Kimberley John-Morgan is a strong, unapologetic voice for historically excluded communities subjected to isms (racism, sexism, classism, ableism, heterosexism and other forms of oppression). Through her writing and equity education sessions, Kimberley advocates to increase diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.
Kimberley’s journey began at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology and family and child studies.
After completing college, Kimberley applied her writing talent to compose resumes for friends who were job searching. Kimberley decided to return to school for a graduate diploma in career and work counseling at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario.
Right away, Kimberley knew she wanted to help first-generation people like herself.
“Working with newcomers was a conscious decision as soon as I graduated,” Kimberly says. “I wanted to help this specific population find meaningful work in this country and help them navigate that transition. Being first-gen and raised in Canada, I felt I could help my clients navigate the system a lot faster with what I knew than if they had to do it on their own.”
For over a decade, Kimberley worked as a career and work counselor for nonprofit organizations assisting newcomers to Canada.
After that, Kimberley worked in a higher education settings for 20 years. During that time, she taught a pre-employment skills course for co-op students, worked as a career counselor and was a student success coach.
Kimberley’s greatest accomplishment in higher education was expanding the pre-employment skills course from having just two sections to seven, fitting in many more students who wanted to take the course.
With the pre-employment course, Kimberley saw a unique opportunity to make a difference in the workplace.
“I saw it as a chance to help shape workplace culture because if I could equip [the students] with really good skills going in and they could help reshape the cultures they were going into instead of picking up the status quo,” Kimberley says.
As a career counselor, Kimberley enjoyed helping people discover their true potential.
“Across my career, my job has been to help people to realize how fabulous they are, recognize how much they have to offer and to help them articulate all of that,” she says. “And then when they get the job — nothing’s better than that! It’s like gold. It’s so good!”
One of Kimberley’s most memorable moments was working with a woman who had been a stay-at-home mom for the past six years and was now trying to get back into the workforce. This client struggled with a lot of self-doubt in her ability to appear hireable to employers.
“By the time she left, she had this amazing resume that could walk into the room by itself — it was so good,” Kimberley says. “And the confidence on her face — I will never forget that look on her face. She walked taller. I said, ‘I didn’t create those skills for you. I just showed you what they are.’”
As a result of that one appointment, “the client walked taller as she left,” Kimberley recalls.
The core of Kimberley’s desire to work in DEI education stems from being first-generation and watching her parents learn to navigate a new country and deal with the discrimination their family faced.
“I wanted to be the source of support that my parents never had,” she says.
Throughout her career, Kimberley faced multiple isms that she had to overcome. She dealt with people who did not think she was qualified because of her age, sex or race. In addition, Kimberley has experienced people viewing her as a threat because she is an intelligent, immensely talented Black woman.
Growing tired of navigating these constant isms, Kimberley took a giant leap to become an entrepreneur.
She started a business called Junxure Consulting in November 2017 through which she writes content and educates people on DEI.
For years, Kimberley worked behind the scenes with clients from around the world as they struggled to obtain work in their professions in North America. She witnessed firsthand the disparity they faced because their transferable skills were regarded as “foreign.”
“Seeing all that inequity, being an employment counselor and helping people get into the job market, I couldn’t sit still and say that’s OK,” Kimberley says. “Systems need to be put in place to help people bridge their careers.”
In 2020, Kimberley announced to the world that she was a DEI Content Writer.
“I was doing this work behind the scenes, through word of mouth, working with people, but after the murder of George Floyd, I decided I need to put myself out there and let people know this is what I do to continue to help people who face isms,” Kimberley says.
“What I love the absolute most is empowering people who face isms. I live for that. I love it. I love giving them my vocabulary, language, sarcasm and all the salt that I bring into my writing. I love empowering people with that language so they can use it in their circles and advocate for themselves.”
Although Kimberley’s primary focus is on people who face isms, she also works to educate aspiring allies. To this end, she wrote an e-book called “Allyship 101: Things Your Friends Won’t Tell You” to help aspiring allies see what discrimination looks and sounds like on a daily basis for people afflicted by it.
Kimberley’s most significant struggle during her many roles is experiencing secondary trauma whenever she hears another trauma story a client has faced in the workplace from discrimination.
“It’s really painful, and my heart breaks every time I hear one of those stories because they are unique to each individual, but the playbook of harm is exactly the same,” Kimberley says. “I’ve heard hundreds of these trauma stories, and they all follow the same sort of cadence in terms of employers’ behavior. That shows the systemic nature of discrimination and inclusion.”
To balance her work and mental health, Kimberley is mindful when choosing which and how much work to take on so she does not emotionally overwhelm herself.
On social media, Kimberley has gained a reputation for being “salty” because of her unapologetic attitude toward discrimination. For this reason, people also assume she is not big-hearted.
“The exact opposite is true,” Kimberley says. “The only reason why I’m able to speak this loud and this forcefully is because I care as much as I do.”
As an entrepreneur, Kimberley acknowledges the privilege she has to speak out loudly against discrimination because she does not have to live in fear of facing repercussions at work.
“That’s why I do what I do, because I know there [are] a lot of people who can’t,” Kimberley says. “There is no sweet way to talk about discrimination.”
A significant source of inspiration for Kimberley is Sharon Hurley Hall.
“She is a force of nature,” Kimberley says. “I love her to pieces. She’s one of the people I look to for direction on how to do this because it’s hard.”
When balancing her many roles, Kimberley relies heavily on her strong intuition, allowing her to find balance easily.
For women wanting to take on any of the multiple roles that Kimberley performs, she suggest this:
- Writing – Write every single day and invest in Grammarly.
- Career counseling – You need to be a really good objective listener.
- DEI educating – Pack your patience because people are going to say very ignorant things.
Eventually Kimberley hopes to release more DEI e-book content and continue to grow Salt Box.
“The world as it’s designed would have you say that you can only be one thing because you’re supposed to be a cog in a machine to support capitalism or whatnot,” Kimberley says. “‘She can be both’ means I can be anything I want to be, and I can define myself on my own terms.”