Tag Archives: Diversity

What Am I Thankful For? Me.

I’ve seen so much hate, contempt and disrespect lately. Over the last two weeks I’ve cried and questioned everything and everyone. What I’ve come to realize (what i think I’ve always known) is that I can and will do more. I’m demanding that the high standards I have for myself will have to be upheld by those around me and I’m positive that love and kindness is the greatest way overcome hate and indifference. While I could spend the rest of my life reciting what I’m thankful for, right now, in these times it’s who I am and what I believe in that I’m truly thankful for. I’m blessed to have these traits…

  • I am thankful that I know in my heart that I do not judge or have prejudices against other people.
  • I am thankful that I see good in others until they show me otherwise.
  • I am thankful to be a lifelong learner. Not too proud to improve my knowledge and understanding of the things I don’t know.   
  • I am thankful that I can give to others without hesitation. 
  • I am thankful I am empathetic and compassionate. 
  • I am thankful for my dedication to manners and proper etiquette. 
  • I am thankful that I can see pain through the behavior of others and treat them accordingly.
  • I am thankful that I want to hear the stories of others, expanding my understanding of the people throughout the world.
  • I am thankful that I can work hard. For myself, for my family and for others. 
  • I am thankful I can see greatest in others.
  • I am thankful that I feel best being kind, generous and supportive.
  • I am thankful for my dedication to children and young people, understanding that they are the most important.
  • I am thankful for my sense of pride for who I am and where I’m from.
  • I am thankful that I have an overwhelming need to give, receive and surround myself with love.
  • I am thankful that I know how blessed I am. Especially to have my family, my husband David and my daughters. 

It’s moments like these that we see how strong we are and the impact we can have. We are powerful. And in the words of my favorite Marvel Superheroe’s Uncle…”with great power comes great responsibility”
Happy Thanksgiving!

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day…

I am no more inspired to do good on this day than any other. Martin Luther King Jr. was is an inspiration. I’ve read his speeches and watched every biography. I am always and forever moved by his words and conviction. It’s difficult to see the world the way he did. I work, pray and hope for the dreams he had to come to pass. It’s daily work. Every day work. Not just once a year. 

My dream for this day, and every day going forward is that we can get to the root of the issue and we are all honest with where we stand as a nation of people. I hope that all people will take an active role in obtaining the “dream”, recognizing the positive, infinite impact overcoming will have on our society. I pray that white Americans can look at their everyday interactions (or lack there of) with people of color and recognize their personal challenges with diversity. It’s not a grand idea, but recognizing how you speak to, empathize with, react to, and interact with people of color hugely impacts the change we all wish to see. I will work towards creating the world for my children that Martin Luther King Jr. saught for his own. Where they will only be judged by the content of their character.
Happy #MLKDay

The Talk of the Town…Diversity 

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about diversity within the Pittsburgh workforce, there’s even a survey out there for Pittsburghers to participate in. My thoughts? We don’t need a survey to tell us that our local companies are nowhere near as diverse as they should be. 

I began researching  local organizations when I started my firm in 2011. I’ve researched teams and hiring practices for thousands of Pittsburgh organizations. As an HR consultant specializing in recruiting and diversity, I wanted to know the landscape, especially after being with one organization for almost a decade. What I found was quite disappointing. 

  • Many local organizations have very little diversity among their workforce. 
  • Many local organizations have no diversity among their workforce. 
  • Many local organizations dont’t have a method of recruiting that leads to a diverse candidate pool. 

When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, Recruiting and Training, I’m confident in my abilities. The “why” behind my findings and the reasons for the surveys and discussions about diversity are very clear to me. My biggest concern is purely, “how long will this trend last?”

From The Oscars to Google people are noticing the lack of diversity and watching to see how companies will address this issue in 2015 and beyond. Unfortunately, unless you’re like me, diversity doesn’t just happen naturally. When I recruit, I’m looking for the absolute best, the perfect fit. I use many factors to determine that, but race, gender etc. are never a factor. For most organizations, from small business and tech to retail and nonprofit, being an inclusive and diverse organization takes work, it needs to be a part of  your organizations mission and strategic plan, not an afterthought.

Locally, there are only a handful of organizations doing it right. If you think your organization has room for growth and improvement in regards to diversifying your team, which most do, start here:

1.) Evaluate your existing team. Be honest. Is it diverse? Who’s missing and why? Are various groups represented? Diversity means not one black or one woman but rather a diverse group of people working in  various levels within the organization. This includes management and leadership.

2.) Ensure your hiring manager / recruiting team is capable of and comfortable with seeking and interviewing a diverse group of candidates for each and every position. According to an NPR story, there’s a new study out from the University of Wisconsin which studied how companies reviewed applicant resumes. In this study, researchers sent identical resumes to companies just changing the name. Based on their own biases, companies showed favor toward resumes with more traditional “white names.” Black resumes received 14% less call backs / interviews. In customer service, this disparity increased to 28%! Does this happen at your organization, the answer? Most likely.

