Want to earnestly learn about diversity and inclusion?
Just start. It’s that simple. Don’t rely on training certificates (yes, you can actually get a piece of paper that confirms your status as "inclusive").
"August of 1974 is when I started my MBA in Inclusion -- when I was born," said Tiffany R. Warren, senior VP, chief diversity officer at Omnicom Group and founder and president of ADCOLOR, at the Female Quotient in Cannes on Monday morning.
"When I see well-meaning training, it comes from the point of view of someone is the bad guy and we’re trying to create an environment for the good guys who happen to be people of color, people of difference.
"I really haven’t seen human training where it’s just getting us back to the basics of just treating people with respect and treating people how you want to be treated. Millions of dollars are made in fixing or undoing what has obviously been done to people in how they see the world. But I want to see human training that gets us away from the email and gets us curious about people’s lives and what makes them different, what pains them.
"Business schools can take on the task of well-meaning certificate programs, but we all have it within us to train ourselves to be better humans."
Warren was joined by Suzanne Kounkel, chief marketing officer at Deloitte, Eric Jacks, chief strategy officer at Collab and Marta Martinez, director, agency platforms at Google, to talk about the new rules of the workplace when it comes to inclusion.
Kounkel bemoaned the idea of diversity certification, branding it "dangerous."
She stressed: "What I would say to all of you out there who truly are inclusive is to play that up. That is a strength in much demand right now. Really take advantage of that when you think about where you want to go -- that currency is at an all time high and you know it when you see it. So if you’re an inclusive leader, really take advantage of that."
What can we do to be more inclusive leaders from today?
Kounkel: "Just start. Don’t worry about where and what. Just start acting."
Warren: "Feel and walk through whatever happens in your life. We wait for someone in our life to tell us how to be better or be less bias and honestly, the greatest learning for me has just been feeling stuff, and not going around it or avoiding it -- particularly the stuff that’s happening in the news. It’s so easy to skip an article of change the channel, but be a student and be curious because that’s how you build your empathy."
Jacks: "There’s no playbook on how to do this. You really just have to lead by example. If people see how you treat others that’s really the best way. There’s no agenda for it."
Martinez: "Be curious. Listen. Read. Watch. And most importantly, ask. One of the most amazing things you can do is just host conversations. Have a group of people in your office and open a conversation about the news, about something you’ve experienced, about something in your life. And in those conversations, be vulnerable. Because it’s in those moments of vulnerability that you really start to understand how similar we are inside and how many things we have in common."