equity

Conversation on Race with Marcus Sawyerr

Marcus Sawyerr, CEO of EQ Community joins me in this conversation on race. We talk about how he and EQ Community help Black and other People of Color who have been historically excluded from professional opportunities.

He shares his experience as a Black man in the UK, and  how he came to the US and founded EQ Community.

 

Key Topics include:

 

[4:16] Why it’s important for Black people to have access to business opportunities, and ways to get those opportunities.

[5:14] Why access to information is crucial, and how lack of access has resulted in exclusion for Black and other people of color.

[12:07]- Why and how he founded EQ Community.

How Marcus Sawyerr and EQ Community help People of Color get access to top jobs and opportunities instead of languishing in search firms

[14:00] How people in EQ Community get and give support to each other to excel

[15:39] Why and how Black and Brown people are underutilized even after they get hired

[16:38] Is exclusion a Black and White thing, is it an organizational DNA thing? A race thing?

[23:10] How Diversity and Inclusion is a superpower

[27:01] The difference between being a black man in the UK vs being a Black man in the US.

[30:22] How the system in the US is set up for People of Color not to win and how to change that.

 

Guest Bio

British-born CEO Marcus Sawyerr is founder of EQ Community, was an executive board member to Microsoft, former Head of Global Partnerships at The Adecco Group in Switzerland, and Senior Director at CareerBuilder. 

His latest tech platform is a unique online community that’s cultivating and connecting multicultural professionals interested in tech— accelerating diverse and inclusive executive recruitment, globally.

He can speak to timely topics, as:

-Hiring Trends across Tech in DE&I Metaverse

-How Web3 and decentralization will impact future of work

-DEI program best practices for a winning team

– Myth-busting the big lie about “lowering the bar“ to attain inclusive hiring and diverse workforce

– The power and impact of inclusion and equitable recruiting

– The importance of developing nuanced and strategic approach to implementing diverse hiring panels

– And how to structure, implement, measure, and sustain equitable and inclusive attraction and selection practices

Lastly, Marcus is featured in publications: Insight, The EQ Report, American Express, Recruiter.com, LinkedIn, and Inside Big Data.

Host Bio:

 

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”
Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com
Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information
Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) 

 

 

Is It Racist To Ask About Caste?

 

Suhag Shukla joins me in this conversation on race to answer the question, “Is it racist to talk about race?” Suhag is the executive director of the Hindu American Foundation. She’s also on the Homeland Security, faith-based security and communications Foundation. And she’s a leading voice for civil and human rights and religious freedom.

 

Key topics:

 

[1.45] How she grew up straddling both a Hindu identity and an American identity and realizing that the core teachings of Hinduism and being an American fit together.

 

[5:11] The so-called “founding fathers” who didn’t consider Black and Native American people full human beings.

 

 

[5:46] First experience with racism during the oil crisis in the 1970s and being “othered.”

 

[7:51] Is caste and/or asking about caste racist? The history of caste and Indian society as well as the British and Portuguese in India.

 

[10:51] Social Identities, castes, and religious traditions

 

[12:11] Commonalities in communities and castes in India

How people in India identify today beyond caste, who has social capital based on class

 

[15:11] Myths of caste and the fluidity of castes and engagement across different group

The complexity of Indian society, and the assumptions that people outside of India make about people in India

American society tries to simplify economic and social societies in India without any real understanding

 

[25.48]  US school textbooks teach about other cultures and countries like they are stuck in time, and not what’s happening now

People in the US don’t understand Indian culture today and even asked Suhag if she has electricity in India if her parents arranged her marriage while she was in elementary school

 

Being assigned a caste by a reporter in a recent interview based on her last name and how she confronted the reporter

 

Preconceived notions about her. because of her Indian heritage and culture and asking racist questions

 

[33:13]  The recent survey by the Carnegie Endowment for peace, conducted one of the first-ever comprehensive surveys done of Indian Americans and Indian American attitudes

shows that with each subsequent generation, there’s less and less affinity towards identifying by caste. And  when it comes to discrimination, close to 50% of the people responding out of 1000 people in the survey reported having faced discrimination in the year previously

 

[39:55] Institutionalizing of caste at Brandeis, Harvard, CSU and other universities. Suhag’s view of why it is racist to ask about caste and include it in a protected category- that it has never been an issue in education

