Checkbox Other with Nikki Innocent

A Business, Health and Fitness podcast
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Host, Nikki Innocent, centers the importance and power of taking time for a purposeful pause right now. As we start September and enter into "back to school" territory, the need for a thoughtful period of reflection and self-awareness is key. In the midst of COVID19 and our national reckoning on racial injustice, so many of us find ourselves in an autopilot, survival mode. We're striving to keep our heads above water and as a result the cyclical restart that comes with the launch of a new school year & post Labor Day work rush feels markedly different, as it should. Nikki urges listeners to take a beat, to acknowledge the unorthodox situation many of us find ourselves in and to get close to where they are feeling constricted or tight in their lives, feeling stuck, blocked or numb and where they are feeling expansive and momentum. This purposeful pause and awareness is important to regain more agency in the midst of uncertainty, avoid burnout and move forward with sustainable energy & intentional action during this period of significant individual and collective transformation. Nikki folds in learnings from the classic TV show Family Matters and from her favorite album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, needless to say folks who grew up in the 90s will feel the love! Show notes:
As a Culture Columnist for The Boston Globe, Jeneé Osterheldt often writes at the intersections of identity and social justice through the lens of the arts and culture. Jeneé joins host Nikki Innocent for a conversation featuring their discussion about being biracial, the experience of living in the in-between of identity buckets and how that influenced them both as children and as adults. The episode also touches on Jeneé’s experiences as a public figure speaking out against injustice from Kansas City to Boston and her experience thus far wrestling Boston’s liberal and racist stereotypes holding the same space. Naturally with Jeneé’s expertise, the episode also touches on so many moments happening in pop-culture and cutting edge news through a lens of diversity & inclusion, from Cardi B's WAP to Viola Davis's powerhouse career to The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix. During the episode, you'll hear as Jeneé's editor breaks the news that Kamala Harris was named the VP candidate for the Democratic party. Jeneé and Nikki reflect real time about the impact of the first Black & South Asian being named as a major party VP candidate, the importance of representation and the racial and gendered complexities of America navigating a leader with a mixed race identity who is a woman -- shining a light on the intersection patriarchy and supremacy. When Jeneé’s not writing or making smoothies, she spends her time dancing, binge-watching, or being bossed around by a boxer named Peppermint Patty. This episode is for anyone who is interested in learning more about the real life experiences of racial discrimination and how to discuss the dynamics at play, who is raising mixed race children, who is looking for ways to activate the power of their privilege, are interested in learning more about colorism or simply interested in learning more about journalism. Show notes:
As the first Black, Haitian American city councilor at-large in the city of Everett, MA, Gerly Adrien has experienced an inordinate amount of push-back from her colleagues even as she attempts to speak in the time allotted to her. After receiving the the highest number of votes in the 2019 election, her voice represents more of her constituents than her fellow elected city council members. However the older, whiter council has time and time again silenced her and called for her to be less “aggressive“ in her tone and tactics of shining a light on systemic oppression of non-majority voices. Nikki & Gerly dive into the dynamics at play in this arena and how Gerly’s background has made her up for the challenge. As the embodiment of a multi hyphenate leader, Gerly’s approach to doing the best you can, in all the ways that you can, for as long as you can shines through. As a politician, landlord, healthcare executive, small business owner and philanthropist, Gerly exemplifies the importance of serving others, and she has carried that value with her throughout her life. If you are considering running for office or stepping into the lead in a new facet of your life, this conversation is for you! Show notes:
Erin Claire Jones is a leadership coach specializing in Human Design. She helps leaders and teams step into their highest potential by offering them the self-knowledge and tools to perform at the top of their personal and professional games. In this episode, Erin will give an overview of what Human Design is and how it can shine light on your emotional, psychological and energetic makeup, giving you the self-awareness and tools to align with your nature. Throughout the episode, Erin and Checkbox Other host, Nikki Innocent discuss how understanding their human design has helped them in their career, partnerships and relationships. If you would like to find out your human design prior to this episode, please head to You will need the following three things: your date, time and place of birth.  Erin has consulted for startups all over the world, built companies supporting executives, partnerships and small teams to operate more harmoniously and effectively, and conducted research on leadership challenges at 90+ early-stage companies.  She has also been featured in Forbes, Nylon, Well+Good, mindbodygreen and more as well as has been on over 60 podcasts. Show notes:
We are excited to share the audio recording of Checkbox Other host Nikki Innocent’s 2019 TEDxBU talk “Break the Rules in Life, Then Re-write Your Own”. Since the beginning of her life, Nikki has always been one to push the boundaries, and to not always abide by the rules of society. In her talk she discusses how this has helped her in all facets of her life, and shares with the audience the rules that she has set for herself. One of the reasons we chose to share the recording of this TEDx talk today is because we have launched our first ever digital workshop, “Rewriting the Rules”! This 90-minute session is based on our signature in-person workshop AND inspired by Nikki’s 2019 TEDxBU talk. Visit to learn more! As a member of this Checkbox Other family, we are offering a discount code for you and to share with your friends. Use code CBO10 to get $10 off when you sign up for the workshop. We hope to see you in an upcoming session! Show notes:
