Kicking off this year’s ETS 2022 was an exceptional presentation by Encolor’s CEO, Quinn Parker. In it, she covered How to Drive DEI within Your Organization and Yourself and highlighted the need to fully examine DEI efforts within your company and how you personally engage.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a leading topic across industries, but creating effective, measurable change can be difficult. Quinn was not only informative, but created a comfortable environment for everyone and approached this subject with a conversational tone. Because of that, she left room for an honest and fruitful discussion to take place.

One of the most important aspects she touched on was that each person has responsibility to examine their motives and engagement with DEI, whether a company has officially begun its DEI journey or not.

Before we got too far along, Quinn defined the terms Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Diversity is when different types of people have a seat at the table. Equity is each having a voice at the table, and inclusion is having individual voices heard at the table. She pushed things a bit further when she mentioned that if you were to create a Venn diagram of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, at the center would be Belonging. That is the ultimate goal of DEI efforts; to create a space of belonging for all people within your organization.

In order to be proactive, each person in the organization should self-assess, identify and acknowledge their own biases and assumptions, recognize that power dynamics exist, and do their best to mitigate those biases. Organizations can emulate that within their internal processes and structure.

One way to build a culture of belonging, Quinn mentioned, was to help cultivate empathy and psychological safety within your organization. Empathy can be developed by listening to others, slowing down enough to take in what is being said, being curious about others and their motives, and volunteering to be vulnerable with each other. Psychological safety is where people feel like they can be themselves and speak up about difficult issues without fear of retaliation. Companies can foster psychological safety through accountability, courage, humility, and empowerment.

I am proud to be a part of a company that prioritizes DEI, but recognize that this is a journey, not a pit stop. We all have a responsibility to examine ourselves and our motives and biases, and then need to look for accountability from our peers to ensure that we bring this sense of Belonging to fruition.