Authentic Commitment – Ep.26

Intentionally Inclusive – Ep.25
April 15, 2021
Navigating Our Neurological Levels – Ep.27
May 13, 2021

 Melyssa shares a panel discussion on diversity and inclusion hosted by the Co-CEO of Compliance Line, Giovanni Gallo. The panel of experts, Melyssa Barrett, Dr. Gail Burgos and Solomon Carter, have a conversation about creating a safe environment and improving employee engagement within the workspace. The panel shares methods and answers questions on how to commit to change.   

Melyssa Barrett: Welcome to The Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around diversity, inclusion and equity. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share, or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started. Hello everyone. This week, I thought I would share a condensed version of a panel discussion that was hosted by ComplianceLine. 

I had the honor and opportunity to participate, in addition to two other experts in the field of diversity and inclusion. The conversation was created by ComplianceLine and it’s moderated by Giovanni Gallo, who is the co-CEO of ComplianceLine, where he serves with co-CEO, Nick Gallo. You already know that they do things a little differently. The company provides hotline and case management solutions, smart screening and monitoring, ethics and compliance training, and other compliance and HR-related services. 

Their company is on a mission to make the world a better workplace by giving leaders who care, actionable insight, tools and services to mitigate risks, engage employees, and build strong cultures. They believe people matter most of all, and the workplace must be a place where employees thrive, are protected and make a difference in the community, regardless of their background.

They wanted to join the conversation and pull in their stakeholders and customers to listen to the discussion. The moderator, as I mentioned, is Giovanni Gallo, the co-CEO of ComplianceLine, and his passion is really seeing people thrive in the workplace. He develops ComplianceLine’s workforce and solutions, which enable compliance professionals to be more effective in their jobs so they can successfully protect their teams and meaningfully serve their missions. 

I am joined on the panel by Dr. Gail Burgos. Dr. Burgos is the former senior diversity and inclusion officer for TSYS. She’s been with the company for over 20 years and had served in various leadership positions at the company. Prior to her retirement, she led the company’s efforts to establish their first diversity and inclusion program. With her tenure at the company, she brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the payment industry. 

I was also joined with Solomon Carter. Solomon leads Emory healthcare’s physician group practices, patient financial services, office of professional development. He also serves as the executive director of All Power in His Hands Christian Mission, which is a mission aid organization that operates in Haiti during the cholera outbreak. 

Take a listen and feel free to drop me a note on social media, or directly to melyssa@melyssabarret.com and let me know if you have questions you would like me to cover.

Giovanni Gallo: Hello, everybody. This will be our webinar, Authentic Commitment: Staying True to Your Diversity Statements. We’re really excited to give you some actionable advice. We have an expert panel on issues of diversity and inclusion. I’m here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gail, where are you right now?

Dr. Gail Burgos: In Georgia. Savannah, Georgia.

Giovanni Gallo: All right. Solomon, how about you?

Solomon Carter: I am in Atlanta, Georgia.

Giovanni Gallo: Next up, Melyssa.

Melyssa Barrett: I am in the Bay Area, California.

Giovanni Gallo: All right. Welcome to all of our panelists, so excited to have this discussion with you. We believe that these issues of diversity, specifically today around race, they’re important, they’re big, they’re impactful. They change people’s lives in the workplace, a lot of times for the worst, and we can make that better if we stay true to our diversity statements. 

Our goal here is going to be to have a great discussion, whether you’re a DEI leader, whether you’re a compliance and ethics leader, or whether you’re just somebody who cares about this issue. We hope that today’s discussion can help you make a positive impact to make the world a better workplace. I’m your host, I’m Giovanni Gallo, I’m co-CEO of ComplianceLine. 

I’m excited and honored to introduce you to Solomon Carter. Solomon leads Emory healthcare’s physician group practices, patient financial services, office of professional development, and he’s the executive director of a mission to Haiti called All Power in His Hands. Thank you for joining us today, Solomon.

Solomon Carter: Thank you for having me. I’m honored to be here.

Giovanni Gallo: Next up we have Dr. Gail Burgos. Gail is the former senior diversity and inclusion officer for T-S-Y-S, TSYS. She has been there for over 20 years and served in various capacities. She established the first diversity and inclusion program there. She brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the payment industry. Gail, thanks for joining us. Welcome.

Dr. Gail Burgos: Thank you so much for having me. I’m honored.

Giovanni Gallo: I’m very excited that we have Melyssa Barrett on the panel today. She’s a vice-president at Visa. She has an overall product responsibility for several related products, leading the risk product excellence, which encompasses a bunch of things there. She’s also a member of Visa’s Black Executive Council and a sponsor of the Visa Black Employee resource group. Welcome, Melyssa. Thanks for joining us.

Melyssa Barrett: Thanks for allowing me to be part of this fantastic panel.

Giovanni Gallo: Awesome. The first thing we want to talk about is communicating your commitment loudly. Being transparent and taking your plans out of the workshop and into the workforce is going to help you actually start getting some traction so people know where you’re going. One of the first things about that is you want to get leadership on board and secure your senior commitment. 

Melyssa, tell me a little bit about how important this is to get that senior commitment and maybe some ways that people can engage in a way that can make some progress here.

Melyssa Barrett: I can’t even begin to overstress the fact that it has to come from the top. I mean, literally it must come from the top. I think part of the challenge is as things flow down, that you will find that the folks that are coming into an organization early, there is a desire for them to get to the top. They want to be promoted. They want to be advanced. 

As much as there is so much important work being done in the middle, there tends to be the frozen middle where there’s a lot of work that needs to be done and the work gets done, but there is less intentionality, perhaps, that happens at that level, because they’re trying to get all the work done, right? There’s lots of things to do. We’ve got business to take care of, but there are so many different things we can do from diagnostics, from really setting the priorities, and the priorities have to come from the top.

As you’re thinking about your own intention, listen to your employees and really understand how your business can make a difference, not only from an HR and a talent perspective, but really throughout your business as a whole, who are you talking to? Who are you including when you’re creating your software or your services? All of those things become much more important and they must be intentional from the top.

Giovanni Gallo: That’s a great point. Gail, anything to add to that?

Dr. Gail Burgos: Melyssa stated that very nicely, but when you think about also your leadership from the top and your senior management, that’s where your culture and your tone is set, and it’s driven throughout the entire organization. Having that buy-in, not just a PR message, but the true buy-in from your senior leadership is absolutely crucial. Then the policies that are impacted.

The policies and procedures throughout the entire organization have to be modified and inclusive of diversity and inclusitivity practices throughout. Those changes cannot simply just be done unless senior leadership is again, all on board, and you empower your fellow leaders and your employees to follow suit. It has to be authentic. They have to feel that their leadership is truly behind a diversity, equity and inclusive journey that is going to happen.

Giovanni Gallo: Yeah. That’s a great point. This is not just the entire organization. This is not some disembodied plan. There are people who mess this up. There are people who need to be part of the solution and everyone has their own personal journey to figure out how they can contribute to this.

Dr. Gail Burgos: Absolutely.

Giovanni Gallo: Solomon, I’d love to get any perspective you might have on this concept of getting leadership on board.

Solomon Carter: Sure. Thank you for that question. People treat you the way that they feel about you, and so if you are a leader and you make it known, talking about the intentionality and the authentic nature of what needs to be done, as stated by my fellow panelists, then that helps you to not have some of the pain points that you have when you don’t have that kind of commitment upfront. That sense of being authentic is really needed in order to have the kind of successful outcomes that we desire.

Giovanni Gallo: That’s great. Thank you for that, Solomon. We have a question from the chat before we move on from this leadership point. You mentioned buy-in from senior leadership. What does that look like specifically?

