In this episode, originally recorded as a LinkedIn Live, Dr. Kevin England joins Jennifer for a conversation about JBC’s DEI Foundations Program. Kevin provides an overview as well as some of the benefits of the program. Discover the structure of the DEI Foundations program and why our personal story matters. To learn more or to join the waitlist for the program, visit: https://dei1.jbconlinelearning.com/.
Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:
JENNIFER BROWN: Ready to take the next step on your inclusive leader journey? Hi, Will to Change listeners, I want to let you know that our next cohort for the DEI Foundations program is launching on February 14th. And I want to tell you a little bit about how we designed it and why we designed this program in the way that we did, and encourage you to join our wait list so that you can get information on the upcoming launch of the next cohort. So I’ll give you that in a second, but first, I wanted to describe the program. So it is a six-week foundation’s online course, and really, it’s mainly online, but there are also opportunities to interact live with your fellow students and also with our amazing faculty, which is populated by our senior consultants. And you’re going to hear from the main faculty member on the program on today’s episode of The Will to Change, Kevin England.
So, Kevin will be the main facilitator and teacher for the program, launching on February 14th. You can get a feeling for his approach and his background, and get excited to work with him and learn from him. And so, in the course, it will be about meeting the challenges of the changing world of work and beginning to dismantle the systems of inequity that have permeated society, communities, and workplaces for far too long. You’ll understand what it means to be an inclusive leader, how unconscious biases impact your interactions with others. And you’ll leave the course being more confident in speaking about the value of DEI in a way that engages others around you. And as I said, you’ll have opportunities to learn from subject matter experts and peers, and uncover the power of your own diversity story so that you can talk about DEI in a way that connects.
So, if all of this sounds like exactly what you need in the new year, please visit jenniferbrownconsulting.com and look for the tab called Courses, go to DEI Foundations, and there is a wait list link there that you can put your information into. And ultimately, when and if you decide to register which we hope you do, you can use the coupon code PODCAST for 20% off. So that’s PODCAST for 20% off. So make a note of that. And as you get information about the program, you can get that discount. And I really, really hope you’ll consider joining us as it lays a wonderful foundation for the beginning years of your journey towards, hopefully, becoming a DEI practitioner and leader and advocate in our space.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I always like to emphasize that everybody has their own diversity story. Part of our level one content includes agenda describing, the process of identifying your story. A constant thing that we find in this is, some practitioners are saying that, “I don’t feel like I really have a story. I don’t feel like I have had enough struggle to have a seat at this particular table.” And it happens every single time. I think it’s really important to note that having a diversity story doesn’t mean that you have had to have sort of suffered or really been discriminated against or anything like that. A diversity story is just coming to understand who you are and why that matters and how that matters
DOUG FORESTA: The Will to Change is hosted by Jennifer Brown. Jennifer is an award-winning entrepreneur, dynamic speaker, bestselling author, and leadership expert on how organizations must evolve their cultures towards a new, more inclusive workplace reality. She’s a passionate inclusion and equity advocate, committed to helping leaders foster healthier and therefore productive workplaces, ultimately driving innovation and business results. Informed by nearly two decades of consulting to Fortune 500 companies, she and her team advised top companies on building cultures of belonging in times of great upheaval and uncertainty. And now, onto the episode.
Hello and welcome back to The Will to Change. This is Doug Foresta. Today’s episode was originally recorded as a LinkedIn Live and features a conversation between Dr. Kevin England and Jennifer Brown, as they discuss JBC’s DEI Foundations program. Kevin is an educator, researcher, and subject matter expert in human resource management and diversity, equity and inclusion. His career includes internal human resource management roles, external consulting, teaching at the college level and higher education administration. He is also a principal consultant at Jennifer Brown Consulting and a instructor for the DEI Foundations program. You’ll hear an overview of the program, what kinds of backgrounds the participants come from and what they hope to get out of the program. You’ll also hear a discussion about the nature of privilege and why it may not mean what you think it means, as well as the importance of owning our own story, all this and more. And now, onto the episode.
JENNIFER BROWN: Kevin, don’t make us jealous, but tell us where you’re beaming it from.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Yeah.
JENNIFER BROWN: I want to live vicariously.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I’m joining from Florence, Italy. I’m very fortunate to get to spend most of the summer here, practicing my Italian language and just working in the afternoon and evening here.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes, and taking the required nap in the early afternoon.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I’m pretty sure it’s a federal law here that after lunch, you have to take a nap, and then get back up and get to work. Yeah.
JENNIFER BROWN: Anyway, I just love that. Thank you for letting us imagine that lovely life. Well, I’m coming in, everybody, from New York City which is where I live. Some of you who know me may know that. But we’re here to talk about our upcoming DEI Foundations program, which is our online six-week level one course. And that’s what we’re going to be doing a deep dive into with Kevin who’s our primary faculty for the program, thank you very much, Kevin, and also a senior consultant for Jennifer Brown Consulting, and a very dear and old friend of mine from our very, very early days, our baby days as DEI practitioners, and your sort of infancy as an ERG leader at the bank, which we’ll get to in a moment. And then we’ve sort of grown together in this work and we’ve been in it for a while.
But there’s just so many, I think, exciting developments over the last year, difficult and amazing and transformational and all of the things that the ways that the field has really come to the fore, and which is the reason why I think this program is so more important than ever. And we’ll get into that too. Why don’t you introduce yourself, Kevin? And then we can kick off and start to talk about why we created the program and get into some more fundamentals.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Yeah, of course. So my name is Kevin England. My pronouns are he, him, and his. And as Jennifer said, we’ve been working together for many years now. I feel so old when you frame it that way, Jennifer.
JENNIFER BROWN: I feel old in the work.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Well, I started working in diversity, equity, and inclusion when I was working for one of the big global banks in Charlotte, North Carolina and in New York City in the US. I wasn’t working in a DEI role, not even an HR role at the time, but I was volunteering with one of the bank’s employee resource groups. I spent some time volunteering, going to events and then trying to help coordinate events and then taking a leadership role and then becoming the global chair. I used to describe myself as the chief gay officer at the bank, but they would never let me put that on my business card. But it was a really transformational experience, I love that word, Jen, that you use, because it gave me an idea of how we can leverage diversity, equity, and inclusion to help our workplaces be better.
So based on that experience, I transitioned into a full-time HR role and worked in a lot of different HR capacities, ultimately in a diversity manager role. So I spent, oh, I think three years working in that role, and then finished my PhD in human capital management. I call it HR with dollar signs. It’s how do we quantify the value of all the HR stuff that we do in organizations. So I left the bank and started working with Jennifer and team, helping organizations with their diversity, equity and inclusion programs, and started teaching part-time as an adjunct faculty member at a couple different schools. Now I’m a full-time professor, teaching human resources at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and working as a principal consultant with Jen and company. A lot of what I do with JBC is this diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner program, so I’m really excited to tell you what I love about it and where we’re taking the program next.
JENNIFER BROWN: I wanted to back up Kevin and share why I wanted to make sure that JBC as part of the way we support practitioner development is that we had these online programs. And originally, we bit off a lot more than we could chew. I think it had a 16-week sort of wave the wand and become a practitioner program. And it was just so much content and so intense. I think, we live in a bite size world, where microlearning is appreciated and more, I think, possible and sustainable for our lives.
And so, we ended up taking the 16-weeks and breaking it down into chunks. The first chunk that we released then was the DEI Foundations program, which we think of as level one. And it was so intuitive actually, looking back, that we separated this process out because where we start with our work in this work is so important, starting in the right place, which is the deep dive into self-reflection, which is the look at our own history with diversity, equity, inclusion, unpacking our story or as we talk about the iceberg, what’s under our water line that we have felt stigmatized or marginalized around, or experienced exclusion through, either self-imposed or externally imposed. I think that that is fundamental-
JENNIFER BROWN: And I think that that is fundamental to our skillset, is our self understanding. And we’ve got to be really grounded in that because this work can kind of blow you sideways if you’re not careful, because it’s hard. We’re going to be challenged, not just on our technical skills, but also we’re challenged personally in these roles because we’re literally, oftentimes in organizations, we’re not only on the front lines of leading the change for others, but we’re also in this line of fire in terms of unconscious bias and judgements and stereotypes, which is what we’re teaching about, about us.
And I know, Kevin, you and I are from the LGBTQ+ community, so I know you’ve had a ton of experience navigating your personal identity and then your identity as a practitioner that’s responsible for leading an effort in the organizational context, which is more going to be what levels 2 and 3 are about. But let me pause. That’s a little bit of context for why we think this starting place is so important. What would you add or elaborate on in terms of what I’ve said?
