• Dr. Juhanna Rogers, PH.D

Where to Begin? Getting Started On a Path to Equity

Featured in CEO Essentials, Oct. 2020, CenterState CEO monthly newsletter

We are living in a moment where corporate leadership and companies are examining ways to engage on issues of race, equity, inclusion and economic and social justice. As we begin to develop new services and dig deeper as an organization on these very issues, we’ve heard from many that feel lost and unclear about how to begin the work, and how to drive systemic change. The stakes are high, and it may seem like a huge barrier to overcome at a time when all eyes are on you as a business leader. However, the most courageous thing you can do at this moment is start!

Many people, depending on age, community in which they grew up, family structure, or comfort level, have had very few opportunities to engage in conversations regarding race and equity. For many, their engagement in conversations about race is often in its infancy. This makes it challenging for anyone to know where to start on a path to greater awareness, or how to take intentional actions that lead to shifts in personal and organizational behaviors that affect change. As business leaders, you may ask, how can we, as an organization, do more on this topic? How can we be more intentional about this work, and invest in a more inclusive and equitable workplace?

It is easy to acknowledge that change needs to happen and then resume business as usual. Recognizing that you, your staff and your organization are likely not equipped to address this topic on your own is an authentic place to start, because from there more intentional action can begin. There are steps that everyone can take to begin their initial assessment and embark on courageous actions toward change:

- Creating awareness: admit where you are falling short in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within your organization and set a goal to raise that bar.

- Create the space: identify a group of people or team to start the conversations and get insight. These groups should include people of color and some white colleagues. Your goal should be to gain deeper insight into understanding how race and current events are affecting the environment.

- Commit to growing, learning or changing something that you can do differently.

We are here to support you in these efforts, and available to discuss how your business can begin its action plan around race and equity

We look forward to taking this journey with you.

-Dr. J.

Dr. Juhanna Rogers is vice president of Racial Equity and Social Impact at CenterState CEO. Contact Dr. Rogers at to learn more about racial equity and social impact initiatives, DEI training courses and consultation services available through CenterState CEO.

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