Podcast Ep. 63: Dismantling Systems of Oppression from the Inside Out

May 11, 2021

In this episode of The Forum Podcast, Adrienne Kimball (Rubicon Programs, Inc.) and Karen Cohen (Rubicon Programs, Inc.) share Rubicon’s own journey to becoming a social justice organization as well as other helpful resources and insights for others to utilize.

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As an affirmative action employer, Rubicon has been tracking diversity goals for years. In 2014, Rubicon crystallized its identity as a social justice organization and a dedicated combatant against generational poverty in the East Bay. This fueled its decision to focus on systemic and cumulative inequity — first in the organization, and then in the communities it serves. Rubicon prioritized advancing equity and ensuring inclusion and belonging. This podcast begins with a case study showing the path Rubicon traveled, and then provides a framework for others to model the equity they wish to see in their own organizations.

Learning Outcomes
  • Identify common organizational policies and practices that serve to maintain inequity
  • Understand how setting competencies provide managers with metrics to hold employees accountable
  • Craft a checklist of tasks needed to show how dominant culture influences decisions, and find entry

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>> The Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s 2021 Podcast Series is sponsored by Best Buy. More diversity in tech means more ideas that can change the world. Learn more at bestbuy.com slash more of this. Did you miss the opportunity to join us live at the 2021 Forum Annual Conference, or maybe you’re hearing about the US’s largest Workplace DDI Conference for the first time? Well, for the first time ever, we’re offering our complete 33rd Annual Conference Workplace Revolution On Demand. The on-demand package includes access to our workshops, book readings, half-day featured sessions, art and wellness workshops, our Marketplace of Ideas exhibitor showcase, half-day higher education industry session, 16 trend talks, and five general sessions. That’s the Forum 2021 Annual Conference On Demand. Visit ForumWorkplaceInclusion.org to get access today. We get to engage people, advance ideas, and ignite change because of the generous support from our community. If you find our resources meaningful or valuable, please consider supporting the Forum today. Visit ForumWorkplaceInclusion.org slash donate. That’s ForumWorkplaceInclusion.org slash donate. Thank you very much for your support and generosity. With that, I’d like to say thank you to all our listeners and subscribers. You help support the growth of the podcast and reach new listeners. If you like what you’re hearing on the Forum Podcast, please consider writing a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you’ve already written a review, thank you. Please consider sharing our podcast with a friend, family member, or a colleague you think might find value in the content. Word of mouth is the best way the Forum grows. So thank you very much for listening and sharing. Thanks again and enjoy the show.

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>> Hello, and thank you for tuning into the Forum on Workplace Inclusion Podcast, brought to you by Best Buy. I’m Ben Rue, Program Associate here at the Forum. We’re looking forward to today’s podcast, Dismantling Systems of Oppression From the Inside Out with Karen Cohen and Adrienne Kimball of Rubicon Programs, Inc. As an Affirmative Action employer, Rubicon has been tracking diversity goals for years. In 2014, they crystallized their identity as a social justice organization, and a dedicated combatant against generational poverty in the East Bay. This fueled their decision to focus on systemic and cumulative inequity, first in their organization, and then in the communities they serve. They prioritize advancing equity and ensuring inclusion and belonging. This podcast begins with a case study showing the path they’ve traveled, and then provides a framework for others to model the equity they wish to see in their own organizations. This podcast will help you identify common organizational policies and practices that serve to maintain inequity, understand how setting competencies provide managers with metrics to hold employees accountable, and craft a checklist of tasks needed to show how dominant culture influences decisions. With 20 years of progressively complex human resource experience, Karen is currently Director of Human Resources for Rubicon Programs. Previously, she served on the executive team at Bay Area Beverage and taught Introduction to Human Capital Analytics for the University of California Berkeley Extension’s Human Resources Certification. A training and development expert, Karen has traveled throughout the United States running learning programs and coaching executives on how to best manage, recruit and retain a diverse workforce. She has a Master of Science degree in Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco, and the Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute. With a proven ability to make seemingly mundane material come alive, Karen is especially skilled in group facilitation and developing adult learning programs in the classroom and on webinars. Adrienne Kimball was appointed Chief Talent Officer of Rubicon Programs in 2017. She has been instrumental in building engagement, equity and inclusion and capacity-building initiatives at Rubicon. Adrienne works to liberate and multiply the genius and leadership gifts of marginalized people and communities because she believes doing so is the only way to sustainably transform the world. Adrienne is passionate about coaching and leveraging her experience to center the margins. She connects via podcasting, small group, and conference speaking and consulting with organizations seeking transformational change. In 2017, Adrienne received the Tipping Point Community Hero Award, and was the keynote speaker at the Community Action Program Legal Services National Conference.

