Too often, the conversation surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging feels like a repetitive cycle. Brave The Cycle is about moving beyond checklist workshops to create meaningful, long-term change.
This team creates learning environments where honest sharing is possible, where meaningful discoveries are made, and where next steps in a course of action are identified.
Tell us about the Brave The Cycle team.
We are a trio of educators and facilitators working together to give people tangible opportunities for action steps in their personal and professional lives as it relates to equity, inclusion, and belonging. We do this by giving people the time, space, and energy to embrace empathy, courage, and curiosity as avenues towards liberation. We have individually and collectively been doing this work for the past 10 years and truly enjoy the change that happens when people commit to creating spaces for equity and belonging.
What are the biggest DEI challenges currently facing companies?
- The creation of merely performative checkbox experiences. Companies oftentimes believe that checking the box of DEIB training, workshops, or workplace changes is enough but the reality is that it is only a starting point. It does not get to the root of many systemic issues. Real change comes with concrete actions and accountability which are both missing when only checking a box.
- A culture of reactivity rather than proactivity. DEIB work requires on-going strategic planning and assessment. If a company culture only interacts with these things when issues revolving around them arise, that does not create opportunity for meaningful change to happen. Which means true equity, inclusion, and belonging is nowhere close to being achieved.
- A lack of willingness and/or initiative to hire diverse candidates. Although many companies are working to train current employees on DEIB, the workforce, especially in leadership, does not reflect the diverse demographic of the marketplace. Even more so, many people in leadership roles lack the tools or strategy needed to invite diverse applicants to be a part of the team and sustainably develop those leaders to be inter-culturally competent.
How has DEI work changed in the past two years?
- In some ways, it has truly stayed the same. The cycle in and of itself is largely the same within companies. Events in the world or in the company happen > a promise or statement to address it comes from leadership > a committee is formed > interest dies down over time > no real action occurs > the cycle begins again when another incident occurs.
- In other ways, the focus of many folks within organizations–particularly in entry to middle-level management roles–has shifted to individual actions they can control towards better spaces for everyone. 2020 helped many people realize that sustainable change starts at an individual level with concrete action. While changing the culture of the organization to be more equitable and inclusive is still at the forefront, many people are realizing the change should also begin at an individual level.
What experiences influenced your cross-cultural skills development?
Previous work and life experiences have influenced cross-cultural development for all of us: where we grew up, who we were surrounded by, jobs we’ve worked, workshops we’ve attended, conflict we’ve resolved, and so on. We have sought out opportunities for training and facilitation of others to learn how to effectively navigate intercultural competencies and create sustainable impact for many, regardless of cultural or personal socializations.
What do you see as a major event, trend, or change that will change diversity and inclusion in the next two years?
- The data points towards collective organizing of people across sectors and disciplines to advocate for better wages, work conditions, and support. People are looking for real, tangible, sustainable ways to make change happen on all levels: personal, organizational, communal, and executive to name a few. Performative allyship is no longer being accepted as a substitute for DEIB work, actionable steps, or accountability.
- In addition, the political landscape will continue to shape the needs of many people and organizations, particularly when it comes to systemically oppressed and/or marginalized groups who are seeing little to no true support or liberation.