Reboot Podcast Episode #128 – Power, Progress, and Generative Conflict – with Regina Smith & Amanda Aguilera

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.


Regina Smith, MA

Regina Smith, MA

Vice President of Mission, Culture, and Inclusive Community at Naropa University

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Amanda Aguilera, PsyD

Amanda Aguilera, PsyD

Owner of Restorative Integration

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Episode Description

In moments of conflict, it can be difficult to stay present amongst our discomfort. However, when we lean into love and compassion we might begin to see conflict in a generative light. In this episode of the Reboot Podcast, Jerry is joined by Regina Smith, MA and Amanda Aguilera, PsyD, experts in the field of power dynamics, conflict and equity.

In this conversation, Regina and Amanda examine and characterize the intersectionality of power dynamics and expound on the various ways power is conferred in our culture (and our workplaces). They highlight how conflict avoidance is often most detrimental to those in the down power role and why expanding our capacity to be in conflict is necessary for progress. The conversation explores how cultivating a positive outlook towards conflict supports our ability to engage empathetically and skillfully when moments of friction arise. By introducing the notion of generative conflict (and the idea of radical collaboration), they underscore why love, community, and connection are paramount for social transformation.

Dr. Cedar Barstow – Right Use of Power | Audre Lorde | Rumi | Still I Rise – Maya Angelou | Harrowing – Parker J. Palmer  | Adrienne Maree Brown |

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Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“However well-intentioned you may be in overcoming unconscious biases until we address power dynamics, the system will just go back to its old ways.” – Jerry Colonna

“Power is actually energy and it’s neutral and we all are born and have a birthright to claim our personal power.” – Regina Smith

“There are groups of people who are born with more power than others. Our culture confers power on certain groups of people and allows them access to greater resources and opportunities than other groups are afforded.” – Regina Smith

“We can use the power that we do have collectively to influence systemic power, structural power, and institutional power.” Amanda Aguilera

“I work with a lot of white people and sometimes it’s hard to tell what is true for me and what I am receiving as expectation and messages.” – Regina Smith

“The ways that we’ve been socialized in our culture, the ways we’ve been taught to relate to our power have been barriers and have kept us feeling separate, and that’s not the reality. The reality is that we’re interconnected.” – Regina Smith

“What would it mean to my children, my children’s children…if I don’t have a kind of radical optimism about what is possible?” – Regina Smith

“We have to be willing to engage with intention in conflict and have the skill to make that tension or conflict generative. Otherwise, we’re going to recreate the same system in different clothes.” – Amanda Aguilera

“If we are all showing up with our different needs, beliefs, expectations, and commitments, then inevitably there’s going to be conflict.” – Amanda Aguilera

“When that impulse to make the conflict go away is applied to inequality and inequity it exacerbates the harm that has been done to those who might come from a marginalized position relative to others.” – Jerry Colonna

“The cost of peace or not having conflict in our daily lives is usually paid by the persons in the down power role.” – Regina Smith

“We are capable of waking up over and over again. In every moment I have the opportunity to wake up again.” – Amanda Aguilera

“The personal power that especially black people are actualizing and that we’re seeing on the television and the solidarity that people are demonstrating around our right to express and to lay claim to that personal power that’s everyone’s birthright.” – Regina Smith

“What is my work to do when I think of myself as someone’s ancestor?” – Jerry Colonna

“Putting love and connection at the center of the work as the reason that the work exists is essential for the kind of social transformation that we’re hoping to achieve.” – Regina Smith