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Show Notes:

What if I told you some of the most important conversations you can have – almost nobody is having? Let Tara Teng give you a new perspective on “social justice”, as we talk about:

  • Feminist Economics – what is it and why it really matters to you
  • Human Trafficking – the fastest growing criminal economy so many are suffering in, but very few are talking about, and how we can talk to our children about it
  • How to draw socially and ethically conscious consumers to your brand, and other steps you can take to help with equality for everyone
  • How true feminism is not women vs men, it’s something much better

This is a wide-ranging conversation that opened my eyes and is sure to enlighten us all!

Did I mention that Tara was Miss World Canada for 2012, and is the BC Director of the Joy Smith Foundation, an organization aiming to stop human trafficking and exploitation.

Connect with Tara:

Connect with Elaine:

Get a free chapter from Elaine’s book, Sell Your Passion:

This episode sponsored by TruShield Insurance, get a free and easy online quote to protect your business at

Elaine Tan Comeau: 00:02

Hi, welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table where we talk about how to create better family, better health, better business and better self. Today we're going to talk about a topic or actually several topics that we normally don't even talk about, but are so real and so important. And something we need to talk about not only to other business people and entrepreneurs, but also to our children, to our daughters, to our sons, so they can be educated to make a better life, a better self, a better world for themselves. And for those around them. And what I'm talking about here is feminist economics. What is that? And why do we even need to be talking about that? How is that relevant to your family? How is that relevant to the things that you wear buy, eat and do? How is that relevant to your children and why it's so important for us to talk about feminist economics. We are also going to touch on topics that we need to learn how to talk about with our own children like trafficking. What is that? And why do we need to talk about it? And yes, it actually is in our community. It can affect our children, our children's friends, our neighbors, and I could not have a more amazing guest on my show to talk about all of this.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 01:30

She is a TEDx speaker. She is Miss World Canada 2012. She's an ethical fashion advocate, a birth doula, the BC director for the Joyce Smith Foundation. My speaker is a believer in impacting the world for the better. And she has done so much to help in the advancement of establishing bills and legislation against human trafficking. and improving the socio economic status of women. I am just so honored to have my guest joining us. And she was named Canada's Woman of the Year in 2011. Globe & Mail named her one of the top 25 most transformational Canadians. And she has received so many awards, rightly so for what she is doing to contribute to feminism, to justice, to our world that we live in. And it is my honor and my pleasure to have Tara Teng on this podcast.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 02:39

I am so excited to have my beautiful guest with me today - Tara Teng, and Tara is a friend who I've met I don't know years ago, years ago and I actually saw her speak before I actually knew her as a friend and I believe she had a crown on her head. She was a spokesperson at a foundation called International Justice Mission. And this woman and I'm literally saying she actually had a crown on her head because not only was she Miss Canada, she was a Miss World 2012. And she is an embodiment of so much because she stands up for all women, and all people who do not have a voice on a platform. And it is my honor and my privilege to have you on our podcast where we create better, and we talked about how to create better and do better and be better in family and health in business and self. And it was a no brainer to have you, my lovely, wonderful friend on this podcast. So welcome, Tara.

Tara Teng: 03:55

Aww, thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here with you today.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 03:58

I know I'm honored. I have no idea where to start because there's so much I want to talk to you about. And that incredible person who's listening right now and she or he's sitting there going, Okay, tell me more like what what is Tara all about? And Tara, I know I've given an introduction for you. But I'd love you to fill in the blanks. Tell me about your family.

Tara Teng: 04:26

Yeah, well, I have an incredible family. I am a single mom to two kids. I have a boy and then a girl of five. He's five and my daughter is three. And they're just they teach me so much every single day. They're the driving force of so much that I do. And you know, aside from mom life, work life, career life. I work in the intersections of faith and feminism, justice and embodiment. So, so much of what I want to do is around the question that you pose in this podcast, every single day of how do we create better? How do we do better? How do we live for the things that truly matter and then embody that in everything that we say and do and the resources that we have? And where we choose to invest our dollars and our time? You know, how do we create this better world that I believe is possible that's in line with my faith? But how do I actually live that out and walk that out on a day to day basis?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 04:28

I appreciate that so much. And one of the things I really appreciate about what you are passionate about is something that actually I don't think many people know about or understand and that is feminist economics. And you know, that's those are interesting words, like I actually googled it myself, too. I'm like, wow, this is like a global movement. It is about appreciating, recognizing the value of unpaid work and care, that exists that people have overlooked for, since the beginning of human, mankind? I say mankind, humankind. And I'd love to know like, how does someone become more aware of what feminist economics is?

