of the way we kind of engage in our culture. We're always doing. Just being there and observing and being present is something I believe that needs to be developed and taught because not everybody knows how to do it. In this chapter, just that focus on reflection really builds the muscle and sets the occasion to do that. When we start engaging in this reflection that pauses between the stimulus and response is the stuff. Then what is it going to do? It is going to help us not respond out of habit, but really start thinking about what it is we're doing. So absolutely. Reflection, number one, especially in terms of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Everybody wants to get to that terminal product of, "We want more of this. We want more of that." Let's focus on self. An individual self, self as in our all organization, self as in, "It starts at home first." Not out there, in here.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (24:53):
Dr. Tyra Sellers (24:53):
Absolutely. I think that flows so nicely into another foundational theme of this chapter and the entire book, and indeed our push to encourage folks to think about supervision as a relationship that is bi-directional. That is the idea that in your self-reflection and in your pausing and being present. There ought to be some degree of letting go. This relationship with your trainees, with your supervisees, with your students should not be predicated on domination, on dominating them, on being in or maximizing this position of power that you have. It should not be directive to the maximum. Clearly there's some amount of direction in terms of I'm inviting you to learn about this thing or take this chance with me, but that it really should be collaborative and bi-directional. It should be as Barnes Holmes says,"A shared journey." Right? "A shared journey of exploration." If you are filling up all of the space with your ‘supervisory-ness’, you are not making room to take the lead. I think also, Nasiah, I bet you that if you think back to your training in infancy work and working with families, letting the child and letting the parents take the lead, and then just like your second endeavor, Shaping Leaders. Shaping, creating successes by arranging the environment. That falls right into this. Sit down, shut up, move over, watch, listen, and then engage. I think it is a central theme.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (26:43):
Absolutely. Let me just speak to that a minute, because this is a powerful learning opportunity possibly for those listening. That idea of stepping into space with children and with families and really taking a step back. One thing that I do know without a doubt, behavior analysts are some of the smartest people I've ever met. You have to be, to pass the exam, you have to be smart. This is the thing. The position calls for wisdom and in my wisdom, and that's beyond being smartest. This is not the same thing. Let me just drop a jam and break that down. There are some times I will work with the child or work with the family and I, in my wisdom, say to myself, "Nasiah you have an answer. Not the answer". Guess what? Right in this space and time, what will be more valuable is if space is created for the answer to come from the child or the parent. What does that loos like? It may take a little bit longer.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (28:09):
And it is collaborative.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (28:11):
That's it. It may not be in my timeline, but it's sustainable, it's meaningful and it's valid.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (28:23):
And it's brought about by natural contingencies and then strengthened and supported, reinforced by natural contingencies.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (28:33):
Dr. Tyra Sellers (28:35):
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (28:35):
Lasting behavioral change. That is it. Again, the chapter speaks to that. I think there's a way of being in our field that speaks to, "We have to know it." I fell into the trap, "I have to have the answer. " Not true. I do not have to have... and what that has given me, just embracing that I don't have to know, has freed me up to say this: "I don't know." When I don't know, it's not fatal. That means that it cracks the door open for us to become curious and find an answer together.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (29:24):
I think that's an important thing to talk about because it is certainly a call to behave differently, to notice these things. Many people who've never really noticed cultural differences and what have you before, it's uncomfortable for them and in the beginning, you're not going to be very good at it. You don't know. That's the whole point. You're endeavoring to learn and if you do come at it from that hierarchical approach, that's a threat that you don't know. I really love that we have made a shift from cultural competence, which I'm pretty sure I don't have, and I don't even get to play in that ball game, to things like cultural humility and cultural responsiveness, because I can do something with all of those. I get it. I don't have to be afraid to be culturally humble. I know I'll be a failure at cultural competence, but I'm going to keep trying. Part of how I get there is to be culturally responsive. I love that really our language, which is such a powerful tool for how we think, opens the door to get away from, "You don't have to know everything." You have to be open to learn about it and be responsive to it. That's actually the gold ring. That's what we're trying for and it can eliminate some of that avoidance and reluctance and anxiety that would come with, "Well, I don't want to ask a question about your culture because maybe you're going to think that means I'm judging you." I can just be honest and authentic and say, "I'm curious, I'm interested. What's your culture been like?" I'll be happy to tell you about Cajun folk. We're pretty awesome too. Making it more of a sharing experience takes away some of that jeopardy for people who might be a little bit new to this.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (31:52):
Yes, and I so love that, Linda. It really does. The gift of chapter four to me, what it gave me was really more of an understanding of responsiveness. I have been talking a lot in the past several months about the humility piece, which is incredibly important, but this responsive piece is also such a wonderful enhancement, supplementing cultural humility. When I think of cultural responsiveness, what I immediately go to is listening. Listen to what individuals across identities are saying about their culture. I think going back to cultural competence because I still see people using cultural competence, cultural humility, and cultural responsiveness synonymously as the same, but they are different. That competence piece which has really been around, I want to say for the last maybe thirty years. The idea of cultural competence training that really denotes that discrete beginning and end to understanding culture, which you're exactly right. Who can achieve that?
