A NEW HR Conversation on Diversity with Tiana Sanchez & Dr. Natalie Parks

A NEW HR Conversation on Diversity

Special Interview with Tiana Sanchez & Dr. Natalie Parks

A New Conversation on Diversity featuring Tiana Sanchez & Dr. Natalie Parks

“I don’t have a question, I just want to share that this is one of the best webinars I’ve ever been to. As a 24 year old Caucasian woman hoping to enter the field of human resources, I am grateful to be more educated about the Black experience and I am inspired to change the ways I approach things in my personal and professional life going forward. Thank you for this message!”

– Attendee of Tiana Sanchez’s Session


A New Conversation on Diversity is Needed in HR – and Beyond.

Do you want to empower employees to engage in open and honest conversations with each other? Do you want to examine emerging issues on diversity and race and their impact on HR and organizational culture? Do you want to assess how well your company is currently doing in its present state?

As employees face stress related to racial injustices, we can address sensitive issues with empathy, asking open-ended questions, actively listening, and mediating divergent thinking and breaking down barriers in a safe space. Many companies check the box on diversity, inclusion, and diverse hiring practices. Now, Human Resources professionals and leaders must learn how to mediate sensitive conversations while empowering employees to engage in honest dialogue and talk to each other.

On July 23, PIHRA Woodland Hills brought Tiana Sanchez (and special guest Dr. Natalie Parks) to the microphone to facilitate a virtual learning session for the entire PIHRA community, titled A New Conversation on Diversity. Tiana and Dr. Parks’ session was so poignant, timely, and appreciated that it was clearly a valuable resource for the greater HR community.

In service to all human resources practitioners in California and beyond, PIHRA has made this session complimentary for EVERYONE in the PIHRA Online Learning Library. Please feel free to distribute this resource to your team, your colleagues, and your professional network.

In Tiana Sanchez and Dr. Parks’ session you’ll learn:

  • WHY understanding the Black experience is important to Human Resources professionals and leaders. Learn about the past and present that have shaped the Black experience including the omission of Black contributions to our economic growth.
  • WHAT barriers exist that HR professionals and leaders know about and what they don’t know about? Learn how our values shape our viewpoint of others from generation to generation. Discuss the impact of Racial Socialization. 
  • HOW do we use words to engage in courageous conversations? Learn that importance of engaging respectfully, responsibly, and empathetically using the 4-step S.T.O.P. acronym.
  • WHEN behavior becomes inappropriate and dangerous? Participants examine 5 dangerous workplace issues: Racial Bullying, Fragility, Superficial Conversations, Hostility, and Exclusion.
  • WHO benefits from an inclusionary culture. Discuss the HR Pivot required to incite corporate responsibility on race and diversity.

If you haven’t already, get to know this long-time PIHRA Speaker and special guest Natalie Parks, as well as the webinar host chapter PIHRA Woodland Hills. Take time to gain insight from our in-depth interview with them (below), and be sure to view their session on the PIHRA Online Learning Library to learn from their expertise, and earn recertification credit (if you need it!).

Meet Tiana Sanchez, CEO, Author & Global Podcast Host

Tiana Sanchez is CEO of an Organizational Training and Development firm, a Best-Selling Author and Global Podcast host. For over 17 years she has been in the trenches serving as Corporate Trainer and Business Consultant to top leaders in the public and private sectors across the U.S. to foster a more confident and competent workforce in the new economy. Cultivating more human-centric cultures ONE company at a time, Tiana Sanchez International, LLC, a certified Women Business Enterprise, helps companies recoup a percentage of the billions lost due to turnover, reduce the loss of top talent, and retrain managers to increase their effectiveness 10-20%. Her books Undefeatable and The UPside of Failure can be found on Amazon.com. 

