Berwick Mahdi Davenport: The Solution to Ending Racism and Building Stronger Teams

Racism was designed to keep us apart, It was designed to create conflict and a scarcity mindset. When we’re socialized to hide our authentic selves and not bring who we really are to every interaction, we just cannot connect. Leaders, whether tackling diversity and inclusion or just everyday engagement and performance, can learn a lot of lessons about how authenticity and connection lead to better outcomes.

My guest today, Berwick Mahdi Davenport, and I tackled big questions for amazingly useful insights.  We discussed what is the ultimate human need, what role authentic connection plays in satisfying that need, and how listening is the hardest but most effective practice for leaders. We defined honesty, vulnerability, and authenticity in meaningful ways you can apply to your leadership right now, and how the lack of them gets in the way of effective performance. Finally, we talked about how racism and racial inequity play out in the workplace and society, preventing us from creating together and making smarter decisions.

Key Takeaways:

  • When you talk less and listen more, your leadership will transform. 
  • The ultimate human need is significance – this can look like a job package, a job title, a connection, relationships, love, and so much more. But it is all the same thing – they want to matter.
  • When we are not authentic to ourselves and to those around us, people notice and feel that, and it causes a disconnect within ourselves. 
  • Everybody deserves to have the respect and space to grow. Nobody gets to where they are now overnight.

“What we have to realize as a leader is that you cannot pay people anything of equal value, no matter how much it is, to their life. Please don’t forget to live, because this thing happens so quickly.” —  Berwick Mahdi Davenport

About Berwick Mahdi Davenport, CEO, Soul Focused Group

Mahdi, CEO of Soul Focused Group, brings over thirty years of experience as a practicing life coach and anti-racist organizer, facilitator, and spiritual teacher. Mahdi’s primary focus has been and continues to be facilitating human connection that helps people recover and heal from racism and other forms of mental and emotional trauma. This expertise and passion allowed Mahdi to expertly hold space for leaders to explore and heal from the cultural programming that allows racism to sustain.

Mahdi brings patience, wisdom, and lightning-bolt directness to his mission.  He is an alchemist at creating space for healing to make a new way of seeing possible.

Mahdi’s honest, transformative, and healing approach at facilitating human connection gives birth to genuine relationships, friendships, and partnerships. People who once didn’t see eye to eye find themselves standing on common ground. The shift happens on common ground.

References Mentioned:

The Empathy Edge podcast with Paul Marobella:

The Empathy Edge podcast with Daniel Jahn:

The Empathy Edge podcast with M.E. Hart:

The Empathy Edge podcast with M.E. Hart:

Connect with Berwick Mahdi Davenport


Soul Focused Group: 




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