Fair Chance Hiring: Equity And Equality Beyond Bars With Shamia Lodge

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Join Shamia Lodge in a compelling episode exploring the transformative power of creating fair opportunities. Delve into the responsibilities of a prison technology company, emphasizing the crucial role of technology in keeping incarcerated individuals connected, providing education opportunities, and facilitating successful reentry into society. Shamia’s personal connection to the cause, rooted in her brother’s incarceration, adds a poignant layer to the conversation. Discover the concept of “Fair Chance Hiring” as a movement, urging companies to reconsider hiring policies and embrace the Society of Human Resource Management’s framework for “Getting Talent Back to Work.” With insights into companies already practicing fair chance hiring and dispelling misconceptions about individuals with criminal backgrounds, the episode encourages a reevaluation of traditional hiring practices, ultimately advocating for a fair chance for all.

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Fair Chance Hiring: Equity And Equality Beyond Bars With Shamia Lodge

In this episode, I’m so excited to invite my good friend and colleague to the show. Shamia Lodge serves as the Director of Community Engagement at Aventiv Technologies, where they’re providing access to technology, transforming lives, fostering inclusivity, and creating a pathway to successful reentry back into society. Shamia was a fellow with CEO Action for Racial Equity, serving as the economic empowerment platform lead, overseeing fair chance hiring and business diversity in community development.

Shamia is passionate about creating fair opportunities for those impacted by the justice system. She’s also the Arizona State Ambassador to the United States of Women and one of Phoenix’s The Business Journals 2021 40 Under 40 honorees. Shamia dives into her passion about how she’s helping to make a difference with fair chance hiring. Take a moment to see how your company can leverage this movement as part of an augmented hiring strategy and how we can give each other hands up as a way for all of us to have at least a chance to live our possible. Enjoy the show.

Live Your Possible | Shamia Lodge | Fair Chance Hiring

Shamia Lodge, welcome to the show. How are you?

I’m well, Darrin. Thanks for asking. How are you?

I’m doing great. I’m sitting here with pure joy.

As always.

Let’s jump in. I’m curious about what you’re most passionate about.

Voice Of The Voiceless

Darrin, I’m passionate about a lot of things but the thing I am doing that I call my ministry is I am passionate about being the voice of the voiceless. I get the opportunity to work with individuals who are incarcerated and their friends and family. That’s given me a great deal of joy.

That sounds pretty special to be able to share your voice and help the voiceless hopefully have their way of getting out to the world in a different way. I’d love to hear more about that. Tell me what you are doing.

I am the Director of Community Engagement at a prison technology company. We are responsible for keeping loved ones connected through technology. Think about when someone says, “I have a loved one incarcerated. I received a phone call from them.” Chances are they made that phone call through our technology. If someone wants to say, “I received an email from my loved one,” they probably got an email utilizing one of our devices. We also provide education opportunities. It’s a unique purpose-driven organization that I work for.

I would summarize it in one word.


I was thinking of Connection. We’re on the same page. It’s staying connected with family and friends and having that level of hope.

We talk about that all the time. I was meeting with one of the family members. She said, “I have a new-found hope because I’m able to stay connected to my loved one.”

That’s pretty aspirational too as far as helping people see and feel that.

I leave work most days fulfilled. It is remarkable what we do for this population and the people I’m able to engage with as a result.

When you say education, what is it you’re providing there? What’s the educational piece?

We have services on our devices where individuals are able to take college courses and get their degree, a certificate, and different swim lanes when you think about trade opportunities. It’s a robust offering that we offer as a company.

What is that doing for the folks that are incarcerated?

It’s making sure that they have the tools and resources they need to successfully react and acclimate into society once they return home. I don’t have my stats in front of me so I’m not going to throw out a number but it is a high percentage of people who are incarcerated that will return home and be our neighbors. When you think about this from a public safety perspective, it should be all of our hopes and wishes that individuals who are incarcerated are provided with tools to make them more prepared for the workforce when they come home. It’s helping individuals change the game and have a new outlook on life when they return home.

Live Your Possible | Shamia Lodge | Fair Chance Hiring

You didn’t know the percentage. I thought I read something around 20% to 30%. Does that make sense? Is that about right?