>> Thank you for having us back. We recognize the Forum on Workplace Inclusion as a premier connection point of HR and DEIB practitioners around the world. We’re delighted to be here. As an Affirmative Action employer, Rubicon has been tracking diversity goals for years. In 2014, we crystallized our identity as a social justice organization, and a dedicated combatant against generational poverty in the East Bay. This made our pursuit of equity and inclusion a higher priority, and fueled our decision to focus on systemic and cumulative inequity, first within our organization, and then in the communities we serve.

>> During this podcast, you’ll hear a little about Rubicon’s journey. And then we’ll jump into common organizational policies and practices that uphold inequity. While I wasn’t at Rubicon for the major transformation, I’ll boil it down, and Adrienne will get to the good stuff. After 42 years, Rubicon realized the participants were coming back for services multiple times, and then they brought their children and eventually their grandchildren. As an organization, Rubicon needed to take a hard look at ourselves and the work we were doing in eliminating generational poverty. When we refreshed our vision, mission, and values, and decided to focus on the root causes of poverty, we knew we couldn’t do this work without shining the light on our organization’s relationship with equity. We conducted our first cultural responsiveness assessment and facilitated meaning-making sessions, so our employees understood the survey results. And you know what sometimes happens when you shine the light on something previously unexplored, people resist the light. They say, “You have it wrong. Those are just disgruntled employees.” So we trained our employees on this SARA model of reactions to feedback. That’s S-A-R-A, shock, anger, resistance, and then acceptance. We held two different courageous conversations relating to race and how to work group draft an antiracism stance that was rolled out to all employees. We engaged outside facilitators to guide our executive team on a six-month values-driven leadership intensive, and then conducted our second cultural responsiveness assessment two years later. I’m thrilled to report that we improved in the following categories. The first, executive team and senior leadership encourage and value full expression of different viewpoints. And the second, Rubicon has an explicit stance, framework, values, or guiding principles for addressing cultural differences. Well, I wasn’t here. So Adrienne, can you please provide some context?