Meet Dr. Natalie Parks  

Natalie Parks, Ph.D.,BCBA-D, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (Doctoral-level; BCBA-D) and licensed psychologist. She is currently the founder and CEO of Behavior Leader, Inc., managing director of TeamABA, LLC, and the Program Director of the Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis program at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Natalie Parks Dr. Parks spends her time focused on working with organizations to create inclusive settings that result in higher employee retention, increased company profits, and better products and services for consumers. She works primarily with organizations with visions that include community improvement including healthcare systems, public health and service professionals, educational institutions, and behavior analytic organizations. Dr. Parks specializes in consultation, training, system development, leadership, and performance management.

This Session was Curated by PIHRA Woodland Hills

Meet PIHRA Woodland Hills!

Get To Know PIHRA Woodland HillsPIHRA Woodland Hills serves the west San Fernando Valley, which is comprised of a wide variety of industries – manufacturing, distribution, insurance, legal, accounting, finance, high tech and many others, which allows PIHRA Woodland Hills to reach a wide number of professionals at levels of experience. Their HR pros are both willing to learn and to pass on their expertise and knowledge to others. They are truly diverse. They have a great relationship with our two student chapters (CSUN and CalLutheran) and support them to see them succeed. Their Board and Committee members always provide a warm welcome to members and guests. They offer a wide range of educational topics for all levels of HR practitioners in a fun atmosphere and try to keep them as timely as they can, including a monthly legal update spotlight to give attendees the most up to date information for their workplace. They provide time before and after our meetings so there are ample opportunities for networking at both their meetings and their mixers.

PIHRA Woodland Hills members are inclusive, inspiring, and informative. They value listening With an Open Mind, and Respecting Differences. You can learn more at pihra.org/woodlandhills. 

A New HR Conversation on Diversity: The Interview


As experts in diversity and inclusion, how have the last two months been for you? How are you doing right now?

Tiana Sanchez: My expertise in in organizational effectiveness and that includes aspects of diversity and inclusion practices. In two months, I’ve witnessed the best and the worst of humanity. As black woman who spent most of her career being the only brown face in the room, who bore a black boy and fears for his life every single day and whose parents were not afforded opportunities due to redlining, prejudice and white flight, I’m cautiously hopeful.

Dr. Parks: Working in this space, you are always aware of that there are many different levels to individuals’ understanding and acceptance of the inclusion and diversity problems within organizations. These past two months have brought a new awareness to some and ignited a fire in others. I like that we are making progress, but it is difficult to still manage spaces where people feel drastically different about the topic and are still struggling to find acceptance of how deep the issues are. I do find that I have to constantly remind myself that it is my position to meet people where they are, as opposed to expecting them to be where I want them to be. Personally, I find myself filled with a variety of emotions from anger and pain to frustration and empathy. I try to celebrate each step forward.

Tiana, can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write your books, Undefeatable and F’d UP?

Tiana Sanchez: Both books are inspired in part by my life’s experiences an overcoming adversity in both my personal and professional life. Undefeatable is a book about hope, faith, and determination. I was an avid kickboxer and I liked the parallels between boxing and a determined attitude. When my eldest son was a senior in High School, we discussed writing a book together that would help his generation view “success” differently. F’d UP was birthed with my son writing the last chapter in the book. Surprisingly, corporations and executives in addition to young adults resonated with F’d UP and it has since been a best-selling book and one of most requested topics!

Dr. Parks, can you tell us a bit about your background and your research? How did you and Tiana start working together professionally?

Dr. Parks: My background is in the science of behavior, or behavior analysis, and psychology. I worked for many years in the field of autism and developmental disabilities and transitioned to focusing on organizational development and leadership about seven years ago. I have done research in culture, diversity, and inclusion since graduate school and began focusing on it within my business about two years ago. Initially, it came about as working with leaders, it was evident that many organizational problems were due to lack of inclusive practices in the organization. I currently work with organizations that focus on community improvement including healthcare, non-profits, fire departments, and the police force. I met Tiana at a networking even when I lived in Los Angeles and we immediately clicked surrounding our common focus on leadership.

