Expanding Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion competency through Professional Development.
Professional Development opportunities, in concept, appears to be super easy to organize. “I get to grow as a professional, for free, with my co-workers” who wouldn’t want that? However, when it comes to creating and maintaining workplace environments that are knowledgeable and forward thinking, the intentionality behind creating professional learning opportunities becomes even more important. At the Board of Child, we believe that educating our communities on core Diversity and Inclusion Competencies is the foundation to promote inclusion on all levels of an organization. To take on this huge responsibility it was important for us to identify partners and teachers in an industry that is so broad and dynamic.
As an EDI facilitator my first job is to be aware that I am the “knower of nothing”. Regardless of how much formal education I have completed, books that I read, and trainings that I have led, there is no way that I can ever be an absolute expert on all things Diversity and Inclusion. What I do know is that my passion, my lived experiences, and of course my professional training provide me with a foundation to bring people together to learn about and move in a justice mindset. I pride myself most on being able to identify other professionals to partner with to ensure that the policies, initiatives, and learning opportunities that our agency creates is effective and truthful.
This year our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee worked hard to identify outside partners that could assist in our learning journey. To ensure that our goal of educating our employee population was attainable, the committee decided to host 4 professional learning opportunities on a quarterly basis focusing on the following topic areas: Anti-Black Racism, LGBTQ+ & Affirming Care, Cultural Humility, and Equitable Workplaces. To ensure that the content being delivered was interesting and relevant, we chose to partner with Diversity Trainers from diverse professional backgrounds with experience and passion for the subject matter. Collaboration is essential for any human service organization, especially for matters of Diversity and Inclusion. This journey can’t be done alone and its important to reach out and build community with professionals who can push your organization in the direction of inclusivity.
Tapping into social media networks like LinkedIn, Instagram and Clubhouse are both casual and professional ways of searching for Diversity speakers. Google is another great tool to use to identify other organizations that are doing great work in the community. Attend networking events where you have an opportunity to share the EDI journey that your organization is on an solicit the advice from others. As you can see, creating professional development opportunities, especially about Diversity and Inclusion is no easy task. It takes time to research and find the right person to partner with and speak to diverse audiences on matters that cause for vulnerability and unlearning, and that’s okay. In the end you are creating partnerships with longevity and professional development opportunities that will be impactful.