Intercultural Facilitator Darin Short is taking what he’s learned working with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) teams to facilitate “Why Some Diversity Teams Perform at a High Level While Others Do Not” at the Thought Leadership Conference in Elkhart, Ind. on May 19.
The 5th Annual Thought Leadership Conference is intended to connect leaders in Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana working in business, education, non-profits, and local municipalities to “create a connected culture of inclusion, diversity, and equity in their organizations and communities.”
“If we are gonna solve issues of DEI, it has to be an all-hands-on-deck effort with educators, business owners, nonprofit leaders all coming together.”
Darin says the Thought Leadership Conference, which draws about 300 people every year, is the only event like it in the region. His workshop, “Why Some Diversity Teams Perform at a High Level While Others Do Not, is directed at newly formed DEI teams or committees; organizations thinking about launching a DEI initiative; or existing teams that are struggling with successfully identifying, pursuing, and achieving their DEI purpose.
In the past two years, Darin has seen a huge amount of organizations embarking on DEI work for the first time. Darin says these DEI teams, committees, and task forces play a crucial role in “laying the foundation for effective, meaningful, and sustainable work.”
“People often want just to dive in and create initiatives,” says Short. “That’s the fun and exciting work, but at the foundational level, we need to make sure we’re on the same page around what we think DEI is. We need to ask, ‘What is our shared purpose within our specific context?’ It’s about identifying our shared principles of engagement that will impact the way we interact and guide our work going forward. By doing that at the beginning, the team will be able to sustain itself and have the impact it wants to have.”
Workshop participants will receive practical guidance regarding how to create an environment where their team can thrive in identifying, pursuing, and achieving their DEI purpose. Darin will present case studies of groups he has worked with, facilitate a guided discussion, and provide assessment tools for participants to use in their own work. “Many issues stem from clashing personal communication styles. We need to learn to appreciate different personality types. Also, psychological safety is really important in DEI group settings, and we’ll cover how to create an environment of psychological safety.”
The 90-minute interactive workshop is a result of Darin’s extensive work partnering with DEI teams and learning what causes one team to meet their goals and another team to fall short.
“What I’ve learned is that people assume just because they create a DEI team or committee that things are going to go well,” says Short. “That’s not always true. Everyone comes at this work with their own hopes, passions, and expectations. They all may be passionate about DEI, but the question of how to go about doing that in a team setting is a complicated thing. I’ve seen teams really struggle.”
Teams at any part of their DEI journeys will benefit from the workshop. “I truly feel that anyone, regardless of their industry, will get something out of this workshop,” says Short. “I will be taking the topics of DEI and newly forming DEI teams and make it relevant to whoever is embarking on that.”
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