>> Absolutely. And I’m thrilled to share that, you know, these two data points illuminated something for us that we had not thought about before. It was not enough for us to assume that either with a mission focused on dismantling generational poverty, that our workforce was comfortable understanding what was in our hearts around antiracism, and equity. We had been an Affirmative Action EEO employer for decades. And so we assumed people understood that we had a commitment to advancing equity, and ensuring everyone felt like they belonged in our organization. But the data showed something very different. It showed that staff were feeling uncertain about how they could hold senior leadership team accountable. They were feeling uncertain about how they could expect to be treated at Rubicon. And they really wanted us to be explicit that, like Ibrahim Kehinde put forth, it’s not enough for us to say that we’re not racist, that we were going to be antiracist in our policies, practices, principles and experiences at Rubicon. So both of these questions come under the category of organizational values. And so it wasn’t enough to put them on paper, to come up with fancy words. Our staff really wanted us to put on paper how we would support them with structural support and guidance with feeling like they can bring their full selves to work, feeling like their expression of innovation, what was important, would be not only recognized, but valued by the executive team. It really is a nod to what must happen with all organizational transformations is that it has to start from and have 100% robust buy-in from the top, that your executive and senior leadership team have got to be vulnerable in owning up to what is missing, and what they will do to make sure that they, the deficits in terms of equity, inclusion, and belonging will be mitigated. And that was really important for us and gave us a lot of confidence in moving all of the demonstration of our values forward. So I would highly recommend any executive team, senior leadership team to get together and really think about even if they feel like they don’t have the lived experience or the knowledge on the team, that they pull in an outside facilitator to guide them through values-driven leadership intensive workshops. That will really help you increase your confidence and competence, and not only talking about race, power and privilege, but in recognizing where your organization could use some shoring up in those areas, because it isn’t enough to have a top-down approach to advancing equity, or ensuring belonging at your organization. It has to also come organically from the workforce up to your executive and senior leadership teams. And conversely, like where there’s areas of strengths that you can leverage to advance equity, there’s also areas of growth, and that didn’t elude Rubicon. And so in the same surveys, from the first to the second, I want to share with you where we saw lower scores. And that sometimes happens. The two data points that took a dip from the one survey to the next was job descriptions and interview questions are designed to recruit culturally responsive staff. From one survey time to the next we had a dip of four percentage points on that question. And the question “I am treated with respect,” took a 10-point, 10 percentage-point dip from our first survey to our second. Again, we were thrilled with these responses, even though they reflect that people were having a less than stellar experience at that point in time. We were thrilled because what this indicates is that all the things Karen named, courageous conversations, starting ERGs, having more conversations about race, power and privilege at the organization. Our antiracism stance really helped people to become more aware of not only the structural supports that were supposed to be in there. So when they looked at our job descriptions, and they looked at our interview questions, they were able to spot where they were less than culturally responsive. They were able to spot where the language unintentionally, or maybe through long-standing intention around race, power and privilege did more to exclude people than they did to include people. And they were bringing that to our attention. And we love that. When we saw that the question, “I am treated with respect,” took a 10-point dip, we held focus groups. We wanted to make meaning and to get some understanding around what people were experiencing. And we were glad to know that it wasn’t around social economics. So people weren’t being disrespected because of their gender, membership in the LGBTQ plus community, or because they are part of a BIPOC community. But they had set new expectations for how they wanted to be treated, how they wanted to be spoken to, how we could create reciprocal feedback loops between themselves and their managers. And we considered this to be a moment of crossing at Rubicon around expectations for how you want to be treated no matter where you are in the organization. We love that because that means that we were changing hearts, minds, and expectations around behavior, and that this would be something people would carry with them whether they were on a PTA, sitting on a board outside of Rubicon, or just traveling through their community. They now had a higher expectation for a respectful treatment.

>> Thank you, Adrienne. Can you tell us about some of the organizational policies and practices that were changed in response to upholding inequity?

