The Design Business Show 212: Talking Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with Liz Nead

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | January 30, 2023

Liz Nead is an adventure speaker, traveling the world and taking on challenges to find lessons of leadership, communication diversity, and inclusion. A diversity speaker and researcher for over a decade, she specializes in common language and daily communication around race and cultural differences in the workplace. Liz uses a direct, humorous, and vivid style from the stage to create opportunities for communication around differences. Liz has also served as an executive coach and consultant for DEI challenges for companies like Paypal, News Corp, National Guard, and YWCA.

Liz is a television host and author, writing several Amazon best sellers, most recently “The 1440 Principle.” She also won a regional Emmy for her television show, “Life Dare.” Liz balances her passionate work with a thriving family of seven and husband of 20 years, a retired army major.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

How Liz Became a Speaker + Created Her Own TV Show

  • How Liz and I met, why I was drawn to her, and how we’ve stayed in contact for around 15 years
  • Liz is putting a podcast together that I’ve been helping her with a little bit
  • Check out Liz’s website to see all the different topics she speaks about  
  • Because Liz believes in inspiring and helping people in the different ways they need, she has many different mediums for people – if you like to read, she has a book; if you watch TV, she filmed a show; she did radio, and does coaching
  • The story of how Liz was speaking to her stuffed animals as a child and thanking them for coming to her events and feels that she had speaking inside her from a very young age
  • Being laid off pushed Liz into entrepreneurship and into speaking  
  • How Oprah helped shape how Liz views the world and how It was always a goal of hers to have a TV show
  • Liz shares how she was able to start her TV show, Life Dare, with the help of someone in her Rotary Club and how she bought a 30-minute slot on FOX to do it
  • If you see yourself doing something, you build a structure to make yourself believe it – then you can do anything
  • Liz gets most of her speaking engagements through word of mouth but also spends a lot of time cold calling
  • At the end of 2021, Liz was put in the hospital due to a heart condition, which hurt her business because she went 7 months without promoting herself
  • Liz went to the hospital expecting to be checked in and out the same day but did not end up checking out for another 7 weeks and had to have open heart surgery right away
  • Liz was in a coma for a week, and her amazing kids helped while she was in that condition, moving her schedule around for clients, posting to her social media, staying by her side, etc.
  • Being superwoman is tiring, Liz shares, but at the same time, it fuels her fire – which is relatable for many people
  • Part of why Liz is so transparent is because she needs support, though most people’s instinct is to act like everything is fine and they don’t need support

The Importance of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

  • In 2020, Liz says that DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) blew up, which was good for her because she had been speaking about it for years 
  • How Liz created 10 training videos on DEI for Prositions, a company that sells training videos to companies – creating those videos helped her nail down her messaging 
  • Many racially charged events over the last couple of years have shown us how much work we need to do when it comes to DEI and how conscious we need to become 
  • Liz explains that many people were not taught anything about diversity growing up, which has contributed to the lack of knowledge when it comes to DEI
  • The reason why Liz talks about DEI in a very non-confrontational way
  • We discuss how different times are now compared to when we were growing up or when our parents were growing up – our kids know so much more about mental health and sexual identity, for example 
  • As creators in 2023 and beyond, we have to learn to educate employers on why it’s important to be conscious of DEI, and Liz gives an example of how to do this when giving a proposal 
  • Liz says it’s not enough to put brown people into pictures; you have to truly understand why representation is important and be sensitive about it 
  • How Liz couldn’t find brown hands on Canva even though they have hundreds of thousands of images 
  • It’s hard to notice when others aren’t being included when you are always included – we need to make room for everyone, and to do that, it may feel like you’re being disregarded, but you aren’t 
  • Liz explains that we will always have to be conscious of DEI – it is a constant self-evaluation 
  • Human resources and connections are the money – if you get the chance to talk to someone and they share what they think, and they’re giving their thoughts and opinions on what you are passionate about, that’s really important 
  • Check out Liz’s website, and if you put your name in the dropdown box at the top of the website, she’ll reach out to you 
  • Liz is creating a diversity workbook that ties in the concepts she speaks about, which will be available hopefully within the next month on her website


Links mentioned:

 The 1440 Principle

Liz Nead’s Website


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