Tara Teng: 06:15

Yeah, great questions. For me, I'll explain a little bit of my journey into it. You know, I and I'm sure we'll talk about this in a little bit. But a lot of my personal journey started because I had a neighbor of mine that was trafficked from my street. And so I, my first step into understanding both feminism and feminist economics was the fact that people, the very real reality that people are exploited in the world today. And that happens in a variety of different ways. And, we might feel very far removed from something like sexual exploitation, which we're going to talk about in a little bit, but we're all very close to economic exploitation. It's in the coffee that we drink. It's in the clothes that we buy, it's in our electronics. It's in everything that we touch, our makeup, our everything. So for me, it's how do I be socially responsible? In the things that I do every single day like I really deeply believe in caring for people's lives to the best of my ability.

Tara Teng: 06:15

And so from that framework, then I want to do no harm, but not even do no harm, do no harm is like the bare minimum. I want to do good to the people that I'm interacting with every single day, whether it be the coffee that I drink, the clothes that I buy, the makeup on my face, all of that. So how can I empower and stand for mostly other women's lives around the world through those simple things that we do every single day. I can hold up corrupt systems, or I can empower people who are being vulnerable and who are being exploited just as a simple thing of conscious consumerism. And so for me, that's where that's where feminist economics started. Making sure that we are empowering others with our dollar. You know I have because I've been working in this space for so long I have, I have friends who grew up as children, Elaine, as children working in sweatshops in Nepal or and other places around the world. And they've told me their stories of working in these closed factories with no ventilation systems where they're breathing in toxic harmful chemicals. They're choking on the air that they're breathing. They're working such long days that they end up sleeping under their desks at night. They are subjected to physical assault, sexual assault, and really like why, so that I can buy a $5 t-shirt that's gonna fall apart in a coup- like it's just it's madness, that this is the status quo of our world today, and I just don't accept it. I don't accept that that's the best we can do for the 80% of garment workers who make up the fashion industry which is one of the largest industries in the world. I just don't accept that that's okay.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 09:05

You've touched on so many topics like just you just said like, it's actually, it's huge today. Its present. We're not talking about history. We're not talking about slavery from like, back in the 1800s. We're talking about today, right now. Yes. And right here, like you just said someone who lived on your street was trafficked. Yeah. And it's, I think often we think, Oh, third world country, we think, far away from us that trafficking happens. No, it happens in our neighborhood, in our province in our country in North America. Human trafficking, and bringing awareness, I love what you said it's, you know, doing no harm is like the bare minimum. But you're saying let's do good. And you know, I'm listening to you and yes, I am a product maker. I create a children's product. And I'm thinking, Well, how do we make it aware of it? Should I be putting on my packaging that it's a woman run company? That my staff is all women. Should I be saying that on my packaging? Yeah! How - I should. Okay.

Tara Teng: 10:16

I have a background in marketing as well. And so yes, from the marketing side of my career, I say yes, absolutely, you should, because there are people like you and I, who are wanting to be conscious consumers, we're wanting to make sure that the dollar that we work hard for and that we actually invest every single time that we buy a product, we are making a step towards what kind of future we want. So are we supporting major corporations that are exploiting people and that are keeping people in poverty that are holding up? You know, we say the 1%, things like that, that maybe are more corrupt in their power, but or are we really being more ethical, more sustainable, more holistic? Are we looking at how can we change and elevate the socioeconomic status of women, of minorities. You know, like how can we do better so yes from a marketing perspective, here's what we're moving into the consultation now. I think yes, you should you should say this is a woman owned company by a woman of color, that's really important that you're empowering and you're you're moving other women in your careers who are working within your company. You know, those are really important because for me, those are the things that I look for whenever possible, when I am choosing a product and that is applied in every industry if you look you can find those ethical choices in every industry.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 11:38

Yes, so Tara when you are saying this, you know, and I think okay, well I see when people put vegan or sustainable materials but you're saying it's important to actually say that you know, it supports women or, and you know, my packaging actually used to say that it our products, support and give to International Justice Mission. So good. I had a shareholder who had to remove that because he said, that's fine for what you want to do, but don't put it on. Interesting. The company and we're not partners anymore. And that's not the reason why but, but I am saying, you know, I thought okay, well, this is what I believe in. Can I put this on my packaging?

