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Aww Shift

Mar 22, 2022


In today’s episode, our guest is Kailee Scales. Kailee has been on multiple national publications and now sits at the top of running Pencils of Promise. She served as the first Managing Director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and supported the development of a solid infrastructure around the decentralized organization, allowing it to grow from a hashtag to a political and cultural powerhouse for Black people worldwide. Stay tuned and learn more about Kailee!


[2:18] Why should we listen to you?


As a stranger in a cafe in the middle of a pandemic, I have something very important to say if I talk to you. I like to kind of keep to myself. Once we start talking, we could talk. But I'm not one to strike up a conversation.


[2:48] I'm a strange paradox. I am very engaging, I love people, and I love talking to people. But I can be nervous. I think all of us have a bit of a paradoxical little part of our personality.


[4:00] Kailee’s career


First, I'm a mom. First thing when I wake up in the morning, it's school. Then I go right into my work, and sometimes I just kind of look at my work a little bit as I'm getting ready for school because I love what I do so much, particularly with Pencils of Promise- the organization that I lead. It is just so empowering, especially when we feel a little uncertain and all over the place; it's great to be able to do something to help the world.


[5:22] World movements


All the things that happened in my formative years just pointed me toward a world change of transformation. I realized I was familiar with a lot of the world's issues, and I was always mobilized and had opportunities to volunteer and do things. As a result of that, I realized that we all have a part in this world; whether or not we like it, we all have a part. We can affect change. I wanted to make a shift to making sure that that happens. So the process of contributing to Big World Problems makes me feel better. 


[6:58] Making it happen


It's always about identifying the North Star, identifying what you're trying to accomplish, and being firmly resolved to accomplish that thing—and then being open to realizing that there are many pathways to that thing and not judging. The way it happens will be strategic, will be exactly the way it's supposed to happen, will teach you lessons along the way, will allow you to purposefully take a different pathway to see if it'll work and see if it will fail. If it does, you fail fast and move back the other way. You won't be as connected to how you're doing it as you are to what you are trying to achieve.


[18:49] Building a platform to have a communication channel


We want to create these things to end these personas, platforms, and brands to appeal to others. We forget that each of us has high value and each of us has gifts. We all need to stay centered, honor, expand and expound that because no one can be you, and no one has what you have, even if you're a twin.


[19:34] It's always really important to me to know who I am and discover that and not be afraid of the things that I may not like. The North Star analogy also pertains to us as individuals; what is our individual North Star?  


[28:03] What would you attach your success in the area you are to? 


It was the skill, acknowledgment, and awareness that change is possible. I shared the commitment with many of my colleagues throughout my career and found those like-minded people who understood that change is possible.


[29:05] I value myself, know I have gifts, and honor those. I value you and I know you have gifts, and I honor that. Along the way, sometimes, we need help. Sometimes we need support. Sometimes we need to be seen. Sometimes we need encouragement and comfort. We always need love. That's the spirit in which I engage all the time. I treat others as if they engage that way all of the time. I think that's what brings me in these environments with like-minded people who also value themselves and value their gifts and want to make sure that the world sees that and that helps the world promote that.


[31:04]  Handling people that will come with inflammatory words or statements


These questions go unanswered because these disparities exist because there are people who inherently disagree and want to keep things the same way. When you do this change work, you are changing. You are raging against a machine and institution, individuals who disagree with you, which is why you have to dismantle those feelings. You have to flat already just out commit to that.

[35:23] When do you know you’ve won?


It's one step at a time. It's one person at a time. It's again, back to that whole Northstar self-actualization: your goal is your peace and joy and your ability to appreciate the process, whether or not it's working because you feel fulfilled. We also have to calibrate our goals, desires, dreams, and hopes with finding those interim moments of fulfillment, those interim moments of feeling peaceful, love, grounded and leaning into that and absorbing all that gives us to motivate, empower, and sustain us to the next thing.


[38:19] Pencils of Promise


Pencils of Promise for me is a continuation of my equity work. This transformation works to ensure that people everywhere have opportunities, that we level the playing field, and that human beings can access the rights they were born into as human beings. Pencils of Promise focuses on providing high-quality educational opportunities for children worldwide. 


Key Quotes:


[6:17-6:35] “If your room is a mess, and you clean it up, you feel better. Just a process that makes you feel better. And so the process of contributing to Big World Problems makes me feel better.”


[17:14-17:24] “We all do what we want. But I always think about staying connected to ourselves and staying connected to each other is what will transform the world.”


[23:05-23:11] “You must be present with yourself at all hours of the day. You don't just deserve 15 minutes. You deserve 24 hours. You should center and be present in all the stuff. ”

Learn more about Kailee Scales on: