August 26, 2020

The Importance of Inclusion, with Joe Gerstandt

Episode 58:

Joe Gerstandt is a speaker, author, and advisor bringing greater clarity, action, and impact to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.

Joe has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, government entities, and everything in between. He speaks at numerous conferences and summits and is a featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum. His insights have been published in Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Executive, HR Executive, numerous other print and on-line journals, and he co-authored the book Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships.

Joe has also served on the Intersectional Culture and Diversity Advisory (ICD) Council for the social networking platform, Twitter, and currently the board of directors for the Tri-Faith Initiative, which brings together in permanent residency a synagogue, church, mosque, and interfaith center on one 38-acre campus in the middle of America’s heartland.

Joe grew up on a family farm in NW Iowa, served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, attended Iowa State University and then spent 6 years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. He then made a career change and went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization, and this is where he found himself drawn to issues related to diversity and inclusion and then became actively involved in that work.

Today, Joe believes that we can ill afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century issues. A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees diversity and inclusion as poorly understood and often misunderstood.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Joe came to work in diversity, equity and inclusion through working in the nonprofit sector
  • What factors Joe believes have contributed to our slowed progress in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and why leaders often see confuse this work with compliance issues
  • Why Joe isn’t a fan of best practices since organizations and their needs vary so greatly from each other
  • Why organizations often forget that inclusion is separate from diversity and often don’t understand why inclusion matters
  • What major challenges organizations are facing today, and why the global pandemic is having a major impact on diversity and inclusion
  • Why our society is more polarized than ever, and why organizations must work for clarity on the behavioral component of the issue
  • Why diversity, equity, and inclusion within organizations isn’t inherently partisan or political and why organizations must set a standard of expected behaviors
  • What Joe hopes we will be doing differently in this work ten years from now, and why organizations who are doing the work now are laying the foundation for a strong future
  • What advice Joe would offer to new practitioners in this space, and why getting clear on why the work is important to you matters
  • Why you should define and work toward the unique contribution you can make within the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion

Additional resources: