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Episode 23 – The Burns Brothers: How Principles of Diversity and Inclusion Fueled Their Collection of Multi-Million Dollar Businesses

MBE Magazine Staff

The Burns Brothers have built an empire of businesses focused on DEI and making a positive impact on the social issues impacting minorities. Their businesses employ over 100 people across eight multi-million dollar, Black-owned businesses.

The Burns Brothers have proven in just four short years that focusing on the principles of DEI, in contrast with some prevailing narratives, is the best way to run a business in the 2024 landscape. In this episode, we talk about that with them and how their empire benefited from those principles.

SHOW NOTES

Summary

The Burns Brothers discuss the importance of individual diversity and the need for behavior change in organizations. They explain their approach to creating behavior change through their products and services. The conversation then shifts to the HQ DC House membership club and its focus on bringing people of color together to network, collaborate, and make an impact. The Burns Brothers also discuss their plans to expand globally with the HQ House Global Network. They address the challenges faced by black-owned businesses and the resistance to DEI initiatives. Finally, they emphasize the importance of a holistic approach to DEI and discuss their outreach efforts to other communities and Africa.

Takeaways

  • Diversity is an individual sport, not an organizational sport. Organizations must address the individuals that make up the organization in order to create real change.
  • Creating behavior change requires consistent micro-based actions on a daily basis.
  • The HQ DC House membership club aims to bring people of color together to network, collaborate, and make an impact.
  • The Burns Brothers plan to expand globally with the HQ House Global Network, aiming to convene 1 million Black professionals globally by 2026.
  • Black-owned businesses face challenges such as limited access to capital and the need to overprove themselves. Internalized oppression can also hold them back.
  • Resistance to DEI initiatives is often based on political polarization and lack of understanding. The business case for DEI has been proven, but it has become highly politicized.
  • A holistic approach to DEI focuses on behavior change and recognizing the multi-dimensionality of individuals, rather than categorizing them based on external dimensions.
  • Collaborative efforts and mass mobilization are key to driving change and addressing issues such as anti-LGBTQ legislation in Africa.
  • The Burns Brothers emphasize the importance of taking control of our own destiny and leveraging opportunities to create lasting impact.

Chapters

00:00 The Importance of Individual Diversity

01:27 Creating Behavior Change

03:39 Starting on the Diversity Side

06:05 Leveraging Businesses to Help Black Professionals

07:14 The HQ DC House Membership Club

09:37 Expanding Globally with the HQ House Global Network

11:28 Challenges Faced by Black-Owned Businesses

13:09 The DEI Concern and Resistance

25:40 Outreach to Other Communities and Africa

31:14 Future Plans for the Burns Brothers

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