It’s higher than that. Towards 70% of individuals who are incarcerated will be returning home one day. Think about it based on returning home.

The number I was thinking about is the number of folks that are incarcerated. What percentage of people in the United States?

I believe that 1.9 million people are incarcerated. Towards 100 million people by the year 2030 will have some level of arrest or conviction. In 2024, it’s about 80 million people who have a criminal conviction record. Whether they serve time or not, there are people who have a record. It’s hard for them to get employment. If any of those people were incarcerated and had access to our technology, it somewhat helped them return home and be more prepared. That makes me happy.

There are a ton of questions that I want to ask you about this. The first thing is, why are you in this space?

I don’t share this information often. People know. I’m never afraid to share this information but my background education and training is in Human Resource Management. I was a recruiter at one point in my career. My degree is in NHR. More than that, I identify as a subset of Americans who have an immediate family member currently incarcerated. My brother is incarcerated in the state of North Carolina. For me, this is a very personal thing and journey that I’m embarking on.

My brother ended up recidivating. When he came home the first time, second chance hiring or fair chance hiring wasn’t a thing at that time. Even though my brother was able to obtain his degree while incarcerated, he didn’t have an employment opportunity. I know that I want to do more to help my brother when he comes home next time, which is in a couple of years, but more than that, I want to help more people like my brother. I do this work separately and apart from the company that I work for. I’m ecstatic that I work for this company. This is by happenstance but I did this work before I started to work for the company that I work for because it started for me as a responsibility as a Human Resources professional.

That’s touching.

Do you think so?


I know you do because you’re such a great person. I can see the look on your face. You’re like, “This is great.” I know you truly believe that it’s touching.

I’m glad you feel the power of purpose because it’s bigger than you. I’ve always known you as selfless. You’re doing this for not only your brother but other folks like your brother and the families that are sitting there waiting for their loved ones to come home like yourself.

I cannot imagine what life would be like if I wasn’t able to communicate with my brother while he was incarcerated. It’s personal for me the work that I do. I’m oftentimes putting myself in the shoes of our consumers because I am a consumer. I work as I am first a consumer and then an employee. In most cases, I’m going to play it in a consumer but I enter into spaces with that mindset and mentality. I’m often faced with being the person in the room to say, “What about the consumer?” I work for a great company where we value the needs of our consumers. They go hand in hand with the needs of our customers as well.

Fair Chance Hiring

It’s so honorable that you’re helping folks not only communicate and stay connected but also educate so folks are being prepared to be productive and be a contributor to society and their dignity, and be able to provide in a different way, which is so beautiful. How can companies connect with this journey? You’re doing great work about helping individuals get better themselves to be prepared.

There is a bigger opportunity for each of us. I’m with you. We all deserve second chances. There’s a beauty inside of all of us that we need to make sure we’re taking a look at. You’re doing the work to get people prepared. How can companies get prepared and look at things differently to embrace these amazing individuals who are looking for a second chance?

Let’s unpack this. I want to answer that in two different ways because this will resonate with you and our story. In many cases, some people didn’t get a first chance or a first opportunity, let alone a second chance. This is why as not an industry like I work for but as a movement, when we start to talk about second chance hiring, that’s why we did some work and rebranded it to be more along the lines of fair chance hiring.

We still embrace the term second chance. It makes a lot of sense. That is what we’re doing on the surface but when we talk about fair chances and fair opportunities, this is exactly what we mean. I wanted to put it out there. A lot of these individuals, when you think about their backs against the wall and them never having an opportunity, this is going to be the opportunity when they come home, or if they have a record and they’re faced with background checks and not being able to be employed because of the background check process.

What I’ve said to companies for many years before I got this role is to look at your hiring policies and procedures. See if they’re outdated and take a look at revising and revamping them. More importantly, what you should be doing is immersing yourself in the thought of what is safe versus not safe, working hand in hand with your employment law team and starting to look at some of your outdated processes.

