Inspiration and resources for taking action to achieve racial equality

 

Slalom Presents is a virtual event series that brings the world’s leading voices into exclusive conversations on the topics that matter most to business and community leaders today. Our first event focused on realizing racial equality and featured civil rights activist Ruby Bridges, 66th Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and musical guest Leon Bridges.

Recognizing the need to follow conversation with action, individually and collectively, we gathered the following resources for leaders, tied to three key questions. We hope these resources will support your own journey of reflection and action.

question one

How might I become a more engaged listener as an ally?

Hands

first . . .

Pause and check in with yourself.

Hands

Vulnerable and challenging conversations, like those around race and racism, bring up complex emotions like uncertainty, anger, fear, or guilt. While it’s normal to feel these things, they can prevent us from being active listeners.

Before starting, check in with yourself. Notice how you’re feeling—physically and emotionally—and what thoughts are occupying your mental space. Take a deep breath and commit to curiosity.

then . . .

Speak up, but not for.

Active listening is a key to becoming a more informed ally and leader. As you listen, be mindful about whose voice is represented in conversations—and whose voice still needs to be heard. Use your influence to help make the space more welcoming to all voices. As much as possible, take care not to speak for another person’s community or lived experience. Instead, focus on how you can amplify their voice and efforts.
People talking

question two

How might I become a more inclusive leader?

Lead with empathy.

When leaders demonstrate empathy and vulnerability, it has a ripple effect. Help your team truly understand that empathy is a core leadership skill. Be honest about where you want to learn and grow, as a person and a leader.

Your leadership will make it more possible for others to navigate difficult conversations, be vulnerable, challenge their own beliefs, and seek to understand others now and in the future.

Ask for accountability.

Share your goals and commitments for how you will become a more inclusive leader with people who you trust, then ask them to help you stay accountable.

Be specific about where you will focus your efforts — for example, “I want to make sure that I’m often seeking counsel from a diverse range of voices and perspectives.” Ask for feedback regularly on those goals, both formally and informally.

question three

How might my organization take the next step to drive change?

be intentional

Build a plan.

We are all seeing a shift in customer and employee expectations around an organization’s social commitments. Take time to think through what commitments you can make—as a leader, as a team, as an organization. Seek feedback from a wide range of voices and stakeholders. Be intentional and planful about how you will progress towards your goals. Like any meaningful change, this requires consistent effort over time to shift mindsets and to make it stick.
People in meeting
Person taking notes

partner

Work with community organizations.

Person taking notes

Meaningful partnerships with not-for-profit and community organizations can help your organization give back and contribute directly to support our communities.

Look for organizations that share similar missions and values to your own. Share your time and talent, not just financial support, to grow and learn from the partnership over time.

We created this guide with insights from Slalom’s inclusion and diversity leadership, learning and development team, and employee resource groups. Resources were chosen to represent a range of perspectives and voices, and opinions expressed within the resources are the authors’ own.

Discover additional resources in the full guide.

Learn more