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At the Table

At the Table

By Beth Ruffin
Hi, I’m Beth Ruffin and I’m committed to making our world more inclusive through consulting, coaching, and speaking. I believe everyone deserves a seat at the table, so I started this podcast to highlight the underrepresented. The marginalized. The diminished. The underappreciated. I wanted to create a platform to elevate their voices. So come join me, have a seat At the Table, and let’s chat!
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At the Table with Alexis Johnson
Join me this week as I chat with Alexis Johnson about the inclusion of Blacks in the newsroom. In June 2020, Alexis sued her employer, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, alleging the news outlet was engaging in racial discrimination and illegal retaliation. On May 31, Alexis posted a tweet about the different ways Blacks and whites are portrayed after acts of property damage. After catching wind of the tweet, her editors told her she could no longer cover stories on the Black Lives Matters movement across the city of Pittsburgh. Alexis had already planned stories on jailed protestors and social media efforts to raise bail funds which had to be shut down. Her suit states that white reporters who have posted similar social medial posts did not receive the same treatment. Because of the ongoing litigation, Alexis could not talk about the lawsuit with me during our conversation. But, you can read more about that story online. Let me tell you more about Alexis and her background. Almost a decade of journalism experience, first appearing on the News Station of her undergrad college, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in communication & media studies. After receiving her Master degree in Media Studies & Production from Temple University, she went on to work as a production assistant at NBC-10 in Philadelphia. Her experience also includes working as a multimedia journalist at WVVA in West Virginia, a breaking news reporter for, a freelance writer for Urban Islandz and a digital news editor at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette before landing her current role at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette as a Trending News Reporter. In this role, she is responsible for publishing multi-media content for and all social media platforms. You can connect with Alexis on Twitter here
August 11, 2020
At the Table with Torin Ellis
Join me this week as I speak with Diversity Strategist Torin Ellis about the current state of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, how you can own this work for yourself, intersectionality, microaggressions, covering, and some common myths about the DEI work! This week's episode is brought to you by my new book, You Belong Here: Your Guide to Self-Inclusion.  You can get your copy here. Torin is a Diversity Strategist, Published Author, and workplace issues Host of Career Mix on SiriusXM where he discusses challenges and progress regarding career progression, diversity, and disruption. As a consultant/strategist, he assists clients in optimizing their recruiting efforts using a collaborative approach built on transparency, objective clarity, actionable strategy, and rigorous performance monitoring. He is also a sought after speaker at some of the industry’s most recognized events. In short, a passionate practitioner committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. His approach, influence and results are the reason some of the world’s most forward thinking companies have trusted him to make DEI a thriving force for their enterprise and constituents. Learn more about Torin here: Sirius XM Crazy & the King Podcast
August 5, 2020
At the Table with Otis Sallid
Listen this week as I talk with legendary director, producer, and choreographer, Otis Sallid, about the inclusion of blacks in Hollywood and on Broadway. Otis Sallid is one of the most notable producer, director, and choreographer in theater, television, and film. His work spans decades in the entertainment industry and includes beloved classics such as School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Black Nativity, A Different World, Living Single, Sister Act 2, Fame, and the Wiz. Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Otis Sallid’s tremendous talent became apparent early in his life while studying dance with the Harlem Youth Unlimited. Instructors such as Alvin Ailey recognized his affinity for dance and encouraged him to audition for the High School of Performing Arts. He was awarded a four-year scholarship to the Julliard School. After Juilliard, Otis worked his way as an actor-dancer through numerous Broadway shows and dance companies. The experience on Broadway and in acting companies served to expand Sallid’s interest as he realized his dream to write, produce, choreograph and direct. In 1995 Sallid conceived the hit Broadway show SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ and in 1996 he choreographed the 69th ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS. He also directed and choreographed the live segment event for the 40th Super Bowl featuring Stevie Wonder, John Legend, India Arie, and Joss Stone.   