Explore transgender diversity through a cool one-woman show!

JJ Marie Gufreda spends time at the piano composing more songs about her experience as a transgender woman.

I am a big proponent of transporting people out of their daily lives through the performing arts to give them a fresh prospective on societal issues, and have written a few blogs on this subject (see list and links at the bottom of this blog.) I am also a diversity and inclusion consultant and trainer, and one area I often consult in is around policies and best practices to support transgender employees. (Link to my 12 question transgender organization self-assessment.)

Now let’s bring these two areas together!

Since the transgender topic is so often misunderstood and even frightens some people, one ideal way to educate people in a more lighthearted way is via the performing arts. You can credit much of the advancement in terms of gay and lesbian acceptance to the portrayal in televisions and movies, and now the performing arts can also help made strides in the transgender area.

So I would like to introduce an incredible transgender woman and business associate, JJ Marie Gufreda. JJ realizes that often, deeply personal views are not changed by logical arguments, but instead via human interaction, personalizing the discussion, and through humor. JJ delivers her 90-minute show, “Left-Hander in London – The Earthquake,” with a tongue-in-cheek style and uses sarcasm and music to share her experiences as a transgender woman.

The show is edgy and thought provoking. She talks about family, business, religion and politics from her personal perspective. JJ believes, that if this show, which includes original music and songs, can get people to laugh a little and connect as humans, we can then make progress towards positive change.

JJ Marie often engages her audience in dialogue following her show.

This show is ideal for a variety of venues, including businesses, community organizations, schools, and even churches that want to start or deepen a discussion on understanding and treating transgender people fairly. The show can be used to launch a discussion and create a safe space where all people can honestly dialogue about diversity topics and their personal views.

So, for your organization, consider transporting everyone from the typical presentation and training into this fantastic one-woman production that can truly open eyes and hearts.

For more information, check JJ’s updated website at https://www.crossdreamers.com/2019/04/left-hander-i-london.html or contact her at [email protected]

Below are some words directly from JJ, and links to some of my related blogs.

From JJ Marie: Diversity can be a difficult topic to discuss in corporations. What is the real organizational benefit to improving diversity and including minorities? Many organizations have made public statements and have visible initiatives for diversity in their employees, suppliers and customers. But not everyone in the organization may agree with a company’s efforts to improve diversity and inclusiveness. Society is certainly divided about diversity. If an employee shares his or her (negative) feelings about diversity, minorities or any related topics, they may be risking their job. Incongruence between corporate and personal views can cause problems in the organization – especially when even discussing these topics can lead to people losing their jobs.

Since the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, the fight for LGBTQ rights has focused on transgender people and issues, making JJ’s story relevant as it relates to all minorities. Her experiences from 30+ career in facilitation, speaking, training and consulting can be helpful in assessing real progress in diversity, helping people to positive discourse regarding diversity and assisting a company improve operations and the bottom line because of their diversity programs and policies. Just as it is strategically important for a transgender employee to be able to safely and comfortably transition at work, it is critically important to help employees improve their attitudes around people that are different from them. JJ and her consulting colleagues can use experience to help employees, management and the company improve in these areas.

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Links to related blogs about social issues being addressed through the performing arts:

“A great diversity experience – Theater Breaking Through Barriers” about enjoying an off-Broadway play in New York City which featured actors with a wide range of disabilities.

“Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Through Bluegrass Music,” is about an innovative annual concert called “Shout and Shine” of diverse Bluegrass musicians. This celebration came about in 2016 as a direct response to North Carolina’s oppressive HB2 “bathroom bill” discriminating against our LGBT citizens.

I introduce the Justice Theater Project, a social justice theater company whose mission is to produce compelling theater experiences that create community dialogue and give voice to social concerns through my blog “The Justice Theater Project – Societal Impact Through the Performing Arts.”

A two part blog featuring a mother / daughter – director / actress pair using theater to make a positive impact in England. Link to part 1 which then contains a link to part 2.

My Three Hot Human Resources Areas for 2017!

With the tremendous focus on transgender employees in the workplace, I have added transgender woman and outstanding consultant and trainer Elaine Martin to my team.

With the tremendous focus on transgender employees in the workplace, I have added transgender woman and outstanding consultant and trainer Elaine Martin to my team.

Of course I do need to write a self-serving blog now and then, touting how my areas of expertise are going to be super hot in 2017. Actually, I do believe in what I am writing. Here are some of the areas where I do have a deep expertise which I believe are going to be major areas within HR in 2017, and I hope my clients old and new will not hesitate to contact me to discuss how I can assist them in these areas.

AREA 1: Transgender employees in the workplace. With many more well known transgender people visible in the world (Laverne Cox, Chas Bono, Caitlyn Jenner, Janet Mock…), with government contract regulations needing to include transgender protections, and with more companies covering gender transition medical costs, more people are now fine about transitioning in the workplace. Does your company have the right policies in place to support transgender employees? And do you have a plan to educate coworkers and company leaders when one of your employees goes through transition? Do take my 12-question Transgender Diversity Organizational Self-assessment.

Blog author Stan Kimer on the phone presenting a power point presentation on his innovative career mapping offering over the phone to a prospective client.

Blog author Stan Kimer on the phone presenting a power point presentation on his innovative career mapping offering over the phone to a prospective client.

AREA 2: Talent / Career Development. I keep hearing in workshop after workshop that one of the top challenges for HR is recruiting and retaining top talent. Replacing and onboarding a departing employee is very expensive, with costs between 75% and 150% of annual salary. One major reason people leave is because they feel their company is not doing enough to help them develop their skills and talent. I offer an innovative yet proven career mapping methodology that has received rave reviews from my clients that use it. It can easily be clipped on to whatever learning activities you currently have and costs only a few dollars per employee. Link to read an outside article about my process from Ziprecruiter and Take my 11-question Skills and Career Development Organizational Self-assessment.

AREA 3: General Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Execution. Even though my deep expertise is in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) diversity (see AREA 1 above,) I am conversant in all areas of diversity and keep on top of the ever changing diversity landscape. Key diversity topics now include Global Multicultural Competence, Generational Diversity, Diversity of Thought and more. And to begin 2017, I have a new alliance partner, Kannetic, with an application platform developed with an expert panel of nearly 100 diversity experts (including myself), which provides insight into the impactfulness and effort required to implement various concrete diversity and inclusion actions. No charge one hour demonstration and mini planning sessions will be available to my clients over the next month – contact me to schedule yours! First listing under business affiliations / partnerships.

Knowledgeable consultants with deep expertise in an area and /or with innovative processes and tools can truly help catapult you to HR success in 2017. As a consultant, my goal is to make you as an HR leader shine! So please contact me soon for a no-charge initial consultation to discuss your needs and my offerings in any of these areas: [email protected] or call 919-787-7315.