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News & Press: SAHRA Blog

New Blog Post: Diversity & Inclusion

Friday, May 24, 2019   (0 Comments)

We asked our June speaker, Krista Moncado, Executive Director of the GLO Center to answer a few questions about diversity and inclusion and she delivered.


How would you define inclusion in the workplace and why is it so important to make sure you hire inclusively?

Quite often we conflate ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’. Diversity is being asked to the dance, inclusion is being asked to dance. Diversity isn’t very helpful if we’re just trying to check off boxes and see who is in the room. That is an important step, and we need to ensure that the people in the room are comfortable joining in the conversation. Inclusivity at all levels of employment is critical to the health and well being of a company. Challenging what we think a leader or manager looks like and sounds like, and then preparing all levels of employment to expand their expectations and perceptions is a vital step I believe we frequently forget or aren’t quite sure how to address.


Why is it important to have a diverse staff?

We only have our own personal lived experience to draw from. Of course you don’t instinctively recognize how a phrase or image may impact another person, because you don’t have their lived experience. If we want to expand the impact of our policies, our business, and our customer experience, the conversations and plans must include people from different backgrounds in every part of the process.


How do you create an inclusive environment?

Education, talking about the awkward things, and ensuring all people are comfortable and supported in joining the conversation.


How does diversity encompass more than just race and gender?

This is kind of a long example, but I will try to keep it as short as possible. I used to work for a company that primarily employed white heterosexual men. There were a few other women, and no other LGBTQ people that were out. At a work function I was having a conversation with one of the other few women that were there. Another employee that happened to be a man joined our conversation. Then other men joined in, primarily talking to the first man that joined us. Those other men that joined did not address the other woman or me and physically moved in between us to talk to the first man that joined us. As a result, the originators of the discussion, 2 women, were not only socially pushed out, but physically moved to the outside of the conversation. Did any of those men intend to do so? I doubt it. They were having fun and socializing. But the unintended communication to the women is that we were outsiders, literally, and our place in the discussion was of very little importance or impact. This is one simple example of a culture that was allowed to exist without challenge, or being told that culture simply didn’t exist and due to the fact that none of the men perceived the behavior to be exclusionary, exclusion did not, in fact, exist or happen. If we are hiring people with diverse backgrounds, whether that’s race, religion, gender, what side of the tracks we grew up on, what we smell like because of the food we cook and enjoy, we need to do the work to make sure everyone is someone of significance and import.


Should we cover microaggressions and how to avoid them while we’re on the subjects of diversity and inclusion? 

I believe if you are truly challenging your intrinsic thoughts and beliefs about people that are different than you, and authentically trying to show every person respect and dignity, then the microagressions are covered. The important thing is that we can name behavior that we see and observe all the time, and it’s more than a person’s right to be a jerk. I talk to a lot of people that automatically put up their defenses when particular words or phrases are used, like microagression, safe space, trigger, etc. I try to avoid that by addressing the root of the issue while circumventing their defense mechanisms.


--Krista Moncado

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