Tag: DEI

We’re commemorating two cultural observances and promoting total health and well-being in May, the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) team announced.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

Also known as AAPI Heritage Month, this annual celebration pays tribute to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders whose diverse journeys, life experiences, traditions and cultures have enriched America’s history and are pivotal to its future. The AAPI community includes citizens and immigrants from all of Asia and islands within the regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Comprising nearly 7% of the population, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing group in the United States. 

Jewish American Heritage Month 

May is also Jewish American Heritage Month, during which we commemorate the achievements and contributions of the American Jewish community to the United States. In May 2004, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration organized the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History, which led to May being selected as Jewish American Heritage Month In 2006.  

As we take part in the celebratory nature of AAPI and Jewish American Heritage Months, we equally recognize the ongoing acts of bias, discrimination and injustice faced by these and other communities domestically and internationally. We invite you to continue to learn more about how you can engage in the work of positive change and champion inclusion. Our microlearning journeys from Blue Ocean Brain housed in the learn.WashU platform are one place to start. 

Mental Health Awareness Month 

Mental Health Month was established in 1949 by Mental Health America to increase awareness of mental health and wellness and reduce the stigma of mental health care. This year, Mental Health America has themed its Mental Health Awareness Month toolkit “Back to Basics,” and it focuses on primary information related to mental health, mental health conditions and mental health care.  

Our new micro-learning journeys for May, available on the learn.WashU platform, include:

Accepting Yourself and Others: Mental Health at Work

Mental Wellness and Well-Being at Work 
Here are other ways to get involved and learn more, and don’t forget to check out the WashU Diversity Calendar for additional related events: 

She Suite, International Women

Last month the IDEA team launched a new initiative to celebrate our diverse community through monthly cultural observances. We continue this initiative in March through recognition of Women’s History Month and National Deaf History Month.  

Women’s History Month 

Celebrated since 1987, March is Women’s History Month, which commemorates the contributions of all women to US history. The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Women Providing Healing and Promoting Hope,” which seeks to honor the tireless efforts of frontline workers during the pandemic. Many Women’s History Month statements and celebrations are also honoring Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in recognition of her historic nomination to the US Supreme Court.   

International Women’s Day 

Since 1911, March 8 has been designated as International Women’s Day in celebration of women’s global impact on economic, political, cultural and social life. Many countries worldwide celebrate the holiday with demonstrations, educational initiatives and local customs. 

You can participate in these cultural observances by taking part in the following campus and community events:  

For other related events, check out the WashU Diversity Calendar

National Deaf History Month

The National Association of the Deaf introduced National Deaf History Month in 1997 commemorated annually from March 13–April 15 in recognition of the deaf and hard of hearing community. National Deaf History Month was celebrated during this time because it aligned with three historic events. First, on April 15, 1817, the American School for the Deaf was opened. Second, on April 8, 1864, Gallaudet University, the first university for the deaf, was founded. Third, on March 13, 1988, I. King Jordan became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University. 

Recently, the Board of the National Association of the Deaf chose to shift National Deaf History Month to April 1–30 to offer a more inclusive celebration that broadly recognizes deaf history and all members of the deaf and hard of hearing community.   

Olin staff, faculty, students and alumni can learn more through our micro-learning journeys from Blue Ocean Brain housed in the learn.WashU platform (accessible with your WUSTL key). Each micro-learning journey takes 10 minutes or less, and the new journeys available this month include:

  • Celebrating Women’s History Month 
  • Women @ Work 
  • The Language of Disability 
  • Awareness in Action: The Ability Factor 

We hope you get involved through attending events, learning something new and continuing the conversation.

PICTURED AT TOP: A scene from WashU Olin’s celebration of International Women’s Day in 2018 with our She Suite event. The 2022 edition of the She Suite event is March 8, at noon.

Nikkia Reveillac, director of consumer insights for Netflix

Growing up, Nikkia Reveillac moved in a lot of culturally diverse environments. As a native of Trinidad and Tobago, she recalled one of her biggest adjustments in the United States was to the casual “Hi, how are you?” greeting strangers and friends alike would toss her way.

She quickly learned they weren’t really inviting a conversation about her well-being.

Reveillac’s candid introduction to her cultural upbringing and early experience moving in multicultural groups served as the introduction to WashU Olin’s new presentation series, Diversity Perspectives, on February 11. The director of consumer insights for Netflix gave a lively 40-minute overview of her philosophy before opening the event to questions. Her biggest message focused on the power of curiosity.

“The one thing I want to leave with you is we have the power to hold ourselves to a higher bar. That bar is curiosity,” she told viewers. When we introduce ourselves to each other, when we become responsible for the careers of others, when we consider how we allocate opportunities—how is curiosity playing a role in helping us learn about other people? “It’s almost like our brains are inherently lazy. The quality of my life has been enriched to no end by my ability to raise the bar of curiosity.”

Reveillac urged viewers to consider five qualities to develop “alongside being technically amazing and prepared for work.” With so much of a leader’s job focused on managing the three P’s—people, personalities and politics—”these are really important to work on alongside all your other tasks.”

  • Self awareness. Who is in front of me? Bring awareness of myself into the conversation.
  • Empathy. “It’s this ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. This is easier said than done.” Consider adopting an ego-less and self-less approach to life.
  • Humility. A recognition that you may be exceptional in one area but you can always get better and others around you may have the same skills. Example: Netflix’s culture memo says, “Netflix does not tolerate brilliant jerks.”
  • A growth mindset. Every quality builds on the previous one. Once you have awareness about where you need to improve and where you’re not great, it’s helpful to be open to working on it. For your benefit and the benefit of the team. You’re open to other points of view, different mindsets.
  • Relationship building. Establish a sense of trust and credibility.

“I want you to start thinking on Monday how you can make some shifts.”

Nikkia Reveillac

The team guiding WashU Olin’s strategic plan for inclusion, diversity, equity and access is launching a new initiative to celebrate the school’s diverse community through monthly cultural observances. As a school, Olin is committed to these diversity principles, and this starts by learning about our own culture and worldview as well as cultures and worldviews that may differ from our own.

Broadening our perspective will enable us to see how we are all connected. This connection unites us and helps us grow “Together. Forward.”

Lunar New Year 

Also known as the Spring Festival, Lunar New Year is the observance of the start of a new year in a lunar or lunisolar calendar. It is the most significant holiday for many East and Southeast Asian cultures. The celebration of the start of year of the Tiger began on February 1 and typically runs for 15 days. The school, university and community at large are celebrating this cultural observance with several community events: 

Black History Month 

Also known as African American History Month, this observance is recognized every year from February 1 to March 1. Black History Month is an annual celebration of African American heritage and the pivotal impact made by African Americans in US history. Black History Month has a different theme each year chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This year’s theme is “Black Health and Wellness.”  

In honor of Black History Month, Olin’s IDEA team will host its inaugural event in the Diversity Perspectives speaker series on February 11 at 11:30 a.m.  Our featured speaker for this virtual event is Nikkia Reveillac (pictured at top), business insights and strategy leader, organization designer and builder, and director, consumer insights at Netflix. 

Olin students and alumni can also get involved by learning more through our micro-learning journeys from Blue Ocean Brain. These micro-learning sessions are available in the learn.WashU platform. Each micro-learning journey takes 10 minutes or less, and the current journeys available are:  

  • Appreciating Diversity: Celebrating Black History Month 
  • Boosting Your Diversity Intelligence 
  • Achieving Racial Equity 
  • How Embracing DEI Spurs Innovation 
  • How Leaders Can Talk about Race at Work 

Other ways to get involved 

Discover your way to commemorate these cultural observances. We encourage you to learn or explore something new.

Pictured at top: Nikkia Reveillac, featured speaker for Olin’s February 11 Diversity Perspectives event.

Olin Dean Mark P. Taylor shared this update with members of the WashU Olin community—students, staff and faculty—today.

As we steadily press forward in developing Olin’s strategic plan for inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA), I wanted to share what I can about our progress so far. Before doing so, I must reiterate my tremendous gratitude for everyone who has had a hand in moving us forward in this area.

That includes students who have engaged with me personally, sharing their honest and candid insights. It includes staff and faculty, who have given of their time to assess our needs and offer measurable solutions. And it includes alumni who have reached out to gain a deeper understanding about the importance of this work to Olin’s future.

In this note, I’ll share updates on:

  • Faculty hiring in the fall, including progress toward hiring an associate dean for IDEA.
  • Action we’ve undertaken in our strategic planning process—and what actions we haven’t taken and why.
  • Plans for ongoing workplace development at the school.

Progress in hiring

The associate dean. A key component of our plan remains among our highest priorities: hiring an associate dean for IDEA. We have engaged Collaborative Strategies as our partner in the recruitment process for that position (as well as, I might add, the new associate dean for graduate programs). We have undertaken that process with a sense of urgency, and I’ll tell you why. Put simply, that person must be empowered to galvanize and meaningfully lead our work in this area—and to do so as soon as possible. Indeed, a key first step for that person will be convening a number of focus groups and listening sessions. Thus, my sense of urgency in completing this task.

Other faculty hiring. I’m pleased to note that the new faculty cohort arriving before the start of the next academic year is among the most representative we have ever welcomed. This has always been—and always will be—a goal of our faculty recruitment efforts, and I’m happy to report this year’s work was successful. Note that we’ll publish more about these hires in the 2021 edition of Olin Business magazine.

The strategic plan

As we work toward hiring the associate dean for IDEA, we haven’t delayed in making first-year plans to focus on issues we know we must address. I’m grateful for the outstanding work of the plan champions, who put together extensive drafts and proposed budgets for each for each of the stakeholder areas in our plan: students, faculty, staff and the alumni and at-large communities.

Our plans will be reviewed and updated as needed by the new associate dean in consultation with students, faculty and staff. Our draft includes proposed action items well beyond this year. These are a few of the initiatives conceived for year one.

For student stakeholders

  • Increasing the number of Black faculty at Olin.
  • Launching a graduate-level course in inclusion, diversity, equity and access.
  • Joining two to three new national networks focused on IDEA recruitment at all program levels and continue to leverage current activity.
  • Increase the use of diverse course materials (i.e., case studies and course examples where at least one protagonist is not a white male).
  • Clarifying current student grievance process, and expand the current student grievance process to encapsulate an IDEA lens.

For faculty stakeholders

  • Evaluating our required faculty annual activity form to include individual faculty efforts toward promoting IDEA initiatives.
  • Systematically reviewing the hiring process for underrepresented minority/track applicants to ensure we are reaching desired groups.
  • Running professional development workshops for URM PhD students and junior faculty outside WashU Olin.
  • Launching the pre-doctoral program aimed at URM students to prepare for doctoral programs in business.

For staff stakeholders

  • Reviewing and enhancing the hiring processes to recruit Black, Latinx and other URM staff.
  • Setting clear expectations by developing IDEA standards, policies and practices specific to staff.
  • Continuing HR focus groups.
  • Providing IDEA support and reinforcement throughout the staff lifecycle (from hire to exit).

For alumni/community stakeholders

  • Supporting career progression and advancement for diverse alumni with a focus on the first five years after graduation to increase the number of diverse graduates in leadership roles and support and track salary growth.
  • Increasing overall engagement with diverse alumni through communication, events and lifelong learning.
  • Educating on leadership strategies and tactics for deeper understanding of diversity and changing cultures.
  • Partnering with alumni and the business community to raise support for Olin’s overall IDEA efforts.
  • Supporting diverse alumni with small business through the Small Business Initiative (using all student groups) and diverse alumni entrepreneurs through CELect/CEL and Skandalaris.

Staff/faculty development

As many of you are aware, we recently concluded a series of workshops focused on raising awareness about microaggressions in the workplace—the “Subtle Acts of Exclusion” workshops in March and April. Earlier—indeed, before the pandemic—we hosted a series of workshops focused on unconscious bias. We are reviewing follow-up programming to offer our staff and faculty more options to engage in this work.

Additionally, we are launching an MBA-level course focused on IDEA, which will be rolled out over the next year, and will later expand through other programs.

Finally, we anticipate additional programming developed in partnership with WashU’s Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that will be presented sometime in the vicinity of Juneteenth (which falls on a Saturday this year).

Further updates

I recognize the importance of transparency in our work toward advancing inclusion, diversity, equity and access within the walls of Olin and beyond. Thus, I also recognize the healthy appetite each of us has for ongoing updates on our progress in this work. I pledge to continue providing meaningful updates as often as possible.

It is my hope that our next update will include news of our new associate dean for IDEA and next steps toward bringing that person up to speed in our work. In the meantime, I remain available for your questions and look forward to continuing this important work together.