Jan. 4, 2022

Claiming Space With Eliza VanCort

An unapologetic space claimer and huge Star Trek fan

Eliza VanCort is an unapologetic space claimer that describes herself as a speaker, mentor, a rule breaker and an author. She is the founder of The Actor’s Workshop in Ithaca, New York and a Cook House Fellow at Cornell University. Eliza a bestselling author that has thrived through unspeakable tragedy. And on top of all that, she’s a huge Star Trek fan!! 

LINKS: Website: https://www.elizavancort.com

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Ep43 Eliza VanCort Transcript


[00:00:00] Eliza VanCort: The bookshop.com did if your book was a business book, what would it be? And I got Princess Leia, and I was like my life is complete.

[00:00:08] Announcer: Welcome to the Starfleet Leadership Academy, leadership development told through the lens of Star Trek. Your host, Jeff Akin is a 20 year veteran of the public and private sectors in management and leadership. He specializes in helping people unlock their true potential, and is a huge Star Trek fan. And now here's your host, Jeff Akin.

[00:00:28] Jeff Akin: Welcome and thanks for joining me today. I'm excited to bring you this special episode and share my conversation with Eliza VanCort. Eliza is an unapologetic space claimer that describes herself as a speaker, mentor, a rule breaker and an author. She's the founder of the Actor’s Workshop in Ithaca, New York and a Cookhouse Fellow at Cornell University, which is where I earned my certificate in diversity, equity and inclusion. She's a best-selling author that has thrived through unspeakable tragedy. And on top of all that, she's a huge Star Trek fan.

[00:01:10] Eliza VanCort: I see my own evolution as a feminist when I watched the show.

[00:01:14] Jeff Akin: You are really going to appreciate her insight into Counselor Troi and after talking with her, I'll never look at B’Elanna Torres the same. So join Eliza and me as we talk about women in Star Trek and how powerful this incredible franchise is. I love to hear people's Star Trek origin stories. There's so many ways to find this show. Eliza dives right in and shows off her Trek street cred.

[00:01:42] Eliza VanCort: I love Star Trek. Um, my ex-husband and I, we used to watch it religiously. And I think I watched I did not watch the first one. I will be honest. But I read William Shatner's book. So I feel like I almost did. But I watched all of Next Gen. I actually saw Jean Luc as we like to call him not Patrick Stewart. I saw him in Shakespeare in the Park in New York back in the day when he did the Tempest and went arm over arm with a rope and not using his legs to the top of this gigantic, I mean, he was such a badass. And then I watched you know Next Gen and Deep Space Nine and all of them. So yeah, I love it.

[00:02:29] Jeff Akin: Sir Patrick, Jean Luc Picard doing Shakespeare in the park. How cool is that? Well, honestly, not nearly as cool as this very personal story that she shares next.

[00:02:43] Eliza VanCort: And we actually got a joke between my ex and I that he could cheat with Deanna Troi. If she came down from space, and I could cheat with Warf that was our past. That's just how nerdy we were.

[00:02:57] Jeff Akin: I love it. A relationship grounded in Star Trek. I asked my partner who her Star Trek hall pass would be and she said, What do you mean, I only get one. But she landed on Ash Tyler Yeah, I can't really argue with that. But I couldn't really decide who mine would be. I mean, I already have the perfect partner and can't imagine ever wanting a hall pass. I gently steered the conversation to my favorite Captain, Kathryn Janeway. And this led to a fascinating talk about the excruciating schedules that actors have to keep.

[00:03:36] Eliza VanCort: She was an awesome captain. Do you know I'm sure you know, the story that she wasn't the original person cast? Yeah, no, she's a badass. She was such a good captain. I was so impressed with her. And the fact that she went in there. I mean, as somebody who did 20 years of training actors and knows people in the business, I know how rigorous that schedule is. And she, you know what they do on that show? It's amazing, because people don't understand, you know, you talk about being in makeup for hours. I mean, I have a former student who was actually on Robin Williams last show, the Crazy Ones. And she sat next to him in makeup every day, and they were in makeup for quite some time. And they didn't do, because she was one of the series regulars. They didn't do this, you know, they didn't have Klingon foreheads and all and it still is time consuming. You know, so you're sitting there in makeup forever. And doing all it's really I mean, the women who did you know, all of the Seven of Nine and Lieutenant Torres and all of those, they have a lot of work to do on top of their normal stuff.

