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Cultural Wealth with Maria Calibo Sales, Sarah Hyland, Stephenie Rodriguez, Fiona Harrison, + Cathy Ngo

“You will have heard of the saying, money makes the world go round. At SheEO, we know that money is not the only thing that makes our world go around, because we operate in the spirit of radical generosity.”

— Maria Calibo-Sales

In this episode

This special episode of the SheEO.World podcast was recorded live at the 2021 Australian Summit. Join Maria Calibo-Sales alongside a panel of SheEO Activators: Sarah Hyland, Fiona Harrison, Cathy Ngo, and Stephenie Rodriguez for a discussion on cultural wealth, beginning with 7 different forms of capital: Cultural, Aspirational, Familial, Social, Navigational, Resistant, and Linguistic.

They also discuss:

  • The need for a cultural shift away from outdated systems based on colonial wealth
  • Defining wealth and cultural wealth in the spirit of Radical Generosity
  • Navigating through various parts of the Cultural Wealth framework

We invite you to join us as an Activator at SheEO.World.

Take action and engage with speakers on the Cultural Wealth Panel:

Maria Calibo-Sales

Sarah Hyland

Stephenie Rodriguez

Fiona Harrison

Cathy Ngo

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Podcast Transcript:

The podcast is being transcribed by Otter.ai. (there may be errors, run-on sentences and misspellings).

Maria Calibo-Sales 0:00
You will have heard of the saying, money makes the world go round. At SheEO, we know that money is not the only thing that makes our world go around, because we operate in the spirit of radical generosity. We keep doors wide, wide open, and we look back to make sure no one is left behind. And we co-create spaces and opportunities to accumulate cultural wealth, the critical factor for long-term, transformative systems change.

Vicki Saunders 0:27
Welcome to SheEO.World podcast, where you’ll meet women and non-binary folks who are transforming the world to be more equitable and sustainable.

Monica Bradley 0:45
I would now like to hand over the session to the remarkable woman who has planned much of this content and is a really prolific contributor to the SheEO network. Maria Calibo-Sales. She’s a SheEO Activator and has been for a while, but she’s also the founder of Calmar Corps, and she’ll be hosting our panel today. Thank you, Maria.

Maria Calibo-Sales 1:07
Thank you so much, most marvelous, Monica. Good morning, everyone. Fabulous folks. I am Maria and my pronouns are she and her, and I’m joining you this morning from the beautiful lands of the Darkinjung country, just Central Coast of New South Wales. I’m going to start off with this really powerful quote by SheEO founder, the amazing Vicki Saunders. And she said, “In order to get to the new solutions for the world’s most pressing social issues, we need to shed our winner takes all culture that has resulted in five men having the same wealth as half of the planet. 51% of the population are women, yet we received 2.2% of the capital. This is statistically impossible without massive bias designed into our systems and structures. So language is really, really important. English is my fourth language. So I’m always really curious around how words are defined. So according to the Webster and Oxford Dictionary, systems is defined in three core streams. The first one is a set of things working together as part of a mechanism, an interconnected network or a complex whole. The second stream of definition is an organized scheme or method, a set of principles and procedures according to which something is done an organized planning or behavior, resulting in a set of rules used in measurement or classification. And the third one, the prevailing political or social order. And as we know, the prevailing systems that we work with, live by and learn from, have been established by white colonial rule founded on extermination, exploitation, and profits at all cost, an economic framework endorsed in 1776 1776, by Adam Smith’s work The Wealth of Nations, which has been the dominant economic theology of free market capitalism, and the blueprint of colonialism, the legacy of which generations have paid a terrible price. So this system Sessions has drawn from the phenomenal works of Dr. Maria and Isla of partner ism, indigene, omics by Carol and Hilton, your socio cultural wealth framework. And of course, the United Nations generation equality action coalition’s to five and six, as everything we do at SheEO is measured against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, they are the world’s to do list. So in terms of the panel, we will explore the concept of cultural wealth. For most people, wealth is defined as accumulation of economic and monetary resources. You will have heard of the saying, money makes the world go round. At SheEO, we know that money is not the only thing that makes our world go around. Because we operate in the spirit of radical generosity, we keep doors wide, wide open, and we look back to make sure no one is left behind. And we co create spaces and opportunities to accumulate cultural wealth, the critical factor for long term transformative systems change. Cultural wealth is embedded in the time honored practices of Indigenous nations, and Indigenous wisdom. So as you can see from the screen, and I think, the team are putting that up now, there are actually seven key elements into building cultural wealth. And for most of you, this will be the first time you’ve actually come across this concept. And you will see that there are actually seven key elements and we’re going to start in the aspirational aspect. If you’ve never come across aspirational capital before, in its concept, the idea is, I want to do important, impactful work, the fruit of which is something I may not see in my generation. The second one there is familial capital, and it’s about, I come from a long line of strong phenomenal women who always have my back. And you’ll also notice that social capital is a concept in cultural wealth. And under that it says that I’m a part of a network of supportive people. With the same shared values as I do. And there’s also the next part, which is navigational capital. And the concept of this is, I know how to work within the systems to get the information and get the results that I need. And then underneath that you will see resistant capital. I am willing to think creatively about the solutions, and I will push back when the status quo is unacceptable. And then you have the concept of linguistic capital, which is, I have a voice that is heard in my community, and I’m given the opportunity to speak my truth. So really powerful elements in our cultural wealth. And, you know, the spoke of that, the core of all of that is community cultural wealth. And in that concept we talk about, I take only what I need, and I am accountable, have a sacred responsibility to consider the long term impact of my decision making. And I operate in the spirit of reciprocity. And our methods are restorative and regenerative. And we also focus on economic progress as a parallel process, to responsible custodianship of the land.