 

 

Guest Bio

Suhag Shukla, Esq., Executive Director, is a co-founder of HAF. She holds a BA in Religion and JD from the University of Florida. Ms. Shukla has helped steer the Foundation to being recognized as a leading voice for civil rights, human rights, and religious freedom. She’s been instrumental in the development of a broad range of educational materials and position papers and blogs for a variety of platforms. Ms. Shukla has served on the Boards of the Nirvana Center, Main Line Indian Association, and YWCA of Minneapolis. She was also a member of the Department of Homeland Security Faith-Based Security and Communications Subcommittee. Ms. Shukla is actively involved with Chinmaya Mission, serves on the board of the Bhutanese American Organization of Philadelphia, and is a thought partner for the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia’s Paths to Understanding Public Art Initiative. Shukla is a member of the board for the National Museum of American Religion and serves on religious advisory committees for the Council on Foreign Relations, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Subcommittee for the Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-Based Communities and is a member of the First Amendment Center’s Committee on Religious Liberty and the United Nations Women’s Gender Equality and Religion platform. Shukla was named one of twelve “faith leaders to watch in 2017” by the Center for American Progress.

Email: Info@HinduAmerican.org

 

Host Bio

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”
Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com
Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information
Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) 

Racism and Segregation in the Music Industry

 

Michael Motta, is a former executive in the record business. He was instrumental in breaking open the careers of musicians like Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, Megadeath and Bonnie Raitt.

After years in the business, he realized it was treacherous to his health and left after achieving major success. He also saw the systemic racism and inequality of music airtime, radio station resources. Listen to his story in this conversation on race.

Today he is the regional manager of Mayweather Boxing and Fitness in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Michael considers himself a “a man for all nations.” He is African, Sicilian, Cuban, and Jewish. Raised in the Bronx by four strong Black women, he  learned to be a strong Black man.

Key topics:

[5:00] How he was bullied by different groups because of his skin color, not being white enough for the white kids and not dark enough for the Black kids.

[7:12] Incredibly, Michael just two years ago that he is fifty-one percent Jewish. Hear how he found his Jewish father and a sister he didn’t know he had. However before finding that out, he always had connections to Jewish people, and his son’s mother is Jewish.

[16:12] What made him finally decide to leave the music industry.
Motta breaks down the systemic racism of the music industry and the segregation of the radio stations.

[20:53] We talk some of our favorite genres of music along with artists we love

[29:06] White kids who listen to hip-hop but don’t care about the politics, and still act racist towards people of color. They spend money on the music but don’t understand history or the message.
Where to find conscious rap and hip-hop since it’s not played on commercial radio or given airplay

[34:50] His experience in college at a mostly Jewish school

[38:55] What it’s like being Black with light skin. How he wasn’t accepted in different places and what he did to survive.

[40:44] Race and racism and how it’s about fear

[41:37] Why he’s bothered by gentrification and it’s impact on non-white communities.

[45:35] Solutions and suggestions to end racism and actions we can all take

Guest Bio

A 20-year industry veteran, Michael hails from the Bronx and is of Black, Hispanic and Caucasian heritage.  He earned a scholarship to Brandeis where he played varsity basketball and then went on to earn an MBA at Boston College.  Mike is an accomplished martial artist, boxer and strength and conditioning coach – as well as an expert on nutrition counseling and healthy living — all skills he attributes to his ability to combat stage four prostate cancer.  Prior to his fitness career Mike was an accomplished record industry executive and was head of promotion and marketing for four record labels, executive vice president for several film companies and is an accomplished screen writer.  He’s the proud father of one son, Nick.

 

 

Host Bio

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”
Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com
Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information
Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) 

Living Diversity Across Race and Culture

 

Michael Dismuke and Lorenzo Jones from Eden Housing, join me in this conversation on race.

Listen in for practical advice, and best practices for engaging in successful cross-race conversations as they share their experiences. Eden Housing is an organization that develops, manages, and maintains affordable housing throughout California.

With a multi-racial and multi-cultural employee base, they have been able to ensure that their multi-racial, and multi-cultural residents feel included, respected and heard. When you have people living or working together from diverse backgrounds, unless people are able to interact with each other in meaningful ways, there can be tensions, bias and silos. Hear how Eden Housing is able to bring people together across race to thrive together.

