EPISODE 386
Daphne E. Jones
Winning When They Say You Won’t (with Daphne E. Jones)

Mark speaks with Daphne E. Jones , author of Win When They Say You Won't: Break Through Barriers and Keep Leveling Up Your Success. Together we explore what it’s like to grow up as a black woman and forge oneself into a career leader. Daphne details her experience as a young black girl in Illinois forging mental toughness and determination to form her own reality.

Daphne E. Jones
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Show Notes

Today, I speak with Daphne E. Jones, author of Win When They Say You Won’t: Break Through Barriers and Keep Leveling Up Your Success. In the episode, Daphne details her experience as a young black girl in Illinois forging mental toughness and determination to form her own reality. Today, Daphne E. Jones has 30+ years of experience in general management and executive level roles at IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Hospira, and General Electric.

Key Takeaways:

  • “That’s your belief, not mine.” Daphne was told by her career counselor that black girls don’t successfully make it in college and that she should instead go to secretary school. She followed his advice, but today she’s a corporate board member and has held leadership positions at several Fortune 500 companies.
  • Daphne’s 4-step process for change.  EDIT stands for Envision, Design, Iterate, and Transform. Through her experience at IBM for several years, Daphne details her process for creation & iteration in life and business for ultimate success & improvement.
  • The will of a mother’s mind. Daphne shares how her mother’s mental training through childhood was the driving force for her to believe in herself and defy all the odds in her career as a black woman.
  • We are all worthy of a mentor. For many, like Daphne, reaching out for support and seeking a mentor can seem intimidating. But when you ask yourself if you would give someone else support… don’t you think other people would be happy to give you theirs?

Quotes:

“I was 20 years old, with an MBA. It was incredible. And I think I saw that sometimes when somebody has a voice in your ear, the audio doesn’t always match the video, because my video of my life in that young stage was playing out that he said was impossible. That was just his opinion, I had to learn that, that when somebody says something can’t be done, it’s not a fact. That’s just what they think. And that means that I can think something totally different. And then I can act on that and then and move it. So I realized that there was a dichotomy in some cases between what people say to you, and what’s really the truth.”  Daphne E. Jones

“It was my mom who would say Daphne, whoever has your mind has you, and made sure education makes your achievement. I mean, she came to this country, and did what she did. So I could, you know, get the brass ring. So she was rooting for me.”  Daphne E. Jones

“The reality is that successful people built their success with the support of mentors, and so they want to give back, they want to help others, you just have to ask, like you said, and be patient, right? You may not get a response from everyone, but usually, like, 50% of the people you reach out to will, will be like, sure, you know.” Mark Divine“And you got to look at yourself. Am I willing to help somebody else? Heck, yeah. Well, then why am I unworthy of someone helping me. And I believe that we are not here by ourselves. And nor are we here for ourselves, you know, this book that I have wasn’t made by me, the words that I wrote down, I didn’t invent them, somebody created the English language. So everything we have and do came because somebody that we don’t know, in a lot of cases, provided the capability and the services and the products for us.” Daphne E. Jones

Mark Divine

You know, what were your formative experiences and where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? And kind of what were some of those forces that shaped you in the trajectory or point you in your trajectory that became the, you know, the amazing professional career that you’ve had?

Daphne E. Jones  0:16  

I would start by saying, Yeah, I almost didn’t make it.

Mark Divine  0:19  

Like a lot of us. Right. Yeah. Right. One decision short of being a complete disaster. Right.

Daphne E. Jones  0:25  

Exactly. Just hanging with the wrong crowd, another 10 minutes, you know, who knows what could have happened? I was born in the United States, but I was born to immigrant parents. My mom and dad were Jamaican immigrants. My mom was under-educated alcoholic, because I know she went to school. So it’s not like she was uneducated. But she never made it to college. And so she ended up being an aide that would clean out bedpans and turn patients over in hospitals.

Mark Divine  0:00  

Daphne, so stoked to have you here. I really appreciate your time. 

Daphne E. Jones

Thank you.

Mark Divine

You know, what were your formative experiences and where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? And kind of what were some of those forces that shaped you in the trajectory or point you in your trajectory that became the, you know, the amazing professional career that you’ve had?

Daphne E. Jones  0:16  

I would start by saying, Yeah, I almost didn’t make it.

Mark Divine  0:19  

Like a lot of us. Right. Yeah. Right. One decision short of being a complete disaster. Right.

Daphne E. Jones  0:25  

Exactly. Just hanging with the wrong crowd, another 10 minutes, you know, who knows what could have happened? I was born in the United States, but I was born to immigrant parents. My mom and dad were Jamaican immigrants. My mom was under-educated alcoholic, because I know she went to school. So it’s not like she was uneducated. But she never made it to college. And so she ended up being an aide that would clean out bedpans and turn patients over in hospitals.

Mark Divine

Important work, by the way, right? 

 

Daphne E. Jones

Yes, yeah, bedsores and just cleaning up patients. It was, you know, it was tough. And my dad worked the factory floor, as well, in his, in his role as an assembly line worker. And so we lived in a, in a town called Heart, Phoenix, Illinois. Phoenix, Illinois, a very small town, 1,300 people, I don’t think it’s ever changing, I think it’s still 13 or 1,400. People, very small, doesn’t have a grocery store or a bank or a post office. It just had, I think, a couple of maybe two bodegas and several liquor stores and like a whole lot of churches per square mile. You know, I guess you got to pray your way out of that situation, right. And I grew up on a, one of five children, and my mom adopted one. And so there was four of us that were from her and I was the baby. My sisters, and my brother went to Jamaica, lived there for many years, I did not. I was only there for a short period of time, and I didn’t like Jamaica. So I ended up coming back to the US. So I became like an only child, while my sisters and brother were in Jamaica, learning the Queen’s English, learning how to write like the Queen. In that time, until 1962, I think the British rule ruled over Jamaica, and Jamaica got us independence in ‘62 or so. And my mom was very much a staunch British. She didn’t think she was black. In fact, she told me I wasn’t black. She said that you’re not black, you’re British. So they were learning that education, everything, and I was in the US. So she was very much into education. And I had to read the Hardy Boys and the Nancy Drew mysteries.

 

Mark Divine  2:34  

I remember those. I read The Hardy Boys through and through. Was your father in the picture at all?

 

Daphne E. Jones  2:38  

Yeah, my dad is, he’s a pastor, Minister of a church there. And so he was definitely in the picture. But he didn’t run the house. He didn’t do anything except work the factory and mow the lawn and do stuff at the church. So he didn’t really raise us and he tried to have a little side hustle of creating black art, like ceramics that you paint with, put rhinestones in it, and stuff. And he would try to sell that. But he was really a quiet person. He did not run the home. But he was, you know, my dad and I would go do communion with him and stuff in the car. And I remember one time, we did communion, I said, I’m gonna stay in the car, and I stayed in the car, and the thunder and lightning and the rainstorm came and I was, I remember screaming, screaming. And finally, I think a neighbor came down and got me and took me up to where he was giving communion and visiting the sick and all that and so but I was always hanging with my dad, you know, he is a gentle, gentle man. 

 

And so as I went through, growing up a little bit, you know, three years old, four years old, five years old, my mom would have me go to the alley and get some rocks and she said Daphne, I want you to bring back two plus four rocks. So that’s how she’s taught me. Fear and trembling. 

 

Mark Divine

Genius. I love it. 

 

Daphne E. Jones

So she that I had to go get my own switch as well. And so I ended up skipping first grade. I, you know, I was so good at math and, and all that I ended up skipping that and so I just grew up, you know, I was a preacher’s kid. And you know, usually they say all the P kids, preachers, policemen and politicians, kids, we try not to get caught and we try to do everything. I grew up as being that you know, person who was the preacher’s kid. So I went through school did well, had friends, got, I got beat up once when I was probably eight or nine years old. I had a white girlfriend that came to my school in Phoenix Coolidge elementary school, her name was Kathleen and she lived in South Holland. We went trick or treating in her neighborhood and they saw that I was a black girl and these boys beat me up, and, and that was my first physical assault I’d ever had. And not understanding why are they bothering me. They were trying to take our candy and I told them to leave us alone. I was defending her somehow. Is my little self and yeah, they saw me and they called me an N word and it’s let’s go get her, and so they beat me up. And then she ran home and got her dad. And it was, was crazy. So that was the beginning of my understanding that I was different. You know, Mom told me I was British. They didn’t call me British, when they beat me up, they called me a different word. But then I, you know, you keep pressing through and you recover from that. So you think you do, and then I ended up going to high school. And then in this case, instead of the whites coming to my elementary school, I, as an African American from Phoenix went to Dalton, which was a white neighborhood or white community. So it was desegregation.

 

Mark Divine  5:34  

So you weren’t you go to this mostly white high school, that must have been an interesting experience for ninth grader.

