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Tips for Leading DEI Conversations

Leading DEI Conversations Info Session


This is a transcript of the Leading DEI Conversations program live info session from May 10, 2022.


The Leading DEI Conversations program is designed to help you develop and practice facilitation skills and frameworks you can apply in the workplace. The program will help you learn how to discuss topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion, how to reflect on and leverage power and privilege, how you can hold space for yourself and others during difficult moments and most importantly, how you can exercise accountability through a holistic lens of self and communal care. REGISTER TODAY


Felicia:
So I love the so unsubtle way to start off our recordings that way, but it’s also very helpful to note and know that it is being recorded now. So in case anyone’s watching this recording afterwards, I’ll just quickly reintroduce myself, Felicia co-founder, co CEO, she, her pronouns. And what I’m going to start off with is a quick land acknowledgement to recognize that while we are sharing space today, virtually, and we’re gonna be talking about a virtually facilitated program, She+ Geeks Out as a company was originally founded on land. That is a traditional territory of the Massachusett and Pawtucket tribes, and is still home to descendants of those peoples. I am dialing in today from Western Massachusetts which is also the home of the Nipmuc peoples as well. And land acknowledgements are just a way for us to reflect on how we ourselves maybe perpetuating and contributing to various forms of historical and present oppression. So with that being said, I’m going to pass things over to my colleague, Fatima, to kick us off with some further introductions, Fatima, over to you.

Fatima:
Thanks so much. Felicia, thanks for being so graceful as I click <laugh> the record button. I love it. Thank you. I’m Fatima. My pronouns. Are she/her/hers. I identify as Black, specifically from the west African diaspora, and I’m currently the learning and development manager SGO. I’m calling in from what is now known as the DC, Maryland area, which is the traditional home land of the Piscataway people. I’m gonna go ahead and pass it over to Kia to introduce herself.

Kia:
Hi everyone. My name is Kia Rivera. I use she her pronouns and I’m one of the DEI facilitators with SGO. I identify as biracial multiracial mix depending on the day and also as a cisgender woman. I’m a Massachusetts. So Felicia did my Land acknowledgement. So just happy to be here with you all. And I’ll kick it over to Victoria.

Victoria:
Hi everybody. Good morning. Good afternoon. I’m Dr. Victoria Verlezza. I use pronouns she and her. I am an autistic, queer, white, cis femme, disabled, PhD, who is a consultant, facilitator, educator- specifically in higher education. I am an adjunct faculty member, coach, full-time cat mom, who occupies the stolen land of Ohlone people, now known as Pacific Grove and I’m originally from the east coast. And thank you so much for being here. Fatima back to you.

Fatima:
Awesome. Thanks so much. So we’re really excited to host this info session. We know a lot of you have been waiting for a program like this, and so, so let’s just gonna sort of walk us through or lead us through thinking about why now, why are we doing this? And then what to expect from the rest of today’s session.

Felicia:
Wonderful. Thanks so much, Fatima. So for those of you, and I just commented in the chat, there’s so many familiar names and faces here today. So it’s once again, great to see everybody and also to meet those folks who are newer to me and to the organization. But for those of you who are familiar with what we’re all about and our sort of organizational company journey over the last couple years, essentially since 2020, both with the impact of the pandemic, as well as the social movement that was really sparked by George Floyd’s murder in the summer of 2020, SGO has been, like almost every other DEI practitioner or organization out there, just really overwhelmed with interest from companies, organizations, higher ed institutions, you name it, who are looking to further their work in this space. With that being said, the last two years have definitely been very busy for us, but we have really felt a, an opportunity I’ll say, which is to not just support organizations and individuals who are part of those organizations, but also how can we support this work and further this learning for individuals who may or may not be working at organizations that are working and partnering with us, but who we could still reach out to and support with this overall work.

Felicia:
And so, as part of our thinking for 2022 and beyond, we really wanted to go back to that individual level, which is to say, how can we do something that is public facing that could be really impactful for folks who are looking to have conversations further their own learning, and even take that learning back to others. So this particular info session around our newest public program offering, which is leading DEI conversations, is really designed to meet each of your individual needs, where you’re all from different spaces, areas, organizations, but you’re all here looking to further some learning. And so that’s really what this program is designed to do. I won’t share too much more around that because we do have a lot more detail to get into, to explain more about what it is, how it’s designed and what we’re thinking around this, but we’re really excited to be able to expand our offerings in this way. So even if your company is not signed up with us as a partner, this is really for each and every one of you here today. So I am going to pass it back over to Fatima. We’re gonna go through some discussions with our facilitation team, for the folks who will actually be facilitating this program. And then we’re gonna talk a little bit more about the program in general and how it’s structured and what you can expect to learn from it.

Fatima:
Beautiful. Thanks so much Felicia, for giving that info and for those of us who have a good agenda, and you’re like, what are all the things that we’re covering? We got you, that’s here on the screen. And so we’re gonna take a little bit of time to get some face time with the instructors and facilitators that will be facilitating this program. And so if you have any questions during the session, feel free to put it in the chat, we’ll do our best to answer it. After the session is over. So we will have about 10 minutes or so, depending on how much we engage with you all today to then answer whatever questions you either shared in the event, right, or that you have now and trust and believe a lot of the questions that you all asked already will be answered today.