Women's leadership experts, Keisha Shields and Nikki Innocent, discuss the importance of owning your own legacy. Keisha shares experiences of having her identity defined by the perceptions and actions of others. She grew up being told that she was " too much" and began to caution herself before speaking, then she did the work of breaking free of that conditioning to live fully as her most authentic self. Her confidence is infectious. Keisha talks about her experience of being the youngest, the only female and the first Black executive at the "boy's club" that was her last employer. Nikki & Keisha discuss the realities of Keisha's partner being incarcerated, both in the obstacle of physical distance and in navigating socialized stereotypes. This conversation also touches on all things money -- Keisha explains how the appropriate allocation of resources leads to intergenerational legacy. And last, but most certainly not least, if you are someone that is interested in gender equity in the workplace, you'll enjoy these two women's leadership experts deep dive into the systemic & conditioned dynamics that hold women back from leading and how we can overcome them. Keisha Shields is a personal & business adviser to women leaders and is known for giving her clients huge “aha’s” moments. Keisha uses her business savvy and intuitive presence & awareness to help clients claim their space as more highly visible leaders, to find and own their voices publicly, say what they think without fear, and integrate their personal successes and stories profitably into their work. Show notes:
This week's episode is an encore episode to honor our first guest on this podcast, Megan Baker. Last month, Megan Baker left this world in the physical sense after her journey with cancer came to an end. Earlier this year, she and Nikki had talked about her coming back on the podcast to share more about her cancer journey. Unfortunately they didn't have a chance to do that, so we felt the next best option was to lift up her story, in her words, in this episode and encourage each of you to join us in celebrating her amazing life on this planet. Nikki kicks off the episode talking about grief and urges each listener to grant themselves the grace and permission to grieve in their own way, in their own time especially as we find ourselves in a collective time of loss and grief during this pandemic. Show notes:
To honor Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, we’re releasing an encore episode of “I Am Not My Socialization” a conversation with social justice expert, educator and all-around game changer, Dr. Tee Williams. As many in the US and in the global community make a larger commitment to shine a light on racial injustice and to "do the work" individually, this discussion from last summer between Nikki and Dr. Tee is a wonderful resource. Dr. Tee Williams has over 20 years of experience helping people learn about the complexities of diversity & inclusion, organizational leadership and personal development. This episode of Checkbox Other covers topics from social justice work & burnout, to the oppression experienced by both dominant & targeted identity groups, to toxic masculinity, to challenging your internalized oppression, to the magical invitation of being “called in,” to critical liberation theory, to a deep dive on tone policing. This is an episode where you’re going to want a pen and paper nearby to take notes and soak in all that Dr. Tee’s teachings have to offer you. Even if you had the chance to hear the episode last year when it first launched, we encourage you to take another listen through the lens of today's current events.  Class is now in session! Show notes:
In Checkbox Other's first solo episode, host Nikki Innocent discusses the vital moment that America finds itself in following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Nikki reflects on the public outcry, the rally for whiteness to be acknowledged and the systems of oppression in our society to be called out, brought into the light and ultimately dismantled. She encourages listeners to DO THE WORK and actively unpack their own internalized oppression while at the same time holding themselves accountable and working towards an ideological shift to use white privilege to stop the pervasive harm being inflicted on black lives. Nikki invites listeners who are white to sign up to actively work on unpacking their whiteness and dismantle their oppressive conditioning. This episode comes with a free guide for listeners to use as a companion resource as they listen when you sign up here: Show notes:
Christie Lindor is a momprenuer, author, speaker, and Founder of Tessi Consulting, a business & HR consulting firm focused on helping leaders create and sustain high performing, diverse, and inclusive workplace cultures -- particularly in times of disruptive change. A former technologist turned workplace expert, Christie helps leaders solve workplace issues in areas of digital transformation, creating & optimizing a virtual workforce, organizational change, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and strategic talent development. In this episode, Christie & Nikki discuss turning a side hustle into a startup business, being an introverted leader, Christie’s unconventional path to politics, being a new mom and launching a new business, the power of a timeless viral blog, the importance of being present in the midst of the pandemic, living a life beyond your childhood dreams and embracing your other to activate your superpower. Show notes:
