HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 220
Houston innovator's new book to help business leaders be 'authentically successful,' move past just inclusion
Denise Hamilton says she's been used to looking around and realizing she's the only woman or African American in the room, and for the past nine years, she's been providing resources and education to trailblazing women like her. Now, she wants to prepare current and future leaders on how to go beyond inclusivity and work toward indivisibility.
Hamilton's book, "Indivisible: How to Forge Our Differences into a Stronger Future," publishes February 6 from Countryman Press. She explains that the book comes from years of her on personal experiences, as well as inspiration from the women she's met with her company, WatchHerWork, multimedia digital platform providing advice and resources for professional women.
"I've learned a lot of lessons about what skills work, what behaviors are not intuitive, and built WatchHerWork with the intention of creating a space where people can get all of that advice — and juicy goodness — so that they can learn what they needed to do to be authentically successful," Hamilton says on the Houston Innovators Podcast.
"This led to me being brought in as a speaker, and ultimately has led to me becoming an author," she continues. "It's always shocking when people want to listen to what you want to say. It's unbelievable."
Hamilton explains that the book is relevant to anyone who leads people — in any way. She says she avoids jargon in her book, and instead focused on timeless, relatable advice and thought leadership.
"It's not a current events book; it's a people book," Hamilton says. "There are a lot of examples that are simple and easy to understand and timeless. I think those are the ways we get a principle and then extrapolate it into a current event — the storm of the day."
While the past few years have been tumultuous, divisive, and full of friction, she explains that the book will call on people to move through the world like owners not renters. She says we need to continue to make the world around us better, rather than leave it to someone else to worry about, and this especially pertains to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
DEI initiatives, as Hamilton explains, are a set of tools and practices, but reaching and tracking progress is a huge challenge and opportunity.
"We have to be careful that we don't use easy metrics to determine if we're being authentically successful," she says. "This is hard work, and it's OK to have challenging, higher-level goals that push us to do better and be better."
A proud Houstonian, Hamilton says doing this type of work makes sense in Houston — one of the most diverse cities in the country.
"I think it's easy to talk about diversity in a vacuum and theoretically, and Houston lives it every single day," she says. "We're doing it while other people are talking about it. There are some great lessons to be learned from this environment, and there are some opportunities here we have to take advantage of in Houston."