Maria Calibo-Sales 6:07
Take a deep breath, that is a massive concept to take into consideration, and we’re going to use the panel this morning to talk it through. So welcoming our four panelists onto the stage. We have the amazing Sarah Hyland, hi, welcome, welcome, I’d love you to please introduce yourself to the forum. And tell us who you are and what you do and what ignites you.

Sarah Hyland 6:33
Absolutely. Ghungana. That’s the greeting in the Anaiwan Aboriginal language, which is in the process of being revived of the Anaiwan people from which I descend from. I am the founder of Together Business. And Together Business as a chartered accounting firm, but I like to call it an accountability firm. That’s, that really sums up what we do. So we specialize in working with for purpose businesses, and 80% of the businesses that we work with are First Nations businesses here in Australia. What we are positioning ourselves to do is leave the accounting profession in Australia, in its own evolution in how we account for value, because we know that, you know, traditional ways of financial reporting doesn’t meet the needs of businesses who are wanting to maintain resilient and responsible operations. And so, I’m so excited for this panel, because cultural wealth is such a huge part of that. And, you know, we’re here to bring it on onto the radar.

Maria Calibo-Sales 7:52
Fabulous, I could listen to you forever, Sarah. So when we talk about, we’ve given you two of the key elements, and already you’ve explored for us what aspirational capital is to building the systems to actually support businesses that don’t necessarily fit the systems and the check marks that’s required in the modern world. So in terms of social capital, I’m a part of a network of supportive people with shared values. Can you tell us Sarah, how that’s how that’s coming to your life and, and your experiences of social capital?

Sarah Hyland 8:24
Yeah, I think the concept of social capital is really front and center to my whole journey, going into business for myself. So it was a point in my life where I decided to surround myself by people who raised my vibration. And so I, you know, what, at the time was just feeling like craving, connection and friendship. You know, what I realized is that was actually you know, exactly what we’re talking about. Now, it’s a part of a larger framework. And we’re navigating between all these different parts of the cultural wealth framework at the same time, but at the end of the day, I’m a part of a professional network of amazing individuals working in the for purpose sector. And, you know, it’s incredible that transcends, that transcends industries and sectors. And the power for collaboration and partnerships is phenomenal. And not a lot of people can grasp that power.

Maria Calibo-Sales 9:34
Thank you so much Sarah for your thoughts and your wisdom. We really, really appreciate it. Thanks, Sarah. So welcoming onto the stage now if we can get Fiona Harrison from Chocolate on Purpose. Fiona, thank you so much for joining us. Could you please tell the SheEO world right now who you are, what you do, and what ignites your purpose?

