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Part 2: Inclusivity: Breaking the Stereotypes

We continue our conversation with Diversity and Inclusion expert, Sarah Lewis. Sarah is the Vice President of Equity at Hartford Healthcare and has been my mentor in all things DEIB. One of the big conversations in Inclusivity is breaking down stereotypes and unintentional norms. Just because “it’s always been this way” is no longer acceptable, but how to break these can be complicated.

Elise: Sarah, how can we start to change these stereotypes in the workplace, especially as women leaders?

Sarah: We can remove these playbooks and be open to new ways of leveraging human experience. Here are some ways to think of this:

  • Walk the tightrope walk- there is little risk to being inclusive

  • End the adage that women of color need to work twice as hard

  • Lean into the core strength of an emerging leader

  • Build up confidence- especially for unique skills and talents

  • Live the shared definitions of success- you get to define it first

  • Embrace diverse communication styles without leaving yourself on the side of the road

Elise: These are great points. I imagine it takes internal strength and commitment to put these points into action. They seem obvious, but aren’t they easier said than done sometimes?

Sarah: Yes, the way we express ourselves and create change can be different based on background and cultures- but we all BELONG here. Harnessing this fact is critical.

When I think about implementing these tenants, I am filled with hope and optimism. Women leaders are in the unique position to break through these stereotypes and norms to create more inclusive teams. I am excited to bring this to my business in stronger ways. How will you break the stereotypes of inclusivity? I can't wait to hear.

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