Looking for a major dose of inspiration? Check out this week's episode featuring the incredibly inspiring Sedruola Maruska. She shares her career journey and discusses how to take your power back in life and cause a ripple effect.
Sedruola Maruska is a social justice, equity, inclusion and diversity consultant and coach, host of the award-winning podcast Diversity Dish, speaker and aspiring author. She’s a graduate of Andrews University with a BA in Graphic Arts, a former Conversational English teacher, Corporate Trainer, and Executive Assistant. Her passion is helping individuals in business cultivate cultures of equity and inclusion, so they attract the diverse partnerships they desire.
Sedruola Maruska founded her consulting agency of the same name in January of 2017 after realizing it was time to embark on an intentional life journey to help educate and empower others on issues of social justice. Sedruola is a second generation Haitian-American, wife and mother who prides herself on having an amazing extended family network and being a citizen of the world born in Queens, New York.
Sedruola Maruska: [00:00:00] Well I'm so
Sedruola Maruska, most people call me Sadie and I'm an equity inclusion and diversity consultant in COVID. I help companies create cultures where that attract the diversity that they're looking for, rather than the other way around.
I like to say that if you have the income equity and you have the inclusion, the diversity will follow, it will come. And, um, and so that's what I mean. I've been doing that for about almost three years now. And it feels really good to be able to help companies, especially small businesses get into the arena of really thinking about how their messaging impacts other people.
KT Maschler: I love that. So, okay. Repeat for me one more time. Your job title.
Sedruola Maruska: I'm an equity inclusion and diversity consultant. That is a
KT Maschler: mouthful, but I love it. It's [00:01:00] completely bad apps. So with that, what kind of like made you kind of choose that as your career past or passion?
Sedruola Maruska: Uh, I think it chose me because I, I say, if anyone told me that this is what I would be doing just even five years ago, I would have been like, really?
Or why would you say that? And here I am just doing it and really enjoying it. I think, um, in 2017 I was diagnosed with cancer and, you know, sitting in the doctor's office at that time. There were two thoughts. I completely did not hear anything she said after that you have invasive lobular carcinoma, breast cancer.
I was like, okay, great. So it was a good thing. My husband was there then, then I, you know, the first thought was, oh my gosh, what about the kids? What's going to happen to the kids? Because of course the [00:02:00] first thought is cancer. You're going to die. And cancer is not a death sentence. So let's just get that out there.
Cancer's not a death sentence. It is. It is more than likely. Can
KT Maschler: you repeat that for the crowd in the back?
Sedruola Maruska: Cancer is not a death sentence. It is. Um, sometimes it's a pause. It's just a way for you to reevaluate. And I think that that's what happened to me in the office. And so after I thought about, okay, what if I'm not going to die?
I don't have to worry about the kids, but am I doing what I want to be doing and leaving the legacy that I want to leave? And that came back a resounding no. And so at that point, I was like, okay, that means I need to really think about and stay open for whatever it is I'm meant [00:03:00] to do, and to allow myself to move in that direction.
And so. And, you know, a lot of things transpired between then and now, but basically I've been just kind of staying open and allowing myself to move in the direction. That feels really good to me. If it doesn't feel good to me because I've. I'm a cancer survivor and I don't have time to do things that don't make me happy.
So I move in a direction that makes me happy. And here I am. And in this, in this arena, in this space, It is, it can be very emotionally taxing, physically taxing, but I've also learned to put in boundaries and allow myself a lot of space in Greece so that I can continue to do what I, what I'm doing now, because I feel like I, I love it.
I think it's where I'm supposed to be. And so in order to be able to do it for a long time to come, as long as I meant to do it, I [00:04:00] need to give myself space so that I can offer. Refill myself and then to overflowing and being able to do what I have to do.
KT Maschler: So I, I always love when people say like, I need to take this time for myself.
I need to put in those boundaries. I need to do this to like, make that work life separation. But then there's that pause? And they're like, Okay. How do you actually do that? How do you actually go about and say it to your boss and be like, I can't, I got to do this this weekend. Like I gotta have time to be me.
Like, how do you say that?
Sedruola Maruska: Yeah, so I work for myself right now, so it's much easier for me to do that. And I, but I totally understand in our job. Where you have to report to someone and you really feel like there needs to be space. One of the things that we tend to do [00:05:00] when we're in a job is we tend to pick up all the projects that come our way and we don't have to do that.
We really actually only need to do the projects that we feel good about. And we can say. You know, one of the best ways to kind of get out of doing multiple projects at the same time and just overwhelming yourself is to go to your boss and to say, I have this project, this project, this project, and this project, I cannot do all of these projects extremely well.
And that is what I really would like to do. I would like for you to tell me which project is the most important, what do I need to focus on? Right. And when you get that information, you say, great, I'm going to focus my energy on this one so that I can do it the best of my ability. What do you want me to do with these other projects?
Would you like me to put them on the back burner for later [00:06:00] time? Or is there someone else that we can delegate them to? And I know it's, it's easier said than done, but it really is what needs to be done in order for. Those boundaries to be set. Another thing that we do is we think that we have to respond to every text message, every email, everything, no matter what time it is that we get them.
And that's one thing that I don't do. I look at the clock and I'm like, I'm off work. So I, even if I'm looking at my email, I say, I'm going to respond to that tomorrow because I don't, I want to train people who work with. To no, I never get a response from her after five. I never get a response from her over the weekend.
