Spotlight Trust

Where you belong

Published over 3 years ago • 4 min read

March 30, 2021 | Subscribe

Context matters - In Trust weekly newsletter published by Spotlight Trust

THE newsletter helping leaders and organizations put trust at the centre of their work so they can achieve more than they ever thought possible while better adapting to our fast-changing world.


Belong or Bounce?

Is this for me?

Do I belong here?

Do I want to belong here?

We ask ourselves these questions all the time when we interact with a product, service, group, organization, community, situation, and with one other.

We’re continuously looking for signals that indicate “this is for me,” that we’re seen, understood, and valued. These signals help us decide how we want to show up, that is if we want to keep showing up. These signals help us decide if we want to take the risk to extend our trust.

When you’re asking people to invest their attention, trust, time, and care by inviting them to participate in an interaction—a meeting, an email, a hiring process, a team project, an app, a community conversation, etc.—what signals are you sending?

Do the actual signals that your interaction conveys match your purpose?

Is your interaction saturated with clear, consistent welcoming beacons for the specific people you have designed it for? Or might your signals be serving as a bouncer, excluding people essential to your purpose?

Trust-Centered Leadership Practice for this Week:

Pick one specific interaction where you are inviting another or others to participate and reflect on the questions above. What might you start doing, stop doing, do more of, or do less of to better saturate this interaction with clear and consistent welcoming beacons that encourage a sense of belonging for all the specific people essential to your purpose?

We’d love to know how your practice is going and what you’re noticing along the way: simply tag us on social media or use hashtag #TrustCenteredLeadership to keep us posted.


Breaking the Code of Belonging with Rebecca Channer

“What I really noticed in so many different spaces with so many different organizations who are in such different stages of growth is that, nine out of 10 times, questions about culture, tending to culture, stewarding culture, and even understanding the culture that you want in an organization always come up much later when you realize something's gone wrong, or somebody finally raises their hand and says, ‘this is not okay with me.’ Then the effort that it takes for those organizations to go back and basically unwind and then re-weave the company's culture is extremely expensive. It's extremely time consuming. And it's incredibly complicated because you have so many people who have already been harmed.” - Rebecca Channer
Episode art for In Trust podcast EP 30: Breaking the Code of Belonging with Rebecca Channer

How do you move beyond the idea of belonging to take meaningful action that builds and repairs cultures and communities in a way that actually roots them in belonging? How do we build a future for young people that fits them versus asking them to fit the future?

These questions merely scratch the surface of a conversation we recently had with our friend and colleague Rebecca Channer. Rebecca is the Founder and Team Lead at CodeBreakers, a vibrant online space for young people (ages 13-23) who have been historically underrepresented and/or racially minoritized within their communities, schools and workplaces. With multiple CEO and executive director titles in the nonprofit and startup space under their belt, Rebecca leads a team of adult allies, co-conspirators, and accomplices known as the CodeBreakers Bench that support young people in exploring identity and expanding capacity for reaching personal, educational, and professional goals.

We cover a lot of ground in this conversation, including how it’s okay to be nervous and make mistakes when talking about topics like race, diversity, inclusion, and belonging; the importance of representation in trust-building, the reason why many organizations don't focus on culture, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as actions versus ideas and the faulty assumption behind this; and much more.

If you’ve ever struggled to feel belonging or are interested in building a culture of belonging anchored in actions versus ideas, then you won’t want to miss this episode of the In Trust podcast.​


john a. powell | The Mechanisms of Othering

The opposite of Othering is not 'saming', it is belonging. And belonging does not insist that we are all the same. It means we recognise and celebrate our differences, in a society where 'we the people' includes all the people." - john a. powell

If we want to build belonging, we need to address the problem of “Othering,” which john a. powell describes as the problem of the twenty-first century. John is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, housing, poverty, and democracy and serves as the Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. We were introduced to john’s work a number of years ago and it has been influential in our trust-building practice.

In this keynote address from the 2015 Othering & Belonging National Conference, john describes the core mechanics of Othering—including neurological, cognitive, historical, sociological, and systemic components—and how they hinder transformational change. He explains how by understanding these mechanics, we can better build the bridges needed to connect with others and create empathetic spaces that support transformational change.

Quote To Ponder

“Every single person who comes through the door is an opportunity to make them feel really welcomed, feel really warm, and taken care of. And where that feeling comes from is a feeling of trust.” – Brian DeSimone


Exclusive Preview: Trust is the basis of true belonging.

Layout is almost done for our forthcoming book, The Future Is Trust: Embracing the Era of Trust-Centered Leadership. We continue to be grateful for your support and eager to share this work with you, so simply click the image to view one of the draft spreads in larger, PDF format:

Exclusive preview from the forthcoming book The Future Is Trust: Embracing the Era of Trust-Centered Leadership by Rick Kitagawa and Lisa Lambert; T, "Trust is the basis of true belonging."

For the latest on book launch details, additional sneak peeks, exclusive pre-order specials, and more, check out book webpage here:


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Rick Kitagawa (he/him) + Lisa Lambert (she/her)
Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, Spotlight Trust

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