Candace Spears-The Billion-Dollar Cost of Misalignment (And Why Black Women Pay It)

Welcome to the Holistic Wealth podcast. I’m your host, Keisha Blair, wife, mother of three, author of Holistic Wealth and Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth. This show will showcase various experts in the key pillars of holistic wealth. Each week, we deliver the best information on how to become holistically, wealthy and live your best life.

Keisha Blair: Today we have a special guest with us. We have Candace Spears and Candace is an author, entrepreneur and coach and she’s here to discuss a very important topic, the billion-dollar cost of misalignment, and why black women pay it. Candice will be sharing her perspective on why putting everyone else first has an immeasurable opportunity cost for black women emotionally, socially, and why black women are so often in a place where this is necessary and what we can do to change that. Candace, welcome to the show. I’m so happy to have you here. Just want to start off with your journey because you were in a fortune 500 Company and you left your job, to just do your own thing, examine your own identity and to take the next step forward. So Candace, tell us about your journey and how that got started.

Candace Spears: Yeah. So first off, thank you for having me, I am deeply moved and almost centered by just the work that you are doing. So I just want to say thanks for having me on the show. My journey has really been this story of discovery. It’s been the story of ambition. It’s been this story of marrying dreams and goals that you see for yourself that are bigger than the things that you step into can contain. And it’s like, how do you get yourself out of that?

So I grew up in corporate America, moved around the companies. You know, when I did my resignation, I was a manager at a financial services company at the time, but knew what it was like to be in the space of like, I’m working with this company and I’m a black woman. And because I have this fancy title, I feel some type of way, all that stuff. I also know what it’s like to have that stripped in an instant, you know, having had a company experience where my role went away and quite frankly, my identity fell too.

And that is like, you want to start coming face-to-face with some very real, like, who am I anyway, wait a second. What’s going on? So I’ve seen it all. And right now we’re on the path to just continue to support other women and especially centered on the black female experience. But whoever you are to understand.

I was reading your 40 lessons that I learned article, I was reading it, and you were talking about one with like the titles and the work and for your tombstone to really get centered. So that’s my story.

Keisha Blair: That’s amazing. And I think so many women can identify with that. I know I can in so many ways. And so Candice, when we talk about the billion dollar cost of misalignment, what exactly does that mean?

Candace Spears: If we take even the broadest sense, right? We’ve got 7 billion people on this earth. Even the slightest shift and really seizing any type of opportunities. It automatically gets you 2 billion. Now when you zoom down and start talking about the black female and we are a tiny slice of that. You look at some of the things that historically we have done that have just sort of carried through. So historically us being of course, caregivers, but think about from the lens of, there are policies that have happened in place that have kind of set. a portion of this population to say, okay, well, you’re better off. If you don’t have help in the home, even though you have to work harder, we’re not really going to help you even from government perspective, right? We’re not really going to help you if you’ve got this other person in the home, like all these things, and you think back, even when we go all the way back to slavery and everybody had to do something and be out in the field, We have historically seen that when it comes to black women, right they tend to be in lower paying jobs. Service-related industry, that type of thing. I think about that carry over into business. So there’s a study that came out last year. Or maybe it was this year by a HBR. And its just about sort of what’s going on with, with black women and taking a look at how yeah, of course we are among the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs.

When you start looking at how many of those businesses are surviving past three years, well, we are at like half the rate of our white counterparts. And some of that is attributed to, we’re getting these businesses off the ground. We’re doing what we can do first. Like, I can do a service, I can do this, I can sell this small thing, that type of thing. And so I think in part, right, we have had this sort of, this history of being in the service related thing that we need to do. Doing what we need to do that feels service like that feels domesticated to survive and sort of in this constraint of thinking bigger, really going after what I dream could be possible has been limited just from survival.

Right. And so that’s where, when we talk about black, women’s sort of playing that Brenda. There’s so much, but I got to do this. So I can’t really step over to the place where I, in a business that is multi-billion dollars and it’s that type of thing, right. A survival versus a freedom to thrive type of place.

