When I talk to crowds of North Carolinians I like to get a few things about myself out of the way first. I let them know that I think Eastern BBQ is superior to Western. I only eat Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, I will drink Cheerwine anytime it's offered and if it's not available I'll grab an Arnold Palmer. I prefer the mountains to the coast, fall and winter over spring and summer (for whatever that's worth) and that above all else, I'm a Duke fan.
This introduction served me not one bit when I guest spoke at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in mid February!
It was a rainy afternoon and I was fortunate enough to find parking on Franklin St. in one go. I knew then it would be a good class. I was able to speak to a Entrepreneurship class that was in the midst of creating their own Board of Directors for the class projects/organizations. This was fortuitous because as I spoke with them about the Hemp Equity Network and our work ahead, I got to share that part of the work was tied to the fact that the North Carolina Hemp Commission was made up of nine men - eight of them white. This led to a conversation about the lenses we use when we do our work and live our lives and how important it was for them, even for a fictitious project, to put equity and diversity at the center of the Boards and Commissions they chose to create.
The reality is - without a diversity of experiences and individuals - policy, regulation, and industry will never truly be representative of the people meant to be served. This is part of the fight of the Hemp Equity Network and I was really glad to answer questions and share information with the students at UNC about that work!