Fatima:
So hopefully that’s helpful for folks. So what we’d like to do is we’re gonna stop sharing our screen. So you can visibly witness our, our facilitators who will be facilitating the workshop and the program I should say. And so Kia and Dr. Victoria, it’s, this is a, a great moment, cuz now we’re having, we’re all up in your groove, <laugh> in your space right now, but we have some questions for them, right? And so I’ll ask questions about sort of their facilitation style and what they’ve learned over time, but also the approach that they’ll be using while facilitating the program. And if you’re somewhere in here, who’s interested in signing up, we really do believe that it’s important to know the folks who are leading something like this, right? And if you find that you have questions, thoughts, you wanna celebrate something that’s being said, don’t be shy, feel free to be active and engaged in the chat. If you have a reaction or something resonates, this is your space as much as it is ours. Awesome. I see some thumbs up and I get to see folks. This is amazing. All right. So both Victoria and Kia feel free to come to the center of the stage. I’ll go ahead and spotlight some of your videos, but I thought it would be really nice for each of you to start off talking a bit more about your background and experience as DEI facilitators. And we can go ahead and start off with you, Kia.

Kia:
Awesome. Thank you so much, Fatima. I started out as a DEI facilitator back in grad school. I went to grad school for higher ed administration and there I did a grad assistantship within a diversity services office, which was a hybrid office between an LGBTQ center and a multiracial resource center. So there, I worked with students on doing peer facilitation training. So worked with them on safe zone trainings back then a lot of race and racism training. So that’s where I learned a lot about myself as a facilitator and facilitation of DEI topics. And it was a great kind of hybrid role of working with students and also working with faculty and staff. And then from there, I went on to work in higher ed for a few years and recently have made the switch to more of a corporate setting and did DEI work with a nonprofit for a little bit with tech companies and training them on DEI related topics with a racial equity lens. So that’s kind of how I got to this role and what I’m looking forward to bringing to you all while we go through this journey together, and I’ll kick it over to Victoria.

Victoria:
Thanks. So I have close to 15 years of experience in the diversity equity and inclusion or social justice education space. I have a master’s degree specifically in social justice ed and specifically focused on intergroup dialogue. So something I’ve been doing for a really long time in education with corporate clients nonprofit in my own consulting firm and then for others is doing a lot of what we’re doing right now. So facilitating, workshopping, consulting, coaching any topic. So I think about social identities in terms of like the big eight or the big 10 and retreats around these topics or workshops around these topics are something that I live for. So a program like this is something that I feel like I’ve been training for my whole life because it’s <laugh> I see Fatima giggling because it’s something so near and dear to my heart. To teach other people how to hold space is something that is a lifelong dream.

Victoria:
So I’m excited. All of you are excited. The other thing that I think is important, I have a degree, a PhD in human development. So I think about things not just from a psychology perspective, but more of our individual holistic development, our lifespan, where we’re at in different stages of our lives, as well as how does that connect to the work that we’re doing? My dissertation, this might be interesting for folks is on how social media impacts our racial identity development specifically for Gen Z and a little bit into Millennials. And I’m writing a book on a similar topic. So a lot of what we’re talking about, a lot of the things that you’re talking about, all are impacted by the way we understand ourself and how others understand us. I’m done talking Fatima

Fatima:
Love it. So I hope folks are as excited as I’m getting, like, I feel like I need to sign up for the program. <Laugh> even though I know what’s in the content, right. But Victoria, Dr. Victoria, you already started talking a bit about this. So I wanna ask this question to you first and then Kia, you can go next, based on your experience, how do you foresee this program specifically supporting people in their DEI related facilitation?

Victoria:
So I think this is a really great opportunity for folks who are either new or continuing their journey and even somebody who may be facilitating for a long time, because I think our approach is very specific. I think we very much value holistic facilitating, like bringing our whole selves to the table and using ourselves in our facilitation. I think this is definitely something for folks who are maybe not even facilitating like workshops, but even leading conversations or running any type of meeting, we’re all whole beings. Right. And we show up in all kinds of spaces and I’ll say for myself, I use facilitation skills in my personal life. So it’s very much not just relegated in my mind to the workplace or what have you. It is a skill. Facilitating is a skill that transcends just a formal setting to me. Kia.

Kia:
Yeah. Plus one what Victoria said. I definitely agree with a lot of her points and I think what I love about SGO, She+ Geeks, Out is embracing the awkward cuz I think that these conversations are heavy and can be uncomfortable at times. So embracing that awkwardness of it all and using Victoria’s point of like bridging the gap between work and like personal life and being able to embrace that awkward when you’re having these conversations with your friends or even at the dinner table with your family. I think that that’s the approach that I really enjoy about the curriculum so far that I’ve read and then gonna be facilitating for you all that it is embracing this awkward and being able to do that holistic vision for yourself. To be able to look within yourself, Within your own journeys as either facilitators or people participating in different DEI initiatives. So that’s what I think this program can do for folks. And it has already helped me so much. Working here is embracing the awkward in a virtual setting or an in person setting as well.

Fatima:
Beautiful Kia. And I, I, I believe that both you and Dr. Victoria already talked a bit about this, but one of the things, when, you know, when we talk about leading and facilitating, we talk about trust, right? And there are a few folks here today who are here, hopefully because you’re interested or you wanna learn more about the program. And so with full transparency, why should folks trust you to, to lead them in this type of work? Right. And, and feel free to talk a little bit about your approach and style if, if that supports you in answering a question. So Kia, if you wanna kick it off this time and then Dr. Victoria.