>> Sure. And this gets to the meat of providing some certainty and structural support for advancing equity. So one of the things we took a look at is the fact that we were conducting background checks. And it seems like that is a pretty solid traditional business imperative that you conduct background checks. But when we looked at like, were we excluding anyone because of what we found on background checks? No. And when we thought about the communities we served, and we understood how systemic inequity runs rampant in those communities, we know that Black and Brown people are more likely to be charged for a crime than their White counterparts. We really had to question who are we keeping out by conducting background checks? And since we weren’t saying no to anyone, at the point of entry like offering employment, we started to wonder who decided not to apply for a job at Rubicon because we stated that we did background checks? What talent were we missing out on because we were signaling to people that we are following traditional business objectives that are sometimes rooted in systems of inequity. And when we took out the background check in our recruitment material, what we did was cast a wider net for more talent, for people who had an affinity for the folks that we serve, for people who had lots of experience and background that they could bring, and culture add that they could bring into our organization. So we stopped doing background checks. What we started doing was references. We started providing references for employees, knowing again, that who you know is critically important in getting a job, knowing that we need to be a positive social connection to the communities that we serve. And for many of the folks that we’re bringing in, this is their first real job. And if we didn’t provide a reference for them, who would? What, what, how are we impeding their career trajectory by not providing reference checks as a way to reduce risk for Rubicon? Rubicon has been around at that time, 43-44 years, we have the social capital, we had long-standing positive reputation in the community. If we couldn’t leverage that to advance someone’s career, then we are doing more to perpetuate inequity than we are in advancing it, to perpetuating inequity than we are to advancing it. Biggest bone of contention at Rubicon in bringing in equity in our policies and practices is with requiring college degrees for positions except for attorney and mental health clinician. So we stopped asking for college degrees for site managers, for bookkeepers. We stopped requiring degrees for HR Directors, and yes, even our CEO position does not require a degree. When you understand the data, and you know that a bigger indicator of success as an employee is paid employment as a teenager, it really flips on its head who you should be doing outreach to, and who you should be thinking about bringing into your organization if you want someone who was going to be an exemplary employee. When you think about, again, much like with background check, who says no to applying for our jobs when we say we’re looking for an office manager, degree preferred, but relevant experience will be considered? If you don’t have a degree, if you understand systemic inequity at all, and you know, the resources it takes to get a college degree, the money, the time required to complete a degree, who are you saying no to when you ask for that degree? And we, you know, it took a lot out of us. We had a lot of conversations at the director level, hiring manager or hiring-manager level because they felt like an organization who is seeking to bring more economic mobility, and yes, education and a college degree is a path for some of our participants to get to more economic mobility. We know that it is not a path that everyone can walk. And so what we did, we replaced college degree with really being thoughtful about the competencies, the experience, and the expertise we’re asking for in an office manager, and we made sure to put that on the job description, put that on the job announcement. We don’t even say, “college degree preferred,” or, “college degree acceptable,” because again, if you’re applying and you know you don’t have that degree, you may not apply because traditionally what happens is, you have similar experience, expertise and competencies, but the person with a college degree, primarily someone who is White from a background that can afford the resources to get through college will get the job, and so folks just don’t apply. And we want to cast the widest net possible. Some other ones are our internal hiring, recruitment and promotion procedure we revamped to advance equity. And one, the last one that I’m going to mention is the one that we get the most challenge around or have the most challenge around, which is the bereavement leave policy. When you think about who that policy was written for, what traditional family values were considered when bereavement policies were written back in the ’50s and ’60s, you have to recognize that for many BIPOC communities when they don’t remarry, so there’s not a lot of step-parenting involved. Or because they have such a strong sense of connective kin, a lot of them were raising younger sisters, younger siblings, a lot of them were raising nieces and nephews. They don’t necessarily go through the court to establish that parental connection, but they do it anyway. And so we were excluding and asking people to come to work while they were grieving losses that were not represented in the bereavement, traditional bereavement leave policy. Same thing is true for Rubiconians who are members of the LGBTQ plus community. Unfortunately, for many people in that community, their biological family may not be the strongest familial connection they have. And so we’re asking them to grieve or find another way to resource their grieving because their family was not included in traditional, in our traditional bereavement leave policy. So we have revamped that policy. And we feel very strongly about that. But I want to take a pause here and hear from you, Karen. Like where, or how do you think companies can start to audit their policies and practices to advance equity?

>> I love that question, Adrienne, because many companies already have the committees ready to take a hard look at policies and procedures. Those committees are your employee resource or affinity groups. They can be tasked with providing feedback for your handbook and policies without creating a new team structure. Rubicon created the cultural responsiveness workgroup. But some organizations can’t support a new cross-functional team, which is what you want to have to evaluate your handbook or to review your handbook. What’s critically important, and I can’t emphasize this enough is that the company must be ready to make changes based on those recommendations. You can’t ask folks to weigh in and then ignore the work they’ve done. And I think, you know, early on affinity groups were tasked with outreach to customers, right? We’re trying to, we’re trying to reach more of this particular customer, so we’re going to create an employee affinity group and provide us with insight into that customer’s, you know, we can leverage our internal knowledge for our customers. But you can leverage that internal knowledge for your employees as well, and use them, task them with reviewing your handbook and your policies for cultural responsiveness and equity. I do want to bring us back to the bereavement policy because, as Adrienne said, when we presented at conferences, this appears to be HR’s biggest concern. You know, they hear from leadership, “If we expand the bereavement policy, it might lead to abuse.” Adrienne, did you want to add?

