Jennifer Brown is a consultant focused on diversity and inclusion. She hosts the informative The Will to Change podcast and assists organizations in developing inclusive policies.
I highly recommend this book. I mean that literally. I recommend this book every time I talk about inclusion. I don’t think I have underlined any book as much. It’s the most practical advice for anyone who wants to be an advocate for a better future but doesn’t know how to start. Other books talk about the “What” or the “Why” of diversity, this book is about the “How”.
Brown describes the progress of an inclusive leader on a continuum. The inclusive leader journey begins from Unaware to Aware to Ally to Advocate. This journey is not a one-way trip. Instead, we repeat steps and start over when we become aware of diversity dimensions. We are all intimately aware of our own diversity story. Others we must discover.
“Leadership is not leadership unless it’s uncomfortable. If you aren’t pushing yourself to do more, and pushing others around you to improve, chances are, you aren’t doing enough.”
Brown offers concrete guidance for the journey. Whatever the topic, she never fails to explain the next steps we need to take. I appreciate how she encourages us to accept everyone’s place on their own journey. The struggle for equality and justice has room for everyone and there is always room for improvement.
In the end, the work of inclusion is not about making everyone the same. Instead, our differences “are core to who we are, why we do what we do, and how we get our energy.” Our differences enable the creative abrasion need for teams to achieve their potential. The best organizations allow members to be their authentic selves in order to thrive.