In today’s episode, CultureRoad™ creator and podcast host DeEtta Jones chats with DeEtta Jones and Associates colleagues and fellow EDI practitioners, Jayla Hodge and Lexi Seals-Johnson, about the shifts in the EDI industry over the years and what it looks like for companies and practitioners to lead effectively in this space in the current era.
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About the Host:
DeEtta Jones is a 32-year industry veteran, transformational leadership expert, and owner of DeEtta Jones and Associates, the go-to management training and strategic consulting firm for some of the world’s leading companies and institutions. Visit deetajones.com for more information.
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Episode 6 Preview:
In the next episode, CultureRoad™ creator and podcast host DeEtta Jones dialogues with DeEtta Jones and Associates colleagues Jayla Hodge, Media Marketing Specialist, and Lexi Seals-Johnson, Project Coordinator, to reflect on and unpack the differences between equity, diversity, and inclusion, then and now.
- Hi, I'm DeEtta.
Welcome to the "CultureRoad Podcast."
This is episode number five,
and we are going to be talking about
next generation equity, diversity and inclusion.
Really, really cool ideas
as far as not just how shifts have happened over time,
but also where we're going and things
that you should be paying attention to.
And we are also coming from Redland Koi Garden
in Miami, Florida.
So hopefully you'll be able to get some of that cool vibe
along the way.
So join us, stick around,
we're gonna have a really great time.
Hi everyone, welcome, episode five "CultureRoad Podcast."
I'm so happy you're here, I'm DeEtta Jones.
Today, we're gonnatalk aboutt next generation
equity, diversity and inclusion
and I'm super excited becausenothing sings next generation
like my colleagues who arenext generation leaders,
people with whom I work every single day,
and we have really importantkind of philosophical
and practical conversations
about what does equity diversitylook now and in the future.
And how does that lookdifferently across cultures
and across generationsand across identities.
And so we're gonna have somereally good conversation today.
So with that in mind,
I also wanna say that we arein a beautiful Koi Garden,
Redland Koi Garden in Miami.
And so if along the wayyou hear some exotic birds
or a rooster or anything else
that is not part of our conversation,
just know that it's part ofthe vibe we're going for.
I hope you enjoy being in this beautiful
sanctuary space with us.
All right, with that said,
I am going to turn now to Lexi and Jayla.
Thank you so, so much for being here.
You are both people withwhom I work every single day.
Both of you have reallyamazing kind of technical
and functional skills and things
that you bring to our work
every single day at DeEttaJones and Associates.
But the other thing that I really love
about working with you both
is that you also bring not only experience
related to equity, diversity and inclusion
as practitioners and professionals,
but also your lived experiencesand your identities really
have made this, somethingthat is very personal for you.
So we'd love to invite youto each introduce yourself
and maybe tell a little bit more about
not just the work that you do,
but also a little bit aboutwhat it is that you bring
to the work of equity,diversity and inclusion, okay?
All right, Lexi, you start us.- Yeah, let's go.
Okay, so I, Lexi Seals-Johnson,
I grew up in, what could be described
as the least diverse place,very rural small town, Utah,
which was a treat foreveryone involved. (laughing)
I have a black dad and a white mom.
So growing up, I was theblack family in town.
Diversity was kind of spokenabout, but not really.
And then I went to college andI was all of a sudden thrown
into this space of higher education,
which is always very diversity focused
but then I went tobusiness school, (chuckles)
which was the complete opposite of that.
And so I tried reallyhard to get fully involved
in the diversity there andbringing about different voices,
which you don't really see inbusiness, especially in Utah,
where tech is the background.
- So I stayed in highered, worked in that space
for a while, and then started at DJA
where I'm now the Project Coordinator.
For me, just being in a spacewith diversity practitioners
and learning about others everyday is very exciting for me.
And just seeing,
even just from when Ijoined this space to now
is completely different.
- The technology of it,
the classes that theyeven offer when I started,
they offer managing diversity classes
or when I took it as thebusiness case for diversity
whereas now it's the full enmeshment
of equity in the workplace.
So it's been a really cool journey so far.
I love working for DJA
and getting to work with you all every day
and just sort of beingthe innovator and leader
in this space has been really fun for me.
- [DeEtta] Love it.
- Yeah. (chuckles)- Love it, love it, love it.
I'm gonna ask more but we'llkeep on, thank you, thank you.
All right, go for it.
- Hi, I'm Jayla Hodge and my background,
it's kinda long,
I realized I was EDI practitioner,diversity practitioner,
before I even knew what that was.
I just feel it's kindof been there all along
even as a child, I was advocating.
But I went to Colorado State University.
I grew up in Denver, Colorado,
and growing up between thereand Chicago and Michigan.
And in Chicago and Michiganit's a very diverse population.
I was in that world
and then moving to Denver, Colorado
it's not the same.
It's not the same, not nearly as diverse.
So that was a really bigkind of wake up call for me.
And so learning how to navigate
those two different spaces
and seeing the disparitiesearly on shaped a lot.
So the way I went to school,
I got hyper involved ina lot of organizations
and in college, so United Women of Color,
I studied journalism, Ialso studied business.
So I understand what you feelabout the business schools.
- Yeah, there's rarely alot of diversity there.
And then just kind of aftergraduating moved into working
for local government and municipalities
and being hyper involvedin community engagement.
So it's just been aninteresting journey a lot
along the ways I've studiedpolicy, I've written articles.
I was an opinion editor at one point
and I covered the race
and they would call it TheRace Beat where I reported
and wrote opinions on things
that are happening inmy community and campus.
So like you say, all along the path,
this has kind of been my world.
- And now with DJA, Iwork as a consultant,
but also I'm a media specialist.
So I create marketing contentand do a lot of designing
and just figuring out the way
that we organically show up online.
- Yeah, nice.
And you and I spend alot of time talking about
conceptually and philosophically,
where is it that we shouldbe paying attention?
Where should our voice be?
What are some of the developmentsthat are really important
to pay attention to?
