Diversity and Inclusion have finally become a top priority with countless organizations around the globe. The intense focus and resources assigned to this important work, in many major corporations is led by some extremely talented and skilled individuals.
Many of those leaders are women, in fact, many are women of color or of diverse ethnic backgrounds. The men that lead D& I in some of the most prominent corporations, tend to be men of color or of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
One can with some certainty assume from the headshots that many of the D&I leaders are not in the Baby Boomer generation.
The profile of the D&I leaders globally starts to take shape when these observations and conclusions line up to show the lack of white middle-aged men among the prominent leaders.
The very focus on Diversity and Inclusion might be lost in the profile of the leaders driving for change. While it might be too presumptuous to assume that there are not enough white males at the tables moving the D&I aged forward, it is safe to say that their representation is as critical as other any demographic.
All too often the prejudice for white men is about unexplored biases and preconceptions. The thought that white men don’t have a drive and passion for the D&I agenda, is limiting to its very existence.
When everyone admits that they have inherent biases, only then can we have conversations about how best to address them. When we deny our own biases, we are perpetuating the behaviors that work against the achievements for the D&I work that are possible and inevitable.
By now, I suspect that some of the readers of this article who are leaders and experts in the D&I space have some ruffled feathers. I intend to swing a light on a controversial topic with the intention and expectation that the dialogue that ensues will be supportive.
I am a gay white male in the 3rd 3rd of my career and believe strongly that I have the experience, expertise, and enthusiasm to be a part of the D&I initiatives that are underway around the globe. Playing musical chairs with this important work can be very frustrating, when the music stops the white males don’t have a chair to sit it. It begs questioning the demographics of D&I leaders globally.
When we hold up a mirror and look into to it, we must be willing to see what is reflected back to us. It seems to me that in that reflection, the possibilities for change are limitless. Change is at the core of the D&I movement and who better to start with then the leaders who are leading the charge.
Some of what is missed by not including any demographic in the Diversity and Inclusion, is experience of the individuals not participating. Everyone has a unique set of experiences that can be leveraged for the greater good. Another missed opportunity is insights that could be shared otherwise. We all gain our insights in different ways which makes them invaluable to the D&I space.
On the other hand, the benefits of including white men in this case can be impactful. These change champions have access to people, that others may not readily have. Expanding the footprint of the work focused on D&I is essential and critical to the overall mission.
By modeling the desired and expected behaviors in the D&I leadership profiles, others are more likely to find ways to be supportive in driving for the changed needed to make progress. When a room filled with D&I leaders and professionals is as diverse as the workplace population, only then can we begin to see the progress that will propel the movement to its next phase.
At this point in reading this article, many readers are either arguing with my observations and insights or are finding the ways in which they are in agreement. In either case, my intention is to spark a meaningful conversation that gives us all the permission we might need to assert our passionate insights about a very important topic. Only with open dialogues can we move any critical work forward, and in fact most of us are highly skilled in arguing our own points of view.
Diversity and Inclusion must be open to everyone, and it must model what it is expected from others to achieve its mission. Only in demonstrating the desired and expected behaviors and achievements will it be possible to normalize that which is challenged and obstructed on a daily basis across the globe.
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