Kia:
I think trust is a powerful thing. So I think I, how I build trust in a facilitation standpoint is through community and storytelling. I love telling my own stories of mistakes I’ve made either in facilitation or having these conversations at work or personally. And I think that that helps people mirror language and be able to see, oh, the, I don’t claim myself to be an expert, but like sometimes the person leading the facilitation is seen as the expert, the expert in the room has made X, Y, and Z mistake. And they’re telling us their lived experience and their journey through that. And that’s how I do my best to build trust throughout a facilitation in a workshop. And that’s what I’m gonna bring to the table to you all is my own mistakes, my own mishaps, my own lived journey, cuz I’m learning every day and continue to learn.

Kia:
And I love learning from participants as well. So I want people to be able to bring that to the workshop as well as bringing their lived experiences, their journeys, and be able to tell us either their mishaps or Hey, I feel really uncomfortable saying X, Y, Z thing at work, but I have to lead a discussion on that. How do I do that? Have you had experience doing that and being able to learn from their peers? Cause I think that that’s also like the most powerful thing when it comes to having these conversations and learning from one another. Victoria, I’ll kick it back to you.

Victoria:
I love that. Something that you said, Kia, that makes me think a lot about my own approach is that vulnerability. So talking about the stories, the mistakes that Kia just said, but take it one step deeper. Like I have really good stories about times I have absolutely failed and I am not ashamed to talk about it because that’s how we grow and having that growth mindset. And I think as a facilitator, my method, my approach, how I build trust with people, not just in an education standpoint or a co-learning space, but in life is to be honest and open. Like I share my identities on purpose and I, I am who I am. I’m autistic. I will just tell you like what I, and just direct. Right? So I think that comes out in my facilitating as well. I’m not afraid to ask the hard questions I can read energy even virtually.

Victoria:
So something that I’m unafraid to do is like, Hey, I’m gonna pick on Erin cuz I see Erin, Hey Erin, I noticed like your body shifted a little bit. Like let’s talk about that. And like let’s probe a little bit deeper and I think that’s the beauty of facilitating and holding space in that container. I took notes for myself because I’m a weirdo. So I’m just gonna check and make sure I hit those points again. Kia said learning together. I, it is a co-learning space, right? Like we’re the container holders, but we go where the energy is. We have content to hit, but if we have gone down a road that’s really important. Okay. We can weave in, we can pivot. We can create the space that we want. And I think that’s a big part of trust is not just, I have to hit the check marks, but I’m giving myself and you are giving yourself to create the beautiful outcome.

Victoria:
Naming dynamics is really important for me. Like noticing if I’m taking too much airspace, like recognizing I walk into a room, I move into a room, I’m a white woman first and then everything else is secondary. And how does that show up in facilitating? I utilize that to empower other white folks to bring that up immediately and not shy away from that. So for me, that’s where the trust is, is just laying it out there. And I am who I am and I’m not for everybody. And that’s okay. But this co-facilitating, I think is something that is very special. And I think that this particular cohort would be really special. Fatima, did that answer your entire question?

Fatima:
I mean, I don’t do folks even wanna know what the program is about anymore. I think <laugh>, I think that our instructors and slash facilitators have done an amazing job, right. Because part of the program is not just about, you know, the next few slides that I’ll go through to share. Here’s all the things that you, we are gonna go over, but we wanna make sure that before we even get there that you feel like you’re gonna be held, supported, throughout the program. Right. And I promise y’all, I didn’t know they were gonna say all these things. And so I’m just like, this is amazing. And it just gives you a sense of the type of space that you would be in with both Kia and Dr. Victoria holding that space and participating in that facilitation space with you. All right. So we’ll hear some more from facilitators and also from our head of DEI.

Fatima:
But in the meantime, I wanted to take some time to just briefly go through a few points as it relates to the program. I know some of us are like, okay, why should we do this? What are some questions that you can answer for us? And so we’re gonna take the next few minutes or so to just quickly double click on some of what you’ve probably already seen in our newsletter, on the website or various places, depending on how you found out about today’s info session. So why this, right? Beyond what everyone has shared from Felicia to Dr. Victoria, to Kia, we know that facilitating DEI-related conversations is hard. <Laugh>, it’s difficult. A lot of us on the team have like a decade or more experience in facilitating conversations and it doesn’t get easy. Right? And so you’re probably interested in this because you’re like, Hey, I’m afraid.

Fatima:
And I, and I need some support or maybe you wanna support people on their DEI journey, but you’re trying to figure out what are some tools and skills that you need to do. So, but also DEI-related topics are complex. They’re challenging, they’re difficult. I mean, it’s a field that continues to change. And so even us introducing ourselves in the beginning with pronouns and doing land acknowledgement and sharing various parts of our identities, that is something that we didn’t even do probably five to six years ago. Right. And so in recognizing that you’re probably also figuring out how do I talk about this with my colleagues, or maybe you are in a more traditional or formal role in your leading DEI work at your workplace. And you’re like, okay, I know what I’m supposed to do, but I need some support in figuring out how do I facilitate various topics.

Fatima:
So that’s why this program is for you. Right. And in terms of who is this program for? We love to say everyone because we like being inclusive and we also wanna be intentional about the who. Right? And so this program is specifically designed for folks who are in various roles in their workplace, right? Whether you are a manager, someone leading the work you are in HR or you’re an individual contributor. So really thinking about the full hierarchy within the company, you don’t necessarily have to lead DEI work in order to, to facilitate conversations. I think Dr. Victoria alluded to this earlier, but the truth is even if you are in a team meeting as a colleague or as a manager, you’ll find that you might need some skills and support to have conversations. Felicia mentioned earlier that by 2020 we saw a lot of companies and organizations making that shift to be more intentional about not just DEI related topics, but also anti-racist efforts.