- [Jayla] Yeah.
- So really excited to get into that.
The other thing that Ireally love about this,
especially related to thetopic of next generation
leadership and equity,diversity and inclusion,
it's been something that'sbeen a passion of mine,
my entire career, my entire life.
So I started doing work
as a diversity and inclusion practitioner.
Literally when I was a teenager,
even before I knew it was a career path,
it was just the passion and the activism
that I was following.
And then very, very early in my life,
I was put into verysignificant leadership roles.
When I was 25 years old
I had a very significant officeas the head of human rights
at the city of Fort Collins.
And one of my mentors, Alma
ended up being a personwho really guided me
and helped me develop my own voice,
but also was the person who introduced us.
- And then said, you know what?
I remember Alma reachingout to me and saying,
I met someone who reminds me a lot of you
20 or 30 years ago, Iwanna make an introduction.
And I feel that's also a huge opportunity
when we think aboutnext generation anything
is to also think about the opportunity
for always creatingspaces, for new voices,
always looking for wisdomthat lives across generations
and not making assumptionsabout where the really powerful
wise experiences and contributionsare going to come from.
So I've always tried to really model that,
but also I model it becauseI'm a beneficiary of it.
So I actually really believe in it a lot.
- Yeah, and I think that speaks too,
to kind of the baton race, that's like EDI
and I'm just gonnashare this story quickly
'cause I went to thesame college university
that DeEtta did
and I joined a lot of thesimilar organizations,
including student government
and I was in a space that was
pretty much all white,predominantly male too.
And I had heard, and thisis years and years later,
but I joined-
- Years and years. (laughing)
- I literally joined thisorganization with a fire,
like, okay, let's get somebills passed, let's do this.
And people would tell me hereand there, like, oh yeah,
there was another student like this.
I heard about DeEttabefore I knew who DeEtta
was from multiple people
and I didn't realize ituntil after I met you.
And I'm like,
she was telling me about someof the work that she did.
I was like, wow, I'vebeen hearing stories.
And some of the bills andworks that she had started
years and years priorwere some of the bills
that we used to bake new ones.
It was the precedents that had been set.
So it's interesting to see.
And then I went and workedfor the city of Fort Collins
afterwards where DeEtta also had worked
and then I met Alma and I could see
where she made that comparison.
- Yeah, I love it.
And it's so cool.
First of all, it just warms my heart
to know that things that I was doing
as a student activistactually had some impact.
Because I cared so much andI was so passionate about it,
but sometimes you don't knowif young people's voices
are actually going to beheard or taken seriously.
And if they're actually goingto have institutional impact,
if they're gonna stick around and actually
be taken seriously over time.
But to know that some of those things
that were really, really important
at the time also allowed forpeople, generations after me.
And then hopefully you did the same thing
and so that to me is nextgeneration leadership.
It's next generationequity, diversity inclusion.
How do we create morespaces for more voices
and also more potential for impact
that's not as closedoff and as exclusionary
as it has been in the past.
- And it's the idea too,
that that impact is long lasting
and it spread out over years
and maybe after you immediately graduated,
you couldn't see how bigof an impact it would be.
But now looking back, we're like, yeah,
because you started here,
led to me being able toenter that organization,
do the work that I did.
And then maybe, hopefullysomeone will come to me
and be like, I heard about you in SCSU.
- That's. Right.- I hope. (laughing)
- I'll to give them a chance,like you gave me word.
- That's right, that's the work.
- It's super interesting because I wanted
to get into the EDI world forever.
So when I graduated college,
I did all of theseinformational interviews
just to see how people got into it.
And everyone was like, I have no idea.
I don't know how you getyour foot in the door.
When they graduated college,
there wasn't ed consultants
it was individual practitioners.
And so when I fell upon DJA, I was like,
where is this coming from?
But there's not a clear path to get there
as there as much as there is now.
But I talked to so many people
and most of them were like, well,
I was like, the black womanin HR, so in now I'm here.
Or I started in highered and then came here,
but none of them went into the workforce
looking for this type of space.
So it's very interesting.
- So that's the other thingthat I think is really cool
that you bring up is that,equity, diversity and inclusion
has shifted so significantly.
I mean, that was absolutely my experience
that I didn't even go out
to set out to be an EDI practitioner.
I saw myself as an activist
and I was just kind of doing that work.
And then over time I startedtransitioning into consulting,
but I didn't really have anidea about what my career path
would be because therewasn't a career path.
It was just me passionatelykind of following opportunities.
And when doors opened, I wouldgo ahead and explore them,
but there wasn't a real clear career path.
And now there's so manyopportunities for certifications
and professional development and PhDs
or areas of focus, concentration,and an MBA program.
So there's so many more robust ways,
but that also means is thatthere's a lot of people
out there saying I do EDI.
And that's also a placewhere, I don't know.
I don't know if I havemixed feelings about that.
I also feel just becauseyou're the black woman in HR
doesn't necessarily mean that you
have deep into the poolexpertise on kind of dismantling
and or reconstructing systems
that are going to make them more equitable
without actually having
some pretty significant understanding
of some of the foundationalthings that some people
who have been in this work for a long time
have invested in. Itdoesn't have to just be
you've invested in it over a long time.
I'm not trying to say itjust has to be age related,
but really also understanding things
like organizational development
or really understanding someof the behavioral sciences
and really having a solid understanding
of kind of sociological and neurological
kind of concepts that will allow
for a really solid foundation.
And I feel those are some of the shifts
that are happening rightnow and more and more people
are finding themselves interested
in being a practitioner ora consultant in this space.
- I agree, and I think that you touched
on something pretty important.
You have to know where we've been
to have a good idea of where we're going.
And there's been so manypeople that have been in this,
the EDI practitioners in the world
of diversity, this industrythat have done a lot of work,
but they've also tried a lot of things.
And so you have a better understanding
of what actually changes a system
versus repeating the exactsame steps and moves.
And I think that's pretty important
and that's something that gets lost.
