DEI Through a Personal, Global Lens
Counter to the belief of many, issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion are not unique to the United States. This is something that I’ve always known as a person with dual citizenship – DEI looks different depending on where you are in the world. I first saw this in my parents’ navigation of Virginia. Both of them came from predominantly Black countries, so it was no issue with finding ‘Black talent’ or looking for Black professionals. That’s almost all they knew. So moving to the US, they quickly realized that they were no longer in the majority and the behaviors that came along with that. As a child, I didn’t understand what they were experiencing. But as I grew, I came to realize the shifts they had to make and those they chose not to make.
Fast forward, a few decades, when I was leading a team focused on inclusion marketing from a global perspective. We were managing our program presence at 8 global summits. As we typically did at our events, we had a standard set of materials that we would ship onsite – a video of our program with subtitles, the proverbial stickers that tech folks love, and pronoun pins. The pronoun pins. That’s where we had to step back and think about what that would look like from a global perspective. Some of these countries would ‘get it,’ but for others, due to language or cultural nuances, they did not translate. It took us not catching this in time for an event in Mexico City, but we were able to pivot for the remaining events quickly.
This also began my exploration of DEI not just from a global lens but from practitioners from other regions of the world. One of those connections was Frank Sterling, Founder of Variety Pack. In this conversation, we discuss the challenges facing DEI practitioners in the UK and Europe – including classism, the link between allyship, psychological safety, and intersectionality- and how to support organizations as they move from awareness to action.
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