Session 2: Leading with Equity: Rooting Out Bias Deep and Wide
March 12, 2019

We aren’t stuck in a system—we are the system. Yikes! We are the ones who unconsciously maintain socially conditioned biases in our systems. 


In this session, we’re going to "Get REAL": Racial Equity Adaptive Leadership. Participants will be introduced to the elements of this profound leadership model, which begins with the Leadership of Self. Each person, employee and leader, must continuously develop their awareness and capabilities to root out the inequities of racism—a profoundly unconscious social conditioning that infects all of our organizations. Leaders who have access and control over resources and authoritative power over others have an added responsibility to push the status quo from talking about equity to “being” equitable.


In addition to Leadership of Self, everyone must learn how to:


  • Analyze systems to identify inequities

  • Intervene skillfully and collectively to disrupt and dismantle the inequities maintained by the system

  • Collaborate with those who benefit from and are harmed by the system to re-imagine and reconstruct more equitable systems and outcomes


This is a disruptive process — it reveals the disturbing gaps between the values we believe and lived realities of inequitable outcomes. This session is designed to build a container for this disruption and to support employees and leaders in discovering and learning about “being” equitable in their real work environments.


Improv learning: Come and experience the power of race-based caucusing! Heighten your individual and our collective awareness of the profoundly unconscious social conditioning in each of us—unconsciously acting to hold racial oppression / superiority in place!


Learning Objectives:

By the end of this session, participants will:

  • Review ways (from the January 29th session) to “be” about racial equity (vs. just talking about it)

  • Deepen understanding of the systemic cognitive dissonance embedded into U.S. American history, institutions, culture and current inequitable racial outcomes

  • Become familiar with Power Analysis to identify the gaps between expressed values and the lived experiences of inequitable outcomes

  • Learn a strategy to raise awareness and interrupt unconscious racial bias, beliefs and behaviors



Kristina Katayama, Facilitator, Racial Equity Adaptive Leadership.

Kristina Katayama has 20 years experience as a Leadership and Organizational Consultant, Facilitator and Coach, designing and delivering programs grounded in the practical application of the findings of neuroscience, emotional and social intelligence, and the power of presence, empathy and honesty. Kristina is a catalyst for connected engagement, peak performance and courageous leadership.


Passionate about human development and human systems, her engagements have brought her across more than 30 countries from Norway to Honduras, Australia to Japan, Germany to China, and include completing her bilingual MBA in Spain. Her experience has given her a deep appreciation for equity and social justice, and conversational fluency in 4 languages.


Kristina has supported organizations across all stages of development, from small private businesses to Fortune 100s including GM Europe, Boeing, AT&T Wireless, IBM Japan and Microsoft. She has also worked with governmental agencies and non-profit organizations including PATH, Education Service Districts, City of Seattle, Port of Seattle, Hopelink, and Real Change.


Today, Kristina’s practice is focused on Racial Equity Adaptive Leadership process-consulting using shared analysis and purpose, from leadership of self to collective leadership to co-create powerful, adaptive and resilient systems. Kristina’s consciousness raising work brings out the vitality of humanity in our teams, organizations and communities.


Awards and Honors

 * President’s Award of Excellence for Leadership, International Business Group (2006)

 * Legacy Award for Consulting Partner of the Year, Executive Service Corps (2011)

 * Professional Development co-chair for Human Systems Development Professionals (2017-2019)

 * Community of Practice with Leadership Eastside (2018-2019)


On a personal note, Kristina dedicates about 10% of her practice to non-profit and social justice organizations including 501 Commons, the Underground Railroad, and the Freedom Project. She also delights in being a mother, outdoor adventure, dancing, yoga, “the Mind Illuminated” mindfulness meditation student teacher and intentional community living.


Nikum Pon, Ph.D., Co-founder, Racial Equity Adaptive Leadership.

Dr. Nikum Pon has dedicated the last 22 years of his life working with a wide range of students and their families in racially, linguistically, and culturally diverse communities in predominantly low-income settings in the greater Seattle area. He spent nine of those years at SafeFutures Youth Center, a grassroots community/youth development agency that serves predominantly low-income Southeast Asians and East African youth and families. As a staff member, he was directly responsible for four major programs - National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), After-school Tutorial, Asset Team, and Bilingual Case Management services. As a result, 95% of youth who were gang-involved or at-risk of gang involvement graduated from high school and/or moved on to working full-time to support their families. As a board of directors’ secretary and president, he oversaw SFYC’s development in operations, policies and procedures, long-term strategic planning, annual evaluation of the executive director, board development and financial management. As a result, SFYC’s budget doubled to 2 million dollars. Furthermore, Nikum has taught a number of undergraduate and graduate level courses at the University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University while conducting various mixed-method research on racial equity pertaining specifically to immigrant refugee students and families of color.


Currently, Nikum is the Director of Equity in Education for the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD). In this position, he and his team support King and Pierce county school districts toward systems transformation to ensure academic excellence for each and every student, which upholds the PSESD’s mission to ensure success for each child and eliminate the opportunity gap by leading with racial equity. He has developed and implemented research-based gap closing strategies along with providing on-going racial equity training and coaching for a wide-range of educators both locally and regionally to build their capacity to strengthen students’ educational outcomes.  


Nikum’s academic preparation includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Cell Molecular Biology and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Psychology and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington, and Master’s Degree in Education from Seattle Pacific University. In addition, he completed his certification in Adaptive Leadership, a high impact collaborative leadership model, from Leadership Eastside as class of 2017. Nikum is a life-long learner as he continues to find ways to deepen his learning as a systems thinker, leader and critical race theorist. 

NWDLS is Managed by:  The Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion (ISDI)


ISDI is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of educating, supporting and collaborating with key stakeholders on ways to leverage differences and practice inclusion to enhance individual and organizational success.  


ISDI was founded in 2015 and assumed the management of the Northwest Diversity Learning Series in 2016, formerly managed by Archbright. Barbara Deane, the original NW Series co-founder, and Effenus Henderson, retired Chief Diversity Officer, Weyerhaeuser are the co-founders and directors of the Institute.  This is the 21st year of the NWDLS!


JOIN US in 2019 for the NW Diversity Learning Series:


(Please note: the order of topics and titles may shift slightly as we work with presenters.)

Session 3:  Mending the Broken Trust Between Black Women and White Women, May 14

Session 4:  Reconciliation: Building Allyship Between Black Men and White Men, June 25


Session 5:  Supporting & Encouraging People Living with Invisible Disabilities, September 24

Session 6:  Communicating in Polarizing Times: Words Matter!, November 12