>> Yeah. I think it’s really interesting that people don’t seem to have a problem with the policy written for traditional White family structures, and they don’t think that it’s being abused now or, you know, are they okay with that? So I, I’m always, I struggle with, you know, going back to really a beginner’s mindset around equity and helping people dispel, you know, myths around what we are very conversant at around the characteristics of a White supremacy culture. And so sort of this is comes up for me a lot.

>> Yeah, and I, you know, the perspective that I take is that it was written for White people to use. I mean, it’s and I think that, you know, the policy is written in that way. And when we fear it’ll be abused, if we expand it, is because people think that people of color are the ones who are going to abuse it.

>> Yeah.

>> You know, imagine, and it is abused by folks now, right? If you have an employee who’s abusing, you know, who’s abusing your leave policies, you have a problem with that employee, and, you know, and that person likely has performance deficiencies. So we don’t need to create a policy limiting the support we provide our employees during their deepest times of grief. We create something wide and accessible, and we manage performance, because if someone’s going to, someone’s going to abuse, you know, a bereavement policy, they’re probably abusing other stuff first. So, in that I think we should talk about competencies. Are we ready?

>> Yeah. But you know, I want to say one more thing, and this is what I know. I think we may be revealing how much struggle we have with helping people understand why something like a bereavement policy which we think is really rooted in smart business objectives, perpetuates inequity and really systemic inequity. You know, you name like, if a person has a performance deficiency, they may abuse a policy. I do want to just, like, explore that a little bit. So you have an employee. Let’s say it’s, you know, a White employee who has performance deficiencies, and their stepdad passes away. First of all, we know that, you know, BIPOC folks, they don’t remarry at the same numbers as other folks do. So you know, the fact that he does not have to, you know, grovel, appeal, make a case for the five days that he’s going to need to go visit his stepdad and no one is minding the performance management means that he gets to use the five days, you know, without unchecked. No one, you know, assumes that he’s abusing a policy because it’s written, it’s clearly written in the policy. And if he’s abusing it, because there’s, he’s, no one is really even marking whether or not he has performance deficiencies, because maybe they don’t have qualitative metrics around performance. And so it becomes about, you know, personality. I know Bob personally, Bob’s a good guy, he would never do that. And we just sort of, it goes under the radar, but it becomes more systemic, because, you know, we may be watching someone’s performance differently. And then let’s say they were raising a nephew, and the nephew passes away. We have no bereavement leave policy for your nephew. And by the way, you know, there may be a side conversation about that person’s performance. And then we say, you know, these people are always trying to get over, they’re always trying to take extra time off, and her work is shoddy because, again, you don’t have qualitative metrics. And so the assertion about the performance is all personality based, or bias based. I probably over-talked it, but that’s what was coming up for me.

>> Yeah, I think I’m glad you did because it does lead us to, you know, we set competencies. And this wasn’t in relation to the bereavement leave, this was really in relation to developing our succession plan in order to create systems of equity within our organization. And I think that the, yeah, the bereavement policy gets in there, because people are worried about abuse. And I say, if you have someone who’s, you know, going to abuse your bereavement policy, you have someone who’s probably a poor performer. Let’s set these competencies and see who’s really your star performers.

