Shawn Mack

Testimonial: Creating the Environment for Courageous Inclusion

Our agency has been working to build our diversity and inclusion program, and I was recommended by our president to take Courageous Inclusion. I wanted to connect with other practitioners and get ideas to implement strategically in our organization—both of which I was able to do by enrolling. 

Before the program started, I was apprehensive about joining a virtual group. But I was able to form amazing connections with my classmates. We all approached this class with varying degrees of exposure of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trends and issues, but the content was at the right level for everyone. 

I appreciated the sessions on strategy, about identifying the things in the organization that I want to focus on, how to build desired outcomes, and how to use KPIs to measure our success. As Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer of my agency, I am now able to directly implement those, and am building strategic goals and relationships.

Everyone has their own approach to learning, but it was so helpful to have an anecdotal portion that included activities and sharing experiences, along with the theoretical. So much about diversity and inclusion is about people’s feelings, and there is not a lot of theory around that. Theoretical content can jade the reality of what people are experiencing, so Dr. Outing also used a number of phenomenal activities. I especially enjoyed being able to strategize and think about what we were learning using project-based role-playing scenarios.

The world of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion [DEI] is ever changing and evolving, which forces us to continue to rethink how we approach it. We need to always want to discover who to include and who we are missing. The point [of DEI work] is not to have all of the answers but to self reflect and actively participate in a process Professor Outing called “steady, study, struggle,” creating positive changes for a more inclusive environment, then evaluate, and keep up the cycle. That is the beauty of it. This course is a real opportunity to have authentic conversations that can help us in our organizations to continue to explore DEI in a unique way.