Create Belonging


7 - Kristín Grímsdóttir and Her Path to Authenticity

Welcome to Part 2 of our conversation with  Kristín Grímsdóttir . This is the follow-up episode where the conversation starts exploring the topic of Authenticity. Naturally, this conversation offers a very personal look at Kristín’s own story with authenticity. She offers some practical insights on how she experiences authenticity with herself and with others. 

We are extremely grateful for Kristín’s vulnerability in talking about her journey to find her belonging. 

In this Episode one we cover the following topics:

  • Kristín’s path to authenticity, starting from a small fishing village in Iceland 
  • The early days of living up to external expectations were the antithesis of living authentically
  • How this one TED talk changed her forever
  • Her 12-year journey of living from vulnerability to authenticity
  • The slow, tough, and uncomfortable journey of living in vulnerability
  • Trusting the process, and taking risks in big life decisions - following the feeling
  • How to identify authenticity in others - “It’s a feeling in your body” 
  • Helping others discover their values and live more authentic lives
  • Her approach to helping her children discover and live in accordance with their values
  • Understanding your values and your energy has an effect on other people
  • How living authentically can help one take responsibility for one’s actions
  • What Create Belonging means to Kristín

If you haven't already, I highly recommend giving this episode a listen to gain valuable insights into living a more authentic life. Tune in now to Create Belonging, available on your favorite podcast platforms.

More Episodes

Monday, June 5, 2023

9 - Sebene Selassie PART 2

Season 2, Ep. 9
Welcome once again to Part 2 of my conversation with writer and meditation teacher Sebene Selassie. While part 1 was all about how we belong first and foremost to ourselves, this second part is about belonging with others.  We start the conversation by talking about the illusion of power dynamics in society. Sebene flips the script that society is a struggle towards the middle where there is access to resources and power. She does that by reminding us that those in the margin - have a richness of perspective and access to fluidity and other ways of belonging that those in the middle might not. This part two of the conversation was a lot more personal and open, and one where I really got to express my deep gratitude for Sebene’s contribution to our understanding of Belonging. Key ideas we explore in this episode:Get into Power dynamics - and how we have the idea that society is structured in concentric circles where the Powerful stand in the middle, holding onto power and status. While those in the margin have a richness of perspective and a more holistic view based on a deeper knowledge of understanding.  Context Switching - Fluency vs Semeiotic Vigilance - and why this can lead many of us to fatigue of belonging. And how Affinity Groups can offer minorities some respite from constantly being “Vigilant and monitoring” whether we belong or fit in.  We look into the efficiency of Affinity groups - like female only, on black only groups. And how they create the space for much of the “work” that can be done so that the conversations and the network can be explored in a more profound and direct way. She answers the questions about her vision of the future with “how she would like to feel in that future”, and gives us some clues on the type of world we should all be striving towards.  And much more…Resources to continue exploring:The ideas and media related to this episodeWikipedia on “From Margin to Center” - by Bell Hooks Sebene’s book You Belong: A Call for Connection Subscribe to Sebene’s newsletter Follow Sebene on Instagram
Sunday, May 28, 2023

8 - Sebene Selassie

Season 2, Ep. 3
“Belonging is TRUE, it’s not up for debate, it’s a fundamental fact that we all belong to everything” - Sebene SelassieWelcome to Part 1 of the long-awaited interview with writer and meditation teacher Sebene Selassie. We introduce her book “You Belong - A Call for Connection”  and her motivations for writing it. We discuss the fundamental fact of belonging and the paradox of belonging.We later go on to look at the way that the world seems to be suffering from a “Delusion of separation” and how the way to wake up from that reality is to look inwards. This was a very rich, insightful, and enlightening conversation about belonging with one of the world’s leading thinkers on the matter. Key ideas we explore in this episode:How her book is not a map to belonging, but rather a “map key” where each one of us is expected to make our own maps. The Paradox of two truths: Even though we are not separate, we are not the sameThe delusion of separation: forgetting that we are all interconnected and part of the same realityWe touch on some of the systemic issues that have led us to forget the fundamental truth of belonging‘Mana’ the comparative mind and how it keeps ups in the delusion of separationWhy we must start with grounding ourselves BEFORE we can begin to know ourselvesHow cultivating “embodied awareness” can help us find our way back to belongingAnd much more…Resources to continue exploring:The ideas and media related to this episode:Hurry Slowly interview with Sebene on the Delusion of SeparationSebene’s book You Belong: A Call for ConnectionSubscribe to Sebene’s newsletterFollow Sebene on InstagramAcknowledgmentsMusic by Ergy, aka Hugues Coudurier, Facebook——————————-Thank you for listening! I would love your Feedback: Please send me an email at and let me know what you thought of the episode. You can also follow us on Instagram: or on Linkedin: 
Saturday, March 18, 2023