Fiona Harrison 9:55
Yamandhu marang. That’s g’day in the Aboriginal Wiradjuri language. As Maria introduced me, I’m Fiona Harrison, a proud Wiradjuri woman living and working on my traditional Wiradjuri lands. And I’m the founder and CEO of Chocolate on Purpose. So thank you, Maria and SheEO team for inviting me today. I combine fine curvature chocolate with Australian native botanicals to create my bush food chocolate range. And through sharing the traditional use of those botanicals, I work to deepen respect for our ancient Indigenous wisdom and culture.

Maria Calibo-Sales 10:32
Thank you so much Fiona. And we’ve given you the question around community. The whole reciprocity, that you take responsibility for the decision making that you, that you do as a business owner, and within your community. I would love for you to unpack that for us and how that’s actually come to your life, and how you live in that community wealth aspect.

Fiona Harrison 10:53
Thank you, Maria. When I decided that I was going to create my business, I felt that it was important to fight, it’s very important to set an example by finding balance in reciprocity in Community Capital within my business. So what I did was I looked at the areas that my business had a footprint in and resolve to look at what positive impact that I could have through my business model and my operating decisions. And so I found three core areas. And the first one was that Indigenous farmers are underrepresented in the Australian native botanical supply and food chain, are less than 2% representation. And what this means is that in an industry worth $20 million, only $400,000 or less has been returned to Indigenous farmers. Yet, it’s their skills and knowledge that keep the industry thriving. And so part of how I work to turn this around is that I source my ingredients from Indigenous farmers wherever possible, and part of every chocolate sold is reinvested into the farmers. Secondly, I found that the cacao industry is rife with forced labor. And this is because it’s such a labor intensive industry with low return to the farmer, that these are the practices that they resort to to try and scrape through a living. So again, I only source my chocolate from members of the Cacao Horizons Foundation. And the money is reinvested into the cocoa farmer and sustainable practices and educating the women and the children in the village. And through those advancements that increase their productivity, and therefore their income return, they rely less on the forced labor. And thirdly, the rapidly increasing demand for palm oil. It’s causing displacement for Indigenous communities and for endangered species of animals. And it’s driving the problem we have with global warming. So I only source palm oil free chocolate. And again, part of every chocolate sold is returned into those farmers because they’re also Indigenous communities trying to make a living into sustainable farming practices. So that the gross destruction of land isn’t happening. And so I believe that we all share responsibility to advocate for this balance through our buying choices and our business choices, because it’s the collective movement that will create change, not individual action. Thank you.

Maria Calibo-Sales 13:23
Wow, Fiona, that is amazing. I knew you had to share that story with us in this panel, because it’s so so powerful. Thank you so much, Fiona. I would now like to take this opportunity to welcome Cathy Ngo, into the spotlight. And Cathy is actually the founder of Keynoteworthy. Cathy, can you please introduce yourself to the SheEO world right now? And tell us who you are and what you do and what ignites you.

Cathy Ngo 13:49
Great, thank you, Maria. Well, firstly, I’m a little distracted with all that chocolate talk, so all I can think about is chocolate. Anyway, lovely to meet you all. My name is Cathy. I’m on Darug country, which is also known as Parramatta. I’ve been living here for the last two years, and I absolutely love all the birds and nature and all the bushwalking. And that has made me reflect upon my own cultural heritage as well. My family came here as Vietnamese refugees. And you know, this is a bit deep. But you know, for a long, long time, I resented my cultural identity, because I just felt like I’d never fit in. And just now I realize that it’s not me. It’s the systems that we are part of, which doesn’t create that belonging. So I just wanted to share that. But back into who I am and my business. I’m the founder of a social enterprise called keynoteworthy. I also started that two years ago, and I started it by accident. It wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but with my personality and what I like to do is I assume responsibility. I’m that type of person that sees something, gets frustrated, and I’ll just do it. So. So that’s probably why my house is really clean. But anyway, um, so basically what keynote worthy is, is it’s a challenger speaker agency, focused on curating speakers of very diverse backgrounds. And so when I say diverse, it’s just a whole mixed backgrounds of people from different sexualities, ethnicities, experiences, age, etc. And I started that business because I just, I was going to so many events and conferences, and I noticed more and more frustratingly that everyone sounded and looked the same, not exactly look the same, that there was this theme, and going back to systems, the systems are broken, there is just too much bias. The events industry is leaving out voices. So in the more I get into the business, I realized that it’s not just about missing voices, there is that bigger picture as well, in sustainability. So what about the supply chain as well, so utilizing different suppliers, for catering as an example, audio visual? So yeah, there’s just a lot of work to be done. So yeah, that’s a little bit about me at the moment.

