November 5, 2019

A Call to Action for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Recap of Villanova’s Leadership Summit 2019

Progress does not happen accidentally. Answering the call to do something—listen, engage, speak up—for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Last month, David had the privilege of attending a leadership summit hosted by Villanova University. The topic: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. It was a powerful and inspirational day for the sold-out crowd of 400 attendees. The fabulous speakers—including Wes Moore from Robin Hood, Danny Burrell from Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Terry Nance from Villanova, Brian Westbrook, former Philadelphia Eagles football player, and several more—offered a wealth of thought-provoking ideas, advice, and motivation on why this issue is more than a trend. It’s an imperative.

The day centered on three threads: a call to action; where do we start? and our role as allies. Here are the top ten takeaways—all quotes from the speakers:

A Call to Action:

1.     Progress does not happen accidentally.

2.     Wisdom is knowing when patience is a virtue and when patience is a detriment.

3.     Do something about the macro; do not mourn the micro.

Where Do We Start:

4.     You can’t clean up the house if you aren’t in it.

5.     Start with meaningful questions.

6.     Find out where the other person is coming from. Why aren’t they at the table? What’s excluding them?

Our Role as Allies:

7.     Know that where we are isn’t just because of ourselves.

8.     Being an ally (a verb meaning action): engaging in the conversation without being the center of it.

9.     Silence is not an appropriate action. There is harm in silence. Inaction is doing harm.

And the final one:

10.  Jump into the ‘wait’.

There’s no time to wait for someone else to take action for diversity, equity, and inclusion. It may not feel like the right time, place, or situation, but all of us need to do something now. You can start small—be engaged and informed—or big—become an ally, speak out, dedicate resources to addressing the issue. And, especially if you are leading an organization—just do it.

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