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Leading with Courage Toward Change and Opportunity

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Center of Excellence reached an important milestone with the launch of its inaugural DEI Summit, commemorating our first year of intentional focus on supporting tech organizations to achieve racial equity. We are grateful for almost 400 C-Suite, human resources, DEI, marketing, and other leaders who signed up to attend the virtual Summit. Some 70% of registered participants attended the Summit, underscoring the sustained interest in the long-term project of creating inclusive and equitable workplaces. I’m humbled by the overwhelming response to our collective work. 

When I took on the role of Chief Diversity Officer one year ago, I was both inspired by and, truthfully speaking, a bit intimidated by the challenge to help companies dismantle structural racism. Drawing upon more than 30 years of experience in human resources, leadership coaching, and DEI strategic planning, I knew that the work required calling out and solving for systemic inequities in hiring, retention and advancement opportunities for Black, Latino/x, indigenous and other people of color. Conversations with Steering Committee members of the Anti-Racism in Tech Pact solidified the notion that in DEI work, WTIA should do what it does best: rely on the power of the collective so we may accomplish great things together. I was certain that in order to transform organizational cultures, it was necessary to nurture coalitions of equity-minded leaders, as well as those who are still early in their DEI journey. 

I’m both grateful for and proud of the successes shared by companies nominated for the WTIA DEI awards. Three organizations — early adopters of the Anti-Racism in Tech Pact — stood out from the rest with deliberate actions to promote organizational change. Congratulations to CodeFellows, Amperity and Outreach for lifting up the values of equity and inclusion for your teams by dedicating resources for and making meaningful investments in DEI talent management and community engagement efforts. 

This brings me to ponder the importance of bold and courageous leadership to bring about change. Each of the winning companies is led by a leader who brought people along toward shared DEI goals. Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that when leaders share their core personal values, they are able to effectively articulate the value proposition of the change that is needed to occur. They accomplish DEI goals by bringing people into the work and challenging everyone to be their best. In speaking truth to their values, leaders muster the courage needed to call out harmful and damaging behaviors, practices and procedures that get in the way of the organization’s espoused DEI intentions. They get beyond the dreadful suspicions of “performative allyship” by taking actionable steps toward dismantling systemic inequities. 

To support leaders, we are offering a unique and transformative leadership competencies workshop through my consultancy, Diversity Way-Maker, as a centerpiece of WTIA DEI offerings. What sets this leadership development workshop apart from other training opportunities is the singular focus on a values-based lens. Way-Makers are the leaders and enthusiasts in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion who advocate for right action in the organizations and communities they serve. They fearlessly and tirelessly challenge the status quo to implement actions that drive systemic change.

Leading the WTIA DEI Center of Excellence embodies my life’s work in building the capacity of organizations to authentically honor the diversity of their workforce, and to garner productivity and innovation gains as a result. Through tried-and-tested DEI strategic frameworks, talent management and leadership development solutions, our team is ready to support our partners develop and deploy DEI-focused initiatives. We are looking forward to another year of forward momentum in advancing equity and inclusion in increasingly diverse tech organizations. Learn more about WTIA DEI  service offerings by visiting our website.      



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