Personally and professionally, I’ve learned that it is in times when things are going wrong that we discover our quality of leadership and resilience. 2020 has challenged us in so many ways. Company sales continue to dip in different industries. Employers are laying off breadwinners and caretakers. And employees’ morale is at an all-time low.
Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Efforts
Inclusive leadership in crises is crucial. Despite these challenges, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to almost 55,000 people about diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias. I would be remiss if I didn’t credit this business boom to companies not taking the easy way out and most devastating to me, the loss of black lives. It would be easy to put diversity and inclusion as a back burner agenda item.
However, companies like Google, Levi Strauss, Nestle Purina, Xerox, YouTube, Proctor & Gamble, and so many more decided not to let crises stop their diversity and inclusion efforts. These companies chose to prioritize people when their sole focus could be profits. They have demonstrated through dollars that diversity and inclusion are a primary concern by booking me for speaking engagements and diversity and inclusion training. They budgeted for their values.
These financial investments sent a clear message to employees, leaders, and customers that diversity and inclusion always matter. They matter when business is going well, and it matters when it isn’t. It requires courage, humility, and commitment for a company to hire someone like me. It requires humility to admit that a company needs diversity training and has no idea where to start. Companies unafraid to admit that they need leadership training are audacious. We often make work a place where vulnerability is a sign of weakness—but putting employees before ego is a cornerstone for outstanding leadership. I always take it very seriously any time any client spends money with me. In these times of economic crises, I acknowledge that it is paramount to show companies how to lead inclusively when unique challenges confront diverse employees.
How Risha Grant Makes Virtual Keynotes as Powerful as Live Keynotes
Since the beginning of the pandemic, my team and I have worked incredibly hard to recreate the magic of live keynotes. In every virtual keynote, I explain the definitions of diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias. I want every audience member to experience the benefits of having their diversity acknowledged and the joy of being included. To accomplish this, we embed thought-provoking questions into my presentations. I invite each audience member to share the different aspects of their diversity. A beautiful collage populates, and it illustrates the diverse elements that make us unique and special for everyone to enjoy and celebrate in real-time.
Three Goals Of Risha Grant’s Diversity & Inclusion Keynote
I am not here to sell the audience on diversity and inclusion. I am not a sales speaker. My goal is to help people with three things:
- First, I want them to help them see that diversity is all around them, and if it’s not, then it should be. If diversity isn’t reflected in their companies, then it’s time to look at recruitment.
- Second, I want to demonstrate how inclusion can boost their teams’ innovation and increase their bottom line. If a company has diverse employees, but they are all in low wage or low authority positions — retention, and employee motivation will be low. I want to show them the benefit of using inclusive language in their company policies and images in their marketing materials.
- Third, I want to help them become aware of the unhelpful unconscious biases that prevent them from building diverse and inclusive company cultures. These biases can show up in policies, pay inequities, and hiring and promotion practices.
In my live keynotes and virtual keynotes, my goal is to simplify diversity and inclusion so that audiences no longer feel uncomfortable or lost discussing it.
What Do Audiences Learn?
Diversity is who we are. It’s what makes each person cool and unique. Diversity is effortless.
Inclusion is the process of making sure that everyone is invited, involved, and engaged. Inclusion takes the effort of each person in the organization.
Unconscious bias is the barrier that we must overcome to foster an environment where each employee feels valued and appreciated.
Audiences come away from these talks with shifted hearts and minds. But, don’t take my word for it. Let their responses speak for themselves:
I’ve always said that I would be happy to work myself out of a job if that means that people are able to be happier, healthier, and willing to accept themselves and others radically. But until then, I plan to spend my time working to build a better future that is more inclusive of all.