For the third year, the Chattanooga area Chamber of Commerce hosted its Diversify marketplace, showcasing the area’s growing number of diverse vendors and connecting businesses of all sizes. The luncheon and its speaker are highlights of the event, coordinated by the Chamber’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion. This year’s speaker was Valoria Armstrong, the first African American and female president of Tennessee American Water. Hundreds of civic leaders packed the banquet hall, enjoying the food and some networking time as they waited for the speaker.
As a Diversity Consultant and Trainer to law firms I am often asked by our clients “help us stop the bleeding.” Firms invest so much in sourcing, recruiting and developing their talented associates and to see them leave prematurely can be disastrous. One of my clients had lost nearly a dozen partners and associates (too many were women, minorities, not all) in a particular practice area in a several week span and they called DTG for help.
Who among us has not been touched by success stories or by stories of daring adventures, altruistic sacrifices, or futuristic inventions? Whether it’s rags-to-riches or rising from the ashes, we’re moved and motivated by stories of overcoming life’s obstacles. How do these stories, often of people and places unknown to us personally, penetrate hearts and minds so deeply? Can we harness their inspirational power and apply it to women with unrealized potential? Chattanooga’s Lean In – Women GroundBreakers tackled the challenge using the Matrix Model Management System.
Chattanooga’s Lean In Chapter began its exploration of global leadership where leadership begins: self-awareness. Why is self-awareness the integral ingredient to real leadership? These Women Groundbreakers answered that question with the energy and passion of people who have “been there – done that.” They shared stories of how you have to know yourself, strengths, weaknesses, values, before you can lead others. Knowing what drives you and feeds your soul gives you the ability to overcome your weaknesses and challenges. Understanding your roots gives awareness to and appreciation of other cultures. Self-awareness begins a process of growth which leads to change which should ultimately extend out to help others.
Guess what readers? It took me 25 hours to go from Dallas to Germany a while back.
But don’t feel sorry for me because that trip was one of my best ever. Now before telling me to get a checkup from the neck up, bear with me for a moment. I’ll get to the rest of the story further down. I first need to come clean with you on a revelation.
Observations and Tips from recent training in the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) trenches (especially hostile or militant audiences)
CURRENT EVENTS – Current events are just “upping the volume, the passion, the conversation in the workshop.” Do not shy away from current events. I do not answer “what do you think about…” questions at first, I deflect to rest of room to get them talking. Do your homework, stay up to date on current events – be ready! Address vacuum, hearsay and gossip with facts. You might have to revisit ground rules more than once. Between Trump, Confederate Flag, Terrorism (domestic and international), Law Enforcement News, shootings, etc., – who can keep up? Well, you have to. I read multiple newspapers and watch multiple news hours every night (I watch all sides, all perspectives). You have to be a historian to do this work correctly.
There’s no escaping the lack of trust these days from local officials to world powers. Whether we get our news from television, newspapers or the internet, we’re inundated with highly emotional trust issues. Take the examples of the turmoil around a third bailout for Greece, the fear over a nuclear arms agreement with Iran, and the disgust with declared international truces in Ukraine, Korea, and Yemen and undeclared domestic truces in Ferguson and Charleston. In the US, trust issues will be a dominant theme in the presidential campaign as candidates accuse, blame, and attack. Reporters rely on phrases such as “can’t trust,” “lack of trust,” “trust but verify,”and “rebuild trust.” For most of us, these phrases are just diplomatic talk for “What were you thinking?” and “No, and Hell no!”
Hello there! I sincerely hope that you and yours are doing well and are in good health. I’m being very nice. That’s the stage-setter for where I’m about to take you, some willingly and others, the civility-deficient, perhaps begrudgingly.
For every car GM sold in China in 2004, it sold 10 in the United States. By 2009, sales in China equaled those in the US. Rapid economic growth in Brazil, Indonesia, China, and India will add a billion new consumers clamoring for goods and services from around the world over the next decade. With increasing frequency, professionals from one country are interacting with customers and colleagues from other countries.
Having grown up in the 50’s, the female leadership style that I absorbed through osmosis was pretty dated. In fact, I am working hard to think of a time when “leadership” and “female” were together in one sentence. Accepting assignments, following directions, obedience, and harnessing personal thinking were more the order for women. Ironing, baking, dinner on the table, floor waxed while sewing family clothes filled the hours of every day. These activities indicated a women’s value.