Fatima:
Right. And so if that’s what’s happening, how do you create this space for those conversations? How do you use the tools to make sure that you’re not just holding space for others, but you’re holding space for yourself and we’ll get to holding space soon in case you’re like, what is this phrase that they keep using? No worries. We’ll talk about it some more. And so what will you get participating in this program? It is awesome. And we’re not just saying that because we created it, but we’re also saying it because you really get the opportunity to be in a co-learning space with folks who are interested in learning the same things you’re interested in. Right. And so in many ways, your cohort is intimate. It’s a five week program. And so it starts June 28th, all the way up to mid-July. And you’re having an opportunity to meet once a week for two hours to talk about some of the topics that will go into further detail, right?

Fatima:
So there are four, two-hour live workshops via zoom. You’ll also have a bonus session where the fifth session is live coaching. So you got a chance to meet Kia and Dr. Victoria. And I can only imagine how amazing that session will be for you. But that session is really an opportunity to say, after we’ve gone over some concepts, some skills, we’ve done some practicing. Now let’s talk about the stuff that we probably didn’t talk about during the session, right? Maybe there’s some challenges that you foresee happening as you go back to the workplace and embody and implement some of the tools and frameworks we’ll be giving with you, right or giving to you. So getting that opportunity for an hour, just to have like no script, no PowerPoint, just a community to really support each other is what that one-hour live coaching is about.

Fatima:
Also you’ll get some resources and toolkits. And so you’ll, we’ll be using an awesome platform called Podia. If folks are familiar with it, hopefully that’s a good thing for you. If it’s, if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a platform where we’ll be sharing all of the recordings of each session, any resource, any reading that you might need. And you’ll also have an opportunity to interact with one another. So for each session, there is an option for you to interact, to ask questions and so forth. Also thinking about credits, right, for folks who are interested in SHRM credits, or this is something that can support you in your professional development, that’s something that you can get. And then also for those of us who are on LinkedIn participating, and just sort of working to engage with other folks who are part of this work, that’s another opportunity to share with other people that you’re working with to say, Hey, this is a program that I participated in and here are the, the things that I learned. So I wanna pause for Felicia. Is there anything else that you wanna add that I forgot about specifically, especially about the re-certification?

Felicia:
No, I think this is a pretty comprehensive overview, but for folks who are on the call right now, if there’s anything that you have questions about, feel free to throw it in the chat and we will have a chance to go back at the end and open it up to group discussion and group questions.

Fatima:
Beautiful as I unmute myself. Awesome. Thanks so much for that. And so we have a few, you know testimonials and people who’ve participated in this program that really appreciate it. Right? But this one really stands to us because one of the things that we try to achieve and accomplish is to get into the nitty grit, right? We’re not just talking about head space things and staying from the neck above. We’re also talking about everything else below the neck, right? And so we know that DEI related conversations are difficult. We know that we get nervous or we feel shame, or we feel guilt. A lot of things can happen when we’re facilitating the conversations or when we’re witnessing conversations happening. Right. And so this person who participated in our program talked about this and thinking about how do I talk about my experiences, my privileges, and power or lack thereof.

Fatima:
And then how do you break down complex topics in a way that supports you in not just your understanding, but you feel more confident having conversations about topics that people get their PhDs in, for example, right. Dr. Victoria shared. So we, we do our best to break it apart for you. And we also create an opportunity for you to practice some of the tools and tips that we give you throughout the program. So let’s talk about some outcomes. It’s a five week program. Our goal is by the end of that program, one, you feel really good about explaining what diversity equity and inclusion is. And we know that other words and acronyms exist, right? Belonging, justice, accessibility, and whatnot. And we’ll be sure to talk about that when you participate in the program and not just understanding what each of them mean, but also the similarities and differences and what that means for you as someone who is leading either formal or informal DEI related conversations, also taking a moment to recognize who are you, how do you show up?

Fatima:
So we model that today with our introductions, by sharing pieces of us that we feel comfortable sharing. Right? But also recognizing that even if we perceive ourselves differently, folks also perceive, perceive us based off of whatever their experience is. Right. And not just on a one to one basis, but we talk about systems, right? We talk about systems of oppression. We talk about privilege and power, how that shows up in the workplace. And then what’s your role based off of your social privilege and power, lack thereof, in facilitating and leading conversations. We didn’t talk about holding space. And when we say holding space, what we’re really saying is how can you as a person be aware of what’s happening internally, what’s showing up for you as you talk about these conversations. And you’ll have an opportunity during the program to talk about that, right? To really take a moment and reflect and say what questions or what responses trigger me when I hear them.

Fatima:
Right? Because it’s really important to know your triggers. If you are someone who is leading or facilitating conversations, some of us shut down. Sometimes we feel defensive. Sometimes we feel reactive. And so putting a plan in place to say, what do I need to support myself when those moments show up, but then also how do I hold space for others and what do they need? So we’ll talk a little bit more about what might show up in a virtual setting, right? I know Dr. Victoria talked about body language, for example, sometimes that doesn’t show up via video, but some of us who were in hybrid settings or in-person settings might be able to see that a bit more. So we, we really think about various situations and scenarios and give you an opportunity to think more about that. We’ll go over some tools and skills, like we mentioned earlier.