Chances are these individuals are highly talented, reliable, and eager to work. Many of the times, we put these outdated practices in place and that’s what they are. They’re very much outdated. There are tons of resources out there. Society for Human Resource Management or SHRM has a great course and framework called Getting Talent Back to Work, which I’ve taken myself and many of my colleagues have as well. It is foundational to making sure we do the work to understand this topic.

I would encourage companies to lean in and open up their thoughts to the possibility. There are a lot of companies who are out there, are doing this, and have been doing it for many years. They don’t talk about it because it’s a part of their practice. There are companies having meetings on this very topic of how they can include it in their hiring strategies. What I will say for the companies who have yet to explore this thought is to continue to educate themselves and reach out to organizations who are doing it and doing it well.

I’ve worked with companies too that are part of it. You’re right. There are plenty of companies that are participating. There are different levels of comfort. Like anything, we need to lean in, learn, understand, and ask questions that’s anything that we’re up against. This world is so divisive. If we don’t lean in, check it out ourselves, and understand what’s possible, we’re missing out on so much opportunity for everybody.

I want companies to trust me. Let me tell you one thing. I’m going to fill you in on a secret, Darrin. For a few years, I’ve been on a roadshow, having a very similar conversation with a lot of companies and helping them to do this work. I oftentimes would sit back and say, “They’re doing it. They’re going to do it. They’re committed. This is great.”

I selfishly wanted to know if the industry or the people I was saying they needed to bring into their companies were ready to work for these organizations. I work for a company where I have access to individuals. I can truly say that many of them are more than ready to come and work for the company. Selfishly speaking, I had to come and do this gut check to say, “I’ve been getting all of these companies ready to take this talent on. Let me make sure the talent is ready,” and they’re ready.

It’s never about a handout for this population. It’s simply just a hand up. You are still looking to hire the top talent for this position. If the top talent or that one individual has had a background but they’re better and ready for work, you should not bypass them because of their background if they’re identified as being the one and only for this one role you’re looking to hire for.

It's never about a handout for this population. It's always simply just a hand-up. Share on X

Hand up, I love that.

There are no handouts. No one needs it. Darrin, with our story, I didn’t need a handout. You needed to just say, “Come on, Shamia. Let’s go.” It’s not about a handout.

In this world, there’s a misunderstanding that it is all about handouts, equality, equity, and all the elements that people get all caught up with as far as feeling like everybody has better opportunities. The reality is what you said. They hand up and give people a chance to be heard and be able to show up as themselves. You mentioned about as far as educating some folks who are incarcerated. For that matter, anybody who wants to get a particular job, it’s our responsibility to own that as individuals. We have to own our work. You say that all the time.

These people will show up and show out. They will do a great job. This isn’t like a public service announcement but I did the gut check. I had to say, “Wait a minute, Shamia. Go and pressure-check the system real quick.” I knew it all along. I’ve been doing this work and have been in contact with this industry for a while. I needed to go and assess the scene. Folks rehabilitated themselves and are ready to go.

There’ll be talk about loyalty too, as far as getting that look and chance. I bet your loyalty is pretty good. People are going to work maybe differently, at least folks I’ve seen. I’ve seen some hard work from people who are eager to move ahead. I met John McTighe from Connecticut. He started up a company called Fair Screen, which I believe is helping folks as far as understanding what to look for.

It’s doing background checks, not just to say they’ve been convicted or what have you. It’s looking at what folks are doing since being incarcerated and what they’ve been working on. Did they get a degree? Have they participated in different events and opportunities? To me, it’s so enlightening because as someone who works with a lot of different companies, I’m encouraging them to make sure they’re pausing to take a look at this.

Thank you. John is an amazing individual and his services are doing it the right way. There are so many organizations out there like John. I told John this when I first met him, “You have figured out how to assess and address that gap.” We had a great conversation one time and talked about it. People say that you have to have a certain level of rigor. People wake up at 5:00 in the morning and are going to a job when they’re in prison. It’s not like the jobs we’re used to but there’s some level of discipline and loyalty that’s there. He helps candidates speak to that and employers make sure that they’re aware of that. John’s the real deal.

I know you don’t like to talk about yourself. You’re a board member for REINVENTING ReEntry. I don’t know if there’s something there you want to talk about. I also know you’re going to law school. I don’t know if that ties into this work.

