Raleigh Chamber Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Conference 2019

On August 9th, 2019 I attended the Raleigh Chamber Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Conference for 2019. More information about the event can be found in the link above, including the event’s agenda. The conference was one day, from 8 AM to 2 PM.

In this post, I will share some of the notes that I gathered during the conference. Hopefully some of these notes are useful to people!

Notes from the Welcome and Keynote Speakers

It’s not about trying to be racist, its about how hard you’re trying NOT to be.



Covering in the workplace. A short definition (from this Infographic) is: “A strategy people use to downplay a stigmatized part of their identity”. Another definition from the same source is: “The efforts people make to combat and minimize potential negative effects of bias”.

Donald West’s Diversity and Inclusion e-book (I missed the title).

Be firm and gracious to push through conflicts without escalating things.

Leading and Engaging Across Differences

Charles Weathers

Do not value skill over ability to engage with people. You can train on skills, but can’t train people to connect and work with others.

Leaders must be intentional and purposeful about leading and engaging across differences.

How to:

  1. This is not a soft skill, they’re core skills.
  2. Diversity goes much deeper than what you see with your eyes, but you won’t know that without being in a relationship.
  3. Check your culture.
  4. “Diversity is getting invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”. That statement includes a power dynamic. Power has to shift.
  5. Power shift is happening. People are no longer waiting to be invited or asked to dance, they’re having their own party.
  6. Culture determines inclusion or illusion.

Formula for trust:

  • Starts with confidence
  • You only have confidence in business, etc that are credible
  • Credibility = competence + character

As a leader, you should ask yourself this question: Do I demonstrate competency and character consistent with the position I hold? Same question for team members.

Sometimes we have to restore trust we didn’t break.

Be authentic.

Talk about it. People come to work at 9 AM Monday and were traumatized by the news on at 8 PM on Sunday.

Change starts with YOU.

Your job in diversity is culture work because culture determines inclusion or illusion.

If you think you’re being called to leave, do all you can to stay.

The Undeniable Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Community Engagement

Tanya Odom

There’s a gap between Diversity and Inclusion and CSR.

Two business cases:

  • External understanding of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Internal understanding of your team

Inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

What is the thing in your conversation that’s getting in the way of presence? Once you identify it, work to get rid of it.

Othering and Belonging - John Powell

The Privileged Poor (book)

Renee Meyers - Netflix Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity , inclusion, and belonging. Being invited, having a voice, and having that voice heard.

Employees really want careers, community, and cause.

Employees want to feel productive, inspired, uniquely valued, and to have a sense of belonging.

“We cannot pretend that we live in normal times” - Pramila Jayapool

Women and POC use informal networks more than formal networks because of trust and access (the lack of).

Over reliance on meritocracy

Lack of awareness of systemic unfairness

Diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion

Delloitte study on inclusion finds that organization’s inclusion efforts may not be addressing one of the biggest barriers - everyday bias.


Focus: the hidden driver of excellence.

Closing Keynote: Lowe’s Diversity Journey. Why Now?

Janice Little

Trade jobs have a workforce issue and Lowes has identified that as a problem to solve.

Creating economic mobility of craftsmen.

Low supply and high demand is causing high prices of homes.

By Lowes estimation, there will be three million skilled job openings by 2028. To solve these problems Lowe’s has developed a track to the trades program and Generation T workforce movement. The We Are Generation T website partners with lots of community colleges to teach and uses job skills immersion to teach their students.

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