Dr. Gail Burgos: Sure. I’ll jump in. Understanding your culture of the organization, first and foremost, is absolutely essential. Leaders are the ones who set that tone. When you look out over the thousands of companies and organizations, each is going to have their own journey. You can take the best practices from the industry, but you have to be able to effectively marry that to the culture of that organization and ensure that the leaders understand their employees.

They have to understand that they are empowering and influencing their entire organization to be able to implement that strategy and to be able to modify that by each location.

Giovanni Gallo: Melyssa, did you want to jump in?

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. I was just going to add, from some of the practicality components that I think the rubber needs to meet the road somewhere, probably one of the best places to start is to really allow the space. Have some very specific conversations or meetings where you’re talking about diversity, equity and inclusion, and whether you break that down into smaller groups, whether you’re engaging your employee resource groups to provide feedback on how they feel and what they’re doing, and quite frankly, senior leadership, how about you show up to some ERG events and participate?

Giovanni Gallo: Maybe not under compulsion, right, Melyssa? If you have the buy-in, maybe they want to come sit in on the town hall or the discussion.

Melyssa Barrett: Absolutely.

Giovanni Gallo: That’s great. Does my leadership care? I think you just ask yourself that and see what pops up. Did they force something into the board meeting where they have to put a slide about this, or do they care? That’s going to show up a bunch of different ways, right? In your funding. It’s going to show up how dynamic they are in your execution. It can show up in their personal participation as a participant, not just the sponsor. Anything you wanted to add, Solomon?

Solomon Carter: Yeah. The concepts and the nuances and the intricacies of DEI can be properly explained and distilled in a way that everyone would have that branched knowledge. I really think that’s a wonderful way to get the buy-in.

Giovanni Gallo: That’s great. Yeah. That motivation comes from understanding how this matters, how it’s going to happen, how it’s going to benefit. When you can speak that language to the executive group, then they can say, “Okay. I see how this aligns with the other things that I want. I’m motivated.” I love that, Solomon. Thank you for that.

Solomon Carter: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Giovanni Gallo: The second point on here for communicating your commitment is think about your organization. Have a clear rollout and have multiple steps in your plan. It may start with a commitment. It may start with a statement or a video from the CEO. Gail, can you give us any perspective on kind of where people maybe trip up over this?

Dr. Gail Burgos: Sure. Setting that foundational tone and determining what it is that you as a company want to do and to be able to accomplish, and you have to be real. You have to understand that it has to happen in phases. What are you going to want to accomplish in the next three to six months, in six to 18 months, and then 18 to 36 months? It’s absorbable that way. People can see tangible results.

From a global perspective, in case we have organizations that have various locations throughout the world, you have to be able to also apply that strategy to the area and to the region and to the location. Then the ongoing support and communication from the leadership, not only at the top, but then within those various locations, if [inaudible].

Giovanni Gallo: That’s great. Thank you for that, Gail.

Solomon Carter: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Giovanni Gallo: If you are trying to do this just as a PR stunt, just as a way to try to curry favor with your customers and just put on a face as if you care about this, then your program’s going to fail. Melyssa, do you have any perspective on how partners and vendors, or customers can be part of the solution?

Melyssa Barrett: Yeah. Absolutely. When you think about supplier diversity, for example, and who your current suppliers and vendors are, some of the things that I know folks are looking at today is, how diverse is that set of vendors and suppliers that we’re using? The fact that I’m securing services from this particular supplier, are there ways for me to create a bigger effect by ensuring they’re also looking at their own suppliers and the diversity around those suppliers?

Essentially you have opportunities to really forge new relationships, new partnerships, and provide opportunities for vendors that maybe you aren’t doing today. That would be one aspect. As we think about some of the definitions and language that we use, both to our market and to our customers, there are things that we can do to change the way that we’re really speaking about our business here in technology, for example, and you’re looking at some of the language.