Living Out Sue Ellen Allen’s Legacy

Here are a few things. I am completing my Master’s degree in Legal Studies so I am not going to school to be anyone’s lawyer. I just want to understand the law so I can help this population a little bit more. My emphasis is on employment law to understand the rules and not to, by any means, have any kind of litigations or be of anyone’s attorney. I’m not there with it. I’m a mother of four girls. I’m excited because they’re starting their college journey soon. I’ll leave that up to them.

Here’s a quick story about REINVENTING ReEntry. My dear mentor, Sue Ellen Allen, put me on notice for this work. She called me out in a way where I wasn’t taken aback but I was embarrassed for a variety of reasons. For you to understand and know who Sue Ellen is, I have to describe her. I met Sue Ellen Allen when she was in her 60s. She’s about 5’2″ inch. She’s a White woman. She’s Caucasian.

When I met Sue Ellen, we shared a mentee. My mentee and Sue Ellen’s mentee had an opportunity to apply for this amazing opportunity that the Obama Foundation was hosting out here in Arizona. Long story short, she ended up getting the opportunity. Post the cohort, she treated Sue Ellen and me to supper. We went to supper. At this time, I never engaged with Sue Ellen Allen. I knew who she was. I saw a few panels she was on but I didn’t engage with her.

It was at this dinner where we talked about the work we were doing. I’ll never forget it. I was studying to get my license for an exam I had to take for the financial institution we used to work for together. I was so nervous and it was weighing heavy on me. She’s like, “You’ll do fine.” It was at that time she shared with me that she had served time in prison in her 50s. During her time in prison, she was battling stage 3 breast cancer. She was in chemo while she was in prison.

We shared our stories and talked. It was crazy because our mentee was like, “I have to go. Do you mind if I head home?” We were still there talking. We’re like, “You can go home. Thanks for the supper.” We chatted and spoke. Forty minutes later, the busboy came out and said, “My manager wants me to lock up the restaurant.” It was closing 1 hour and 10 minutes before. Our conversation went out to the parking lot. Thirty minutes later, I looked at my clock and said, “I have to get this lady home.” I wasn’t driving her. She was driving herself but it was late and I wanted to respect her time.

Long story short, she said, “I’m saddened by how you have neglected your brother in a way where you have everything in your power and you haven’t put in the work to support and make sure he will be fine and okay when he returns home.” It blew my mind. I never thought about it at that time. I do a lot of this work for my brother but it was at that time when she talked about, “You have your degree in HR and you’re doing nothing with it. You’re not helping to advocate, which I know you can.”

She said, “Shamia, I need you to work in this space.” At that time, she invited me to be on her board and the rest has been history. We are going to be honoring Sue Ellen. It will be another year since she passed away. It was one of the hardest times in my life that I had to go through. I went from being on Sue Ellen’s board to being her health proxy at the time of her passing. She passed away orphaned and widowed. I am helping to keep her legacy alive in many ways.

I have chills because I was thinking exactly what you said. You’re living out her legacy.

It’s hard at times but I couldn’t imagine life any different. I have many angels in heaven but I can feel her in my ear talking all of this stuff she talks about but encouraging me to do this work.

Initially, I thought how amazing she was willing to give you that feedback and how it must have felt to hear some of it as you reacted at the same time. We’ve known each other for some time. I’ve always seen you as someone who could step in and have tough conversations, not only to receive feedback but also to give it as well. You’re always thinking about what’s the reason and the greater need and purpose. For you to be able to accept, listen, and work with it, it’s impressive. There are a lot of people who would have gotten defensive and said, “I’m doing this for that.” It challenged you but are you living your purpose?

There was nothing I could do to even come back when she said it because she was telling the truth. I grew up in a two-parent household. I’m very fortunate. My brother, my sister, and I went to church three times a week. We were okay. I could never for the life of me understand what happened to my brother. It’s not like I was embarrassed by it at all. It was a situation where I didn’t know how to intertwine my world at this moment. I’ve outgrown thinking about it and learned a lot growing up. It was out of sight and mind but that was not the right thing.