Dr. Tyra Sellers (33:20):
How can you even master your own culture level? Let alone someone else's, and then all of the intersections. Forget about it.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (33:26):
Forget about it. It's not. That would leave me the idea of being competent in somebody's identity culture is overwhelming, and it would leave me like, "I don't know this because I don't." The humbleness and responsiveness. I think you said it, Linda, cracks the door open for that healthy curiosity to ask questions, to stop and listen, which again, it goes back to that sustaining and it feels to me just more respectful, more engaging, more comfortable.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (34:05):
For me, a key piece of culturally responsive behavior in supervision means that not only am I attending to, but I'm also reflecting on and incorporating information and changing my own behavior in response. That is a key piece for me.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (34:28):
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (34:29):
It is. I can remember Shahla saying this in one of our super fun, "let's write a book" weekends. Have snacks and good ideas and people we like. One of the things she said was that she had encountered some literature and guidance that if you want to get on this path to just being a more culturally well-rounded knowledgeable person, you probably should at least try to get to know at least five people from different cultures than your own. It's multiple, exemplary training in a way. Just like anything, who knows what the right number of exemplars are going to be, but you kind of begin to see all of these points of potential difference. The fact that almost nothing's dichotomous, it's a continuum. You just haven't yet seen enough points along that gradient to recognize that the things you've seen don't happen to be the two end points. It's this way or that way and that really struck me. You can actually behave in ways not to be a voyeur, but to build relationships with people and get to know what you can about their culture and experience as a way of helping to change your own definition of what culture means and the breadth of human culture.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (36:23):
Yes. I love that, Linda. I've never heard that put together before. The breadth of human culture, because there is that thread of humanity in all this that extends past far beyond the topography of what we look like. I so appreciate that.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (36:46):
Yeah. I remember having that conversation, Linda, and then us talking about you can't just be a tourist or a collector. I can't say, "Well, I clearly am culturally competent because I have a friend named Nasiah and Nasiah happens to be black." It's that you really have to open up and be vulnerable and be there to learn about mistakes you've made and how you can be better and how other people walk through the world. How knowing about that can enhance your own life. We know if companies have more diverse workforces, they have better cultures, they have better earnings, right? You're going to get more ideas. Everything is better when it's multifaceted, but I do love that idea. I wonder, Nasiah, if you can chat a little bit about some listed characteristics of a supervisor who is likely engaging in culturally responsive supervisory practices. Things like continually assessing and understanding their own culture, because as we've said, "It starts with you." You are the common denominator in every experience as you walk through your path. As Linda said, "Learning from and appreciating other cultures," and a number of other things. Are there any characteristics in there that you want to highlight and also girl, what did we miss? What are some that we should add to the list?
