Welcome to episode 144 of Launch Youniversity! This week, Kevin Jennings and David Farmer sit down with Bethaney Bree Wilkinson, the Director of Programming for Plywood People and the creator of The Diversity Gap, for an insightful conversation for leaders and team makers on reimagining diversity (“the undeniable presence of difference”) in the workplace through the prism of dignity and eradicating disparities.
Bethaney has over a decade of experience in racial justice work and is driven to see organizations become places where everyone can be seen, known, and loved. With degrees in education, community building/social change, and theology, Bethaney is passionate about amplifying solutions to challenges facing diverse communities.
Welcome to episode 144 of the Launch Youniversity Podcast.
Links + Resources:
- Go out of your way to understand big-picture systems that exclude people. As a leader, you have to find ways to get the most of your team. Maximizing your organization’s potential requires identifying systemic gaps and biases that underutilize or limit your team members’ ability to grow. For this reason, you must expand your understanding of racism and sexism and the subtle yet often complex manner in which these prejudices manifest themselves in the workplace. These forms of discrimination, as well as others, devalue members of your tea and inhibit your company’s overall success.
- Be working on your racial self-awareness (with someone else). Leaders should always be on journeys of learning. In the process of understanding the big-picture systems of discrimination, leaders should be finding ways to personalize and internalize lessons addressing the diversity gap within their own lives. A cultural privilege is what allows our own racial or gender identity not to be an issue when we enter a space, but this is not a luxury afforded to everyone. Heightening our awareness will go a long way towards empowering us to cultivate a diverse work environment. Also, do not go about pursuing change alone. Find someone else, a co-learner or peer, who is committed to change as well. These actions are ongoing and require time and devotion. The best way to prevent burnout is to have a partner that can motivate us as well as hold us accountable.
- Inclusion and equity are powerful tools in creating a diverse workplace environment. Perhaps, the most effective way that people can leverage what they have to create a more equitable and diverse society is by embracing inclusion and equity as a business goal. The first step, inclusion, is being welcoming, hospitable, and engaging to foster a diverse environment. Inclusion requires a reexamination of corporate jargon like ‘cultural fit” from business leaders. Are you willing to let your organizational culture be uncertain for a season so that a stronger one can emerge? The second part, equity, is about erasing disparity and sharing power with people who are unlike you. To what extent are you leveraging your influence for others? Are you promoting and amplifying those with less power and influence who are performing excellently? Equity is the idea that just because we are different doesn’t mean we should have a different result. When diverse teams learn to work together, they can serve a broader demographic and increase the company’s bottom line.
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