Keisha Blair: That that makes sense. Absolutely. And as you’re talking, I have goosebumps because I completely get it. As an economist in terms of that misalignment for the economy as a whole, and that misalignment, as it relates to corporate as well as the business world in itself. And so I feel like we’ve had so many black women on this podcast that have spoken about the lack of opportunities and the fact that our potential and our collective potential is not being tapped into. And the way that it could for everyone’s benefit, not just for women, but for everyone, including the next generation coming. And that’s so sad because I feel like, you know, as you were talking, I was thinking about tokenism in the workplace and how we’re heavily tokenized. And there’s a misalignment. I think we could even talk about the billion-dollar opportunity, cost of tokenism, because when we get into these roles, right. And then we can’t fulfill the functions that we were hired to do, you know, it’s just like, oh, well, you’re here. Just symbolically. I had a guest on this podcast, Celina Casear-Chevannes, and she is just amazing.

She said, you know, sometimes we’re given a seat at the table, but we’re not on the menu. And when I think about tokenism, I think about that. And that billion-dollar misalignment that you talk about is wrapped up in all of that, which gives me goosebumps because black women have so much to offer. We have so much to offer. And so Candice, from your experience, what can we do to address this? I mean, both on the level of, I’m a black woman, you’re a black woman in our daily lives and we have so much going on already. Because as you said, when I was introducing you, there are so many layers of responsibilities on black women, right? We have still so much that we do in our homes and our communities everywhere. So how do we begin to address this? I mean, even from your personal experience, how do we go about this?

Candace Spears: You know, one thing, and I just want to call back to one thing that you’ve said, because I think you know, when you talk about that sort of tokenism and sort of carrying that around, like within that, especially when you were in the place where it is, this is my workplace. This is my means of survival. How I feed my family and myself, their homes with that, this kind of like, if it happens long enough, this is kind of what I need to do to be successful. And that means I also probably need to play the part. Right. Whatever that means, whether it’s how I dress, what I do. Like it’s tied to my survival.

I think the thing, this is going into the next part of well, what do you do? One of the very important things I focus heavily on entrepreneurship and supporting women, you know, out of the workplace. But even while we’re in the workplace, your path because that’s not everybody’s path and that’s taking some intentional time to sort of get focused on who am I?

And that may sound like when I say it, like, oh, okay. Like, this is so thing to do. I know for you that that is not because I’m tired of seeing some of your stuff. So I’m like, okay, what’s going on? But seriously, especially if you are in this place where you’ve either experienced some level of trauma at a workplace, cause that’s where you spend most of your time or even on the outside, because it’s so easy to just because you’re trying to do what we need to do to get our needs met and live life sort of get caught up in living this, something that isn’t necessarily ours.

So to know like, well, who am I? What is my aspiration? Right. And then ask yourself if that’s my aspiration, let me look at my current everything and just sort of put it in its place. Does this job that I’m at right now, right? If that align with my aspiration is just something that I’m doing for now.

And if that’s fine with you, that’s fine. If the answer is no, I need to do something else. And that’s a different job. It’s fine. If the answer is no, I need to do something else. Then it’s a company. But evaluate what it is so that you don’t become it by default. So I didn’t ask the first thing. I think the second thing it really gets into.

I am a woman of faith and so my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, but even if you are not, when it comes to the spirituality of things, right. I recall. And it’s so funny. I keep coming back to your 40 Life Lessons article, because literally I’m reading this one, like, oh my gosh, that alignment there. But the whole idea of understanding and relying on your intuition and what are the things that you are truly assigned to do that often, right? You can’t hear it in the busy-ness of everything else. And the other thing is sometimes, and we’re talking that’s how about this in a big way? Sometimes the things that you’re assigned to do, so like everybody can settle into it. It may feel scary. They feel like I’m not really qualified. They kind of feel like, okay, maybe it came to me in a dream or came to me through random people and it keeps coming back. But you weren’t really talking to me like what it can feel like. And I think it’s important to know that if I allow myself to be open and connected to what may be my assignment, I’m going to also have to allow myself to know that that may be uncomfortable and scary.

And I may feel unqualified. I may feel here, but that could be very well normal. Right. So, I think that’s the other piece. The third piece is as we talk about getting into a place where we’re really see it as like, well, how do you let me live in an economically sustainable way in a life-giving way? Right. I think that it really is partially getting yourself in surrounded with the other two, but getting yourself in a surrounding with people who have the same level of belief in the possible. But I mean the same, it’s like the same level of, they may not get where you’re going. Okay. Yes. That’s different.

They don’t need to, but to be in a space where people that you are around can see past what’s in front of you, but they didn’t see past what’s in front of them. Right. That be, doesn’t define the, in this reality, isn’t a constraint on what can come tomorrow. It, there is always a way I’m going to have to say how, and, you know, there may be some things going on there for me to move around, but the week that it can happen is an important and powerful sort of force and thing to be in.