I should probably tell you a little bit more about Sue Ellen Allen when she speaks about why people should listen and why I would never have anything crazy to say back to her for a variety of reasons. This is the woman who wrote the letter to President Obama that said, “You could be doing more for this population. Here is what more looks like in my opinion.” She told him he needed to come and visit a prison. She went on to say all of these things.

President Obama took her for her word and went to visit a prison. She wrote him seven times and it was the seventh letter that got pulled and reviewed. He invited her to the last State of the Union. She was in the First Lady box. I should probably tell you as well that not only did Sue Ellen Allen write this letter to President Obama, it got pulled, and she became a figure at the White House during that time but she also did work with former President Trump as well.

Seeing this lady be able to speak across political lines and join forces, have people agree on one topic, and have everyone understand and see why this is a public concern and more importantly, a public safety issue if we don’t support this population, was so profound. More than anything, she will forever be someone I look at as a person who was able to bring everybody together.

When you think about humankind or human dignity, it doesn’t separate at the political lines. Does it or should it?

It should not. I attribute a lot of the work that I’m doing and how I’m able to speak to everyone about everything and ground people on some commonalities. If that conversation never happened at that restaurant, I don’t know if I would be here the same way and talk about the same things that I’m talking about. She’s been in some cases so boldly but it’s because that’s how she led. She’s up there. I have here a Congressional Record. She’s in the record book in Congress because of her work.

I spent a lot of time talking about her but it brought me back to how I get immersed in this work. There are things that I’m grateful for. When I think about the work we’ve done, my former company relocated me out to a whole other state. I would have never been in this state and met Sue Ellen Allen. I’m forever grateful for the little opportunities throughout my entire career. Everything needed to happen the way it happened for us to even be having this conversation.

CEO Action For Racial Equity

I’m so grateful for that. Let’s talk about your last role at the CEO Action for Racial Equity. Do you mind sharing a little bit about that work? You were pretty instrumental with that, too. Your voice was carrying and echoing around different chambers all around the country.

Thank you, Darrin. That was necessary when it was established. We as a nation were in such an interesting time for various reasons when you think about COVID and the social unrest. Thank God, I worked for an amazing CEO at the time who knew that he not only needed to talk the talk but he needed to walk the talk. He needed to do it in a way where it was very genuine. His actions did just that.

With that, I was amongst a good handful of individuals who were a part of CEO Action for Racial Equity. It’s a fellowship that in its beginning had upwards of about 250 talented individuals from across the country representing a variety of different companies from multiple different sectors and making up about 102 companies, where each of those CEOs said, “We want to focus on advancing public policy and get laser focus on doing so from a racial equity lens.”

One of the highlights of my entire career was when I had an opportunity to go deep on this very topic, fair chance hiring. I did some amazing work and got to work with some amazing CEOs and their executive leadership teams across this nation. I worked with some great people. It wasn’t just “I”. It was what we think. It was a team effort. We help to educate people on this very topic.

It was towards the tail end of my time at CEO Action for Racial Equity that my role expanded and I got to do more in the economic empowerment space, supporting not only fair chance hiring but some of the thoughts behind business diversity, which is the ecosystem of supplier diversity and then some of the work on community development and financial institutions. When you think about access to capital for underserved and unserved communities, that’s the topic that we leaned into, which is the CDFI conversation.

CEO Action for Racial Equity is doing amazing work and has done some amazing work on the policy front. With these corporate engagement strategies, when you think about many companies, they’re looking to lean into social issues. They’re looking to have some level of social impact, ESG for example. The fellowship, CEO Action for Racial Equity, will fall under like the big S. Where does it fall in corporate America? Why should people care? It falls either under the big S or a lot of companies roll it into their DEI work.

The big S, did you say what that means?

Environmental, Social, and Governance so ESG. With all of the work that I do on social issues, it’s always a big S because we try to lump a lot of things under social but a lot of impactful things happen. I always say it’s the big S and not a tiny S. It depends upon the industry, Darrin. Many companies lean more into the environmental and say, “This is a big E and then we do some S and G. This is the big G.” With a lot of companies I work for, it’s always the big S.

