Tag Archives: Deborah Levine

Editor of the American Diversity Report

The DEI Future: Old, New and Maybe – by Deborah Levine

A Diversity Futurist’s Perspective

DEBORAH LEVINE
Editor-in-Chief Deborah J. Levine

In my more than half a century dealing with diversity, I have seen multiple changes in the field of training, coaching, and consulting.  COVID presents an unprecedented mountain of changes in the DEI field that merit an overview of  the past, present and future.  As much as I appreciate some of you  giving me the title of Diversity Futurist, Diva, Matriarch and Fairy Godmother, I’m well aware of the many experts reading the American Diversity Report and welcome your comments on the future of diversity.

Civil Rights     

The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s ushered in activism regarding race that continues today. Advocacy had existed for decades before that. The NAACP was founded in 1909 and there was a Jewish element in that process. That synergy was revisited in the 1960s which is when I became involved in civil rights protests and Affirmative Action was enacted.  The very different experiences of Jews and Blacks did not always resonate together and the partnership phased in and out. I belonged to a Black-Jewish Dialogue in Chicago in 1990 and current issues prompted me to re-energized that effort with a virtual Black-Jewish Dialogue that I founded last summer. Click for Dialogue background and episodes.
The Black Lives Matter movement is latest phase of civil rights, but there have been multiple surges following incidents in various cities, particularly regarding police violence. The DEI response is one of the most notable in history.   The BLM movement coincides with COVID and emphasizes the Equity given the massive economic and healthcare impact on communities of color.
FUTURE: Given recent eruptions of long-held prejudices against  people of color including Asian-Americans, African Americans and Latinx, diversity consultants will be focused on issues of race and ethnicity,  coupled with Equity and community activism/leadership, for years to come. Additionally, it’s likely that law enforcement will use diversity consultants more frequently to better serve diverse communities.

Women’s Rights 

 In the late 1960s, the Women’s Liberation Movement began and I joined the first march in NYC, partly inspired by the Jewish women at the forefront. They didn’t identify as Jewish but their presence was understood in our community and in 1972 the first female rabbi was ordained in the US. However, efforts to discredit ‘Feminism” as radical/left wing have existed for more than century and still exist today.  The #MeToo movement re-booted the Women’s Movement, creating a newly energized phase of the Women’s Movement, particularly regarding both sexual harassment and Women in STEM/technical fields. Last year, I was contacted to do an interview about being a pioneer in the computer world – I studied computer programming in the 1960s and was an IT manager in the 1980s. This was the first time anyone paid attention to that aspect of my work. Internationally, the movement to highlight women is progressing rapidly – I was recently given a “HerStory Award” by the Women’s Federation for World Peace along with other international awards.
FUTURE:  COVID has created an historic “She-Cession” recession and  diversity consulting in the US will need to respond as COVID subsides.  Among the issues to address: Recruitment, hiring practices, advancement in the workplace, parental leave, child care, equal pay, and presence in the executive C-Suite and on Boards.  None of these issues are new, but they will gain increased visibility and demand greater attention.

LGBTQ

There is a long history associated with gay rights, the first advocacy organization  was established in 1924.  The movement accelerated in the wake of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. An example of the evolvement of LGBTQ diversity consulting is Indiana’s  Another Bookstore founded in 2004 which became The LGBTQ Center in 2016. But according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) there are still 3 dozen states where it’s legal to fire someone simply for being gay.  And only 29% of the Fortune 500 offer health benefits to domestic partners.
FUTURE:  The expectations expressed by SHRM include an extension of civil rights to include sexual orientation. This would embed sexual orientation issues more firmly into DEI consulting. It would also guarantee similar benefits to individuals and their families regardless of sexual orientation.  There would also be more equity regarding the treatment of hate crimes towards these individuals.

DISABILITIES

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act brought disabilities into the diversity consulting arena. I believe that the original focus was on physical disabilities. I taught ballet at a school for the deaf 15 years earlier, before dance therapy or diversity consulting existed and the term “handicapped” was acceptable. Intellectual disabilities came later. My younger brother was a high-performing Aspergers/autism and my experience was helpful in assisting autistic students in technical writing at the College of Engineering & Computer Science at the U. of TN/Chattanooga in 2017.
FUTURE: While physical disabilities may remain a challenge for diversity consultants in this COVID era,  there are signs that intellectual disabilities  may continue to be addressed.  The need for social interaction is less and the need for technical skills has increased, giving the intellectually challenged more opportunities and requiring diversity consultants to include this form of diversity in their skill sets.

RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY       

Often referred to as Interreligious Affairs and Interfaith Dialogue decades ago, religious diversity has had an on again-off again presence depending on world current events. The term Interfaith, which I used when founding the DuPage/Chicago Interfaith Resource Network in 1991, continues to be relevant today, although not as a DEI consulting category.
My first book on this facet of diversity, Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism, came out in the early 1990s and won awards at a time when Holocaust issues around Auschwitz were prominent. But it wasn’t taken to the Vatican until Pope Francis became pope in 2013. My book, Religious Diversity in Schools, was originally written after a street riot in a Chicago suburb over Christmas displays in mid-1990s. My book, Religious Diversity at Work, was published in 2016 when legal suits regarding religious expression had became a prominent issue for diversity consultants.
FUTURE:  Religious Diversity has been and will continue to be used in corporate diversity consulting and for organizations in the healthcare sector. The combination of legal issues and service to a broadly diverse religious clientele makes this form of expertise necessary to both engage a diverse clientele and to avoid legal issues.

MULTICULTURAL & CROSS-CULTURAL

Diversity was originally known as multiculturalism, a term which  came to be known as cross-cultural or intercultural. This approach to diversity rose to the surface when international businesses relocated to the US in large numbers. Training internationals to maximize the local-global teamwork quickly became a necessity. When Volkswagen located their American plant here in Chattanooga, TN, around 2008, I was contacted by a New York management consulting firms to assist in coaching executives in adapting to the Southern culture. Almost a decade later, that NY firm changed its named to include ‘diversity’, reflecting an updated perspective of its work.
The cross-cultural trend corresponded with a move towards Global Leadership Training that was sometimes taken up by diversity consultants, including myself.  My sequence of cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, and cultural competence as a training strategy reflected the thinking then, and have become terms used in diversity consulting in general.
FUTURE: The ‘America First’ movement made global leadership development somewhat irrelevant and it merged with general leadership development training.  While it’s questionable whether my books, Inspire Your Inner Global Leader (2012) and Going Southern: The No-Mess Guide to Success in the South (2013) are being used currently, as the virtual workplace becomes the new norm,  the concepts of global leadership and cross-cultural expertise will be revived.

UNCONSCIOUS BIAS       

I created the Matrix Model Management System more than 20 years ago, embedding the concept of “implicit bias” which emerged in 1995. The System included the neuroscience of storytelling, emotional intelligence and the application of both to setting goals and plans to achieve them.  When the term “Unconscious Bias” became part of diversity consulting about 1/2 dozen years ago, I revamped the Matrix System as Un-Bias Guide for Leaders and the Un-Bias Guide for Educators workbooks in 2018.
FUTURE:  Issue of Unconscious Bias will continue to be part of diversity consulting. with an additional focus on how it might evolve into hate speech, acts, and crimes. The use of neuroscience to  broaden the ability to process Big Data will increase. Given the tensions and frustrations of the COVID era, there will be an increased emphasis on emotional intelligence and smart decision making.  Understanding the communication and appeal of hate groups will be a necessity for diversity consultants as noted in our book: When Hate Groups March Down Main Street: Engaging a Community Response. 

