We are reposting this previously published material because we must remain committed to taking action as we enter 2023.
As we watch the Black Lives Matter movement unfold in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and that of others, some in the press and others whose names will not be remembered by the masses, we want to offer a blog that provides actions we can each take in addition to protesting. Each of us has a role to play in eliminating systemic racism. No step is too small when we are touching the lives of our neighbors, friends, and the precious people who are adversely impacted. Again, no positive action is too small. This post is offered by Maureen Metcalf, Founder of the Innovative Leadership Institute. We are personally committed to making an impact.
A Call To Action from Black Tech 614 – Columbus, Ohio
For organizations and individuals who are motivated to act in the interest of Black People and their communities through technology-based skills and opportunities, we offer these positive, peaceful, and proactive commitments.
Help Us Adopt a School
The gaps that slow economic progress show up in schools first. Greater access to high-quality teacher training, technology devices, broadband, mentors, and skill development activities will help our schools close the digital divide for students and their families. With your financial support and organizational partnership, we will work with TECH CORPS to bring much-needed resources into a school in Columbus.
Help Black Founders Get Access to Capital
Black founders are disproportionately creating employment and wealth opportunities in historically Black communities and with Black Men and Women. Due to systemic barriers and biases, many struggle to access traditional venture capital, private equity, and loans. We will work with The Columbus Minority Business Assistance Center at the Columbus Urban League Huntington Empowerment Center and BLK hack to connect innovators with capital.
Help Black Men and Women Get Second Chances to Build a Stable Income.
Beyond the Black Tech 614 call to action, The Innovative Leadership Institute would like to recommend resources to educate yourself as well as share information about one of our ILI Team Members and his Business, Hire-Directions.
Educate Yourself – Listen to podcasts to learn more about bias and how successful leaders overcome the impact it causes.
- Listen to our show – Implicit Bias – What You Don’t See Hurts You! Dr. Rebecca Heiss discusses how Implicit bias creates a disadvantage for leaders and their organizations. We want listeners to understand implicit bias and how it impacts each of us. As leaders, we need to understand and manage implicit biases because they impact our hiring choices, promotion and succession decisions, and policies. To hire and retain top talent, we need to remove bias from the decision-making process as much as possible.
- Listen to the podcast: Winning In The Face of Adversity: Overcoming Challenge with Grace. In a time when people are sharing more of their personal struggles, we talk to Congress Woman Beatty and Doug McCollough about their struggles and, more importantly, how they navigated those struggles so that they could make their greatest impact on the world. Congresswoman Beatty not only overcame, but she also changed the people’s view of what it was to be a successful black woman, and she mentored women to make sure the pipeline behind her was strong. The country was better because of all facets of her service! She talks about how helping women succeed helps America succeed. She serves as a role model for inclusion globally by serving with grace and decorum! Doug shares how his focus on inclusion is expanding the field of employees working in technology in central Ohio. Through his board work and his work as CIO, he is creating a pipeline that allows unemployed people to get trained and find technology jobs. He is helping build the system that will close this gap long-term!
Manage Yourself – once you listen to the interview about bias, ask yourself:
- Where am I biased?
- How is that bias hurting others?
- What can I change?
- Who will be my change accountability partner?
Support Others – take action that reduces the problem. We each have a role to play. While we certainly need policy changes and significant shifts, we also need to take small steps – we must do what is “ours to do”.
- Mentor – identify a person who is interested in being mentored and offer to provide that mentoring. Mentoring works both ways. As a mentor, you can learn about the life experience of people who have traveled a different journey than you. Use the opportunity to understand and advocate!
- Volunteer – identify needs that you can uniquely fill. The beauty of volunteering is you don’t need money or education. You can help a neighbor or a stranger. You can engage in a structured program like those advocated by Black Tech 614, volunteer for Meals On Wheels, or other programs that support people who need support (the point is to help others in times of need). Studies show that volunteering gives the volunteer a health boost and increases resilience.
- Research how you spend – support minority-owned businesses. While most of us will continue shopping for staples from big box stores, we can also allocate some of our spending to local, black-owned, and minority businesses. We proudly partner with Hire-Directions and strongly recommend their services. HIRE DIRECTION is a data-driven career, talent, and workforce solutions provider dedicated to helping organizations and aspiring professionals solve the job fit equation and optimize career development. The breakthrough map of the Talent Genome and next-generation talent DNA mapping technology connects people, talent, and careers to the right jobs in a brand new way. The Hire-Directions system helps individuals find, maintain, and advance along the best career path, while helping organizations acquire, develop, and retain the best talent with the least risk. Just as doing what is yours to do means making choices within your sphere of control, we at ILI are making partnering decisions with Mark Palmer because his assessment is the best we have seen in the market! I am not making a recommendation because it is politically correct. I have recommended this assessment for years. I recommend knowing who does the best work and buying from minority and black-owned businesses when possible.
- Hire black employees. It can be harder to identify and hire black and minority employees. When people have been systematically overlooked, they don’t appear in the standard search. Go the extra step to ensure you are identifying a diverse slate of interview candidates. I realize this takes additional effort.
- Create support systems to allow you to retain candidates after you hire them. Support could mean data-driven appraisal systems to ensure everyone is rated fairly and bias is minimized. It could include creating employee resource groups. Each organization will differ, as will each group of employees. There is no prescription. When in doubt, ask, communicate, and demonstrate care.
For all those people taking an active role in learning, discussing, peacefully protesting, and making changes, we applaud you. For those ready to act but unsure of what to do, we invite you to take action on one or more of the recommendations in this blog. We encourage you to share what you are doing with us, and we will post some of your comments.