We talk about whitepapers and black lists, and things of that nature. Those are things that you can start to impact how people are thinking, because you’re creating more awareness about exactly what you’re doing in the marketplace. Those are some things that are very practical. They may be small, but they can actually create big waves of difference as you move throughout your business.

Giovanni Gallo: Great. Thank you for that, Melyssa. You need to create metrics that measure your goals correctly. One way that you can do this is measuring your program and your activity. Those are things like your communications, your activities, and participation in this. Gail, do you have any perspective on how you can measure if you’re making progress from a program and activity level?

Dr. Gail Burgos: There are over 50 dimensions of diversity that can be measured. Your age, your tenure. There’s just a broad spectrum. You turn to your HR department or your data analytics, and they run that information for you. I think it’s also very important that you have a transparent method to be able to show that, not only to your leadership, but to the entire company. You don’t want to just do representation and change representation just because, just to satisfy that goal, because if you do it that way, it becomes this ugly word, affirmative action.

Giovanni Gallo: Yeah. I love that, Gail. If you have poor representation or people of color never get promoted or whatever it is, start by measuring it, see where you are. If you don’t get that buy-in and this is just a DEI-led effort that is not important to the whole organization, then you can have the activity without the results that you want. Solomon, I’d love your perspective on this issue of perception.

Solomon Carter: When you’re talking about the metrics and you’re talking about making change within an organization, one of the things that I like to ensure is that when we are having … let’s say we want more blue M&M’S to be here and we want more red M&M’S to be there, right? Have we given them the tools to succeed? In theory, if you don’t give a certain demographic the tools and then they are not moved into, let’s say, a leadership position, and then they are less than astute or less than successful in that position, right? 

It would cause someone to then say, “Look, we made the changes, but now as a result we’re having these pain points.” When that’s really not the case. They weren’t mentored the way that you were mentored. They didn’t receive training, professional development over the last three years that you have. All of these things are really important in order to move the measurements in the way that we plan. Perception is really, really important. 

If you go for background investigation, one of the things that they are looking for is to determine your driving record over the last 5, 10, 15, 20 years. It’s not because they want you to do a Too Fast Too Furious Tokyo Drive at the company picnic. It’s because they want to look at your judgment, how you drive deals with your judgment.

Giovanni Gallo: I love it. That’s great. Melyssa, I want to move on to our next topic about conversations. What can we record around our DEI program to express our success, to find out where we are and to see if we’re making progress?

Melyssa Barrett: There’s a lot of folks that are specifically focusing on headcount representation as one of their main efforts. We’re going to increase representation in a particular time period, which is a great metric to measure. I think part of it also though, is when we think about talent, to me, talent sits in the middle between compliance and the revenue generation, where you’re actually reaching out to new markets, you’re providing inclusive design for your products. And so talent has so many different ways of being measured.

Certainly, you have to have a diverse element at the table. You have to be collaborative, but I think also you have to be able to reach into the organization and really understand who you have at the table. It’s great to have quantitative metrics, but think about some of the qualitative aspects as well. Check in. If you were to do an equity audit, it’s really about identifying places that you can make a difference.

When we talk about it in the context of compliance and you really extend the view of the journey from a business perspective, that business integration gives you all these other initiatives to measure as you are reaching out and delivering business to the marketplace.

Giovanni Gallo: I love that, Melyssa. It’s a great thing to consider getting some of that leadership buy-in to hire someone to come in and do an equity audit and find out, “Okay. What metrics should we be tracking? Where do we stand on some of these? If we don’t know where we stand, how do we start measuring them?” That’s a service that’s available. That equity audit is something that can give you some tangible things to say, “Okay. There’s a way to operationalize this.” 

I’d love it, Gail, if you could share with everyone the analogy that you make about someone visiting your home.