GENERATIONAL DIVERSITY

Generational diversity became a sub-set for diversity consultants as the Silent and Boomer generations reached retirement and younger generations became more visible. There is little discussion of the older generations in the workplace today given COVID.  And there is little knowledge of Affirmative Action, so long in the past, although references to it remain.
FUTURE: We’ll see a new phase of generational diversity going forward and there are already labels for young teens as the COVID generation.  The emphasis on technology will increase and the influence of online information, news, AI, and social media will need to be folded into diversity consulting strategies.  Schools, colleges, and universities must prepare the new generations for a different mode of work and diversity consultants will need to assist in blending new methods with existing ones for the future.  

CONCLUSION from THE DIVERSITY FUTURIST

COVID has changed all our lives and our work places will probably never be the same as the pre-COVID reality.  We are often at a loss to predict what comes next and how to adapt to whatever it is.  Yes, there are benefits to this time.  Many of us are in contact  with folks we haven’t talked to in years.  Ordering supplies/food over the internet can be cheaper and easier than our previous in-store trips. But the real benefit is yet to be seen and that is the creativity that  is being applied and will blossom over time. Chaos theory tell us that the most creative place in the universe is at the edge of chaos. We’re certainly at that edge today. Can we apply that creativity to the increasingly diverse world that we live in and  be our most  innovative selves?

Can we do that together with my favorite tag line, “HARMONIZE NOT HOMOGENIZE”?  This is where diversity consultants can be a major factor in our success together.  As the poet William Wordsmith said almost 2 centuries ago:
    “Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.”

CLICK to see more about Deborah Levine

Deborah Levine Receives ‘HerStory Award’

DIVERSITY TRAILBLAZER DEBORAH LEVINE HONORED BY GLOBAL WOMEN’S PEACE NETWORK
FOR LIFETIME OF COUNTERING HATE

HerStory AwardCHATTANOOGA, TN – The American Diversity Report announced today that founder and editor-in-chief, Deborah Levine, has received the distinguished ‘HerStory Award’ from the Women’s Federation for World Peace USA (WFWP), with chapters nationwide in all 50 states and locations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and the Middle East.

Levine is a leading international expert and top management consultant on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the private and public sectors. Her unique neuroscience cognitive-based approach to advancing DEI helps employers and disparate communities harmonize, rather than homogenize.

Continue reading Deborah Levine Receives ‘HerStory Award’

Riots & Race: Then, Now and Next? – by Deborah Levine

It’s been two years since the shooting  and subsequent riots in Ferguson. One year after that event, I wrote about having the dubious honor of witnessing three generations of protests related to race, inequality and injustice. In the 1960s, protest marches were televised nationally, inspiring many of us. Yes, some protests became violent riots, but some gave rise to long-term institutions promoting racial equality. Those of us deeply invested in the movement shared a vision and were committed to making a difference through advocacy, education, politics, and, as I did, urban planning. However, after the shootings of unarmed African American men in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, the killing of police officers in Dallas, the numerous street protests, and the ongoing threats, I am less hopeful than I was coming out of the sixties.

Continue reading Riots & Race: Then, Now and Next? – by Deborah Levine

Mother’s Day for a True Diversity Futurist – by Sridhar Rangaswamy

Happy Mother’s Day! Celebrated across the world for this year on May 10, 2020.  During the COVID-19 period, it is a time when people are doing social distancing and this is the time through online, to facilitate, help, support, be fair and objective for mothers across the world.

DEBORAH LEVINEI should state in this time, I had come across a Great Person, Mrs. Deborah Levine, whom I wanted to share and support as a true mother having all the above qualities.

She is a giver and she takes time to do so always promptly, in spite of her busiest schedule on earth-managing multiple things at this time period. It’s not easy, and I respect her fully, support her as a generous, compassionate, humanitarian. She is true being human compared to being born as a human…there is a difference in practice in action and deeds as a true/fellow brotherly/sisterly hood.  Continue reading Mother’s Day for a True Diversity Futurist – by Sridhar Rangaswamy

ADR Management Consulting Award

Deborah Levine and the American Diversity Report Receives 2020 Chattanooga Award

CHATTANOOGA March 11, 2020 — Deborah Levine has been selected for the 2020 Chattanooga Award in the Management Consulting Services category by the Chattanooga Award Program.

Each year, the Chattanooga Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Chattanooga area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2020 Chattanooga Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Chattanooga Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Chattanooga Award Program

The Chattanooga Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Chattanooga area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Chattanooga Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Bermuda Jews Part 1: Returning for Passover – by Deborah Levine

(The Bermuda Jews History Series was originally published in The Bermudian Magazine)

In the 1990s, I made my first trip to Bermuda in fifteen years. My family, once the mainstay of Bermuda Jews, were long gone from the island. The first whiff of salty sea air hasn’t changed but the airport is a jumble of construction. A short jog across the tarmac should end in a hushed wait for the appearance of a customs agent, sitting patiently on the dark wood furniture of the terminal’s old-fashioned waiting room. Today, official greeters wave us through a temporary cordoned maze to a terminal with a second story, a food court, and customs agents encased in glass booths. An electronically-enhanced steel band strikes an earnest rendition of “Island in the Sun” where a portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth once hung.

Continue reading Bermuda Jews Part 1: Returning for Passover – by Deborah Levine

How to Grow as an Entrepreneur with Deborah Levine – by Fatima Williams

Deborah Levine
ADR Editor-in-Chief Deborah Levine

My interview with Deborah Levine is the second in the series  inspired by the response to my article, 2018 Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them.  Around the world, women entrepreneurs face major challenges, but many inspire us to establish the Golden Era of Women Entrepreneurship. My interviews with these women leaders are truly amazing moments as they “Pass the Baton” on to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Continue reading How to Grow as an Entrepreneur with Deborah Levine – by Fatima Williams

How I became an Award-winning Writer – Conclusion
: by Deborah Levine

We’re about to land in Tashkent and I stuff bags of peanuts, napkins, and cupholders labeled “Air Uzbekistan” into my purse. I’m on a mission for the Jewish Federation in Chattanooga where I’m the Executive Director. No other Federation mission has ever gone to Uzbekistan on its way to Jerusalem and I want as many momentos as my bag will hold.

I relished this adventure of a lifetime. I usually worked 24/7 running the nonprofit and spending my days in the office. My restlessness as a bureaucrat was offset by having a salary, health insurance, and vacation. I’d published two books, but my writing now was solely for the Federation’s newsletter. No more Starving Writer for me!

Continue reading How I became an Award-winning Writer – Conclusion
: by Deborah Levine

How I Became an Award-winning Writer: PART 3 – 
by Deborah Levine

I sat in my Chicago office wrapping up my latest project, the National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations, with an evaluation report. It was not so much “writing” as a how-to guide for the next poor slob who spent three years as coordinator. The phone rang and I interrupted my hair-pulling session for a friend who’d helped promote the Workshop. Mike was an editor with Liturgy Training Publications, the publishing arm of Chicago’s Catholic Archdiocese. “Please write a chapter for a book we’re doing on religious rites of passage for teens.” Continue reading How I Became an Award-winning Writer: PART 3 – 
by Deborah Levine

The Majestic One and the E-Book Pirates – by Deborah Levine

I discovered that I was Majestic last week when I finally decided to publish my book, Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism, as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle. I’d resisted creating a kindle version of the paperback for years. Originally published by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago in the mid 1990s as Teaching Christian Children about Judaism, the book was long out of print when I updated it in 2013. Much to my surprise, I discovered that it had been used for the past twenty years by Monsignor Al Humbrecht at his church in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. We sat down and mapped out the update to replace his few remaining copies.

Continue reading The Majestic One and the E-Book Pirates – by Deborah Levine