The Journey Toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Antiracism
By Mindee Kastelic | November 17, 2023
MSPC director of strategic growth Mindee Kastelic plays a central role in pursuing new business opportunities and deepening client relationships. Here, she shares 8 key DEI lessons we’re processing and striving toward together.
Because MSPC and our parent company, MSP Communications, believe strongly in fostering a workplace that is diverse and inclusive, we invite diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) experts to talk to our company. Most recently, we engaged with Seena Hodges, CEO of The Woke Coach.
Hodges helps people become better, more understanding and empathetic versions of themselves around issues of racism, bias and injustice. She also serves as editor-at-large of Forward, a newsletter by MSP Communications’ business publication, Twin Cities Business.
In today’s world, DEI is a necessity, integral to the fabric of our society. It represents an ethos that values the uniqueness of every individual, acknowledging and appreciating the strength that emerges from a tapestry of varied experiences, perspectives and backgrounds.
We cannot do this work as a performance for an audience. DEI is an ongoing commitment and a journey that involves continuous reflection, open dialogue and intentional actions. It’s about creating environments where every voice is heard and valued and where every individual has an equal opportunity to grow, contribute and thrive. This journey toward genuine DEI is not only socially responsible; it also unlocks unprecedented potential for innovation, creativity and progress.
The following is a recap of some of the most salient points Hodges raised when she spoke at MSP Communications’ offices.
Look in the Mirror
Self-awareness plays a crucial role in fostering inclusive environments. By understanding our own biases, privileges and power, we can actively work to neutralize these factors in our interactions. It involves recognizing that our experiences do not define the entirety of human experience, and there are multiple perspectives that are equally valid and deserving of consideration.
When we become more self-aware, we make decisions and communicate in ways that truly respect and value other people’s experiences and identities. This kind of conscious, empathetic interaction is the cornerstone of a truly inclusive environment.
As DEI advocates, we have a powerful tool at our disposal: narrative change. Our responsibility is not just to tell stories, but to amplify the voices of those whose stories are often unheard or misunderstood.
We can shift the narrative by allowing those most impacted to be the narrators, dismantling the single-lens perspective that has historically dominated our culture.
Don’t Be a Scaredy Cat
Fear often holds us back from reaching our potential or stepping out of our comfort zones. However, it’s in these moments of challenge and uncertainty that we grow. No one is an expert to start with; even astronauts had to learn and hone their skills before they could work at NASA.
The Power of Diversity
A diverse workforce is a powerful driver of innovation. It combines varied perspectives, experiences and worldviews that can lead to groundbreaking problem-solving tactics, product development and business strategies. An organization enriched with employees from various cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds is better positioned to understand, cater to and resonate with a diverse customer base.
Equity: Ensuring Fairness for All
Equity is about leveling the playing field. It’s about treating each employee—regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or other identity markers—fairly, encouraging equal access to opportunities for growth and advancement. By prioritizing equity, organizations can foster a culture where all employees have an equal shot at success.
Inclusion: Cultivating a Sense of Belonging
Inclusion fosters an environment where everyone feels valued, respected and included. It’s about creating a sense of belonging among employees of any identity. When employees feel included, they are more likely to be collaborative and innovative.
Antiracism: Actively Identify and Oppose Racism
Racism is not simply a series of individual acts or prejudices. Instead, it functions more like an operating system, running in the background, subtly influencing decisions, actions and interactions. It’s persistent, ubiquitous and often unacknowledged. But just as it has the power to harm, it has the capacity to be dismantled and replaced.
Every one of us has a role to play in this process. Choosing to do nothing, to ignore or deny its existence, only reinforces and perpetuates this system. We must commit to collective action, using our individual and shared power to challenge, disrupt and ultimately transform this harmful system.
In This Together
Creating a workplace culture that prioritizes DEI is an ongoing journey requiring intentional action and commitment. An inclusive culture not only benefits the bottom line, but also fosters an environment that nurtures employee well-being and personal growth.
So, let’s embrace our curiosity and immerse ourselves in learning by reading, listening, changing our routines and asking meaningful questions to deepen our understanding and to consciously choose DEI. Hodges’ book “From Ally to Accomplice: How to Lead as a Fierce Antiracist” is a great resource.
Recovering from the entrenched disparities that have plagued our society for centuries is not an overnight process. Let’s harness our own power and privilege to uplift others. This isn’t a call for saviorism, but rather a call for allyship and accompliceship.