We had the good fortune of connecting with Marisa Urrutia Gedney & Beatriz Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marisa Urrutia Gedney & Beatriz Garcia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?

It really started with a question: “We can’t be the only ones in need of healing from all the harm of calling out injustices at work. Can we?” We kept asking each other forms of this same question on phone calls in furious tears after really difficult work moments. We held space for and acknowledged each other’s harm and gave guidance on what to do next at work. After spending our careers calling out inequities and experiencing pushback, we realized the toll it took on our confidence and power- we said, enough. We were accustomed to fighting to be heard and coerced into staying small. We wanted to stop being seen as disruptive. We wanted to stop focusing our work on demanding to be seen and instead shift to helping marginalized folks do this same work. 

The seed was planted for what has evolved and become Your Truth At Work. It came down to us honoring our truth: We desire and demand justice at work. In the middle of a pandemic and the largest global movement for Black lives we collectively witnessed the call out and resolutions to combat systemic racism and we were inspired to create from what we were already doing for each other and the people we managed. Our offering became a healing circle, a community, a space for women&non-binary BIPOC to heal from harm, unlearn internalized oppression, rise up in their power to keep fighting, be understood, and be taken care of. 

The most common feedback we received was that there’s not a lot out there to help people already doing anti-racist work. Especially in June of this year, the hype for businesses was to hire DEI consultants, many companies were considering this for the very first time. But we wanted to focus on the sustainability for people calling out white supremacy at work because we know it can be harmful even when there is a supposed commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Inspired by creating something that could fill a gap, and seeing the success of the first circle, we visioned a way to reach and support more people as they continued disrupting. It was about community, creating connections, and working in an environment where love, care, respect, admiration, acknowledgment, validation, and feeling valued are norms was a reality we didn’t believe we would/could experience. It felt too radical to be true. ⁣But here we are, creating it for ourselves, infusing it into everything we do, and sharing it with the world. ⁣

What should our readers know about your business?

In our business we focus on supporting the individuals who are speaking up, challenging white-dominant norms, and dismantling white supremacy at work. We focus on WHO is integrating what is learned through consultants, programs, and workshops. This is what sets us apart.

Separately, in our careers, we often came across many Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultants, workshops, and certificate programs that focused on HOW to integrate the framework and practices into organizations and felt there was something missing. We couldn’t name it or identify it but we definitely felt it. It wasn’t until we both were doing this work together and began to share the impact of actively speaking up at work against white supremacy values and harmful practices including violent and degrading HR practices that we realized, who is taking care of us? How do we heal from the harm caused in choosing to do this work?

We are in the early stages of our work and are creating a business with the guiding principles of community and healing. Our work is an offering and an invitation to individuals who crave to be witnessed, acknowledged, heard, seen, and cared for as they heal from the harm white dominant culture causes. We got here by being honest with ourselves and believing it could be different. There had to be more beyond the lip-service of ineffective diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. Our hope is to create a community of truth tellers who demand justice at work.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Our answers exist in a pre-Covid fantasy world, of course. Imagine the pandemic version of each excursion as you read. If it was March, we would want them to experience the magic of orange blossom season in full scent explosion, so we would take them to The Huntington or Arlington Gardens. We would check out the current exhibit at the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College. We would stop by the Eastside Cafe to watch one of Marisa’s Danza Azteca practices. We would tell them the drive to Costa Mesa is worth it for the best meal of their life at Taco Maria. Because we are both from LA, we would honestly probably spend a lot of time with them visiting our families and eating their home-cooked meals. If it was baseball season we would take them to a Dodgers game and celebrate at Eastside Luv by Mariachi Plaza or at Bar Flores in Echo Park for a mezcal tasting and then a stroll at Echo Park Lake to see the lotus blossoms.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

There are many people who have contributed to our growth and creation. Here are a few of the people we couldn’t have done this without.  

Anna Lian Tes, filmmaker and graphic designer, created all of our branding. She captured the essence of our vision so perfectly and we love collaborating with her. 

@annaliantes 

We were deeply inspired by the writing, theory, and teachings of Audre Lorde, Mikki Kendall, and adrienne maree brown. They help us understand our feelings and ground us in the truth. 

@karnythia @adriennemareebrown 

Marisa wants to personally thank two people that have been instrumental in her mental and emotional health. They are loving and gentle somatic practitioners who both work out of the Altadena Healing Arts Center: Soleah Nicolis and Vanessa Ferandell. https://lumostransforms.com/team/soleah-nicolis/ https://www.vanessaferandell.com/ 

Beatriz also wants to personally thank two transformational coaches, Damon Gbuduala Azali-Rojas and Sarah Jawaid, who modeled what healing, justice, and centering love looks and feels like when dismantling white supremacy. https://www.healingjusticeliberation.org/

Website: https://www.yourtruthatwork.com/
Instagram: @yourtruthatwork

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.