[00:04:40] Jeff Akin: The conversation quickly began to focus on the way women of color often well, are dehumanized in TV and on movie roles.

[00:04:50] Eliza VanCort: But yeah, there's a history of women of color being completely turned into non women and you know, not treated the same way that white women are put up on pedestals and women of color are considered, I mean, historically, they were, they were actually put in the role of animals, you know, and nonhumans and so, you know, it doesn't surprise me that Jerry Ryan was, you know, her whole identity was her beauty and what she her sexuality and Torres, you know, they didn't see her as much of as a sexual and feminine being, you know, and you know, her last name is Torres and you know, they're all so it wasn't, you know, and well, who did they have as the kind of more masculine women characters, browner women.

[00:05:38] Jeff Akin: But wasn't Torres, or the way they wrote for her different? Not only did they find a way to accommodate Roxanne Dawson's pregnancy in the fourth season, but then she and Tom Paris were married and she had their kid.

[00:05:51] Eliza VanCort: Right, right. Absolutely. Well, you know, it's funny that you bring up that part because in my acting class, we teach cold reading skills, and the scene with her and I can't, I'm so embarrassed. I can't remember the name of her character, but the scene with her and her husband and how she wanted to change the kids. So it wouldn't look like a Klingon that scene. I use that scene as a cold reading all the time. I could quote that scene like, you know, it's just fascinating. And she talks about how her father rejected her. And all of these things it's really it's, I remember that scene. It was such a beautifully written scene. And I was like, I'm gonna use this to train my actors its so good.

[00:06:32] Jeff Akin: In a few minutes, we talk about how even though Torres was a wife and a mother, she was desexualized compared to other women on the ship. Before we get to that, though, Eliza shared some profound thoughts on the power and impact of Star Trek that honestly, honestly make me really proud to be a fan of this show.

[00:06:52] Eliza VanCort: Well, yeah, and it was going back to the idea of, you know, do you assimilate? I mean, that that Star Trek deals with so many issues in deep and profound ways that they did way before other people were doing it. I mean, they had a genderless planet before we were even talking about gender fluidity. They were so smart, the way that they did so many of these things. And that was one of the things I really loved about It I mean, the fact that Patrick Stewart is such an advocate for Amnesty International, and he did that whole thing on torture, you know, they've always been ahead of their time. And the fact that they had, Uhura have the first interracial kiss ever. You know, it's incredible.

[00:07:29] Jeff Akin: Many of us have heard about the legendary meeting between the Michelle Nichols and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. right? I mean, after the first season, she was thinking of leaving the show, they met I think, at a party and he said to her.

[00:07:32] Eliza VanCort: You can't leave. You are the first person who's not a prostitute or maid, you're here, you're doing this for all of us. And, you know, I guess when MLK Jr., when Dr. King comes and tells you not to quit. You're like, okay, I guess I'm gonna stay on the show. But it was a pretty powerful even though she was in some ways, kind of a glamorized secretary. In many ways. She was the most powerful person the bridge, she wasn't sweeping the floors, and she wasn't a prostitute. And back then, you know, that was the really the, or the, or the mammy role, quote, unquote, you know, that was what was available to women of color and to see her doing that I think was transformative for so I mean, I, you've heard astronauts, you're talking about her as inspiration.

[00:08:20] Jeff Akin: When we watch classic Star Trek with our more enlightened lenses, it's hard to see how impactful it was for women, but even harder to see are the endless battles that were fought behind the scenes for women to be portrayed as equals and to break gender stereotypes on tv.

[00:08:38] Eliza VanCort: And the women who were the actors really worked to try to get more power. I mean, I that whole thing, and it's interesting, I see my own evolution as a feminist when I watched the show, because I remember when they had Deanna Troi, come in, not in her little miniskirt, and I will be honest, I was pissed. I was like, wait a minute, I love that miniskirt. She's cool and sexy. And then, you know, as I was watching, and then I heard the story of her being like, I'm being disrespected like no person who's an I'm an officer, I'm not going to walk around in a damn miniskirt. And I started thinking about wow, I am so in this culture of women gaining their power and gaining their capital from their looks, that I'm respecting her for her awesome body. And I'm not realizing that I'm falling into the same crap, you know, that, that all of the rest of us are. And, you know, Star Trek had a way of putting a lens up and having you kind of look at it and say, Oh, wow, I never thought of it that way. They were always ahead of their time. And that was one of the things I just I just loved about it.