Maybe nowadays, there'sa lot of enthusiasm
of people entering our industry.
And that's great, thatmeans there's passion there.
But I think that there'sa false connotation
of what has been done in the past
and all the work peoplehave put in before us.
- And so now I when I look,
here, some of the thingspeople are saying,
I'm like, oh, I don't thinkthey have an understanding
that that was tried.
People in the '80s were talking about thatand people in the early:
try to implement something like that.
And so I think we couldeasily get lost in this loop
of really thinking that theseideas and practices are new,
but they're not.
So the real base of transformation,
you have to have a good understanding.
- Yeah, yeah, it's interesting.
I think what you're sayingis actually making the case
for not just cross-generational,
but also all the different voices
really being in this space together.
The other thing that'sreally different now
about equity, diversity andinclusion is that it's global.
And so, as a practitioner,
when I was early in my career,
I spent so much of my timeresearching and studying
and even practicing in the United States.
And in the United States,
in communities that wereparticularly lacking diversity
or that were reallywrestling with specific areas
where they needed to make sure
that there's more equitable access,
where we were trying topass policies and laws
to make sure that hate crimelegislation was in place,
those sorts of things.
But now the kinds of peoplethat we interact with
are literally across the globe
and you know that we spend all of our time
talking to people whoare in Brazil and in-
- New Zealand.
- New Zealand and Australiaand China and Hong Kong.
And it's wonderful,
but we also are thinkingof kind of next generation
equity, diversity and inclusionis so much more than local.
It's absolutely globaland it's incredibly local.
It's so incredibly localthat we also really
have the ability to understand the nuances
associated with the needs
and experiences ofparticular macro cultures
and then micro cultures
and how that plays out differently
in different parts ofthe world and over time.
- Right, I think there's
that constant dichotomy of understanding,
especially in the EDI industry,
that it has to be a globalview because of social media
and these global companiesthat are all over
and with the pandemic,
people are working from homeanywhere you can work anywhere.
And also understanding thatit is still very much local
because from where I grew up,
it's the base level of diversity,
that local level there or in Fort Collins
is still the very bottom wherework still needs to be done.
Whereas we're also workingwith these global companies
where they have that foundation,
they have the basis and now it's time
to create that global view.
- [DeEtta] Yeah.
- And so I think that there's constantly
that space where there's need for both,
but I don't think everyonehas the full picture of that.
- [DeEtta] Yeah.
- I agree and I thinkthat's really important
that we have now started
with, instead of diversityequity, inclusion,
it's equity, diversity, inclusion,
because that takes into account,
the level of where you're starting.
So like you said, that foundation,
a lot of places are just like,
well, how do we get diversity?
We don't have it here,this needs to start.
But we now know that when you're looking
at these big macro cultures,
you have to adjust it like, okay,
well there is diversity here,
but how can we make iteither more inclusive?
Or we start looking at thingsthrough a lens of equity.
- Right, that's been a huge question.
Sometimes it totally blowsmy mind, I'll give a speech
and the number onequestion that comes up is-
- What do you call it?
- Is it DDI or EDI or EDISJ, or belonging.
And I'm like, really?
And then I realize whatyou name, I'm a mother,
I know what you name, somethingis ridiculously important.
A name has a tremendous amount of meaning.
But it's also really interesting
because there are so many people
who have kind of a badtaste in their mouth
around the word diversity.
Diversity has been used
and not always had a shared interpretation
or not had kind of satisfying outcomes.
So people automaticallyhave kind of a thing
related to diversity itself,
but also in the absence of having
a real obvious starting point,
as far as diversifyingfrom a representational
point of view,
how is it that we can actuallymake meaningful substantive
and the right level?
That system's level changeand that's where equity lives.
And so, I always tell people,
I've always said equity,diversity, and inclusion.
And sometimes when we work with clients,
they already have the name ofthe initiative or the program
that they're doing.
And so we of course would honor
whatever their preferences are,
but for us, equity isabsolutely foundational.
Equity is always going toplace where at a structural
and systemic level,
we can look around andsay on a day to day basis,
where's this system, thisstructure actually built
based on an equitable model?
If not, how is it that we find the places
or the opportunities todisrupt, to interrogate,
to make adjustments atthat systemic level?
And then from there,
we can continue to do some of the other
really important work relatedto diversity and inclusion,
but not skipping over nor downplaying
the ridiculously importantand heavy lifting work
associated with equity.
- Right, and I think that's something
that's so interesting is sometimes we go
into these strategy clientsand they're expecting us
to hold a facilitationwhere people can talk
about microaggressionsthey've seen in the workforce.
And then they're shockedwhere we're like, okay,
what's your pay structure.
And they're like, that'snot what we hired you for.
And we're like, no,
that's exactly what you hired us for
because if we can't start there,
then that's a very foundational base.
If you wanna have an equitable workforce,
we have to talk about pay structure.
We have to talk about days off.
We have to talk about parental leave.
it's not anymore just like,
oh, let's have a single lunch, which is-
- No longer just days on the calendar.
- Yeah, yeah, we can't just talk about
like King Junior day.
It's like a full picture, which is still,
I think exactly what nextgeneration leadership
or next generation EDI is,
is we're in that space wherethat full shift is happening.
- Yeah. Yeah.
It's exciting too.
But it's still something thatpeople are bringing into focus
because so many peoplewho are in the workforce,
there's a lot of newerand younger professionals,
which is really exciting who coming in
without all those kindof old mental models
about what it can and should look like.
But there's also a lot of people,
especially people in positional authority
who have D and I not even the E involved.
And they have very specificand limited mental models
about what's included.
And their focus has beenalmost wholly on representation
for the vast majority of their careers.
It's the heavy emphasis on the diversity
and diversity equals representation,
it's a like numbers game.
And really D and I,
if we were gonna have a from two
is moving from thingsthat are just focused
on kind of representation orprogrammatic sorts of things,
to things that were thingsthat are grassroots only
where people who are at the front lines
of whatever the organization is,
are doing all the heavy lifting,all on a volunteer basis.
