April 1, 2020

Speaking With Attendees at the 2020 Forum on Workplace Inclusion Conference, with Scott Fearing, Lisa Fain, Trish Jesperson, and Richard Webb

Episode 39:

The 32nd Annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion Conference was held from March 10-12, 2020 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Conference brings together attendees from across many industries and from many different backgrounds who all share a passion for and focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

In this special episode of What’s The Difference, host Sara Taylor attends the Forum on Workplace Inclusion 2020 Conference and speaks with special guests Scott Fearing (Manager of Diversity Education at the University of Rochester), Lisa Fain (CEO of the Center for Mentoring Excellence), Patricia Jesperson (Chief Curiosity Officer at EmployeeEXP), Richard Webb (founder and principal Diversity and Inclusion consultant at Second Layer Consulting), Kurt Wiger (Coordinator of Volunteers and Interns at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute), Rosemond Owens (Director of Health Equity Integration at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota), Jackie Thomas-Hall (Director of Culture, Diversity & Inclusion at Allina Health), Deborah Dagit (President of Deb Dagit Diversity, LLC), and Chris Matuseski (Organizational Development & Effectiveness Consultant at HealthPartners).

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Scott Fearing, the University of Rochester’s Manager of Diversity Education, discusses why today’s divisive and polarized political climate is a particularly challenging obstacle for the furthering of diversity and inclusion, and he explains why being invited to a seat at the table isn’t the same as being included. He discusses why the increasing prevalence of digital conversations has made no impact on the commonality of marginalization, and he discusses why focusing on commonalities is the solution to polarization.
  • Lisa Fain, the CEO of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, explains why she believes that social distancing, remote work and virtual offices can make building a thriving workplace culture more challenging due to the increased difficulty of building trust and relationships. She explains why intentionality and creating deliberate touch points is the key to overcoming this challenge.
  • Patricia Jesperson, Chief Curiosity Officer with EmployeeEXP, shares why she believes that a fully integrated diversity and inclusion curriculum rather than a chapter-by-chapter approach is the secret to adapting to the needs of today’s organizations.
  • Richard Webb, the founder and principal consultant at Second Layer Consulting, shares why diversity and inclusion frameworks used today often date back to the 1960s and 1970s, and he shares why there is an urgent need for more modern frameworks. He explains why there is often a disconnect between older and newer educational models, and he suggests that moving from viewing diversity and inclusion as a job to viewing it as a way to live is the key to modernizing our understanding. He shares why it is important to devote time to developing your understanding of the field.

Additional resources: