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Jul 15
Big ‘I’ Diversity Council Releases Courageous Conversations Toolkit

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 Big “I" association leaders we have the opportunity to equip our agents with the tools they need to proactively lead their teams and communities with inclusive leadership practices during this time of social unrest. 

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 association leaders, we have a unique sphere of influence that we can help cultivate a culture of inclusivity. You may wonder, “but, how can I use my influence to be a more inclusive leader within my state association?" Glad you asked! Consider hosting courageous conversations on race with a small group of staff, volunteer leaders or others within your network.

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."

Contact Whitnee Dillard, Big “I" director of diversity and inclusion, with any questions on leading courageous conversation with staff or volunteer leadership.

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