Rica Elysée is the CEO of BeautyLynk and #AtTheTable. Prior to her life as an entrepreneur, Rica was a successful community organizer, marketer, and fundraising exec who founded an influential beauty and makeup meetup community for women of color in Boston. She was also helping take care of a disabled family member and noticed how confident hair appointments made this family member feel – but it was hard to find an accessible salon experience. She also noticed that most women in her beauty group faced similar problems – late or canceled appointments and long waits for beauty services, etc. In response, Rica founded her startup, BeautyLynk that brings the beauty salon into women’s homes and transforms the beauty industry with technology. While navigating the solo founder journey, she found herself looking to be in community with other female founders. As a result, she co-founded #AtTheTable, a curated dinner experience for female founders to build connections, resources and friends. In this episode, Rica & Nikki discuss the the journey from meetup to startup, the importance of the natural hair movement, the complicated experience of being a solo female founder, creating an accessible and inclusive company using data to meet the evolving needs of her clients and team member, the importance of saying “no,” her unique management techniques in using music to get to another level of understanding with her team and the power of twerking! Show notes:
Jessica Minhas is a human rights and mental health advocate, journalist, public speaker, and the Founder and CEO of I'll Go First, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding and supporting mental health and trauma recovery care in underserved and vulnerable communities around the world using storytelling and mobile technology. In this episode, Jess & Nikki discuss the journey of racial discovery as two racially ambiguous women, the power of therapy and mental health care, the generational impact of alcoholism & addiction, navigating loss & grief, living life with a chronic illness, embracing the life-changing power of sharing your story and her upcoming book and app supporting trauma survivors. Show notes:
In this episode, Melissa Rowe & Nikki discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the education system, college accessibility, student loan debt, the power of young people and the importance of them sharing their stories. They also talk about Melissa’s calling as a writer, her experience navigating layoffs, challenging the status quo, pivoting her business offering based on the needs of the market and the source of energy in her business. Melissa A. Rowe, is founder of Capture Greatness! – Scholarship & College Coaching. A Philadelphia native, she found her passion for writing early on, leading her to hold writing workshops nationally and abroad, serve as director of Temple Writing Academy, and pen the College Connect Blog for The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Recently, Melissa was recognized, by WHYY, as an American Graduate Champion for her work with students from under-resourced schools. Through Capture Greatness, Melissa has helped students earn more than $3.5Million in scholarship money, including four Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients. Show notes:
Molly Beck is the CEO of the all-in-one podcast creation and hosting platform and author of business advice book REACH OUT that chronicled how she built her podcast company via networking strategy. In this episode, Molly & Nikki discuss Molly’s entrepreneurial journey, the importance of having someone believe in you in the face of feeling like you don’t belong, and the experience of navigating the VC landscape while pregnant. Molly generously talks about creating a business focused on making podcasting accessible to all and amplifying unheard voices. Show notes:
Jadah Sellner is the host of the Lead with Love™ podcast, a TEDx speaker, creator of Love Over Metrics™, Business Growth Incubator and the best-selling author and co-founder of Simple Green Smoothies. As a serial entrepreneur, online community growth strategist and business mentor Jadah consults companies and personal brands to build communities with love, service, and impact. In this episode, you get more than just a podcast episode, it'll feel like we snuck in a coaching call! Join Jadah & Nikki as they discuss the power of being able and willing to pivot your business and plans, creating business community focused on building humanity over conversion, sustainable leadership, “no comment left behind” strategy, boundaries, releasing people pleasing tendencies through self-compassion, embracing your own unique creative process, the idea of creative “simmering,” the three phases of learning best modeled through laser tag and so much more! Show notes:
To kick off 2020, Checkbox Other host Nikki Innocent shares her 2019 TEDx talk "Embrace Your Other, Activate Your Superpower" that centers on activating your unique gift in this world by embracing what makes you different. If you are starting the new year and new decade looking to take charge of your life, this talk will help you take the first step and support you in overcoming the fears that are holding you back! Show notes:
Architect, designer, creative director and owner of MESS in a Bottle, Kalilah Wright is here to share her story! The Mess in a Bottle is a T-shirt company that is emotional, thought provoking and an expression of the current climate of the world. The MESS brand was established to evoke change, question Kalilah’s audience and allow individuals wearing their messages to be vocal without saying anything at all. Each item is designed and printed at her Baltimore in-house studio space. In this episode, Kalilah & Nikki discuss Kalilah’s entrepreneurial journey, the importance of making room for healthy conversation about complicated situations, and the pivotal decision to approach people with compassion and care each day. Kalilah talks about creating a business rooted in honesty and raw creativity with a focus on messages that she needs herself as a “regular degular“ woman. She also discusses managing her life as a mompreneur, teaching her son the business and leaving MESS as a legacy business for him as it continues to grow. Kalilah generously shares about a traumatic incident in her shop a couple years ago and how it impacted her path and view moving forward. Her strength and willingness to share her knowledge and story with those around her is a gift for each and every one of us. Show notes:
