The evening began with a brief Current State of the Chapter for our General Membership body. The President, Mozella Dyer, addressed key topics such as the chapter’s 2014 Strategic Plan. Threshold targets and metrics have been assigned to key areas of focus including: Member Growth, Communication and Fund Development. Ms. Dyer emphasized that we must effectively communicate “our story” highlighting our successes. Those successes include our Leaders of Tomorrow program, committed members who have

The evening began with a brief Current State of the Chapter for our General Membership body. The President, Mozella Dyer, addressed key topics such as the chapter’s 2014 Strategic Plan. Threshold targets and metrics have been assigned to key areas of focus including: Member Growth, Communication and Fund Development. Ms. Dyer emphasized that we must effectively communicate "our story” highlighting our successes. Those successes include our Leaders of Tomorrow program, committed members who have filled vital leadership roles and our committed corporate partners. Chapter reporting was covered. The Leadership Team is working diligently on day to day operations and meeting compliance objectives outlined by the national office of the organization.
The 2014 Speaker Series’ first installment focused on Intellectual Wealth. Our panel of experts went far beyond our expectations presenting our participants with a vast wealth of knowledge and views. Our panel, consisting of Dr. Lester Blue, Ms. Gwendolyn Grant, CEO of the Greater Urban League of Kansas City, Attorney and Associate Law Professor, Quinton Lucas and HR Director, Vaveca Moss, traversed an elusive subject with agility and compassion. The candid discussion addressed the physical ramifications of discrimination on mental and physical health and real time solutions that can be used to immediately to neutralize those effects.
Bias in the workplace affects our business, as well as, personal relationships and educational goals. Today’s racism is mostly subtle and sometimes unconscious. While it is unfortunate in today’s society, we continue to battle with the problem. With the responsibility to do so seeming to lie with a few, challenging one’s own vantage point is a good starting point. Those on the receiving end of discrimination must ensure that they are effectively communicating and understand the intent of messages that may be misconstrued. A simple conversation can clear misunderstandings that may foster negative feelings. It is not in the best interest of the person who perceives discrimination to bottle up emotions that lead to stress. Nor, is it fair to the person who is perceived as a discriminator to be treated differently without any inclination of the issue. Stress in and of itself leads to imbalances in our health and how we relate with our loved ones and the world in general. The constant state of "fear or flight" has a lasting effect on well being that can’t be negated until recognized, validated and remedied. The power of deep breathing and positive self talk can be used on demand to steady reality and allow focus on the problem and not the emotion.
While the evening was filled with invaluable conversation and questions, navigating the workforce with integrity, inclusivity, and driving positive outcomes begins with each individual. We often can’t control or affect change in an organization’s culture without first weighing our own responsibility to do so. Remaining calm, gracious and patient are important keys to success in bridging conversation on this subject. Most importantly when we find ourselves in positions of power and influence or have access to those decision makers that do, one must be able to share not only the problem but viable solutions.
The Kansas City Chapter applauds our panel, participants and members who took time out of their schedules to attend this session. We know that this is an ongoing discussion and we will continue it in August from a different perspective when we ask top Kansas City executives about Diversity and Inclusion. Stay tuned for information on the Leadership Institute: Inside the C Suite: A View of Inclusion & Diversity from Behind the Desk.