 

Daphne E. Jones  5:40  

Yeah. I mean, there’s always a fight going on. There’s always names being called, especially when it became summertime.

 

Mark Divine  5:48  

What kind of strategies did you develop to deal with that? You know, which now we know to be a pretty serious racial injustice perpetrated on innocent nine year ninth grader?

 

Daphne E. Jones  5:58  

Well, that one, I just, I let it go. I mean, maybe if I thought about it long enough, I, I’d relive it and start crying. Yeah, I learned to let that go. And I was comforted and soothed. And you know, it’s okay. And we’ll get through it. But then you start to relive the hatred or the you’re different kind of thing when you go to high school, and you go to high school on the yellow bus of these black kids coming in, and the white kid just standing there looking. A lot of tension. And all it took was one person… and so I hung with the bad guy, you know, the bad kids, the ones who could fight, because, you know, I wasn’t necessarily a big fighter, I was a preacher’s kid. And I’d get in trouble if I tried to do that. But you just hang with the tough crowd. And so if there’s ever going to be a fight, you’ll be okay. Because the tough kids are the one that’s going to be doing the fighting. So you kind of build up a strategy about how to protect yourself. But then because I was a school-educated or, you know, my mom taught me so much. 

 

I realized that I could bury myself in activities and school work and so I became a pom pom girl. And then I became a lassie so I learned how to do the Highland Fling. I can do the Highland Fling, like right now. We were a Scottish group of dancers, we did parades. We did halftime, we did the Chicago Bulls one time halftime and sore dances, standing a young girl up on top of a drum and she would you know, all of us would have part of the gym on our shoulder in a circle. And she would dance the, you know, a dance a Drum Dance on top, you know, way up in the sky. And so I was in the high school choir. And so I was very involved. I, you know, took Spanish, I took shorthand and typing, because I knew I was gonna go to college and, and I wanted to be able to, like, take really great notes, in shorthand allows you to take great notes, except you got to transcribe them. 

 

That’s always the tricky thing. You know, I kind of got through high school without being totally demoralized until my high school counselor, when I was ready to go to college, I thought I was ready to go to college. And I went to talk to him and asked him about going to college and he said, Daphne, you know, you’re going to be better off becoming a secretary because black girls like you don’t go to college. And if you get in, you may not graduate, you know, you won’t get out. And then if you do get out, no one’s gonna hire you. And he didn’t say what I’m about to say now. But as I thought about it, many years later, I realized what he was saying was, I did not look like success. I was not a white, blond haired, blue eyed person, or, you know, green eyed person or whatever. I look like somebody who should be a secretary. I look like somebody who would watch your children. I look like somebody who would cook your food. And so how would anybody want to hire me looking this way, let alone maybe one day giving $100 million budget to or whatever.

 

Mark Divine  8:52  

Would you say that was an example, there wasn’t overt racism, but it was systemic racism. Sounds like you just described an example of how that plays out. Which is interesting.

 

Daphne E. Jones  9:02  

Yeah. He learned that from somebody. My pastor’s wife who lives here has either a friend or a grandchild, I forgot which one it was, who was used to hanging with a white girl, a little white four year old girl. And at one point, she came up to my pastor’s First Lady’s either grandchild or a friend’s daughter and said, If you had a different skin, I’d be able to play with you again. And so where do you learn that from? You learn from the house, and then every show, everything that is happening in the house, then goes into the school, or into the hospital, into the police force into the judicial system. And you learn that from an early age and so yeah, absolutely. It was part of that and, and it could have been sexism too. You know, maybe this is where women belong. And not not only black people, but I had the double, you know, the intersectionality. It’s, so it’s systemic, it breeds a privilege that breeds of not being able to understand a person for who they are. But basically, you’re stuck right here that you can go past that. And all of your actions then are based on being stuck right here. And then it continues the cycle.

 

Mark Divine  10:17  

And then it can also create the identity in, in the black person. So obviously, you didn’t take on the identity of the underprivileged or the person without opportunity. I mean, you broke all those stereotypes. So what was it in you? Or how did you book strategies? Or what was that your mindset that just said, you know what, you’re wrong. I’m going to do this.