Fatima:
And then the last piece of this is that because DEI related work is difficult and challenging, especially for those of us who have marginalized identities, right? Because sometimes the burden of teaching is on folks with marginalized identities. We take our time to ask ourselves, how are we gonna hold ourselves accountable in a holistic way? So not just okay. Metrics and measuring, but also, how am I gonna take care of myself? Who are my allies? Who do I tap when I need support? What does self and communal care look for me, look like for me and so forth. So that’s our, our goal for you when you participate in the program, obviously there’s probably way more other outcomes that folks can imagine. But for us in five weeks, we know that this is possible with what we’ve created for you all. All right. So quick overview of what to expect. You all are probably familiar with some of the language here because it’s on our website, but now we’re gonna take a few minutes. Each of us are gonna talk a little bit more about each of the sessions the topics that we’ll go over and what to expect.

Felicia:
All right, I’m gonna start us off with the first session, which is really the introductory session. Level setting overview, going through everything that we’re going to be talking about for the rest of the program. So the first session is beyond just introductions and logistics, also designed to get people on the same page, as far as what even is DEI facilitation or facilitation in this space. So we’ll be talking a bit about what is your role as a facilitator? What does it mean to even be part of this conversation or to act in this way? We’ll talk specifically about what does it mean to facilitate, not just in general, but specifically around topics relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and more. And then we’ll also go through some competencies around things that we have learned ourselves and practice ourselves that serve us in our role as this function. And also some considerations to keep in mind as you’re going through and not just going through the program, but stepping into this kind of role in general. So we’ll be talking about things to keep in mind for yourself and also considerations that you can be bringing into future conversations as well. So that’s the first session, and then I will kick it over to Victoria to talk a little bit about the second session, which will be going deeper into some of these topics.

Victoria:
Yeah. So in session two, thanks Felicia. We’re gonna talk more about DEI related conversations. We’re gonna dive right in, right? Because in order for us to lead effective conversations around DEI topics, it’s really important for us as individuals to understand where we hold power and privilege, where we don’t, and the ways in which we want to and need to leverage one or both of those, especially in the workplace. So we’ll be going over key terminology concepts, we’ll begin building our facilitation muscle through a couple of different practice scenarios. The topics are going to include those, defining those key terminology, talking through those, asking questions, getting on the same page and level, talking about how do you leverage power and privilege at work. And then those discussions around the scenarios, which I find really important, because then you put yourself in the situation, you talk through it, you get to explore it a little bit more, get your hands on it, mold it, look at it from different perspectives. So Fatima, you wanna talk about session three?

Fatima:
I sure do. Cuz it’s probably my favorite session. I mean, I think all the sessions are great, but session three is sometimes we find that a lot of folks in the DEI space, don’t always talk about it, right? So when you’re in the DEI space, sometimes it’s just about metrics. What are the things that we need to put in place? How do we make sure that recruiting makes sense? And we’re looking for folks of different backgrounds and all of that is helpful, but if we aren’t really moving to this space of understanding like who we are and how we show up, it can be hard to lead this conversation, right? So we know that the key to effective facilitation is being able to know yourself and your audience. When you are aware of the DEI-related topics that you’re sensitive about and why, when you can understand how you can better support yourself during challenging moment, or how you can support others who are impacted by unintentional or intentional and harmful statements or behaviors, then you are in that position to hold space for that person.

Fatima:
And really learning how to decenter yourself in that moment to Dr. Victoria’s point privilege and power can show up differently when you’re holding space. Right? So we even talk about, you know, who’s the person to hold space. For example, if we’re co-facilitating about race, for example, right? So we run a program where we talk about sometimes as a Black woman example, for example, I feel comfortable talking about various things, but I also know that it’s going to land differently for folks if they hear for me. And so what does it look like to tap Felicia or to tap Dr. Victoria and think about how they can portray themselves and more importantly, portray a message that we might be saying the same thing, but it just lands differently. Right? But also when we talk about holding space, we’re thinking about physical, emotional, and psychological safety. So we give you all an opportunity to not just define what that means in like theory, but what’s your role in creating a physical, emotional, and psychological safe space?

Fatima:
How do you support yourself and others? And really coming up with an action plan to say, here’s what this looks like. But to Dr. Victoria’s point, you’ll have an opportunity to do some scenarios and even some role playing to say, Hey, if this situation was to happen, right, how would you hold space for this person since we’ve gone through already the foundations of DEI privilege and power, and then we’ll leave you with some frameworks and methods. So there are a lot of different schools of thoughts in terms of how to call in or call out, for example, or even what are some activities, questions, and various, you know, methods that you can use to help people understand where you’re coming from or to push people a bit further, if they need some pushing or challenge we’ll, we’ll share those methods with you so that you feel more confident in getting into conversations with folks that you might need that support with Kia. Do you wanna talk about our next part of the program?

Kia:
Yeah. So session four, our kind of last session before the live coaching is practicing accountability in a holistic manner. So what I love about this program is, and SGO in general is how holistic we are. So not only thinking about community care and the communal care, but thinking about self care when it comes to leading these discussions, because they aren’t the always the easiest to lead. They aren’t always the most comfortable, especially if you’re learning as you’re going, which we hope you all will as Victoria and I will, with you all. And it might be get hard and it’s important to build a structure for yourself. And for those who are participating in your programs, discussions, dialogues, to be able to see that you are gonna hold folks accountable and continue to push for self and communal care. So we’ll do that by talking about being accountable.

Kia:
So who are you accountable to maybe as a facilitator or as a participant in these conversations, self and communal care structures. So what does that look like to be able to hold that space and hold that for others? And then finally through action and commitment planning. So you’ll be doing that work for yourself and thinking about who you can lean on in your organization, or even beyond. One kind of tip I always give people who are leading these conversations is having a community outside of the DEI space who can hold you when you’re feeling off or maybe a workshop or conversation, doesn’t go as well as it could have, or you wanna reflect back on some things that are being said or topics- we’re again, doing that own self learning journey as well. So we will be doing that in this space. And I’m really excited. I think this one might be my favorite. Cause I think accountability is really important, not only for yourself, but to your participants. Cause we want to build that trust and I’ll kick it back over to you. Fatima.

