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Iowa Ideas 2020 replay: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy for the Workplace

Oct 26, 2020 at 12:01 am

2020 has shined light on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategies (or lack of) among employers of all shapes and sizes. While some may seek a quick fix solution, others are pursuing a deep assessment of their workplace culture, team dynamics, hiring and retention practices and beyond. Hear from employers along with d&I resources and the challenging pursuit of acknowledging the past while building opportunity to gain a stronger D,E&I for tomorrow.

Panelists include: Claudia Schabel, Schabel Solutions; Sarika Bhatka, Nikeya Consulting, David Moore, Toyota Financial Services. Moderated by: Bryan Busch, The Gazette.

This session was part of the 2020 Iowa Ideas Conference presented by ITC and held Oct. 15-16, 2020. The Diversity & Inclusion Track is sponsored by Inclusive ICR and Workforce Track Sponsor CorridorCareers.This session originally occurred at 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2020. The two-day conference hosted by The Gazette brings together policy makers, experts and community members passionate about the state's future. View more session replays.

Transcript of session:

This text readout is an approximate transcription of the session.

Sponsor message from ICR Iowa.

Alright, if you're just joining us now, welcome to the last session of the first day of Iowa Ideas 2020. So excited that you guys stuck around for Diversity and Inclusion, Equity and Inclusion Strategies for the workplace as part of our workforce track. I will be your room host. My name is Liz. I gotta admit a few more people. There we go. And I will be monitoring the chat in Whova. So you guys are gonna have questions for this excellent panel, I'm sure. So go ahead and put them in the Whova chat. I'll get them over. I'll do my best. And a couple housekeeping things. Go ahead and keep yourselves on mute. Use the hashtag ideas to share your big takeaways from our conference we really appreciate that helps us inform next year's planning. If you have any feedback for the host, please give us some feedback and huva. We really appreciate that. Especially thanks to our presenting sponsor, ITC Midwest, as well as our diversity track sponsor Inclusive ICR. We couldn't do this conference without our sponsors. That's for sure. Now to introduce our moderator for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy for the workplace. Bryan Busch, Bryan, take it away.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 1:26
Thanks a lot, Liz. Welcome, everybody. I'm Bryan Bush. And we've got a really great panel between the three panelists that you'll hear from today. So I'm really looking forward to this conversation. Before we dive into the content, there's a lot to be talked about. So I want to get right into it. Before we get there. I wanted to just allow the three individuals to give a chance to introduce themselves, kind of let you know a little bit about their background and why we're all here Sarika, would you mind starting?

Sarika Bhakta 1:53
Sure. Thank you, Bryan. We appreciate you moderating this session for us. My name is Sarika Bhakta. My name Sarika means Hummingbird in Hindi, which is one of the official languages in India. I was born in Gujarat, India and came to the states when I was about 19 months old. So way before technology was accessible, etc. I am the President of Nikeya Diversity Consulting. My firm helps companies as well as communities to leverage diversity as an asset with equity inclusion and engagement solutions so that they can really embed it as part of their cultural fabric to drive innovation. I'm also a co host of the quarter business Journal's diversity straight up Podcast, where we have conversations with C suite execs of global national and regional companies. And I'm also a co author of power up super women. This is probably a love project of mine. It was an anthology book with 15 other global women around the world sharing their messages of hope and inspiration and empowerment while overcoming adversity. I look forward to having an engaging dialogue with Claudia David, and everyone who has joined our session today. Thank you.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 3:08
Thanks, Dave.

David Moore 3:12
Sure, thanks, Bryan. I appreciate it. I am also glad to be here. Excited to join this panel with Claudia, Sarika and with Bryan as the moderator. My name is David Moore. I'm a lifelong cedar rideon. Been here in Cedar Rapids for 46 years, for the most part on and off.

I went to the University of Iowa. So sign behind me from University of Iowa. I'm a hockey fan. Also, when I was a fan, even I just want to throw those out. I'm also a Patriots fan, as you can see, maybe by the other side. So that's been there for 30 some years so I'm not a you know, bandwagon type fan.

But I am a Kaizen consultant at Toyota Financial Services here in Cedar Rapids. I am also a chair of our LGBTQ plus employee resource group TFS called spectrum. And I've been a D&I champion for Toyota for a long time. You know, we're I'm passionate about creating an environment where people can be respected, valued and heard.

If you don't know TFS it is a organization that finances leases and offers protection plans to Toyota and Lexus dealers, their affiliates and customers of course, in the United States, we're part of the 36,000 people that are directly employed by Toyota here in the US.

We here are located in on the northeast side of Cedar Rapids off of Edgewood road. We have about a little over 650 team members and six Employee Resource Groups (ERG). So I'm happy excited to represent Toyota Financial Services on this panel today. So I'll turn it back over to you, Bryan.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 5:01
Thanks. Thanks a lot, Dave. Claudia.

Claudia Schabel 5:05
Yes. Good afternoon, Bryan. Good afternoon, everyone. First of all, thank you for having me. This is the Iowa Ideas conference. And I'm so excited. This is a big deal. So I'm glad everyone is tuning in. And we'll join our conversation today.

I'm Claudia Schabel, president and CEO of Schabel Solutions, Inc. As a diversity and inclusion strategic partner, we work with a variety of businesses in Iowa, in the United States and globally, as well to really help leaders build a more inclusive, innovative and productive workforce.

So we are on the mission to normalize those conversations and standards for inclusivity and help our clients build the skills and confidence to carry out their vision for their workplaces. So it's a pleasure to be here with Sarika and Dave, and let's get started.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 5:59
Yeah, that's awesome. Thank you, Claudia. I think as we kick this thing off, I'm going to just open up right away and ask for some audience participation on this. If you see your chat there, what we would like you to do, if you don't mind, if you're so inclined, pull up that chat, and just drop a couple of things in there. First of all, we're curious, maybe on a one to five scale, one being not so comfortable at all, five being I'm super comfortable, how comfortable?

Are you with your company or your organization's D&I strategy? So their strategy around diversity, equity inclusion? And then secondly, is there any specific topics? Are there any specific topics that you would like the group to talk about today, between our three panelists that you just want to make sure, you know, by the end of this conversation, that you would love to hear talked about, or you would love to hear some ideas around.

And if you don't mind dropping those two things into the chat, we'll kind of talk a little bit about that. And hopefully touch on a number of those things throughout the discussion. So with that said, we'll keep an eye there, feel free to drop that in as we go. But Sarika, I'd like to start with you. Obviously, we're here to talk about D&I strategies in the workplace. Right. And to start that dialogue, I think it's important, could you share your perspective on whether D&I in the workplace is simply an issue? Is it a mandate? Or is it really just an indifferent proposition? What are your thoughts?

Sarika Bhakta 7:23
Well, that's a great question, Bryan. And I think, if anyone that knows me knows that I look at D&I as an opportunity. But it really depends on what the company values and whether or not they're willing to be proactive or reactive on their D&I journey. And why I say that is because you have some companies and organizations as well as communities and regions, they may be at different phases of their journey. For example, some could be in the denial or avoidance phase of the journey.

This is where they may not even proceed, that they have any issues around DEI, their engagement surveys are great, but they have such homogenous culture. And it's hard for them to see it because engagement surveys are so high, or sometimes they just don't believe in the business case, or the human case of di so denial or avoidance, you know, phase of the journey. Some You know, when you think about companies, they may be in the compliance phase of it, where they're following the mandated anti discrimination laws to have affirmative action language.

And because they're doing it so they can avoid any negative consequences of litigation, etc. Or they could be mandated, and they may be in a very reactive position because of a lawsuit. And at times, this is a wake up call for them. And frankly, we know it's not always ideal to be in a reactive position. But sometimes, it'll help them maybe move forward. If they are in that position. Then I also think about some who may be in a very managing phase of their DEI journey.

This is when you think about companies and organizations as well as regions that are really being very intentional, being very strategic. They have a, you know, guiding roadmap that's very agile. And this is where they're looking at how do we measure, you know, the outcomes and be able to gauge you know, progress when it comes to the return on investment on D&I, you know, initiatives, then we have companies that can be in the very integrative phase, think about it, this is where they have a core value of di is culturally embedded, and they're looking at everyday business operations.

This is really important because regardless of leadership transitions that may happen, or changes in strategic direction, it is part of that company culture. And then you look at some that are highly performing inclusive and inclusive, or sometimes they're also known as very highly transforming pace.

This is when I think about companies and organizations that are exploring the next generation of D&I with the big data, the AI and it's really ingrained in part of their three P's of corporate social responsibility that goes beyond profit, so they're looking at people and planning It and how do you leverage that for their work that they're doing?

I guess, to wrap this question up, at least from my end, as I'd love to hear from the other panelists as well, is, uh, wherever companies may, you know, be and whatever the you know, they think about di, the question really, you know, becomes whether or not they're going to be agile enough to weather the industry disruptors that we are experiencing in the 21st century, from the global pandemic, the social unrest, the executive mandates and so forth.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 10:33
Yeah, that's really interesting. Thanks for that and say, Dave, Claudia, do you have, I guess, thoughts or additions or other perspective on that?

Claudia Schabel 10:44
Absolutely, I think I agree with Sarika just said, savvy, business leaders, savvy organizations are looking at their strategies, from multiple facets and dimensions, and really trying to gauge the impact they have on their people, but also on their brand and results with clients. So this is really not about necessarily my opinion about a mandate. If that gets you thinking about what you should do. Maybe that's how you're starting your journey.

But the hope here is that business leaders, organizations are going to evolve to really see the value of intentionally investing the time and effort in developing a vision and strategy for their efforts. So they can capitalize on human potential, they can capitalize on what they do well, and what they could do better, as they look ahead in their journey as an organization, but also, as a service provider, you know, our demographics are changing drastically, not only in the US, but also across the globe, there are multiple ways to serve the new trends and demographics. I think he you know, business leaders need to be very thoughtful about how to bridge that gap.

David Moore 12:10
And I would, I would just add to what Claudia said that, you know, there was a mention of culture, there was a mention of having a system in place. And I think one of the things that I've been able to learn through working at Toyota Financial is that, you know, the two pillars of the Toyota way, if anybody's familiar with them, our respect for people, and continuous improvement, and, you know, that provides a basis for a examining what you're doing right now, and continuously improving on it, you know, I, I'm happy we have 90 some ERGs, across the United States at our locations, I'm really excited to be a part of one and excited to be able to affect change. But there's there's always room for improvement. And I think if we've seen anything this year, there's there's a lot going on, um, you know, this year, and we have to adapt as organizations. And as people, I think that, you know, the respect for people aspect of things can't be lost, that's where it starts, right? You find ways to engage with your team members, you find ways to find out what is important to them, and meet them wherever they're at, in that process, or in that journey. Three good did a awesome job of kind of going through the different levels. And everybody from a personal standpoint, is that one of those levels, too. And I think that you can work with those people and really pay attention to those people identify where they're at, and continue to move forward from there.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 13:46
Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks. Thanks for the insight there. Now, we're getting a lot of good, good ideas as far as things that people are looking for us to talk about. So we'll try to touch on all of those, certainly, throughout this conversation. One of the things that I thought was really important to talk about, and we certainly don't intend to make this a, you know, a political conversation by any means.

But in the middle of an election year, a lot of a lot of things happening from a political perspective. And at that, you know, federal level. We recently saw the administration current administration enact a ban on certain trainings, for example, on those trainings that would focus around unconscious bias for organizations across the country that deal in the federal sector. And I'm curious, you know, Claudia, maybe if we just start with you on this one. I'm curious what kind of an impact you see that having both on the workplaces themselves and on employees, both in the near term and in the long term?

Claudia Schabel 14:46
Absolutely, Bryan, this is a tough question for me because I personally, I have worked for corporate most of my adult life. I understand the predicament of being In a situation that you'll have to at least listen to what the administration is saying, if you are a federal contractor, so I completely understand that it must be very challenging.

With that said, I'm also thinking that there are multiple instances in the history of this country and other countries as well, in which mandates such as executive orders, or laws were in place, and they were not moral. And this is what I keep going back to. I remember when slavery was in place, segregation was in place, kids being separated at the border, in all of those things are happening.

It often we feel that we don't have the ability to speak up, we don't have the ability to, to fight for just laws or executive orders. In this is the moment I think that organizations that came forward with statements of solidarity when George Floyd was killed, and many others. This is the moment when you make a statement, and you commit to demonstrating visibly, how you support the values of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are being put to test.

And this is an instance where your organization, anyone's organization, you still have a very clear path to making a decision. And being an accomplice, you know, being an accomplice means sometimes to put yourself at risk. And really challenge the status quo for for the good of all, in this is, I think the the opportunity that many organizations, federal contractors, or otherwise have right in front of them to really test how willing and how ready our day to really live up live up to their commitment to the, to the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion, it's not always easy.

But as business leaders, nothing is easy. So I'm very looking forward to seeing what is coming up from leaders in this community. And I'd love to hear from those of you that are attending today, how that conversation is going for you. Because it's a tough conversation to have. It's specifically when you have funding that is tied to following through with that mandate with that executive order, when you have maybe clients that want you to do so. So it's a tough conversation that should be taking place right now. So the short term and long term impact of this, I'm not quite clear what it is.

But I'll tell you this, Bryan, if you have employees, from racialized groups from minoritized groups, and if you have made some commitments to them, and now you are putting that commitment on pause. People registering it, people are watching it. So that's why it needs to be a very thoughtful approach, because you might be complying with executive order, but you might be losing the opportunity to build trust, in really fulfill that commitment better you're intended to do so. So those are my words, I'm still sort of sorting things out and digesting. How this is actually going to play out in the long term. As you said, this is an election year things can change on a dime. So there's a lot a little bit of a wait and see here.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 19:03
Yeah, that's that's really interesting, that sort of that balance between the opportunity versus the the obligation and what does that look like? So Rick, I guess what's what what are your thoughts around that from kind of what Claudia was talking about, of where, you know, where do you fall within that spectrum? And how do you handle that as a workplace?

Sarika Bhakta 19:21
This is a great question that you posed to us. And my great insights by Claudia, thank you. I look at what is driving diversity, the key drivers and Claudia had alluded to a few of those earlier, globalization, technology, changing demographics and your competition. Those are driving diversity.

And we also know that the three P's I talked about earlier planet, people profit and whether when the pandemic hit, you heard people say, well, are they really thinking about profit over people, they're thinking about profit over my health. Same with when you're thinking about about diversity training. And it's not just all diversity training either, right?

There are certain courses that are being called out. So I know that unconscious bias, white privilege, as well as race relations. And this is where companies and organizations and we all are going to have to take a stand. Does this mean that it's going to impact who I do business and client do business with? I will say yes, if my philosophy does not align, and if a client wants me to come in, and just do check the box, kind of a training, I will just say, I appreciate you wanting to do this and go on this journey. Maybe there's another partner, that's for you.

But I understand as you know, Claudia is that is not an easy decision is a challenging decision, especially when you have funding that is tied, because especially during these economic times, finance makes a big difference, because there's people's paycheck that you're also having to make sure are being covered. With that said, companies are going to have to take a stand in organizations are going to have to as well look at Starbucks, they just came out and they announced that they are going to link executive pay to workforce diversity goals.

They're not the first one many other companies are doing and you're seeing a trend towards it, because the commitment from the top is so crucial to drive the accountability, that transparency and the responsibility at the highest highest levels. Starbucks is also a federal contractor. And they have also indicated that they are going to require senior executives to complete racial bias training.

And this is, again, in spite of what you're what you're seeing what the the administration's recent executive order. So there are companies that are taking a stand, and they're going to see, are they going to lose a piece of the market share, or they're going to lose a piece of that funding? Can they capture a larger share elsewhere.

And I guess the only one final point here I want to make is that Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you know, when you're thinking about how they enforce a federal laws that prohibit workplace, you know, employment discrimination, if you look at the last two year, fiscal year data, they have over 72,000 charges of workplace discrimination that the agency has received, and over 70,000. And I always say that's not the number that I go by, because we know that many don't even get reported and get to that high level.

So what does that mean? Usually, when EEOC finds, you know, find a an employer negligent, then they're going to you know, give them some fines, or they're also going to say you need to do XYZ diversity training. And so this is where I go back to do we throw, you know, some of these courses out the door, do we reinvent diversity training, because again, we have to do the research, then all not all training that is out there is you know, up to par. Not all diversity trainers have the competency to be able to increase awareness as well as allow talent to be able to develop the skill so they can apply it back to the workplace.

There's so many moving parts to here. But I think that this isn't going to go away. And when we're thinking about executive order, we're thinking about the type of training that is needed, crucial courageous conversations need to occur, EEOC continues to see high increase in terms of employment discrimination charges, so we definitely have to continue to move forward in this journey.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 23:31
Yeah, that's really interesting. And Dave, I know you have kind of a different perspective on that to where somebody can, like you're talking about sort of the expertise of how credible is that training and to make sure that it is, you know, on par with where it needs to be because it is such an important thing.

And, Dave, I know you have an interesting perspective with bringing in employees across your organization as a fairly large enterprise that have different perspectives on that. Can you share a little bit about your, the groups that you have? who's involved in that, you know, how does that interact with the training that you do at the corporate level?

David Moore 24:05
Sure. Thanks, Bryan. And that was a lot of fantastic information. Sarika & Claudia. So I'll add what I can. But to piggyback off of what they said earlier, but no, um, I think to to financial services, what what I've been happy to see that we've done is taken two steps forward, you know, at least two steps forward, but moved forward as an organization through all the change despite everything that's going on.

You know, I think that when we talked about continuous improvement a little bit earlier, recognize that there's an opportunity to continue to bolster our efforts enhance our efforts from a DI standpoint, and we've been able to do that, again, kind of based on the common culture, of the organization around respect for people You know, that provides a foundation across the entire organization, we do have a variety of different organizations. Brian, as you mentioned, you know, we have, like I mentioned earlier, over 90 different ERG's, we have D&I departments and organizations, we have committed new efforts around social justice, in the workplace, and also in the community.

And so all of those efforts are continuing to go forward. And going forward, and even more of a rapid pace, I think there's a couple different ways to approach everything that's going on right now, in the world, when you're talking about COVID, and a lot of the other things right now. And that's, you know, you can, you can stop what you're doing.

And, you know, take a take a pause, maybe out of, you know, caution or risk avoidance. So you can do that you can keep doing what you've always been doing, you know, and not change what you're doing. Or you can assess the current environment, you can figure out the best way to adjust what you're doing to the current environment, but still move forward.

And I think that's the important thing. You know, there's, there's been a lot of talk about, you know, everything going on right now, executive orders, you know, just everything in the political environment that's going on right now. And I think the important thing that I've taken away from my experience so far is that you just have to continue to proceed and move forward to support your team members.

You know, it's when you have that focus, and you're thinking about the individual team members, and what they need at your organization. You know, you'll find a way to move forward and still provide the training or support or environment that your team members need to continue to grow.

Claudia Schabel 27:02
In, Bryan, if you don't mind, I'm going to chime in again, and I'm going to plant an idea. We have seen multiple communities across the United States have a CEO commitment to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, it will be great to bring that that commitment, those actions into this context of executive order right now.

And really challenge yourself to what point are we really committed to do this, because when businesses form alliances, when businesses Speak up, people listen. So I would love to see our business community really leveraging that commitment that they have made in a such a visible way. And and and really talk about this and take a stand and make sure that our administration, our political representatives are listening, because this is when we need to speak up. also want to mention that they are employers that have publicly stated that they would like to increase representation when it comes to talent of certain demographics, specifically, Black Americans.

