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Module 5.2: Understanding The Field And Its Challenges (Discussion Responses)

Module 5.2: Understanding The Field And Its Challenges (Discussion Responses)


Reginah Yetunde Mako

1:42amFeb 23 at 1:42amManage Discussion Entry

1. What is the difference between diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, are tenets that have made it to the forefront of workplace and leadership practices within the past decade. Though there is some attempt to reduce DEI to a simple byproduct of affirmative action, DEI is a distinct and complex practice embodied by the people who both advance those efforts and bring awareness towards. The first component, diversity, relates to the physical composition of the organization represented with the physical element relating to adequate representation of people with one or more identities that have been historically marginalized or otherwise underserved (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.). The extensive period of marginalization for people with certain identities manifested into various leadership, economic, social, and political barriers, thus requiring accommodations to be bestowed, all of which pertains to equity. Examples of equity include assistance or heightened awareness for assistance to further diminish systemic barriers. Lastly, aside from creating a diverse team and supporting team members in their roles, organizations must ensure their efforts and operations are inclusive of the members that comprise the team. Inclusion concerns the actions in which members of the diverse team are involved in decision-making processes, no matter the degree; these efforts introduce new perspectives that can later influence how an organization moves in the future.  

2. Can we really “manage” DEI? What skills and understanding does it take?

DEI is an integral facet of an ever-changing society and, in this case specifically, the workplace. However, it is difficult to conceptualize DEI as something that is “manageable”. The act of management has two connotations: an intrinsic act with pure motivations of accomplishing a task/goal or a procedural and mandatory act. With how DEI is framed, most DEI efforts, in my opinion, are the latter because a lot of the work is surface level. Yes, it is difficult to expand someone’s understanding of issues that might affect their coworkers based on their identities, but imagine how difficult it is for a marginalized person to work for an organization that is vocal about its commitment to DEI but may not support said workers if they experience discrimination or any other prejudices. 

Currently, DEI is promoted in a way that it seems like “it has to be done” like a chore – that is, employers may hold (mandatory) DEI trainings but either they focus on one kind of marginalization (e.g., race, gender, or sexuality but never multiple, simultaneous marginalizations) or minimal accountability measures are implemented following those trainings. The fact that people believe “diversity hires” without taking into account the nuances or reasons why a person was hired – even when that means removing barriers that would’ve prevented this person from being considered for the role – should put into perspective the lack of progress in promoting DEI and perhaps the amount of work we still need to do. The proper cultivation of DEI in these spaces is contingent on deep conversations (e.g., subconscious biases we hold, the tangible effects of marginalization, etc.) to which are later reflected in upholding that commitment to DEI through formidable accountability measures. This will require empathy, speaking with not for marginalized individuals, and, for some, an absolution of pride. It’s unclear to determine whether we as leaders are heading in that direction with the current measures we’re taking.

3. Review your stated core beliefs, values, and strengths from Case 2. How do they contribute to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment? How does this align with your authentic leadership?

My core values, beliefs, and strengths are rooted in promoting a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace. Ironically, I listed “inclusion” as one of my core beliefs. Overall, I firmly believe in creating a collaborative environment founded in trust and commitment. Along with that, I incorporate accountability into my leadership. I am aware that we all hold some biases and prejudices that we have to unlearn, thus making it vital to both take accountability for myself and hold it for others graciously. Admittedly, it is difficult to lead with grace at times as a queer black woman because of how personal it is to me, especially when I am not respected by my peers, superiors, or anyone else I interact with due to my identities. Knowing how it feels to not be met with respect in that regard, along with the importance of cultivating a respectful and inclusive environment drives my commitment to promoting, criticizing, and practicing DEI as a leader.


Sharnae L Smith

MondayFeb 20 at 10:31pmManage Discussion Entry

  • What is the difference between diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?

While these words are extremely different from one another, they are occasionally used synonymously. Diversity is the presence of differences within a certain context. This includes the demographics (race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) Equity is basically saying that everyone involved has access to the same opportunities. This is ensuring that policies, procedures, and programs are unbiased, fair, and provides each individual involved the greatest feasible results. Inclusion is ensuring that a person feels a sense of belonging. This indicates that every person regardless of their background feels free to be themselves and that wherever they are they feel supported in doing so. Random but personal opinion is that without equity, trying to promote diversity and inclusion would be unsustainable. I say that because if an organization is not addressing the structural inequities, both diversity and inclusion would still be obsolete.

  • Can we really “manage” DEI? What skills and understanding does it take?