6 - Kristín Grímsdóttir PART 1

Ep. 6
For this episode, we sit down with the amazing and wonderful  Kristín Grímsdóttir for a two-part conversation where we bridge Belonging with Authenticity. Part one starts with a discussion on the book "You Belong" by Sabene Selassie. During the podcast, Kristin shares her insights on what belonging means to her and how it ties into the work she has been doing for the past 15 years. She is an expert in helping others discover their authentic selves and use that awareness to empower their lives. In this Episode one we cover the following topics:How we should think of identity as flowing and how one wears many hats (5:00)Why “You Belong” by Sebene Selassie is the first book she starts and finishes in a long time (7:25)Why belonging is not connected to a place (9:45)How Biking she never felt lonely despite the fact that she traveled solo on a bike across Europe for 120 days (10:14)How acceptance and sensing ourselves can lead us to realize that we already belong (11:25)How Belonging can be a compass to authenticity (13:50)The two types of Belonging: individually and universally (15:25) How disconnection and not-belonging are hurtful (17:20)The opposite of Belonging is to “Fit-in” (17:45) How we should lean into the pain of feeling like not belonging and it can give us clues to our values (20:00) Kristín talks about the work she is doing with building tools to help people better understand themselves (21:00)Short Bio:Kristín Grímsdóttir has lived many lives. She is guided by her values, which one day led her to quit her job and cycle solo across Europe for over 120 days. She planned to meet over 100 strangers, and this lead her to write a memoir about the experience in the book “Real: a story I tell myself and choose to believe.” Aside from being an adventurer, she is also a mother, partner, and entrepreneur. She is a sustainability and leadership expert with over 15 years of experience in understanding human behavior and decision-making within the context of sustainability. She has been a startup founder and CEO, a project manager in a public company, and has led the sustainability agenda during digital transformation times in a large, international company. Kristin's passion for creating enabling conditions for sustainable development through vertical development has led her to specialize in conscious leadership, emotional intelligence, building trusted relations, strategy, sustainable business design, sustainable development, vertical development, culture and values, brand development, facilitation, project management, coaching, deep and genuine listening, co-creation, and navigating complexity.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

04 - Art, Emotions, and Belonging with Kerone Campbell

Season 1, Ep. 4
My guest today is a spoken word Artist named Kerone Campbell Kerone was born in Jamaica, raised in Brooklyn, NYC, and has been living in Stockholm for 6 years. Kerone, like many of us, is someone that has given a lot of thought to Belonging. Through his words and his Art, he is able to communicate wholeheartedly, in a way that very few of us can. However, can all relate to the emotions that his work evokes. Kerone is has been a creative person who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Immigrated to New York City (Jamaica Queens) when he was 10 years oldWhere/when does Kerone belong?Kerone belongs in the present, but it was never that wayThroughout his life, he never felt like he truly belongs. He found his belonging in Stockholm - when walking to the supermarketThe disillusionment of not fitting into ideals as a child immigrant. Life lesson: When you immigrate to a place, you can be anyone you want to be. Q: What’s it like being back in Sweden, compared to being black in New York?In Sweden, racism is more subtle. The only time race and other forms of discrimination are talked about is at the extremes. Upon explicit forms of racism and discrimination, Swedes tend to say “Well, I’m not like that, we are not THAT racist”. They are quick to point at these extreme examples and claim the higher road without acknowledging that they might act on their bias or engage in other forms of exclusion.Instead, racism is subtle. Kerone came to the realization that racism is their problem, not his. There is little he can do to change others' opinions, other than just living his truth and living his life.Book: Subtle Acts of Exclusion but Dr. Tiffany Jana, and Michael Baran. Why it is important for him to bring to the surface the issue of slavery and other traumatic events of the past. How did he get started with Spoken Word? Keron discovered Spoken Word in 2003, however, he would not find his voice until he came to Stockholm. He started writing following a painful breakup. Today he writes on many topics including family, society, and relationships.What happens when you don’t feel as you belong?How he found his own belonging. Why belonging is much bigger than what anyone else thinks or does to you. The importance of realizing that you are on your own journey, charting your own path. Do you have any tips or practices for healthy belonging? it’s important to follow curiositySebene Selassie - “You Belong” - talks about the importance of curiosity for finding belonging.  Here is how to get in touch with Kerone:Website: Instagram: by Ergy, aka Hugues Coudurier, Facebook——————————-Thank you for listening! I would love your Feedback: Please send me an email at and let me know what you thought of the episode. You can also follow us on Instagram: or on Linkedin: 
Wednesday, July 7, 2021

