Tag Archives: Inclusion

Diversity – More Than Meets the Eye

Kranitz, Andrea for BlogAndrea Kranitz, Class 27
Owner/Consultant, Integrative Business Solutions, LLC

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. 

My expectation for Scottsdale Leadership Class XXVII’s Diversity and Inclusion day was that we would spend the day discussing race relations, discrimination and how to work toward equality.  When I saw the opening slide picturing an iceberg with adjectives above and below the “water line,” I immediately realized that this day would hold much more than expected.

Iceburg

Our Day Chairs were outstanding –  Marion Kelly, Community Relations Director at Mayo Clinic, Doreen Reinke, VP of Operations at Scottsdale Insurance Company and Linda Walton, Economic Development Specialist at City of Scottsdale Economic Development gave us their full energy and created an interactive and enlightening experience for the class.

To launch the day, we went over definitions of diversity and inclusion – learned that tolerance is not truly acceptance and that true inclusion means that ALL PEOPLE are

Treated fairly and respectfully,
Have equal access,
Contribute fully and
Maximize their potential.

Our first exercise involved profiling; typically we think of profiling as something that law enforcement officials do in order to get the bad guys off the streets.  However……we ALL do it and it is a natural and human tendency.  The differentiating factor between “good” and “bad” profiling is that it should be an appropriate discrimination, such as when safety is in question.

The exercise involved matching a list of professions with pictures of different people – not surprisingly, most of us only got about 2 out of 10 correct.  So, how do you keep yourself from unfairly profiling?  Think before acting – take a minute to go a little deeper and ask yourself why you feel uncomfortable with someone.  Determine whether it is a learned stereotype or irrational fear that is causing you to prejudge- “check yourself before you act.”

Because diversity is not a program or initiative, it has no beginning and no end.  It is an ongoing state of being where we live and accept that we have similarities and differences.  It isn’t about making us all the same or isolating ourselves because of our differences.

There are so many factors that affect how we react to others’ differences including our upbringing, fears, cultural conditioning, communication, assumptions and the list goes on. So, how do we continue to move toward a balance in our society where we don’t go overboard trying to be politically correct, but we do appreciate diversity, learn to treat others as THEY want to be treated and understand that everyone has something to offer?

We must create an environment where it is okay for someone to share that they are offended, and for others to listen and become more sensitive to the consequences of their actions.  In other words, we must engage in Civil Dialogue!

What can you do in your own sphere of influence, to create this kind of environment?

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Trust and Inclusion

Braden Love
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance Company

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

Inclusion day has to be one of the most personal and engaging classes we’ve had during Class 26.  The topics reached everyone in the class, the dialog was free flowing and the class expressed an amazing amount of trust and respect for each other as we spoke frankly about our beliefs and ourselves.

Thank you, Marion Kelly, Class 17 and Doreen Reinke, Class 17 for designing, hosting and delivering such a compelling course.  They started the day by framing a mindset of inclusion.  Inclusion is an action you take to respect and make positive outcomes of diversity.  We all learned that everyone profiles in some way during the profiling exercise.  Sometimes that is OK, sometimes it is not.  We also learned about the diversity in our class.  I listened to my classmates share who they are.  From a too-white Hispanic to an agnostic Jew some of my subconscious preconceptions of those neat little society-defined categories were broken down.  Diversity showed it is a continuum of nuances created by our culture, our experiences and our beliefs – not a discrete set of check boxes on the census form.

It was a special treat to have Terri Trent facilitate a lesson on inclusive leadership.  She helped us focus on our emotional intellect or EQ.  Leaders who are self and socially aware, that can use that insight to manage themselves and associate well with others tend to be more successful.  Perhaps Mike Miller said it more plainly; ‘leadership = influence’.  Applying your emotional intellect will affect your influence.  The iceberg analogy  also came up and was used a couple times during the day to illustrate what defines us and our most influential characteristics are those that are unseen and under the waterline.

After lunch we learned about the great work our sponsor of the day does with the Community Celebrating Diversity organization.  Thank you for sponsoring and thank you for contributing to our community in such a positive way.

Next Jeff Jameson helped us all gain perspective as we circled around the random representative ‘minority’ class members.  Being one of the minorities in the middle of the room surrounded by the majority both staring at and ignoring me, I felt it.  And it did not feel comfortable.  How did it feel to be in the ‘majority’?  Did you get see it any differently on the outside looking in?

The late afternoon sessions were an outright hit with the class.  We did not want them to end.  I’ve never felt the class so engaged before.  We each stood up in front of the class and expressed what diversity we embodied – handsome glasses wearers, east town dwellers, married, not married, young, and other personal identities.  I felt closer to my class and more enlightened by the time we reluctantly ended the exercise.

Then we explored some of the darker side of diversity in the ‘hate, fear and profiling’ exercise.  We looked at headlines and discussed current and past events that are best described more exclusive than inclusive.  I was especially struck by Don Logan’s story about being letter bombed.  I think it was the statement that we were watching a video of his presentation because we wanted to leave him alone right now amid the tensions around the Zimmerman/Martin shooting that made it all feel very real, here and now to me.

This blog does not do justice to the lessons we learned that day.  But I wanted to be sure to share with everyone a flavor for the day and appreciation for the day chairs, sponsors and speakers.  I leave you with a summary of the lessons I learned.

  • Diversity is a noun.  It is important that we use nouns to recognize and describe. Inclusion is a verb.  It is taking action with diversity and progressing.
  • Leadership equals influence; anybody can be a leader in any organization.  Being aware of yourself and others then using that awareness to guide your behaviors and respectfully interact with others can further your influence.
  • Diversity and inclusion creates tension.  We aspire to be inclusive yet, at the same time strive to maintain a unique identity of a culture or group.  It can be a Catch 22.  It is not simple.
  • The problem is here, now and you may contribute to the problem or the solution.  Evidence abounds in letter bombings and profiling stories.  We shared how we felt an “out rage of affiliation” with how some of our leaders address diversity.  We recognized a trend of erosion of respect in politics and society.  We thought there must be a “silence of people with good will”.
  • The leader’s responsibility to the solution is to cast a shadow and cascade an inclusive perspective.  Use those teachable moments with other people to let them know some behaviors are not OK. Walk the talk.  Light a candle as an individual to create a more inclusive society.

What does inclusion mean to you?

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