The Ethical and Business Imperatives of Retaining Diverse Young Professional Talent in Omaha:
Part Two, The Recommendations
In November 2017, we dedicated our Mind Candy Dialogue event to the discussion of diverse YP talent in Omaha. We were inspired by the shocking results from a survey of young professionals conducted by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and the Urban League of Nebraska, results which indicated that:
· Black and African American YPs are less likely (43%) than YPs of other races (67%) to believe there are equal opportunities for advancement in their companies
· Black and African American YPs are less likely (46%) than YPs of other races (67%) to anticipate living in Greater Omaha in the next five years.
This despite more Black and African American YPs (52%) than YPs of other races (25%) reporting aspirations to start their own small business.
See the actual survey results and recommendations.
The event was great. Conversation was open and honest. We were impressed by our fellow Omahans’ genuine desire to understand and address this problem. We were—and are—proud of the forum we had provided for community members to discuss the moral imperatives of diversity, particularly in the workplace.
Fast forward to 2018, and we were excited to offer Part Two of the discussion—an overview of the recommendations compiled by the Chamber and the Urban League. We gathered a panel of expert practitioners, identified a fantastic moderator; everything was good to go.
Then, at our final planning session, someone pointed it out. “You know…the Alliance homepage has a picture of all white people. That’s the very first thing you see. So who is the Alliance for?” It was a humbling moment. That person was right. A photo, comprised of all white males at one of our Signature Programs, sprawled across the top banner of the very first page of our website. We had created a homogenous initial impression of our own organization in a very tangible way, an impression we had in no way desired to create.
It wasn’t intentional, of course. But that’s the point, this wise person explained:
“If you’re not intentionally inviting people in
(like, say, by who you represent visually on your website),
you end up unintentionally uninviting them.”
We tell this story because we are a perfect example of what we hope Omaha organizations realize: addressing this issue is a journey—one that requires honesty, openness, and vulnerability. It requires us to acknowledge things we might not want to see in ourselves, to become more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. It requires us to accept that:
· If we aren’t intentionally trying to solve the problem, then we’re unintentionally exacerbating the problem.
· It doesn’t have to happen in every interaction or every day to be problematic.
· It doesn’t have to be intentional to be harmful.
What is your organization doing to promote diversity and inclusion?
Below we’ve curated several resources from Omaha organizations working on this city-wide diversity and inclusion initiative. We thank and honor them for their sense of community responsibility and accountability.