So, I think those are some of the top ones to start making that way towards what is bigger. Like what’s the opportunity that I’m missing out on because I’m not necessarily where I want to be totally right.

Keisha Blair: You know, so many things are going through my mind. As you’re talking, we get into this survival mode and we stay there for much of our lives. We’re on this hamster wheel and we never stopped to wander unless of course, something major happens. Right. That throws us off course. And we never stopped to wander, what’s my purpose? What’s my mission? And you know, it’s funny you talk about the 40 life lessons article because, you know, I was forced into that spot where I had to be like, well, what’s my purpose? What’s my mission? And you know how you mentioned about identity. And this is one reason why even in that article, I said, yeah, your job title, doesn’t define you. It’s none of that because you’re so right. We get wrapped up in this type of thing and it can disappear in a day and we’re left in a tailspin, you know, wondering who am I, what have I been working for?

But I find that if we outline a broader mission for ourselves, right. Which I talk about in Holistic Wealth then it’s so good. And there’s several points that you touched on that I completely agree with, you know, getting aligned with those people who can see beyond, so not dwelling on what the naysayers are telling you, because sometimes we get that mission and you’re right. It’s scary. I remember when I got mine too, I was scared. Even now. It’s scary. You know, thinking about, wow, this is big and it’s bigger than I am, but you know what it’s part of and you’re prepared. I know several people are listening and thinking, oh my gosh, I got back, you know, vision. And I feel so ill prepared.

You are prepared. And so several things that you touched on Candace are so true, you know, it’s so funny. I recorded a podcast episode for Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and statistics show that Black women miss out on $1 million over the course of our careers, $1 million on average per black female. But when you think about that, it’s mind blowing, it’s just mind blowing.

And there’s so much out there that, you know, we’re meant to do. There’s so much out there that we’re meant to work on. And so, this is why I love this conversation because it’s so important for Black women who are wondering, why am I here? So many black women are tokenized in the workforce and in business, it’s not easy either. Right? Cause then we lack the funding. It’s hard when you don’t have that network. It’s hard when you can’t find your people. And all of those tips are amazing Candace. And so, we talked about identity, so I’m just going to go into the whole financial identity bit, because I felt like I had to step back and think about my identity too.

And not just with, you know, who I am and what’s my meaning and purpose. But in terms of my financial identity and what my values were. And it’s so empowering to be able to have the words, to say it and to communicate it. So, I know you took the personal financial identity quiz. So, I want to hear from you what your thoughts are, especially as an entrepreneur and, an author. Can you tell us what your results were and what your thoughts are on that?

Candace Spears: Mine came back as the Minimalist and just the first line, right? The minimalist is simple living. Keep it simple. Your mantra in life is simple living at its core, and you prefer simplicity in everything. That is me. Let me just say that when it came back, you know, so when we talk about, and this is interesting, and this is one of those things that I kind of wrestled with, and I’m on a bit of a journey here, as we’re, as I’m moving deeper in my own.

And one of the things that has always been sort of core to me is financial management actually. And just how to deal with finances and steward over these finances responsibly. And so when I don’t get my results, as a Minimalist, I think I come to this place. I don’t know, I guess. I what it is, but I always just have this sense of like, do I need that? Like, literally that comes to my mind and doesn’t come as like a, I’m making a big choice and I’m making a sacrifice. It is, it’s just like a, what would I even do with that? And it doesn’t even need to be something that’s. Like literally, this is a, somebody wants to give you something. No, thank you. I don’t have space for that in my life.

I don’t need that. And so I think, you know, financial management and just sort of having that grasp on like who you are and how you use money rather than what that relationship to money is for you. Like what that piece of paper or coin like beans. And I think it can really impact it can impact your decision-making of course, but I think it can also impact, right.

Sure. Emotional states. Right. Is it, you know, when I have a certain amount of money in my bank account, I feel like, Ooh, I’m on top of the world. And it makes me feel safe. That can be balanced and real when I spend money on things that perhaps I don’t need, but I just like seeing it come in the mail and in a pretty package.