>> Yeah, you know, data-informed HR talent practices are equity practices. And when you set competencies, much like, you know, setting competencies in your job announcements instead of the blanket college degree, again, knowing systemically who you’re calling in and who you’re calling out, around that. When you set your competencies, you say, “I’m looking for someone who can demonstrate these things at a high level.” When you introduce it in your job announcements, when you introduce it on your performance measurement tools, and you do that early and often, you are putting your employees in the driver’s seat. You are putting bias right out the car altogether, because that person will be, have some certainty around how they can contribute, around what you lift up as significant and not. And they will be able to demonstrate to those competencies through agency because they know about them, and because they know how to reach them. I mean, as an HR practitioner, we know how many times people say, “Well, I didn’t even know what my supervisor was looking for with high performance,” or, “I don’t even really know how to exceed the expectations because I don’t know what the expectations are.” Some of that comes out of a sense of urgency, which again, is a characteristics, a characteristic of a White supremacy culture. And I just want to pause and say when we say, “White supremacy,” we mean the ideology of White supremacy. Not just, you know, White people, and certainly not the most egregious demonstration of White supremacy, which are White supremacists. So we talk about this ideology that has characteristics. One of them is a sense of urgency. It’s how a lot of people get promoted because you need somebody right away. But when you set competencies and you set a succession plan, and you set qualitative metrics, what you do is you start to frame what it takes to be successful at every role, every function within your organization. And you allow people to meet those expectations, not meet them or exceed them on their own accord. And you can decide about promotions, you can decide about pay equity, you can decide about a lot of things based on qualitative metrics and competencies. I would encourage anyone to take the time to set those at every level in your organization. Same thing with succession planning, you know, we got a lot of pushback around something like pathways to leadership for people of color or pathways to leadership for women. People are thinking, “Is that equitable to White people? Is that equitable to men to have a pathway to leadership for a specific group?” If your organization has not worked out the nuance around how that is, in fact, equitable, let’s say you, you’re not there yet. What you can do is create a succession plan for your key critical positions and your leadership positions. You have a manager, a key critical director, set a succession plan that’s at, you know, who’s ready in a year, who’s ready in three years, who’s ready in five years? And then you can start to set those competencies on how people can reach, move up on the succession plan, people can track that for themselves so there’s transparency. They trust the plan. They know if they work the plan, eventually, they will be ready for that directorship whether it’s in your organization or not, they will know how to prepare themselves for directorship. They will know where they failed, and you have far fewer conversations about bias and subjectivity if you set succession plans, and you have competencies and qualitative metrics. These are also rooted in very traditional business objectives. And they just also happen to be equitable practices. I think it’s critical that people think about setting those three HR or talent objectives into your strategic plan, as a way to both foster equity and to track the data. Because if you start to look year over year, hmm, if it’s interesting to you, that maybe one, maybe the locations in your workforce happen to be passed over, and you have these qualitative metrics, you have the succession plan, you have the competencies, it will be far easier for you to make the case for diversity, the case for equity, if you can start to both aggregate, and disaggregate your data from an equitable standpoint. But I started to talk about creating a diversity checklist. And before we wrap up, Karen, I want to know if you can help our listeners develop a checklist of tasks that are needed to show how dominant culture influences decisions, and help them find an entry point for change? I talked a little bit about beginner’s mindset and nuances. And I have to recognize that not every organization is there. But every organization can start somewhere. So I’m curious if you would help people become aware of a checklist of tasks?

>> I’m happy to. I’ll start with CEO buy-in. I think anyone on this podcast does not need to be reminded that any initiative, any, you know, anything succession planning, or looking at your policies, anything you do is going to need CEO buy-in. You need to, you need to have the leader at the top say, “This is important to me.” So you may need a business case. Do you need one? You’ll have to define it for yourself, for your own organization. And if you do, how do you develop one? And CEOs often want to know what’s the path you want to travel and why? Why is this important? And committees. Another checklist item are your committees. Do you have a cultural responsiveness workgroup? Is that something that you want to create, a cross-functional team? Do you have employee resource groups or affinity groups? And how much credibility and authority is given to those groups? Are they based on characteristics? Or I was in an organization where they were based on geography. And that worked really well for that organization. What do those committees do? How are they perceived? Do employees feel empowered to join them? Or do supervisors impart some sort of bias that the committees are a way to avoid work? They’re going to be much less effective if that’s the perspective, if that’s how these types of committees are seen in your organization.

>> Yeah, I think it’s really interesting. And committees are a good way to diffuse power. You know, it’s another characteristic of dominant culture to think that I and I alone can fix it. And those folks don’t have the answers when you know, we have an inverted org chart and we say the information flows from the top, meaning direct service. And our job on senior leadership teams is to provide the resources and hear out the information that’s coming from the folks who are doing the work directly. So I agree with you, committees are a great way to lift up what’s happening in the organization, and to diffuse power.

>> Thank you. And we’ve seen a lot of leaders come from committees, and employees who, you know, start out as frontline employees and who took leadership, you know, took those as leadership opportunities and really grew to be organizational leaders within those committees. Another step was–what’s that?

