Do you want to instill anti-racism practices into your group practice? How do you build your practice around values and a strong mission statement? What can you do to increase your reach and connection with your community?
In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith speaks about growing an anti-racist practice with Gary and Brittany Wardlaw.
Podcast Sponsor: Brighter Vision
It’s that time of year again!
My friends over at Brighter Vision are once again kicking off the fall season with a month-long digital conference event they call ‘Fall Into Cash’.
For the entire month of September, they’ll be teaming up with the top brands, consultants, and coaches in the mental health industry to provide you with the best advice, tools, content, podcasts, and giveaways; all centered around one main goal – helping you grow your practice and make more money.
Plus, in celebration of the 6th anniversary of ‘Fall Into Cash’, they’re also offering a very special discount exclusively for Practice of the Practice listeners.
From now until the end of the month, they’re offering $20/month off of any website service plan for your whole first year plus no signup fees – that’s a savings of over $200!
Brittany received her Business degrees in International Business and Marketing but then went on to earn her Juris Doctor degree shortly thereafter. While it was her intention to get in the courtroom when she finished, she ended up taking a position in higher education (thinking it to be temporary) but finding a niche in conflict resolution—specifically mediation and restorative justice. The move to The Relationship Clinic was a natural next step.
Gary’s experience began as a counselor at the local YMCA. From there, his clinical experience was gained in psychiatric facilities, the K12 school system, and in church settings where he provided pre-marital therapy and education to couples looking to tie the knot.
Whether through psychoeducation, group, or individual therapy, Gary affirms that it’s time for us as a community to heal from the generational trauma we’ve carried for centuries while coping with the trauma currently.
Be consistent in your values, mission, and messaging.
Be outspoken on your social media and online presence so that people can see where you stand and come to stand with you.
People recognized, “Huh, these are people that are knowledgeable in this area, and I feel like they might have something I need right now.” So, I feel like that was part of it. (Brittany Wardlaw)
This consistency of aligned messaging and values will then play out in your marketing.
Understand the need
Make sure that you connect with and can serve the pain point of your clients that resonate with this need.
To address both racial trauma and racism through therapy and education. (Gary Wardlaw)
What does racial trauma look like? Where is it present? How can you heal and work with it?
Building the practice
You have to be intentional about building your community.
Work closely with the individuals who come to your practice while actively putting your name out into the community and inviting people in.
Connect with voices that have a broader reach, and let them know what you have to offer.
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
From now until the end of the month, Brighter Vision is offering $20/month off of any website service plan for your whole first year plus no signup fees – that’s a savings of over $200! For more information and to take advantage of this great offer, head on over to brightervision.com/joe.
LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. In addition to this, LaToya encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcome.
She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.
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The Grow A Group Practice Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice Network, a network of podcast seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like the Practice of the Practice podcast, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/network.
You are listening to the Grow A Group Practice podcast, a podcast focused on helping people start, grow, and scale a group practice. Each week you’ll hear topics that are relevant to group practice owners. I’m LaToya Smith, a practice owner, and I love hearing about people’s stories and real-life experiences. So let’s get started.
Welcome back to the Grow A Group Practice podcast. Again, I am your host, LaToya Smith for season two. Today’s guest, or guests are Gary and Brittany Wardlaw. These are some more people that I want to say I met Instagram, like you don’t really meet people on Instagram, but you feel like you know them so before I hit record, I was chatting with them. I was like, man, I feel like a stalker, like, I seen your photos and everything like that. But I think that’s the beauty of social media when you feel like you know somebody before you know them. I love to support other businesses, so I brought a t-shirt from this practice, and every time I wear it, I get questions, I get compliments, and so I just love that part. We’re going to pop out the t-shirt too, but Gary and Brittany, welcome to the Grow A Group Practice podcast.
Thank you for having this, LaToya.
I’m excited. I know I reached out before, I know you guys were on tour or something in the month of July, but I was in the office and you were traveling, but it’s okay. Tell us about the both of you.
I’m kicking off. As you said my name is Gary. I am an LPC and LMFT. I’ve been licensed for, man, probably about six or seven years now. I’m actually in the process of getting supervisor designation, so that should be fun opening up that arm of practice. My specialty areas, I love couples, I love families. I’ve been working with them really even before I became a therapist and then 2020 hits and we began to focus, I began to focus more on understanding racial trauma and building a practice that focuses on helping people heal from racism. Those are my three specialty areas, if I had to put in a nutshell.