[00:09:44] Jeff Akin: Do you think Eliza the fact this was or is science fiction is why they were able to be so progressive. I mean, it's stuff like this wasn't happening on Cheers or LA Law.

[00:09:55] Eliza VanCort: There's no way they would have gotten away with most of this stuff if they hadn't been like, but it's space, but it's an alien. And suddenly we're like, okay, as long as it's an alien, then you know, as long as it's 200 years in the future, I guess a black woman can be on the bridge, you know, I guess two women can kiss as long as there's a man living inside the woman. But it did slow. I mean, I have found that it is exposure that changes people's minds. And that's what Star Trek did so well is just expose, expose, expose. I mean, when people talk to me about feminism, the right has done such a good job of basically turning that into a dirty word. And, you know, for me, I'm absolutely embracing that I'm a feminist. And I think it's really important that women and men embrace that identity, because really, it's just, you know, I believe that everyone should have equal rights and opportunities. You know, if you don't believe that, then, you know, eff off, as far as I'm concerned, like, I don't, I don't really have a lot, then we can't really even meet at a starting point at that point. You know, but they've learned they've turned it into your crazy feminist bitch and all those things. And Star Trek got around that by, you know, saying, but it's a cyborg. So that's why she doesn't smile all the time. And she is she used to be the Borg part of the Borg Collective. And that is why she doesn't smile. There's no way you could get away with a character like that, who didn't try to people please all the time, if she hadn't been a part of the Borg Collective.

[00:11:22] Jeff Akin: There are quite a few dimensions of diversity that we as a society still don't talk about a lot. And one of those is neurodiversity put in a very, very oversimplified manner. neurodiversity acknowledges that people's brains work differently. The term neuro divergent, is often used to describe people that are not neuro, typical. These are generally people with ADHD, or on the autism spectrum as examples. In my opinion, one of the strongest examples of the value of neurodiversity comes from someone that I think presents is neuro divergent. And that's Seven of Nine.

[00:12:04] Eliza VanCort: Absolutely, I never thought about that. That's really interesting, because I have pretty hardcore ADHD. And I always related to her character, even though she couldn't be further from it. But there was something just you know, and I mean, she was just boom, but there's something very powerful about her, just that she just did not follow the normative expectations of communication at all that quote, you know, I was looking up the Star Trek women when we started before I came on here to, and I and I came across this chart of the women and then like, famous quotes that they had said, and seven and nine said, remove your hand, or I will remove your arm. But she didn't say it, like she was pissed. She just like, listen, you're gonna lose an arm. So I would recommend you remove your hand. And you know, one of the things Deanna Troi, one of the quotes of Deanna Troi, is feelings aren't positive or negative, it's what you do with those feelings, it becomes good or bad. That's kind of my theme. Like, I feel like we have a lot of focus on our society on feelings, and that we sort of have to follow them. And I always think that's just absolutely absurd. I mean, if I followed all my feelings, I would probably have sex and murder people all day long. Like you and me. Like, I don't follow my feelings all the time, because my feelings aren't always you know, thank God, I have a brain to tell me like murder is wrong. You know, I shouldn't do that. But in that's one of the cool things about Deanna Troi is, you know, she was not she was emotional, but she wasn't reactive, which I always thought was very cool. Although I do have to say, there's an ongoing joke by Deanna Troi. But like, sometimes you're like, Dude, you don't need to be here. Like, they'd be like firing on the ship. And she'd be like, Captain, I sense frustration. And I'm like, Deanna, they're firing on the ship. Everyone in the bridge senses frustration. Yeah, but the truth is, you would, in an enlightened society, you'd have a shrink on every thing. And they would be a huge part of everything, because they'd be figuring everything out. But yeah, she did. I love the love story between her and Worf, though, it made sense to me, it totally made sense to me, because I was like, of course, the guy who's taught that he can't feel his feelings is going to be attracted to the woman who's like, really good at feeling for you around people's feelings. You know, and she also was kind of a, she reminded me of Margaret Thatcher, and sometimes where she was like, you know, the, the iron fist and the velvet glove. And so I kind of saw why she related to Worf, but also I happen to have a huge crush on Worf. So that could be part of it. You know, let's be honest. How could you not I'm not going to get too raunchy here, but I'm just gonna say how could you not and leave it at that

