Be Fearless: One approach to building an inclusive business culture

Written by Teasha Cable
CEO & Founder, CModel — Self-Service Decision Intelligence for CEOs I Backed by AWS | WECAN Board Member

Teasha personifies our mission. As a highly talented executive-turned-entrepreneur woman of color, Teasha has lived the experience of knowing how extra hard it has been for her to get to the levels she did within companies, and now to raise capital as a business owner. She is passionate about helping ensure others have it easier.

Teasha co-founded CModel in April of this year. CModel is an automated decision intelligence platform that helps CEOs get to the “truth” in their revenue numbers. She has nearly two decades of experience in sales and revenue operations that she brought to bear with CModel. Immediately prior to Cmodel, Teasha was Vice President of Business Development and Product Strategy at Singularity University, so understands the rapid pace of change in technology, and the importance of having women’s perspectives leading technology companies.

More than 20 years ago, I walked into a company where the executive team gave me a desk, handed me a computer, and asked me to tell them what their sales numbers would look like over the next month.  Specifically, they wanted  to know about their pipeline, and how their current activities would impact the actual results.

My expertise in operations and business development was in its early stages, and, admittedly, I had no way of knowing how my analysis would be received. But, I was confident in my problem solving abilities, and approached the task without fear and with  a willingness to discover (and learn) all that I could.

Today, informed by two decades of building operational infrastructures for high growth companies, I’m now  the CEO of CModel—a SaaS decision intelligence company focused on helping businesses grow by providing decision support to CEOs. 

Statistically speaking highly diverse teams regularly outperform those with less diversity, yet, progress towards building more inclusive cultures continues to lag. My professional life revolves around analyzed data. Yet, when I talk about diversity, equality, and building  an inclusive business culture, I rely heavily upon my human/emotional experience, and my singular approach to success. 

Be fearless. 

Today, this  approach is not aimed at individuals struggling to be included, e.g. women, and women  of color. Instead, it addresses leaders, usually white men, encouraging them to accept that success is not a zero sum game—and to approach diversity among their ranks with fearlessness.

Throughout my career, I’ve encountered the none-too-subtle occurrences of a “diverse-less” perspective, which manifested in lack of opportunities, denial of my value and expertise, or worse, my presence in the room being ignored. These experiences are all too commonplace for women, especially  women of color.

Where there is often a perceived threat of harm, or loss of influence and power, a paradigm shift from the status quo requires fearlessness. Perhaps this sounds idealistic, yet in reality, it only requires a “human focused” mindset.  

Creating opportunity for diversity requires awareness—and acknowledgement— that I exist. It also means seeking out people like me when we’re not represented in a room.

In the US, women make up 26.7% of the tech workforce, yet Black women are only 1.7% of that number. A shocking statistic when you consider there are 8.6M Black women in the workforce.

To take advantage of opportunities,  we need to know there is a door open for us to enter, and that I can enter without experiencing the injustices people like me encounter as a result of  nonsensical fears, not only professionally—but personally as well.

When I was building my career, I  wanted, and deserved access to the doors behind those doors, where growth and opportunity existed—and for those doors to remain open long enough for me to gain greater access.  In an inclusive culture, our names should be spoken out loud and our presence accepted with a seat—and a voice— at the table.

When those in privileged positions recognize our value, wisdom, and depth of experience, fear can be erased. When diverse opinions and perspectives are sought out and welcomed, inclusion is witnessed. When fear is gone, and diversity and inclusion is present— equity is prioritized. 

Be fearless.

Today’s leaders are faced with the paradigm of accommodating a spectrum of people unlike themselves. If I had been afraid to take on a new challenge during my early career, I would have missed my calling. 

As leaders, most can acknowledge that  we “don’t know what we don’t know.”  When it comes  to building an inclusive  business culture, we  must learn to leverage the facts that allow discovery of the unknown or unfamiliar.  And, we must adopt a mindset founded on the belief that  we all win when we approach each other—fearlessly.