Kristen is an Award-Winning Journalist, TV Host, sought-after Speaker, and CEO of Pope Productions. She & Nikki discuss her transition from broadcast news to creating her own storytelling platform, The Positive Controversy. They discuss her work in activating the next generation of on-air talent & providing a platform for unheard stories to be featured and how comedy, specifically stand up has been a pivotal influence. Kristen discusses her spirituality and its impact and importance on both her professional and personal journey in life. She shares her experience with postpartum depression and her path to recovery. Show notes:
Meet TeLisa Daughtry, an award-winning diversity & technology advocate, serial social entrepreneur, multi-disciplined creative & tech futurist, and impact investor. She is the Founder & CTO of FlyTechnista, Founder of STEEAMnista--both initiatives have previously been in partnership with The White House in 2016. She is the founder & angel investor at FemX Ventures. Nikki & TeLisa discuss the venture capital space, pitching startups to investors and the real life "other" experiences for women in tech and especially women of color. TeLisa talks about her journey to becoming an investor, her own way, starting with her impactful Female Founder Fridays. Nikki & TeLisa talk about managing your energy like you manage your finances, processing the “wow, you’ve changed” comment you receive when you start to transform your life, navigating founder burnout and the importance of setting and honoring your boundaries. Show notes:
Quiana Agbai is an influencer, blogger, public speaker, activist, community organizer, mother of two and leader who focuses on connecting people and meeting them where they are. Quiana has been blogging since 2009 as Harlem Lovebirds and is the Community Outreach Lead for the Boston chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She & Nikki discuss the evolution of digital content over the last decade, the process of stepping into your activism your way, the vital importance of showing up to make offline connections, the pivotal role mental health and boundaries have when pursuing a non-traditional career path and so much more. Show notes:
Felice Duffy is a natural born change-maker whose activism sparked in her fight for gender equity as a college freshman on UCONN’s campus as the leading voice for Title IX reform in 1977 — all because she wasn’t allowed to play the game of soccer. This activist fire continued to burn as this Hall of Fame player & coach fought for the rights and representation of women athletes and coaches. Felice then took the fighting spirit to the justice system as a lawyer both in corporate law and at the US Attorney’s Office. She was on the front lines to bridge the divide between law enforcement and African American communities in CT in the time following the protests in Ferguson. And, Felice was part of the US Attorney’s office during the tragedy in Newtown. And in recent years, Felice has started her own law firm working on Title IX cases, sexual assault cases on college campuses and as legal representation for a key defendant in the college admissions scandal. This episode has something for everyone! Show notes:
Lillian Ellmore is a motivational speaker, artist, and newly crowned beauty queen. She is all about spreading the message that disabled people can do just about anything that able-bodied people can do. Lillian has a muscular disability that causes quadriplegia and lives that powerful message daily. Her positivity and wisdom at the age of 17, will leave you with sore smile muscles and a notebook full of life-changing quotes. Don’t be surprised if after this episode you feel compelled to burst into song! Show notes:
Author, speaker and workplace trainer on sexual harassment, assault and violence prevention and response, Sarah Beaulieu joins Nikki to talk about the “uncomfortable” conversation around sexual assault, violence and the #MeToo workplace. Sarah shares experiences throughout her life that have shaped her path in doing this work and the obstacles and resistance she has faced. Sarah and Nikki discuss consent, bystander intervention, the importance of dialogue and conversation throughout the process of sexual awakening at all ages and the impact of the “silence habit” our culture has around the topic of sexual assault. Show notes:
Dr. Tee Williams is a social justice expert, educator and all-around game changer. He joins Nikki for this episode of Checkbox Other and offers a transformative educational experience covering topics from toxic masculinity & male violence, to social justice work & burnout, to the oppression experienced by both dominant & targeted identity groups, to challenging your internalized oppression, to the magical invitation of being “called in,” to critical liberation theory, to a deep dive on tone policing. And as you can imagine, there is so much more! This is an episode where you’re going to want a pen and paper nearby to take notes and soak in all that Dr. Tee’s teachings have to offer you. My friends, class is now in session! Show notes:
Award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, diversity and inclusion consultant, and author, Jennifer Brown joins Nikki on this episode. During the episode they discuss the importance of Jennifer representing her voice and voices like hers in the LGBTQ community, the complex dynamic of passing and using it as a Trojan horse, finding your flow & path when life doesn't go as planned, using the tiny instrument of your vocal cords to make giant sound, building a business & team anchored in trust, the power of anger, overcoming perfectionism, celebrating your wins and soaking in your accolades and the continuum of inclusive leadership featured in Jennifer's new book "How to Be an Inclusive Leader." This episode is like getting a seat at the table for one of Jennifer & Nikki's powerful dinner conversations! Show notes:
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Podcast Details

Created by
Nikki Innocent
Podcast Status
Potentially Inactive
Mar 1st, 2019
Latest Episode
Sep 4th, 2020
Release Period
2 per month
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

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