Our Mission is to Build Inclusiveness Among an Increasingly Diverse Population.
As our country becomes more multicultural, there is a greater need for understanding, better communication, and greater respect for the differences between us. More and more campuses/schools/organizations are beginning to appreciate the benefits of building and maintaining a diverse workplace. Because identities of difference (race, gender, sexuality, etc.), are often considered taboo subjects, however, we don’t always have the language or the knowledge we need to speak about these issues without the fear of offending others. Too often this can lead to misperceptions and misunderstandings. In fact, social inequalities exist mostly because of how we perceive our differences and our neglect in talking about them in productive ways. This needs to change.
We offer comprehensive and experiential workshops that can get the conversation started around these issues. We provide interactive, engaging, purposeful keynotes/workshops and trainings on diversity, inclusiveness, and leadership to facilitate an organization’s growth in these areas. We provide a framework for understanding these issues and offer solutions for challenging inequalities with the goal of creating a more peaceful, inclusive, equitable world.
Any of the titles and descriptions below can be presented in either a keynote or workshop format. Without exception, they are interactive, engaging, and purposeful. They raise awareness, knowledge, and skill-building with hands-on strategies for reflection and action. Using the lens of intersectionality, they incorporate strategies for challenging bias and systemic discrimination based on a variety of social identities: race, ethnicity, gender/gender expression, sexual orientation, social class, disability, age, religion/spirituality, among others. Any of these titles and descriptions can be combined and/or tailored to your organization’s needs.
Social Identities, Inequalities, and Building Inclusiveness
This keynote/workshop provides awareness, knowledge and skills to participants about personal and institutional dynamics of social inequality. Gaining an understanding of the legacy of institutionalized discrimination allows us to make different, more inclusive choices. Hands-on strategies to build cultural inclusiveness better equips campus members to engage diverse social identities, to explore how oppression and privilege operate in our daily lives, and to create a more inclusive campus culture. This keynote/workshop can be incorporated into any other workshop as a framework from which to discuss other leadership and/or diversity concerns and growth.
Transforming the Curriculum
Inclusive classrooms where every student feels like they belong increases student engagement and retention, not only in the classroom, but in the educational system, and can set the tone for a supportive, inclusive campus. This keynote/workshop provides specific curricular and environmental strategies for creating inclusiveness in the classroom and beyond. An option is available to have faculty members bring their syllabi to review and/or transform to become more culturally inclusive.
Minimizing Microaggressions (Subtle Forms of Exclusion) to Become an Agent of Change
Many campus members would like to move forward in reaching their organizational and personal goals, but do not realize that their daily behavior can have a remarkable effect on their ability to do so. We will contextualize microaggressions and deconstruct them to uncover their often-unintended consequences. We will consider how to effectively challenge microaggressions when they arise to become agents of change as we strive to create more culturally inclusive spaces.
Transforming Ourselves to Become Culturally Inclusive Educators
How can we overcome the many obstacles to creating cultural inclusiveness, including: Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat, Microaggressions, Identity-Blindness, among others? Pushing past these challenges requires a willingness to consider our own biases, and a commitment to learning what we don't know we don't know. We will reflect on our selves, our environments, and our practices using 8 transformative steps. This session should particularly benefit educators of any experience level teaching any subject who are willing to engage in self-reflection and who are specifically interested in increasing their teaching effectiveness by making their classrooms more culturally inclusive.
Minimizing Implicit Bias and Stereotype Threat
Often discrimination happens in classrooms and organizations because of engrained stereotypical thoughts and ideas we have been taught to believe as true. These ideas are so imbedded in our brains we actually believe they are "natural" or the "norm." This keynote/ workshop asks us to consider our own biases and their consequences, and provides strategies for minimizing bias and stereotypes to create a more inclusive educational environment.
Advancing Social & Environmental Justice through Contemplative Practice
Taking action is critical for the advancement of social and environmental justice. Action, however, is unlikely without the motivation prompted by self-reflection and awareness of the larger problem of social inequities and injustices. This keynote/workshop introduces a framework for understanding these pernicious problems that are rooted in a legacy of abused power and domination, and offers contemplative practices for transforming suffering in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the planet. The Practice is rooted in Native wisdom, Eastern philosophy, and many ancient teachings that allows us to live healthy, culturally inclusive lives filled with connectedness, meaning, and purpose.
Building an Inclusive Environment
After campus, school, or organization members are equipped with a framework for understanding social inequalities, this workshop provides specific strategies for creating an environment in your organization where everyone feels like they belong. Creating inclusiveness is critical for any organization and correlates with recruitment and retention of a diverse workplace.
Dealing with Resistance to Equity
It is useful to have a planned strategy before we are confronted with organization members who express resistance to the ideals of equity. Using a social identity development model, we will identify obstacles, discuss what it means to be and have allies, and provide strategies and techniques for creating a more positive, inclusive environment where members feel engaged in and excited about their work.
If unchecked, strong emotions can cause mental and physical stress, can keep us from moving forward in our goals, and can hinder interactions with others. We will discuss emotions, triggers, and how to reframe these uncomfortable situations as moments of potential growth and relationship-building in support of a more holistic learning/teaching approach.
Using Mindfulness Practices to Become Culturally Inclusive
Geneva Gay, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching, said that in order to become culturally responsive educators, we must become culturally responsive people. Recent research has demonstrated that meditation and mindfulness practices serve to decrease bias against others. Through self-reflection of our own biases, a broader understanding of contemplative practices, and a focus on mindfulness techniques, this keynote/workshop provides strategies for minimizing bias and stereotypes that any educator teaching any subject can use to create a more inclusive educational environment.
Transforming Ourselves to Become Leading-Edge Culturally Inclusive Leaders
Leadership is the act of empowering ourselves through our thoughts and actions, and empowering others through our words, behavior, and practices. Inclusive leaders generate an environment where every organization member feels empowered to bring their whole selves into the room and feels confident that their voice will not only be heard, but valued, fostering creativity and innovative solutions. How we perceive ourselves, show up in the world, perceive others, and interact with them is greatly impacted throughout our lives by the stories we have been conditioned to believe about ourselves and others. This conditioning can keep us locked into pre-conceived notions, stereotypes, biases, and behaviors that limit our potential not only for our own health and wellbeing, but also for building deep, authentic relationships across social differences. In this keynote/workshop, we will begin to uncover the stories that keeps us from connecting inward to our inner selves, and outward to other people. As we let go of the conditioning that holds us back, we begin to realize the unlimited potential we have to manifest our goals, and become leading-edge, culturally inclusive role models who empower others to fulfill their potential in our increasingly multicultural 21st century world.
In a recent workshop, 70 out of 70 participants agreed or strongly agreed that Dena was engaging and encouraged audience participation.
Comments from workshop participants:
“The best workshop I’ve been to in years. Fantastic, qualified speaker.”
“Best diversity class I have ever been to. I really learned some new things about myself.”
“I believe sharing this experience…will open the door to more conversations and efforts for positive change.”
“I believe Dena lives what she teaches. She is a good presenter.”