Episode 16

On Humanizing the Workplace with Vivian Acquah

In this episode, I spoke with Vivian Acquah, an independent workplace wellness advocate from Amsterdam. Vivian's mission is to make the world a better place for all and future generations. She tackles that by humanizing the workplace.

In our conversation Vivian shared so many great insights, that it’s hard to make a selection.

However, hearing Vivian share this African proverb at ~24min, in the context of how to move the needle when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion is very powerful:

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

When talking about how to lead conversations around Diversity at ~35min, Vivian shares that…

Talking about diversity should never be a battle. It should be a conversation where somebody is open to listen and learn. And if they’re not ready yet, then it’s not up to you to…. Never force it, because they won’t adopt it. The only ways that I want companies to lift their bars, is to really work towards an anti-racism policy and strategy and for the leaders to walk their talk.

and goes on to say…

I want to be seen, I want to be heard. And by not having a person of color or a woman or somebody else with a different background there, it’s hard to be seen and be heard. And also know that I was not only the black person most of the time in the workplace but I was [also] the black woman in the workplace. So, I’m not only dealing with my blackness, but also dealing with the fact that I’m a woman. And there comes the intersectionality. There are so many layers for people that we need to raise more awareness regarding who people are, what they are, and start meeting them in the middle as a human. I’m human first.

Shortly thereafter at ~38min Vivian shares:

I know that we all cannot undo what happened 400 years ago. That’s not our mission. The only mission that I have is to raise awareness regarding what happened to the past and why the past is still shackling us from advancing.


Listen to “cto.coffee - Episode 16 - On Humanizing the Workplace with Vivian Acquah”.

Content Notice: At ~26min, suicide is mentioned.

You can also listen to the episode and subscribe to the podcast on the show’s Spotify or Apple Podcasts page.

This episode was recorded on 9-September-2020.


You can also read the transcription of this episode.

Show Notes

Connect with Vivian on Linkedin, Twitter or on her personal website.

~3min Vivian shares about her podcast and live broadcasts

~4min Vivian shares what it means to humanize to workplace, and dehumanizing in the workplace

~8min Benjamin’s take on humanizing the workplace - showing genuine interest and empathy

~13min Dealing with mental health, how work affects your home life, and integrating your full self at work

~15min Work Life integration > work life balance

~17min Investing in self care, making time to charge, and burnout

~21min How George Floyd’s death and Vivian’s son influenced Amplify DEI

~26min Taking actionable steps to make a difference

~28min What does the Equity in DEI stand for, and checking privilege

~31min Why it’s important to move beyond DEI training, and why you must exercise what you learn

~34min How diversity discussions should not be a battle and working towards true anti-racism initiatives

~37min Standing ground and raising awareness around being recognized as a human first as a Black person and as a woman

~40min How past shackles trickle into the workplace

The intro/outro music in the podcast was made with Sonic Pi from this code.

Production & Editing

This cto.coffee podcast episode was edited and prepared for publishing by Namos Studio.

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