Posted on: June 27, 2024 Posted by: Christina Bronner Comments: 0

Tyronne Stoudemire stands with a passionate desire to help companies thrive through diversity and inclusion. His dedication to creating a workplace where everyone feels appreciated, valued and heard led him to his latest masterpiece, “Diversity Done Right.” It is not enough to simply incorporate diversity, diversity must be done right. Upscale Magazine had the opportunity to gain insight on the perspective from Stoudemire’s view.

Why are you advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion?

I support diversity, equity, and inclusion to create a better world for everyone. I believe that polarization and conflict, both between and within groups, often stem from misunderstandings, miscommunication, biases, and clashes of differing perspectives. These cognitive and social factors foster mistrust and behaviors that can be shocking and surprising. The media frequently highlights incidents where individuals are offended or harmed, whether verbally or physically. However, those not directly affected often doubt the truth of these accounts.

My book, “Diversity Done Right,” will illuminate the group dynamics within organizations and society that contribute to polarization and the erosion of cross-cultural interactions. By leveraging the power of storytelling, my goal is to appeal to both the intellect and emotions of readers. Although many may find the realities of interactions across demographic groups disheartening, my aim is to raise awareness and provide practical tools for individuals and organizations to progress and improve.

In such a competitive industry, why did you become an author?

As a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioner for more than 30 years, I believe it’s my responsibility and duty to share my global experience.  I regularly share stories and examples that can be leveraged as teachable moments. I am writing this book in 2023. This time is one in which it seems. America can barely catch its breath. The changes our society has been and lived through in the last five years have been exhausting. We have experienced a pandemic, staggering changes in legislation, natural disasters including wildfires and destructive hurricanes, global warming, and other destabilizing events. One might think that many of these horrific and unpredicted events would unite us as a people, as a society. They have, to some extent as we search for applicable remedies. But during this same time, we have heard of just as many inhumane acts perpetrated by individuals. There have been mass shootings (almost daily), hate-based assaults, and xenophobic reactions to immigration policies. 

 

What did you learn about yourself in writing this book?

Writing this book has taught me a great deal about my own biases, both conscious and unconscious. I’ve realized how these biases often overshadow the evidence that is right in front of us. As humans, we all have biases—if you have a brain, you have bias. While biases can serve as protective mechanisms, they can also lead to decisions and actions that harm and exclude others. Understanding our biases is the first step toward managing them and changing our behaviors. It’s often said that there are only two things people dislike: the way things are, and change. Or, as DEI expert Dr. Mary-Frances Winters puts it, “only wet babies like change.” In my book, “Diversity Done Right,” I will discuss systemic bias and how it is embedded in our institutions and other macro systems. This type of bias has serious implications for marginalized groups, affecting their ability to advance within society and achieve equitable outcomes. Systemic bias intersects with other forms of ISMs, such as systemic racism, sexism, and ableism. Understanding and addressing these interconnected issues is crucial for creating a more inclusive society.

 

What does success look like for you with this book project?

Success for this book project means that readers take the time to apply the insights and learnings to make the world a better place for organizational leaders and community influencers. My book provides a framework for understanding DEI and the individual and group dynamics that drive hostile or discriminatory behaviors. It offers tested approaches and tools for leaders to create positive change. 

For those from privileged backgrounds, the book sheds light on the systemic support of egregious behaviors, interpreted through the lenses of diversity, equity, inclusion, neuroscience, history, and social psychology. It discusses allyship and the role one can play in advancing equity and inclusion. For individuals from marginalized groups, the book acknowledges the realities they may already know and experience, offering empowering approaches for self-advancement. Additionally, it includes relevant cases, theories, and applications valuable in academia and beyond.

 

How do we really know when there has been true effort in the corporate space regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

Putting Skill into Perspective there are multiple overlapping pieces in this puzzling phenomenon I refer to as “Will vs. Skill.” In my book, I will explore several scenarios in which this dichotomy is demonstrated. Each scenario speaks to the misconceptions, challenges, and pathways to advancing DEI within organizations by looking closely at the role of an individual’s skill alongside other motivating factors.

Many have the will but not the skill. Additionally, the capacity to have impact within the organization is often limited by the absence of resources and sponsorship. A second scenario is one where individuals with strong technical skills are promoted into people management and leadership roles. They have specific skills that do not necessarily translate into their newly acquired positions, and which can deter efforts to create an inclusive work environment.

A third phenomenon I’ve noticed is the rigidity or bias inherent in the criteria used to evaluate someone’s skill level and their potential to advance, particularly for people of color. I have experienced and observed that the openness to look at alternative indicators of prior success are limited to what falls within the scope of “organizational norms.” Next, I have explored Intent vs. Impact at both the individual and organizational levels. There is often a will to do the right thing, but blind spots often prevent us from understanding how our actions are perceived by others. I have found that joining forces with internal and external groups, that can provide skilled resources and perspective through another lens, is ultimately good for an organization’s triple bottom line (people, profits, and planet).

 

Tyronne will be celebrating his new book “Diversity Done Right,” as he helps navigate cultural differences to create positive change in the workspace. Upscale Magazine salutes this opportunity to gain valuable insight on building inclusive workplaces. If it’s gotta be done… make sure it’s DONE RIGHT!!!

 

 

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