The Girlboss Rally is much more than knowledge-packed entrepreneurial workshops and keynote addresses from industry all-stars—it’s a forum for real conversations. One such topic we didn’t shy away from this year: Workplace diversity.
Girlboss editorial director Jerico Mandybur led the charge on this subject, moderating a panel entitled, “The Obvious Way To Build A Better Company.”
Opening the dialogue, she said, “Diversity is not only a non-negotiable in 2018, it’s a research-backed path to better opinions, better returns, and even better stock options. And yet, there are more CEOs named David and John on the Fortune 500 than there are women. And only five of those Fortune 500 companies have black CEOs.”
Most companies say they value real diversity, but how do we make it a reality?
To answer that question, we gathered three professionals known for their efforts in this area. That included Callie Field, the executive vice president of customer care at T-Mobile—a company where 60 percent of employees identify as minorities. We also had Lauren Wesley Wilson, the founder of ColorComm, which is a 40,000 women-strong networking organization dedicated to advancing and promoting people of color in communications and media. And finally Aaron Rose, an educator, writer, and coach committed to conscious culture design. He trains companies and individuals in inclusivity, true diversity, and helping masculinity in the era of #MeToo.
Ahead, the change-making takeaways and tangible solutions that came out of the conversation centered on inclusivity.
On what diversity really looks like:
“For me, this is really about moving beyond a model of a cookie cutter Noah’s Ark situation where we have quotas and we’re like, ‘Great. We’ve got a couple of those and a couple of those and couple of those.’” — Aaron Rose
“It’s not only visual, it’s when there is diversity of opinion and diversity of thought.” — Lauren Wesley Wilson
“I don’t think you really have true diversity in an organization unless you have the freedom to be vulnerable.” — Callie Field
On how to build a more inclusive work culture:
“If I’m hiring for a position, I don’t interview candidates unless I have a very diverse group of professionals that I’m considering. It helps me make a great decision and not think in terms of, ‘I’m filling a quota.’ Instead, I’m demanding that we introduce ourselves to people who think differently, who have different experiences.” — Callie Field
“So often, we deal with HR who want to hire quickly. Finding diverse candidates takes time. I’d encourage HR departments to partner with organizations like ColorComm [to find new talent pools].” — Lauren Wesley Wilson
“It’s about acknowledgment. There’s so much power in putting yourself out there and saying, ‘It’s my intention to run a company that feels this way. It’s my intention to run a company that changes how it feels to come to work.’ When you make that big statement, you’re going to be held accountable. But you’ll also get to grow and learn and nurture your ideal culture day by day.” — Aaron Rose
On being a better ally in the workplace:
“I encourage everybody to do an inventory of your thoughts. Where are you noticing an autopilot thought about someone else who maybe has less access in the workplace? Understand that we’re moving out of this scarcity-based endemic where we think that if we’re going to succeed, then it’s going to be at the expense of someone else. Start to reaffirm within your mind and heart, and with others that our well-being doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. When we show up for other people, we’re going to be shown up for as well.” — Aaron Rose
“I would empower leaders to mentor those who do not look like them. If you’re a woman, take on a man; if you’re white, take on a person of color. It’s really important to advocate for people who don’t look like you because often their voices aren’t heard.” — Lauren Wesley Wilson
“All of us need an apology right now. All of us need another human being to look us in the eyes and say, ‘I am so sorry for what you have experienced. At the intersection of all your different identities, I see the pain that you’re holding.’ Everybody could benefit from that moment where they’re truly witnessed, and then we can move on. Then we can step forward into the work that we’re here to do.” — Aaron Rose