We’ve All Felt Excluded In Some Way Or Another
During the event, the panelists discussed different occasions when they’ve felt excluded. Bill Stoddard, one of the panelists and a Senior Administrative Assistant at KPMG talked about how LGBTQ employees can feel excluded and alienated during company blood drives because of their sexual orientation and related ramifications. During the dialogue that ensued, he reflected that although he feels left out, he can’t stop his organization and co-workers from participating in a cause that saves lives.
Peggy O’Neill, an award-winning keynote speaker and author, was also on the RealHR West LA panel. She talked about one of her many trials as a little person living in a big world. Her example was after completing a challenging degree at an art school, a faculty member told her she would never find a job because of her situation. Although the statement was devastating, she refused to let it define her future.
Nicole Hancock Husband, Esq., Vice President of Human Resources, Warner Brothers Television was also on the PIHRA RealHR West LA panel. As a young lawyer, she experienced being the only African American woman at a prestigious law firm. When the firm discussed the diversity issue, they were more concerned about how diversity would mean they would have to “lower their standards.” Needless to say, the conversation didn’t sit well for her.
The Story Behind The Outcome
Ultimately, it’s up to us to make the change. Amber Baldet, former JPMorgan Blockchain program lead, defines inclusion “like health and happiness, it’s not something that you arrive at one day and say, ‘We’re done!’ It’s something that you work at every day, a process.”
During PIHRA RealHR West LA, an African American woman from the audience bravely stood up during the panel discussion and shared that she works for an organization that is “lopsided” with respect to diversity. There is diversity at the administrative level but not at the technical level. “How can I start the conversation?” she asked. With the help of the panelists and the audience, they came up with the following ideas to help her start the conversation.
Steps to start the conversation:
Step 1: Benchmark. Evaluate how other similar organizations have managed to use diversity and inclusion effectively. Think about how open senior management might be to discussing diversity. It’s important to observe and think about the different scenarios that might come up. Bring all that with you to the conversation.
Step 2: Seek advocates on the management team. If it’s intimidating for you, invite your advocate to participate in the conversation. Don’t do it alone.
Step 3: Have the conversation. Simply starting the conversation is the first step in making the change.
At PIHRA, we want to create a safe space for people to have real conversations and takeaway real tangible steps in their career.
“It was especially touching to see how life changing in such a positive way the event benefited the attendees, including myself,” said Jennifer Blair, PIHRA West Los Angeles Vice Chair. “The event was so well thought out and I truly feel it was one of if not the best HR event I’ve ever been to.”
We want to give a special thank you to PIHRA West Los Angeles, the panelists, attendees, sponsors, and everyone who in some way contributed to make RealHR West LA possible. Stay tuned for another #RealHR event coming soon.