December 28, 2018

Event Recap: #BeyondDiversity Online Discussion

We all know building equitable workplaces is easier said than done. At the Forefront Summit, we brainstormed on what this innovative future could look like. Click here for highlights. Our latest online panel, Beyond Diversity: Taking Action & Moving Forward in the Workplace, is an important continuation of the conversation we started. Moderated by Forefront Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Yulkendy Valdez, the 60-minute panel is filled with valuable insights, experiences, and perspectives for diversity and inclusion professionals.

Missed the panel? The entire discussion is available on demand thanks to our sponsor, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  To access the video, please register and follow the instructions.

During the #BeyondDiversity panel, we hear directly from two visionaries who commit their work to cracking the code on equity and inclusion on college campuses and in workplaces. Pranam Lipinski joined us from Boston, MA. He is the co-founder and CEO of Door of Clubs, a platform that crowdsources talent and perspectives from the next generation through college student clubs. Pranam’s studied and worked alongside Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2012) for years now, and his research states that the top priority for emerging talent is equity, diversity, and inclusion.

His views were complemented by Dr. Kira Hudson Banks from St. Louis, MO. She’s the Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Saint Louis University and also Principal at her racial equity consulting firm, The Mouse and the Elephant. Dr. Hudson Banks’s research examines the experience of discrimination, its impact on mental health and intergroup relations.

Here are some highlights from our discussion. We highly encourage you to check out the entire discussion online. It's easy and free to register. Join the conversation on Twitter by using #BeyondDiversity.


  • Equity and inclusion work is deeply personal. We can’t overlook the amount of vulnerability it takes to work on personal transformation. As leaders, it’s evermore important to cultivate emotional intelligence. “We need to approach these conversations with an open heart. We’re all imperfectly human.” -Dr. Kira Hudson Banks

  • This work is ongoing and never ending. We need to shift our view from temporary solutions to ongoing bias management, just like we would do with stress. Bias management will allow us as humans to do our best work and never stop learning! "The research is there. The results are there. But the business world is stuck on quarter-to-quarter results and investor earnings. We need to have trust that an equitable workplace will reap rewards over time." -Pranam Lipinski

  • No more half-day and one-off trainings. Our field needs to help nudge companies away from temporary solutions. We all need to roll up our sleeves. This will eventually lead to long-term results in engagement, retention and recruitment. "We need to be intentional about equity and inclusion conversations. We can’t make assumptions that these conversations will naturally happen. We need to do the “work” required of culture change." -Dr. Kira Hudson Banks

  • Create opportunities to authentically connect with the next generation of young and diverse leaders. There are no excuses to not meet young people where they’re at -- whether it’s online, on campus or at local community centers. “This emerging generation in the workplace expects employers to prioritize social inclusion and to be authentic. Their demands set companies up for success towards an inclusive future.” -Pranam Lipinski

This discussion wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the National Protection Fire Association (NFPA). Thank you! We’d also like to extend a warm thank you to our panelists, Pranam and Dr. Kira Hudson Banks, as well as the West/INXPO team who helped us execute a flawless online event.

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