>> I said, “Yes, I’m one of them.”

>> Yeah, that’s right.

>> Yeah. Another checklist item is communication. Who is accountable for communication? How and when will communication happen relating to any of your organizational initiatives? One of the most demotivating activities an organization that can undertake is conducting a survey and then neglecting to feed the results back to the employees. And I’m not saying you have to give out raw data. But people want to see what others have said. And as Adrienne said, we have focus groups to get more detailed information about some of our areas for improvement. And it allows employees to have a voice. So you still need to know how to communicate and also how to communicate initially for the survey. If you haven’t conducted a survey before, employees may be a little nervous to participate in one. Another checklist item tonight–

>> I’m sorry, Karen, can I share one thing around how and when will communication happen and who is communicating to the organization? I want to talk; I keep talking about these characteristics and worship of the written word is one of the characteristics of the dominant culture. I do think it’s really important to open up your communications and to communicate for resonance, and not as much for grammatical structure. If I could say, I mean, there are tools like Grammarly and other tools that people can use to support people’s grammar. But I think it’s really important that communication feels authentic. And that, you know, we, when we talk about excellent communication, what we’re talking about at Rubicon is being able to communicate for resonance, because a lot of times academic communication does not solve the problem, it does not communicate well, and I just want us at every level to be thinking about, what are we, who are we calling in when we set some of these business structures in place? And who are we keeping out? And how does that hijack our organizational intent?

>> Thank you. Our next point is around senior leadership capacity. And what are the competencies, the competencies and skills that your senior leadership have already? What about leadership is important to them? And what are their beliefs on and relationship to power, equity and relationships? If you have people who are in charge of silos, you have more work to do to diffuse power, and how comfortable are your leaders with giving and receiving feedback and having courageous conversations? We’re talking a lot about emotional intelligence. And Adrienne and I have spoken at several, several conferences about connecting emotional intelligence to combating an indirect opposition to White supremacy, corporate culture. Another item is strategy. You don’t–I had a, I had a boss who used to say, “An unaimed arrow never misses.” What are your goals? What are your objectives? And this is really back to CEO buy-in. What does success look like? And how do you get there? And finally, we have surveys and focus groups. We really do encourage you to survey your employees. Where, find out where you are now. I’ve heard a lot of resistance to surveys. And in many organizations I’ve worked in, “Well, we’ve just gone and, we’ve just undergone a big change. And so we don’t want to survey our employees now because everyone’s going to be upset.” In times of transition, just get your baseline. That’s okay. It means that you’ll be able to see a trend line that pushes up rather than down, right? If you’re making know your baseline is low, get the data, listen to your employees. And know how you’re going to use the data to inform where you want to go. So finally articulate the vision of the future. Take a look at where you are, look where you want to be, and create that path, and review your policies and procedures. That’s my checklist. Adrienne, did you have anything to add?

>> No, it’s a very complete checklist. I appreciate you sharing it.

>> Thank you very much for joining us on this podcast. Adrienne and I are really interested in hearing your feedback and any questions you have. You can reach us both at the email address talent@rubiconprograms.org. That’s t-a-l-e-n-t at Rubiconprograms.org, and you can check out Rubicon’s website at Rubiconprograms.org. Thank you again.

>> Thank you so much, Karen and Adrienne, for the wonderful podcast and to you, our listeners, for joining. A special thank you to our sponsor Best Buy. If you’d like to learn more about Rubicon’s work to dismantle systems of oppression, visit Rubiconprograms.org. New episodes of the Forum Podcasts are available at ForumWorkplaceInclusion.org forward slash podcast. You can also listen to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Anchor, and Stitcher. Thank you again for listening, and have a great day.

>> Thank you again for listening to the Forum on Workplace Inclusion Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe for a podcast to get updates and latest episodes. Also, tell us what you think by reviewing our podcast. We’d love to hear your feedback. For more information, visit us at ForumWorkplaceInclusion.org or search Workplace Forum on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thank you very much, and have a great day. The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Podcast is recorded at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of the most diverse private colleges in the Midwest. Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to 3400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran Church and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

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