understanding our commonalities

Welcome.

You’ve heard about me either as a writer or as a trainer and consultant on human inclusivity. Maybe you simply stumbled onto this site.

Regardless of how you arrived, you’ve found someone who embraces the challenges that life has to offer. I spent a great deal of my existence struggling with the idea that I could “choose” certain things–like my gender. What I learned after many years of personal suffering is that some things in life (like gender, sexuality, artistic or musical bend, even whom we love) just “are.”

All of us ask ourselves, “How did I get here?” “Where am I going?” “How long can I sustain this?”

And, most importantly,  Is this who I am?”

My personal journey in part has been about coming to understand who I am.  This has taught me many life lessons far beyond grappling with being a transgender person. As I tell audiences, I’m simply a survivor of the Human Condition–it’s just that my survivorship is far more public than for most.

As I learned about the true me, I also learned how connected we are as humans. Without even knowing you, dear reader, I’m certain that notwithstanding my personal story, we have many things–like wanting a child in our life to succeed–in common. It’s our human commonalities that I focus on in my speaking, training and consulting. Indeed, a basic element of “inclusivity” is that we’re more willing to include someone in our life if we believe we have things in common or if we at least are willing to explore for commonality.

Other than having gone through a life-changing experience, my qualifications to train on human inclusivity include having been a civil trial attorney for nearly thirty years (100+ trials, many involving the workplace), founding an award-winning legal access nonprofit, and helping to lead an organization of Twin Cities diversity and inclusion professionals .  My approach is unconventional (no podium, no PowerPoint) and I tell audiences that I’m good at connecting dots; in turn, I’m told that my work is engaging and thought-provoking–some even say, “transformative.” As of early 2019, I have presented on 800+ occasions to Fortune 100 companies, national law firms, government entities, nonprofits, and colleges/universities across North America.

My trainings and consulting include:

 “Gray Area Thinking©“, a general human inclusivity training that provides a toolset to better understand and welcome diverse humans. (See talk description here.) Audiences love this training!

“Transgender 101”, which covers what it means to be transgender and how to be welcoming to trans and gender nonconforming team members, friends, and family members. (See talk description here.)

“Workplace Inclusivity and Allyship 101”, which covers the various degrees of workplace inclusivity and demonstrates the difference between simply being an “ally” (a status) and “allyship” (taking action to protect or promote a marginalized person). (See talk description here.)

“Changed Genders; Changed Perspectives, about how interacting with the world is so different now that I present as female. This talk covers the life lessons I learned from transitioning genders–including that really, the deck is quite stacked against women. How often do you get the chance to hear from/ask questions to someone who’s lived in two different genders? (See talk description here.)

“Bridging the Great Divide: Reflections on Grit, Resiliency, and The Four Commonalities”, often a keynote, addresses how we’re challenged with both internal and external divides and offers a reminder that most people want to be known for compassion–something that I am personally witnessing across America. This is an uplifting, engaging talk that motivates listeners to do better for themselves and others. (See talk description here.)

“Getting to Ellen: Gleaning Authenticity from a Moment of Truth”, often a keynote, is part personal story, part motivational talk about the need to listen to ourselves when we encounter our moments of truth. Audience members come away with better self-awareness and a greater willingness to engage in self-examination. (See talk description here.)

Talking Circles, which are designed to foster better awareness of the real landscape within an organization or business relative to inclusivity. As some know, Talking Circles originated with indigenous peoples as a way of giving every tribe member space to share their views. With the Talking Circles I conduct, the goal is to provide a safe space where team members can honestly share their inclusivity experiences and perceptions. (For a description of how I conduct a Talking Circle, click here.)

Team Member Gender Transition Consulting. For employers seeking help with team members or employees who have announced they seek to transition genders, I’m a resource.

D&I Plans and Consulting. I also create on-site diversity and compassionate inclusion plans to help make an organization more welcoming for all diverse team members and allies who value diversity and inclusion. In today’s business and nonprofit climate, D&I plans are mandatory: clients and donors demand it, team members need it, and society at large is measuring employers/organizations by their degrees of diversity and inclusivity.

Diversity & Inclusion Roundtables. As I’ve trained across the country, I’ve talked about the value of creating local “diversity & inclusion roundtables”–formal organizations of D&I professionals (and related professionals in human resources or compliance) where it’s safe to brainstorm about challenges and successes around D&I. Often, when I train outside Minneapolis, I recommend convening a roundtable as part of my work for a client. (Read more about D&I Roundtables here.)

To formalize my work, I’ve created Human Inspiration Works, LLC. “Human” and “inspiration” in the corporate name are highly intentional: I believe the only way for things to “stick” is to motivate humans from within; to do that, they need to be inspired. I’ve been told that I’m darn good at inspiring others.

You can read more about the work and products I offer (and as well see some scenes of me in action) at http://www.humaninspirationworks.com.

Finally, I’m very open to collaborating with individuals and organizations to best tailor a presentation that is both engaging and authentic. Drawing from my varied experiences, I believe I have much to offer.

And much to inspire about!

Thank you for your consideration.

ellie

encouraging open hearts and thriving human spirits

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3 thoughts on “understanding our commonalities

  1. This journey we’re on, gives us strength others are afraid to reach for. This very strength takes away the masks that hide our screams.

  2. I am profoundly glad that you have transitioned to whom you were meant to be. However…….your #2 commonality……I’d love to know what you are speaking about in regards to transitioning sooner, rather than later, to avoid causing pain to those we love. The pain of spouse/children can be palpable in a situation such as yours. Especially since there is little joy to be found by them in their husband/wife/father/mother finding themselves while they are simply losing someone they thought they knew. Just offering a suggestion to not forget those people who suffer greatly.

  3. Hello Ellie

    I came across your blog accidentally and I am very glad I did. Very inspirational ! Although I am not transgender I found your words about living your authentic self and having the courage to do so and how we all want to be loved are the same and touched me in way I found comforting since I am dealing with a loved ones struggle with substance abuse I realize I am not living my authenticity because I am not happy this way and you have inspired me to make some decisions for my own happiness and peace. Our stories are very different I am glad you found your peace and thank you for inspiring me and giving others who have and are dealing with such issues of authenticity. You are truly a brave wonderful human being! Thank you for existing and helping others.

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