Discover why meaningful interactions, and sharing personal stories can stop racial and other kinds of bias. Learn why leaders need to start with themselves in the conversation about race, by reflecting on their own experiences, their own bias, and why they think and act the way they do. They need to live their values if they say they value diversity and racial equity. Racial equity doesn’t happen by itself. It takes the whole organization to work together.  In this conversation on race, Michael Dismuke and Lorenzo Jones offer concrete suggestions and solutions to talk about race, and how to live diversity, equity and inclusion.

Key topics:

[2:53] How Michael Dismuke and Lorenzo Jones credit their own interracial, multicultural backgrounds as contributors to their success as leaders at Eden Housing.

[4:52] Creating comfortable environments to talk about race and have “curious conversations”.

[9:29] Having conversations across race and finding connections.

[14:30] The importance of going beyond racial optics in organization. You have to live inclusion and diversity to be successful.

[16:00] Creating a diversity council that is diverse.

[20:33] Best practices for inclusion during holiday seasons.

[26:33] How to make people from diverse religious faiths and observances feel included, while not favoring any one group.

[31:49] Gamifying cross-race conversations, and sharing stories across race and culture.

[39.31] Recognition, and showing respect for indigenous people and their history on the land.

[45:28] The problem of mixing religion, politics and organizational policies.

Guests Bio:

LORENZO JONES

SENIOR DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

As Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Lorenzo is responsible for crafting a comprehensive DEI strategy for the organization, defining goals, and providing a roadmap to ensure that Eden Housing embeds a commitment to racial, social, and economic justice in all its work. He facilitates and creates linkages among Eden’s DEI Council, working groups and committees, and evaluates Eden’s internal processes and practices with an equity lens.

 

 

MICHAEL DISMUKE

VICE PRESIDENT OF ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

As Vice President of Organizational Development and Internal Communications, Michael is a key member of the Human Resources and Extended Leadership Teams (ELT) at Eden Housing. He is the communications advisor to the company’s executive team and senior leaders across the company. He creates and executes strategies to ensure the company’s human capital has the training and resources they need to support the growth of the organization.

 

 

Host Bio

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”
Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com
Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information
Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) 

A Journey Through Race, Identity and True belonging. How Michael Fosberg discovered his Black identity

 

In this conversation on race, I’m joined by Michael Fosberg. Michael is a writer, actor and activist on issues of race. He is also a Black man who didn’t know he was Black until he was in his mid-thirties when his Armenian mother and white Swedish step-father got divorced. That’s when he went on his journey to find his biological father. Until then, Michael thought he was white.

Listen to this fascinating conversation and hear the story of Michael Fosberg.

Key topics:

[6:27] How he found his father and then found out his biological father was Black.

[15:31] Growing up in a diverse area and thinking he was one of two white people on the basketball team.

[17:13] Why Michael’s mother didn’t tell him he was Black.

[20:27] His lifelong connection to Black people and African-American culture and sudden understanding of why he had that connection.

[31:21] What it’s like for him, knowing he is Black but growing up with white privilege and how his skin color still gives him that privilege.

[41:35] Responding to people who say they are colorblind.

[46:28] Michael Fosberg answers the question of what to do about racism.

Guest Bio

Chicago native Michael Fosberg has been working to create a national dialogue on race and identity since 2001 when he launched his one-man autobiographical play Incognito. The author-activist has used the unique presentation, along with engaging interactive training sessions and speeches, to embrace diversity in an effort to change corporate and organization cultures.

He has been a frequent guest in the national media speaking as an expert on race and identity issues. His travels have taken him across the country facilitating meaningful conversations at educational institutions, corporations, government agencies and military bases. His highly praised memoir; Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race and Self Discovery was published in 2011 and his newest book, Nobody Wants to Talk About It: Race, Identity, and the Difficulty in Forging Meaningful Conversations addresses his efforts to provoke conversations about race over the past fifteen years.

Contact info: info@incognitotheplay.com

 

Host Bio

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”
Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com
Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information
Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) 

Black Men, White Fear

In this Conversation on Race, John Blake, senior writer, and producer at CNN talks about anti-racist white men who grew up in racist families. They were surrounded by racism in their environment and grew up in red states, yet they chose a different path. Listen in to hear some of the stories and find out the factors that influenced their thinking and actions.