Tara Teng: 12:24

You know what I'm seeing? I am seeing, I mean, we're recording this right now in June 2020. I don't know when you are going to launch this. But June 2020 is gonna go down in the history books. What I am seeing is collectively, around the world as a community, we're asking the same questions. We're saying how can we create better? How can we look at the systems of our world and see where they're failing and see how they can do better so that they're not taking advantage of people. So that they're not exploiting people. And I and this is where I'm encoraged. Because, you know, I work, I do work in marketing. But I also work on the frontlines of ending human trafficking. And I've worked in that space from like a political and a philanthropy perspective for 10 years. And so I have seen the stories, girl the stories that I, we could sit here and talk about or horrific. But I don't get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the world's problems. Because I see people like you and I and everyday, like the citizens collectively of the world are standing up and saying, No, we're going to do better. And that's encouraging and, you know, women, which I know is the majority of your audience, women are the primary decision makers when it comes to the finances. 85% right. We are the ones that these major corporations are marketing to. So when we stand up and we say, Oh, no, I am choosing to invest my dollar into ethical companies that are changing the world for the better, that are not exploiting people, but are actually empowering people and they're moving people out of poverty and they're collectively you know, changing these communities for the better because we're choosing to invest in women, we're choosing to invest in ethics, we're choosing to invest in integrity, that changes things. As our consumer market is going to change as a result if we keep making those micro choices every single day, in the clothes we buy, you know, this is ethical fashion that I'm wearing right now. You can buy your salt and pepper that can be fair trade, you know everything in your life. These days, you can have a fair trade option that is not exploiting somebody but it's actually giving somebody life and it's changing the community and it's helping children in school and it's - that's what we're wanting to do that creates better.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 14:47

Awesome! I could just hear the cars pulling over if the woman was sitting there taking notes and say I need to make it evident how my business is helping and sustaining and making a difference. And you are so awesome. And you know, when you say you've given 10 years of your life, you haven't stopped because you are still doing it. Yeah, absolutely. You are part of a foundation called the joy Smith Foundation. And you've helped pass several bills that have made huge differences from making purchasing sex illegal and decreasing the demand for sex trafficking here in Canada. And so much more. I mean, it is shockingly and very disgustingly the third, is it the third highest profitable criminal action out there?

Tara Teng: 15:46

Yes, human trafficking is the fastest growing crime on the planet. There's more slaves today estimated than ever before in human history

Elaine Tan Comeau: 15:57

Over 30 million, I think I saw.

Tara Teng: 15:59

Over 30 and that's conservative estimates. And that's actually a really outdated statistic from 2008. We know that human trafficking makes more than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined. I mean, we're talking very, very, very lucrative. This is the buying and selling of human beings. It can be for forced labor. This is where we talk about the ethical fashion and things like that. Ethical mining, any industry, any industry can be exploitive, but we're also talking about what I see as the most heinous crime is commercial sexual assault, we're talking about like forced prostitution, rape for a crime, and I think a lot of people would be shocked to know that in Canada, the average entry age into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 16:44

So I'm just gonna make this real this is, this is, this could be your daughter, your son, this is -

Tara Teng: 16:51

Your neighbor, this is my neighbor from where I sit right now just doors down on my street. Their daughter was lured into prostitution by a trafficker who pretended to be her boyfriend. And at 14 years old, he completely manipulated her, exploited her and ultimately got her drug addicted and sold her to another man. And she's been lost ever since.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 17:13

Can I ask because I think you would know how to say this straight to the parent who's listening right now. The parent who says, Oh, no, no, it wouldn't happen to my family because you know, it would never. But we say that we say this wouldn't happen. It could happen to our child's friend, it could happen to our child. So how do we have a conversation with our son or daughter? At what age would we have this conversation to say hey, you know this is real and this, I want you to talk to me. If you see this, so what do you, what would they...