Fatima:
I love that. That’s your favorite <laugh> I’m glad you went over that. Right. And so with the accountability piece, you would’ve already worked with folks for about a month now, right? And our hope is that by that point you have also found a community that even when the program ends, you’ll have an opportunity to continue to connect and create accountability partners. Sometimes we talk about that and we’ve seen how that’s been supported for folks who’ve participated in a program like this. And so this last piece is probably our favorite and hopefully it’s your favorite as well. In the coaching space, sometimes people call it like the hot seat style where it’s like, Hey, we have nothing up. We’re just giving you all an opportunity to ask us any questions that, that you have. And it really just depends on how you want to make use of that time.

Fatima:
And I really urge for folks who are interested in joining or in planning to participate in this program to take advantage of this because you’ll have an opportunity to not just share whatever challenges or issues you’d like both Dr. Victoria and Kia to work with you on, but you’ll also get to hear from your colleagues that you’ve been working with for the past month to see what, what else is showing up for them. And maybe it wasn’t a challenge that you thought of before, but now after hearing from folks, you’re now like, okay, if this were to happen, you have that right. You have that knowledge and you have the tips that you can use to implement in your own day to day. In addition to the live group coaching, once you’re done with session five, we will be sharing an awesome guide with you that you can take with you at the end of the program that has various scripts and ways that you can respond if and when challenging moments occur.

Fatima:
So while we’ll be sharing a lot of those tips in the program, we also know what it feels like to complete a program and feel like, Hey, am I ready? <Laugh> can I get that like one pager or guide that I can just have up just in case anything happens. And Dr. Victoria and Kia are doing an awesome job to make sure that that guide will be ready for you by the end of the program. All right. Y’all so that completes us talking to you. We wanna definitely hear from folks. So if you have questions we wanna pause. You can either raise your hand and unmute yourself, or if you feel called to, you can share in the chat, but I’m gonna go ahead and stop sharing the screen. So folks can, can ask your questions.

Felicia:
All right. It looks like Allison, you got your hand raised. Feel free to go ahead.

Allison:
Awesome. thanks. You all for coming up with this, this, I mean, it sounds incredible. So I’m like really stoked about it. <Laugh> one of the questions that I have and I feel like, I feel like you’ve already sort of addressed, but I think like would be helpful for me to get a better sense is what level of like, practice are we gonna be able to have within the sessions? Cause I feel like that’s something that like, can be challenging both as like you know, a role playing situation, figuring that out versus I, I don’t know. It just, what I guess I’m trying to figure out what’s the practice that will be available because I definitely like love hearing and learning, but I think the practice is so critical. So that’s what I’m sort of thinking and wondering about.

Fatima:
Awesome. I love how we look at each other, cuz I’m looking at Felicia, cuz we’ve both done this program together, but I’m happy to jump in and Felicia feel free to jump in as well as well as Dr. Victoria and Kia. Good to see you, Allison. Thanks for being here.

Allison:
You Too.

Fatima:
<Laugh> so what we often say is for each session, we try to give you all intimate space to either practice scenarios and do role playing or have some intentional conversations about the topics we want you to understand. So for example, with the foundations of DEI session one, you’ll have an opportunity to reflect on your identities and be honest about where you are in your facilitation. So we start off having, you know, some breakout rooms to talk about your fears and superpowers as we call them, right? So that’s an opportunity for you to not just meet folks, but to do some, some small group reflection. In session two, we talk about privilege and power. And so there’s an opportunity for you to ask yourselves, like you probably already know the answer to all of this, but not just the big eight or 10 identities, but what areas in your life, especially as you think about the workplace setting, are you thinking about when it comes to provision power?

Fatima:
Right? So there’s some breakout rooms there to talk about that, but then there’s about two plus two or three scenarios where it’s like, okay, now that we have some tips and tools on how to leverage power, how are you gonna respond if or when this issue was to come up? So you have practice there and then session three is an opportunity for you to practice how to hold space. So we always try to give the theory, give the medicine and then have you go ahead and practice, right? And so in session three, you’ll get an opportunity to do some coaching as if you were, you know, facilitating and say, Hey, we’re in this space together. How will we respond? And then Felicia, if there’s anything else you wanna add for the group coaching and the general program at all, go for it.

Felicia:
Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, we’re trying to strike a balance between how much we can do during the sessions and then also giving folks who will be going through the program opportunities to practice in between the sessions as well. So there will be some opportunity there. I don’t like calling it homework cuz it makes it sound like we’re, you know, your, your mean teacher from first grade or something like that. But there will be a lot of resources and opportunities that we provide to give you that chance to practice both with the learning community cohort, as well as taking things back to your personal life or back to your organization to try out and practice some of what we’ll be offering to you. So hopefully that helps answer Allison. Anything else around that question that we didn’t answer for you or is that good? Great. Awesome. So I saw Erin’s hand up next and then there’s also some chat questions. So let’s go to Erin next and then we’ll address the chat.

Erin:
Thank you Allison, for that question. It was one I also had. And you talked about community and using Podia as a platform for tools reporting and engagement. What resources, if any, whether it be for community afterwards after the, this ends, will we be able to stay in touch with one another? Does this become a small cohort? Does this become a small cohort? That’s part of a bigger cohort later, like as more people take, just kinda wanna get some of the details on that.