03 - Authenticity and Belonging to the Self with Chris Hovde

Season 1, Ep. 3
Welcome to Create Belonging! In this episode, we speak to Chris Hovde(Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook). A self-proclaimed “Urban Monk”, Chris is unapologetically living a life where he strives to make sure his behaviors are in accordance with his values.He is one of the people leaders at Telia, one of the largest telecoms with 21000 employees across the globe. He holds many roles and responsibilities, including employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and promoting self-leadership. Chris sits on the boards of many companies and is very involved in many initiatives concerning the environment, technology, and issues around racial and gender inclusivity. You can check out his meditation and well-being initiative here: He is someone that leads by example and is on a mission to helping people live their most authentic selves. So at this point, you may be wondering why I invited an Urban Monk to be on a podcast about belonging?! Chris is someone that belongs to himself first and foremost. He understands that in order to inspire and help others, we must first live our own truths. Chris is not one for excuses. And in this podcast, he challenges us to stop lying to ourselves and to start the journey to our authentic selves. Topics Discussed:Cognitive Dissonance and how we tend to respond to it. The 3 dimensions of belonging (According to Mateo): Belonging with the Self (the theme that this podcast episode is based on)Belonging with others (includes belonging with our partners, family, groups, community, nations etc., and any kind of inter-personal belonging). Belonging to the planet or universe (understanding that we belong to this planet, with all living things and objects, including the wider universe). Singularity University SummitMinimalismClarity and doing less is key to making an impactGreta Thunberg is someone that is living true to her values. She doesn’t do too many things, just the necessary to make an impact. Finding peace with what matters to you, then anyone else’s opinion is not necessary. Change starts with knowing your personal values and purpose in lifeIndifference is a trap, it’s better to have people hate you than to have them be indifferent. Being discriminated against for being gay helped him to connect with others that are also marginalizedProfessional is a mask. Acting professional prevents people from being their true selves. Link to post, showing why it's important to be vulnerable and share your story. The importance of stop lying to ourselves. We need to be true to our word. How to do a gratitude journalThe importance of walking the walkHis work at Telia, and how he is helping in setting up a more fair recruitment processWhat makes Chris so special: he is not ruled by fear. What he wants is always more powerful than the force of fear. His mother had high expectations of him as a childReframe, from “hard work” to “smart work”. We should get off the hamster wheel of producing volume, and instead focus on what one truly wants to achieve in a quarter. We can have a bigger impact with less. Creating diversity and inclusion conferences online is an example. The Pareto Principle AKA, "the 80/20 rule”Systems Thinking as a way to understand where to focus efforts How the pandemic was a gift, a sort of “reset” that Chris has been longing for, as a catalyst for societal transformation. Chris’ Summary of the conversation in 2 points:Start being honest with yourself? Change can happen with small changes. Try to find meaning where you are. Start backing up the things you say you care about with actions. Reach out and connect with Chris: (Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook). “Regenerative Monks” - Where you can find his dinners and meditation servicesAcknowledgments:This podcast is created, produced, and edited by me, Mateo BornicoMusic by Ergy, aka Hugues Coudurier, Facebook——————————-Thank you for listening! I would love your Feedback: Please send me an email at and let me know what you thought of the episode. You can also follow us on Instagram: or on Linkedin: 
Saturday, June 5, 2021

02 - Howard Ross - Author of "Our Search for Belonging"

