Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you facilitate your classes virtually?
Yes. I routinely facilitate classes both in-person and virtually via Zoom.
What's better, virtual or in-person classes?
It depends! There are pros and cons to both approaches, as explored below:
Virtual workshops: Many clients with larger workforces with offices/branches across multiple locations ask me to facilitate virtual workshops for ease of scheduling and simplified logistics. Rather than having 25 of your staff from 4 different offices all drive to a single location, they can log into the class from the convenience of their own computer and then return to their workday. While arguably virtual classes are less impactful than in-person classes, the many interactive tools embedded in Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms (like breakout rooms, Chat, and polls) support highly interactive, engaging virtual classes. I typically cap virtual classes at 25 participants per class to ensure that the classes remain as interactive as possible.
In-person workshops: I find that participants often find in-person workshops to be more engaging and impactful when I'm there in the room with them, able to take the proverbial read of the room. In-person workshops can be terrific if you're looking to host a workshop for a larger group of people at once. The costs of in-person workshops can be a bit higher than virtual classes due to my travel-associated costs.
Some clients have me facilitate a mix of both in-person and virtual workshops. Let's have a conversation and figure out what works best for you.
What kind of investigations do you do?
I regularly conduct investigations into allegations of harassment or discrimination based on some aspect of one's identity, such as one's race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Typically, I'm hired to investigate complex complaints that involve multiple complainants or respondents. My job, as an outside investigator, is to interview the parties and relevant witnesses and to make factual determinations regarding what happened and whether any of the employer's policies have been violated. Having conducted workplace investigations for about twenty years, originally as an employment attorney and currently as a Private Investigator, I pride myself on making difficult credibility assessments, having tremendous attention to detail, and conducting interviews in a respectful and neutral manner.
Does your work focus on one aspect of identity, like race, disability status, or gender?
Generally, no, it does not. My work originates in the broad definition of diversity as meaning "difference," as explored further below. Much of my work focuses on interrupting hurtful behaviors directed at any central aspect of someone's identity and helping workplaces create work environments where everyone can have a sense of belonging and connection. That said, I am sometimes approached by clients seeking the creation of a class that is specific to a particular aspect of identity, which resulted in my creation of a gender diversity class. If you're looking for a facilitator who focuses in a particular area that is outside the scope of my work, I'll be glad to refer you to any practitioners with whose work I'm familiar.
Can my company videotape one of your sessions and then share it with the rest of our staff?
Due to the highly interactive and often sensitive nature of the classes that I facilitate, I do not videotape sessions for distribution to the entirety of an organization's staff. In each session, I strive to create a safe, confidential space where participants feel comfortable sharing personal information knowing that anything shared during class will not be further communicated to others.
Can't I just purchase an off the shelf, pre-recorded DEI training to show to my staff?
Yes, you can, but I don't recommend it. There's been a tremendous proliferation of pre-recorded DEI trainings that employers can purchase and then share with their staff. I appreciate the cost effectiveness and convenience of this medium. I fear, however, that pre-recorded DEI trainings that don't allow for interaction and question-asking will not have the same impact as a workshop being offered live (whether virtually or in person) by a trained DEI facilitator equipped to create a safe space where participants can feel comfortable being vulnerable, sharing their firsthand experiences, asking questions, and processing the workshop's content. DEI-related workshops explore deeply personal experiences and perspectives and I encourage utilizing a seasoned facilitator adept at navigating these conversations.
I can't get all of my staff off of the floor to attend a 3-hour workshop. Do you facilitate any shorter versions of your workshops?
Yes, I do. The majority of my workshops are 2-3 hours in length. But recognizing how logistically challenging it can be for some staff to step away from their job responsibilities for a 2-3 hour workshop, I am increasingly providing one-hour mini workshops to my clients. Whether this is held as a lunch-and-learn during the lunch hour or at another hour of the day that tends to be quieter for staff, I regularly provide "bite sized" versions of some of my classes that lend themselves to this shorter format, such as a one-hour class on microaggressions. We can explore whether the workshop that you'd like can be provided in either a single one-hour mini session or spread over two or three one-hour mini sessions held over a series of days.
What's the difference between diversity and inclusion?
The terms "diversity" and "inclusion" are often used interchangeably but these concepts have distinct meanings. And both are essential to your work environment!
Diversity means different or varied and represents the what: the demographics of our workforce such as differences in race, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, physical abilities, age, and all other distinctions in our individual attributes.
Inclusion, in turn, refers to the how: the practice of creating a sense of belonging in the workplace. When we successfully hire a staff composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences, we need to ensure that we're creating a workplace where these individuals want to stay. Without creating this sense of inclusion and belonging, they're not likely to stick around. When we attain (and maintain) an inclusive workplace, our employees feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work and trust that their voices will be respected, heard, and valued.
What's the difference between equality and equity?
Equality means treating everyone the same with the underlying assumption that everyone starts at the same place and needs the same assistance.
Equity, in turn, seeks equality in outcomes. Equity recognizes that we do not all start at the same place and acknowledges that certain groups face different barriers and are provided fewer resources than their peers. Fairness can be achieved when we correct these imbalances and ultimately provide those with fewer resources the opportunities that they need. See the graphic below that represents the distinction between the two:
How frequently do you work with a particular client?
While my engagement with clients varies, the partnerships that I find the most rewarding and productive are the ones in which I regularly engage with the organization's staff over the long term. This partnership, for example, often begins when an organization asks me to facilitate the Understanding Bias and Prejudice class for all of its staff. Once all staff has received this same foundational knowledge and vocabulary, I typically begin working with that organization's staff on a more regular basis, such as providing additional workshops that are a deeper dive into myriad DEI related topics or consulting with an organization's HR team to review its hiring practices and identify and reduce biases within their current procedures. To give a few examples of my partnerships with clients, with one client, I facilitate one-hour mini-workshops with staff every month or two to ensure that DEI-related learning and conversations are a regular part of the workplace. With other clients, I have facilitated half-day workshops to support their staff brainstorming and agreeing upon a DEI policy or short- and long-term DEI-related goals. I welcome the opportunity to creatively fashion a partnership that is mutually beneficial.
How does my organization embark on its DEI journey?
On April 1, 2021, I was one of four panelists in Bangor Savings Bank's Matter More Chat: Incorporating Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Our Workplaces. Please watch the video below to get some tangible ideas on embedding DEI within your workplace: