Do Better…

A few days ago, Ms. Sylvia K. Alston posted this on LinkedIn. She says, “We TOO are America.”

I responded (admittedly harshly).

I stated, “See this shit is ridiculous. I am an Inupiaq, Yupik Eskimo woman in America. I do not appreciate the ‘victim’ message of you suddenly being America. You are perpetuating a victim way of being. Instead, you could be saying, “I am the American Dream that Martin Luther King died for. I am a recipient of his inheritance.” Do better. Do not perpetuate hate to appear as a stand out.”

The ‘4 replies’ link under my comment above are no longer available for some reason…but I stand by my mantra of “Do Better”. And I have lived my life by seeking to “Do Better” and as such, I hold myself very accountable to do better.

So in the spirit of “Do Better” coupled with my curiosity, I came across this podcast that interviewed her on the topic of How to Encourage a New Generations of Leaders.

How to Encourage a New Generation of Leaders : (

“…having great conversations like this, meeting new people, networking, just challenging my mind to think more critically, more deeply about the human experience as a whole. And I think, that is what’s going to continue to hopefully help me evolve and grow.”

Sylvia K. Alston, Knowledge Center Podcast Interview on “How to encourage a new generation of leaders” December 2020

“..But one of the things that I think about often is how under-resourced and how under-represented black and brown people are in the industry, all across the spectrum.”


Less than two weeks after her podcast interview, she instead says this to me:

“…Again, I do not care. No one and certainly not me asked for your background, or your experience or your cultural history….I did not ask what you teach your children, what you learned in your culture or what power you gained. Your attempt to distract from same is deflecting, rude and privileged. Goodbye”

Slyvia K. Alston, Linkedin, January 2021

Here is the moral of my story. It is easy to say the new-sexy things that check the boxes of marketing power. And of course, it is easy to achieve those empty statements in an environment where you are “speaking to the choir”.

However, that is not where growth takes place. Growth takes place when your world view is being challenged. Growth takes place only if you are willing to shut up and open your mind to accept another point of view.

This is life, the human experience.

We all have our worldviews and none of those views are inaccurate.

But if we are putting ourselves out there as a speaker on the new generation of leaders; then you better be prepared to accept the responsibility and not just an advertising tagline.

Published by Trudy Sobocienski

My blog, "Beyond Leadership" is a creative place to share my personal feelings and thoughts while working in leadership roles for a variety of Alaska Native organizations, both for and not-for profit entities. An incredible leader and mentor of mine once asked while we were in Washington, DC, "What happened to you between the ages of 7-10 that motivated you to serve in a native leadership capacity". I was struck by that poignant thought and as such, include actual entries from my mother and my diaries beginning in the early 1970's. I enjoy sharing these excerpts because it captures the parallels she and I were experiencing throughout life, from two separate worldviews. Hers as a young mother of four and mine as her eldest child. I have never came across a book on leadership that lays bare a leaders personal feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams they were experiencing. So for me, my goal is two-fold: 1. Share the incredible life my parents created for my siblings and I growing up in remote Alaska; and, 2) Sharing my humanity, through my personal diaries and journals, while serving as the youngest-ever President/CEO for the Alaska Native Health Board. There are passages that will include significant policy issues I was working on throughout my career and travels. There are many more passages that do not. I cannot speak for my mom's passages, because I am reading them as I share them here, with you; with her permission of course.

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