They're not getting paid for the labor.
They're not getting recognized.
It's not part of a performance evaluation.
It's not part of an advancement plan.
Their voices are often underrepresented
or under heard or valued.
The decision making authoritydoesn't sit with them.
All of those are places that D and I
has traditionally kind of set.
And it's also been pretty heavily focused
on the HR side of the house,
not to diminish the HR side of the house
but that's not the placewhere a lot of the decisions
are made about like where toallocate business resources.
And so now that shift, ifwe were gonna go to the two,
when the more contemporary model,
the equity, diversityand inclusion focused
is much more holistic and integrated,
and it's much more about,at the system level,
How is it that we think about
how all of the work thatwe do as an organization,
everything that we do
is really about equity,diversity and inclusion
in ways that are much more integral.
And they absolutely includesome of the HR sorts of things
like talent management and hiring
and recruitment and retention,
but they also have to dowith those really core things
like equity and the salary basis.
- But they also have to do with things
like impacting your industry
or impacting your communityor supplier diversity,
or how it is that you're taking things
like your employee resourcegroups and reconstituting them
so that people who are participating
in your organization's, equity, diversity,
and inclusion goals,
are being seen as helpingto drive something
that is strategic
and also there's appropriateresourcing and support
that's disseminatedthroughout the organization,
not just with a few peoplewho have been the passionate,
few who have been carryingthe weight for so long.
- Yeah, and I think this is something
that's also interesting is
especially we see it now,
but is CEOs or C-suitefolks are like, okay,
well, diversity is costing me money.
Like focusing on EDI is costing me money.
And that's another big switchin next generation leadership.
And it's like, no, thatwill make you money.
- [DeEtta] Yes.
- Diversifying your portfolio,
diversifying your suppliers,
putting equity in the basis
and foundation of your organization-
- [DeEtta] Yes.
- That's basic business, right?
Is like having a full pictureand having equitable practices
and structures at every level,that's gonna make you money.
- That's absolutely normal.
- How I'm picturing this too is like
the more old antiquated versionand the checkbox version,
is you have a body already
and you're trying to add parts
you're trying to strengthen it
after it's already a fully built body,
but the model we'removing into now is like,
we're trying to put this into DNA.
We're trying to grow it from a big-
- [Lexi] Okay, Jayla.
- I know, I gotta paint the picture.
- She starts putting it into the DNA.
- Yeah, we're putting it into the DNA.
And for a lot of people that scary,
especially if you already have,
again, that body's beenbuilt, it's been functioning
it's been working and we'rekind of coming in and saying,
let's start building a new one,
let's start building the DNA now.
And it costs money.
And that's a lot of people,it's like a big difference,
'cause I think they're usedto maybe not throwing in,
are investing as fully into it,
but the results muchmore worth it when you do
the stronger body.
- But the thing thatyou said, I love that.
I think that's part of theopportunity right now too,
is to help peopleunderstand that that body,
that organization, that people have said
it's been working just fine,
is no longer working just fine.
There is no organization that right now,
after all that we've been through
for the last couple ofyears can say, oh yeah,
we're working just fine.
- We're good.
- Everyone is going through something.
Everyone has a disrupted workforce.
Everyone is dealing withkind of the implications
of the great resignationof hybrid working models
of the systemic kind of interventions
that are happening acrossevery single industry.
These massive boycots andcallouts at industry levels
saying, we're not gonna take this anymore
because we have lack of representation
at the C-suite levels or companies where
their boards of are saying,you have absolute kind of,
one year to get your ducks in a row.
We wanna see your supplier
diversity numbers change significantly.
We wanna see your C-suitelevel change significantly.
People are really being held accountable
at different levels now.
And so just strengthening those muscles
that may have been built before
is not only going to be enough.
And that's the opportunitynow people to understand
it may be sometimes for somekind of upgrading your parts.
You might need a couple bionic questions.
It might be time to upgrade those parts.
- And I think too, it'slike, even than that
it's a like moving andgrowing thing, right?
- That's the whole structureof EDI is there's no structure,
it's fully moving andgrowing and things change.
- [DeEtta] Yes.
- I'm thinking of the Mosaic diversity
which is very in the weeds,
but there's so many parts to that.
I don't know, the '60s,
it's like there's black andwhite, there's diversity.
And then it's like, okay,there's men and women.
And there's gay and straight.
And now there's a full view,
a picture of what that looks like.
- You might need to edit it
and put the Mosaic diversity on screen.
- [DeEtta] Right, right, right.
- And that's at the individual level.
And then you scaffold itup and you start thinking
about at the organizational level
and some of the reallycomprehensive forward thinking work
that's being done at thestrategy level for organizations
that are even enterprisewidestrategy levels
for global corporations that are saying,
how is it that we're going to make sure
that we have a comprehensive strategy
where equity, diversity and inclusion
lives in all of the work streams,
everything from our technology to the way
that we do our industryrewards and recognition
to the way that we think
about out employee benefits
and all of those sorts of things.
So it's really comprehensive.
And it's not just abouta training here or-
- [Lexi] A checkbox there, yeah.
We got a couple of people in those slots
and therefore we now havemet our quota expectation.
It's a much more comprehensiveand strategic view.
And so it's really interesting
to think about at the individuallevels all the way up.
The way that I often think about it
is like strategy, structure and culture.
That there's reallyimportant strategy work
that's being done, that isabsolutely enterprise wide.
And that is allowing organizations,
even if they're globalcorporations to say,
where is it that we're trying to go?
And how do we make surethat we're actually infusing
our values into our DNA
and into our work streamsand also distributing
the expectations for advancement to people
other than the black orbrown folks or the women
who have been kind ofcarrying the workload,
but instead, traditionally,
but instead all managers, all leaders,
all CSU folks, all have expectations,
and they know exactly what that looks like
behaviorally and demonstrably in a way
that allows them to meettheir performance goals.
