Is ‘It’ a Celebration? Training? Or Something Else?
Exploring the Role and Importance of DEI Week
DEI Week, or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Week, at many organizations seems like a surprise box. There may be a lot of content inside, but little is known about the structure and expectations from the outside.
This week may appear as any type of celebration or series of training activities and with many different acronyms.
I have written about the word salad of DEI-related acronyms before. Check out So Many DEI Acronyms, So Little Time.
Planning this year was a challenge. Much like last year, the activities ended up on Zoom again. Ah, sometimes it is nice to see the occasional interest in protecting health. It feels like this is becoming even more rare. Yet, meaningful and impactful work is possible even when done remotely!
The challenge was developing a schedule that would appeal to many different interest areas, experience levels, and intersectional topics. That makes planning every year a challenge.
One of the key considerations is the purpose of the week. Are we learning? Growing? Reflecting? Celebrating? Training? If we try to do all of these, we risk doing none of them well.
The good thing is, there is always next year. The bad thing? This year, and each year, should make a difference. What that difference is will depend on having clear goals and objectives.
Fortunately, I have been thinking about and making notes of potential speakers and activities since July last year. Reopening that folder felt like a lifetime ago.
The process of planning DEI week this year led me to a few points of reflection:
What aspects of identity and affinities are best represented? Which aspects need greater representation?
Will individuals of all experience levels with these topics be able to engage productively?
Is the schedule distributed over days and times to maximize potential availability?
Whose (metaphorical or literal) voices are heard or amplified? Whose voices are left out?
Which specific, actionable areas are most relevant to organization? Where are the areas for greatest potential growth?
Are people prepared to engage productively in these activities?
During the DEI week starting this Friday at my organization, I am excited to be presenting two workshops - one as an introduction (or review) of basic terms, content, and topics in the DEI space for beginners and the other on how to facilitate equitable hiring.
Over the next two weeks, I plan to discuss the planning and delivery of these two workshops in this space. First, it is important to have a familiarity with terms, content, and topics related to the DEI space in order to engage productively in later training. This workshop kicks off the DEI week with “IDEA 101,” an introduction to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. I developed and have facilitated this training session before.
Second, the next post will explore the final DEI week activity, a training for facilitating equitable hiring. This is a new workshop, but builds from work I have done in the past developing an equity search guide for the organization. Developing and delivering this workshop feels like - finally - bringing the project full circle.
This next week (and then some) will be a busy one! I look forward to sharing more about these topics and workshops with you.
In the meantime, what are some DEI week related activities that interest you?