A World With Equity And Equality

Let me ask you this question. I feel like it’s hard work and it continues to be divisive when we talk about equity.  Not to get into every detail, how do we get to an ideal place in our lifetime? What does that place look like to you?

It’s a big conversation in this nation. Let me say that. Even amongst my friend groups, I decide not to tangle with them for a variety of reasons. I have several opinions. If I had a magic wand, I would wave the wand and all of the things would be fixed but in all seriousness, we make it more convoluted and it’s not. The baseline is if we make sure that we’re creating spaces and environments where everyone feels like they’re valued and respected, we’re hitting the mark.

If we’re creating environments where people feel like they can meaningfully contribute and have some level of impact, then we’re meeting the goal. It’s important for us to respect the differences that come with individuals and have some level of equity. Solid equity plans can lead to equality on all fronts because that’s what we want. We want people to be treated with the level of fairness that they believe they deserve.

Solid equity plans can definitely lead to equality on all fronts. Share on X

Last but not least, in all we do, we should be creating environments that are very inclusive, not forgetting anyone and making sure that everyone is not only invited to the party but has an opportunity to speak if they want to. Long gone are the days where having a seat at the table is enough. You have to be able to sit at the table and share your thoughts if that’s what you choose to do. You’re right. It’s very polarized. I’m saddened by that but it makes me work a little harder and allows for people to be more creative in my opinion.

I love how you were very open. I appreciate you for sharing that but more importantly, you’re talking about equality for every single human being. You didn’t say anything in particular about any individual. For all of us, we all need to have that sense of belonging no matter what situation we might be in like a workplace community. When you look at anybody in any environment, if they don’t feel like they belong or do not fit in, they’re not going to be themselves and want to put themselves out there or speak up.

When you have a seat at the table, if you’re not feeling safe with the room or to be able to speak up, then it’s going to be a lost cause for anyone for that matter. I’m with you. I’m motivated just as much as I was when we met many years ago. We’ve had our conversations over the years. I’m sitting here admiring where you’ve come from when we first were working together.

We worked at MassMutual together and I remember you were at the call center. You started there and progressed in many different roles. I remember sitting there as you were talking. I’m in Connecticut. You’re in Phoenix. In this environment, you’re talking about lean, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement. I remember being mesmerized many years ago about how much passion you bring into every topic that’s on your mind. It’s similar in the sense that you are looking to bring out the best in every individual that’s in front of you. I don’t know if that resonates with you or if you remember that call or those times.

I do remember that. I started my career in Corporate America in an entry-level role. I never looked at the role that I had as a job. I’ve always looked at it as a career. When I was working in the service center and call center, my friends would be like, “You work at MassMutual. That’s amazing. What do you do for the company?” I would say, “I’m the face of the company.”

Everyone will look at me like I had seventeen heads and I will be like, “What?” They’re like, “You’re right.” I’m like, “No. When you, your parents, or your grandparents contact MassMutual, you’re not speaking to the CEO and his executive team. You’re speaking to me, my colleagues, and my friends. That automatically qualifies me as the face of the company.” We would giggle and laugh. They’ll be like, “That’s great.”

I’ve always thought that to be true and how I’ve always carried myself. Every interaction that I’ve ever had during my time with MassMutual holds a special place in my heart. I had great opportunities and moments because that’s been my outlook on my entire career. I want to go back to something, Darrin. We cannot have a big conversation about DEI and then go into our time at MassMutual.

I want to circle back on an important point and one that even without me tangling in this plant angle and very important topic, I want to make sure of it. As a nation and a society, the reason why I always say equality for all people is because we know right from wrong. We know when people are not being treated fairly and we’re putting things in place to make people’s lives harder than what they should be. We know that as adults and humans. I do not have to call you out, a group of people, or anything for that matter when people should be doing the right thing.

I don’t have to add fuel to the fire. We know when things are wrong. We should fix it. That’s a part of problem-solving 101. If there’s a problem, do it right. We don’t have to make the situation that much worse. Your audience knows that I am very in tune with what is happening in this nation on this very topic. As a whole, there’s an opportunity for us to get this right. We haven’t done a great job as a nation and getting it right and making people feel safe. That will be my call to action with that topic. As we wrap that up, I want to make sure people feel safe in all spaces and aspects of life.