- Yeah, and I think to go back to it
is we're trying to create a space
where you no longer haveto make these decisions
in reaction to a call outor in reaction to a protest.
When they're alreadyembedded within your system,
then you don't have to spend money
or have that reactionaryresponse to being called out
or having a walkout, whenthat happens, it's too late.
- [DeEtta] Right, right, right, right.
- It's too late, so you haveto start from the beginning.
And I think that's what you said earlier
is people are scaredto make that decision,
but in the long run,
it just saves so muchtime and energy and money.
And you don't have to react to something
and start from the beginning
where you're in a fire already.
- And that also indicatesthe level of care,
you should care about thesethings before they become
an immediate problem to a business model.
And I think we're starting to see that.
And that's really exciting,but yeah, you're right
it has to be at theintersection of everything.
And you often hear people,
I think there's a belieflike, well, that's HR,
well, that's this department,well, that's this committees.
But when you have everyone atall parts of an organization,
again, at the DNA of things,
it takes the workloadoff of just one group
or one person or one job title.
- [Lexi] Of that black woman in HR.
- Yeah, exactly.
- It's everybody's problem.
It's not just the blackwoman in HRs problem.
- But it's also everybody's opportunity.
- Absolutely.- Opportunity.
- I actually think,
it's gonna be hard tobe a class organization
without doing this.
It's just obsolete.
It's very kind of antiquatedthinking to imagine
that there's any possibility
of being a world-class organization
that attracts world class talent
without having really understood
and have really sophisticated models
for integrating equity,diverse and inclusion
and really thinking about,how do we build equity,
diversity and inclusionupstream in our work
so that we're not just preventing.
'Cause I agree with you, 100%
preventative is ridiculously important,
but also having it as aproposition, a differentiator.
Let me tell you what additionalvalue we bring to you,
to your clients, to our communities
because of not just thediverse representation
of our workforce,
but also some of the sophisticated tools
that we use for accomplishing our work.
- Yeah, that's very true.
I agree and I think thatto think about this way,
we even talked about it in our backgrounds
that this has been a part of our lives,
where our priorities havebeen starting way back,
even in school.
So now we have a lot ofpeople entering the workforce.
That's like, I've been on this,
I've been talking about this,I have cared about this.
What is your company doing with this?
What is your organization doing with this?
And we are-
- [DeEtta] Yes.
- Up to speed with the language.
And so you wanna attract that.
All those people, but ifyou go to an organization
and I'm like, this isn't in the DNA
I'm not gonna want to be there,
but that represents a generation
and that's not gonna be there.
- Literally, and I thinkthat's something also,
that's interesting as working in higher ed
and working for MBA programsand top talent, even in tech
my students were always lookingfor equitable organizations.
- [DeEtta] Exactly.
- It's not somethingthat you can just stick
on your website in the back row anymore.
It's like the first questionyou're going to ask.
When I was interviewing or looking at,
I don't even apply theorganizations who don't have it
fully embedded into their job posting.
People aren't gonnaapply even as a supplier,
when we are lookingfor outside consultants
to bring into DJA,that's what we look for.
We won't even try.
And it's not just a coloron your, who are we page
it's on every aspect orstructure of the business
is we're looking for diversity
within the supplier andwithin your employer.
- In the system, you're right.
It's super important toalso think about that
in addition to the strategy stuff
we kind of break it down tothe structure and culture.
How is it that thestructure that is in place
to support the strategy is being, again,
this is where the interrogation is living.
The interrogation of the structures
that are getting in theway and, or enabling
the advancement of your strategy.
And then at the cultural level,
what are the ways in which
we're kind of investing in our culture?
And I feel that's theplace where traditionally
we've spent more time related to D and I-
- [Lexi] Absolutely.
- And we've said, it's allcultural, it's all internal.
But that's not at all howwe at DJA approach it.
The internal culture isridiculously important,
but all of them touch each other
culture and structure and strategy,
all connect to each other.
And the culture of theorganization is really important,
but it's always, always,always important for us
to be like,
why do we even have this company?
What are we in service of?
And what are we in service of,
is related to our strategy and the vision
and the aspiration that we have.
And so making sure that we bring
that same kind of comprehensive alignment
to the way that we approachequity, diversity and inclusion,
and this next generationworld is gonna be so important
where people understandyou can't do have potlucks
and sing Mayo celebrations or whatever,
Women's History Month in isolation
and not also be workingon structural innovations
and also making sure that your strategy
is driving you towards moreand more equitable practices.
- [Jayla] Absolutely.
- Yeah, and I think it comesdown to, I'm a queer woman.
I see all the time the queer community
is the bane of the existence is in June.
- Folks adding a rainbow to their logo.
- And then it's like, okay, well
what are you doing the rest of the month?
Anytime, what are youdoing in your organization?
What are you giving backto the queer community?
And I think that's where thestructures come in as well
is it's not just internal,
it's fully, what are youcontributing to the world
at a global level?
What are you givingback to that community?
How are you educating yourself?
And so, yeah, I totally agree with.
It just can't be internallyand culture-based.
It has to be a full wayof life for the company.
- A full way of life, yeah.
Which also is going tolead us to really thinking
about what are the skill setsnecessary at personal levels.
So the strategy levelorganizations need to be thinking
about what does this meanfor us as we pursue, create,
and in advance of reallysophisticated contemporary model
for what equity,diversity inclusion lives,
but at individual practitioner levels,
when we're thinkingabout next generational
equity, diversity inclusion,and next generation leaders,
that means that we're gonnahave to really think about
what are our skill sets.
People like me, in my age group,
we came up with very specific models
of what leadership looked like.
And all of them werefrom a guy named Peter.
Peter worked from, Peter saying this,
some white guy with a PhD after his name,
all of them ridiculously smart
I absolutely honor all of that work.
But I also realized thereweren't people who looked me
in those books,
there weren't people who looked me
or sounded me standing on those stages.
There wasn't a careerpath that was obvious
for someone me to figure out.