Felicia:
Yeah, that is a great question, Erin. I’m so glad you asked because <laugh> not to be too holistic about it as we’ve talked, talked about already, but the idea behind us launching this initial program was to really address exactly that exactly what your question touches on, which is we’re really trying to figure out how can we support greater community beyond just a one off. And so some of you on the call may be familiar with our DEI meetup program that we had in years past. And that’s quite honestly something that we’ve been rethinking around. What does it look like to try and bring together folks, individuals, practitioners, what have you, who are in the space, especially in not just a virtual world, but a hybrid world because we’re in this very quickly changing world that who knows what’s gonna happen tomorrow at this point.

Felicia:
And so what we’re really thinking of is that this particular program is going to serve as the kickoff to what greater community could look like. So in the fall we will be launching some additional programming that is also open to the public and that is going to be specifically around the topic of allyship. And what I’m particularly excited about is that and I don’t think I, I personally have not seen this practiced in such a way that much, but the way that we’re going to be offering allyship programming this fall is going to be by identities. And so there will be a a cohort specifically for folks who identify as BIPOC and then another cohort specifically for people who are white. And so that’s something that we’re really excited about. It’s getting built right now as we speak. And we’re almost finished with that.

Felicia:
That will be another opportunity coming up very quickly in the fall. And then the next big thing, which I’m also really excited about is we’re going to be launching a coaching program in early 2023. And so along with all that, we’re also rethinking what does it mean to just come together for more casual ad hoc community? So all that to be said is that community is something we’re thinking about long term. We really want you all. If you participate in this program to feel like you’re not just going through something that is a five week experience and then it’s a one and done, but that it’s the start of a deeper relationship with us. And I know that there’s a bunch of people here who have engaged with us in different ways. And so I think, you know, that that’s really the SGO way. We’re all about long term relationship building and that’s the approach that we’re taking for community as well.

Erin:
Can I ask a follow on to that?

Felicia:
Yes, absolutely.

Erin:
You, based on some of what you just shared, did you expect that this leading DEI conversations thing would be something that was offered ongoing? Cause you mentioned other programs as well. So I didn’t know if you’re transitioning into other programs and not having another cohort of this or

Felicia:
We would definitely like to do this more than just once. And so I think what we’ll be doing is, you know, in all transparency, this will be the first time that we’re doing it publicly. So I imagine that what will happen is once we go through this first cohort, we’ll take the learnings and your feedback and do make sure that we iterate again for another cohort to come through after.

Erin:
Great, thank you. And then final question and I will cede the floor <laugh> and maybe not a maybe not a question necessarily for now, but just as you think about growing the program in particular maintaining confidentiality in a safe space so that I can share like really what’s happening very specifically in my role at my job and not feel like that’s putting me at risk in any particular way so I can get the most out of it. And just knowing that that’s gonna stay with where it is

Felicia:
Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for raising that too.

Fatima:
Yeah, we, we do, and I know good to see Erin and Erin is familiar with some of our workshops, but one of the things for folks who haven’t participated in our workshops we do try to set the stage around guidelines. And the beautiful thing about this is because it’s a program, we have more time to talk about some of those guidelines, right? And what does it look like to build community? And I know that sometimes there are multiple people that might join, excuse me, multiple people from a company that might join the program. And so it’s really important to be clear about that. And so even when we do breakout rooms and we’re trying to be intentional during the program, we send you out before the program, we send out our pre-workshop survey, right? And so if you have any questions or concerns before the program starts, that’s an opportunity for us to know as facilitators so that we can go ahead and adjust and structure the program in a way that’s supportive to you.

Fatima:
And then the other question you had we just checked in with our marketing manager around the being able to stay on Podia and like, what does that look like? We will leave be able to leave folks on Podia after the program. So you’ll, you’ll still have access to the recordings resources, at least anywhere from two to three months. And so if you continued to want to have those conversations, you can through Podia, but we also invite folks to share info, right? So at the end if folks are comfortable with a list with their names and or their LinkedIn profiles or whatever way they’d like to be communicated, that’s something that SGO can do for you if you participate in this program.

Felicia:
Great. I did see, there was a question that came in the chat earlier around the cost for the program. The cost is a flat rate of $2,000. And if there are any concerns or financial logistics that would prevent you from signing up, we encourage you to reach out to us to let us know because we definitely wanna make sure that we can support folks who might not be able to accommodate that cost on a personal level. We’re also happy to share any language around the program. If it’s something that you’re looking to incorporate in a professional development budget stipend, for example. So feel free to reach out to us on any in all of those notes. And I’m also gonna put in the chat a link to the signup page, which has a lot of this information there as well. In case you need that for future reference.

Fatima:
Perfect. Any other questions? We know we got questions via event, right? But for folks who were here today, we wanna make sure that we’re addressing any questions before answering some of the other questions we haven’t gotten to. All right. So if not, I know we had a question about can you still participate in this program if you just have facilitation experience? But you don’t have DEI related experience and yes, this program is for you. If that, if you’re on the call and you’re wondering the same thing, what we often say is, and I think Dr. Victoria alluded to this as well, but we say that this content in this program is specifically for folks who are trying to understand DEI related topics. Right? And so even with this cohort, we often think about this program as like a very foundational level one. And if we find that there is a need for folks to keep, you know, evolving and wanting to know more topics, that’s where you all come in, where we can continue adding levels to a topic like this. So if you have facilitation experience, that’s totally fine. You can definitely participate in this program.