And I am his wife and administrative half. My name is Brittany and I’m actually an attorney by trade. I’ve always done work in the civil rights equity realm, restorative justice, conflict resolution as well and I’ve always done that mainly in higher education. 2020 was a big transition for us in a lot of ways. As my husband mentioned his specialty, our heart and passion has always been couples and families and that relationship dynamic. But we’ve also always had a passionate interest in the relationship dynamic of cultures, specifically black, white and just the racial piece. And we’ve had conversations about what it would look like to attend to that prior to 2020 but the conversation was, I don’t know if I could build a practice off of doing that work. Then 2020 hits and the floodgates open doing that work. So we were able to press into that.
The other context of that 2020 transition was, yes, I’ve always been in higher education, but in 2020 I resigned from my position at Baylor University specifically because of the things that I saw and experienced in my lane of work in the office there. His practice was doing really well so we said, “Hey, you focus on the practice, I’ll take care of the family.” We got four kiddos, four girls under eight. [crosstalk.
You can say that. We’ve been married for 10 years, almost 11. I’ll tell you all the story about how she proposed to me and all that on a different episode? But that’s not —
He’s a part-time comedian.
That’s not why we here. We’re here to talk about the practice. We’ve been rocking for a little over a decade now, and we get to do life and business together.
I was going to stay home with the kids. Then I was going to stay home with the kids but when I resigned, a lot of the businesses in Waco knew what I did professionally at Baylor and so my resignation was really public. So the timing, there were nonprofits and businesses that were like, “Hey, you’re not working for Baylor anymore. Would you mind coming to help us out?” A consulting business started specifically around anti-racism and civil rights.
So even that part where you just talked about, so the good part, because 2020 was hard, we don’t even get 2020 was, what it was, but what I hear you both saying is, listen, our businesses, yours, Brittany, like you started a business, consulting in 2020. And Gary, what I hear you saying is, listen, my practice shifted. What I thought I couldn’t grow a practice on, it came so that everything aligned where Brittany, you were home, Gary was like, I can do it. Let’s talk about building this practice to both, the attorney, which I think is amazing that you’re an attorney. I mean, I thought you were a therapist and I was like, forget therapy, even though I’m a therapist. I wanted to hear about that. But that this came together because really, side note, let me just say this, this is no shame, I went to law school for one year and I did not do well. This is after I got my master’s in counseling and I was pretty darn bad. But I understand like, what you’re doing, Brittany, I’m like, man, this will be great. It just didn’t work out, which is a longer sob story for another day for another podcast. But I think this is awesome. Let’s talk about how that practice grew from that space, focusing on anti-racism for those that, like, how did I build about practice focusing on this? What does that look like?
Oh man. Should we start from like beginning?
No, we don’t have time. I feel like you have a lot more context. I would just say one of the things that I noticed, I’ll say this and then you can share whatever you want to share. I think that we were very outspoken in this space. So our social media presence, posting consistently, we did a lot of videos together speaking into the space so people recognized that, these are people that are knowledgeable in this area. I feel like they might have something I need right now. So I feel like that was part of it, would you say?
I feel like that was a big part of it. And that played into the marketing. It wasn’t an intentional marketing strategy that we had at the time, but I think it was a natural birthing of a strategy because people said, okay, they are speaking into this, they’re knowledgeable in this area, I’m really struggling. I don’t know what to do. I’m going to reach out and potentially have therapy or education or a workshop or training for myself or my business.
Yes. I would say, to add to that how we even grew this practice, it was teamwork understanding when I took the lead, understanding when I came back, understanding when she took the lead and when she came back and grow a family at the same time and just understanding the need for a practice like this to address both racial trauma and racism through therapy and education. I’ll do the condensed version. When we moved here in 2017, I think this has to be the foundation of it. When we moved here in 2017, there were, I went to get on a private practice system as a contractor and as I did my research, literally no black males in Waco, no black males. I’m sitting here looking, no black male therapists, and I’m looking through private practice sites and I’m just seeing meet our staff and there’s, and so it was just —
And even black women, there were like maybe two.
There were two black women in a whole city. So if you can imagine just that’s an issue, that’s a problem. That’s a epidemic that we’re facing, crisis.
I imagine in Waco there was a, I haven’t been to Waco, but a good amount of black people that live in the area but what you’re saying, no, black therapists.
Okay, got you. So now it paints the picture, where we say, okay, representation matters. Like, listen, we have people that have need, but there’s no therapists if they desire a black therapist to go to in the city.
To give them an option, yes. So that was 17. But again, still we’re like, how do we do that? How do we really focus on racism what does that even look like? What is racial trauma? Then like I say, 2020 hits and our advocacy work that really took off is what gave us the foundation, the backing, people were listening, and we just found ourselves in a very anointed spot.
I think it goes back to what I was saying originally. We were passionate about speaking into a space. So our advocacy created a platform to grow a practice because we were, and, again, I can’t emphasize enough that this was not what we set out to do, but it was more so being intentional about pressing into something that we’re passionate about. I feel like that’s really key when you’re growing a practice. What are you passionate about? What do you have a skill set to do and pressing into it and the natural birth of the growth of practice happened because we were pressing into what we were passionate about doing.
Then we said my wife is big on strengths, and I knew administratively her giftings. She had been pouring out into these organizations with her gifts and talents and obviously I was like, sweetie, you have this skill set that I know I could try and grit and figure this administrative piece out, but what would it look like for you to come onto the team and help me, help us. We really worked together day in and day out and she played to that strength of our administrative skills. I played to my strength with social media and we just, we found like the right combination of integration our skill sets to produce what we have right now.
It’s that time of year, again. My friends over at Brighter Vision are once again kicking off the full season with a month-long digital conference event they call Fall Into Cash. For the entire month of September, They’ll be teaming up with the top brands, consultants, and coaches in the mental health industry to provide you with the best advice, tools, content, podcasts and giveaways, all centered around one main goal, helping you grow your practice and make more money. Plus, in celebration of the sixth anniversary of Fall Into Cash, they’re also offering a very special discount exclusively for Practice of the Practice listeners. From now until the end of the month, they’re offering $20 per month off of any website service plan for your whole first year plus no sign up fees. That’s a saving of over $200. For more information and to take advantage of this great offer, head on over to brightervision.com/joe.
I love that part. I love when you said a minute ago, listen, we know when one has to lead and the other falls back. So I really see this like a highway, and you both are literally driving, but you know which lane that you were in, but it’s the same destination. So sometimes somebody’s feeding, sometimes somebody else is falling back. Then we’re moving lanes to build this practice up. What type of issues now, because this is a lot of the outcry in 2020, okay, everybody real noisy right now. Everybody’s going to get quiet in a couple years. But what do you still see or hear when it comes to building this practice that’s focused on anti-racism or stepping into this passionate area that you’re talking about? Like, is it more organization still that are, just for somebody who’s listening and saying I would love to have a practice that focuses on this. Am I going out and waiting for the people to come in individually? Am I really intentional about doing community work or both, and what does that look like?
Definitely both. Just even listening to your question, I’m like, man, literally, it’s both. It’s both and I feel like it’s looked differently for both of us in different seasons. We’ve had a number of contracts where organizations, things aren’t as noisy, but I think that as the country has adjusted to this more heightened awareness of living in a racialized society, there are more general expectations across systems. When I say that more organizations are now required and have an expectation that if you want this funding, if you want this support, if you want, if there’s things that you want as a business, there are actually entities that are requiring you to have workshops or have seminars or have, like, you can’t just decide that this isn’t a priority for you anymore. It’s tied to something else that you might need.
So I know on the general organization piece, there’s a lot of people that have to have this type of education and training. There’s also people that are still very passionate about this work, even if everybody else in the organization isn’t. What I’ve seen is, those people are still pushing whether they’re grassroots or whether they’re somebody that’s in a position of leadership. What we’ll get is those one-off people contacting us like, “Hey, can you all help me sell this to my organization?”
Are they whispering too? Is it like a whisper private email to us? [crosstalk].
That’s exactly what I was saying. I know exactly what you’re talking about too.
But I’m trying to get them real approachable. I think you guys would be great to.
It’s funny because being able to put yourself out there and have a loud voice because the people will find you. Those people will find you and normally there are people of color. I will say we have had a handful of white people that are in positions of authority and power to also say, listen, I don’t know what to, I know we need to do something. Would you help us? And being able to respond to that need by knowing the value of what we have to offer to their organizations, like, we have a skill set, a very nuanced skill set. If people that want to get into this, just do your work, do you research and then have that confidence. Just take one, we started out with leading facilitated dialogues to now bidding for major contracts where our request of proposals for organizations in the community. So it’s a process.
I would say, I think to encourage people, you know a lot more than you realize. You have a lot more skills than you realize you have. So not being afraid to say I’m going to try this. I’m going to put myself out there and say, hey, this is something that I want to be able to do. Because when you have those opportunities, it’s an opportunity to grow in that space. So you have an opportunity with an organization or with an individual, and you’re like, man, I feel like I don’t know enough. Well use this as motivation to educate yourself because you have something that you’re working towards and you’re building, and each time you do that, you’re growing your skills. you’re growing your knowledge base, you’re becoming more prepared for what’s coming, potentially coming next.
Thank you once again to Brighter Vision for sponsoring this episode. Remember to head on over to brightervision.com/joe to get your first three months of website service completely free.
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