Submitted by Paige Smith, Assistant Vice President, Training & Development Council
The me too. movement, first coined in 2006, has been helping survivors of sexual violence long before the popular hashtag went viral last year. The spread of the #METOO hashtag launched a vital conversation about the prevalence of sexual misconduct into the national spotlight. Now, conversations about developing a culture of inclusion and equality are happening in the workplace daily.
As an organization of all women, the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties (JLDOC) was compelled to lean in to the conversation. Our own members are facing microaggressions constantly and might not recognize them or do not know what to do about them. In response to the environment in which our members live and work, the JLDOC’s Leading Ladies group invited Gracie Johnson-Lopez, an expert on diversity and HR solutions, to talk to our members about bias, equity, #METOO and women.
During our event this past March, Gracie took a taboo topic and elegantly discussed data around inclusion and equity within the workplace. She dismissed the idea that anyone of us is immune to performing acts of discrimination; everyone has natural biases and that is human. Through group work, storytelling, and brainstorming, the more than 50 women who attended where challenged to think about how they can respond to this worldwide movement. She also offered tangible tips for moving beyond the conversation and building a culture of inclusion. Here are some of her recommendations:
- Interrupt Early: Workplace culture largely is determined by what is or is not allowed. Speak up early and often to build a more inclusive environment.
- Build policies: Call upon existing and possibly forgotten or ignored policies to address offensive behavior.
- Escalate: If poor behavior persists, take complaints to management.
- Band together: Likeminded colleagues can form an alliance by working together to set examples even in the face of enormous fears and obstacles.
Gracie ended with a picture of Dorothy on the yellow brick road. On her path, Dorothy had what she needed the whole time, but she needed a team of emotional support to get there. To learn more about Gracie and her work in this area, visit http://diversityhrsolutions.com.
What will you do to be an example of inclusion in your workplace?