Season 1, Ep. 2
Howard Ross: Episode NotesWelcome to our second episode of Create Belonging. This is my interview with Howard Ross, author of “Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing Us Apart”About Howard:Howard Ross is a lifelong social justice advocate and is considered one of the world’s seminal thought leaders in identifying and addressing unconscious bias. He authored and co-authored many books on diversity and inclusion, including, Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing Us Apart, which won the 2019 Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Social Change and Social Justice. Howard’s writings have been published by the Harvard Business Review, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Fast Company Magazine, Diversity Women Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, and dozens of other publications. Howard has served on numerous not-for-profits boards, including the Diversity Advisory Board of the Human Rights Campaign, the board of directors of the Dignity and Respect Campaign, and the board of directors for the National Women’s Mentoring Network.  Howard has been the recipient of many awards, including the 2009 Operation Understanding Award for Community Service; the 2012 Winds of Change Award from the Forum on Workplace Diversity and Inclusion; the 2013 Diversity Peer Award from Diversity Women Magazine; the 2014 Catalyst Award from Uptown Professional Magazine; the 2014 Catalyst for Change Award from Wake Forest University; the 2015 Trendsetter in HR by SHRM Magazine; and the 2016 Leadership in Diversity Award by the World Human Resources Development Conference in Mumbai, India. He was also named an Honorary Medicine Man by the Eastern Cherokee Reservation in N.C., and given Medicine Holder designation by the Pawnee Nation. Howard founded Cook Ross Inc., one of the nation’s leading Diversity and Inclusion consultancies. He sold the company in July 2018 and founded Udarta Consulting, LLC. Question (Q): “The essential dilemma of my life is between my deep desire to belong and my suspicion of belonging.” What does this quote by Jhumpa Lahari mean?Answer (A):- We are encoded to belong as a human imperative for survivalYet in modern times we are taught to be independent, and we focus on being individualistic. For this reason, we tend to go towards the groups where we have a lot in common so that we are able to express our individuality within the group.Q: Udarta is the name of your current organization, where does the name come from?A: The name is a Hindi word roughly translated as “Generosity and Kindness”. More than half the work we do at Udarta is pro-bono and charitable. Q: Where did you get started to work for a more equitable and fair society?A: His origins in activism are a result of his family’s history, with his parents being the fleeing worn-torn eastern Europe for the united states and he considers social justice work a “family business”, with over 35 years of experience working in this field. Q: How has exclusion and discrimination evolved over the decades? What has changed in the last decades?A: History repeats itself, and MLK jr. said “The arch of history bends towards justice”. So society has improved over the long history. However more recently, things have been changing quickly.- The role of new media in cultivating more tribal belongingThe shift in politics from an “issue orientation” to an “identity orientation”. The role of fear, and how people retrieve to their “tribes”. Tribal belonging is more clearly defined and fear of being excluded causes us to act “against others that are outside our tribe”We shift from an “issue orientation” to an “identity orientation”. Othering is a lot easier when we are reduced to our tribesDaniel Goldman, father of emotional intelligence and the amygdala hijack. Fear gets in the way of rationality, causing people to act in the subconscious bias that keeps them safe. How fear makes things Personal, Persistent, and PermanentQ: Why did you use 3 fictional characters to explain your points?A: Using 3 archetypes to explain the complexity of relationships - why identity and affiliations are not so clear-cut.- The characters are an archetype of “intersectionality” (Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw)It explains the difficulty of categorizing people and how one person can be in an in-group and out-group a the same time. Jon Robert Tartaglione collaborated with the research and studies included in this book.  Q Why is belonging in the workplace so important?A: Most of us cannot choose who our workmates and we are somehow “forces us” to find ways to relate with others and work together towards a common work. Solving belonging in the workplace can have a deeper impact on society since many of the lessons from the workplace can be transplanted to society.Q: Why company culture cannot be “like a family”A: -the workplace is more like a community The importance of contribution for belonging in the workplace. Q: How can leaders accelerate the move towards becoming more diverse and inclusive?The problem with always trying to “fix” things, or “fix people” causes people to be reactive.Changemakers become fatigued by “fixing things” always trying to figure out what is wrong. People don’t want to be fixed and fixing things require a lot of energy Instead, having a vision can help address many of the root causes and helping people unite under a common vision.To be proactive, it’s necessary to have a vision of “belonging”. All great change-makers managed to act behind a vision: MLK, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi. Having a vision is 1 of 8 “Pathways for belonging”[In chapter 9 of his book “Bridges to Bonding”, Howard provides the 8 pathways to belonging]The 8 pathways to belonging are: A Clear Vision and Sense of PurposeCreating a ContainerPersonal Connection, Vulnerability, and ConsciousnessInclusion and EnrolmentCultivate Open-Minded ThinkingDevelop Shared Structures and Forms of Communication Honoring NarrativeTools for Negotiation and Conflict ResolutionExploring #7: Honouring NarrativeUnderstanding the narrative, the story we tell ourselvesIf we are aware of the narratives that we are raised in, we can find a different story for ourselves. Leaving our own identity is incredibly difficult. Understanding Bridging vs. Bonding relationships- Robert Puttnam - Bowling alone on Social CapitaSome people believe they are bonding when in fact they might only by bridging. The example is bonding amongst women, with the black women, are not bonded, but rather bridging. How bridging can lead to bonding relationships. “Rapid Fire” questions What is one country to visit?China and TibetFavorite meal?PizzaWhat’s a movie or show that you are currently watching that would recommend?“13th” by Ava DuVernay about the 13th amendment. I am in my element when…“When I am with my family”Final words:We are in a very “special” time. Many refer to this time as a Syndemic. During these time it is especially easy to slip us into an “othering” and seeing others as a threat. This opportunity also opens up the opportunity to become more compassionate and empathy is important. Here is the Google Talks Video of Howard talking about his book: “Everyday Bias”: you to Aidan McCullen (host of “The Innovation Show” podcast) for your support and for making this interview happen. Thank you James Robinson, Emmy® Award-Winning Sound Designer & Engineer for helping me salvage the audio quality.Music by Ergy, aka Hugues Coudurier, Facebook——————————-Thank you for listening! I would love your Feedback: Please send me an email at and let me know what you thought of the episode. You can also follow us on Instagram: or on Linkedin: