The second round of breakout sessions at the Baystate Health Diversity & Inclusion Conference was just as powerful as the first.
Dr. Samuel Betances, of Souder, Betances & Associates in Chicago, brought Inclusion Insights to the lunch-hour with a moving talk about his childhood, opportunities for advancement and faulty assumptions.
Nuggets from Dr. Betances talk:
- “When you reach a [certain] level of success economically … even if you don’t have children but are likely to adopt, the more successful we are the less children we are likely to have,” Betances explained.
- Every organization has two faces – our public face and our private face. Diversity helps our private face match our public face.
- Diversity is about demographic shifts.
- Women are seen as inferior in popular culture. The perception is some of us are handkerchiefs and some of us are flags. If someone who is perceived as a handkerchief gets a flag position, others may have a problem with it.
- Faulty Assumptions: Diversity initiatives must be led by women and/or minorities? False.
- Faulty Assumptions: It’s better to know what type of disease a patient has than what type of patient has a disease. False.
- Minorities are more likely to fail in technical areas because they are not as intelligent. False, but they are most likely to fail. Why? They don’t have the same support system.
By 2:30 p.m., guests were leaving Dr. Betances talk inspired and were already filing into their next sessions. The four afternoon sessions:
- Creating a D&I Strategy
- Inclusive and Strategic Leadership
- Quibbling Over Q
- Tackling Barriers to Success
Myra Smith, of Springfield Technical Community College, moderated the Tackling Barriers panel. Panelists: Kirk R. Smith (YMCA Greater Springfield), Yami Madho (Big Y), Susan Fentin (Skoler, Abbott & Presser) and Cheeneah M. Armstrong (Northeast Utilities). The purpose of the panel discussion was to explore ways to maintain focus and passion and strategies for engaging middle managers.
Nuggets from the panel:
- “When you’re tackling change there are things that come to place that make it difficult,” Smith said.
- Things that are important to tackling barriers: Partnerships, communication, consistency, knowledge of your organization and sharing your information.
“Continue to prove return on investment. You have to show the value. My folks that are here [from Big Y] – it’s not just a day off of work. There is an expectation when they get back to work,” Madho explained.
- Kirk Smith of the YMCA said, “You have to learn how to be visible. Learn how to get some pride in who you are. You heard me say I was sexy,” he added with a laugh. “I didn’t say it because I thought that you thought that I was sexy. I said it because I think I am sexy.”
- Armstrong described what it was like tackling tough issues with employees. “People sit in front of you and they cry and you know it’s wrong. And you know there is going to be a substantial uphill climb to make it right.”