As I talk to philanthropic and emerging leaders about diversity and inclusion there seem to be more questions than answers. Questions like:

  • Is organizational inclusion like a unicorn? Something that we dream of and want to believe in, yet doubt because no one has ever seen it in action?
  • Is inclusion a feeling, or can it actually be measured?
  • Who gets to decide if an organization, team, or board is inclusive? How is it measured?
  • Can an organization successfully address inclusion without diversity? Or diversity without inclusion?
  • How can an effort on diversity and inclusion support my organizational objectives without feeling like an added burden?
  • How can boards of directors model values of diversity and inclusion when we have specific goals and expectations (monetary/title/company affiliation) for our board members?

If you’ve asked yourself these or similar questions about your own diversity and inclusion efforts you don’t want to miss my plenary session at next week’s Annual Convening.

Join me, your peers and a  special guest to learn more about the challenges organizations face when working to drive diversity and inclusion as organizational principles through board leadership.

Vernetta Walker, director of consulting and senior governance consultant with BoardSource will join us to explore her recent observation of the impact of an organization’s policies, practices, and board culture and dynamics on its ability to successfully integrate diversity and inclusion as living organizational principles.

BoardSource released a report entitled Vital Voices: Lessons Learned from Board Members of Color (pdf), sharing the results of their first survey of board members of color. The report outlines the facets that help and hinder progress towards building diverse and inclusive boards.  Our discussion will also include special highlights from local “vital voices” taken from recent focus groups held in the Twin Cities with nonprofit board members and trustees of color.

- Tawanna Black, MCF diversity fellow and president of Innovations by Design, LLC

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