[00:14:36] Jeff Akin: The Next Generation really did in its late 80s, early 90s way, start to normalize mental health. And thank you Eliza, start to normalize interspecies relationships as well. At this point, though, I felt like I might have found a kindred spirit that would also feel like Janeway really is the best Starfleet has to offer in the way of captains so, so I asked her, Eliza, who is your favorite captain?

[00:15:04] Eliza VanCort: I did love Jean Luc. I will say Jean Luc was my favorite captain. I just I loved. I love Jean Luc. But I think, you know, I look back on some of the pushback that some of these characters got, like Janeway, everybody hated her voice. And I'm thinking how many dudes in movies had the weirdest voices ever, and we don't give a crap about it. But she has a voice. And it's just like, you just can't stand the fact that she's saying words with opinions, you know, so interesting, like, and I love the way they treat female characters in sci fi. And they, they've always been on the forefront. I mean, even when you go to Alien 2, and that Latina ex woman who blows herself up at the end, you just didn't see characters like that, unless they were in space. You just did not see badass women in the military, with muscles who you wanted to root for them. But people were like, it's okay. It's space.

[00:15:56] Jeff Akin: Science fiction allows stories to be told that we wouldn't be able to otherwise. But so what? Why does it matter that we can use sci fi and art to examine the world differently?

[00:16:08] Eliza VanCort: I really do believe that art is a vehicle and stories are a vehicle for change. I, when I give my talks and my workshops, I always make sure to tell stories, because so much of how we learn is through saying, okay, I relate to that experience. And so much of the time where our disconnect happens is where we're like, I don't get that because it never happened to me. And the beauty of the stories is there's really only you know, six stories that or ever told or something like that. And it's just kind of how you tell them what Star Trek did so beautifully, was really tell stories in such a way that we could say, I see myself in that person. I relate to that person. You know, I related to Councilor Troi heavily. Because I have always been someone who has been very attuned to other people's feelings. And I think for her sometimes it was hard to be feeling all of these things that other people were feeling. And you know, there's this whole movement like I'm on Tik Tok, now, they have this whole movement of people hash tagging empath, which is really interesting. And a lot of people are talking about how they feel other people's emotional experiences and very intense way. And I do think different people do feel, I mean, they've done research that trees talk to each other. I mean, if trees can talk to each other human beings can feel each other's feelings, and seeing Deanna Troi, and the struggle that she went through, just trying to feel the feelings, you know, because she felt so much it was really interesting to watch. I actually wish they pushed into that more of like, what is it like to walk in a room and be bombarded because so much of the time human beings spend their time hiding feelings from each other, and Deanna didn't have that option. All of the women who are leaders on that show had different ways of managing everyone's feelings that were very different than the men, you know. And then we always had, like, you know, the prototype of like, the Shatner, and you know, the Riker who's just like, I feel nothing. I'm just a cool dude, who has a lot of sex. You know. Although I do wish they'd had a character who was the counterpoint to that, I would have loved to have seen a really sexual character. I feel like we had men that were, you know, going out there and they're like, I went on this, I went on this planet, and I got that lady and this lady, I would have loved to have been like, dude, like the D on that planet is excellent. I would have loved to have seen like an anti slut shaming character who was just the counterpoint to Riker would have been so much fun. Well, that's the other thing. I mean, there's that whole balance, right of like, if you're going to be a leader and a woman, you must be non sexual, which is just ridiculous. And just silly. You know, I mean, I'm like looking at this chart of, all the women who were, you know, in Star Trek, I don't think there was a single sexual, like a woman who was like, in her sexuality, they made it she may have been sexualized, but she wasn't in her sexuality. And that was a very forward thinking show. I would have loved to have seen like Dr. Crusher, just crushing it, you know.

