The Edges of Lean — Episode 25: Continuous Improvement and Getting to the Root of Belonging

Episode: Continuous Improvement and Getting to the Root of Belonging with Sonia Lewis

Sonia Lewis joins me to delve into what it really takes to get to the roots of belonging and how to improve belonging within an organization.  You’ll find Sonia on the frontlines of many social justice movements as she works to change the many systemic, institutional and structural inequities. For over a decade, Sonia has been on a mission to marry equity/humanity work with social justice/cultural shifting of mindsets. At the end of the day, her battle cry is “The Future is Anti-Racist and we all have a part to play.” We’re talking about the part continuous improvement professionals have to play in anti-racism and improving belonging in the organizations they have a chance to impact.


Sonia is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the professional training & coaching industry. She describes herself as an Anti-Racism impact strategist and her mission is to create a society that values equity and humanity. She works at the intersection of anti-racism work and belonging within organizations.  Sonia wants the fight against racism to take into account present-day realities rather than just rely on history lessons.


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      Key topics in this podcast:

  • What is racism and how does it impact Black people overall and specifically within organizations?
  • What is Sonia’s advocacy within diversity and equity all about and what has driven her since her childhood?
  • How have the twin pandemics of COVID and racism come together to create urgent problems organizations must solve?
  • Why “belongingness” is vital in organizations and how organizations can improve.
  • What are the ways in which organizations can change to make sure that everyone’s voice is being heard?
  • Why mission and vision statements are important foundations for an organization’s goal alignment.
  •  How to differentiate between equality and equity?


  • Racism is ubiquitous but there are multiple ways to improve belongingness in your organization.
  • Leaders must work on equity and belonging within the company – and what we already know about features of lean culture – like respect for people and the need for psychological safety can also be used to improve belonging. 
  • Belongingness helps organizations to improve their bottom line and increase productivity.
  • Equity, belongingness, and humanity are important.
  • Humanity is important and if humanity is important, that means everyone who shows up is important and should be valued.
  • The Continuous improvement professional has a key role and key opportunities to increase belongingness in an organization.


Words of wisdom or Tweet-ables 

Sonia Lewis’ advice for a young person

‘’Trust your gut… your gut is very intuitive as to who you are and you should trust it.’’