Category Archives: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Fall Workshops – Something for Everyone

This fall, we have a fabulous lineup of workshops designed to meet the needs of leaders and practitioners as we navigate the complexities of 2021.

Culturally Competent Communication 

Effective communication is built on one’s willingness, desire, and ability to share information with another individual. Culturally competent communication goes one step further by offering a form of empathetic, unbiased, and respectful communication when interacting with an individual who may be different from oneself.  This program is designed for anyone who seeks to understand how cultural beliefs inform behavior and how to show sensitivity to those beliefs through communication.  Learn more.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Capacity

This workshop captures the skills and mindsets of high performing entrepreneurs and presents them in an easily digestible method and playbook.  It is designed for (1) an early stage aspiring entrepreneur desiring to develop their entrepreneurial mindsets and skills in order to move their project/startup forward and (2) an intrapreneur leader desiring to develop their entrepreneurial mindsets and skills to innovate in their current role within organizations. Learn more.

Courageous Leadership in Action: No One Said It Would Be Easy

This dynamic workshop is designed for individuals who are interested in exploring aspects of courageous leadership in the f­­ace of adversity. The 2-day in person or 4-module virtual workshop explores courageous leadership through the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) lens.  The workshop is designed to be inclusive and encompass new and mid-level managers, leaders, coaches, consultants, and facilitators. Learn more.

From CDO to COO: The Business of DEI

The work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is more than a mindset or focus on people – it is core to how a business operates.  However, nearly all corporate DEI positions reside within Human Resources, executing activities and delivering goals geared towards attracting, growing, and retaining diverse talent.  To drive systemic change as well as disrupt and reinvent systems to eliminate  oppression and bias, organizations need to embed the mental models and best practices of DEI into their business operations.  This program is designed to provide foundational business and DEI knowledge to participants who will then use this knowledge to co-create strategies for integrating DEI into the core business operations of an organization.  Learn more.

Body Intelligence:  Leadership’s Untapped Resource

The body is the most direct and fastest route to change. The vast majority of our behavior is generated on autopilot because it happens outside of our consciousness. Body Intelligence in Leadership is designed for individuals who are looking to develop their natural inner resources to navigate the complexities of today’s world. Based in neuroscience, biology, and physiology, this 6-module highly experiential program explores models and theories related to the intelligence of the body.  Learn more.

Building Inclusive Workplaces through the Lens of Women’s Leadership

While the entire landscape of work is getting an overhaul, how are leaders going to adapt to attract and retain diverse talent? What new tactics are being used to drive diverse and productive teams? How do we create belonging and connection for everyone in virtual, hybrid and in-person workspaces using an intersectional lens? Building Inclusive Workplaces through the Lens of Women’s Leadership will explore these questions and use peer learning to uncover how companies and organizations can tap into the values and potential of all workers and leverage opportunities that help them show up at work as their full self – which research has proven fuels creativity and innovation.  Learn more.

LENS: Creating a New Normal on Race, One Conversation at a Time

No matter where you are on the spectrum of unconscious bias and race awareness, in America you are swimming in it 24/7.  Anchored in facts about our U.S. history that most of us never learned in school, this 2-day intensive workshop is an experiential, personal exploration of race and its impact on our perspectives that is guaranteed to give you an experience of diversity, not just a discussion about it.  Targeted for leaders and professionals who are wrestling with how to embody genuine inclusion in order to respond authentically to the cultural shifts after 2020’s racial protests, this approach, tested over 5 years, unlocks a depth of connection and learning unprecedented in mixed race company. Learn more.

Learn more about all the programs offered in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

DEI Program Promotes Equity and Belonging in the Workplace

This article was originally shared on the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies News & Events page. 

Maria Kelts is the Head of Enterprise Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, at Capital One Financial, but she doesn’t rely on diversity training to make workplaces more equitable and welcoming.

“Diversity training is not a stand-alone solution, and many challenge its effectiveness in organizations,” Kelts says. “I would also focus on creating fair, equitable, and transparent people processes that are sustainable” and encompass the entire employee lifecycle, from the time they are recruited till when they say good-bye.

Because, as she explains, if people “leave your organization with a pervasive feeling of inclusion,” they will promote it as a great place to work or be a long-term customer.

An Increasing Demand

This distinction—between relatively narrow diversity training and a more holistic approach—also applies to Kelts’ other position as an instructor in the Executive Certificate in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion program at Georgetown University. Led by academics and experienced practitioners, the certificate emphasizes the best practices and latest academic research in cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

“The course is experiential in nature and is built on the foundation of understanding oneself through the identities one holds and acknowledging oneself as a change agent,” Kelts says. “Knowing how you walk through the world allows you to more effectively analyze, diagnose, and address DEI issues in the workplace and beyond.”