 

Daphne E. Jones  10:36  

I didn’t quite get there quite that easily. I mean, I went and became a secretary. It was right after I graduated, I became a secretary. He told me to go to secretarial school. And back in the day, there was a school called Moser’s, m o s e r’s. And it was, I think they call it a secretarial college. But maybe I, I just put that in there because I wanted to go to college, secretarial school, and they taught me how to make coffee, how to behave in an office environment. And so I became a secretary at Woman’s Day magazine, I did that role for just a short time I had I’d made so many mistakes. I said to myself after my boss, you know, kind of lambast me for making a really embarrassing mistake. I said, You know what, I shouldn’t be a secretary, I should have a secretary. And I should not be out here helping him. I should be out, in there having somebody help me. And then I realized that Well, what did they have that I don’t have? Ahhhh, a college degree, okay. And I get, I’m going to set my own course. And so I decided to go to college, it took me a little bit, I ended up getting into the January, class. And I went there. And what happened back to your point about proving somebody wrong, I got my undergraduate degree in three years, I skipped first grade. And I basically got my bachelor’s degree in three years instead of four. And I got my MBA in one year instead of two years,

 

Mark Divine  12:00  

Like three years ahead of your peers, basically.

 

Daphne E. Jones  12:03  

Three years of school. So I don’t know how old I was, when I graduated from a college I was 20 years old, with an MBA. It was incredible. And I think I saw that sometimes when somebody has a voice in your ear, the audio doesn’t always match the video, because my video of my life in that young stage was playing out that he said was impossible. That was just his opinion, I had to learn that, that when somebody says something can’t be done, it’s not a fact. That’s just what they think. And that means that I can think something totally different. And then I can act on that and then and move it. So I realized that there was a dichotomy in some cases between what people say to you, and what’s really the truth. And in my book I talk about no, Roger Bannister should never been able to do the four minute mile. That was impossible. Ketanji Brown Jackson, impossible for there to be a black Supreme Court Justice. That’s a woman. It’s inevitable, not impossible. And so will there be a woman president? Everybody’s gonna say, impossible. No, it’s inevitable.

 

Mark Divine  13:04  

You know, motivation can be both, you know, something negative, as in this guy saying, don’t go to college, you won’t succeed. Or it can be something really positive, like just a belief, or your mom saying you can do anything, you know, you’re a smart person, and just go for it. Right? So which was it? Did you have a combination of prove that guy wrong, which is a negative, intrinsic motivator? Or were you always kind of self motivated with a positive drive?

 

Daphne E. Jones  13:28  

It was my mom who would say Daphne, whoever has your mind has you, and made sure education makes your achievement. I mean, she came to this country, and did what she did. So I could, you know, get the brass ring. So she was rooting for me. And I don’t know if she knew any better that maybe being a secretary wasn’t a good idea. But whatever I had to do she supported. But still all my life, I have believed that I was a secretary when I worked for IBM, and I got laid off from IBM. And that was where I went to after I graduated from college. That was the company that I went to work for, oh, Big Blue. Nobody ever got fired for getting big blue. That was my dream job working for the baddest company in the world. And then they fired me. They laid me off 10 years, or whatever number of years later, and I was devastated. And I said, You know what, the secretary police are going to come after me. I must not be anything but a secretary in a blue and white pinstripe suit. You know, you have to wear the pinstripe suit. And I wore mine and I figured that, but that’s, they still found me out. 

 

And so it has messed me up. But I think one of the things I talk about in my book and I try to talk about when I’m doing shows like this is that the seeds of misdirection are planted in the young kids minds, whether to hate somebody else because they’re black and the young kid is white, or the other way around. You’re just not good enough. You know, girls don’t play basketball. Girls don’t do math, black people can’t be hedge fund managers, Chinese people can’t be CEOs, they’re just really good in the laboratory. And so all those seeds and misdirection get planted in our psyche and our spirit in our mind. And then these little seeds grow up with us. And they now become trees of imposter syndrome. So his little voice in my head is probably still there. It’s just that I’ve had so much experience and other things that I’ve been able to drown it out, but you can best believe it’s still there in me. And I have to say, you know, get behind me and put that disbelief way up on a shelf that I can’t reach it, like metaphorically, because he’s still in my head saying, no, no, Jim, you only gonna be a secretary? To answer your question. It’s my mom’s pushing me and motivated me and saying, You can do everything.

 

Mark Divine  15:48  

Right, I have the saying. And if you’re not training your mind, then society’s training for you or someone else is training it for you. And the results will speak for itself. But then you had literally mental training from your mom with constant positive reinforcement, always there kind of saying you can do it.

 

Daphne E. Jones  16:06  

Yeah, she expected me to be more. You know, I want to go out with the kids. I want to hang out and smoke reefer. And I wanted to come in late, but I couldn’t. She made me come in by 7pm. She would not let me go. My first date was my senior prom. 