KEVIN ENGLAND: I’ve never thought about it in these terms, but what you just said is sort of sparked a thought for me. It’s a bit like being a lifeguard and you’re swimming out into rocky waters and trying to help someone else stay afloat, but you still got to swim yourself. So that practitioner-
JENNIFER BROWN: I love that metaphor. That’s awesome.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Got to write that down. That’s good.
JENNIFER BROWN: That’s good, that’s good. Keeper.
KEVIN ENGLAND: No, I mean, it’s tricky, because you have to be able to navigate your own journey while helping others with theirs. And we’re never at a point where we figured everything out for ourselves and now we can go teach it to others. We’re still finding the same struggle ourselves. Absolutely.
JENNIFER BROWN: We always are.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Actually, when you talk about separating the 16-week program, I like that this is, to use your phrase, bite-sized, because it’s less of an initial commitment upfront. It gives you the opportunity, let me dive in and see how this relates to me, what I think about it, how I feel going through it. And maybe you take the level one and you’re really excited to jump right into level 2. I’ve had many participants who want to know as soon as level 1 is over, when are we continuing? Others, maybe you want to take a little bit more time to sit with it, and let’s kind of work through some of the things that we’ve been discussing, figure out where your career path is going, and find right time for you to jump into level 2. So it’s nice that there’s a little bit of a flexibility there.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. Do you have students that are doing DNI already, right in the organizational context and as consultants and also people who want to but are just getting their feet under them from a skill-set perspective?
KEVIN ENGLAND: I do. And one of the things that’s really exciting for me about the structure of this program, the people that come into it, there’s a great, diverse mix of people in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program. We see some folks who are leaders in the DEI space and their organizations today, and they’ve worked in that space for many, many years. Others are in an HR capacity and maybe they’re moving into DEI or maybe they know that’s a career path they’re interested in and they’re looking to sort of translate their existing experience in organizations.
But we’ve had some student who are brand new to the workforce, just coming out of their formal education and they have a passion for this work, they’ve been involved with student organizations around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and they know this is where it’s at for them. And so sometimes we have people who are using this level 1 course as a kickoff to start steering their career path from day one.
So it’s nice because you get a mix of different experiences. This course, even though it’s online and it’s asynchronous, meaning you can take it any time during the week, you don’t have to be at any particular scheduled event, there’s still interaction through discussion boards and so on. So you can see other people’s stories, you can chat about your experiences, you can ask questions from one another. I describe it as learning with and through each other, which I think is just a really good aspect of the program.
JENNIFER BROWN: I love that. I it’s one of my favorite things about doing this work, is learning with and through others. And with permission, of course, being changed by other people’s personal diversity stories. And carrying that with us is literally part of, I think, our currency as practitioners. To have in mind all the different examples of why people come to the work, how they identify, what does identity mean? All the sort of visible and invisible, mostly invisible, parts of who we are. You all may or may not be familiar with JBC’s work, but we have a very broad and holistic discussion about diversity dimensions, and I’m constantly sort of adding new ones that are not seen and heard and not valued and carry shame and stigma and struggle, whether that’s perceived or real, doesn’t matter, perception is reality, in the workplace. Things like mental health.
So as we are sort of encouraging practitioners, I believe, Kevin, we’re literally creating kind of a new language to be more inclusive of an incredibly diverse workforce. That’s always been true, but younger people coming in want to be seen and heard in this workforce in a different way, I think, than, Kevin, you and I ever could imagine. Isn’t that true? Our generation was a little hopeless.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I teach university students today as well, so I’ll tell you, the newest generation entering the workforce, I’m constantly amazed at how bold and brave and simultaneously vulnerable everyone’s willing to be. I shouldn’t say everyone, but how many people are willing to be. But the other thing that I was reflecting on is, Jen, as you’re talking about the experience of going through and understanding your own struggles is that I always like to emphasize that everybody has their own diversity story. Part of our level 1 content includes, Jen, describing the process of identifying your story. Stories. It’s not just one story, right? We all have the different aspects that we can think about. But it’s a constant thing that we find in this, is some practitioners are saying that, “I don’t feel like I really have a story. I don’t feel like I have had enough struggle to have a seat at this particular table.”
It happens every single time. And I think it’s really important to note that having a diversity story doesn’t mean that you have had to have suffered or really been discriminated against or anything like that. A diversity story is just coming to understand who you are and why that matters and how that may matters. So we have lots of interesting discussions in our group. A great aspect of the program is we have a 1 hour a week live discussion group with the participants of just that cohort. So just you and the people who are in the program with you at that time. And I describe it as one part education, one part entertainment, and one part therapy, because we get into some really great conversations about what people have experienced and how they feel about it and where they feel their place is in this conversation. So it gets really, really fantastic. A great way to build relationships with other practitioners and build that community.
JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you for raising that, because it is a tough topic that I asked about a lot, which is, can everybody do this work? Is everybody entitled to do this work? And what you’re raising is something that Kenji Yoshino, one of our favorite people to quote, calls the pain Olympics or the oppression Olympics.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Yeah.
JENNIFER BROWN: And Kenji says, “Let’s not play the pain Olympics. It is fruitless and frustrating.” But I love it. It resonates so much, because I think if I had, and you too, Kevin, if we had sort of come into this work and said, “Well, wait a second, I’m not allowed to do this work because I have too much of this, or I have too much of that, or this is how I identify, but this isn’t how I identify.” We wouldn’t be making that we are to people. And I think that this work needs to be performed by a lot of different messengers. I have really come to believe that.
And unfortunately, or fortunately, people sometimes need to hear something from someone that comes in a certain package or perhaps somebody they’re more familiar with or somebody that they assign automatic, perhaps, unearned, trust to. And as we come to understand these dynamics, these are real dynamics. Whether we agree or disagree, let’s sort of put the agree-disagree binary to the side. And just, I know, Kevin, you agree with me, we need to meet the learner where they’re at. And learner, I mean our stakeholders. The people we’re trying to bring along and engage and, and invite into this work. And I think we would agree that it’s tricky. It continues to be difficult.
The last year has invited a lot of people into this work, perhaps even strong-armed a lot of people into this work. And I’m grateful for that, but we still have a ton of work to do to reach the people that I know really want to reach to sort of awaken empathy, to awaken understanding, to awaken curiosity about, Kevin, what your life is like, what my life is like, the ways that intersectionality is experienced, the way that we cover constantly in the workplace so many identities. I think that we are very interested at JBC in having an inclusive lens on all the potential practitioners, because I know I don’t need to say this, but the work is massive. I mean, there is so much to be done and I believe there’s a spot for every-
JENNIFER BROWN: So much to be done, and I believe there’s a spot for everybody and there’s a person for every spot and there are more spots and more people coming into this field. So this is just really exciting, but I want everybody to know, that’s our philosophy is we’re fundamentally very inclusive here and all you diversity dimensions are important and we’re all a combination of both. These days, I’ve been describing myself as combinations of marginalized and privileged identities and equally talking about both of those openly, which is very revolutionary, I’m finding, because normally we assume privileged to be white and male, and that’s where it’s stops.
Then we push out a bunch of people and say, “Well, you’re bad. You don’t have any place in talking about this,” but everybody else is good. It’s not that simple. It is really not that simple. It’s never been that simple. In fact, I think all of us have privileges with a small P, all of us, and all of us have a room we can get into, a conversation we can have, a pressure that we can put on others, access, capital, the list goes on and on. So I just want to…
KEVIN ENGLAND: Yeah, sometimes that privilege is just the absence of a roadblock or an obstacle.
JENNIFER BROWN: Exactly, exactly, and noticing that and saying, “Wow, I don’t have that obstacle.”
KEVIN ENGLAND: Well, that’s the nature of privilege. I mean, we talk about this a lot in the course. Privilege is such a baggage-ladened word. People get very defensive when you talk about their privilege. “I worked very hard to get to where I am. I didn’t get here because of privilege.” I always say, “Sure, we’re not saying you didn’t work hard. We’re saying your hard work was recognized and rewarded in ways that maybe somebody else’s wouldn’t be for the exact same hard work, or maybe you just did not have obstacles that other people had and they may work just as hard, but not be able to overcome those obstacles.” So it’s not always an equal playing field. The drive for equity is to make sure that everyone has equal access for their hard work to be recognized and rewarded so they can be successful.
JENNIFER BROWN: That’s right. That’s right. So that was a little bit of a tangent, but it might give everybody an idea of the kinds of conversations we’re having, which is really important. Because I have to say, Kevin, I don’t know about you and your consulting work with our clients, but that is one of the biggest questions I’m getting these days. I have to really parse that out and make sure we’re… I’m trying to have a different, more productive conversation about that particular topic and many others. So tell us about the structure of the course. What are the modules, if you will, thematically? So everybody, it’s a six-week course, Kevin brought up. It’s what we call asynchronous and synchronous. So it’s blended or hybrid learning and asynchronous means we do modules on our own time. Then synchronous means that we do them live together or that Friday hour call that everybody does that everybody loves so much, Kevin. So could you take us through the structure of the program?
KEVIN ENGLAND: Sure. Well, broadly speaking, as you said, it’s six weeks long. Every week, there’s new learning content that’s posted in the online learning management system, the online classroom. If you’ve ever taken classes at a university or high school on Blackboard or Zoom, or excuse me, Blackboard or Canvas it’s like that. So each week, you’ve got article to read, you have videos from Jennifer Brown Consulting practitioners and thought leaders in the field. Sometimes we’ll connect you to other outside resources, but there are things that you can read and listen to and watch to learn about whatever the topic of the week is.
Then there’s some opportunity in the online classroom to interact with classmates in a discussion board, telling examples from your life, answering questions, reflective questions about how whatever we’re talking about that week has been relevant for you in your life and in your career. Then we have the synchronous part, which is optional, but on Fridays, so far it’s always been on Fridays anyway, we have a one-hour session where we can talk about the content that’s just been released this week and talk through any questions that people have about it. I usually will share some examples from my life and my career because so much of what DEI Practitioners do is around storytelling.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Then we’ll invite other people to do the same and it lets us tease out common themes and really explore what these topics mean to us. Those are always optional. You can absolutely have a successful learning experience in this course without ever once being involved with one of them. I will say it’s my favorite part of my week, though. I always enjoy those sessions. Those of you who are going to join us, I do hope you’ll join for one.
KEVIN ENGLAND: But the way we structure in our six weeks, the first week we talk about what diversity and equity and inclusion mean. We talk about visioning what it means to be great in this, what are we trying to get to? Then we talk about, in the second week, your personal DEI story, what does this stuff mean to you? Why are you in this? Why does this matter to you? Then we get into learning to be effective storytellers because as you’ve heard from Jen and I so far today, there’s a lot of storytelling involved in this as a way of influencing others because half of what DEI practitioners do is really just trying to spread the word and get other people thinking constructively about these topics.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah.
KEVIN ENGLAND: We talk about how to frame your story, and this is the part where people get a little hung up sometimes trying to find what is that piece of my story that is the most compelling. Do I even have a story? We work through that together. Then we dig into barriers to inclusion, what makes this stuff so necessary in organizations. Things like unconscious bias, microaggressions, covering. So we dig into some of that content to understand what it is that DEI practitioners are trying to help organizations overcome. We finish the course with a personal development plan where people are thinking about what’s next for them. Now that they’re armed with this foundation and they’ve really started to understand what these concepts mean, how they’ve applied to themselves. Now, it’s starting to think about what’s next for me and how do I take this new expertise and apply it. So how do I continue my learning? What’s my development plan or some goals on set for accomplishing things in my workplace or in my career? We’re really arming you to think bigger and focus on what’s coming next.
JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you, Kevin. That’s so awesome. It sounds like such a… It’s so indulgent in a way. It’s almost like I would tell everyone who’s listening, give yourself the treat of this. It is a privilege speaking of privileges to take the time and to have the time and to dive into what does my life mean? What is the meaning of what’s happened with me? What is the context of my identity? Does my story matter? I mean, that is so… I wrestled with that. You know the origin of my Ted talk, I was strong-armed onto the Ted stage, which is… I mean, because I was terrified, number one, but even more than that, I thought to myself, “Why does my story of losing my voice as a singer matter?” What does that have to do with anything?” As I went through it, I realized, and for those of you who don’t know my story, I was an opera singer. I had to get vocal surgery several times. I lost my voice. I tried to get it back, but it was never the same.
Then I had to find another way to use my voice. I ended up transitioning from one stage to another. So the new stage was the stage of being a trainer and a facilitator at a field I didn’t even know existed, and that was me as a baby consultant, just getting my feet under me in front of the room, just happened to be a different room and a different stage. Then I would subsequently go on to realize the metaphor of the voice touches everything we do. The question of how did I not have a voice as an LGBTQ person and have to fight to come out and really own that identity, and then realizing as I studied D&I, who doesn’t have a voice in the organization, who are the voiceless? Whose voices are we listening to? Whose voices are we elevating? These days, as an aspiring ally, because I like to say you’re only an ally if someone in an affected community calls you an ally. So I’d like to say, I’m an aspiring ally. The question I wake up asking every day now is how am I activating my allyship every day?
Because I’ve been in the LGBTQ plus community forever, I’ve been this cisgender female body. My pronouns are she, her, hers, like my whole life. I know that struggle. I know that struggle, but I also am so keenly aware of yes, honoring my story, but for the purpose of then saying, “This is what I commit to do now with everything that I’ve been given, everything that I’ve earned, everything that I was given and wasn’t earned, all of it comes with this amazing opportunity to apply it.” I think that’s another way we welcome people into this conversation that are sitting on the sidelines saying, “I really want to be helpful, but I just don’t know how and I’m not sure the way in to the conversation. I don’t know if it’s going to be read as authentic or it’s going to be appreciated maybe or rejected.” It’s iterative, it’s tricky, Kevin. I mean, I’m sure you and I’ve gotten very expert at sensing when people are maybe, “Well, that’s not what I expected. That’s not what I expected Jennifer to look like.”
I still get that. My LGBT identity’s invisible. So it’s also really interesting as a check on our own biases to say, “There’s so much going on that’s not visible to us about others and there’s so many to diversity dimensions that exist that through the building of psychological safety and trust that somebody may, at some point, give to you.”
JENNIFER BROWN: And trust that somebody may, at some point, give to you, somebody may trust you with their truth. And that is one of the most amazing moments in our work I know Kevin, and you must feel like the students in this course get to do that with each other, get to do that with you and I know you’re expert at building that psychological safety.
KEVIN ENGLAND: Absolutely. The light bulb moments are my favorite part. By the way, I love that aspiring ally, someone else has to call you. I think of it like I can tell you that I’m charming and handsome but if you don’t agree, that’s not very helpful. I was fishing for the compliment.
JENNIFER BROWN: Oh, sorry. I missed the window.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I had this conversation actually, one of the things I’ll often do with participants in the program is I’ll do a quick one-on-one chat with somebody offline if they’re really struggling with something and need a little coaching. And I was talking to one participant who white woman in her organization felt very privileged in her life and in her career, and didn’t feel like she’d had much in the way of struggles related to her identity anyway. And so she was really having a hard time with, do I have a voice in this conversation?
I feel like I don’t belong here. And when I was probing with her about, but why are you here? Why did you make the choice to join this program? Why did you sign up for this? She said, well, I felt like I had to, because once I started to learn more, especially over the last year as organizations are being much more attuned to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, as we’re seeing more in the news, as we are learning about the experiences that other people are having that we may not be, we’re becoming more empathetic, we’re becoming more aware.
And for many of us, we just have this drive to do something now that we know. And she felt a lot of shame and guilt for not having understood or realized the struggle that other teammates were experiencing in her organization. And now she said she just couldn’t not do it. And I thought, well, there’s your story. That’s a great story.
JENNIFER BROWN: Beautiful. Of course.
KEVIN ENGLAND: That’s motivating. It’s inspiring. You don’t have to have experience something in order to want to improve it, but why you want improve is compelling because that story tells others why maybe they should be considering what they can do to be impactful as an ally, as a teammate, as a leader.
JENNIFER BROWN: Mm. You just had something so beautiful, you don’t have to have experienced something to care about improving it.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I’ve never been homeless, but I would definitely like to make sure that people are not experiencing homelessness. You could still care and want to do something about it.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, I’ve been in a variety of nonprofits previous to my singing career and to me, it didn’t matter what the cause was, because I care about it all and it was not at all about, I mean, I might be missing some lived experience for sure, but I knew I could bring whatever else I could bring to Marshall towards improving that. And, look, if we are the kind of people that believe that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice, but we also believe we have to bend that arc. We have to participate because that I don’t even ever, unfortunately, after the last five years or so, I’m not sure I believe the arc is bending towards justice. Not sure on that one.
