4 Takeaways from the Inaugural Dean’s Leadership Series

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Panelists focus on leading in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace

The Belk College of Business launched the Dean’s Leadership Series on Monday, Sept. 28, with a conversation on Leading on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion featuring a panel four Charlotte business leaders. 

Here are four takeaways from the event:

1. D&I should be a core business function

“I would say [diversity, equity and inclusion] starts from within the organization. It’s definitely driven at the top of the organization, but also when you think about promotion, that can be for really all employees. I think that D&I should be looked at as a core business function the same way we put resources, energy and time into our marketing and accounting operations. It can’t be solved overnight.”
Latesha Byrd ‘12, CEO and Founder of Byrd Career Consulting

2. Leaders must be open minded  

We have to create the environment and the safe place in an organization to have these bold moments. Providing leaders and managers with the tools to do this. It starts from the top with leadership to encourage those conversations.”
– Craig Parkin, Senior Managing Director, TIAA

3. Create a Change of Culture

Omar G. Jorge Peña, CEO, Compare Foods, says if everyone doesn’t know the rules, then it’s not a fair game. He has worked to change the culture of managers from being a boss to being an educator. “Your job is to be a teacher, to guide your supervisees and give them the tools and understanding,” he says.

4. Keep employees up to date about diversity and inclusion efforts

"Leaders need to come to these conversations with humility and vulnerability. We started conversations with our employees in smaller groups so everyone would feel comfortable. As long as people are operating from a level of sincerity – we’re all trying to understand and we all want to see what life is like through a different lens – you build that trust. And we're building muscles that most firms, and ours included, don't have.
– Mike Freno, President and Head of Investments, Barings

The Dean’s Leadership Series aims to give back to the Charlotte business community and celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary. 

The next Dean’s Leadership Series, will be on Wednesday, Oct. 15, focusing on the Implications of COVID-19 for Commercial Real Estate. You can view a recording of the full session on YouTube.