For the rest of the decade Otis went on to work with such artists as Faith Hill, Brooke Shields, Patti Labelle, Tony Bennett, Loretta Devine, Denzel Washington, Sam Jackson, Gregory Hines, Spike Lee, Lawrence Fishbourne, Sarah Jessica Parker, Prince, Vanessa Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Allen, Vanessa Williams, James Ingram, Viveca Fox, Don Cheatle and Queen Latifah. Otis’s commercial directing career began with his own production company Creative Otis Inc. Within the first year, the company produced and directed more than a dozen national commercials for clients such as FORD, COCA-COLA, McDonald's, SPRITE, GEORGIA STATE LOTTERY, AND GENERAL MOTORS. On the international stage, Otis Sallid produces and directs the live events for the Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi. He’s won several awards, including the Bob Fosse LA Choreographers Dance Award, several commercial awards, the MTV and the Music Video Producers Awards. When he is not running his production company Creative Otis Inc., he spends his time speaking and teaching in colleges, universities and arts programs around the world, The Boston Conservatory, Berklee School of Music, Pace University in New York City, The Broadway Dreams Foundation and Perry Mansfield in Steamboat Springs in Colorado just to name a few. To learn more about Otis, you can visit his website at:
July 30, 2020
At the Table with Maria Martin
Canvases with Candace Maria A. Martin works at PASOs of SC, a community-based organization that helps the Latino community and service providers work together for strong and healthy families. Born to Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrant parents, she has always sought to utilize her skills for the betterment of Latino populations. Maria is a social worker who has a heart for the work and understands how to meet our communities where they are and how to build upon their strengths. As Co-Interim Director of PASOs of SC, Maria is one of the organization’s key management leaders that works collaboratively with the Board of Advisors and leadership team in leading the mission and vision of the organization. Maria is responsible for ensuring high quality service delivery, maintaining and procuring financial sustainability, and leading the continued development of a successful and efficient organization. She enables and guides the organization in achieving short and long-term goals and objectives aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. You can reach Maria at
July 22, 2020
At the Table with Brandon Brooks
Tune in this week as I talk with Brandon Brooks of Inventrify about small businesses. Brandon Brooks is an American Businessman and founder of the popular community oriented crowdfunding platform, Inventrify. Combining his hunger for the hustle and his passion to help others is the secret to Brandons’ success. Brandon is the true definition of an entrepreneur, but he does not focus on just creating opportunities for himself but is always looking for innovative ways to help other entrepreneurs along their journey. You can contact Brandon here: Facebook: @inventrify Instagram: @inventrify_ Website: Email:
June 3, 2020
At the Table with Shanea Leonard
Join me this week as Shanea and I talk about the queer community! Rev. Shanea D. Leonard, B.A., M.Div. (they/them/theirs) is a modern-day abolitionist, pastor, teacher, consultant, community activist, and justice warrior. Shanea has been an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for over twelve years. A native of Philadelphia, they received her their B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. They has been serving communities and congregations in various capacities for over fifteen years. Pastor Leonard has done extensive work with urban areas to eradicate systemic oppression in the areas of race, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic despair and has spent time doing international outreach in Africa, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, they are  also the moderator of the Pastor’s Council for the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a global network of faith leaders & communities with an affirming theology. Shanea believes that God has given them a burden for people whom others have disregarded, oppressed, forgotten, or simply don’t even see. You can reach Shanea at: Facebook @Shanea Leonard Instagram @shaneadl Twitter @judahfellowship Judah Fellowship:
May 27, 2020
At the Table with Mandy Medlock of SC Women in Leadership