Maria Calibo-Sales 16:34
Don’t do much do you? Just like a normal woman. Just taking on the world and changing, you know, one action at a time. So Cathy, we have actually given you two of the elements in cultural wealth, which is familial capital, and linguistic capital. So just to remind everyone familial capital is around, I come from a long line of strong women who have each other’s backs. And linguistic capital is around I have a voice that is heard in my community. And I’m given the space and the opportunity to speak my truth. So Cathy, I’m really curious, because you, you came out with us this first thing this morning around, I didn’t always feel comfortable in my identity. And you resented it, you know, growing up in Australia as a migrant. So how has that, you know, woven itself into your life around linguistic and familial capital?

Cathy Ngo 17:25
Yeah, so familial capital, I never had any strong role models growing up. The only role model that I saw on TV was Lee Lin Chin, who’s an SBS news anchor, she has since retired. But you know, she was the only Asian woman on TV, and I just loved how she was just truly, authentically herself. And that was something I aspired to do and to be, but because of cultural norms, I had to fit into a box, you know, that the system that my family wanted to create for me. So if you think about, and this is quite a lot to unpack, but basically, so imagine just coming into a new country as a refugee, you know, not, not really by choice, but because of circumstances. So in Vietnam, it’s very much a collective culture where, you know, everyone does things for each other, you know, they literally borrow sugar from each other, and look after each other’s children. It was that kind of community. And I think, for then, assimilating in Australia, where it’s very much individualistic, it’s very siloed. It’s a different system. It was a huge adjustment for them. And I think, on top of that, I was an accident, baby. So they were living at a time when the interest rate for houses was like 18%, it was a lot, a lot of financial pressures. So growing up, I was in this environment where there was a lot of scarcity, right. And so they did what they could to keep me safe. And so that, in effect, narrowed or took away my voice to actually get out and be myself. And they just wanted to wrap me up this cotton ball and bubble wrap. So yeah, so it was a real struggle growing up, and yeah, I have had to live through a lot of trauma as well. And I do apologize if this triggers you, but there was a lot of domestic violence. So not exactly the best start in life. Didn’t have a lot of role models. I think fast forward to now. That’s a big, fast forward. And I think I’ve found my community through SheEO. So in I’ve been involved in a lot, a lot of women, women networking groups, and I just feel sometimes I just don’t gel well, and I’m really not sure what it is. And I think it’s just as I talked to my psychologist, she was saying, Well, don’t hang around with people that make you anxious. And SheEO does not make me anxious. You know, like, I have this intuition where I can feel people’s energy. Just like dogs, you know, dogs can feel people’s energy. I mean, I’m not a dog that, you know. So yeah, I can really feel the energy and, and when I feel safe to be myself, I am myself. And I can be as fun and quirky whatever it is, can be.

Maria Calibo-Sales 20:42
Thank you so much, Cathy. That is that is a lot to unpack. I’m just coping along. And I’m getting a little bit teary as well, because you know, we’ve had this chat before and why we find SheEO really, really powerful. Oh, my goodness, I’m getting emotional. Thank you so much, Cathy. So linguistic, and familial capital, really, really big, and I know as migrant children, we really, really struggled with that. So I’d like to now welcome Stephenie Rodriguez on to the spotlight. And Stephenie is the oh the founder of JOZU for Women and also the designer and founder of WanderSafe beacon. Stephenie, please introduce yourself to the SheEO world. Tell us what you do and your purpose. And yeah, and what ignites your spark?

Stephenie Rodriguez 21:30
Thank you, Maria. And good morning, everyone. I am very humbled and proud to be sitting on Gadigal country in Sydney. And I am not a native Australian, I came in 97. I’m on a mission to impact a billion lives by 2025 and democratize safety in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. And I do that in my startup that’s called WanderSafe, a product that we make, which is a non violent personal safety device and an app that helps you get help faster, if you are in trouble. We are a company that is full of diversity and inclusion. And I myself am a new member of the 15%. Having lost both of my feet to cerebral malaria, March 31 of this year. So I’m fairly new to it all. So I’m new to SheEO, new to the 15%. But very proud of our continued mission, and to be able to be on that mission over the last four years with impacting a billion lives with WanderSafe. So thank you, Maria. And thank you so much, all of you who are a part of this discussion for your presence in space.