 

Mark Divine

She’s Tough

 

Daphne E. Jones

She’s tough, right? She was tough. She said, I want to protect you. And you and, you know.

 

Mark Divine  16:29  

She was your bootcamp. She was your mental training. She really, that was enough to override all that other junk she was but at some point, you have to take charge of your own mental discipline and training and positive self talk. And so what was the turnaround for you? It sounds like IBM was a kickin, and Jimmy and so you could have easily fallen back or retreated. But you did. There must be a turning point where you’re like, okay, I’m gonna, if I’m going to do this, I gotta take control of my attitude and my mindset and step up my game.

 

Daphne E. Jones  16:58  

IBM taught me everything. When you go to IBM, their boot camp, they have four boot camps. And they call them modules, mods, a mod b mod. See mod and d mod. 

 

Mark Divine

This is your management training program right there, first two years. 

 

Daphne E. Jones

Yeah. And these mods were four weeks. So you’re gone away from home for four weeks, to a mod, which is just the beginning of everything, like, what’s the cost receivables? What’s payables? Because, you know, IBM was Business systems. So you had to learn about business, you know, systems, how does payroll work? How does general ledger work, we have to learn that. And then you go back to your camp, your office, in my case, it was in Illinois, and then you study and you have to take tests and get ready for the next bootcamp, which is b mod. And then b mod. They showed you how to not do it manually, like you learned in a mod you learned, you know, how do you balance your debits and your credits, and you know, all that, and then come b mod, they now show you this is how we do it with IBM technology. We automate these things. 

 

So we do that. And so by the time you’re done, they teach me how to handle a sales call. They teach you how to handle objections, they teach you how to do demonstrations. They teach you everything. And there are people who it’s like getting an MBA that you’ve been told. So a lot of where I’ve come from, has come because I think IBM gave me a great foundation. But then I made a mistake. And the reason why I got downsized, and I’ll say this this day, is you know, one of my branch managers, Tony Wakens, said to me, Daphne, you always got to know who was going to control where you move because IBM stood for jokingly, I’ve been moved, because you’re always going somewhere. I went from Peoria, to Houston, to Dallas to DC to Atlanta,

 

Mark Divine  18:48  

It’s good to have all that perspective and change. I mean, that was kind of the military way to like as a CEO, we were 18 months to three years. We had a new job. All over the world and that perspective and all those different, you know, OJT type experiences and meeting all the different people in the organization was invaluable,

 

Daphne E. Jones  19:04  

Right, and it builds you up. But this one case for me, Tony Wakens, adapting, you got to figure out who in your family to you and your husband got to decide who moves where. And whoever is not the breadwinner, is what they call the drag along. So he says Daphne, who was the drag along between you and your husband, I said definitely him because I’m the one that’s driving this thing. So, but I made the mistake and let him decide that we were going to move to Atlanta. And that was where I got downsized. And that’s because I say it was a mistake. I didn’t know anybody there. He wanted to move there. And he felt he could make a difference because a lot of black people move there who want to be successful there. And I’m like, okay, and I left my job in DC where I was a manager, and I moved to Atlanta for him, where I was not a manager anymore. I was individual contributor. I didn’t have a network. I didn’t have any support. So then when IBM went through economic downturn, they’re like well, there’s this new chick, Daphne, she just got here. Well, who is she? So I became expendable at that time. But then I cried, and I, I couldn’t believe it. And I had a house with a pool, I had a son. I’m like, oh my god, what am I going to do? And it was at that point back to your earlier question. When I said, I can’t fail. I sound like I’m too big to fail. I have a son who was looking at me to take care of him. Number one, but he’s also looking at me as I deal with hardship. And how is he going to handle hardship? You know, when he gets older, he’s gonna hopefully remember, well, this is what my mommy did. She cried for a minute. And then she got to work. And he was my motivation. So first, my mom was I guess, and then my son became my next motivation to get up and put my girl big girl pants on and and keep it moving. 

 

Mark Divine  20:49  

When you have a why that is so incredibly strong and powerful, that you’re willing to lay down a little your life for that mission, like you are for a child, you know, you’re unstoppable.

 

Daphne E. Jones  20:57  

Absolutely. I remember Viktor Frankl. I didn’t put this in my book. And I meant to and I looked at the book, like a week ago, like, I didn’t put him in there. I always talk about Man’s Search for Meaning, right? You know, I’m talking about. So you’re right, he understands the why will endure the howl every time. And so he was my why. And then, because of my why I was able to rise back up, and then I had to create my what, what am I here to do? What’s my purpose? And so, but he gave me the why to get up again. 