I figured it out,
but I also now realizethat the next opportunity
is to give people like me aspace to see people like me
as possibly creating and opening doors
that don't have to necessarilybe the same career path,
but it have to do with being able
to have positional authority,being able to have influence,
being able to have impact.
And that skillset is going to be different
than what some of us learnedthrough some of those books
that came out related to management
and leadership effectiveness30 or 40 years ago.
So we're gonna have to really continue
to re conceptualize that,
but more importantly, we'regonna have to practice it.
And it's hard for peoplewho have been really skilled
and have had a lot ofadvancements in their careers,
to say, oh my goodness, Ihave to start learning again.
Because we assume that our skillset
is already really sophisticated.
And so now to have to slowdown and say, you know what,
I have to really investin my own ongoing learning
and it's not gonna be taking a bias course
for taking a microaggressions course.
I'm gonna actually haveto do this over time.
And as part of an ongoingdevelopmental plan.
That's gonna be the goal, that's us.
- I think that's the partthat sometimes scares people.
They're like, well,I've already done this.
When is enough enough?
And if this is a forever transformation
and you just keep gettingbetter and better.
And it takes a true commitment to that.
- Yeah, absolutely.
- Folks, we're gonna take a quick break.
We're gonna hear from our sponsors
and we're gonna come back.
'Cause what I'd really to talk about
are some of the super cool new things
that have to do with technology
and ways in which we're reallystarting to explore different
dimensions of equity,diversity, and inclusion
that are going to be excitingfor us to keep our eye on.
- [Lexi] Perfect. (chuckles)
- Okay, welcome back.
All right, so we were justhaving a great conversation
about all sorts of thingsrelated to next generation
equity, diversity and inclusion.
And now I'm wanna shifta little bit to maybe
starting off with some of the pain points,
but then really going tosome of the opportunities
and some of the thingsthat are really exciting
and that way we wanna kindof explore a little bit.
So people who are thinking more about
the way equity, diversity,and the inclusion has been,
or what they've been doingin their organizations,
they can maybe kind ofstart reconceptualizing
and thinking about some of the things
that are newer and really exciting
and opportunities for us going forward.
So one of the things that I know,
because we talk topeople who are managers,
we talk to people who areindividual contributors
about the relationshipwith their managers.
We talk to executives all the time
and especially over thelaw last couple of years,
we've asked so manyhundreds of people tell us
about some of the thingsthat you are nervous about.
And some of the places where you have gaps
or additional kind of developmental needs,
65% of managers have toldus that they oftentimes feel
kind of uncomfortable speaking up
related to equity,diversity, and inclusion,
because they're a worried that their words
might be perceived as biased
that they may be in kind ofimpacting people differently
than their intentions.
70% of people said that they've actually
held back and are unwillingto speak up in meetings
or in public spaces,
even if they have a strong opinion,
even if they wanna advocateon behalf of others,
they're really concerned about
whether or not they're the right voice,
whether or not it's appropriate for them
to actually be the spokesperson.
And up to 80% of people who we've talk to
have actually said that they really worry
about whether or not they feel confident
and have the skillsassociated with just talking
about things that arekind of social issues
that are coming up.
Everything from Black Lives Matter
to some of the hate crimesthat are been happening
against people who are Asian
against some of violence against women
that's been happening inCanada and sometimes in India
and really feeling uncomfortable,
initiating those conversations
because they're not exactly sure how,
or if the people on the other side
of potentially those conversations
are gonna be welcome recipients.
So to me, 65, 70, and 80%,
those are huge percentagesof people who are saying,
we just don't feel confidentthat we know how to do it,
but we really care.
And so part of ouropportunity, not just at DJA,
but just as practitioners,
as people who wanna live in amore just and equitable world
is to create spaces for peopleto have kind of safer space,
to explore and develop those skills,
but all so to reallythink about practical ways
that people can beequipped to learn skills
that might be different
than those that they've been practicing.
And so this is whereI wanna transition to.
So with all that said,
'cause I don't wanna seem it's hopeless,
I wanna talk about the metaverse.
I wanna talk about the metaverse.
I actually feel that'ssuch a cool opportunity
for us to explore,
helping people have spaceand create space for learning
and practicing new skills
that might actuallyincrease things like empathy
and not just some of the practical skills,
what exact words come outta my mouth,
but also some of the developmental
and kind of emotional intelligence skills,
associated it with things empathy.
So I know both of you are indifferent generations to me.
And so both of you probablyhave a lot more experience
with the metaverse andunderstanding some of the dynamics
than I do. So I'm justgonna hand off here,
but I'd love to know your ideas
about how we could use this differently.
- Oh, it's so exciting.
Especially because with the metaverse
it's opening up the opportunity for us
to have experiences indifferent identities.
And a lot of our knowledge and backgrounds
comes from our lived experience.
And the thing about thethis new digital world
is that people will beable to step outside
of that identity in some capacity
and maybe get a different experience
it would have otherwise.
And it's coming at us so, so quickly,
one thing about our generation
is that we've kind ofbeen meta for a while.
We've been in this world.
We all started off on ClubPenguin and Webkinz and-
- Wait, wait, wait, what's Club Penguin?
- So you buy a stuffed animal
and it's aimed for children.
So I think age is eight through 12.
- [DeEtta] Oh, oh.
- And then it has a code on it.
You go online, you put the code in
and it gives you a penguin.- This is like early two: - Yeah, early:
You live with this penguin.
You build its house, you play games.
I had friends I hadnever met in real life.
- All over the globe.- All over the globe.
- They are Club Penguin fans.
- Yeah, and that was the firstsort of global experience
I think I had, because you're talking
to literally other childrenfrom around the world
who are on web or Club Penguin.
- [DeEtta] And they'reall dressed penguins?
- Penguins, yeah.
- [DeEtta] Really?
- Okay, so cognitively, didthat have any impact on,
well, I don't know,cognitively is the right word,
but did that the impact,
you being dressed a penguinand all these other penguins,
did it free you up
to be a little bit moreexpressive or something?