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (38:29):
I think that the list is pretty comprehensive. It's an amazing list. The book is amazing. This chapter is a must. What I will say, what I want to highlight is the piece that is threaded throughout the book: Bi-directionality. Just understanding. A supervisor, really embracing the supervisee as someone individual who is bringing gifts to that relationship. Bi-directionality, really, and I got this phrase from a veteran, one of my mentors for many years ago. She was speaking in terms of parent relationships with practitioners and practitioners must learn to, she termed it, "Share the inconvenience." I invite supervisors in the spirit of bi-directionality to share inconvenience. Don't let the supervisee shoulder all the inconveniences that can manifest in a supervisor, supervisee relationship. Simple things. Where are we going to meet? If it's more convenient and we want to meet in person, where would you like to meet? Simple things like that, create and crack the door open for a powerful connection in that relationship. That is something that I'd like to highlight for everyone. Creating and maintaining and practicing with bi-directionality in mind.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (40:28):
I love that. If, in fact, you approach it as a relationship and you're endeavoring to get to know this person it's going to make you uncomfortable and maybe even angry when you see that your supervisee is maybe completely inadvertently, subject to an inequity in some way. As I began to encounter younger, black behavior analysts who were interested in research, very capable and felt like they had not really had the instruction and mentoring to be able to contribute to the research game, I was pissed.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (41:21):
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (41:33):
What in the world? How did people not see the beautiful capabilities, and the ones I'm encountering are women, and give them opportunities to learn and shine? That's the thing. You better be ready. If you are going to think about business relationships, you're going to see those inequities and then you better do something. Speak up. Maybe you're gonna create an organization or an effort to make some change, but that's going to be part of it. If you really think about it as a relationship you're going to be invested.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (42:20):
Absolutely. Can I just share something really quick here? I have to speak to it. Last year, Linda, when we met, after the conference. We did our debrief to answer questions that participants have polls. I remember we were doing the debrief going through the questions and I had shared within the group that I had and I made that public. I haven't had a lot of mentors, not a lot of sponsors. I looked at your face during that meeting and it said it all. I could see that you were hurt by it. I could see the question and I have watched you and I didn't know you before last year, but I know I've watched you this year and I've heard from some of the early career practitioners, people of color that you are actively mentoring. You felt the discomfort, but what did you do? I appreciate that you took actionable steps to contribute to changing. I appreciate that.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (43:38):
Well, I appreciate the opportunity to do it and thank you for being thankful and thanks to all of them. They're putting effort into these experiences and training. If we really want to see continued change, we just have to figure out where our place is to do our part, and then try to partner with other people to do it. This effort for young researchers is BABA's initiative. I just happened to have done that a whole lot, and I'm gonna lend them some of my expertise to get this off the ground, but we need to get to the point where, maybe there will be more black researchers publishing in our journals and able to mentor other people. I'll still do it too, but it's really about building the overall community and for me, it really was painful. I could see this is a loss to our field. It was a loss to these people and it's a loss to our field. That ain't cool, so we'll do something.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (45:17):
[Laughing] Yes, it definitely has been done and what I see happening now is people are coming together and there has been a pipeline created. Seeds have been planted for a leadership pipeline of cultural change in the field. This really rooted in what is being shared in the book and in chapter four of the book. I am incredibly excited about what I see happening
Dr. Tyra Sellers (45:50):
I am as well and I've seen a lot of references to get a seat at the table, but I would invite supervisors, particularly those of dominant culture groups. Instead of inviting space at the table, probably what we need to do is just break the table. Let's just dismantle the table, make space to build a whole bunch of really beautiful, incredible tables. The table is just not big enough. Let's just get rid of it. We don't even need a table. Let's just throw down a picnic blanket.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (46:29):
I hear you.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (46:29):
Let's do it hippie style.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (46:35):
I hear you.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (46:36):
Let's sit on the lawn. Let's do that.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (46:38):
I love that. One other thing that I see happening now, and organizations are doing it across the country. These podcasts. Now, we've all always had the podcasts to varying degrees, but what this is doing, particularly for individuals like me... I can do a little bit of writing, but my way of knowing my cultural identity is rooted in an oral tradition. Creating space for me, someone whose way of knowing and demonstrating knowledge is through that oral tradition is powerful because I can speak it so much better than I can write it. I think just acknowledging and creating varying types of spaces to share what we know to share what we've learned is a powerful contribution to our field.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (47:41):
That is such a beautiful highlight. In chapter four, there are these learning hotspots, which basically are just sort of overarching topics where if you are not being culturally responsive, you could be setting the relationship up for failure. You could be hurting...
