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8. The Death of DEI
  • Writer's pictureAntonio Da Veiga Rocha

Every Company Should Have These

If you are a professional it’s hard to think you haven’t been impacted by a mentor, whether for a moment or a series of moments (a lifetime). I have had quite a few mentors in my life, some through purposeful practice (instructors, teachers, work colleagues, historical figures), others by just being themselves and being aware of their power to influence my path (older brother, close friends, parents, ancestors). We can consider ourselves lucky if we have come across both types in our learning experiences.

There are those rare times when we find the combination of the two in one individual. Such individuals tend to hold more power in our lives, and usually have more lasting influence in our journeys. This is because of the characteristics they hold. What I have come to learn in my professional history is that Diversity and Equity mentors tend to be such individuals.

Our Working Definition

It’s hard to define a mentor as it can hold different definitions for different people, and for their different purposes. For our purpose I will use a definition I found in the article An Introduction to Mentoring, a guide for mentor and mentees . They define a mentor as an individual with expertise who can help develop the career of a mentee (I would say here career and/or life). A mentor often has two primary functions for the mentee. The career-related function establishes the mentor as a coach who provides advice to enhance the mentee’s professional performance and development. The psychosocial function establishes the mentor as a role model and support system for the mentee. These are the two types I mentioned earlier, the purposeful practitioner and the life influencer.

The D&E Mentor

The Diversity and Equity Mentor is someone that has a clear understanding of what Diversity means in its many contexts, and someone who holds equity as a fundamental practice in their work and personal lives. They gravitate towards such roles in the workspace, often volunteering in committees of the subject, and at times going further into titles such as the Director of Diversity and Equity, the Manager of Belonging and Cultural Milieu, the Integrations and Community Awareness Lead, etc. They’re often asked to occupy middle space (inherently turbulent and conflict areas). They are asked to speak of topics and discussions that can (and often do) enter personal spaces, including their own. For this purpose, they need to be advocates and coaches of the efforts that promote and align diversity requirements and equitable practices, but also be support systems for those needs, and those of their own. The D&E mentor is a complex and unique counsellor, but not so unique that they're not guided by a fundamental trait - that of caring for the wellbeing of others.

Here is a bulleted orientation of the previous paragraph.

The D&E Mentor holds:

· Clear care for the wellbeing of others

· Rich understanding of the importance of differences/diversity

· Ability to navigate psychosocial spaces in individuals and groups

· Fundamental belief in Equity and its need

· Ephemeral personal involvement and perpetual professionalism

· Advocation and promotion of/for D&E practices

· Solid interpersonal abilities

· Inordinate navigation skills of personalized spaces

· Studentship of history and question regarding its Master Narratives

A Bold Statement, Maybe!!

Every company, organization, institution, and the such, should have these individuals present in their social working groups. They not only hold the characteristics mentioned above – which already means they contribute to a wide range of prerequisites in a company – but they also assist in the connectivity needs of company, employee, and client. These individuals are, in many ways, the spiders in a web, connecting all the threads while sensitive to any sudden movements. They attend to fissures, mend gaps, strengthen weaknesses, monitor feelings, accent needs, and contribute highly to our human social progress. Identifying these individuals is part of the work we do here at KSCC, creating a framework for their involvement and effectiveness is what we can do together.

1 comentario

16 dic 2020

I Agree in every company having the presence of an individual representing kinship In an everyday work environment. Someone to remind you of human equity when faced with difficult decisions or when tensions are high in pressure sensitive moments. Having a D&E mentor who has mutual respect amongst all parties would be able to shed light on differences and find a common ground where progress can be made. Issues in the work environment/culture are too often left unresolved. I believe that D&E mentors are just what all companies need in acting as a “spider in a web” weaving together the cultural differences and mindsets of the forever growing evolution of mankind.

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