Podcast Episode 1 | Getting Unstuck: Discovering Grit and Grace
Guest: Tay Nishimura
Project Reclass is a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia that teaches technical skills to incarcerated veterans. Co-founder Tay Nishimura joins us in this episode to discuss her experiences, which shape her outlook on diversity, failure, and leadership: working in technology and serving as an unarmed police officer in New York City. She shares a candid tale about mental health, passion, and second chances.
Resources Tay mentions, related content spurred by this conversation, and questions for your leisure:
Learn more about the ‘trust wobble’ in empowerment leadership.
Learn about the inaugural Hackday that Project Reclass held in October 2020.
A big part of Tay’s journey is pruning her mindset toward challenges, which leads us to ask the question, what is fun? Outdoors lover Kelly Cordes has one framework here, brought to our attention by our friend Shine.
What is a question you asked in the past week, and what might you discover about yourself when you sniff around what made you ask the question? At 11:55 in the episode, Tay muses on the idea that voicing the question “How are you so tough?” to another person can imply that the asker feels she has not had to be as tough as the other person.
At 19:18, we learn that Tay has studied stoicism. See here for an introduction to this school of philosophy, suggested by our friend Ken.
To contact Tay:
Project Reclass E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To listen to the podcast episode:
00:48 - Mission and motivation behind Project Reclass.
01:15 - How Project Reclass is especially relevant with COVID-19.
01:48 - Get personal on why Tay co-founded Project Reclass with Kunal Jha.
02:07 - The value of dance and other outlets for mental health.
03:13 - A discouraging first job.
04:16 - Exposure to new people and experiences.
04:44 - Learning from a play about the life of West Point cadets.
05:15 - Reframing challenges and understanding what grit is.
05:52 - Feeling stuck at work.
06:27 - Bloomberg Women in Tech.
06:47 - Becoming an unarmed police officer.
07:26 - Recognizing privilege and questioning what makes people succeed.
13:00 - Challenges of 2020, including unemployment and engaging in controversial dialogue.
17:24 - Tay focuses on what is within her control, uniting her passions for computer networking and philanthropy.
22:46 - "One of our goals as an organization is that incarcerated veterans who go through our program feel they are capable of finding that career path that is right for them."
24:11 - What is surge capacity?
27:10 - The notion of leadership as a profession.
28:10 - An experience in humility.
29:33 - Those who work on social media, we see you and how hard your job can be.
32:18 - "It's my job to protect volunteers from burning out. You can't just surge when other people's lives are involved in the project."
33:24 - Radical transparency and thanking a pivotal first manager.
34:58 - "People don't want to spend their free time that they are dedicating to a mission being criticized."
36:27 - What is the 'trust wobble' in empowerment leadership?
39:01 - "People come to Reclass to be rejuvenated. Morale gets us to the next level. Once everyone is passionate, there are a lot of ways that we can work on our flaws."
39:40 - What assumptions do we make when we talk with people?
43:37 - Tay thanks the West Point graduates who influence her life.
45:25 - How to contact Tay.
Toodles for now with an inspiring expression of gratitude from Tay:
Whenever I run into a challenge at work now, I channel my inner ‘whoever I like working with at Reclass.’ I couldn’t do this project without them. I have so many talented people working with me.
and a wish from Tay:
We talk a lot about how important it is to be gentle with ourselves. I wish that, if that were valuable to our society, everybody could have that opportunity to be gentle with themselves.
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