Well, you know, I’m not going to say right or wrong, maybe that’s supporting your emotional state, whatever it is. But knowing that it has a. And if you can know that play alongside of this is kind of like tie back to both the billion-dollar costs. If you know, play right in alignment to where you want to go. That’s, that’s a powerful combination, but like money and finances, it is such a diverse and like rich, no pun intended, but area to play with. Right. Especially when you move it past, past survival and. How do I help it help me?

Keisha Blair: Yes, exactly. Which lends itself well, to my next question, because I know you’re a serial entrepreneur and you also do real estate and I think real estate is so powerful and can be such a powerful tool for women. And for black women, especially as we talk about, that wealth gap, that racial wealth gap. And so, I want to get your views on that. Cause like, even as I’m asking you, because it’s such a passionate topic for me, this real estate thing. I love it. And I believe in it as a tool that can empower women and black women, especially as we talk about corporate tokenism.

And, and our skills and talents not being used. So, Candace, how did you get started in real estate? And what do you see as the benefits of this for women and black women in particular?

Candace Spears: So for me, from like an investor perspective, getting started in real estate is very new. So it’s only been since last year, November from an investor from a homeowner perspective. So I’m on my second home. So I have two homes, second home, a buy and sell type of transaction. And the only reason I bring this up is because I’m a jump back to the investing piece. The reason I bring it up is because when you talk about financial management, when you talk about using money to get where you want to go home ownership, especially if bought in the right way with the right variables and serve.

As a good catalyst. Now I know it’s got it’s it’s assets liability, right? That’s a whole other debate, but purely from the perspective of, hey, how much equity equity to help you in this thing that you want to do? Boston meeting. So that’s that, but from an investor perspective, so that’s new. So last November I bought four acres in the north woods of Wisconsin.

I live in Wisconsin, so that’s up north. And so, this was my first foray into building a property. So, it’s like being a real estate developer. I’m going to build a property actually, too, is the intention on this land and I’m going to Airbnb it. That’s what I do. And so, my thought process behind it was like, there were so many freedom narratives going on in my head.

I can do it over and over again. There’s what the narratives for one, it brought me so much joy to have land. Like that alone, right, knowing the history of Black people in this country. So, to have done that and it’s like, oh my gosh. Yes. So, so that’s the first thing. The second thing is, as I thought about my kids. So, my intention as I continue here is to get this first project done and move on to the next and the next and for each of the land sites, they’re actually dedicated to my kids. So, I have three daughters and the first one, my oldest daughter is nine and so on. And so, the freedom narrative there, as you can imagine, having something to pass along, that’s not only land, but that also produces money.

That’s kind of been my thing on the real estate angle. Literally in my mind, I could probably acquire more land than I can build fast enough, but yeah, dipping into real estate, having like that real property and like land and what do I want to grow on it? Even though it’s in a forest, the area that other people can come and nourish themselves, like there’s so many like freedom narratives that can come with real estate.

Keisha Blair: That’s so true and as we talk about freedom narratives, I mean even with generational wealth, right. which is a topic that’s often discussed with Black people and Black women. And it can be such a good tool, this real estate for, you know, generational wealth and just this feeling of empowerment that it provides, which is so, so true. And I like the fact that you’re naming, as you go along, for each of the children, because that’s something I tend to do too. Like I do the same thing and it’s just amazing. It gives you a sense of purpose with it and the sense of joy about leaving that legacy. And really setting them up because I think with black women and generations of black women, it’s setting us up and setting up the next generation to do better than the last right.

And to feel more empowered than we did, or our parents did or grandparents did. And when you think about how far we’ve come, it’s just unbelievable. And still the struggles that we face. Sometimes I get up and I’m like, I can’t believe we’re still fighting for those same things. And believe you me, it feels like deja VU and everything all over again wrapped up. So that’s an amazing story. And so Candice, we didn’t get into a lot about the entrepreneurial part of it, but I want to know more about, so there’s the real estate portion and there’s your coaching business. So can you tell us more about the coaching side and kind of some of the strategies that you impart on your coaching clients? Like, is it the Agility Method that you teach and what do you teach? What do you impart to them?

Candace Spears: Awesome. Some of the core principles from a tactical move perspective that I teach in almost everything. Actually, my book has a lot to do with that too. And it is agile. It is lean Startup methodology. And so where I have found my assignment to be, and we’re in a place right now where I’m unlocking even deeper in this assignment with a talk about that. Well, my assignment really is in helping people take ownership of their time. And in particular, it’s been helping women take ownership for their time, count and identity.