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (48:04):
Dr. Tyra Sellers (48:04):
That's a big uh oh. One of them is learning hotspot number five. People communicate in different ways and if we, from the dominant culture, are only valuing our way of communicating, our way of disseminating information, then we are robbing our profession of being able to grow into this wide breadth of more valuable, communicative styles. We're also not developing repertoires that will allow our supervisees and trainees to have enough response variability that they can have good audience control so that when they are speaking with families or other non behavior analysts, that they then can draw on these different communication styles. I love that you said that and I learned from my upbringing that oral communication and storytelling is so powerful and early in my experience in behavior analysis that got punished. You need to talk and write this way and it took me a while to kind of come back to like, "Wait a minute.. That's not... I'm not really comfortable with that." I could do it if you're going to make me, but I don't really love it. I'm so glad that you brought that up.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (49:28):
Yes. I bring it up because this is me. I'm a spoken word artist. I love it. Especially when I get as comfortable as I am with the two of you. That's when my authenticity shows up. That's when I can really, powerfully speak to my truth and my lived experience. I think more people are making room for that, however it shows up. For some people, it might be a picture, for some it might be drawing a picture. For others, it will be speaking, but just making room is affirming because we don't all want to write. Again, my culture, the culture that I come from comes from an oral tradition, not a written tradition.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (50:17):
I love that.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (50:18):
Well, we are getting close to the end of our podcast and we are going to have you back.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (50:24):
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (50:30):
I know. Let's wrap up with just a few big ideas for people to take away and maybe we can each give one of them. I'm going to give two, because the first big idea is we're awesome. [Laughing] I just am so thankful and grateful that I have happened to get to know you. I think that is something that really opened my eyes. Look at this amazing person who's out here doing great stuff. I had zero contact with her. I feel like I know people in this field. Sometimes it feels like I know a whole lot of people in this field and I didn't know you, and I'm so glad that we're having the opportunity to influence each other. I think that actually one of the ways to think about this is assume you don't know a lot and that it can be a good and exciting journey to get to know people and stories and things about other cultures.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (51:42):
I don't know. There's just too much awesomeness for me to even think straight right now. I guess my big takeaway, my big idea, especially this chapter wraps back even to something, Nasiah, that you said about your company, Pivot to Inclusion. The idea that coming to be culturally responsive is a commitment to an effortful, but beautiful lifelong process. You need to be in it for the long haul. This is not a sprint. In a way it's a marathon and it's probably a relay. We gotta rely on each other, because there are times when my legs are going to fail and I need to have folks that I can hand off to, and that I can learn from, and that I can just sit back on the grass and watch in all their glory for a while I re-energize myself. The idea particularly when it comes to cultural responsiveness is that it is lifelong, it's forever. I'm always going to be making mistakes. I'm always going to be having impacts that I didn't intend, but that hurt other people and I have an opportunity to fix it and learn and do better. If I'm open and I can be okay with a little discomfort that people have so much to teach me as a supervisor. My big takeaway is that lifelong commitment to working on always moving towards cultural responsiveness and cultural humility, because it's not really a destination.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (53:28):
Oh, I love that. I have a couple. Actually, the second part is just more of a call to action for folks in academia. My first one is the reflection. Really embrace that. Now again, my training taught me reflective practice. In the supervisory relationship, I create time and space for it. Not just happenstance reflection, but really creating time and space for the supervisee and the supervisor to reflect. Reflective conversations, just reflecting about what's happening, what's going on within the relationship. That's one thing. I do think the book is so good. I'm hoping that if it's not being done already, that this book can be implemented via a co-teaching model across disciplines. When folks adopt this book that it's adopted by education departments, it's adopted by behavior analysis departments, it's adopted by social works, speech and language pathology, because I think that's one of the ways we can start shifting culture in our field. Really thinking outside the box about how we prepare pre-certificates. I'm hoping that this book is beyond just behavior analysis.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (54:58):
You just got a job as our new marketing agent. [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (55:03):
Plus also we have talked about creating a version of the book that would be more broadly applicable in human services, multiple fields. Taking out some of those specifics about our own, let's say task list, ethics code, etc. When we do that, we're probably going to need you to come on as a coauthor.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (55:30):
I'm there. [Laughing].
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (55:32):
That's how we're gonna do that. Well, let me just thank you one last time, Nasiah, for joining us. I want to point people to your great efforts. You're not only a CEO, of course of your ULEZI company, but also this new effort, Pivot to Inclusion and then the brand newer effort. I know it's been a busy year for you, shaping leaders. For all you listeners out there, if you're looking for a way to get started to support some of these efforts for an increased embracing of equity, diversity inclusion, cultural responsiveness, please check out Nasiah's good work, her written work, her spoken work and the services offered by these organizations.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (56:33):
Absolutely. Thank you, everybody. This has been amazing.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (56:37):
I just want to add that folks should also be reading the article titled "Black Women and Barriers to Leadership in ABA" that was published in Behavior Analysis and Practice by Nasiah. It is a lovely article and it's a great starter. For me, there should be 5, 6, 7 articles that follow from this. Nasiah, it has been an honor as always. I'm always learning from you. I'm always humbled by you. You are the kind of person in physical settings that I want to elbow people out of the way to get as close to, stand next to so that I can experience the warmth, the light that you share. Thank you so much.
Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi (57:23):
Thank you. You guys have an amazing, amazing day. Thank you so much.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (57:28):
You as well. Bye everyone.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (57:30):