Fatima:
We also had a question about folks who are thinking about how can they translate or bring this information back within your organization. So that’s really where session four comes into play, where we talk about accountability. So if you are an individual and you’re, you’re the only one that’s going to be participating on behalf of your company, our goal is to work with you to come up with an action plan and you’ll have an opportunity to work with folks who you’ve been working with for the past four weeks. Right? So our questions to you would be, be something like, how, how do you plan on being accountable? Who are stakeholders? Who do you need to communicate with? Right. And what does that look like step by step also, what does self-care look like for you and what does communal care look like for you? We also share resources. And so you’ll have a lot of resources that you can take with you and also revisit and share with your team if that’s something that you’re interested in.

Fatima:
And then I think we, I had another role, another question about HR. So does the content take into account the unique elements involved when conducting these conversations while in HR role and Felicia, I’m gonna pass this off to you first before I share, cuz I think it’s important to get the, the understanding of like what it is that we are expecting from folks in this program. And, and maybe we won’t be able to provide all of the support as it relates to your specific role in the company. But I think it’s important to highlight those, those two things. So Felicia, if you wanna take it.

Felicia:
Yeah, absolutely. So the way the program is designed right now, it is deliberately designed to be pretty broad as far as what your role could be coming into this program partially that’s because this is the first time we’re rolling this out on a public facing platform. And so we don’t want it to be too narrow because we wanted to also make sure that we get enough people signing up and participating. And then also partially because we didn’t know what the demand would be from any one given role. So what I would say is that I wouldn’t let the, the broadness of that sway you from signing up. However you, I would encourage you to bring any particular concerns, challenges, considerations into the program. If you do decide to sign up and participate because part of this, and I think this speaks to some of the questions we heard earlier is that we’re also designing this to create a cohort community for you all.

Felicia:
And so where we might not be giving you specific education around how someone in an HR role could be doing this versus someone who is an employee resource group leader, for example, versus someone who’s just an individual contributor. There may be others who will be going through this cohort who can speak to their experiences or offer other best practices or lessons learned, things like that. So right now broad. In the future, we may make it more narrow, depending again, on your feedback, how it goes, what kind of demand we see. But again, if there’s things that you are specifically looking for, definitely let us know because there’s also room perhaps to build in or at least address certain things. If we know in advance well enough, I’ll pass back over to you, Fatima.

Fatima:
Yeah. Thank you so much for that answer, cuz I think it is super helpful. So folks are needing to look at this video later that that’s super helpful. And, and another piece I’ll add to that is really take a moment and reflect on what it is that you are wanting to do with this program. Right? And so one of the things we all often say is be intentional about what’s possible, but also with any program or any content, you know, not every single thing will apply to you, right? And so we often say take what works and leave what doesn’t. So if you know your role and what’s possible for you in an HR role, take some of the skills and tools that you can use to facilitate conversations in addition to whatever your procedures and processes are and, and sort of mesh that together. Oh, that question was answered so in case folks are listening to this recording, the session starts June 28th, and we’re gonna close the doors either before June 17th or whenever we reach capacity. So there are limited spots because we wanna be intentional in holding space for folks, making sure that we’re supporting you through each session and we wanna make sure that we’re not going over a certain number. And so if you have questions about that, let us know. Oh, Jasjot yay. <Laugh> go for it. I see your hand.

Jasjot:
Thanks for having the session. My question regarding the format is mostly like I know that you said that they’re using a different platform, but is it like, is the breakout rooms and everything via zoom or is it on a completely different platform? Cause I’m concerned more about just like background and you know, like the ability to have a virtual background or blur my background and not every like format supports that. And so it would also be like, where am I gonna be sitting and all of that planning.

Fatima:
Yes, always good to see you, Jasjot. And I, I appreciate your question. So Podia will be sort of like the platform where we host all of the things. So if people just wanna find one location, you’re like, where is that reading? Where’s that recording? That’s where you’ll find everything. And it’s an opportunity for you to communicate in between sessions, all workshops, all live workshops will happen via zoom. So we’ll upload all of the links via Podia. You’ll get a calendar invite. We’ll take care of you, but yes, I feel you. I hear you <laugh> we’re not, we will not be using any other platform besides zoom to do the live sessions. Thank you. Yes. Think of Podia as your hub, but live sessions on zoom. Absolutely. Awesome. All right. We have about a minute. Any burning last minute questions or thoughts?

Felicia:
Last question I saw on chat was will the sessions be held in the evening? No, they’re actually gonna be held during the day. And so the timing is also on that website, but I believe it’s midday Eastern time. So we’re trying to accommodate for multiple time zones as well. So definitely check that out. As far as dates and times, if you’re interested in thinking about wellness work with your schedule and yes, bet, thanks for sharing chat 12 to two Eastern time for those, those four to five week sessions. So

Fatima:
Yeah, and if you’re calling in from cuz we do have a facilitator that will be with you in the morning. So if you’re like I’m on the other side and it’s gonna be, you know, 9:00 AM, there will be some someone else in the space that will be in the same time zone with you.

Felicia:
All right. I think we did it for folks who are still on. If there’s other questions, definitely feel free to reach out to us. If anything else comes to mind, we’re here to help answer all of your burning questions.


The Leading DEI Conversations program is designed to help you develop and practice facilitation skills and frameworks you can apply in the workplace. The program will help you learn how to discuss topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion, how to reflect on and leverage power and privilege, how you can hold space for yourself and others during difficult moments and most importantly, how you can exercise accountability through a holistic lens of self and communal care.REGISTER TODAY