Tara Teng: 17:48

So, this is going to be hard, a hard conversation right. I will give it to you straight but statistically in Canada, the average age into prostitution, like I said is 12 to 14 years old. So they are, predators are grooming your children before that. Also, it's important to note that in Canada, the StatsCan statistic is that the average age that children start watching pornography in Canada is around eight years old. Oh dear. So all of these things are actually, you know, we can have a whole conversation. We won't have time today, but we can have a whole conversation on is porn ethical? And how do you find it? If it is, if it exists, right. But the majority of the porn that we see out there on the internet is not ethical. Even pro porn activists will say the same thing. The majority of the pornography that we see on the internet is not ethical. And so you have to have as a parent, and I'm a parent too. We have to have very hard conversations with our children younger than we think if we want to make sure that they are having accurate, comprehensive education into these things because if we don't, predators will use their innocence in order to manipulate them, and to get a hold of them, and it can be very, very dangerous, so you have to have these conversations with your children about, we're not just talking about like stranger danger and some scary person lurking around. Traffickers are incredibly savvy, they are incredibly charismatic, they're going to come at it, and they're going to look like their friend and you got to talk to your kid about Internet safety. Because right now I'm working with a family in the Greater Vancouver area. And I've been working quite closely with the parents and their 11 year old daughter is being groomed by an online predator. And he got to her through her social media, and they get to you through the chat feature of your kids like gaming.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 19:45


Tara Teng: 19:47

It's like it's, it's terrifying. So you have to have these conversations with your children about you know, what is love and what is abuse and what is safe and what is not and how do we talk to new people that we meet on the internet and you know, I don't think that the internet is a terrible place, but we need to arm our children with the right amount of knowledge so they don't fall prey to the predators that are seeking to exploit them and abuse them because it's real.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 20:13

I so love the point that you brought up that the predator is actually working on the kids beforehand like they are priming them and this is an excellent reminder as you're talking I'm like, thinking of all these instances in my own life or and friends that I have known or know, like even my own daughter when she was six, and she was playing this farmer game that's for preschoolers, maybe she was five. And she was little because she could not read, but I could I was over her shoulder watching this game, and then I could see that she was playing with different people. And I saw names of two people that were utterly inappropriate. She could not read them and I quickly grabbed her board and turned off the game. And then we sat down and had a talk. And she doesn't know who else is playing and can't she can't read or so she must have been really young. So she just opens the door to let people come and play because you know, it's that's what we teach our children to make friends.

Tara Teng: 21:21

With family, friends and play and be kind.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 21:23

Yes, be kind and say, and be friends with everyone. And so that was an awesome opportunity for me to tell her that with the internet with games that we play online, it is okay to not be everybody's friend, that it has to be someone that mommy or daddy knows.

Tara Teng: 21:42

Teach them how to be, you know, I think critical thinking for our children is so important across the board, you know, but teach them to be kind of cautiously optimistic, right? But be savvy and be wise and be aware and please to any parent that is listening to this, monitor your child's activity online. One of the things that we're seeing that you will probably slip past your radar is we're seeing it's peer to peer recruiting now. It's kids are the ones that are recruiting their peers into these exploitive networks. And they are networks. These are organized crime, criminal networks and they use the kids. So it's not some not all - sometimes, sometimes it is an adult that is posing as a child online. We've all been taught to be aware of that. But a lot of the times they're now using the kids to recruit their own kids. It's the girls in your kid's classroom. It's the boys in their kids classroom. You know, these are things to be aware of. It's very real. It's very scary. So you have to have those conversations and teach your child. You know we even talked about you and I Elaine we talked about embodiment before we got on the call. Teach your child to listen to their gut.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 22:57

Yes, indeed.

Tara Teng: 22:57

Listen to their intuition. There's a still small voice within us. Your intuition, your body is wise. I trust the DNA and the wisdom in your body that can tell you if you learn to listen to it, Am I safe? Is this a safe person for me to be around? Is this a safe situation? Or maybe I need to leave. teach your child to learn to trust themselves and our culture is not good at trusting women. Our world likes to be very dismissive of women. We call women crazy. We don't trust women. Teach your children and teach yourself to learn to trust your body's wisdom.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 23:41

Yes, absolutely. And I often say like not just, I usually say listen to your gut. And when I'm talking to business women then because I have learned through many mistakes I have made you know, you don't do business with your heart. You deal with people with your heart, but business with your gut. But, when we are dealing with people that gut does come in, and I tell my children all the time because my kids are older than yours, mine are 11 and 13 and just turned 17. And no matter what age they were, even when we were tiny, they were tiny and we'd go to, like Jungle Jac's or some amusement park place where you get separated because they're in this crazy ball maze. And I'd tell my kids, you know, listen to your gut. No one should ever touch you grab you touch like, there's no you don't follow anybody you don't. And if someone grabs you, you have my permission to push away.

Tara Teng: 24:42

Yeah. Speak up, yell, assert your autonomy.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 24:44

And you know, like, even if it's an adult grabbing you like to say I need help. This is a stranger, even though it's someone you're knowing because often we see kids kicking and screaming, leaving a park, but we just think oh their just being disciplined, right?