 

Mark Divine

So what do you consider your purpose to be my purpose? 

 

Daphne E. Jones

Sitting at the top, if you will, is to teach wisdom to the world.

 

Mark Divine  21:38  

That’s a big one, good to have a big broad purpose. That’s very inspiring. I love that

 

Daphne E. Jones  21:42  

And my buddy, my husband is the wise one. And I consider myself the smart one, I’m book smart. And my husband is experientially wit wise. But I still say that my goal is to take my intellect, coupled with my experience will make me wise. So my goal is to teach wisdom to everybody that I can, because my goal is for everybody to get to where I am and further faster than I did. So I became a senior vice president at probably 50-something, you know, now my son, Chad, He’s the senior vice president. And he’s 40-something, and so so wasn’t to the world. And so the way I do that is I have now my mission, I have two missions. One is to the way I achieved teaching wisdom is I speak truth to power. And so as I’m on the board of companies today, or I am doing talks, or I talk to CEOs about George Floyd as an example, or I talk about digital security, digital transformation, or cyber, I speak truth to those leaders who can make a difference. And the other side of my mission is to empower the underserved and undervalued and overlooked. So top down, my goal is to speak truth to that power, bottoms up, I seek to empower and that’s where my book comes in, is I want to be able to use my platform, my book to empower and lift up and level up the people who have been told that they will win

 

Mark Divine  23:09  

So the title of your book, Win When They Say You Won’t, is awesome. So how do we win in the absence of any kind of support whatsoever? And further when people are saying you can or or you shouldn’t,

 

Daphne E. Jones  23:21  

I don’t know if there’s such a thing as absence of support. Oh, this is the Bible quote, they say, it’s like you have not because you asked not. There’s a part in the Bible that talks about ass, A S K. Ask, seek and knock. And the knocking is where you’re putting your money where your mouth is or where your faith is, you’re knocking. You’re, you’re writing people, you’re so you’re trying to experience that. And people believe that they’re alone, and they don’t have support. Iit’s possible that the company is against you. So it is possible that you’ve done something that is not good. You need to verify that and first of all, and I’m not gonna harbor here, but you need to understand through 360 or whatever, find out if there really is a problem with your performance. Because you need to understand that.

 

Mark Divine  24:11  

Right. You can’t be ignorant to that. And that’s that’s the worst thing when some ignorant performance,

 

Daphne E. Jones  24:16  

Right. But if it’s not, and you just think the enemy is people are against you, or what have you. I think you need to find stakeholders, there’s somebody in your community, somebody in your church, there’s somebody on LinkedIn, you don’t have to have proximity to have support anymore. There’s somebody who could be a role model for you, that you say, boy, I really like how she or how he maneuvers themselves. I see how they’re getting promoted. I wonder what books they’re reading. I wonder, you start to look at them and say, If I could kind of mirror that they say it’s okay to be a copycat, but just make sure you’re clear on which cat you’re copying. Right. 

 

So that role model is important. And then eventually you kind of go off to the role model send them a text, or an email, whatever. And so you know, I really admire how you have done this, I’d love to hear your story. And that person will automatically definitely want to talk to you about their story. People love talking about themselves. And so you go to that person, might be a month later, two months later, and they will talk about themselves. And then they’ll tell you, they’ll ask you a question. So Daphne, what’s going on with you? And you say, oh, I wish I could do this. This is, I’ve always had a vision for that. Let it out. And you find that they’ll give you advice. And all of a sudden, that’s like a mentor. And you say to them before you leave, this has been fantastic. Do you mind if I call you in another month? Let you know how your suggestion worked out for me? Sure. Daphne, call me anytime, get with my admin, I’d love to see you again.

 

Mark Divine

You’re in a relationship. Yeah, mentoring relationship.

 

Daphne E. Jones

And now you have support, but support that it could be your community, it could be, I’m part of an ELC. I’m a part of a group of African American senior executives that we get together. And I have, Carla Harris is a friend of mine. She just wrote her third book, Lead To Win. And I’m talking to her on Monday. So I, I reach out to her and say, can you support me in the launch of my book, and so we have support, we just gotta find a way to navigate to that person.