Maria Calibo-Sales 22:42
Thank you so much, Stephenie. You are a new Activator. I know, I know, you needed to be in the SheEO network. So I’ve we’ve actually given you for the panel, two of the tough ones, the navigational capital and resistant capital. And I know this fits right into your passion, and your purpose. So just to remind everyone, navigational capital is around, I know how to work my way around systems to get the information and the results that I want. And resistant capital is around, I’m willing to think creatively, to come up with solutions. But I will push back when I believe the status quo is unacceptable. So in your um, in your experience, Stephenie, and the work that you do, how has this come into your life these two cultural wealth elements, I’d love to hear experiences.

Stephenie Rodriguez 23:29
Well, I’ve been an entrepreneur, Maria up for more than 20 plus years. So starting businesses, from a grassroots or cottage industry was always something up until JOZU for Women which is our parent group, and JOZU is a Japanese word that means well done or better than. So our mission is to make travel and existence better and safer. When I started WanderSafe, and JOZU for Women, I raised a bit of seed round capital, amongst friends and family who heard what we were doing and got very excited about it. Of course, going through the traditional channels of evolution of a startup, especially one to scale, we went to the Silicon Valley as we all do, or dream to and begin to pitch ourselves out to proper VC firms. And of course, in the statistics that you mentioned at the beginning, about the access to capital that’s quite limited in a traditional sense. My co founders for JOZU for Women were men, and in going the traditional route, but being the brains thrust of the brand, the idea etc. I think on the resistance capital and sliding into that, like going down that path of doing those things and seeking access in ways both from a networking perspective and alignment, but also in funding, which is Silicon Valley with my co founder. We sat in front of a very well known venture capitalist I opened my laptop and proceeded to take him through the pitch deck and I got to the second slide, which explained to JOZU for Women, and that there was a security and safety issue for many of us and our she/her pronouns, in addition to anyone who’s marginalized by their obvious faith, their sexual orientation, as well as gender. So opening—and people with disabilities like myself. So starting this conversation with this venture capitalist, he got to that second slide, and he stopped. And he said, um, is safety for women, a real thing? And I couldn’t believe that he would have the audacity to ask that question. And me being me and a little bit Puerto Rican, and a little bit feisty. At that point, I didn’t feel like there was any further need to continue that presentation. And I could have spent the next hour explaining or defending our necessity of something that we were creating, because it was created out of genuine response to situations and creating a product that people needed, not something people wanted a nice to have been an essential. So I just shut my laptop. And I just said to him, Look, this has been a very interesting presentation, I recommend you going home, speaking to your wife, calling your mother, your sister, your cousins your nieces. But, you know, if you ask around, you will learn things that you don’t know. But in having that pushback, but believing strongly enough in what we were doing, it led me into the women’s startup lab in the Silicon Valley, which, in the hito tradition, which is Japanese, of course, as well, there was a sisterhood of other founders who had experienced similar challenges, that one I could be aligned with. And as it turned out, you know, in the heat for her hashtag movement, there are actually those in the Silicon Valley and around that are, you know, identifying as he/him, but do support, you know, the women’s need for access to capital and support to aligning our ideas. So a little bit of a personal journey on that one, but certainly a game changer at the very beginning. That was in 2017. Now we sit in 2021. We have users in 58 countries have our free wander Safe App. And we’re presently working with, you know, some beautiful nonprofits in domestic violence in Nigeria around the UN Day for the eradication of violence against women, November 25. So you know, it’s progressed a long way, but we certainly had a big hill to climb on that resistance.

Maria Calibo-Sales 27:45
Thank you so much, Stephenie, that is a powerful, you know, story sharing around your experiences, you know, as a female tech founder. And so wow, we have we have covered off some phenomenal elements of cultural wealth. Hopefully that has given you an understanding, an openness to explore further into our panels. And at this stage, I would just, can we just unmute ourselves, please, and just give these phenomenal women a round of applause because their experiences have really helped us to build the whole cultural wealth. Thank you so much, Sarah, Fiona, Cathy and Stephenie.

Vicki Saunders 28:27
Thank you for listening to the SheEO.World podcast. Like, comment, subscribe, and share this podcast with your friends. We invite you to join a global community of radically generous women and non binary folks at SheEO.World.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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