- I will say this,
I remember talking to one of my friends,
we'd have hangouts and meetups
and realizing in one of our conversations,
it was the first time it hit me like, oh,
this friend who, I don'tknow what they look,
they don't know that I'mblack, they don't know that.
And that was really interesting
because now you're engagingwith people on such a new level.
I didn't know what theiridentity was either
now there's hints and indicators
and you can kind ofstart to guess culture.
But yeah, I remember thatwas really exciting to me.
- Interesting.- Yeah.
- Especially growing up I went
to a predominantly white school.
So I was always hyper aware of I'm black.
But on this onlinesphere, I was a penguin.
I was a blue one and thatwas the way I navigated.
And it opens up like, your way of learning
and receiving things isdifferent when there's not again,
that tied identity piece there right away.
- And I think that's justsomething social media
and technology has donetotally for our generation
is you're interacting alot of times without seeing
who that person is.
And so I think there's benefitsand negativities to that,
but I think a huge part of that
is understanding different cultures,
having a more global view
and better understandingothers' identities.
- Yeah, and I think youhit a good point about,
okay, we want in real life,
we strive to build safe spaces.
So people can feel freeto share those experience,
have those hard conversations.
But something that onlinethat digital world does
is it enables brave spacesand we see it all the time.
People are maybe alittle too brave online.
- [DeEtta] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
- But it really does kind of bring out
that's a very different feeling.
You feel brave enough 'cause you have that
not only part of identitiesnecessarily hidden,
but it just,
I don't know somethingabout it enables people
to share more freely and Ithink that's why our generation,
we address these confrontational
or controversial topics really head on.
And it's 'cause we grewup in that brave space.
- [DeEtta] Wow.
- And enabled us in a way
that online presencefrom such a young age.
- And I think it gives you a voice
where you wouldn't normallynecessarily in the real world.
In the metaverse it's like I can have
the same voice as the white CEO, right?
It's just very interestingbecause I can't,
or haven't had thatexperience in the real world.
And so I think it createsa full different view
of the EDI space.
- So that's interestingto think about that
because earlier, when you said, Lexi,
there's positive and potentiallynegative implications,
I started going to some of the negatives,
we really want peopleto be able to be seen
and to show up as their full selves.
And so to create spaces where people
are not necessarily hiding,
but their full selves are not available
and where we are practicing,
kind of navigating all those identities
could potentially make us less equipped
to actually do it in the real world.
On the other hand, whatyou just said about,
the equity piece is really interesting
to think about people whohave maybe felt marginalized
or felt they haven't had voice in the past
or felt the power differentialhas been too inequitable
to actually show up in the same way
as they might in thismetaverse is really cool.
So for people to actually practice,
develop their voice
so that they can then transfer it back out
potentially into a real world scenario.
- I think, and that's a really good point.
I have a friend and he's a white male
and we have really great conversations,
but it took us a few yearsbefore he could comfortably feel
like we could engage inthose type of conversations.
And I asked him before, you had me,
your black friend and talkto, how did you learn?
And he said, he alwaysfelt better going online
because he's like in that online space,
I have the freedom to ask those questions.
I can look as dumb oruninformed as I want,
but I'm learning much moreopenly because, it's that-
- [Lexi] Ask those questions.
- Yeah, he's in the real world,
I can't necessarily just-
- [Lexi] Or you don't know how to.
- Yeah, I dunno how to, Idon't feel comfortable to,
I don't wanna come off wrong
versus it's a much more direct weight.
And I think that's an exciting thing
again about where we're going.
- It's interesting, over the years,
many, many times I've talked to people
who I would describe as kindof individual contributors,
not necessarily people whoare managers of people.
And I've said if there was one thing
that you could have moreof from your manager,
that your manager has theability to provide more of
in order to make your worklife happier, more engaging,
more fulfilling, what would it be?
And the top two, like20 years at this point
is feedback and then empathy.
And it's really interesting
to think about how either of those
can be really developed andpracticed in the metaverse.
That empathy piece wherepeople are actually saying,
how do I have a case study
where I'm negotiating sayingthis word versus that word,
but also maybe even wearingthe skin of someone else,
to actually say, thisis what it feels like.
It's not gonna be authentic.
It's not gonna be deep,it's not gonna be the same.
It's like having to walk inmy shoes every single day.
But at the same time to beable to just have a glimpse
of what it feels to be perceived,
as a person who doesn't have as much power
as I might in the real world,
or as a person who's a different color
or a person who's a different gender.
Or whatever it is so thatI at least have the ability
to start developing some of that empathy
that I might not ever or have access to
and then layering in the opportunity
to practice that skill development.
- And that concept isalready proven to work.
We have shows like, "Love is Blind."
- Where they don't see each other,
we have shows where they take CEOs
and take away their identities
and drop them in thecompanies as a level employee.
And all of that is basedoff the idea of like,
how can we build theempathy while taking away
piece of that identitythat would keep them
from having that connection.
Enabling that kind of learning.
So it is exciting thepossibilities it'll open up,
but we also have to think about too,
there's gonna be downsize at the same time
and how to balance that out.
And that's where the conversations
are really opening up and moving.
And that's where we at DJA
are kind of starting to lookat and really think about.
- So I'm so excited about this.
Just a few weeks ago Iwas at south by southwest
and I just was surrounded
by so many ridiculously interesting people
and ideas and concepts.
And I realized, oh my goodness,
there's this whole world
that exist where people arereally deep into the pool,
figuring out how is it that we create
the kind of systems that we actually want
and how interesting it wasto even talk about Web3.
And that Web3 is not just,
thinking about creating a moreengaging version of the web
that we're all familiar with,
which is probably what
is the more institutionallydriven version of Web3.
But this other more purestform that's also simultaneously
being pursued and built out right now
that's really about creating a model
that is purely decentralized
that really reflects the kind of shared
and equitable accessthat we want in the world
and creating the space for that to exist.
It's really complicatedbecause we also have,
at the same time,
these big institutions thatare kind of doing what they do
in the same way that they doit and for the same reasons,
data mining and monetization,et cetera, et cetera.
But it's also really a huge opportunity
for us to have this experimental
and hopefully sustainable kind of space
where we really are able to start creating
some of those decentralized, equitable,
shared ownership spaces inthe metaverse and beyond
that will then have positive implications
for, or the real world.
- Right. Yeah.
And I think that's aquestion you get all the time
is what does that look like.
- [DeEtta] Exactly.- And how do you get there,
which is very hard toreplicate in the real world
where there are systems thatjust aren't created for that.
That's just not how the world was set up.
And so I think that's a reallycool way in the metaverse
to recreate that and seehow it would be structured,
what it would look like,
how people would communicatewith one another.
I'm gonna go back to our body reference.
It's clearly in the DNA.
- Right.- Right, right.
- It's clearly in the DNA.
So, we haven't seen that before.
We haven't seen a body
where it's born out ofthese amazing principles
of equity and inclusion andcollaboration and innovation.
So I think that's where
a lot of that excitement lives, yeah.
- And global.
- Right, right.
And that's the thing that's like,
even more exciting is thatwe don't just have kind of
our own us basedhistorical kind of context
that's driving the definition of equity,
we have everyone from all over the world
and all of the different histories
and traditions and stories
and understandings of what
equity, diversity and inclusion look like,
because all over theworld, this topic is real,
especially equity, not a US thing.
The way that we do it in theUS is very particular to us
based on our history,et cetera, et cetera,
but all over the world,we care about equity.
And so if all of us cancome together and say,
what would equity look like?
And what can it look like,
if we were going toapproach it differently
as literally kind of a human race,
how am I we build that.
That's really, really exciting.
- Yeah, even if you look at theway they've structured money
and cryptocurrency, doesn'tbelong our physical money
to like, this country and this nation,
those borders aren't there.
- Right, right.
And so it's also, again,
creating more access to people
who wouldn't have typicallyhave access to banking systems.
To loans and mortgages
to some of the traditional lending venues
and also people who have beensignificantly disadvantaged
by not having access to some
of those big institutions like women
or unmarried women, right?
Or people who are single parents
who kind of the layers of disadvantage
are so significant andget steeper and steeper,
especially in certain parts of the world
that to have these spaces
and to have these things cryptocurrency
and all these different ways
in which we're reallyreconceptualizing equity
from the ground levelup is really exciting.
For us, I think that the huge opportunity
is to think about asthese different models
are being pursued and built,
how is it that we create opportunities
for the people who we work with
to start developing their own skills
and knowing that this isgonna be a long journey.
But getting people more familiar with
and comfortable evenexploring the possibility
of doing something thatmight be a learning
and development experience in a metaverse
and then thinking abouthow that translates
into developmental skillsthat are demonstrable
in their real work,
or that are having impacton their own advancement
or their own performance
or their own 360 degreereevaluations from their team.
If we can start creatingmore and more those spaces
for people to practicebeing brave together,
and then that translates out
into real world positive benefits,
that's the space I think
we're sitting in right this moment.
- Yeah, it is the space.
Again, it's always transformingand growing and evolving,
but it's interesting to see that
because this new take onthe digital virtual world,
we're looking at identity
so much more differently now as well.
we're starting to talk about,
like not identity asinto this physical body
and my skin or my culture,
but in the ways that we literally think
in the ways that ourbrains and minds function
in the thoughts that we have,
that is something that'sbeen relatively untouched
or unexplored in past EDI conversations
about those practitioners.
Again, it's open in the door, ableism,
all of that is becoming a muchhigher focus and emphasis.
- Yep, yep, yep.
Also it's gonna mean that those of us
who have been kind of programmed
to think I'm a right brain person,
or left brain personare gonna have to really
get out of that really binary way
of thinking about ourselfand even where we are
on our own learning curve
and think of ourself askind of starting over
and constantly investing
and also having a muchmore holistic approach.
- [Jayla] Yeah.
- Okay, folks, so we need to wind down.
I'm so excited by this kind conversation
and excited about all thethings that are coming next.
But to kind of wind down this episode,
I would love for you to maybe share,
what are the things thatyou personally look for
in next generation leaders
and next generation EDI opportunities?
- Yeah, for me, I think it's something
that we've talked about quite a bit,
is that bravery, tothink outside of the box,
especially in the corporate world
where it has been socontained for so long.
And I think in the EDI space,
you have to learn to be brave
and speak out and look atthe world in a different way
from how you were raised.
Because things are changing so rapidly,
even as we've talked from when we grew up
to when you grew up and it'sonly getting faster, right?
And so I think that'sthe biggest thing for me
is someone who is willing to do the work
and is willing to thinkoutside of the binary
of black, white, or female,male, that sort of thing.
- [DeEtta] Love it, thank you.
- That was a really good answer.
I wanna settle on the word bold
because to be able to say like,
I wanna step out of this body,
which has been functioningand into a new body,
a new DNA that works betterfor everybody is a bold choice
and it takes bold leaders to admit that
and be willing to pursue that
it's an endeavor.
So that's the first thingI look for in companies
that will boldly tell you,organizations, leaders,
this is where we've been.
These are our problems andhere is how we wanna change it,
but have truly invested in that.
To me, that is a next generational leader.
Yeah, we gotta recognizethe past of the past,
we all were living in thesesystems in this old body,
but moving over here and doing it
and the most, what is it?
Aim for aspiration kind of way.
- [DeEtta] Love it.
Aspiration, that's the word.
- I love it, absolutely.
With that said, Jayla,
you should just go ahead andlead us all out. (laughing)
- All right, everyone.
Thanks for joining us forthis episode of "CultureRoad."
And if you liked this conversation,
join us for the next episode
as we talk about theburn it down perception,
burn it down culture.
It's gonna be a hot conversation.
And we'll see you soon.