SuperBlaQueero: Unapologetically Black, Queer and Open for business
By BEQ Staff
Disruptive is the perfect description for Dr. Tiffany Jana, a non-binary, certified B Corp founder, TEDx & Inc.com Top 100 speaker, diversity innovator, crisis coach, pleasure activist, regenerative culture creator, award-winning author who is also affectionately known as the blue-haired maverick. Dr. Jana joins me to discuss their newest book, Subtle Acts of Exclusion, (spoiler, it’s a bit of a rebrand for the word microaggression) and their insights on authenticity as a business owner.
During the height of the pandemic and towards the beginning of the social unrest as a response to the murder of George Floyd, Dr. Tiffany Jana begins our conversation with a simple reminder — we are all so much more alike than we are different — words that are true to their vocation as a Diversity Equity and Inclusion expert. Finding points of connection seems to be part of their recipe for success in life.
Over a Zoom video conference recorded with our publisher, Robin Dillard, and shared in six discussion segments, a theme arises that boils down to a discussion about the merits of authenticity in business. Dr. Jana’s courage and enthusiasm are infectious and the clarity of their truth is penetrating to anyone who will listen. As a recent member of the Board of StartOut, Dr. Jana has taken their business mission of being a force for good and their fiery personal brand that in and of itself is a radical act of defiance against a world built on otherizing to an entirely new level — unapologetically superBlaQueero (Black and Queer) and unafraid.
Dr. Jana declares the world is a lot better place to live when you can do so authentically by living in your truth. The amount of hate that comes from you living your truth is easily drowned out by the amount of love and support you receive, by many orders of magnitude.
Simply existing as a Black, nonbinary, invisibly disabled, single mother and business owner is in and of itself a radical act of defiance and, on top of all that they are walking around with blue hair and a smile on their face — this kind of courage is genius.
Entrepreneurship has offered Dr. Jana an opportunity for freedom in a way that being an employee and compromising their values for someone else’s mission never could in the long-term. There were ‘seasons of ramen’ noodle-based meals and not much variety while they found work that aligned with their heart.
A lack of information and fear are major obstacles for the LGBTQIA business community and their economic empowerment.
There is a need for reconsidering the pressure and incentives for using LGBTQIA owned businesses in the corporate supply chains. Despite the great work being done by some big brands in the area of active business inclusion, we conclude with the realization that there is an accountability and visibility issue when it comes to using LGBTQIA suppliers.
Rebranding the term “microaggression” and using more descriptive terminology helps people open up to changing and living Inclusion. They also talk about cooperative economics within the LGBTQIA community. Finally, Dr. Jana suggests that supplier diversity within the ranks of the upper echelon of queer-owned businesses is a great place to start a renewed campaign for business inclusion.