33rd Annual Conference

March 8-12, 2021


WAKE UP TO CLASS: How DEI Can Stop Ignoring It

20-minute Trend Talk

Day 2

Session Code: TT-3A
When: March 9, 2021
Level: Intermediate
Track: DEI Strategy
Presenter: Mary Waceke Muia, wacekethecoach


Class is the elephant in the DEI room. Socio-economic issues permeate every human interaction as individuals size each other up as a filter to collaborate, compete or connect. It’s intertwined in human psyche, self-worth, esteem and image, thus affecting how we view ourselves and others.

Class. Castes. Socio-economic status. Pay disparity. Financial exclusion. The haves and the have-nots. Upper, middle and lower class. Whatever you call it, it’s not usually addressed overtly in DEI work.

We just don’t talk about it in organizations, unless perhaps we are in product development or marketing and our organization caters to customers of a certain class. But class links explicitly to unconscious bias, recruiting, advancement, retention, collaboration, social responsibility, leadership, compensation, being a great place to work, communications, and so many other aspects of DEI work.

This trend talk will focus on benchmarks that organizations need to achieve to reduce the impact of class on how the organization functions and how it interacts in the community. Not only will ideas and examples to achieve these benchmarks be given in the session, but the presenter will provide tips to help the DEI practitioner raise the consciousness of leaders and employees in the organization about ‘classism’ as a diversity issue.

Learning Outcomes

• Gain tips to help your organization or clients pursue class as a DEI issue
• Learn key facts and figures that define and amplify class so that others understand its impact
• Apply organizational benchmarks to address the disparities caused by real or perceived class issues

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
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Minneapolis, MN 55454
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Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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