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Episode 32: Start Where You Stand with Margie Crowe

Margie Crowe speaks on diversity, inclusion and equity in a multitude of areas from the military, to education, to family life. She challenges us to look at what we can do from where we stand.




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About Margie

Margie Crowe is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, assistant professor, DEI advocate, author, and doctoral candidate with broad experience in government and civilian programs, strategic planning, as well as research interests and active studies in leadership practices affecting policies and programs in social justice, anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

She has worked from higher headquarters level at the Pentagon to state and local levels addressing and supporting ongoing diversity initiatives. She has been recognized for providing safe, open and inclusive engagement and awareness generation space; creating individual and group learning through advising, mentoring, and facilitating panel discussions on local and global inclusion practice, thought, policies, problems and various possible solutions.

Margie has an Education Specialist Degree (post-masters) in Educational Leadership, Masters of Science in International Relations (National Security), Masters of Arts in Special Education, Bachelors of Arts in Political Science (minor in Aerospace Studies), and will complete her Doctorate of Education in Leadership in 2021, as well as other advanced education and training in leadership, education and Racial Equity Literacy facilitation.

Courage Up Moment

As women, we kind of normalize what happens to us. Margie calls herself the queen of ‘it’s not that bad.’ Toward the end of her undergraduate years, she was sexually assaulted. She waited two day to press charges and went through trial. There were times throughout she really wanted to quit. What kept her going was was the thought that she didn’t want this man to do that to someone else. It was so important to her to make sure women were protected.

The impact of that moment was she made an impulsive decision, but one that turned out really well for her in the long run. Part of the brain was developing, the other part was undeveloped. Now this man is a convicted felon, she’s in a small town working in a large corporation where she’s considered the bad girl. She thought maybe she would go into the military. Margie went to a recruiter and asked “how do I get out of here?” Left six weeks later to join the AirForce.

She went open general and did not get to choose the field. Looking back she was short sighted. She started basic training, but was not a good follower. Margie decided she wanted to be an officer. When looking through offerings that wasn’t even an option, but she didn’t like people telling her what to do. They picked the field audio visual production specialist for her. She didn’t know what she was doing, she felt like a fumbling idiot through some of that. But she kept positioning herself to do the best so she could keep moving closer towards her goal of becoming an Officer.


Courage Up in the Military

Coming into the military, she had this attitude of “it’s a man’s world and I’ll adapt.” Never thinking she should have her own space in this world as a female. As an officer, only 11-12% is female. She thought this is how it is, and I’ll adapt. Margie doesn’t know if it was courage, but she was in survivor mode. She loved the military and it was the perfect place for her to end up.

There's no place in the world where a woman is as powerful as in this country. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Yes someone will always have it worse, and we can continue to support them, but we still need to fix it here.


It's only been six years since she retired from the military. It was hard to leave because she loved it. It was such a good fit for her. She worked in diversity, equity, and inclusion on the officer side too. She didn't feel like she was done yet. She needed to do what her daughter needs more.


She’s not doing diversity and equity work in the military now, but she’s doing it in other places and she keeps getting brought back in other forms.

Inclusion and Equity

  1. We can’t lump everyone together.

  2. Develop basic understanding of equality vs. equity harm vs. hurt

  3. Find different ways to infiltrate change

Family Dynamic after Lily’s Diagnosis

Her first preschool told Margie it’s a lot for families. Some friends and family members have disappeared and they have built a new support system. Lily’s posse has a great team of doctors, caregivers, and friends.

By the time Lily was a year old, it was apparent to Margie. Lily was really quiet and sat all day long with her stack of blocks saying only the alphabet. Margie knew that was not typical behavior. A year later, she got some specialists to look at her and her diagnosis was clear.


Turning Point to be home with Lily

The first moment was when Lily worked with a wonderful ABA therapist who suggested for Lily to receive 30-40 hours of intense therapy a week at home. Another piece, Lily was not treated well in school by students or teachers. Margie decided to keep her at home and she was a wonderful team who loves and cares for her.


Takeaway

Step up, take a deep breath, de-center yourself from the narrative whatever it is for a moment and look at, “ What can you do from where you stand?”

If you’re on the receiving end of inequity, “What can we do to help?”

Have hope that we can make change. This is not the end state. This is where we are in this moment, but this is not the end state.


Advice:

“If you quit, you leave a space open for somebody else who cannot do as good as a job and what does that do for the people they will lead? You need to suck it up and push through it.”


Courage Song:

Nightmare by Halsey


Book:

Use your Difference to Make a Difference by Tayo Rockson


Connect With Margie

LinkedIn: Margie Crowe

IG: Margiemk

Twitter: Margie Crowe


Connect With Ming:

Instagram: @mingshelby

Facebook: Ming Shelby

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