Rising Above Racism: Dr. Randal Pinkett’s Journey to DEI Expertise


From being called the N-word as a child to becoming a successful entrepreneur and leader in the pursuit of racial equality and justice, Randal Pinkett’s very personal story is a testament to courage and resilience. Yet, despite his success, Randal still faces an unexpected challenge: convincing organizations to embrace the power of race to drive meaningful change.

After 30 years in business, Randal Pinkett, a trained computer scientist and DEI expert, faced an ironic twist of fate when an acquisitions editor at his publisher challenges him to confront his own deeply held beliefs and write a book on Data Driven DEI, forcing him to embark on a journey to change the people, and ultimately the organizations, around him.

Are you frustrated with trying to improve DEI in your organization, only to be met with stagnant results? Discover how to break through the status quo by leveraging data-driven solutions, targeted universalism strategies, meaningful conversations about race, and effective leadership to cultivate real change.


Key Takeaways:

  • Dr. Randal Pinkett’s personal journey as a young Black man impacted by racism that led him to become a leader in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Harness data-driven tools to effectively measure diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • What it means to apply targeted universalism strategies to fight systemic racism and promote equality.
  • Navigate challenging racial conversations for constructive and positive outcomes.
  • Comprehend the critical role of leadership in cultivating inclusive work environments.
  • Investigate the effects of social media echo chambers on society and individuals.


00:02 – Introduction,
Simma Lieberman introduces the podcast and the guest, Dr. Randall Pinkett, who is an entrepreneur, innovator, and DEI expert. She also talks about the purpose of the podcast, which is to have comfortable conversations about race between people of different races.

02:47 – About Randall Pinkett and Data Driven DEI,
Randall Pinkett talks about his background, growing up as a Black person in a predominantly White neighborhood, and his experience of racism at a young age. He also discusses his book, Data Driven DEI which focuses on personal and organizational assessments to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

08:10 – People Change,
Randall Pinkett emphasizes that organizations don’t change, people do. He explains that for any organization to transform, individuals must undertake a personal journey of self-reflection and growth. He also talks about the importance of targeting his book towards everyday people, who want to foster more diverse relationships and inclusive behaviors.

09:10 – Randall Pinkett’s Entrepreneurial Journey,
How his entrepreneurial journey,  began at the age of 21 when he started a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training company with three other Black men. He talks about his desire to make a difference in the world and how he centered his company on addressing societal issues as an outgrowth of his lived experiences.

14:30 – Making a Difference in the World,
College years in the 1990s, a time when hip hop was coming of age, and there were growing conversations around black consciousness and black economic empowerment. He and his business partners wanted to make a difference in the world and  they used their entrepreneurial spirit to address societal issues.

16:26 – The Importance of Giving Back,
How growing up in a religious household and being a man of faith has taught him to use his talents and gifts to benefit others. Randal Pinkett believes that success is what you do for yourself, while greatness is what you do for others.

18:20 – The Importance of Addressing Racism in DEI,
Pinkett highlights that race is a key identifier when looking at differences in how people experience the world. He stresses the need to assess ourselves for racial biases and preferences and to address them head-on, as they are often the most challenging and polarizing factors in DEI conversations.

24:39 – Taking a Nuanced Approach to Inclusion,
Pinkett discusses the importance of breaking down data by different demographic identifiers when assessing inclusion in organizations. He stresses that averages can obscure the experiences of subgroups and that it’s critical to identify and address the needs of those who are not being included.

29:36 – The Importance of Seeking Diverse Perspectives, seeking out diverse perspectives when working on DEI initiatives. Being a narrow expert in one dimension can create blind spots and prevent the development of effective solutions. To achieve true diversity, equity, and inclusion, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zones and seek growth through diverse perspectives.

31:13 – Overcoming Divisiveness in DEI,
Pinkett acknowledges that the current political climate has seen an unfortunate mischaracterization of DEI as a divisive movement. He stresses that DEI is actually a countercultural movement that seeks to promote equity and inclusion for all, and that we must work to overcome divisive rhetoric and bridge divides in order to achieve progress.

31:53 – The Importance of Speaking Up,
Randal Pinkett emphasizes that it is important to speak up when someone says something wrong or offensive. He believes that people have a responsibility to help others see their mistakes and learn from them. He also discusses the idea of targeted universalism and how it can help achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

36:11 – Overcoming Personal Biases,
Randal Pinkett talks about his greatest challenge in the DEI space, which was being an American from the Northeast. He shares how studying at Oxford and being exposed to different cultures helped him overcome his biases and gain a fuller appreciation for diversity.

39:12 – Dispelling Myths about Racial Equality,
Randal Pinkett discusses the myth that remaining silent is better than speaking out about issues of race and racism. He also talks about the myth that individuals are the problem when it comes to racism, rather than the systems and institutions that allow racism to persist.

43:26 – The Four Dimensions of Racism,
Randal Pinkett explains the four dimensions of racism: personal, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic. He emphasizes the importance of addressing institutional and systemic racism in addition to personal and interpersonal racism to develop comprehensive solutions.

45:57 – The Myth of Colorblindness,
Randal Pinkett challenges the myth that being colorblind is the gold standard for seeing other people. He explains that denying someone’s race, gender, or disability status can lead to treating them unfairly and that individuation, seeing people as individuals, is a better approach.

47:41 – Music Playlist,

49:28 – Relevant Films and Documentaries,

51:48 – Randall Pinkett’s Books,

54:08 – Building Bridges,
Pinkett urges people to get out of their communities of the like-minded and build bridges to connect with people of different backgrounds and ideologies to save democracy. He emphasizes that bridge-building is crucial for connecting neighborhoods, communities, and people who would otherwise be disconnected.


Guests Bio 

Dr. Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author and scholar, and as a leading voice for his generation in business and technology. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of his fifth venture, BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar research, consulting, training, technology, and analytics firm headquartered in Newark, New Jersey.

He is also the first Black person to win “The Apprentice” in 2005.

In addition, he has appeared numerous times on networks such as MSNBC, CNN, and Fox Business News as an expert on topics ranging from business and politics to diversity and inclusion to technology and innovation. 

Host Bio

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”

Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com

Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information

Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition)


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