Interview with Risha Grant
How did you begin your speaking career?
I met someone who was a national speaker and we became friends. I told her of my interest in also becoming a speaker. A short time later, an opportunity arose at a conference in which she was speaking. They were looking for someone to address Diversity & Inclusion in the outdoor industry. She recommended me and the rest is history.
How are your keynote presentations unique?
My keynotes are unique in that they are interactive. I never want to talk “at” my audience, the goal is to always engage thm. I believe more engagement creates a better experience.
Who or what inspires you most?
The opportunity to make a difference is what inspires me. In life, I think that there are certain people along life’s journey that will bring a message that is needed for another person to reach their goals, get out of a bad situation or see things differently. Speaking provides the means to make a difference in for others.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
My favorite experience comes from looking out at the crowd and recognizing that I have connected with people in the audience. It is also speaking with attendees afterwards and knowing that something I said touched them or helped them to see a different perspective.
How much does humor factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?
Humor is very important. My subject matter – diversity, inclusion and bias are tough topics. I pride myself in creating an environment where we get comfortable discussing the uncomfortable and that involves laughing at things that people usually only feel comfortable doing with friends and family.
What’s your biggest advice to someone dealing with discrimination in their workplace?
- First, assess the situation and make sure that it is discrimination and that you are not being overly sensitive or complicit in those areas in which you feel discriminated.
- Secondly, once you have done a self-check and are confident in your claim – report the issue to your human resource department. Make sure that you document every instance of the behavior you deem as discrimination.
- Thirdly, be prepared to go the distance. Once you make claims of discrimination, it could take on many forms. Make sure you have the support you need and know that you are being courageous and helping to create a better work environment for all employees.