Tiana, you’ve performed diversity audits for many companies. What is one of the top warning signs to you that a company needs a diversity audit?

Tiana Sanchez: Our firm has administered many audits on Employee Engagement, Organizational Effectiveness, Culture and Diversity. In all cases, the audits were a response to solving pre-existing problems already happening within the organization. Problems that included the mishandling of an employees’ performance that rose to the level of a complaint, an organizational restructuring that transferred people into positions in which they were not properly trained causing an unmotivated workforce, a newly appointed department leader with little to no experience having difficulty building trust with their team, and an organization that was called out publicly and/or privately for the appearance of “privilege.” Warning signs or rather a company should monitor the Company’s Attitude Toward Diversity, Company Culture, the existence of Unconscious Bias, Diverse Career Development Opportunities, Roles and Privileges, Interaction, Policies and Procedures, and the frequency and quality of Diversity Training.

What is one thing that demonstrates to you that a company is willing and ready to implement real change in their diversity and inclusion?

Dr. Parks: The biggest thing that tells me that an organization is ready and willing to implement real change is buy in and support from the leadership, meaning the leaders of the organization are looking at their own behaviors and not just looking to change the behavior of others. I also look to see if they are trying to change culture and cultural practices of the organization or if they are attempting to check a box so they can say they addressed it, but do not want to put any financial or energy resources into it.

In your presentation, Tiana, you mentioned that companies shouldn’t confuse a voiced concern with a troublemaker. What would you recommend to HR professionals advocating on behalf of these concerns?

Tiana Sanchez: First, getting someone to speak up if they feel unsafe will be difficult. Safety is predicated on trust and whether there will be retribution or backlash as a result of speaking up. How many incidents have been reported to HR? How many performance reviews used the term “disengaged, poor attitude, problem employee?” Investigate those claims and review those reviews through an objective lens. If you cannot be objective, invite an uninterested third party. Second, create a “safe space” for employees to voice concerns. A safe space is free of judgment, unintimidating, and includes a member of that employees’ ethnicity, gender, or age group. Lastly, Human Resources must steward, coach leaders, and vigilantly holding them to a higher degree of accountability. The future of organizations rests on changing the narrative that HR’s sole function is managing the business of people but rather a strategic partner managing the relationships we have with people and relationships are built on…trust.

What is one way HR professionals can support their BIPOC employees throughout the year, and not only in crises?

Tiana Sanchez: HR professionals can support their Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) throughout the year and not only in a crisis by affirming BIPOC and creating a safe space for dialogue, make provisions to those that are most impacted and audit your inclusion and diversity practices annually or bi-annually. Acknowledge the emotional trauma, cultural and racial barriers that your black employees are experiencing. Provide equitable resources and incite corporate social responsibility practices. Redirect annual philanthropy spend to communities most impacted to demonstrate compassion, concern, and the need for real change. Promises are nice but they do not mean much if they are not followed up with action.

What is one common mistake companies make when embarking on improving their inclusion/diversity/culture?

Dr. Parks: There are a couple mistakes that companies make when addressing inclusive cultures. The first is they attempt to address their lack of diversity without understanding that part of the issue is likely because they do not have a culture of inclusion. Thus, they only focus on recruiting people who look different, without focus on making sure the culture embraces new people who have differences. The second largest problem is that they think diversity and inclusion are something separate from the rest of the business. Inclusive businesses have a culture where differences are seen as a strength and leaders provide equitable opportunities to all employees. Unfortunately, a lot of companies think that if they provide a training or two on what diversity and inclusion are, the problem will be solved. It takes real behavior change and systems change to ensure inclusion becomes part of daily practice.



Tiana Sanchez and Dr. Natalie Parks’ session A New Conversation on Diversity is available to EVERYONE at no cost in our PIHRA Online Library!

Be sure to sign into your PIHRA account first (any active membership, lapsed membership, or subscriber record will work!) in order to gain access.

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