[00:19:19] Jeff Akin: I can almost see Jadzia Dax filling that role. But even Ira Steven Baer talked about not pushing the envelope far enough when it came to sexuality on Deep Space Nine, but Eliza is so right here. I mean, of all the women in Star Trek so far, Dax is almost kind of the only one that was comfortable in her sexuality. What are some other franchises that have used sci fi to dive into sexual expression or, or even just life in general with that?

[00:19:49] Eliza VanCort: For me every time I see certain kinds of hours I mean the Matrix out to get to off subject of Star Trek, but you know, the way the Matrix, I use the Matrix as my analogy for everything, I always think it's hard to kind of see the world in a very real way. But to me, that's the Ebekenezzer, like, the Ebekenezzer is dirty, and the food sucks, you know, and the Matrix is slick and clean. But like the Ebekenezzer is real. And I'd rather be in the real and really see things as they are, then put my head in the sand and just live it plugged in. So for me, you know, when I get my talks, I've always like who's seen, the matrix, and it's crazy. I go to MIT every year and work with the Office of Minority Education. Every year, less and less kids have seen The Matrix. I'm like, How can you not have seen The Matrix? It's amazing. I remember showing it to a group of kids. And there was one kid who it was pretty clear to me that he was probably queer, he's from and it was kind of in a conservative area. And they were all watching it. And all the other boys were just kind of like, and this kid was in it. And I was like, Yeah, of course you are. Because you're living that every day. And that's, I mean, that's what these things do. Like, these are our stories. These are what get us through, I mean, art and stories and you know, things like Star Trek, giving the hope of possibility that maybe one day we'll live in a world without hunger, you know, without hatred, all of these things. That's why I love Star Trek, you know, one day, maybe just maybe this could be real.

[00:21:27] Jeff Akin: Hope. I really captures why so many people love Star Trek. I mean, it's why I do. It gives hope. And it shows us a better future for everyone. But it takes more than idealism to really affect change. I mean, that's where change starts, but it takes action. In Star Trek, they put some guardrails in place so that other civilizations could go through their idealism, they can follow their own journey. It's controversial. But the prime directive is what does this, Starfleet is able to take the actions it needs to maintain a hope filled future without taking advantage of or interfering with developing cultures. I asked Eliza, what she thought about the prime directive?

[00:22:18] Eliza VanCort: Like if everybody followed the damn Prime Directive, we wouldn't have war, you know, we would have so with the I mean, and I know there are sort of ethical problems with the Prime Directive, which I have given quite a bit of thought to. But I do think that overall don't mess with countries that aren't ready to be messed with stay away, wait till they're ready to engage with them. Because that stops you from pillaging their resources. It stops you from cultural appropriation. It stops you from all of these terrible things that happen when you know people think that they know best. And that's what the Prime Directive protects you from is this idea that you know best.

[00:22:57] Quark: Prices come by now don't walk run.

[00:22:59] Jeff Akin: Hi there, cadets. In our last episode where we watched Discovery's Choose your Pain, we talked about the incredible performance review that Saru set up for himself. Well, I created a tool to help you do the same thing for yourself. For your free copy of this tool, visit jeffakin.com. And join our mailing list, you'll get access to a copy that you can download for yourself and for your team. Just visit jeffakin.com and join the mailing list, thanks.

[00:23:30] Quark: I do carry a select line of unique artifacts and gemstones indigenous to this region.

[00:23:38] Jeff Akin: Eliza has started a number of businesses and has done a lot of work to develop leaders within the groups she works with as well as in other organizations. So considering she's talking with me, of course, of course, we start talking about leadership lessons we can find in Star Trek, I really like and appreciate the points that she brings up here.

[00:23:57] Eliza VanCort: And even the leadership styles the way that they do it. They always had a Number One, nobody was ever like, I'm just the dude. And I know everything and I'm just gonna make all my decisions without any input from any input from anyone else. I mean, you know, I'm sorry, I'm gonna go hard here until the like Trump, great example of who would be a shitty Star Trek captain. Because he would be like, Number One, and the number would be like, that's a bad idea. He'd be like, fuck off. These people were able to understand that they were people that knew more than them. Good leaders, like good good leaders know what they don't know. I mean, one of the things I've been most proud of when I built my businesses has been that I'm acutely aware of what I don't know. And that has allowed me to be a better leader. And if I if I thought I knew everything, I'd be so screwed. because like I tend, for example, I tend to be very impulsive. You know, I like to just I'm like, Oh, here's idea, let's do it. And my two other people are my instructors at my school, Katie Splon and David Cosac. You know, they're always like, okay, let's make sure nothing is going to be on fire after, like, let's slow down just a little. And it made such a big difference. Because you know, I have a lot of big ideas I'm going, but sometimes, you know, you need to step back and think them through. And so having people around you that fill in your gaps, and you fill in their gaps is just, it's really how you can build any good organization and Star Trek showed that literally, everyone on Star Trek had a role. It was a master class, and so many things. And I, I wish that there were more shows out there that really had a overarching vision and desire to make systemic change. Because I actually think that art has a responsibility to understand the importance of the stories that it's telling, because that's how we learn our life. We mean, I learned, we learn through our stories. And you know, when I wrote my book, that's why I didn't just say, Okay, do this, this, this, this, and this, I would say, this happened to me. And here's the big idea behind it. And now here are some tips you can use to do XY and Z. Because I feel like if you just talk about what to do, and you don't let people have an emotional connection to it, they're never going to buy in.

[00:26:09] Jeff Akin: I have really enjoyed this conversation. Eliza van court is an incredible human being and I feel like a better person just for having spent time with her.

[00:26:20] Eliza VanCort: Well, you can find me on my website, which is Elizavancort.com there's no u in cort, vancort. And you can and I want to say in the beginning, you shout it out to my website, I had the most amazing people working on my website, I just have to say if anyone's interested in knowing more information, let me know because I will refer you to them. And I'm also doing a lot of TikToking now. My youngest son said you should TikTok and my daughter said, Don't embarrass me good lord and haven't please don't TikTok. Okay, I'm just gonna listen to my youngest son. And he's like, Mom, you understand Tik Tok will be awesome. And I've been doing it. And it's been going really well. And I've been taking little bits of my book, and just putting them on TikTok, and little digestible bits, definitely check me on TikTok social media, I should have a business page on Facebook, I don't, I'm going to get around to it. But at this point, if you want to connect, you connect with me on my personal page, or Instagram, which I'm not that active on or LinkedIn. But I love connecting with people who've heard my stuff, you do this because you love it. And you really believe in your message. So you know, if you're, if you get my book and you have questions, every single person who asked me a question, I love answering it, and I will be more than happy. You can also learn more about my work and I go into organizations and I give talks on communication, women's empowerment, and you know, dressing whiteness directly. And I will say a lot of my work was inspired by some of the wonderful things that we've talked about in this podcast. So yeah, but because I really do believe we can live in a better world. That is my unshakable belief is that there is hope for the future. We just each have to commit to it. And that's what Star Trek is all about. And that's what my work is all about.

[00:28:08] Announcer: Command codes verified.

[00:28:09] Jeff Akin: What a cool conversation. I want to give a shout out to LC a friend of mine that connected us. LC hosts the Boundless Heart podcast, a podcast that empowers women into shameless self respect, independence and equal partnership. Thanks for connecting us LC. I want to talk about three things Eliza discussed here. Hope, Art as a way of effecting change and the dynamics of women in leadership roles.

[00:28:37] Announcer: The Starfleet Leadership Academy is supported by listeners just like you click the link in the show notes to support the ongoing production of this podcast.

[00:28:45] Jeff Akin: The recent Starfleet Leadership Academy podcast episode on Voyager basics talked about the importance of hope and how leaders must always spread it without hope. There really isn't much reason to continue on right? I really appreciate how Eliza described the way Star Trek gives us hope. It paints a picture of a better future for us, but, but honestly, in a really, really realistic way. One of the things that I've come to deeply appreciate about Star Trek is that in order to get to the utopia that we see on TV, we have to go through World War Three, we have to go to the Bell riots living in the world that we all live in today. These feel, I don't know this feels a little, maybe a little too possible. But what's important is that we still we still have hope, as leaders, this is what we do. It doesn't have to come from Star Trek. I mean, it's super cool if it does, but hope can come from a lot of places. Most importantly, though, we have to share that hope, paint a picture, where we'll have a better future, Eliza walked us through the ideals of Starfleet and the Federation like, like the prime directive, and how if we just follow these simple ideals, well, maybe a little more complex ideals, but if we followed them, we can move closer to that ideal future that Trek provides. And when I think of painting pictures, I, I think this what we just talked about, you know, developing, casting and communicating a vision that we all want to move towards. My partner, on the other hand, would literally paint a picture. And that's honestly because she is wildly wildly more talented than I am. But the cool thing is that both are fine. And both are needed. Created art, like a painting, or a book or a TV show, or, or even a podcast can be so effective in encouraging change. I mean, that's literally what I do with the Starfleet Leadership Academy. I create this thing that that I like to think of as art, to entertain you, but also to help you become a better leader. And why why would I care if you're a better leader or not? Well, because I want change. I want the future. The hope that Star Trek shows us, so I use my art to help move that dream forward. I really appreciate how Eliza just just said this. She outright said that art has an obligation to effect change. You can use this just as I do. To help encourage change with your teams and sphere of influence, quote, books, or movies or podcasts to make your point, use a picture or a video to really illustrate something you're communicating. You don't need to be an artist to artfully use art to make a difference. In addition to just being a super cool person. I was excited to talk with Eliza and share our conversation with you because she is shining a light on a truth that needs all of the light in the world on it. Women have been marginalized, patronized, ignored and cheated for far too long. With her experience in theater, TV and working with actors, Eliza has such a unique insight into how so many of our stereotypes and prejudices are just just part of TV. I learned so much as she was talking about Roxanne Dawson as Torres and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi. I mean, honestly, as a heterosexual white dude, I never, I never really took the time to notice this on television. But since she's shared it with me and brought it forward, I see it everywhere. as leaders and as people of influence, we are obligated to help women create space for themselves and thrive in that space. For me, this means not only being a strong ally, but also having the humility to ask questions, as someone that grew up in a culture that that honestly still saw men as superior to women. I mean, I served on a submarine, as many of you know, right? We were an all male crew because God forbid a woman sacrifice her personal dignity and risk her life that far under the sea. And we had when I was serving we had an inspection coming up where two of the inspectors were women, we all the whole crew had to go through two weeks of training on how to conduct ourselves around women. It was embarrassing. But what was even more embarrassing was that we actually needed that training. Anyway, for a guy like me that grew up in that culture. My natural inclination is to swoop in and save the day when the women I work with or or the people that are transgender or non binary are in some kind of trouble. But that is so patronizing and insulting to do. So instead, I ask, I simply ask how I can help if they need my help at all. And this isn't, this isn't me just randomly reaching out to people and asking how I can help. These are team members that I'm meeting with for one on ones for for quarterly reviews and things like that. And what all this ultimately does is help to create a space where everyone can bring their whole selves to the table as women, my team members no longer have to worry about what I or their colleagues will think of them. There won't be this underlying power differential that may not exist on paper, but exists because of our genders. Listen, I'm honestly doing a pretty bad job, I think explaining all of this. But the cool thing is, it's not really just up to me to explain it. I just have to do it. We have Eliza VanCort that can explain it, go buy her book, listen to her speak, she invited you to reach out to her on social media. So do it. I have yet to meet anyone that is so driven, so motivated and so effective in helping women be their whole, complete and authentic selves. All of these links will be in the show notes, but go out and follow Eliza. She's on Twitter and Instagram, as Eliza VanCort no u, that's c o r t, and you can also find her on Tik Tok, where she is totally rocking it, head to her website, Elizavancort.com. And you can get everything else from there. And I cannot encourage this enough. Go by her book, A Woman's Guide to Claiming Space, every bit of her personality comes through in the book and there is life changing wisdom in it. And hey, you can follow me too. I'm on Twitter at SFLApodcast and you can follow me on all the social media at JeffTAkin. That's Jeff T as in TED Talk, a k i n. And you should totally join us in the Starfleet Leadership Academy podcast group on Facebook. And we can totally talk about Eliza VanCort. I look forward to seeing you there. And until then, x estrus Scion Jia