We also talk about the epidemic and potential cures for the fear that many white people have about Black men in public spaces.

Key topics:

[5:11] How Matt Hawn, a white teacher in Tennessee became an anti-racist and then was fired for talking about racism to his students. Why white Pastor Gibson “Nibs” Stroupe from Arkansas founded a multi-cultural church in Decatur, Georgia, where he was an outspoken anti-racist.

[9:54] The gradual change from racist beliefs to anti-racism. How do some people get trapped by their own identity?

[11:21] White people need other white people who are anti-racist and have made a difference

[13:07] The transformational power of meeting people from a different race and building relationships

[16:35] The power of ordinary people to create change

[17:26] Why change often comes from pressure at the bottom

[18:33] The Epidemic of white fear of Black people in public spaces

[39:33] Internalizing stereotypes and internalized racism

[40:58] How John Blake let go of hostility towards white people after meeting his white mother.

[45:15] Creating spaces for people of different races and cultures to interact and change.

Guest Bio


John Blake is an award-winning journalist at CNN.com, the online site for CNN and an author. He has been honored by the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Academy of Religion, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Religion Communicators Council and with the GLAAD Media Award. He was most recently the winner of the 2019 Sigma Delta Chi awards for Excellence in Journalism for his online columns on race and politics. His 2020 essay, “There’s One Epidemic We May Never Find a Cure For: Fear of Black Men in Public Spaces,” was recently selected by Bustle Digital Group as one of the 11 best essays on racism and police violence. The other authors on that list included Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ibram X. Kendi, and Roxane Gay. Blake’s book, “Children of the Movement,” was a finalist for the 2005 NAACP Image Awards in the Outstanding Literary Work Non-Fiction category and a finalist for the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Awards. He has spoken at high schools, colleges, symposiums and in documentaries about topics such as race, religion and politics. Blake is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and a graduate of Howard University.

 

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”

Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com

Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information

Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) 

Episode 89: The R.A.C.E Project

 

In this conversation on race, I’m joined by my colleagues from the Brain Trust of the Shift Network R.A.C.E Project.

Rev. Doctor Aliah Majon, the Chief Inclusion Officer of the Shift Network enlisted Mike Alexander and me to join her in the R.A.C.E Project.

Aliah shares her experience as a Black woman who grew up in Detroit, how race and racism impacted her growing up, how she dropped out of high school, and then how she went on to get a double Ph.D.

Mike Alexander talks about his experience as a Black police officer who went on to become a police chief and shares stories of how he dealt with the racism he encountered.

Kapiolani Laronal shares her experience as an indigenous woman from Hawaii and the racism she has encountered in predominantly white schools.

 

Key topics:

[7:12] The R.A.C.E project and our role in making the world a better place. Our focus is on what we can do to dismantle racism, and the role that mind, body, spirit plays in individual change.

[11:08] Mike Alexander, former Police Chief and now acting Police Chief in Texas talks about the importance of creating psychological safety when talking about race and racism with people.

[23:23] How Mike has learned to self-regulate when he is confronted by racism and specific issues in the police department.

Racism on the part of police officers, and the impact it had on him.

[38:07] The importance of working with young people to dismantle the systemic racism embedded in the US throughout history 

[48:31] The work that Aliah has done with police departments around diversity, inclusion, equity, and race.

The importance of being curious and willing to learn and change.

 

Guests Bio

Rev. Dr. Aliah (she/her) is an evolutionary and racial healing champion who believes that we are meant to be engines of evolution. Her methodologies are informed by firsthand experience growing up in the inner city of Detroit and losing her only child to suicide, as well as three decades serving as a corporate trainer, facilitator, and educational consultant.

 

 

 

 

Mike Alexander earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. He earned a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. Mike has over 40 years in law enforcement which began as a Correctional Officer and Deputy Sheriff at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

 

 

 

 

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist help leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”

Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com

Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information

Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) https://inclusioncoalition.info

 

Episode 87: Amr Awadallah and Sara Speer Selber; a Muslim/Jewish conversation on race

 

In this exciting and dramatic conversation on race, I’m joined by Amr Awadallah former VP of developer relations for Google Cloud, and Sara Speer Selber, CEO of Quest Essential. Amr, a Muslim who was born in Egypt, and Sara, a Jewish woman born in the US. We talk about the ability to change and the need to allow people to change instead of canceling them for what they thought or did in the past.

