Happy New Year!! My Top Seven Blogs for 2017

I have gotten to meet some of the skaters featured in my top read blog of 2017, clockwise from top left: Adam Rippon, Rudy Galindo, Johnny Weir, Randy Gardner.

This is now becoming an annual tradition – looking at my website statistics for the past entire year and listing my top seven most read blogs as a New Year feature.

I normally blog about my two areas of consulting a few times each month: Diversity with a specialization in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace; and career and skills development based on my innovative Total Engagement Career Mapping process. And once in a while I throw in a more personal blog or rant about something that is irking me.

In 2017, five of my seven most read blogs dealt with some sort of diversity topic, while two were part of my monthly “Get Up” Series inspired by the US Figure Skating Association’s popular “Get Up” campaign. Here are the “Top 7 of 2017” in reverse order:

7. The seventh most read blog of 2017 was part of my monthly “Get Up” Blog series inspired by US Figure Skating’s “Get Up” campaign. The concept of US Figure Skating’s wonderful “Get Up” Campaign is that life, like the ice, is hard, and after a fall we need to get up, grow from the experience and persevere. In “Getting Up from loneliness and isolation through finding community,” I share the inspiring story of adult figure skater Amanda McGowan finding a community through skating.

6. Number 6: In “A Diversity and Inclusion Case Study – Getting it Right,” I share a heartwarming story of how two employees of a men’s suit store addressed the needs of a gender fluid young woman who preferred to wear a man’s suit instead of a dress to her graduation.

5. My fifth most popular blog was the May installment of my monthly “Get Up” Series. In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, my May “Get Up” Blog was “Getting Up after Considering or Attempting Suicide.” Often greatly stigmatized, people suffering with this issue can indeed get up and move on to whole and satisfying lives.

4. Number 4: In this time when many people in industry consider millennials as entitled, spoiled and unwilling to work hard, I published this interview with an outstanding millennial community leader. Out and proud gay man Jackson Cooper is believed to be the youngest executive director in the country leading a performing arts organization in the US.

My third most popular blog was guest written by Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado (here pictured with her husband Richard Horvath), part time bilingual consultant on my team

3. This blog, “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People” was a guest piece written in 2016 by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado.

2. Number 2 was the 2014 – 2016 number 1, actually published way back in 2011! As many people search for online resources about diversity training, they found and read my 2011 blog “Three Components of Diversity Training,” where I discuss three major components required for diversity training and exactly who within an enterprise should be trained. I have also updated that blog to include links to more resources including to a blog sharing a sample outline of diversity and inclusion training contents.

1. And finally, by a long shot, with over 8,000 hits, my most read blog of the year was actually published in early 2016, a personal labor of love which included several personal photos that I took, “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating.”

Thanks to all the readers who enjoy and share my blogs. In 2018, if you want to be notified each time I do publish, you can like my business facebook page (Link), or if you subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, I include a short summary and links to the past month’s writings.

Wishing all my readers a wonderful 2018 filled with much contentment and success!

Sexism, Racism and the Dynamics of Power

Four men whose careers have been disgraced by sexual harassment episodes, clockwise from top left: Matt Lauer (money.cnn.com), Harvey Weinstein (Business Insider),
Judge Roy Moore (NBC news), Senator Al Franken (ABC news)

A lot continues to be written and discussed about racism, defined as “the belief, often accompanied with behavior, that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” And with the latest slew of sexual harassment charges against well known business, political and entertainment leaders, sexism is once more on top of minds. A good definition of sexism is “attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of gender roles, including discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex or gender, as in restricted job opportunities, especially such discrimination directed against women.”

But the main other ingredient that is critical to discussing both racism and sexism is the “power dynamic.” The real problem is when people in power use that power to degrade and unfairly treat either individuals or entire groups of people.

Let’s first look at sexism and sexual harassment. I would assert that if an entry level or lower salaried man sexually harassed a co-worker or client, they would immediately be fired. But when it is senior executive or top performer in an organization, so often the violation is minimized, excused or never addressed. The Human Resources professional who receives an allegation of sexual misconduct by a senior executive may be afraid to investigate. They may believe that the senior executive could quickly negatively impact their career or job. They say, “We can’t go after that executive – he is far too powerful.” Or when the top salesman makes a sexual move on a younger junior colleague in the office, the excuse is, “Well, he is the top performer, we need him.”

Drastic actions must be taken to address sexual misconduct by those in power by boards of directors and the Human Resources profession. See my blog, “Five Provocative Recommendations to Address Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.”

Second, let’s look a racism, especially institutional racism, which “occurs specifically in institutions such as governmental bodies, corporations and universities where systemic policies and practices within the institution have the effect of disadvantaging certain racial or ethnic groups.” See my blog on personal and institutional racism that includes examples.

The disproportionate arrest and incarceration of black men indicates that institutional racism may very well be a part of our justice system. (Photo courtesy American Renaissance)

In this case, it is not one individual in power exploiting their position to mistreat another, but instead it is societal power. In our nation, where the white majority has been in control of almost all of our institutions, it is easy to set up systems and structures that disadvantage minority populations. And this can include deliberate institutional racism (like the Jim Crow laws of the past) or unintentional racism due to lack of awareness of the needs of other groups. Therefore, it is critical for the majority group in power to have open and honest dialogues with all constituent populations in setting up systems and structures, and to continually educate themselves on all forms of diversity.

Hopefully with deliberate, thoughtful, strong actions we can continue to progress in addressing racism and sexism, and hold leaders accountable who abuse their power. This will lead to a stronger nation and economy where everyone is valued, treated fairly and can contribute their very best.