Welcome to Episode 30 of The Uplifters Podcast!
This week we are releasing our episode a couple of days early in light of the tragic events unfolding between Israel and Hamas. Today I am joined by my friend, Sara Axelbaum who leads a global team responsible for keeping diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the center of her company by fostering a true sense of belonging for every employee. Sara was honored as one of the top women in media and ad tech as a DEI champion, and recognized by The Ragan Awards for Wellness and South by Southwest in 2023 for her work in DEI. Before her current role, Sara was an SVP at 21st Century Fox and an entrepreneur. Sara is also Jewish, a mom to two joyful little boys, and the descendant of holocaust survivors.
Sara and I are going to share a conversation today that's different than any conversation we've had on The Uplifters. Our show normally features individual stories of the amazing women that we are talking to and how that has impacted their world. But Sara and I are going to get a little messier today and talk about what's happening in the world and how it's impacting her and others.
You’ll hear us struggle with what we don’t know and get clear about what we do know for sure. You’ll hear us wrestle with what to say and not say. In fact, Sara even wonders whether it’s safe to use her real name in this conversation.
We’re talking about a specific moment in history, and Sara’s personal experience, but our goal for this conversation is to explore what it means to be an Uplifter in times of crisis and extraordinary fear.
Uplifters, we will all have moments of loss and fear in our lives. Wherever our minds are in this extraordinarily complex time, I hope this episode can be a reminder to hold each other tight, open our hearts, and support one another as only Uplifters can.
I’m profoundly grateful to Sara for mustering the energy to talk to us in this difficult time.
Thank you so much for being here! Let’s keep rising higher, together, 💓 Aransas
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Sara Axelbaum's Background (2:15 - 7:12)
Sara Axelbaum is introduced as the global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at MIQ.
She leads a team focused on fostering a sense of belonging for every employee, and her accomplishments in the field are recognized.
Sara shares her personal connection to her Jewish heritage and being the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors.
Navigating a Challenging Topic (7:12 - 10:44)
We discuss the challenging topic of the recent conflict on the southern Israel border.
We acknowledge the confusion, fear, and complexities surrounding the issue.
Supporting and Uplifting Each Other (10:44 - 17:58)
Sara emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the suffering of innocent people caught up in the conflict.
The conversation shifts to how individuals can support and uplift one another during times of crisis.
We discuss the significance of being there for one another, even when the right words may be hard to find.
The Power of Connection (17:58 - 27:30)
Sara highlights the importance of reaching out to friends and loved ones during difficult times.
We discuss their fears about speaking out and the vulnerability that comes with sharing personal experiences in a public space.
Aransas shares her regret about not reaching out to a friend who was battling cancer and how she learned the importance of showing support, even if it feels uncomfortable.
Creating Space for Grief (27:30 - 34:44)
We emphasize the significance of creating space for grief and the transition from collective grief to collective joy.
Sara reveals how her organization is focusing on supporting team members and fostering a sense of community during challenging times.
Intentional Communication (34:44 - 39:21)
Aransas and Sara stress the value of intentional communication and being honest about difficult topics, rather than staying silent due to fear of saying the wrong thing.
Self-Care and Resilience (39:21 - 44:50)
Sara shares her personal practices for taking care of herself during tough times, such as keeping a gratitude journal, seeking moments of joy, and being kind to herself.
The conversation ends with a reflection on the awe-inspiring nature of human resilience and the importance of appreciating the beauty of authentic, courageous, and supportive individuals.
Conclusion (44:50 - 46:07)
The episode encourages listeners to connect, support, and uplift one another during complex and challenging times.
It highlights the strength of human connection and the power of unity and gratitude.
Outro (46:07 - 46:26)
Aransas Savas thanks Sara Axelbaum for joining the podcast and sharing her insights on navigating difficult conversations and supporting one another.