I might have believed it before then, but for some reasons that I won’t share, but I think we all understand we need to fight. We need to fight every day. And a lot of us have to be leaning on that arc to bend it, like really leaning on it. And it’s going to take all of us to really make sure that our future is one that embraces all of us and is safer for all of us. We have to create that together and it’s going to take all of us of all identities to do that. I really believe it. We’re almost out of time Kevin, but there’s a couple, oh, thank you, Joseph, that’s such a lovely quote. Thank you. So Sophie Bales, everybody has been sharing the particulars and answering some questions in chat, so what does the program cost?
You can check that out. Is it full? The cohort full? No, it’s not full. We still have room in the cohort. Deadline for registering, we’re able to be very flexible pretty much like up to the day before, two days before, whatever. We would love more notice so that we can process everything and get you set up. But honestly, this is the beauty of our strange new world is the cycle times are so quick and we can make things happen quickly. I think there were some other questions in here, but there’s the link to learn more about the course on our website. So check that out. And Sophie, Sophie is a great contact person for everybody if you have questions after this. But Kevin tease us a little bit on level two, I forgot to ask you. So you said a lot of folks finish this and they’re like, okay, what’s next? And we’re working on it.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I’m so excited. And so level one is very introspective. It’s focusing on you and your experience and what’s led you here and how do these things apply to you? Level two is where we dig into what do you do with that in your organization? How do you apply your lived experiences, your newfound expertise? So we really focus on the talent life cycle. It’s the idea that an individual starting in a role or starting at a company, we start with recruiting them, then we bring them on board and then we get them training and development. We help manage their performance. We manage their reward and recognition. We start developing them for future leadership opportunities. And ultimately we hopefully move them into a bigger, better opportunity at the organization. It’s that life cycle of entering a role and getting ready for the next one.
So what we’ll do in level two is we’ll take each of those stages and we’ll talk about how diversity, equity and inclusion apply. As an example, in our recruiting, how do we source candidates from a variety of different places in order to have a well qualified mix of candidates to consider for hiring. And then when we’re selecting people from that mix, how do we make sure our processes are equitable, that we are not letting unconscious bias influence our decision making? How do we be sure that people are having a fair opportunity to be considered? And we take that same structure at each of the stages of that life cycle. So it gets very practical in how do we take this DEI stuff and apply it in the decisions that managers and HR professionals are making every day.
JENNIFER BROWN: Oh, perfect. I’m so glad we’re able to offer this, and the more we can shore up our field of practitioners and strengthen us, the better work we can do, the more equipped we’re going to be to meet the challenges of organizations which are changing very, very quickly. And we are in such an amazing place to really influence the future of work if we know everything that’s in these courses and then some, but this will give you an amazing runway. And Kevin, I hope people just are as impressed with you as I always am thinking about how deeply you know this stuff, from the intrapersonal to the strategy and everything in between. So everybody just know that in Kevin’s hands, you’re going to be able to see that whole 360 degree skillset and process that we need to go through and know in order to be effective.
So thanks everybody so much. There’s a ton of info in chat. So you can go back, you can re-watch this, you can look in and look for all the links that we’ve shared and the details. Let Sophie know, and she’s in LinkedIn so you can direct message her on LinkedIn if you’d like. She’s also going to share her information hopefully in the comments. But Kevin, thank you so much. And I hope you have a wonderful next cohort full of amazing souls. And I know you’re transformed by these things every time you teach them and you probably add to your own toolkit and stories and I know you enjoy them as much as participants enjoy them too.
KEVIN ENGLAND: I do. Absolutely. I’m really excited. We got a new cohort coming up, still room in there. I’d love to have you join. If anybody has any questions for me, you can find me on LinkedIn also. I’m Kevin. I work at Jennifer Brown Consulting. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you. I was going to ask you that, email@example.com. And if you missed all of that, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’re here for you.
Hi, this is Jennifer. Did you know that we offer a full transcript of every podcast episode on my website over at jenniferbrownspeaks.com? You can also subscribe so that you get notified every time a new episode goes live. Head over there now to read my latest thoughts on diversity, inclusion and the future of work and discover how we can all be champions of change by bringing our collective voices together and standing up for ourselves and each other.
DOUG FORESTA: You’ve been listening to The Will to Change, uncovering true stories of diversity and inclusion with Jennifer Brown. If you’ve enjoyed the episode, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes to learn more about Jennifer Brown, visit jenniferbrownspeaks.com. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back next time with a new episode.
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