And those organizations were also challenged by the current administration with an official letter from OFCCP. In those organizations, we're able to stand and say, we're doing everything right. So legal teams, buckle up. This is an opportunity also to cross your T's dot your i's and say, we're doing everything within the framework of what we have been doing.

Like Dave said, For many years, we just do what we're supposed to be doing. So that's what I would encourage all of you to do. Just do your homework, have that open conversation, do risk assessment, but don't necessarily feel afraid of showing your support, because you're going to be on the right side of history.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 29:11
Yeah, it's really good insight. And we've got a few things going on in the chat that I think are really interesting. And thank you keep those questions coming. I want to touch on a couple of those things. So we asked the group up front what your comfort level was with your dei strategy within your own workplaces. And it sounds like people are relatively comfortable in terms of kind of knowing where your organization is at. And I think that that is a really important first step. And hopefully this conversation and dialogue is, you know, kind of helps to inform where the future of your organization's dei strategy goes.

One of the questions that we have is related to sort of this idea of perpetual stigma and discrimination in the workplace for those that were convicted of a non violent crime, you know, when they're very young, and maybe reentering the workplace or just, you know, have been in the workplace But have that reality, you know, for themselves? And I'm curious if the three of you can kind of touch on that a little bit, you know, that stigma and discrimination? How does that sort of manifests itself? And how do we handle that as a workplace?

Let's go first, Dave jump in there.

David Moore 30:26
Okay. Um, wow, that's a, that's a tricky question. You know, I think it's a fabulous thing to talk about, I think, um, you know, I look at it from a position as a, as a yard chair, right, as a chair for a group of LGBTQ, you know, team members and our allies, across the organization at Toyota. And I think that, you know, we, we want to ensure that we support team members or prospective team members as they're being on boarded, by providing them the opportunity, you know, to be open and sharing of themselves, to be able to bring their authentic self to work.

I mean, that's a phrase that I, you know, a lot of organizations use, and we stand by it too. And we want people to bring their whole self to work and be who they can, who they are. Because, you know, if you're talking about it, from a, from a business standpoint, when people are allowed and encouraged to be who they are, as a whole person, they bring more to you for as a business as a company, as an organization. productivity is higher, you know, they employee engagement is higher, peer relations are higher.

So those kind of things from a business standpoint, and then it's just the right thing to do. You know, we've talked a lot about that. From a from a person standpoint, you know, look at people, their whole person and look at what they can bring to your organization. Because you don't expect and it is, you know, I think it was Claudia, maybe that mentioned a homogenous workforce earlier, maybe Sarika, but you don't want to have a homogenous workforce, right? You want to bring people from a variety, variety of diverse backgrounds together, because everybody has something to bring, and the more diversity of thought and opinion and background, your organization, the better. So I think you you allow people and you encourage people to be their their full selves at work.

Claudia, or anything else?

Claudia Schabel 32:38
Yeah, absolutely. So this is very, I think, important topic. And we have been talking about this topic for quite some time. I know that NAACP, here in the Des Moines area is very active in throughout the state of Iowa as well. We know that criminal history, impacts a lot of disproportionately a lot of the minoritized groups in our communities. And what that means is


when we acknowledge that we have stigma, when we acknowledge that we have stereotypes when someone has that history, we're admitting that their challenges and the barriers to employment employment exist in they are some instances, depending on your industry, which I know in some instances, there is no way around it. But in many instances, employers have the flexibility to allow people with prior history, prior criminal records, to join their organization, if they're not a danger to your employee population, no longer danger to society. And for many years, I think we have been very slow to act and empower those returning citizens. empowering them to just continue their lives and also continue to build their lives. So I think it's a real problem. So for for the person who put this in chat. It is a real problem. We do address a lot of that conversation around stigma and stereotypes when we talk about unconscious bias. This is not the only instance that a preconceived notion of someone my presenting them with a challenge to employment or challenge even to advance their career. So organizations need to be very intentional about addressing those issues and concerns. So more people in our communities can get a chance to have employment and be self sufficient.

Sarika Bhakta 35:00
I just want to quickly add on to what Dave and Claudia had indicated when it comes to re entry citizens. I'm not sure how many of you have watched the documentary "13th" I have to say that it was a extreme eye opener for me when you're looking at mass incarceration in the US. And if we're thinking about it from a systemic and from an institutional perspective, how integrated the social, the economic, the political and the business sectors intertwined.

And again, it was an eye opener for me, in terms of how things have compounded over time. And then what does that mean, from a stigma perspective, as Claudia indicated, and then are we being discriminatory? And where I think this is where it does have an impact from industry to industry, in terms of how you can engage reentry citizens as part of your workforce, because I think it can happen, we see success stories around that as well. And so I just wanted to just encourage watching the 13th, I'm always about learning as lifelong learners, I always want to continue to be able to look at different perspectives and resources that are out there.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 36:13
Yeah, that's awesome. I appreciate you sharing that. And then that is a great question. There's another one on here speaking. And this is really good segue. So we can maybe we'll have you start on this, if you don't mind. But there was a couple of questions around you mentioned institutionalized or systemic issues, when he talks about things like systemic racism, or, you know, other discriminatory or, you know, societal issues that I absolutely manifest within the workplace as well, I would love to hear your views on, you know, anti racism, or how systemic racism does appear in the corporate world. And in that, you know, there's some questions specifically about racism, but certainly in other areas as well, when you talk about DEI. How does that show up from a systemic perspective in the corporate world? And how do we address that?

