FIRST THOUGHT: The Diversity Loophole
Many years ago, I came across a brief story by a former Navy Seal. He claimed that Seals possess seven habits, more or less, that they abide by. They’re definitely some characteristics that would serve anyone well, whether you’re working part-time at a frozen yogurt store or organizing a church fundraiser. The most striking of the habits, though, is the idea that one shouldn’t assume to know enough, meaning there’s always something more to learn. Today, narrow down an area of your life in which you could use a little more education. It could be as minute as fixing a broken zipper or as significant as navigating through a tense argument with your beau.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 6 Percent
Reflecting is another one of those habits mentioned that plays a crucial role in what we’re diving into today. As barriers are crumbled and glass ceilings are shattered, we seem to be entering a more inclusive time. Taking a critical look at an international level, or even in your own social circle, can illuminate some cruel, unfair mentalities. That’s why many companies have strategies in place for, say, pro-diversity hiring practices: 66 percent of businesses have such plans in place, but only an alarming 6 percent remove the names of candidates from their resumes before reading them, a step that diminishes unconscious bias.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sharon Brogdon, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at RetailMeNot
Speaking of diversity efforts, rockstar and today’s Woman to Watch, Sharon Brogdon, has recently been named the head of diversity and inclusion at RetailMeNot, a wildly successful website that connects consumers with the most legit deals.
Sharon is a seamless addition to the RetailMeNot team. She formerly served as Lieutenant Commander for the U.S. Navy for 12 years. She has some of those seven habits I mentioned, like being detail-oriented and loyal, and putting others before yourself. It’s these qualities that helped her rise to esteemed roles at Intel and Microsoft, the former at which Sharon created the African American Leadership Conference.
Now, at RetailMeNot, she’s helped to grow a stellar company culture often noted by employees and the press alike for having principled values to empower those in positions both high and low. In 2016, the company adopted “diverse and inclusive” as an official company value. I’ll trade your company’s foosball table and pizza parties for career development and peer-to-peer recognition any day.
This all might make you wonder why inclusion and diversity matter at a company that seems to be light-years ahead of other businesses. Well, let’s keep in mind what President Obama spoke about at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he mentioned the significance of making things better. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t completely get rid of racism but it made it better, right? While there’s no end date to maintaining or furthering equal footing in the workplace, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to work toward that goal, and that’s what Sharon is committed to.
Those who have worked with Sharon commend her background as an accomplished leader who creates strategies to retain and develop those who are often underrepresented and overlooked. Sharon believes fostering a community of diverse backgrounds catapults companies from merely surviving to thriving. She advocates that advancing these efforts, particularly in the tech field, will result in greater innovation. We couldn’t agree more, Sharon.
QUITE THE QUOTE
When writer Jacqueline Woodson was growing up, she would tell people that she wanted to be a lawyer or hairdresser. Deep down, though, Jacqueline knew writing was her calling. Pushing away the hesitation and fear, she went for it, and she’s now a role model to many. As she once said:
"Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together."
Meet Sharon at On The Dot’s See it to Be it Success Summit on Thursday, October 18, where she’ll be speaking on a panel called “Better Together: A Discussion of Diversity, Inclusion and Civility” with Marjorie Clifton of Clifton Consulting and Deloitte’s China Widener. For tickets to the event, click here!