 

Mark Divine  26:17  

The reality is that successful people built their success with the support of mentors, and so they want to give back, they want to help others, you just have to ask, like you said, and be patient, right? You may not get a response from everyone, but usually, like, 50% of the people you reach out to will, will be like, sure, you know.

 

Daphne E. Jones  26:34  

Yeah. And you got to look at yourself. Am I willing to help somebody else? Heck, yeah. Well, then why am I unworthy of someone helping me. And I believe that we are not here by ourselves. And nor are we here for ourselves, you know, this book that I have wasn’t made by me. The words that I wrote down, I didn’t invent them, somebody created the English language. So everything we have and do came because somebody that we don’t know, in a lot of cases, provided the capability and the services and the products for us. Why not a mentor? 

 

Mark Divine  27:07  

In the book, you talk about a methodology, a four step methodology called EDIT, can you describe that, and, you know, walk us through them.

 

Daphne E. Jones  27:12  

And EDIT is the word first of all, that means change. And I believe that, you know, if you don’t change how you think you’ll keep on getting the same old thing you’ve always got, if you don’t change your expectations, you will always get the same things you’ve always gotten. So EDIT, first of all says it’s time to change, change your mindset, get us a new set of tools. And then now your skill set will also be changed, you know, for life. So EDIT is, first of all, a word that means change. But it’s also an acronym that stands for Envision, Design, Iterate, and Transform. And so because I used to be a programmer, back in the day, there was a methodology that programmers use, and it’s called the systems development lifecycle. It’s just a way that like how you bake a cake, you buy the ingredients, you mix it together, you pour it into the pan, you bake it for 30 minutes. 

 

And so when you look about an app, or Waze app, a dating app or reservation app, all of these apps have started out with somebody thinking about what it was, designing the app, putting it out there for you and me to use, and then they improve it and make it better. If we can think of ourselves like an app. That’s what EDIT allows for if you look at the iPad, or the iPhone, iOS is at what 16 right now? Well, iOS didn’t start at 16. It started at one, and then went from one to two. So what version can we be at? And so EDIT is a way of using the lifecycle concept from an application standpoint, but now using it for personal lifecycle development. 

 

So you edit by envisioning what you want, and you then design your plan of how you’re going to get there. Now I’m skipping a whole lot of stuff. Part of your design is you understand well, what are your what’s your SWOT? What is your headwinds and tailwinds and, and who are the stakeholders that you need to help you. Who’s highly influential in your life, and who is not interested? There are people who may be highly influential in your career, but they don’t care about you, or the reverse, they really care, but they’re not going to be really helpful or those people who are highly powerful and care a lot so I help you with figuring out who do you want to tap into. So that’s the design, you design, your OKR’s, your objectives and your key results. What are you trying to go after you figured out what you’re going after in your envision stage? Design is your plan. 

 

I is for iterate, iterate says, I start working my plan. I see what kind of feedback I get. I want to learn how to be, let’s say, a swimmer. So I’d have my plan. I’m gonna start going to the YMCA three times a week. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do that. And then one day you realize, oh my god, I almost drowned today. Do I quit learning how to swim or do I just alter my plan of how I’m going to learn how to swim, maybe I went too fast at it. So the iterate is where you go back and forth from design to iterate back and forth, you just fix a couple of assumptions, you tweak some things. And then next thing, you know, you’re on your way. And so part of the iterate is you either pivot or you persevere, you persevere when you’re doing great. And then you pivot. If something wasn’t quite right, you go back and you change your plan, and you go back in the water again. 

 

And then transform is what T is stands for. And that stands that means you have gone from not being a swimmer to being a swimmer, you’ve gone from not being a very good public speaker to being an okay public speaker. So you transformed yourself into something that you wanted to be and that you weren’t before. And then the good news is about edit is that after you’ve transformed, you go right back to the next E, you go right back to what your next vision is. So I want to go from being, learning how to swim to maybe being a lifeguard. Okay. That’s my next vision. And then after I go through that, and transform into a lifeguard, then I want to learn how to maybe be a scuba diver. That’s another vision. So it’s a continuous improvement cycle that you go through, and I walk you through how to do all of those things within the book. That’s what it’s all about.

 

Mark Divine  31:16  

One more teaching moment is you got another acronym. It’s WAIT.