DEI can be managed as long as the people involved are open to the concept of it. The inability to engage in meaningful communication is a major factor in the dysfunctional relationships that can occasionally arise over DEI concepts.. Skills required to manage it is that they have to develop their capacity to recognize and minimize bias, appreciate differences, create empathic connections, encourage allyship, handle conflict, and bring out the best in others, they also require tools, resources, and support in implementing health DEI practices. In order for these skills to be beneficial to managing DEI one key understanding tactic is to encourage everyone to assess, consider, and evaluate their own prejudices and presumptions as a strategy to raise awareness of and combat unconscious bias. Managing DEI is an ongoing process that requires everyone to control prejudice and create more welcoming spaces.

  • Review your stated core beliefs, values, and strengths from Case 2. How do they contribute to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment? How does this align with your authentic leadership?

The core beliefs and values I stated were kindness, giving back, and Respect, also I stated that my strengths were effective communication skills, the ability to work with anyone, and setting goals and sticking to them. I believe that all of this contributes to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment because since initiatives for diversity, equity, and inclusion don’t succeed quickly, it requires setting a goal and sticking to it. Fundamental adjustments to workforce strategies and procedures can take a long time, especially when organizations deal with new issues related to hiring and managing their personnel. As an affirming leader, the fact that I am able to work with anyone regardless of their backgrounds makes me curious and humble about cultural differences. This leadership style is empathetic and always ready to show respect and kindness to others. This empathetic way of leadership allows me to show value and acceptance of the reality and experiences of others.


Joanna Elizabeth Blankenship

5:37pmFeb 23 at 5:37pmManage Discussion Entry

What is the difference between diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?

            To determine the difference between diversity, equity, and inclusion, we must first define the terms and understand them individually. When searching for guidance on these terms, I came across an “Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce” issued by President Biden in 2021. As defined in the Executive Order, the term diversity “means the practice of including the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities” (The United States Government, 2021). The term equity “means the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment” (The United States Government, 2021). Finally, the term inclusion “means the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds” (The United States Government, 2021).

            As seen in the definitions provided, diversity, equity, and inclusion are related, as diversity encompasses inclusion and equity relies on the presence of diversity in the first place. However, it is important to distinguish between the terms to ensure that each is a part of our workplace. I found a quote from the University of Michigan’s Chief Diversity Officer, Robert Sellers, to be most helpful in differentiating among the three. He likened the terms to various aspects of attending a party: “Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party; Inclusion means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist; Equity means that everyone has the opportunity to dance/experience the music” (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion University of Michigan, 2023). So, from my perspective, diversity in the workplace means that we have people from all backgrounds, inclusion means that all individuals feel welcomed and are made a part of all aspects of the workforce, and equity means that all individuals have the same opportunities and are free from discrimination, bias, or being treated differently based on their diversity.

Can we really “manage” DEI? What skills and understanding does it take?

            I think that we can absolutely manage DEI through proper training and the implementation of effective programs to facilitate and promote DEI. To be effective, we must understand the differences between diversity, equity, and inclusion. On the other hand, we must also understand how the three play into each other and how they are really three parts to one whole. 

            Training is critical for effective implementation because DEI must be carried out throughout an organization to be effective. From initial searches for applicants, to hiring, placement, training, advancement, and management of employees, DEI has a place in all aspects of a workplace. It is also critical to listen to employees and be open to their perspectives. Organizations can accomplish this through surveys and by fostering an environment that promotes open communication and the sharing of ideas without judgment. 

Review your stated core beliefs, values, and strengths from Case 2. How do they contribute to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment? How does this align with your authentic leadership?

My core beliefs, values, and strengths contribute to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment because I believe that a great organization has a welcoming culture. This correlates with an inclusive and diverse work environment because employees feel safe and a sense of belonging no matter their cultural background. I also believe in encouraging and motivating others which is indicative of an inclusive environment. Additionally, I believe in collaboration and teamwork which correlates with equity because as part of a team every member has the opportunity to share his or her ideas. I also believe in respect and recognition of employees which correlates with inclusion because employees feel valued and connected to the organization.

            This aligns with my affirming leadership because affirming leaders believe in creating a workplace that is harmonious and friendly. Affirming leaders also believe in a collaborative culture and an environment that is supportive. Additionally, affirming leaders believe in building teams where everyone feels valued. Furthermore, affirming leaders believe in giving praise and recognition to others for their accomplishments.


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion University of Michigan. (2023). Defining DEI: Defining diversity,

equity and inclusion. to an external site.

The United States Government. (2021, June 25). Executive order on diversity, equity, inclusion,

and accessibility in the federal workforce. The White House. to an external site.

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