And that’s done through coaching programs, every program, finding freedom, that’s actually coming to an end. I don’t know when this is going to be aired, what was going to be coming to an end very soon as we move into this division. But the deeper vision is still in that ownership of time and identity, but what I’ve learned through some of the things we talked about earlier is getting even further into my identity and further into my assignment and sitting in the stillness.

But when I say stillness, so like over the past two and a half months, I kind of disappeared from social media. If you look on any of the accounts that so many things happened, but I kind of disappeared from social media, from talking to my email list, all of this stuff to allow space, to hear what was happening and so serving women in that way. We still want to take ownership, but taking an extreme focus on centered, centering on the black female. One of the things I recognized when we sort of went down the client roster, they were 99% Black women. And there were so many things that I hadn’t talked about being careful about taking this identity. And the things that you think, or you thought were required to be successful, you’ve had to play like into business and understanding like how that can mess you up, understanding that there is a difference between just being interested in something and being assigned like divinely assigned to do it.

And just some of the narratives around what we deal with as Black women, while you are trying to get this business off the ground, while these disparities do exist, while these, you know these capital shortfalls do exist. And so I am still playing that space and we’re just going deeper with it and bringing in more technology to support an even further scale, um, for ladies and anyone.

And you don’t have to be a Black woman but what you will know is the work that we do and the place that we come from and what we teach is centered on the Black female experience. So if you are down for that, because the true belief that if we Black women being at the intersection of gender and race, right, big, big conversation. If you are building a business from the place of that, understanding everyone is better off. And so that’s, that’s what I do today, supporting aspiring entrepreneurs to the growth levels they want to get to in their own businesses.

Keisha Blair: That’s great work. And it’s so needed for Black woman, Candace, so I really applaud you for that effort because there’s a lot of mindset work in that, a lot of work with getting rid of blocks and just dealing with these narratives that we’ve been told as Black women that we’ve been led to believe, which are utterly false. And you know, the sad thing about it is that we’ve had these experiences in the corporate world, where we’re told that the end of the day, you know, sometimes that wasn’t enough or somebody else is getting that promotion. And so we’re dealing with that narrative day in, day out, it’s almost like we need healing and therapy from that, and whether it be corporate America or corporate Canada, it’s the same thing, but at the end of the day, it’s not showing in terms of those promotional opportunities or opportunities for recognition, and then we start a business and we need to unravel all of that. There’s a lot of work that goes on with that. And I’m sure you see it in your clients too, right?

Candace Spears: Yeah. And the thing is, I’m so glad you brought that up because the thing is this. You can go in blissfully unaware. Everything that we see on social media that tells us like, okay, let’s just go ahead and get this money. You can do it, get this money and that doesn’t tap into it. And listen, I’m saying this from a place of a person who fell along that track until very recently in having this space of silence that whoa, all these other things are at play for us, for Black women to not bring that holistic, bring that holistic perspective to our business strategy and we saw it over and over again in our clients over and over again, like it wouldn’t be the tactic. It would be the stuff that we had to stop and talk about because things were coming in from like a self image perspective, things coming in about like, but I was rejected before, so I’m not sure, really qualified.

Keisha Blair: There’s so much Candace. There’s just so much because you know, in the beginning of this podcast, when we spoke about identity and the fact that we had to kind of play a certain game in order to succeed. I remember one friend saying to me, we have to straddle two worlds, we walk into cooperate or we walk into, business into certain environments and we have to put on a different persona. We have to become someone else. And we’re dealing with all of that on top of the regular day-to-day right. We’re dealing with all of that and playing it, playing it calm. And there’s so much of that, that we do. It’s unbelievable. I could go on for hours talking about this with you, but I’m so happy that you had a chance to come on the podcast to share your experience, to give some tips and tools and strategies so that we can talk about this because there needs to be a space, you know, a space where Black women can heal and talk about these things and forge a path of healing.

Candice, if you want to tell our listeners where to find you on social media, your website, please let the audience know where they can find you.

Candace Spears: Head over to Candacespears.com. And again, depending on when this comes out, get in on the conversation because we are having this very real conversation. It’s central to this narrative. So Candacespears.com is the best place to go.

Keisha Blair: Okay, perfect. So glad that we had this conversation, I had so much fun, as I said, I could talk about this all day for hours and hours, but thank you so much for joining us today Candace.

Candace Spears: Thanks for having me, Keisha.

Keisha Blair: Awesome. Thank you so much.

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