The subtleties of gender bias

In the eighties, I worked on a project that required me to travel with a team to a site where we had to sign in and wear badges. We went there about once every month for over a year. It drove me crazy because the security guards (both male and female) would hand me my badge and say, “Here you go, Carol,” and then hand the male team member his badge with, “Here you go, Mr. James.”

Today, thirty years later, the same thing happened. A receptionist called me “Carol,” and my husband, “Mr. Anderson.” Dang. Wouldn’t you think we would have evolved, given all of the focus on diversity and inclusion?

In the nineties, I headed a diversity initiative for a bank. One of the elephants hanging around the room in those days was the chatter among female executives who were learning to play golf because they were tired of having business discussion occur on the golf course when they weren’t there. (more…)

Roosevelt Thomas’ Legacy

In 1994, I took on the challenge of introducing the concept of diversity in business to my bank’s leadership.  Banks were coming under fire for their apparent discriminatory lending practices, and were struggling to figure out how to make the necessary changes in a way that honored the business strategy.

Enter Dr. R. Roosevelt Thomas, whose books still sit on my shelf, and I refer to them yet today.  Dr. Thomas passed away earlier this month at a very young age, and with the exception of a small article in “Diversity Executive” which made its way to LinkedIn, I couldn’t find any other information.  So I thought I would pay tribute here to an individual who influenced my path through the broader  discipline of human resources by heightening my personal sensitivity to the importance of diversity of thought. (more…)