I just want to make sure people feel safe in all spaces and all aspects of life. Share on X

A Call To Action

What would you suggest folks could do from here? Is there something they could do to help each other feel safer or for themselves for that matter? What’s on your mind?

Be normal. Long gone are the days when people freaking show up. Why are we trying to be so divisive on certain things? We put so much effort into dividing and not enough effort into making sure that we’re trying to work together. I feel like we should probably maybe flip that a little bit. What happened to people treating people barely? Why would you treat people any differently than you would treat anybody else? That’s what I struggle with the most, the amount of energy we put in on certain things. I will leave it there. This is across the board with a lot of people. We waste a lot of time trying to figure something out when we know how to get it done.

We put so much effort into dividing and not enough effort into making sure that we're trying to work together. Share on X

I do think what we have in our minds and the words that we use that come up in the day, we get sidetracked, distracted, and put off. We have these definitions in our minds. When people say certain words, we go off in our heads. We have to react, say something back, or deny it. There’s a lot of that going on. To your point, if we can push some of that away in our minds and stop to be a little bit more curious and caring with folks who are sitting across the table, people you’re walking by in the community, or whatever that might be, it’d be a good start. I love where you’re heading here. What happened to us not being human to each other? That’s a whole different episode.

We know better on a lot of things. We know right from wrong. Why do we decide to show up for certain topics and not want to do right by that time? What is wrong? I feel like there is no way that you don’t know that you’re doing that incorrectly or that’s not the way to do it. I like to make sure that I’m very careful on a topic like this that is so large because of the different roles. It’s who I am. We can do better.

We touched on how we work together. This would be a good pause for us to say let’s start maybe another conversation on another day to talk a little bit more about our story, especially how you opened up about helping to give a voice to the voiceless. It’s so powerful. I’d love to talk about that more possibly in another episode if that works for you.

If it works for me, I can’t wait. Our story is our story. I don’t know where I would be as a person and someone who shows up in spaces and freely be able to speak my truth in a way where I’ve always been confident. I was in a church choir and stuff. In this corporate space, it’s like, “No, I’m going to speak.” Without giving too much away, I’m so grateful for you, your leadership, and your friendship. I cannot wait to share our story.

Me, too. I’m a better person and human being because of you. With the journey I’ve been on, you’ve been a big part of it. You’ve opened my eyes. You have the willingness to give open and loving feedback at the same time for me to pause and think about things. I’m eternally grateful for you. I admire you. I’m so honored to be friends with you. I can’t believe what you’re doing. It’s amazing. Everything you do is incredible work and is for a greater cause and purpose. I’m so happy that you joined the show. I look forward to our next conversation.

Thank you so much, Darrin. My pleasure. Thanks for having me. I can’t wait to speak to you again.

Live Your Possible | Shamia Lodge | Fair Chance Hiring

Shamia is a voice for the voiceless. That is powerful. What is your way of speaking up for and with others who might have less of a voice than yourself? It takes a willingness to give up some of your power and lead with selflessness, curiosity, and care like the way Shamia has shown us on the show. Shamia has been an inspiration to me and showed me how to use the voice I didn’t know I had in a way that helps others be heard. Watch out for our follow-up episode where we talk about our story and how she helped me live more authentically and live my possible so that others could do the same on an equal playing field. Take care.

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About Shamia Lodge

Live Your Possible | Shamia Lodge | Fair Chance HiringShamia Lodge currently serves as the Director of Community Engagement at Aventiv Technologies. Most recently a Fellow with CEO Action for Racial Equity, serving as the Economic Empowerment Platform Lead overseeing Fair Chance Hiring, Business Diversity, & Community Development Financial Institutions corporate engagement and public policy strategies . Shamia is passionate about creating fair opportunities for those impacted by the justice system. Shamia is Arizona state ambassador to the United States of Women (USOW). Phoenix Business Journal’s 2021 40 under 40 and is a Flinn Brown 2023 fellow. Shamia holds a Bachelor in HR management and is currently pursuing her master’s in legal studies at Arizona State University. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their four daughter

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