Sarika Bhakta 37:05
And we have some great questions from our participants today, keep them coming? Well, I think from a systemic and from an institutional perspective, I really look at our processes, our programs, our procedures, say and when you think about how where's the inequities come in and play in we talk a lot about equality.

But we have to realize in order to get to the equal outcomes, then we have to work on know where are the inequities coming into play? And start figuring out how do we make that level playing field much more level. And I think this is where from the institutions in this is where it's gonna be a lot of hard work, but it needs to be strategic.

And that's why when you're thinking about some of these trainings that are being called out for, with this executive order, it's hard for me to be able to say, how is that helping us to be able to look at breaking down some of these institutions and some of the organizations because it's been ingrained over decades and decades and decades. And so when it comes to unconscious bias, when it comes to talking about privilege, and I'm not just talking about white privilege, I'm talking about privilege that we all have, and I have Indian privilege, okay, let's go talk about what that means for you if you're not Indian, but also race relations. And I, it's really important. There was a case that came out that was brought to my attention. This is in the tech in the tech industry in Silicon Valley, that it was an Indian guy, and they're seeing a lot of it for the caste system in India.

So if I look at race, I look at the caste system. To me, they're both social stratifications that are occurring. It's just really unique in the sense that is happening here in America in California, because you got a race issue, and you've got a caste issue, and it's all been compounded. So I think that, again, is really going down to your processes, your systems, and then systems are only as good as the individuals, because we're the ones that are putting the systems and institutions in place. So it's like comes back around to the training that we are really looking at embodying for us as individuals as authentic leaders to really be able to walk that talk and try to break those down. It's like the egg and the chicken or the chicken or the egg.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 39:27
Yeah, that is that is really a kind of a full circle type challenge. I think that's that's really fascinating. Dave, Claudia, do you have anything to add to that or thoughts from I know, when you talk about sort of the systemic racism or systemic issues that are facing us, you know, across the country, but obviously, specifically within the workplace itself?

David Moore 39:52
Sure, Brian. So I think that you know, sirica had hit on a couple of points. Uh, not not a whole lot. But just to add a couple things real quick, you know, examination of what you do, right? ongoing review of, you know, policies, procedures, DNI initiatives. How you are supporting your team members? You know, we, we know that there are new, new things that have come up recently, right. So you can't keep doing exactly what you're doing today. We have a lot of good programs that we've introduced recently, throughout this year, you know, that focus on areas that we hadn't had as much focus on before. So I think just reexamination and constantly adjusting what you're doing, to ensure that you're supporting all your team members, you know, is isn't important now, as it is ever.

Claudia Schabel 40:59
I, I think it's important to talk about the the system as a whole in order to also pinpoint not only racism, but also all sorts of discriminatory practices, right? Because when we talk about racism, we're really talking about those racialized groups. However, there are a lot of additional practices that are excluding not only racialized groups, but women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA community in so many others.

So I wanted to start with this picture that comes to my mind, often, you know, a lot of the rules that govern our lives, either in school, either at work or in our community, as a whole, are biased. And they have been designed with a lot of those assumptions about all of those groups that I just talked about, in over time, those ideas, those assumptions that people had about women, they have become very, very clear that they were wrong.

So a lot of those associations continue to influence policies, practices, and how we do things today. Today, it becomes a little bit of a light talk or a joke when we talk about women's role. But the reality is that it took a long time for women even to own their space in the boardroom of an organization. And even today, many of us are having still a little bit of a issue with either because we don't know if you are welcome or multiple, multiple scenarios in which there is still biases, conscious and unconscious biases.

And those biases that are shaping those practices and processes within organizations are really leading to those disparities that we see around us and work in in our communities. Those are the racial disparities, those are disparities in general, when it comes to gender, and also, though the outcomes that we all seem to not really understand why it's happening. And it's because we're not carefully looking at what is the foundation of those practices? What's the foundation for some of those things that are governing our lives? So when we talk about institutional racism, we're really talking about institutions.

Now, when you look at within organizations, it's more the systemic level, right? Those are the systems that you have. So even, and I think this executive order is a perfect example, Brian, the institutional I think racism is influencing how to push down on some organic actions that are coming from the private sector. And there are some ideas and how to really stop some of those actions. And organizations respond to that. And the system is to actually abide by some of those mandates by some of those executive orders.

