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Jul 09
Lead Courageous Conversations on Race in America

The past several weeks have provided many eye-opening moments of reflection. While continuing to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we have witnessed another pandemic publicly unfold across the country: racial injustice in America.

As independent agents we are trusted advisors in our communities, which makes inclusive leadership that much more critical not only within our homes but also our workplaces. Simply put, inclusive leadership requires proactively promoting equality by showing others that you see them and that they matter to you.

In the June Fast Focus e-newsletter we highlighted an article on Navigating Inclusive Leadership During Times of Crisis. In the article, we pointed out “being vocal" as one of the five action steps you should take as an inclusive leader. The other four action steps include leaning in—leaning into discomfort; educating yourself; understanding privilege; and supporting minority businesses.

As independent agents we have unique spheres of influence that we can use to cultivate a culture of inclusivity. The question may arise “How do I use my influence in the workplace or other professional environments?"

The Big “I" Diversity Council has put together a Courageous Conversations Toolkit to get you started! Whether you decide to lead a courageous conversation or get started by simply participating in one, here are a few things to consider before engaging.

1) Stay engaged. We highly recommend you hosting the conversations in-person or via webcam so that everyone has an opportunity to see each other and remain actively involved.

2) Be authentic. Share your actual thoughts and feelings, while remaining respectful of each person's truth.

3) Experience discomfort. The feeling of discomfort is inevitable. Many of us rarely talk about race so try to push through those uncomfortable moments as they often provide growth.

4) Maintain confidentiality. Honor everyone's privacy and avoid sharing who said what during the conversations.

5) This is a journey. While we hope these conversations will provide deeper understanding of racial injustice, they will not erase the historic hurt. However, they will certainly help take necessary steps forward.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means keep moving."

We would love to hear from you. Let Big “I" national know how your courageous conversations among your team or other groups go.  

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