I sit and wonder how the world would be if there were more people of color in leadership roles. The NFL has only three black coaches, while the NFL is 70%, black players. Is there a denial of diversity opportunities? In 2007, Tony Dungy was the first black head coach to win the Super Bowl, with the Colt’s victory over the Chicago Bears. So why aren’t there more people of color in management positions?
When I reflect on the mentors who helped me grow in sports and my own leadership—I think of Coach Jackson, a black man who pushed me to excel in Track. The school I attended had truly little money for sports. However, Coach Jackson asked me to find some combat boots and to wear them to build up my muscles while running in the Florida sand pits. I followed his guidance and won track awards because my running had improved.
Chief Master Sergeant Kelly was my supervisor in the Air Force. While he was a petite-sized black man, he had the energy and presence of a giant. He was the best mentor in my twenty-year span in the Air Force. An Air Force Chief Master Sergeant can only stay thirty years in the Air Force, maximum. However, his leadership skills were so impressive that congressional approval allowed him to serve another year. That was the best year of professional development in my career—spending time with Chief Kelly and improving on my management skills.
I close my eyes for a moment and see Mr. Demps, who was my elementary school janitor. His lips are holding a big cigar with sparkling eyes like a child on Christmas morning. He was a very protective gentleman who had served honorably in the Korean War. He was a jolly fellow, and my family loved him so much because he had rescued my mother from a dangerous car accident. I often went to school with a brown bag filled with vegetables from my family. I often sensed his presence when I walked around my small school campus. Years later—I would hear rumors of a pedophile working at my school. I can’t help but think that Mr. Demps was watching over and protecting the children.
Again—I sit and wonder, why aren’t there more people of color in leadership roles. I remember speaking up about my former government agency having only five black employees out of over five hundred white employees. I spoke up, and my friend Angela (one of the black employees) spoke up about the perception of racial discrimination. It took time, but in a short period, thirty black employees began working at this agency. Yes—speaking up and holding people accountable does work!
People who would deny people of color what is due to them are failing all of us. We need to support people of color and not deny them opportunities for greatness. We must let go of fear and step up to make this a better world. When you see that a person of color denied a job or a promotion, they should receive—speak up! We need diversity in leadership roles. If you don’t know how to speak up about racial discrimination effectively—check out www.EEOC.gov.
I believe in civil, diverse, and safe work environments—check out my other articles at Dawn’s Articles.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo courtesy iStock