Tara Teng: 25:05

The same thing for us as women. You know, women have been socialized to be polite, to be sweet, and not make waves and don't rock - and be a good girl and just fall in line. Right? And then something happens like the rape statistic in North America is one in three. In some cases people anticipate it's actually one in two because so many rapes go unreported, right. It is never the victims fault. It is never the victims fault, but we don't teach women that you need to speak up and you need to use your voice. We've been socialized from infancy, to be good girls and to be quiet and not rock the boat and the women who do speak up a lot of the time they end up being dismissed and treated as crazy and you're a b - i - t - c - h. Somebody's driving with their kids in the car right, I'm trying to keep it PG, but I get real passionate about this of like teaching women to be assertive, to be bold, to be courageous, you own your autonomy, own the room, whether it be business or personal, right. And like these are really important things that we haven't really collectively just taught women, because we've actually been going the opposite direction. We've been teaching women to be submissive to fit in line, to not rock the boat. And to not really don't impact the patriarchy. Don't shatter the patriarchy, just fall in line, but it's doing a lot of damage.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 26:39

Yes. So we need to teach our sons and our daughters how to respect women. Yeah. And that means

Tara Teng: 26:46

100 percent, and that's better for everybody because patriarchy harms men too.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 26:50

Oh, absolutely. And so I think us as women as moms, we have that job, a big job and you know, I mean, I'm saying that to the fathers out there too, it is a big job.

Tara Teng: 27:03

And there are amazing feminist fathers out there who are egalitarian in nature and it's I just want to shout them out because they're amazing.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 27:12

They are and I mean I do, I do feel bad sometimes where men or young gentlemen or boys feel, get shot down for holding the door open. I think it's still chivalrous. I do.

Tara Teng: 27:26

I love it, I think it's an honorable thing.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 27:28

Yes, but I've also seen women yell at men who opened doors for them. And I thought, Oh, that's unfortunate, because there's nothing wrong with being a gentleman.

Tara Teng: 27:37

No there's not. And there's nothing in true feminism, there's nothing that is actually anti-men. It's not women versus men. It's not me versus you. It's all of us against a patriarchal system that is unjust and unequal and designed to suppress and oppress other people for the benefit of somebody else. It's, the enemy of feminism is not men. It's patriarchy completely.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 28:05

Yes, absolutely. I fully, fully fully agree. And if I could ask, what advice would you give to your 18 year old self? If there was one big advice? And I say this because I know that there are parents who are listening or saying what is it if I could just give my 18 year old child that one day or myself if I could say, I'm asking you, Tara, what is that one word of advice that you would give your 18 year old self?

Tara Teng: 28:42

If I were to have anything and this is the advice that it doesn't matter if you're 18 or 58, or 78. I think it's the same. I think if your heart's beating and there's air in your lungs, I want you to chase your whole self. Like discover, I had a friend who said something to me in just in passing the other day and he was like, Oh, I love that you're doing this and I love that you're doing that. And he's like, I just want you to like, leave no part of yourself unexplored. And I think that that's so beautiful. Like we often especially as women, but we I think all of us too. We don't spend the time to truly get to know ourselves. And there can be parts of ourselves, and I think that we're seeing this collectively right now, again, this is being recorded in June 2020. Our collective society, our collective community, you know we're having really big discussions about race and justice and equality. This is this is big, important things. But it's really important for us to do the personal inventory to know who we truly are.

Tara Teng: 29:48

And sometimes that means confronting things within ourselves that we wish weren't there. If we're being really like really honest, real talk. We all have that junk drawer in our lives where like, oh, what's in there? I don't want to talk about the internalized racism. I don't want to talk about the internalized misogyny, I don't want to talk about, you know, these things in my life that I may be holding on to that are not not even just not helpful. They're actually harmful, right? And they're really hard conversations to sit down that I need to have with myself. But when I am willing to confront those things, to come at it with a posture of humility and say, Okay, I need to learn, I need to grow. Like that's where I become a better person. And when we go through that journey of doing the internal work that is really, really hard when we're facing our trauma when we're facing the deconstructing the harmful narratives that we've absorbed from the world. These things that have hurt us, the things that we've carried that have been painful baggage, you know, when we're willing to do the internal work, the deconstruction work to get to a place that we are now able to see all of ourselves and embrace all of ourselves and then what we can offer to the world, we can embody the ideas that we have of the future we want to create, we can embody the justice that we want to see there. Because we've done that work, we can embody the equality, we can embody the courage and the bravery. You know, this, these aren't things that you just, we talk about it like, I know you do a lot of personal professional development, I do the same. I teach mentoring programs, you, you've spoken at some of them. And we can do all of that. But the real work doesn't happen in these workshops. The real work happens inside of our heart and inside of our life, when we're willing to work through the stuff that we don't want to acknowledge exists,