Many practitioners in her field “are absolutely exhausted right now,” Kelts says. Certainly, the pandemic’s outsized impact on underrepresented groups and a heightened focus on racial justice have compelled corporations to initiate, or reinvest in, programs to address inequities. But this investment is also part of a broader trend of corporate commitment to DEI. The demand for qualified practitioners has grown dramatically, with LinkedIn data showing a 71 percent increase in worldwide DEI positions over the past five years.

Universities have also responded.

“We’re at capacity every quarter,” Kelts says of Georgetown’s DEI certificate program, which includes six intensive courses that must be completed within six months. “The demand has enabled us to be selective with those who apply. It is highly competitive.” Admissions officers “are looking for individuals who are open to learning through non-traditional methods and embracing a cohort experience.”

A Well-Documented Advantage

The business case for diversity has been demonstrated repeatedly in recent years: Simply put, diverse, inclusive, and equitable companies are more profitable. According to MarketWatch: “Diverse companies are 70 percent more likely to capture new markets than organizations that do not actively recruit and support talent from under-represented groups.”

This statistic makes particular sense when considering the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that is required for innovation: Is this more likely to come from a group with similar backgrounds, mindsets, and experiences, or a group with more diverse ones? The answer is self-evident. In addition, forward-thinking companies are more focused on addressing inclusivity, fairness, and social responsibility—and in attracting talented prospects who prioritize these values when choosing a job.

“Diversity is an absolute reality,” Kelts says. “One cannot argue with the changing composition of the United States. In addition to being inclusive of differences, and providing your employees with role clarity, a belief that they are being fairly invested in and rewarded is essential in enhancing a feeling of belonging that leads to greater engagement and outcomes.”

A Quest for Self-Knowledge

Georgetown’s program generally attracts three kinds of students, Kelts says. They include: people who have been tasked by their organizations to implement a DEI program; those already in the field who want to learn new skills; and others who are “generally interested in DEI as a field of study.”

Early in the program, students engage in a personal inquiry designed to increase their self-knowledge. “It’s very important that you develop a level of awareness around self—how you experience the world and how that peppers and flavors your interactions with others—and really have clarity on that piece first,” Kelts says. “And then you can dive into, for example, understanding how to address systemic inequities in systems at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.”

Kelts says the benefits of this kind of experience go beyond one’s working life.

“Not everybody who completes the certificate program is going to work in a DEI position, nor should they,” Kelts says. “One of our students shared that this program provided them with tools to transform every space they enter. The cohort experience is a unique opportunity to build a network of support as one moves forward with their DEI journey. We know our sphere of influence extends beyond our workplace, including our friends, family, and community.”


Learn more about Georgetown’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program here.  

Antiracist Leadership

This post was shared by Institute for Transformational Leadership Academic Director – Bill Pullen. 

On a cold January day a few weeks ago, my heart sank as I watched a group of my fellow Americans, holding Confederate flags and racist signs, storm the Capitol. Even though the participants had long telegraphed their intentions, the putridness of the images and videos from the insurrection managed to shock me. As with the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor last year, the forces of hate that undergird so much of American society were on full display.

As a White American, I had the privilege to be shocked, whereas discrimination and racially based violence are a daily reality for Black Americans. Still, there are moments of inflection that rip away the veneer of civility that permits our country to pretend to be something other than what we are. The events of January 6th were one such crucible moment. The insurrectionists had a message to tell America about who they believe deserve to be treated equally and who they believe do not; we cannot pretend that we did not hear them.

The currents in our society that produced the January 6th insurrection did not begin that day. The people who stormed the Capitol had spent their lives drinking deeply at the trough of a national narrative that told them that power is only legitimate if it is used to reinforce systems of racial oppression. This does not absolve them from responsibility for their actions. It does help us have a context for why they did what they did. Such information can – if acted upon – lead to change.

We ask ourselves, what are Americans – specifically White Americans – called to do to ensure that this crucible moment leads to positive change rather than a retreat to purposeful ignorance?

An obvious answer, one whose urgency is brought home with sickening regularity, is that we need antiracist leadership. For White Americans, sitting back and saying “I am going to avoid racist behaviors” is not enough.

Being an antiracist leader means building, daily, a conscious awareness of the pervasiveness of racism and taking action to end racial inequities in our lives and in our institutions. It involves the recognition that racism is everyone’s problem, and that we can all play a part in breaking down the systems that support it.

The 400-year legacy of White supremacy in our country means that the patterns and systems of racist oppression against Black Americans are deeply embedded in our culture, to a degree that they consciously and unconsciously impact how White Americans think and act. While explicit forms of racism – Confederate flags, for example – are easy to see, antiracist leaders look beyond these obvious signifiers to examine hidden structural inequalities and actively work to overturn them. This is the true work of anti-racist leadership.

In his book Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, Congressman John Lewis writes, “…the true work of social transformation starts within. It begins inside your own heart and mind, because the battleground of human transformation is really, more than any other thing, the struggle within the human consciousness to believe and accept what is true, thus, to truly revolutionize our society, we must first revolutionize ourselves. We must be the change we seek if we are to effectively demand transformation from others.”