Dr. Gail Burgos: Sure. There’s definitely a difference in being invited and being made to feel welcome. If I was to invite you into my home, I’m not just inviting you. I’m also putting forth the effort to make you feel welcome. If I send out the invitation and I said it is a formal attire and I have diverse representation that are of my guests, do I ask my African-American or my black attendee if he shows up or she shows up in a dashiki, do I look at them differently that they were not informed that it’s formal? Because that is formal attire.

Or if I have an Asian person who shows up and they have on a sari in their formal attire. That is still an act of being formal. You have to really put forth the effort of welcoming and taking the time to educate yourself on various cultures, on people, who they are, whether you’re at top leadership all the way down to the entry-level worker. It takes time to get to know someone and to ask those questions. 

That’s where inclusitivity really comes into play, and it has to be done because again, diversity cannot live where inclusitivity does not reside. Your retention records are going to show and people are going to leave if they’re not made to feel welcome.

Giovanni Gallo: Melyssa, do you have any input on how people can effectively open up this conversation?

Melyssa Barrett: I think a lot of times we get into a meeting and we’re so quick to dive into whatever it is we want to talk about, but sometimes just allowing people to speak, and you listen, is an actual action. Whether it be a town hall, some of the things to consider might be, have a meeting and just talk about this. How can we be more intentional? Be collaborative with the groups, utilize your employee resource groups to see what their needs are. Then don’t be quick to say you’re not going to implement something. 

Actually take the feedback and figure out how to prioritize what they’re asking you. Those are some ways to have some different conversations, but to also make sure that you’re being curious. Ask questions and just open yourself up a little bit from a vulnerability standpoint. You don’t have all the answers. Nobody does. Allow people to give you information that you may not be aware of.

Giovanni Gallo: That’s great. Thank you, Melyssa. Solomon, I’d love your perspective.

Solomon Carter: I think that listening is underrated. Listening and then of course, within that being able to distill, “Okay. I have heard you, but do I really understand everything that you said?” There’s a difference in levels of understanding. I understand you. I heard you, right? I heard you, and I can regurgitate that back to you, but do I really have good knowledge of that you meant, of your sentiment? 

Of how when I’m treated this way, the way that that makes me feel as a woman, as a black man, as all the wonderful things that we are. I think it really has to be that healthy back and forth.

Giovanni Gallo: That’s great. Thank you for that, Solomon.

Solomon Carter: Sure.

Giovanni Gallo: Gail, I’d love to hear how we can communicate and let people know, in an effective way, that if you violate our principles around diversity, there’s going to be a consequence.

Dr. Gail Burgos: Yeah. Absolutely. Your HR and your leadership has to first and foremost uphold those policies.

Giovanni Gallo: Great. Thank you for that.

Solomon Carter: Absolutely.

Giovanni Gallo: I think another element of that is avoiding this ‘slap on the wrist’, right? If your CEO is repeatedly apologizing for multiple different gaps and offensive behavior, then your program isn’t working. If someone on the front line has a negative consequence for violating this, but a high performer or a senior person just gets a slap on the wrist and they say, “Hey, try not to do that anymore.” Then this isn’t really working. That’s a clear measurement.

Melyssa Barrett: Certainly, when we talk about perception versus reality and the assessment of where you are in the journey, there are aspects of delivering information that is false or poor. Certainly, in this line of business, you see lots of things where you have to investigate and determine where to go and how all that works together. I think a lot of times what happens is people perceive a certain thing. 

Maybe there’s differences in pay equity and they may or may not exist, and so being able to validate certain information empowers people. Allowing yourself to be transparent with some of that information, allows people to understand where we are and where we want to go. It also eliminates that whole basis for false information. People will make up stories. I mean, that is just the nature of us.

We like stories. We like drama, right? To the extent that you are transparent, it becomes very helpful. I think the other thing I would say is your employees are in fact your ambassadors. To the extent that you utilize your employees in ways that allow them to thrive, you have opportunities to really highlight not only some of the challenges, but some of the successes that you will have, because you will have people that really want to engage. 

