jesus, american express and diversity 3.0

Published on by Lisa Gates.

I was born into a segregated, racist and sexist America back in 1952 ~ a time that holds too great a nostalgia for too many Americans.  The television I watched, magazines I read, neighborhood in which I lived and schools I attended were all white, white, white, white.  The teachers, god bless them, were mostly women, many of them single and childless since women were supposed to get married, have children, look pretty and shut up.

So how did I, suburban American girl, grow up to be a slightly left of liberal ruckus-raiser?


Jesus, I was told, "loved the little children,"

all the children in the world

red and yellow black and white

they are precious in his sight

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

As Annie Dillard wrote in her affecting memoir of mid-Century American childhood,

The adult members of society adverted to the Bible unreasonably often. What arcana! Why did they spread this scandalous document before our eyes? If they had read it, I thought, they would have hid it. They didn't recognize the vivid danger that we would, through repeated exposure, catch a case of its wild opposition to their world. Instead they bade us study great chunks of it, and think about those chunks, and commit them to memory, and ignore them. By dipping us children in the Bible so often, they hoped, I think, to give our lives a serious tint, and to provide us with quaintly magnificent snatches of prayer to produce as charms while, say, being mugged for our cash or jewels.

My mother worried that the Communists had infiltrated California's public schools and were in the process of quite literally "brain-washing" me, as if I were The Manchurian Candidate.  My elementary school was north and my Church south.  And it was from the South that my lefty-pinko-civil-rights-loving-freedom-cherishing-color-blind-Jesus-worshipping soul was being washed of all out-group 'isms by my best friend's dad, Kenneth Grant, pastor of the La Mesa Presbyterian Church.

That's the Jesus part.  Now I'll marry God to mammon with the following on Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion from this Sunday's New York Times (an advertisement no less).

Diversity 1.0 was about compliance and abiding by government regulations.  Diversity 2.0 revolved around ethics, morality and social responsibility.  Today, diversity 3.0 is about business integration and globalization, and ensuring that diversity operations are core to business operations and processes and, ultimately, producing increased employee productivity and new revenue streams.  Diversity activities cannot be a separate stand-alone activity; it has to be a part of the lives of employees, middle managers and company leaders.  It has to be a value creation activity - especially now as we emerge from the recession.

My childhood church taught diversity 2.0 back when it was all about "ethics, morality and social responsibility" and those are the values that continue to motivate me today as a partner in She Negotiates.  I count myself lucky to have lived during the Great Civil Rights Era in this great country and lucky to be entering an era when the lessons I learned in Church are also the lessons of an efficient global market.

So whether you're picking up negotiation, diversity and inclusivity skills as a 2.0 or 3.0, you've come to the right place!  But don't stop here at the She Negotiates blog.  The explosion of opportunity for women as reflected in the American Express ad will remain conceptual only until we all learn just precisely how to move the gears and levers of the American ~ excuse me ~ the global economy.

Join us tomorrow here and today at 2 p.m. PDT here



Civil Rights, Diversity, Education and Learning, Feminism, Inclusivity, Pay Equity, Implicit Bias

Published on by Lisa Gates.