Mighty Epiphyte blog

Our stories of what we do while making the world a better and more equitable place.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: A Mighty Imperative

Bloomberg Business Week October 2020

Opening doors, opportunities and hearts while breaking through to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism is good for business, good for communities, great for humanity!

In your work, in your community, in your life, who is in the margins?  What are their lives like, what experiences do they have?  What resilience do people develop?  People’s abilities and contributions are often undervalued because we do not look to the margins and reach beyond the familiar.

In 2020 white people are being propelled into awareness and some to action in varying degrees. And being uncomfortable in varying ways. What does this mean for any sort of progress? The voices of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people to be included with their brilliance have sent messages for years. While the messages are being heard more, what is being done?

This is next-level, equity-centered leadership, and your people need you

Trudi Lebron

Businesses large and small can engage with and hire for diversity.  There are opportunities everywhere, with employment, stakeholders, vendors, contractors, customers.  I am a solopreneur and actively seek businesses to partner with for legal, marketing and other needs.  When I was a hiring manager 20 years ago, I hired diverse teams, even when chastised. I wrote about it in Mighty Way Forward. Hiring a wonderfully diverse team wasn’t uncomfortable, the company culture was very uncomfortable. And just as important in my life experience, I am blessed to have worked for People of Color. Every experience has been enriching. There is data supporting that engaging in a way that is inclusive across race, generations, experiences, sexual preferences, all of this integration creates diversity of thought which results in many positive outcomes, increased productivity, better employee retention and more. What’s needed is open minded leadership, good training in hiring, true engagement and inclusion. The greatest of these is supporting and lifting humanity in a manner that is humane. Open a door, listen to another, embrace their ideas.  It’s been a long time coming. Some are uncomfortable reaching to the margins and engaging in diversity, equity and inclusion. There are two ways to go; forward with action, or sit still which means going backward. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • A neighborhood HOA held a zoom for the neighborhood, with a panel of Black neighbors to share their stories with about experiences being Black. It was eye opening and profound.
  • When I see a LinkedIn profile with no photo, I reach out to that person, often people in the margins don’t post a photo lest they be overlooked
  • When a resume has a name that is ethnic, or seems different to you, reach out and talk with that person early! They may be an incredible hire
  • I seek out local BIPOC and LGBTQ owned businesses, not for one time shopping, but with consistency.
  • Co-hosts of LinkedIn Local PDX #linkedinlocalpdx, we are intentional about “passing the mic” to leaders from a variety of communities, so that everyone in a year can see someone present who they can relate to.
  • Seek vendors and contractors by reaching to the margins first.
  • Seek training from JEDI masters, read, engage

I’m not a trained DEI expert. I am a human who has hired people, been hired, who is a consumer, a neighbor and a friend. Every time I’ve been in sterile sameness of all white, similar age work groups or gatherings, I’ve felt uncomfortable, it’s stifling. Nature shows us diversity is paramount to survival and health. When I work with all sorts of people of experience, age, background, sexual preference, it’s been enriching and enlightening. When I volunteer in areas where people aren’t like me, I’m blessed and make new friends. When I support BIPOC, LGBTQ owned businesses, get to know the founders and share their products, I am humbled, friendships are made and our community thrives. Racism is bad for everyone. My choice is to support, step back, listen, learn and pass the mic. It’s an ongoing journey.

Now you have external pressure colliding with internal pressure, and we have a perfect storm for action

Tiffany Jana, TMI Consulting Founder and CEO

In the B Corp world and Benefit Corporations certification world, points are given for demonstrated good values to people and planet.  Points are earned for achieving positive impacts in these goals.  For humanity, at the very least, 1, 5, 8, 16 and 17 are target goals.  While this is a  valuable guide post for many, is doing better for humanity something that only a few companies can do, and earn points for it?  Can we strive instead to incorporate doing better by the underserved as something as important and imperative as breathing, all the time, every day?  It shouldn’t be special, for points. Reaching to the margins, creating inclusivity and a safe place for diversity of thought have multiplicity of benefits, they shouldn’t be outlier activities, these actions should be imperative.

Mighty Epiphyte Consulting helps companies assess and improve impacts, track for transparency and certify as B Corp. For the greater good! – mightyepiphyte@gmail.com @mightyepiphyte

Resources

Diversity is the art of thinking independently together

Malcolm Forbes
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