 

Daphne E. Jones  31:19  

WAIT, it comes from when I was trying to prove to myself and everybody else that I wasn’t a secretary in a pinstripe suit. I wanted to know how smart I was. And I would just be in the middle of a meeting just raising my hand asking some maybe smart, maybe not so smart question, just raising my hand every 5,10 minutes. Daphne, you have another question? I realize that now I realized that the more you talk, the less people listen. And sometimes you almost have to whisper and they’ll really listen if you whisper. But anyway, so, a head of HR came up to me and says Daphne, you need to learn how to wait. And wait, wait for what? Where, we, would somebody coming? Or what do you mean? And he said, No, no, no, WAIT means why am I talking? And he said, you need to, number one, understand if your question is really that special, that 12 Other people don’t have a chance to ask it. And number two, does it improve on the silence that it’s interrupting? Is your voice improving the silence? And so I had to say to myself, you know what, that is so cool and right. And then I had, I became that person who might? And I, sometimes may I still too many questions. But I would then ask a question like, once every 45 minutes, instead of once every 10 minutes. And so I became a better listener, I became a better contributor, because then what I had to offer, you know, I will write down the questions that I had, in my mind, I’d write them down. And eventually, sure enough, somebody would have asked that question. So what I was left with was what I might have been, end up asking. 

 

And the T can stand for, why am I tweeting? Why am I texting? Why am I transmitting this negative body language? Why am I transmitting anything at all? And it also works in your house and your family? if my husband wants to talk back to me and you know, yell at me, I can decide, why am I getting ready to talk back to him and rile him up even more? So WAIT can mean a lot of things, including why am I responding?

 

Mark Divine  33:23  

Well, so when, when to say you won’t, and it’s available at Amazon? Or as Do you have a particular website that you’d like people to go to? Or how do you how should people contact you?

 

Daphne E. Jones  33:32  

Sure. I mean, people can go to my website, Daphne E. Jones. So there’s a D A P H N E and then another E Jones.com. And then they can hit forward slash book, or they can hit forward slash free intro free dash intro. And you can get actually get a free intro of the book before you buy it. So you can kind of get an idea what the framework is, and how, you know, what am I talking about? And who is they ,I even describe who they is in the book in the introduction, actually, and so when you get on seeing on amazon.com, as well, but you can go on my website, and you can get Barnes and Noble or, you know, various retailers on my website, too.

 

Mark Divine  34:11  

And social media. 

 

Daphne E. Jones  34:14  

Oh, yeah. Follow me on Daphne Jones official. I post several times a week, I’m on Instagram. I’m also on LinkedIn, and Facebook, a little bit of Twitter. So I’m on all social media as well. My most active one I would say is more Instagram and LinkedIn. The 15th of November. That’s the big day. 

 

Mark Divine  34:36  

That’s the launch day. Yeah, good luck with that launch. And it’s going to be a great book. And I know you wrote it primarily for women, but it’s anyone you know, kind of starting out. 

 

Daphne E. Jones  34:43  

Yeah, that is a phenomenal question. Yeah. They asked me my publisher shut down and who was it before? It’s just for everybody. Everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to level up but she’s okay. You got to narrow down Yeah. So I said well, who tends to not win as much or be underserved, overlooked, underpaid? As you know, only 2.5% of the venture capital money goes to women. So I said, Maybe let’s make it for women. But the point is anybody who wants to when a person of color a white male, you know, how do you deal with office politics? How do you handle certain situations? Everybody goes through something that’s in my book. And I think that everybody can benefit. And if the worst case scenario is, if there’s a man that wants to read the book, and then wants to understand how do women go through life, in corporate politics, and what do they go through? Or how do African Americans deal with stuff, they’ll get a perspective that will open up their eyes as well, about women and people,

 

Mark Divine  35:38  

I think that’s valuable training for men, we need to have, you know, we double the number of females in executive positions in the next 10 or 20 years. And on board positions. We just need that leadership, we need the yin and the yang balance. We lost it in our culture.

 

Daphne E. Jones  35:52  

Yeah. And I think if men get this and say, You know what I’d like for every woman or every senior woman in my organization, to get this book, to help them achieve what you just said to become an executive or a leader or a manager or director, whatever. I mean, this is how I did it. And this is the advice that I give to people who want to also do it too, so a man can also buy it for his team is organization, too.

 

Mark Divine  36:17  

Awesome. Well, definitely thanks so much for the work you do and for being such a great example for other women executives and young female leaders. It’s really powerful. And I appreciate that and best wishes with everything and let us know if we can help in any other way

 

Daphne E. Jones  36:30  

Mark, thank you so much. Just talking to you and your, your curiosity. Your listening skills are just tremendous. And I appreciate your picking out things that you think will, are also important for others to hear about. So thank you.

 

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