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MEET MY FRIEND; A New FREDA Girl Series: Introducing Britt Deyan

'I want you to meet my friend.'  We love the simple, genuine message behind the act of introducing two people that you think would have a great connection. 

This notion sparked the idea of launching a *new* series where we choose one FRĒDA Girl and then she selects the next FREDA Girl, and then that woman selects the next FREDA Girl and so on.

We have no idea whose path we will cross or where this series will take us, but how cool is that; to feel so open. Who will we meet and how will they inspire us?  Building an inclusive and supportive community is hugely important to us, so there is no better woman to kick off our "Meet My Friend" Series than Google's Diversity and Inclusion Specialist (and our friend) Britt Deyan.

Please tell us who you are and what you do.

Hi, I'm Britt! I am an advocate for equality and inclusion, community building, and someone going through life trying to smile at the little things. 

Your  job at Google celebrates and empowers women, how does Google fit  this into the workplace everyday?

I feel so grateful to love what I do, and the people I do it with. I spend most of my days creating intentional spaces to celebrate and empower underrepresented groups in technology. That means getting to host things like International Women’s Day summits, Black History Month celebrations, and working to make Google a place where everyone feels like they can bring their whole selves to work.

 

Your work is so inspiring and something that drives us here at FREDA. How can more of these practices be brought into the workplace?

I think the simplest thing we can do is create spaces where we all feel included and celebrated. That can take so many different forms. It could mean hosting lunches where you have dedicated space to learn from each other, it could mean creating clubs or employee resource groups, it could mean celebrating heritage months and holidays, and it could mean working to assure that your teams are representative of the people your work or product is serving. I personally am big on celebrating, so I’d start by celebrating the uniqueness of those around you.

How can we better educate ourselves on diversity and inclusion and inspire others to do the same?

I love this question. Mostly because I am still humbly learning about this everyday. However, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is, we have to do the work.

We have to want to learn, and want to listen, and be open to just listening for a bit. I’ve been learning the most in listening.

I’m learning no inclusive act is too small. I’m learning to think about who is not in the room. And then to consider why are they not in the room? I’m learning to consider my purchasing power, and to be intentional about where I spend my money. I’m learning to look at the voices I am listening to on social media, the content I am consuming, and the stories I am entertained by. I’m learning to consider my bias. I’m learning to acknowledge by privilege, and figure out ways to use that privilege to give others agency. But mostly, I’m learning that I have to continue to commit to doing the work. 

 

What do you find most rewarding about your work? What are the challenges?

The people. Always, always, always the people. I feel constantly grateful to work alongside the most driven, compassionate, intelligent, and kind people on projects recognizing our diverse communities are our greatest strength.

The challenge in working towards creating inclusive spaces is, we don’t always get it right. We are dependent on feedback and are constantly asking how we can be better. Each misstep is an opportunity to be a little more inclusive the next time.

Words to live by?

Celebrate everything.

 

Describe your personal style.

I love stories, and I think my style is a reflection of that. My house is full of travel trinkets and memories, my closet is full of unique pieces from flea markets, and my car I’ve had since I was 16 and hope to have forever. I am a hoarder of sentiment.

I am also Freda’s biggest fan. Endlessly grateful to be a Freda Girl.

 

Since so much of my job is centered around celebrating and empowering women around International Women’s Day, the team at FREDA asked if there was a woman in my life I wanted to nominate as the next Freda Girl.  I sent them a list of 20. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by women who build each other up, are committed to doing good in the world, and who are just fun to do life alongside.

Who would you like to introduce to the FREDA community?

I want you to meet my friend, RUTHIE LINDSEY.

Ruthie has the biggest heart of any human I have ever met. To know and be known by her is the greatest gift. She is magnetic, and tender, and loving, and sees so much beauty in everyone and everything.  Her story is one of pain and loss, but, more than that, of so much joy. She is a speaker, a writer, a curator of good people, a podcast host, and a lifelong learner.

Sometimes on the internet, people get us confused because we are both tall, have brown hair, and dress the same. I get how that can be confusing. However, being mistaken for Ruthie is the greatest honor. She is my twin, my friend, my sister, and someone I am endlessly inspired by. I can’t wait for you all to meet, Ruthie Lindsey.

Keep an eye out for Ruthie Lindsey’s feature in the coming weeks! 

Photos taken by our friend Emily Scott

 

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