I never get a, you know, all of that, those things. We have to train people in the ways that we want them to deal with us. If you're constantly responding, responding to this morning and they're like, I can send them an email at [00:07:00] three o'clock in the morning. She's probably gonna hear it buzz and respond.
Right. Or. It could be that they say exactly. Ugh, I know I'm not going to hear anything until Monday morning, if it's Friday evening. So I'll just wait until Monday morning. And so those are the ways that we can build our own boundaries so that we train other people how to work with us and also make it clear that we need to have these boundaries because we have.
Things to do. It doesn't matter if you have kids or not. If you're married or not, whoever you are, you have a life and you deserve to live that life. And it does not need to be encroached in on, by work.
KT Maschler: So I want to go back and touch on a little bit. You are the. Little light coming through my computer screen right now.
And then you [00:08:00] touched on the fact that you had cancer. How did you go through the mindset shift, the growth mindset? I don't know. How did you go through that and become this? How did you get what inspired you to become so bubbly and bright?
Sedruola Maruska: I don't think. I don't think cancer had anything to do with it.
It's really interesting to me. My niece was in college at the time when I was diagnosed with cancer and she sent me a message at the time. And I know that it was to kind of inspire me to, and to just put things in perspective, but she said, she sent me a message and she said, um, auntie I was, um, asked to do a report.
On the happiest person. I know. And I did the report on you and that was, uh, that was a during cancer. So she knew me before cancer. Um, so [00:09:00] I think that it's, although I have to say that cancer has heightened, my awareness of life cancer actually has, I think, heightened. My senses to life. Right. I'll be driving.
I'll be like, oh, look at the sky. Oh, fly. Oh, look at the trees. You know, I mean, cancer has certainly heightened that for me, but I think it's, it was there before, but it's just kind of a little bit more augmented. And I think that's because we don't know how long we have eye cancer. And that was kind of a thing that put me face to face.
With, with my mortality. But if we're honest with ourselves, we are all standing one second away from mortality, from our death. It is a part of life and we really have to consider what we're doing in the moments that we have, [00:10:00] because we don't know. I mean, it's funny. I was watching a television show and it's a television.
But it's based in reality in that this late, it was, I think it was, uh, 9 1, 1 that I was watching and she went into her house. She was depressed. She went into her house. She came, she had come out. She picked up this. Weighted blanket that she'd ordered. She brought it in and she was talking to her neighbor and her neighbor was like, well, what are you doing with yourself?
What are you going to do? She's like, I'm not going to do anything. I'm going to stay safely here in my apartment, on my couch. And so she goes, and she lays down under her weighted blanket and not two minutes later, immediately. I've comes through the roof and goes straight through her blanket. And through her body, it doesn't kill her, but it's just, uh, it's just a wake-up call.
It's one of those things. It's like, it could be [00:11:00] anything you cannot protect yourself from the, from, from life, from living. So you might as well live. Enjoy it until that moment that. You're the law. You take your last breath. And so I I've always believed that and I believe it even more strongly now.
KT Maschler: That's awesome. Do you have any go-to kind of mantras or affirmations that you kind of developed during the past couple of years?
Sedruola Maruska: Uh, no. I think I use ones that are, that are pretty standard. You know, I am enough. I. This is meant for me, I can do this. And because we hold ourselves back from, from going places, doing things and having experiences, because we think that I can't afford.
So I think to myself instead of I can't afford it, how can I afford it? And yes, I can afford it. Let me just do it right. [00:12:00] Stop second, guessing myself. And let's just go ahead and do the things that we really want to do, because honestly, when you take a step towards life and you say, Hey, here I am. I'm ready to do this.
Life will take a step towards you and say, okay, we're ready to deliver. And it really. Let's
KT Maschler: do this. I love that. Um, any last piece of advice that you have to share, you have been such a joy to talk to, and literally for all of those audio listeners, she's literally glowing. There's a screen. Um, it like good
Sedruola Maruska: light.
Um, no, I just want people to understand the power that they wield. It's one of the things that I tried to. Share with people all the time. We think that we don't have the power. We think that, oh, my company is doing this. Oh, our industry is doing this. I feel a certain way, but, and I would love to see changes, [00:13:00] but who am I?
Well, you are, you that's who you are. And no one else is you. No one else is thinking the thoughts that you're thinking. That's really a powerful thing to consider. No one else is thinking the same thoughts that you're thinking. So. You are you, and if you think that something or someone else has power over you, what you've done is you've given your power over to them.
So I want people to take their power back and own their power and know that just, it only takes a drop to create a ripple in the stream, instill water, right? Just that one person can create the huge. Ripple. So think of yourself as that one drop, drop yourself in and create that ripple and do what you're going to do, because what it will do, it will affect others.
And we might have, it might inspire or motivate others and have them put their drop in. And all of a sudden, when we got [00:14:00] we've got rain, we're rainmakers and we're doing all this, you know, we're doing these re river, you know, Circles of positivity and growth and, and understanding and all of that and love.
KT Maschler: I low key. You have a small tear welled up in my, I relate to that on such another level. I love that I will listen to that on repeat. I might turn into my ringtone. Thank you so much for sharing your joy and your light with us and your advice. Um, you were such an inspiration.
Sedruola Maruska: Thank you such a pleasure.
Thank you for having.
And that is it for this week's episode. Thank you so much for tuning in it truly does mean the world to me. If you want to show your support for the quest for new inspiration, make sure you check out our merge store and get that bubbly. But blunt, sweatshirt.
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