Tara Teng: 30:56

Or pass on. Yeah, exactly. So like, I think of things that I like when you're saying, you know, we have to be introspective totally and look deep within and

Tara Teng: 31:55

Want to change the world? We got to start with ourselves.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 31:58

Absolutely. And you know, and I've caught myself, passing on things that I was brought up with that I mean, I have amazing, wonderful parents and very traditional and, you know, and I remember catching myself doing something that I questioned now, for example, like when I was young like when I was 12 or 13. And I was babysitting, and my mom would pick me up and then my mom's friend would be paying me and my mom would say, Oh, no, no, no, no, it's okay. Don't don't pay her. It's okay. Like, she, don't pay her we're not gonna take your money. And so I didn't because I was 12 and I honored my mom. And then I caught myself doing that when my daughter was babysitting. And, and it did not feel right. It did not feel right. Am I teaching my daughter that her time is not valuable that her work that she just did was not valuable? And I asked my daughter for forgiveness. And I said, Oh my goodness, no, you deserve that money. You worked for it. Go take it. I am sorry, that was out of place. But like, I don't, I thought about this a long time ago, because she's 17 now, but she gets paid very well to babysit right now. But I can't remember if I thought it or if I actually stopped her from taking the money. But all those thoughts went through my head. And I said, You deserve to be paid for your work and your time. And I know that my mom was doing it out of graciousness, because you know, it was helping out a friend.

Tara Teng: 33:36

That's what I'm talking about too, because that's feminist, you standing up for your daughter, that's feminist economics right there. Because collectively we don't really value domestic work. We don't value the, we don't quantify the unpaid labor. And so you see, and I'm sure you felt this. I'm sure this is going to resonate with all of your audience right now. We have women if you're a career woman and a mom, typically now this is this isn't the norm for everybody. But typically, you're going to be going to work working your nine to five and probably taking work home as well. And then coming back and picking up the kids and driving them to soccer and cooking. And the laundry still has to be done. And the house still has to, and someone's got to wash the floor. And so not only just the domestic labor, the emotional labor, but all of this, but we don't we don't value that. Yeah, so all of the unpaid labor that women typically do, it's not equal women might be equal in the boardroom, but a lot of the time they're not equal at home. Yeah. And so really making sure that we're having that partnership, that everything we are being egalitarian in our marriages, in our lives, in our partnerships, in our friendships in all of this and really valuing the work that women put in whether it earns them a paycheck or whether it contributes to the family. That's feminist economics too.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 35:00

Absolutely and be aware right and not being embarrassed to speak up or, or say sorry, to our daughters and sons and you know.

Tara Teng: 35:13

Exactly, that's the stuff we've been talking about, yeah.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 35:16

And there's so many other things like what you're saying I'm like so true.

Tara Teng: 35:22

It's the little things we do every single day even like, when we send an email, is it full of exclamation marks? Are we kneecapping our sentences saying, Oh, I just want to follow up with that, right? Or like so that we can soften it so we don't come across as sounding demanding, but rather, how do we then be more assertive? Absolutely. And how are we okay with strong women? Yes. Goodness, yes. And hopefully this changes and this impacts our daughters.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 35:51

To be confident in our abilities. And I think of this one statement that I read somewhere where you know, and I'm not against men, I adore men. And I actually, there's many that I esteem. And there's a statement that just shows you how awesome the confidence of men is. And the statement said something like, you know, at a job interview, a gentleman or man may go in and see on the list. Hmm, sorry, I'm gonna say it backwards, a woman will look at the list, she's going to the same interview, she'll see this list and see all the things that you are supposed to be able to do and she'll see two things, two qualifications that she can't do and only two, and she thinks, Oh, I'm not good enough for this job. Whereas the men will come in and look at the list and see two things that he's qualified to do of the entire list and he's saying I got this job. He's confident. Absolutely. And so we as women need to step up that way and think I am so capable and go for it. Absolutely. Go for it.