They want to work on this. They want to be allies. Put them to work and make sure that you are influencing others. In my business, there’s lots of focus on cybersecurity.

Giovanni Gallo: Yeah. As people of color, we don’t want someone promoted into a position to represent us who is bound to fail there. We don’t want unqualified people doing the job for our company. There are structural things that you can analyze and figure out, what’s keeping that from happening and keeping us from finding a qualified person to fill this role? I think a lot of us know about unconscious bias. We need to not let it stop there. Can you tell us about this, Gail?

Dr. Gail Burgos: I equate it to that invisible backpack that we all have, right? I have baggage. You have baggage. Every one of us has some unconscious bias that we bring with us every single day. As the world continues, the things that we see in the news and things that are happening, that is also information that is impacting our bias as well. We have to be open and receptive of that, but you have to work on it.

You have to understand where you are and then be okay with being uncomfortable to challenge yourself. There are steps that you can do. Evaluate your own circle, right? Your own immediate circle. Whether that circle is within your family, whether that circles is within your organization or your community. How diverse is your circle? I’m not just talking about your skin color, I’m talking about from walks of life.

Do you take an intentional action to diversify your circle with someone who is not like you? That is one critical step that you can do. We can all be receptive of that. That plays such a huge part, again, in that journey of, how do we continue to move from the unconscious bias and saying, “Hey, that’s not me. I’ve got this down pat.” To, “Here I’m working on making a better version of Gail Burgos so that I can be better as a leader and I can better as a person around me.” 

I think that that’s where each one of us, regardless of where we are in the organization, or what our titles are, that we can be better humans in order for us to be better people to those that we interact with every single day.

Giovanni Gallo: I love it, Gail. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I want you to know that ComplianceLine is committed to continuing to amplify voices in this discussion and continuing to help you as a leader make a difference around diversity in your workforce. Talk to me a little bit about this gaffe that came out from Coca-Cola recently, Solomon.

Solomon Carter: In this case we have a course that was being taught to Coca-Cola that essentially said that white people needed to be less white. That is not what is needed in order to have greater diversity, equity and inclusion, right? I want white people to be as white as they can be. I want black people to be as black as they could be, whatever you take that to mean. I want women to be all that they could be within being a woman. It’s about embracing that. 

One of the things that you’ll hear people say is, “I don’t see race and I don’t see color.” What I’ll say to that is, though well-intentioned, does it make you more comfortable to see me as being black than being seen as a black man? Right? I don’t want you to see me as a neutral anything. I want you to embrace who I am and I want to embrace who you are. 

Speaking specifically to telling a white person or anyone, to be less of that in terms of the color, like be less white or be less anything, that’s not what it takes to have an effective outcome. The thing that’s so hurtful about that is that someone is looking at that, again who’s on the fence, and then it would cause them to say, “This is exactly why we don’t need diversity, equity and inclusion here.”

Giovanni Gallo: Gail, did you want to jump in? I’d love to get your perspective.

Dr. Gail Burgos: Oh, I was just co-signing in on things that Solomon was saying about making sure that there’s no gray area, that it is very closely aligned with policies and procedures that are being executed. I think back to the conversations, the candid conversations, the crucial conversations that are being held, the underlining question that may be on someone’s mind should not be watered down or suppressed just simply because I don’t know what to say. 

I think last year, during the uprising that happened across the United States, with the murders that occurred with African-Americans and blacks, it pressed the question for people to come forward and want to raise their hand. You had this whole range of emotions that were being displayed inside of corporate America. You had anger, you had surprise. 

You had, “Hey, I’ve been feeling this way for a very long time, but I still have to show up at my job each day as a black and as an African-American and still put on my face and be able to work and to operate but I’m angry, I’m upset, I’m hurt.” If you have someone who happens to be white or your leader, and they said, “Well, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to address that. I have team members or employees that I’m uncomfortable in that situation.”