As a White American who is committed to learning to become an anti-racist leader, I must first understand my own Whiteness and the privilege and power that comes with it and then build upon this to recognize and uncover the systems that reinforce this same privilege and power.

For White Americans, antiracist leadership begins with recognizing one’s own internalized racism and biases, but it doesn’t end there. Antiracist leaders are called to do the work of ending overtly and covertly racist policies and systems in the organizations of which they are members. Institutional racism is found in policies and practices that benefit White Americans to the disadvantage of people of color. These systems are embedded in education, housing, employment, and – as has been seen clearly in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic – health care.

In his book How to Be an Antiracist, Dr. Ibrahim X. Kendi suggests that we start with one simple premise: “… believe in the possibility that we can strive to be antiracist from this day forward. Believe in the possibility that we can transform our society….” From such a small beginning, many things are possible if we work together to dismantle the structures that hold all of us back. The events of January 6th showed America the face of its past. It does not have to be the face of our future.

To hear more on Antiracist Leadership, download the Transformational Leadership for Transformational Times podcast. 

Honoring Our Graduate Community

As 2020 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to honor the work the graduate community of Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership has done this year to support our leaders, our organizations, and our communities.

To our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practitioners, you have helped us see a way forward as individuals, organizations and as a nation as we grapple with injustices and inequalities.  Your knowledge and skill has been called upon to assess organizations and propose strategic solutions to long-standing issues that prevent all employees from thriving and succeeding.  You have invited us into difficult conversations and encouraged us to stay with the discomfort of this work as we examine our own biases and role in oppression.   You have used yourself as an instrument of change sharing your personal journey for the greater good. 

To our leadership coaches, you have supported leaders through the most challenging of times.  You have been there as leaders have been tested in ways that dramatically exceed the scope of any prior situation.  You coached them to think differently, act boldly and lead compassionately. You helped them build the resilience necessary to sustain themselves and their organizations for the long-term and helped them learn about themselves and leadership along the way.     

To our health & wellness coaches, you supported health and well-being during one of the most dramatic and stressful changes of our time.  You have helped clients adapt to the realities of this year by helping them to align their daily choices in this new environment with their personal values.  You have served as pioneers in a field that is emerging as a critical component in empowering patients to actively participate in their own care. 

To our Organizational Development (OD) professionals, you have paved the path for how OD will be done in the future.  The year has necessitated new ways of leading people, managing teams, and working with data.  You have exercised creativity, resilience and supported organizations in re-imagining what is possible.  You have brought optimism and compassion to help sustain organizations well into the future. 

To our facilitators, you have created a new standard in how to lead virtual gatherings.  Your design skills have been tested as you reimagined business events that connected participants’ ideas while also tapping into their bodies, spirits and emotions. You have been called upon to design and facilitate intimate personal events from honoring individual milestones to end-of-life celebrations that were once unimaginable in the virtual space.  While physically apart, your creativity, presence and grace has brought us together in meaningful ways.

Because of all of you, leaders are more reflective, compassionate and in tune with their personal wellness, organizations are better positioned to see themselves and create lasting change, our virtual gatherings are more engaging and inclusive, and individuals and systems are starting to see prevailing inequality and injustices and making strategic moves to promote diverse, equity and inclusion.  Please know that the work you do, especially in 2020, has made a difference as we all work to create a more sustainable and compassionate future.

In Solidarity with our Black Community

A version of this message was originally shared with the ITL community via graduate email listserves on June 2, 2020.

On behalf of the Institute for Transformational Leadership in Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, we find ourselves in a time of great uncertainty, loss, heartache, and persistent racial injustice.  The recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and many more have ignited deep sadness, frustration, and intolerance for systems that continue to create results that are contrary to our values and beliefs. We are in solidarity with the Black community, and we unequivocally affirm that #BlackLivesMatter. 

In a message to the Georgetown community, Georgetown’s President John DeGioia asks each of us to confront racism by looking inside ourselves to examine how we individually might be perpetuating injustice and sustaining racist structures.  As you know, this type of deep reflective work is at the heart of what we do in the Institute for Transformational Leadership. Once we are able to see and feel where this resides in ourselves, we can compassionately begin the work of entering into the hard conversations and doing the work that so desperately needs to be done. 

While this is life-long work, never has it been more important to use ourselves as an instrument of change in this world.  As a community, we are leaders: coaches, facilitators, and consultants supporting leaders in all of their humanity as we work to create a more sustainable, just, and compassionate future. 

It is up to us to not only to expand our knowledge on these issues but also to take meaningful action within our families, communities and organizations to promote racial justice. Learn and then act.  We invite you to share your stories, your resources, your challenges, your inspirations, and your leadership with our community as the road ahead has yet to be paved! @GeorgetownITL