Tara Teng: 36:52

Go to every interview, go answer every email, you know, even in the realm of like, not like that's just incredibly important in business in it's the same thing in politics. I've seen this statistic where typically a man only needs to be told once Hey, you should run for office, he thinks like, yeah, I'll run for office. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's great. A woman needs to be told 40 times on average, you should run for office before they consider it. And some of the barriers that we talked about the unpaid domestic labor at home that tends to keep women not able to pursue different things in their careers, right? Talk about these glass ceilings, sometimes they're, they're imposed by the company, and sometimes they're imposed by ourselves, right? But typically, even in the realm of politics, a woman has to be told over 40 times, hey, you are brilliant. You have something to offer. You would be great for our community, you should speak up and lead our community. She has to hear that over 40 times before she thinks, yeah, maybe I've got a shot.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 37:53

Wow, that puts it into perspective, told once or told 40 times. Okay, so we're saying Tara and I are saying to you right now, when you're listening, you can do it, go for it.

Tara Teng: 38:04

Take that interview, put your name on the candidacy ballot. Just put yourself out there, you might fail. So what? That's something that my mom always taught me. So if you try something and the answer is no or you don't achieve your goal, you're in the same situation that you would have been had you not tried. We're not just changing it for ourselves. We're paving the way for the next generation for our sons and our daughters. So go after it, take the job interview, put your name on the ballot, run, vote, lead, put your money towards the world that you want it to be. Invest in ethical economics, embody all of your value in what you say and do and your time and your resources, in the words that you speak and the way you spend your time and the way you invest your dollar. That's how we change the world.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 39:00

Absolutely Be bold, be brave, don't be afraid to fail. Because the lessons we learn and the cleanup and picking ourselves up are incredible. Right?

Tara Teng: 39:11

That's where the real work is. Yeah.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 39:14

But our kids who are watching and they learn it's a beautiful thing I, my kids have seen me cry they've seen me fall down on my knees to pray and ask God for help because I am stuck. And you know, it's amazing because when I don't even know sometimes that they're watching and then like the answer happens or and the answer isn't always what we expect. But when the answer comes, I remember my son and my daughter have or one of my daughters have come up and said Mom, do you remember, you were praying about that and here it is right? And it's that they are watching and you know, to show them that we can. All we have to do is step forward. Right? And it's okay. It's okay to fall sometimes the journey is longer, but we get there. And it's so amazing for our children to learn that things don't always come easy. That it does take hard work. And that is okay that life is not perfect. Because you know what, the anxiety levels for our children, it's stated that the average teenager has the same anxiety as someone who used to be committed in the 1950s. And you know, it's insane. So let's help our children to understand that it's okay to stumble.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 39:22

Absolutely. And I agree that sometimes that's where the biggest lessons are, that's where the real work is. When you fail. That's where you actually grow.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 40:54

Absolutely. So Miss Tara, I'm gonna ask this, end on this one question. This one question, if you could give one word of advice, from a personal experience that you've had, if you could give us an example of, I'm going to reach into a real conversation of deepness now of, of a moment where you feel that you have failed, that you stumbled, a really low point that you went through, that you are willing to share with us. And what you learned from it that we can all walk away with.

Tara Teng: 41:32

Mm hmm. Oh, my gosh, well, I think the biggest one is because I'm, I'm out on the other side now. And this is probably going to also be really relatable for a lot of people, but we don't talk about it a lot is, you know, I mentioned briefly at the beginning of this, that I'm a single mom to two kids, and I don't think Elaine, you and I have even really talked about this. But, you know, my marriage didn't go the way that I wanted it to. I thought we were gonna be together forever. And we, I think everybody when you get married, you think that that's going to be the case. But for us, it wasn't. And so a lot of people could say, Oh, that's a failed, that was a failed marriage. And I mean, maybe in one sense, it was, but I really don't see that it was because I think that the marriage ran its course. And it taught us so much. And I will be very frank, it was some of the most devastating, most painful thing that we have walked through as a family. It was terrible. I'm not sugarcoating it. It was awful.