Join me this week as I speak with Mandy Medlock about women in politics! Mandy Medlock - Marketing Manager with Genoa Healthcare, Mandy is a long-time mental health advocate in the Midlands community. She formerly worked as Executive Director for both NAMI Mid-Carolina & Justice 360. Mandy passionately advocates for those in the Eating Disorder recovery community as well as those recovering from alcohol and drug addiction; she serves on the SC Mental Health State Planning Council & is a dedicated founder & active member of SC Women in Leadership.  South Carolina Women in Leadership is a multi-partisan group of women whose mission is to move South Carolina forward – socially, economically, educationally, and environmentally – through information, connection and engagement of women in leadership.  In addition, she currently serves on the board of directors of Work in Progress, a non-profit which assists persons with mental illness obtain employment. In her free time, Mandy enjoys practicing yoga & meditation. She is a proud, single mom of two grown children, ages 24 & 21 and an adorable 8-year-old Maltese named Penelope. You can learn more about Mandy at: Facebook - Mandy Medlock
May 13, 2020
At the Table with Lester Young of Path2Redemption
Listen to this week's episode with Lester Young, Jr. as we discuss how to support formerly incarcerated people. Lester Young, Jr is a native of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. At the age of 19, Lester was given a life sentence (with the possibility of parole after serving 20 years). During his time in prison, Lester struggled with finding redemption and often wondered what his purpose was. While journaling he asked himself this question, “What is the footprint you want to leave in this world?” It was then that he realized his purpose was to be “that” voice to help at risk youth. With approval from the warden, Lester along with the prison chaplain began meeting to create outlines, programs, and classes to instruct and mentor fellow inmates. This is where the idea of him establishing his non-profit organization “Path2Redemption” got its start. On May 15, 2014 (22 years and 5 months later), Lester was released on parole. Even after his release, the outlines of his programs are still being taught in prison. Mr. Young is setting a new standard for “living a life of redemption”. His commitment to advocating for criminal reform is changing the way society has been proportioned to deal with incarcerated individuals transitioning back into society upon release from prison. As the “Statewide Organizer for South Carolina at JustLeadershipUSA, he specializes in developing and managing innovative campaigns in multiple cities. Lester is widely known for his work with the Mayor of Columbia, SC; in having the first statewide ordinance passed for JustLeadershipUSA’s current campaign entitled “#Banthebox”. This campaign gives incarcerated individuals the chance to complete applications, job and/or housing, without being discriminated against for past convictions You can reach him at:  Facebook - Lester Young Twitter - lester972 Instagram - path2redemption Email - lester young - FB lester972 - TW path2redemption - IG
April 29, 2020
At the Table with Brianne Benness of No End in Sight
Listen to this week's conversation with Brianne Benness as we discuss chronic illness. Brianne Benness is a writer, editor, TEDx speaker, and the host of No End in Sight, a podcast about life with chronic illness. Brianne is also a co-founder of a monthly Toronto-based storytelling event called Stories We Don't Tell, which recently published its first anthology of vulnerable stories about tough topics. You can connect with Brianne at or on Twitter @bennessb.
April 15, 2020
At the Table with Kayla Mallet of Black Women 2020
Kayla Mallett is a Black woman organizer and mom. In the summer of 2019, Kayla launched Black Women 2020, a project designed to explore what it means for Black women (especially in the state of South Carolina) to feel safe, seen, and supported. Since it's inception the project has hosted over 17 discussions with Black women, including events with 2020 Democratic primary candidates. A native of Manning, SC, Kayla's values are rooted deeply in the ideals of community and collectivism. Kayla believes everyone wins when Black women win. Listen as we discuss how Kayla elevates the voices of Black women through her activism.
April 8, 2020
Teaser Episode
Introducing the "At the Table" podcast with Beth Ruffin!   Hi, I’m Beth Ruffin and I’m committed to making our world more inclusive through consulting, coaching, and speaking. I believe everyone deserves a seat at the table, so I started this podcast to highlight the underrepresented. The marginalized. The diminished. The underappreciated. I wanted to create a platform to elevate their voices. So come join me, have a seat At the Table, and let’s chat!
March 31, 2020