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  • Writer's pictureDr. Juhanna Rogers, PH.D

Tools of Inclusion: Look to Your Managers

Featured in CEO Essentials, Nov./Dec. 2020, CenterState CEO monthly newsletter

The most courageous thing you can do at this moment is start!

That was my fundamental message to business leaders last month, as more and more organizations strive to chart their path for tackling issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace.

We know that advancing equity work it is not just about the statements we make, it’s about the intentional actions and strategies that are deployed to create a new way of existing in a space. Perhaps you’ve begun to take steps to better understand the dynamics of diversity. You’ve completed readings or participated in some awareness activities. Maybe you and your team engaged in the CNY 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge last month. However, if you are still unsure about how to apply the understanding of diversity and inclusion in the workplace into action, rest assured you are not alone. It requires management and practice. I encourage you to look at some of the key players — your leadership and management staff — and ask how you are equipping them to be part of the efforts to foster an inclusive workspace within your organization for all people. Are you aware of their level of understanding of issues of race, equity or diversity in the workplace?

As organizations develop diversity and inclusion plans, they must consider how they will include equity and diversity goals within their organization’s vision. Accountability for delivering those goals is critical. Corporate leaders have a clear role to play in providing managers with the tools they need to be part of this work, and in holding their teams accountable for helping build an inclusive culture.

To do so, managers and directors need to know the company’s expectations on diversity, and how their inclusive management can create a welcoming environment for all people, which in turn helps attract, retain and engage diverse talent. Professional development and equity work go hand in hand, therefore managers should also be trained to facilitate open and authentic conversations on race and equity.

Consider, how are managers cultivating a team that feels inclusive while accounting for diversity within the work environment? What does diversity look like on their teams? How do they celebrate the unique approaches that are reflected in the vast experience and knowledge across their teams? These are among the important questions that will help you begin to have conversations with your staff, to identify the gaps in knowledge and awareness, and see where action is needed. The gaps will help you build a bridge.

CEO’s Lead for Change series is a creative solution to get managers on the same page and begin action planning around inclusion and diversity in an equitable way. The series is a four-week experience that will help your organization not just talk about diversity, but implement strategies that drive change.

CenterState CEO’s Racial Equity and Social Impact portfolio is here to help you excel on these matters.

-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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