 

Amr was fired from Google after he wrote a paper called “We Are One,” about how he used to not like Jewish people because of what he had heard about Jewish people as he grew up. But after meeting and getting to know Jewish people and even finding out he had Jewish DNA he changed his thinking.  Some other employees at Google accused him of antisemitism. We talk about social justice, the need for education, and the importance of eradicating racism, antisemitism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and other hate, it’s hypocritical and dangerous to “cancel,” fire, or ban people who have changed. If we can’t admit to past mistakes without fear, it will be almost impossible to get other people to let go of racism, etc.

 

Sara Speer Selber shares how she was raised to agree with everything Israel did and not like Muslims. After getting to know Muslim women and hearing about a group called Salaam Shalom which brought Muslim and Jewish women together, she began to change her thinking. She went on to help start a chapter of Salaam Shalom in Texas where she lives.

 

Key topics:

[4:42] Amr tells his story of what he used to think about Jewish people and what happened to make him change and get to know Jewish people.

 

[9:07] What happened when Simma was part of a Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group and the support she got from Palestinians when her partner died. The Palestinians in the group attended the Jewish services.

 

[10:39] The stories Amr heard about Jewish people that shaped his thinking growing up.

 

[12:10] How Sara met Amr when they were both on a Clubhouse for two weeks where Palestinians and Israelis shared their stories. Sara heard Amr talk about what happened to him at Google and she reached out to him.

 

[17:06] Amr was in a deep depression about being fired and when Sara reached out to him it lifted his spirits. He talks about how he was impacted by all the Jewish people who reached out to him.

 

[34.02] Why we all need to work together against climate change which can kill us all. When we hate and refuse to interact it stops us from moving forward and we can all be destroyed.

 

[37.27] How the Muslim community came together in Texas to support the Rabbi and worshippers in the synagogue when people were taken hostage.

 

Guests Bio

Sara Speer Selber, Founding Partner of QuestEssential, has more than 40 years of experience managing people and organizations for excellence and success. Her career with for profit and non-profit entities has been characterized by entrepreneurial innovation and has been recognized repeatedly by professional and community groups for her business achievements and many contributions to the welfare of others.

 

 

Dr. Amr Awadallah is the CEO and cofounder of ZIR AI, a company that is revolutionizing how we seek knowledge across all languages of the world. He previously served as VP of Developer Relations for Google Cloud until July 2021. Prior to joining Google in Nov 2019, Amr co-founded Cloudera in 2008 and as Global CTO, he spent 11 years working closely with enterprises around the world on how to ingest and extract value from big data (he famously coined the terms “schema-on-read vs schema-on-write”).

Episode 86: Healing From Life-long Racial Trauma

 

Sumi Mukherjee was bullied and tormented all his young life for his skin color, ethnicity, and Indian name. Let’s hear how his experiences compelled him to write about his life to help other people of color.

 

Key Topics

[4:25] His first experience with race and racism was in elementary school. Being raised in an all-white city in Plymouth, Minnesota.

People knew about white and black people but nothing about people from India.

How his family tried everything to fit in as part of America by celebrating Christmas, putting up a tree, etc. but he was accepted.

His shock at not being treated as an equal but being bullied by racists in school.

The trauma of racist attacks by white kids at school

He says he was the diversity of the school.

 

[10:31] Although he had provisional economic privilege because of his family background, it did not negate the color of his skin, nor the outpour of hate against him and his parents.

[12:20] How he was bullied, made fun of, and attacked because of his name Sumi. They also made fun of his last name, Mukherjee.

Having to explain his background to people who had no understanding of who he was.

[16:50] The terror of being harassed at night by people constantly calling his house making fun of his name and being targeted by racists.

The trauma of living through racism for all people of color.

[20:14] The effect on his self-esteem and mental health.

How he was traumatized, the impact on his mental health, and developing OCD.

The trauma of racism impacts all people of color and is life-long. It needs to be recognized and discussed.

Sumi has had to deal with low self-esteem, feeling isolated and afraid. He has gotten help with mental health issues and fears. Today he writes and talks to people about racism, bullying, and getting through racial trauma.

