Breakfast for Champions | Building an Effective DEI Council

October 26, 2022 – Diverse and inclusive teams are more innovative, productive and happier (1). Despite the benefits, few organizations know what steps to take to create and foster diverse teams. Participants in this month’s virtual Breakfast for Champions explored ways to build an effective, successful, results-driven DEI council.

To help level-set, the program kicked off with a presentation from Jes Osrow, Co-founder of The Rise Journey, and Paul Tucker, Racial Equity Advisor at The Rise Journey. They shared the do’s and don’ts of creating a DEI council. They encouraged participants to develop a timeline for their DEI council and to include rules, regulations, policies, compensations and other "nitty gritty" pieces to help onboard a team.

Following the presentation, attendees learned best practice from a panel of DEI influencers in a variety of industries. Panelists include Barbi Alexander, Shared Prosperity Program Specialist at the Port of Portland; Ale Gallegos-Chacón, Policy Leadership Council Organizer at Oregon Food Bank; Parna Mehrbani, Partner at Tonkon Torp LLC; and Morgan White, Talent Initiatives & Special Projects Coordinator at Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.

When panelists were asked what their biggest lesson learned or advice was, it was clear that building a DEI council takes time and patience; it doesn’t happen overnight. Everyone is at a different stage of the process and regardless of their education or experience, people work at different paces. However, openly discussing topics that sometimes seem uncomfortable helps advance DEI work.

"Normalizing of language starts with seeing themselves and being okay, developing that callus and being okay with feeling uncomfortable. That helps create progress and encourages people to have open discussions that help move the DEI needle," said Alexander.

To hear more about ways to build an effective DEI council, members can access the recording by visiting the Resource Page.