3.) Make sure your organization is utilizing multiple channels of outreach to find the best talent. Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Managers must be engaged, well known members of the community. Every time a client has an open position I can think of at least 5 candidates that can fill the role. Most of them, not looking for a new position but excelling in their current roles. That sort of depth and knowledge comes from networking, community outreach and engagement.

4.) Review the laws around Diversity and Inclusion. Host training workshops for management, ensure all members of your organization are knowledgeable and well versed. I know companies that have suffered greatly due to ignorance and incompetence. The laws protect the organization as well as the candidates and employees.


Diversity and Performance…strong teams means better results

The past few months my consulting has leaned more towards the creative side however discussions I’ve had lately and experiences with businesses and organizations throughout the city, have me anxious to get back to the recruiting, training, development and diversity side of things. I know what it takes to develop a top performing team that is diverse, knowledgeable and exceeds expectations. It takes a lot. It’s starts with hiring the right employee, then proper on boarding and continued training. Maybe it’s all of the growth happening in our fine city but it seems like companies are missing the mark in either finding the right employees, creating diversity, keeping good employees and performance development. In order for us the handle the growth our city is facing without imploding, our workforce and the productivity of that workforce must be top notch. My advice to every organization, both small and large in any sector is:

Take a good look at your team…

1. Is there diversity? True diversity. One person of another race among an all white team does not diversity make. Neither does one woman in a room full of men. But rather, a diverse group of people working in various roles throughout the organization, including management or leadership.

2. Are your managers knowledgeable of the organizations goals and held accountable to achieving all aspects of their position? This is where job descriptions become important. I know many organizations that post very detailed (almost impossible to meet) job descriptions when hiring but when it comes to daily performance, the job description and role responsibilities become obsolete. Employees are great employees when they are exceeding in each area of their role and capable of taking on aspects of the positions above them. 

3. Is there regular training occurring and development/growth plans in place for individual employees? Regular discussions and performance reviews make for an easier time in the long run. Managers and employees should be on the same page when it comes to what the employee does well and their areas of opportunity. Areas of development are not secrets to keep but an opportunity for discussions about performance and growth.
I don’t like to call myself a recruiter, I am as much an advocate for the candidate as I am for the organization hiring. It’s about building great team that work hard, think like owners and exceed goals. To achieve this, it’s vital to fill open positions with good candidates but it’s equally important to organically and systematically support growth and manage performance. 
my current team…

Should You Weigh In? Probably Not.

I cannot have conversations with ignorant people about racism, diversity and injustice. Nor can I stand their ignorant comments all over my Facebook feed. Although I love a good debate, there are too many feelings and opinions involved and not enough facts. So, to make it easy, here are some things to consider that will help determine whether or not you should speak out, post on social media or take part in conversations public, private or on television.

Speak out if…
1. You are black and have a decent understanding of the facts.
2. You are not black but have a close relationship with black people. 
3. You get your news from multiple sources not just your go to, biased source.
4. You are focused on improvement and change.
5. You recognize and admit there are huge issues around race and diversity in this country.
6. You are well versed in history, especially American history, especially black history. Not what was taught in school, but you have taken time to read, study and reflect. 

7. You want to make real change and will actively participate in that change. 

The history of black people in this country cannot be covered in a month and is not pretty or for the faint of heart. I study American history because I want to know and understand. 

If you can’t check these boxes you’re not helping. If you’re not helping, you’re the problem.

You’re welcome.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day



Martin Luther King day always leaves me with mixed emotions. On one hand I am so moved by Dr. King and all of the people who were a part of the civil rights movement but on the other hand, I get overwhelmed by sadness thinking about the kind of world they lived in versus the kind of world we live in now.

To celebrate the day, I used to volunteer. Now to celebrate, I spend time with my children, out in the community at the Kelly Strayhorn MLK event. I love this event because it’s geared toward children, the arts and the community.

I spent some time earlier in the day listening to Kings speeches with my girls. The “I Have a Dream” speech from the March on Washington and his last speech before his assassination. I cried. Actual tears. I heard both of those speeches a thousand times, but today, I cried. Thinking about that world, this world, his strength, my children, and the experiences I’ve had. I cried.

There was so much hate back then. But there is so much racism today. There is still so much work to do.

On this day people are hopeful, happy and celebratory. We all love Dr. King, his messages and his story. For me, I think about my message, my story and my impact. How will I make the world a little bit better for my children, all children. The truth is…I’m not sure. The real truth is, I’m going to try. I know for a fact I’m not racist. I know for a fact I don’t hate. I know for a fact that I judge others based on the content of their character. I’m blessed to think that way.

Happy Martin Luther King Day. Continue to live as though the fight is not over. Continue to focus on his dream. Our dream.