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Diversity & Inclusion: The Personal Journey

Diversity & Inclusion: The Personal Journey

Welcome to this week’s enormously powerful and personal LinkedIn Live, hosted by yours truly, Sara Dalsfelt, Adway’s Senior Advisor of Digital Talent Acquisition. Joining her is Lerato Semenya—Diversity & Inclusion Specialist and Managing Director of Chromatic Consulting. Prepare yourselves for an eye-opening session where we learn just how crucial (note: it’s NOT just about race and gender!) diversity really is…. especially in the future of TA!  

Want to know what Lerato’s favorite word is? “Belonging.”



Background Check 

Lerato is a is a dynamic, passionate D&I leader and storyteller who excels in strategy development and inspires institutional** change to engender a sense of belonging for the marginalized. With nearly 20 years of career experience in several industries, Lerato used her rapid climb up the corporate ladder to fight for solutions that create safe, inclusive spaces for employees (especially women and members of the LGBTI+ community). Lerato is the Managing Director of Chromatic Consulting, a comprehensive consultation company that helps identify gaps and opportunities within a company’s Diversity and Inclusion program and creates a plan for a future D&I success. She’s also the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Kuehne + Nagel Inzuzo Trust, which invests in the education and entrepreneurial development of young South African women. 

The Diversity & Inclusion Spectrum - Where Does Your Company Fall?   

  1. We’re just catching on to D&I.  

  2. We have dedicated D&I initiatives and staff, but we don’t know how to move further. 

  3. We’re well engaged with D&I, but need to KEEP diverse employees for the long haul.  


“A” Organizations: Diversity Potential is HUGE, but Fear Might Stand in the Way  

What may or may not have worked in the past is not good enough to work now. There’s “cosmic consciousness” occurring, but for employees to have the sense of psychological safety to bring their WHOLE selves to work, a few key steps must occur:  

  • Investigate your culture. See how it’s different from what you SAY it is.  
  • Empower the organization with language. Get people who are passionate about D&I to come in and “journey manage” you with definitions. Know how to collectively define each issue is so you can know how to best tackle it.  

  • Remove the stigma from bias. This doesn’t mean throwing bias away. It means asking where does bias disadvantage both you and the person you’re applying it to, especially in recruitment.  
  • Change how your company innovates. How will it help you get diverse candidates and how can it help them stay?  
  • What is the business case for Diversity? How does it impact the entire business ecosystem? The most diverse Fortune 500 companies are performing at 25% better at the revenue line.  


“B” Organizations: D&I Initiatives Are Developing as a Response to Issues “Gone Wrong”  

Perhaps an executive of color has resigned, and their exit interview illuminated the reason: a non-inclusive workplace. When something like this happens, Lerato recommends a series of D&I interventions: 


  • Educate. Educate. Educate. “The more you know, the better you do”—Maya Angelou. Have the confidence to ASK. Open organizational eyes so you can mutually learn.  
  • Target your interventions and make sure you can measure them. You can’t change what you can’t measure. Measure employee happiness.  
  • Speak to intersectionality. How do your employee worlds end up crossing? From the restroom to the conference room to the break room. Does EVERYONE feel included? 
  • Have a well-articulated D&I policy. Use it to arm your managers with answers.  

  • Celebrate successes! Big and small!  


“C” Organizations: Still Not Considering the “Intersectional”  

“D&I Fatigue” can really set in with this type of organization. Are you just ticking the boxes? It’s time to:  

  • Interrogate your stats to see where you actually stand. What decisions can data uncover that will be driven by the organization? How will you harness diversity to push your innovation levels even higher? 

  • Move D&I managers further up the chain and equip them to the fullest. Let them make decisions that influence every single sphere of the business. Team them up with TA and HR.   
  • Set up Employee Resource Groups that inspire your people to refer members of their diverse network to apply to your positions and join your workforce.  
  • Foster a culture of expression. This works both ways: let every employee be seen and heard and call OUT those who are going against D&I best practices with non-inclusive or offensive actions.  


Move From “Culture Fit” to “Culture ADD”  

Be braver. Be better. Do you want to spin up another robot? Or do you want to have someone who can bring their WHOLE self to work? Embrace employees who try something that hasn’t been tried before. If they fail, you learn from them. If they succeed, you celebrate with them while accelerating the organization into the future.  


Today’s Two Most Important D&I Takeaways  

  1. Acknowledge your fear. Let your intent be your guiding force. If you are in the right psychological space, you can commit to getting close to one person who is different and helps you shift and grow. Together, you can approach the NEXT person and keep growing your circle. Don’t get stuck and never move!  

  2. Be brave. Own your truth. Live in your truth. Don’t be afraid to answer the tough questions when asked.