So if we're not able to pause and decide for ourselves, how are we making those decisions, we just keep going and keep moving along, like we all will always been doing. So when we talk about systems within organizations. It's really about everything that is helping you make decisions about who you're hiring, who you're promoting, how you're communicating the value of your products. It's all in those three areas that we call the strategic areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, workforce, workplace and marketplace. So I went on here on my high horse, but I wanted to make sure sure that we're talking about this in the context of also our communities and beyond race, because that plays out as well.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 45:09
Yeah, no, no apologies needed. That's great information. And I really appreciate you sharing that. Because, you know, I'll dive right into this sort of, you know, plays into this a little bit. But it's a big question. And I'm going to blend this a little bit with one something that I also wanted to make sure that we touched on before we get to our end here. But there's a couple of questions around issues and trends with intersectionality experienced by Iowans.

So if you think about sort of the history and the maybe the stereotype or the false belief, right, of a fairly homogenous population in Iowa, and you know, maybe there's more diversity in certain areas than others. But what, what's happening when it comes to that, what are those trends look like? And then with that, you know, there's a lot going on, Dave, you talked a little bit about, you've got the pandemic, obviously happening, but, you know, the continued civil rights movement with the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ plus rights, you know, the me to movement is still happening.

You know, all of these things that are kind of meeting in the middle and, you know, sort of changing the fabric of what we've, you know, known or expected over time. How did those things work together? What are the trends look like when it comes to intersectionality? Within Iowa? What sorts of issues does that present? What sorts of opportunities does that present within Iowa? And how can we best support those team members?

When it comes to dei with respect to that intersectionality? Like said, I know, that's a huge question. I wanted to sort of blend that all together, and just kind of a lie to talk about that for a little bit. Before we wrap up here. Dave, do you want to start on that piece? Sure. I,

David Moore 46:55
I'll, I'll take a stab. That is a that is a large question. I'll take a stab a little bit, you know, coming from a from an organization that's been around for a while and talk about the team member support. I'd be really interested to hear what Claudia and suica have around some of the trends from an intersectionality standpoint, I'll talk a little bit about about that from a Toyota perspective. But, you know, I think that, you know, first of all, there is so much going on that everyone, you know, I'm sure in some regard of their life, you know, feels a little overwhelmed, right, by by things that are going on, right?

Whether it is, you know, social justice, political conversations, the discussion on LGBTQ plus rights, executive orders, whatever it is, and I think that, you know, when I'm when I'm thinking about how, how I approach things, how we approach things, from an employee resource group standpoint, there's, there's a few different things. And first, I just say, you know, try to put it in this kind of language, but, you know, we have to step up our game on what we're doing, you know, considering COVID, in the virtual world that we live in right now.

You know, it's not okay to say, because of COVID, we can't do this or because, you know, we don't have team members on site, we can't do this, you know, we need to find ways to continue to engage our team members, no matter where they are, whether they're remote or in the office building. You know, we've we've done some events at work, to to bring people together and you know, we we try to sponsor things through our er G's network, our employee resource groups, but we don't, you know, restrict them to to those groups by any means. You know, our spectrum chapter for the LGBTQ plus recently did a virtual parade.

As you know, a lot of the pride activities around the quarter were canceled. So we did a virtual parade where people drove through their cars and decorations. We did a food drive for veterans. Similarly, in the in the parking lot with our Toyota Veterans Association group, we did a supply drive for young parents network recently. You know, we tried to provide those opportunities and bring our er G's together to work on these opportunities as much as possible. You know, we want our spectrum group working with our todos group for Latinos, we want to working together, we want to be working with our Veterans Association.

You know, and I think that when we find those points of commonality, common ground, I think that's where we really shine, you know, as a community, right, whether that's a Toyota at a workplace, you know, in our schools in our community, I think that's where we bring those ideas and those thoughts and diversity together. To really broaden her horizons, and take advantage of all the different backgrounds that our team members come from, you know, I think the last thing I'll say before turning over, because I know we're getting close to time too is that, you know, support from, from leadership, to to look for those areas of intersectionality isn't necessarily going to happen just by wisey. I think listening is extremely important.

But, you know, you listen, but you also have to proactively go out and look for those opportunities. They don't just necessarily happen. So I think, you know, one of the things that that I've enjoyed seeing my time here at Twitter is that we do proactively look for those opportunities. And I think that's something that I'd offer as a takeaway. If you aren't right now, is that it? It happens not necessarily by chance, but by design and by intention. So I'll turn it over to Claudio circus. They want to go next.

Sarika Bhakta 51:07
Dave, great insight and great feedback on that question that Brian had posed. I guess I'll dive into just a little bit into the trends in terms of what we're seeing, at least here in Iowa. And I think we can see that aging population, we're seeing an increase in the immigrant population, we're also seeing increase in births that are happening, that are really happening in the immigrant population group that is helping to replenish the population. I'm also seeing, you know, in our own backyard, it is becoming much more globalized.

And with technology, you're able to have access to different parts of the world that you may not have, especially when I came as an immigrant. I've always said that, whether it's northwest Iowa, which is very homogenous from a racial ethnic perspective, or it can be good, right, India, my village that I was born in, very homogenous from a base ethnicity perspective as well. What would what would my world have been, if I would have stayed there and been raised to there, I can guarantee you my cultural competency would be much lower. Why? Because when I came here to America, I was by default, thrown into situations, experiences and interactions with people that look different than me, whether from a language perspective, religion, perspective, culture perspective.

