Lean Blog Interviews — 380: Dr. Randal Pinkett & Dr. Jeffrey Robinson on “Black Faces in White Places,” The Apprentice, and More


Today’s episode, #380, is very special to me for a number of reasons. For one, it’s part of the #RootCauseRacism series that Deondra Wardelle has organized on my blog this week. Secondly, I’m joined by Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson to talk about important issues of race, diversity, and equity in organizations. Together, they are co-authors of the book Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness and the upcoming book (2021) Black Faces in High Places.

Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and community servant. Randal is the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of his fifth venture, BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm in Newark, NJ, a partner in Blackwell-BCT, a joint venture with Blackwell Consulting Services, and spokesperson for the Minority Information Technology Consortium. He is a Rhodes Scholar and former college athlete who holds five academic degrees from Rutgers, Oxford and MIT (including the Leaders for Global Operations program). He was also famously the first and only black winner of “The Apprentice,” something we will talk about today.

Jeffrey A. Robinson, Ph.D. is an award winning business school professor, international speaker and entrepreneur. Since 2008, he has been a leading faculty member at Rutgers Business School where he is an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and the founding Assistant Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. The Center is a unique interdisciplinary venue for innovative thinking and research on entrepreneurial activity and economic development in urban environments. He has an MS in Civil Engineering Management from Georgia Tech University and a Ph.D. in Management from Columbia University.

In the episode, we talk about workplace issues related to diversity and inclusion. Should we aspire to a “color blind” world or do we need to recognize and celebrate color? What can we do to turn “white places” into more inclusive places for all? How can the “innovation economy” be made more inclusive, and why is that important?

You’ll also hear Randal talk about recently re-watching his season of The Apprentice online with his daughter. You can watch a separate 8-minute clip (an excerpt from the full interview) if you are particularly interested in his reflections about winning and being asked to share his win with the runner up. What did Randal learn while working in the Trump Organization?

I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch (or read the transcript below).