Although we have made strides in advancing the professional lives of women and minorities in the last several decades, there are still key areas where companies need to improve their employment practices. 

Our guest today, Jean Back, is an employment attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and has over 25 years of experience in helping employers navigate and solve a range of complicated problems and scenarios. Her experience is broad and covers litigation as well as mediation and settlement of employment and business tort claims. She has also conducted training for managers and employees in employment compliance and is experienced in all areas of state and federal employment, wage and hour, discrimination, and leave laws.

Today, you’ll hear Jean unpack the key distinctions between overt and unconscious bias and how they can come into play in a wide range of employment practices. She explains how unconscious biases show up in the hiring and layoff process and what can be done to address these biases. Jean also discusses how to cultivate a bias-free work culture and how to improve your own organization’s DEI practices today. 

Even the most progressive employers (who approach hiring with the best of intentions) can have blindspots when it comes to unconscious bias. And while we all may have unconscious biases, recognizing them is the first step in the journey to change them. To learn how to avoid these stumbling blocks to a fair and equitable workforce and what you can personally do to build a workplace that works for all, don’t miss this episode. 


Key Highlights From This Episode:  

  • The distinctions between overt and unconscious bias. [03:40]
  • Examples of how job descriptions can signal bias through their language. [06:25]
  • How our brains use unconscious bias and prejudice to protect us. [08:17]
  • How training can help you become more aware of your biases and address them proactively. [10:07]
  • Why you need to seek out information on how to reprogram your unconscious biases. [13:24]
  • Examples of words that are used in job descriptions that unconsciously invite men to apply while discouraging female applicants. [16:08]
  • An overview of the doll test and what it teaches us about unconscious bias. [17:11]
  • How unconscious bias can affect the layoff and hiring process and how to fix these problems in an organization. [20:57]
  • The most important Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) elements that companies need to be focusing on. [27:57]
  • An overview of the need for pay equity laws and how to conduct a pay equity analysis within your company. [29:39]


For More Information:

Jean Back


Jean Back on LinkedIn


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:  

For more information on this topic, read Jean Back’s piece on Avoiding Discrimination Claims as the Result of a Reduction in Force

Read Kathy’s Forbes interview with Jean Black How To Eliminate Gender Bias In Your Hiring And Employment Practices Today

Learn more about the Doll Test and its devastating effects Brown v. Board: The Doll Test

Search for articles on unconscious bias at Harvard Law Review and The Business Journals



I’m very excited to be offering a new 8–week LIVE training course with me all about The Most Powerful You content from my book, and how you can address and close the 7 most damaging Power And Confidence Gaps that keep us from thriving in our work. The course starts Wednesday, February 1st!

I’ve been delivering workshops and trainings on The Most Powerful You for over two years now in all sorts of ways for over 50 organizations (including an international division of the United Nations and other top global companies), and folks are saying it’s been truly transformative and life-changing for them.

To make sure everyone can have access to this very same training, I’m thrilled to offer you a live course that includes:

  • 8 WEEKLY LIVE Zoom Group Coaching Calls with me
  • 8 Video Training Modules (total of 16 videos – 4 hours in total)
  • Step-by-Step Career and Confidence-Growth Training Curriculum
  • Additional Curated Resources for expanded learning.
  • Private Online Facebook Support Group.
  • AND you’ll receive lifetime access to all the training materials and a 20% discount on my private coaching and other programs.


Sign up at to get my weekly newsletter and look out for more info and registration enrollment for the course. Enrollment opens in early January. Remember that spots go fast, so be sure you sign up early to claim your spot. I can’t wait to work with you!


Calling all coaches! 

Do you run a coaching or consulting business that focuses on supporting professional women? If so, I’ve got some exciting news about supporting your coaching growth, success, and impact.

Right now, we’re opening the enrollment of my private (1:1) coaching training program called The Amazing Career Coach Certification, which is a 17-week, hands-on training program that certifies female coaches in my proprietary 16-step career growth model, which is perfect for coaches who want a deeper dive into learning powerful, proven coaching frameworks, concepts, and skills that teach the 16 most essential steps to building an amazing career that your clients need to know. And this training will help you become far more effective and impactful in supporting women to thrive today in their jobs, roles, and careers.

And through the program, you’ll get access to a powerful Small Business Acceleration program called The Rapid Growth Academy, delivered by my friend and colleague, award-winning business growth expert Matthew Pollard.

Through Matthew’s program, you’ll be taught critical business and sales growth info that will help you grow your business success in the quickest way possible.

In my view, there’s nothing on the market like for both new and more seasoned coaches because it targets the two critical aspects of success: how you support your clients to thrive, and just as importantly, how to grow your own business to the next level.

For more information, visit and check out the details. Join me this Winter!


Order Kathy’s book The Most Powerful You today!

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK, click here.

If you enjoy the book, we’d so appreciate your giving the book a positive rating and review on Amazon! And check out Kathy’s digital companion course The Most Powerful You, to help you close the 7 most damaging power gaps in the most effective way possible. 

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey, Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success & Other Free Resources

Kathy’s TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Amazing Career Project video training course & 6 Dominant Action Styles Quiz


Sponsor Highlight 

I’m thrilled that both and Amazon Music are sponsors of Finding Brave! Take advantage of their great special offers and free trials today!

Audible Offer

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“If you think ahead, you can use your conscious brain to make the decisions. And then question yourself when you’re making a decision. Ask yourself ‘Am I using my conscious brain to make this decision?’ or is this decision being influenced by my unconscious brain?” — Jean Black [0:13:09]

“It’s not my job to teach you this. [You] need to go out and learn this yourself. There are lots of good books, [and] lots of good articles. But you need to make this a priority.” — Jean Black [0:15:14]

“One thing that I am speaking to HR folks about these days, is that unconscious bias starts at the hiring stage and the performance review stage. And that can ultimately affect the layoff process.” — Jean Black [0:20:58]

“It’s a matter of looking at similarly situated people and determining whether they were treated the same, or differently. And if they were treated differently, then why were they treated differently?” — Jean Black [0:27:30]

“You have to post what the salary range is going to be for that job. The reason for that is if you don’t do that, it enables people to come in and negotiate for their salary. And studies have shown that men are better advocates for themselves. ” — Jean Black [0:30:04]

“The world is changing. It’s really hard for some people to change these deep-seated belief systems. What I’m trying to say is you don’t have to change what you believe. You can remain true to yourself and your beliefs, but allow others to have their beliefs.” — Jean Black [0:35:01]

Watch our Finding Brave episodes on YouTube!

Don’t forget – you can experience each Finding Brave episode in both audio and video formats! Check out new and recent episodes on my YouTube channel at And please leave us a comment and a thumbs up if you like the show!



Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


Best Career Coaches 2020