And so I think the opportunity is that the more and that's why I say one of the key drivers of diversity is technology, it because that allows us to be able to stretch our comfort zone and really be able to change is hard I get it changes extremely hard, and especially if you've never been exposed to it. But I think with the change, it gets regressed a little bit when people come to Iowa, especially, you know, they come to our regions. And then when they you know, they may come from big, you know, cities, whether it's, you know, Mumbai or Delhi, I'll use that as an example. Because I know that from firsthand experience, when they come, they stay, and then they go, and I always ask them, Why are you leaving? What are you missing?

They said, it's just not diverse enough. So where do they end up going? They will go to LA Chicago, New York, New many big Metro places. So that's where they see the disability, you know, in terms of diversity. But what are we seeing that happens with increased diversity? We're seeing increased silos. I'll look at Chicago, Little India, Little China, Little Italy. So what's happening? They're finding their communities that they connect with. But what's lacking is that integration, and that engagement that needs to happen cross communities as well. So that's why I say how do you leverage diversity as an asset with equity, inclusion and engagement to really get to what we're trying to go for?

Claudia Schabel 53:55
You? Yeah, well said, David, Sarika. I think it's great. I think, to me, this opens a much broader conversation about language, about definition of what diversity actually means. And I love what Dave said to me the way I interpreted what you said, Dave is really doing what it takes to support your team members, no matter what, no matter what's happening, because diversity and inclusion is always important.

And for you in your organization, it's really leading to that core value of respect for people. So there is that very tangible tie to core values. So a couple of things. Every time I talk with a class when I'm doing a training or a presentation, I mentioned how important it is right now for us to embrace and champion diversity, equity and inclusion and find our role in this conversation. This conversation belongs to all of us. It's not just because Claudia looks this way that I should own more of this conversation than you do online. Have us have a piece of it, it matters to all of us not only to racialized groups or to women or people with disabilities, no, it's all of us even if you're a white man, and this is the year that I see a lot more white men be more active in this conversation around. What does diversity mean? How am I a part of it?

And why does it matter? So it's really important, understanding that in order to own an honor, intersectionality, and intersectionality is really honoring all of the identities that we all have, right? I mean, Claudia, I'm an immigrant, I'm lucky Next, I'm a woman and I am the mother of a puppy. All of those things make me and much more who I am, I can't just come to the table with one dimension of who I am. It's an incomplete picture. And and I think that's what we all need to understand when we're defining diversity, it needs to be broad enough to make room for all of us. So we can all sit at the table and have this conversation without feeling that we don't belong or that we are an imposter. With that said, many of us are going to have to learn how to have this conversation. Because this is not about saving anyone else.

This is not about really doing any of the work that doesn't pertain to you. It's really being a part of this movement and making a contribution. So all of us can understand and, and really benefit from having a diverse community, a diverse workplace, and inclusive workplace. I always say, Brian, that diversity for the sake of diversity is not good enough. We have diversity, because we want to ultimately leverage that diversity, perspectives, background ideas, whatever it might be all of those dimensions, all those identities that we have, in order to have those conversations that are going to lead our organizations and our communities to a better place.

So it's important for us to keep that into context. Now, for those of you that are feeling left out of the conversation right now, it's because we're talking about intentionally we're talking about race, Black Lives Matter. And that conversation needs to continue. With that said, it doesn't mean that just because we're talking about black lives matter that you shouldn't partake. Absolutely, there is space for all of us to understand, how can we be allies? How can we be accomplices, so we can have better race racial relations in our communities?

Bryan Busch, Moderator 57:44
That's fantastic. And I think that's a great point, at least to to pause for now. And I don't want to say to end the conversation, because I think this is really just a moment to pause, because we're up against time here. But you mentioned Claudia, that it really is a broader discussion and conversation that that should and needs to happen. So I would invite anyone on the call today, you know, if you have thoughts, questions, feedback, if you'd like to engage, reach out to the panelists through the huva app. And and ask questions and engage in that dialogue.

And let's continue this conversation as we go forward off of this call today. So we really appreciate you all joining to Salt Lake, Dave. And Claudia, thank you so much. I think we all can agree that we have so much respect for the three of you in the in the work that you're doing. So thank you so much for joining us and being willing to share your perspective, thoughts and experiences and everything. So thank you to everybody on the call. And we look forward to seeing everybody tomorrow morning at 830. And we'll continue ideas. Thanks a lot, everybody.

Claudia Schabel 58:48
Bye, everyone. Thank you.

David Moore 58:49
Thank you.

Sarika Bhakta 58:51
Have a great evening.

Claudia Schabel 58:53
Thank you, Dave.

Sarika Bhakta 58:53
Thank you Claudia, Dave, Brian

David Moore 58:55
Thank you both.

Bryan Busch, Moderator 58:56
Thanks, Bye now.

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