[24:54] What parents need to know to help their kids who are being bullied due to race. The importance of taking it seriously and not telling kids to ignore it.

What white parents need to do to help their kids be allies and support their friends of color who are being bullied or attacked.

[39:02] Sumi shares his struggles with trying to win white people over to like him. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of people of color to win people over.

How do you motivate people to care?

 

Sumi Bio

Author and Speaker Sumi Mukherjee published his first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder” in July 2011.  His second book published in July 2014, is titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”. His third book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” was published in Jan 2017. His fourth and the latest book titled “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System” was published in Dec 2020.

Episode 85: Conversation on Race with Steve Pemberton; Knowing and Embracing Our Roots

In this conversation on race I’m joined by Steve Pemberton, Chief Human Resources Officer of Workhuman. Steve shares his story of growing up in foster homes with no idea of his background, his identity, or his birth family.  Although he was the biological son of a Black father and a white mother, he didn’t know if he was Black or white until he located his biological family.

He is the author of two books, “A Chance in the World,” that chronicles his life story and “The Lighthouse Effect, How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact on the World.”

Key topics in this episode of “Everyday Conversations on Race,” with Steve Pemberton

  • How Steve Pemberton is mixed race, (Black and white) and but never knew who he was
  • How his life experience has been the driving factor in his work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and social justice
  • The reactions of some of Steve’s family members to him and his racial background
  • How America has fallen short in terms of embracing all cultures, races and faith and not living up to its founding principles
  • After the Civil Rights movement ended illegal segregation, we as a country chose legal segregation
  • Misunderstanding of the definition of “Critical Race Theory,”
  • Policies directed at people of color like voter suppression and redlining and how some white people get offended when racist policies are discussed
  • Persecution of his West Indian ancestors and his Irish ancestors when they came to the US
  • The importance of being aware of all our multiple identities and those of other people
  • How those multiple identities can help people find commonality but too often people stay “above the waterline,” and treat people based on biases and wrong assumptions
  • Understanding common humanity and our complexities can bring people together
  • Why more people aren’t questioning polarization but insist on embracing it
  • How Pemberton’s organization Workhuman helps people recognize each other and feel included
  • Why we need a real framework for overcoming racism and creating a country and world where everyone can live, work, and build together
  • The different forms of recognition that Workhuman promotes and how that recognition supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • How lack of inclusive and recognition holds people back from contributing and doing their best work
  • How Workhuman’s work in ensuring employee recognition  makes a difference in levels of happiness for people of color, and other underrepresented people.
  • The tendency of Millennials and Gen Z to care about social justice in organizations and how they will leave jobs where they don’t see any effort to support equity
  • The role of organizations in social change, and how Steve Pemberton sees the key role they play
  • When employees have to deal with issues like racism, attacks against Asians, lack of support for Black Lives Matter, etc. they can’t do their best work.
  • People who consider themselves allies have to do more than say slogans but need to engage and show support
  • What happens when people of color see their white friends stay silent when they see racism, and why we need people to do more than empathize
  • Allies need to step up and stand next to people who are being targeted and speak out against offensive comments and actions
  • Anyone and everyone can make a difference to support humanity, dignity, and fairness
  • How diversity and inclusion are not the same, what organizations can do to ensure that they have both

 

Listen in to hear more of Steve Pemberton, find out what’s on his playlist, and the books and films he recommends.

 

 

Steve Pemberton Bio

Passionate about building human-centered workplaces that recognize the value and potential of each and every employee, Steve Pemberton has made embracing humanity in the workplace the core of his responsibility.

As the Chief Human Resources Officer of Workhuman, Steve is committed to working with HR leaders and senior management to transform and lead more connected, human-centered workplaces that accelerate learning, engagement and productivity. Steve aims to make the work more human in everything he does by fostering a sense of purpose in the workplace and ensuring equity for all.

Steve also champions human rights efforts to ensure equality and access for all, both at home and in the workplace. This passionate advocacy has earned him honorary doctorates as well as the U.S. Congress’ Horizon Award for his personal contributions and for setting a positive example for younger generations. He is the esteemed author of “The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World” and the USA Today best-selling memoir “A Chance in the World,” following him on his search for his family. Steve is a graduate of Boston College and is involved with UCAN Chicago, Boys Hope Girls Hope and The United States Business Leadership Network as a board member.

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