Power Up: Igniting the Intentional Leader for DEI

Issue 166 — April 19, 2021

Did you ever have an idea and after some months it actually happens? Were you surprised? Excited? So sure it would come to pass that you weren’t worried about it even when it seemed like it would be impossible to achieve for whatever reason? All of the above?

On April 15, 2021, Take The Lead hosted the virtual Summit entitled “Power Up: Igniting the Intentional Leader for DEI, and I definitely went through all of those feelings at one time or another. As you may recall, when I teach the “3 Powers of Leadership Intention” workshop, one of our most popular, I share stories of how I learned metaphors for those three powers that must be present for intention: VISION, COURAGE, ACTION.

Our intention for the DEI Summit (I’ll call it that for short) was to provide DEI, HR, training, and related kinds of professionals with original research, actionable tools, and powerful networking to help them do their jobs. The urgency, given the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice, is clear.

You know Take The Lead for its signature women’s leadership training and coaching. But did you know that we also offer programs that use the same principles of understanding and redefining power, contending with implicit bias, and turning the experience of implicit bias into superpowers and apply them to DEI in a powerful program we call “Creating a Culture of Inclusion?

I am bursting to share the whole Summit program with you. But there was so much rich information and conversation that it is impossible to do that in this short article. So I will give you a taste of it now and in future Sums will share more. Maybe we will even be able to offer some or all of it in video soon. But meanwhile here are two of the presentations that for me very much delivered on the value proposition of the Summit.

The first is “On Becoming a JEDI: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion that Makes Diversity Work.” This is a framework created by Pardis Mahdavi, Dean of the College of Social Sciences at Arizona State University. I love this framework because it starts with justice. And in my view if we don’t start there, we lose the big picture purpose of DEI work. The business case is clear that greater diversity around any table results in more innovation, better decisions, and more profits for companies that really walk the walk of their DEI goals. And it’s great that the right thing to do is also the smart business thing to do. But when we can lift the concept to the higher value set of justice, in my view it fuels the culture of inclusion much more rapidly than when the higher purpose is not stated.

Dr. Mahdavi described in detail how the JEDI framework is being implemented in the academic setting at ASU but clearly it can apply to any organization in any industry by creating an ecosystem where change can succeed and take root. Here’s a video with more information.

The second presentation that I found extremely useful and interesting is Brielle Valle’s ethnographic study of the impact of COVID on women in the workplace. Those who registered for the conference received an advance copy of her study findings, “Default to Responsibility.”

The problems Brielle found are not surprising, as many have been reported on in media; however her interviews and analysis further refine the depth of the problem and more importantly get to some solutions. See the slides below for an overview.

We didn’t shy away from topics that are often regarded as tough ones to address, because those are the very issues that most need to be discussed! Other super important topics tackled include “Racial Healing: A Candid Conversation” featuring Felicia Davis, founder of the Black Women’s Collective and a Take The Lead Leadership Ambassador and Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, founder of Women Connect 4 Good Foundation.

I hope this gives you a quick idea of the breadth and depth of information presented at the Summit. Watch this space for more snippets and tips that will help you on your path in the upcoming weeks. Keep your eye also on Take The Lead’s social media for more coverage.

As Dr. Nancy O’Reilly says, we are all in this together!

GLORIA FELDT is the Cofounder and President of Take The Lead, a motivational speaker and expert women’s leadership developer for companies that want to build gender balance, and a bestselling author of four books, most recently No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she teaches “Women, Power, and Leadership” at Arizona State University and is a frequent media commentator. Learn more at www.gloriafeldt.com and www.taketheleadwomen.com. Tweet Gloria Feldt.

Gloria Feldt is a New York Times bestselling author and co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a nonprofit women’s leadership organization.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store