Tara Teng: 42:39

But through that really hard experience when people are hurt, and then they're acting out in anger out of their hurt, right? Because hurt people hurt people. And hurt people are the ones who lash out and hurt people are the ones who say things that they don't mean. And I'm a woman of faith. And so my faith means that the way that I treat you shouldn't change. And that's hard. When you have somebody who is hurt, that is saying things that they don't mean, but that are incredibly spiteful at the time. And I'm not saying that I was perfect through it, I did and said a lot of things that I'm not proud of. But when you choose every day to take, not just take the high road, but to love somebody who is not being kind or loving back and trying to set that example of seeking reconciliation. You know, my children's father and I were on really good terms right now. We parent really well together. But that has been hard work to get to this point. And that's been modeling and setting the kind of precedent for our children that, you know, I don't, I don't want to model this. You know, it didn't work out. We were hurt. Everything fell apart. And it's world war three. But we can just not even not, not even just, just isn't the right word. We can seek reconciliation. Reconciliation. And you know what our culture is not great on reconciliation. You know, I know you and I, we share the same faith, our faith is all about reconciliation, all about it from collectively from one another or spiritually to God. Reconciliation is the pillar. Yes. And so we can talk about it. We can pray for it, and we can preach it. But what does that look like in our lives? That is hard. Seeking really, reconciliation is hard because we want justice. We want justice.

Tara Teng: 44:35

We want that but how do we seek peace? How do we seek shalom? How do we seek reconciliation, especially when someone is still not in that place where they're ready to come to the table yet? It's hard. It's hard, but it's necessary work. And that's how we change things as we sit here and we, it's so easy. Again, this is being filmed in June 2020. So we can sit here and we can talk about, you know, the protests happening. And we can talk about there are literal buildings burning down there are people being shot in the streets, we can talk about the collective, over 400 years of injustice on North American soil, and we have to have those conversations. So like, we have to get to the point of being willing to come to the table for reconciliation, and that's on both parties.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 45:25


Tara Teng: 45:26

And that's what we work for every single day because we're not going to get to the future that we want. We talk about like, this is real talk, you know about creating better, we can't get there without the reconciliation, without the willingness to be humble, without the willingness to say, I was wrong and I'm sorry and I own it and how do I holistically live out and embody that apology so that the actions then transform?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 45:51

Yes, humility and strength. It does take a very strong person to reconcile, to own up, to apologizing.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 46:00

Yes just owning it and apologizing, yes, we all want justice, but it can't come in the demise or hurt of someone else. And, you know, we could be the person listening to this right now could be like what is weighing on us? Right? Maybe that weight is something that we need to just take an introspective look at and see if it's something we need to reconcile, at that point, because you know, that weight, once it's released, you can leap forward and do amazing, wondrous things, but it is owning it.

Tara Teng: 46:02

That's some real talk.

Tara Teng: 46:45

Yeah. And like, that's what I've been walking through in my personal and professional life in the last couple of years. You know, and that's the thing that me as a mother, I want to model and my children's father, we're on the same page. We want a model that for our kids, and I think a lot of people think at the end of the day, I'd love to give my children you know, the 50 year anniversary and that like beautiful picture and show them that that's possible. I wish we could have done that. But today we're choosing to show them that when your worst case scenario happens, you can still seek love. You can still seek reconciliation, you can still seek peace, you can co-parent well. That's the gift that we're giving our children now today that even when you are all at odds, and your worst case scenario happens, you can still seek these beautiful things. And you can still find reconciliation at the end of it.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 47:40

Love, love, love.

Tara Teng: 47:42

What the world needs is more reconciliation right now.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 47:45

So much so, so much so. Tara, thank you, thank you very, very much for sharing your heart, being real and just encouraging and challenging us so much through this entire conversation. And I'm so grateful for you. And if people wanted to find you Tara, where would they go to find you?

Tara Teng: 48:08

Yeah, you can find me through my website, super easy to find across all the platforms. You can get in touch with me. There's a contact sheet on my website. You can find me on, Twitter, I'm @MissTaraTeng, Instagram @MissTaraTeng across the board and I love having real conversations with people. I have such a beautiful community on the internet, especially on Instagram. So I'd love to have you be part of the conversations that we're having on a regular basis about all the things we've talked about today.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 48:44

Now, Tara, I could talk to you forever and I would love to have you back because there's like all these other pressing questions I wanted to touch on and talk to you about, like even your TED talk, and all these things but I know that our listener's busy. We want to let her go or him go and so I will have all of this on our show notes where you can find Tara and a link to her website, because you definitely want to check out all that she has to offer all that she is standing up for. Because you just want to like link in arms with this amazing woman and like just come alongside her. So thank you. Thank you for listening. And we're just so honored to have you with us today. And I just hope you are challenged to do and be better. Thank you so much. Bye.

Tara Teng: 49:30