I think that’s what you have to be able to, of course, apply the training and have the understanding that you may not come out and say, and have the right answer. You will make a mistake in something that you will say or convey and express yourself, but I think that’s where that safe space has to be provided for that conversation to take place.

Now, whether you bring in an expert to help facilitate that, or you have guidance in order to create that safe environment, that still has to be done, because I always say people never turn off who they are when they walk through that door of corporate America, right? When you show up at your job, you’re still who you are, and you still bring all of those feelings, those emotions, that baggage with you, your own bias with you every single day.

You have to create a real space in order to deal with that. What you see in the news is reflection of that, right? It doesn’t turn off who you are in those emotions just because you come into work, and so we have to be able to deal with that in the right manner.

Giovanni Gallo: Thank you for that, Gail. Melyssa, anything that you want to add about the things we see in the news, what we can learn from other people’s experiences?

Melyssa Barrett: The workplace should be a safe place for people to give their best talents, right? To your mission of making the world a better workplace, right? When we talk about inclusive leaders, inclusive leaders are collaborative and transparent. They’re also culturally agile. They’re vulnerable in the way that they’re not enforcing their own views on the company or the people that they interact with.

Really being able to create that safe place means you’re checking in with people around you to make sure that they have that safe place to thrive. I think that is where some of the lessons we need to learn are about, how do you safely practice inclusion? There are times when everybody’s not always going to agree on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. Tension can be a good thing. 

It can give you an opportunity to understand what the different and diverse perspectives are related to a particular issue. But many times when you have the issue, you don’t have time to start circling the wagon and figuring that. You have to have some understanding of what is important.

Giovanni Gallo: What are some good first steps to either drive DEI within the org as first steps, or ‘value’ to provide to other departments that might be like-minded like HR?

Dr. Gail Burgos: The budget needs to be considered along with headcount and support. How will it be in doctrine into the entire organization? Setting the vision and the goals you’re going to establish, along with transparency and your communication strategy. All of those aspects make up at least the initial start of your diversity, equity and inclusion program. 

You really map it out over a two to five-year or three to five-year journey so that things can be implemented and executed and measured. Then come back and say, “Here’s where we can continue to evolve and improve.” Or having a council established is also a best practice. They’re your sounding board, they’re your advisory. They also reach into the other aspects of the organization, regardless of how small or how large you are. 

Then of course, if you are global … I keep harping on this global diversity because organizations that are not just located in one space.

Melyssa Barrett: The use case for diversity, equity and inclusion is diversity, equity and inclusion. Literally, as you think about your leadership team, look at your leadership team first, what does that look like? How are they doing? What are their beliefs? How are they dealing with unconscious bias? Do they need training? I mean, it starts there from the board down, do we have representation on the board? 

I mean, there’re so many questions you can ask as you look around to create your own awareness. I think that’s what people are looking for is, how do you create your own awareness so that you understand how equity can be intentional to create the equality that you truly desire?

Giovanni Gallo: I so appreciate Gail and Solomon and Melyssa, I want to circle back to you in case you have any final words or you want to tell us something that you’re involved in, but I’ve been your host, Giovanni Gallo, co-CEO of ComplianceLine. We’re proud and excited to have had this conversation and hope that this is something that has helped you envision and visualize actual steps that you can take to be authentic and follow through on that commitment that you have to diversity. Melyssa, any parting words for us?

Melyssa Barrett: I would just say I am continuing the conversation. I have started a podcast called The Jali Podcast. It’s J-A-L-I. I am interviewing generally lots of different people in the market. People that are doing things from social impact to diversity, equity and inclusion, but really at the end of the day, how do we shift gears and build that momentum? Join me for the conversation.

Giovanni Gallo: Great. Yeah. That’s a great podcast. You guys got to check it out.

Melyssa Barrett: Thanks for joining me on The Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.

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