Ray Arata, author, DEI expert and founder of the Better Man Conference, opens Act 1 by discussing some of the most formative experiences of his life. Ray tells of a “one-two-punch” wake-up call in 1991 that helped shape him into the man he is today, when he faced divorce on two fronts; one from his wife, the other from a business partner, all in the span of weeks.
Ray reflects on the pain he experienced (and unconsciously spread) and the growth he was able to achieve later, only after truly examining himself and learning to trade external validation for self-acceptance.
Through his experience with the Mankind Project and the introspection it inspired, Ray was able to recognize how his deep-rooted pain and buried emotions contributed to the dissolution of his first marriage: “My then wife didn’t sign up to be my mother, but for all intents and purposes, the little boy in me was running the show.”
Ray muses on the importance and impact of MKP’s New Warrior weekend where, in the company of men, he was able to see himself clearly and begin to unpack repeating behavioral patterns. His awakening and transformation firmly on track, Ray learned much about emotions, accountability, integrity, and the importance of being in community with other men doing their own work. “I was determined to not ever go back to sleep,” and to that end, he continued the rigorous work of carefully unraveling himself to build back stronger.
Ray wraps Act 1 with a discussion about power and the different ways it can manifest. We riff on the functions - and dysfunctions - of power, drawing key distinctions between the power of wounded shadow and ego versus the power of the heart.
Ray Arata is an award-winning diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leader and speaker, consultant, and trainer, with global clients from PwC to Verizon to Toyota to Bloomberg. He founded the Better Man Conference for the development of healthy masculinity and men as allies and partners.
Ray was recognized by UN Women in 2016 as a HeForShe Champion for Change and received the Ron Herring 2020 award. His new book is Showing Up: How Men Can Become Effective Allies in the Workplace. Learn more at rayarata.com and bettermanconference.com.