2017 Theme for the NW Diversity Learning Series

Seizing the Courage to Have Disruptive Conversations - Imperative to Inclusion!

Diversity tensions erupted in the national discourse after the 2016 U.S. presidential election and companies and organizations were not immune to that discourse.  Instead of pretending the elephant left the room, we acknowledged that many people expressed uncertainty about diversity and inclusion, and questioned its viability.  We learned from the 2016 series that differences come with dilemmas.  It’s not easy! The premise of the 2017 Series was that one of the best ways to manage and navigate the tensions of diversity and dilemmas of inclusion is to talk about them – to have the courage to have fierce, uncomfortable conversations about differences – to disrupt the status quo. If we want employees to behave in ways that are inclusive, civil, and respectful of each other’s humanity, we must encourage them to step out of their comfort zones.  To do this, people need skills, tools, guides and practice to help them navigate the conversational terrain. 

2016 Theme for the NW Diversity Learning Series

The Practice of Inclusion In Times of Disruptive Change

The 2016 Series anticipated the rise of disruptive forces during the U.S. presidential election year.  We drew on the ideas and models in a new book, Diversity at Work: The Practice of Inclusion. We believed promoting inclusion as a “practice” was a new and worthwhile concept in the approach to diversity in the workplace.  “The 2016 Series framed each workshop against the backdrop of “disruption.” Each workshop presented a critical issue, identified important disruptive forces affecting it, and provided suggested solutions (such as, processes, tools, behaviors, action plans).  The six workshop topics covered the concept of the “Practice of Inclusion and the inherent dilemmas of difference; the complexity of individual identities and how we work with them; navigating intercultural conflicts of values, beliefs and worldviews; interrupting institutional racism; building relationships amidst shifting power and privilege, and how to build social capital using the new science of networks.

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