Stay Ellavated | October 2022 | Issue 22

Dr. Ella Speaks

A lifelong dream of my first published book with HBR Press will become a reality in just one month. I am excited to announce the upcoming tour dates for my book. This book will change the game for #DiversityEquityandInclusion by helping leaders and organizations demystify what DEI is all about and take meaningful actions to follow through on those pledges from 2020.


I hope I can count on your support to help it become a best seller by Pre-ordering it today! Only 5% of best-sellers are from authors of color so your support matters! 

Pre-order the book today to learn and read more about the DEI journey! "The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion"

With DEI in Mind,

Dr. Ella

The Necessary Journey

     In anticipation of my first book being published next month, I am pleased to share one of the first published reviews of my book! Below is the Kirkus Review of "The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion"

Diversity scholar Washington delivers meaningful stories on how companies have—and have not—done the hard work of becoming equitable and inclusive.

An organizational psychologist and business professor at Georgetown, the author began this wide-ranging survey when, after George Floyd’s murder, CEOs and human resources officers expressed concern that their companies were not doing enough to promote diversity. Arguing that the effort properly falls under the threefold rubric DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion—Washington notes, “DEI is a journey. It includes programs, yes, but also making cultural changes, finding new ways to influence people, making difficult decisions, and more.” Some of her case studies are impressively positive even if the journeys are never quite complete. For example, Slack, the technology company, began to “shape equity and inclusion into its culture from the start,” with a workforce that has large minority representation, numbers nearly 45% women in management positions, and is committed to coaching to advance employees equally. Some companies talked the talk but fell short in reality: Nike did noble work in advancing the idea of diversity publicly but had a workplace culture that sometimes seemed hostile or indifferent to that idea. “To get past this tactical part of the journey,” writes the author, “organizations must create alignment between their DEI efforts internally and externally, and it must come from the top down and emerge from the bottom up.” Many of those alignments come from executives who themselves embody DEI’s goals: A Black woman, for example, has led her spirits company to a strong position in the sector by “doing something that other spirit brands haven’t figured out how to do, which is to market to everyone.” Similarly, Denny’s, after having been legally enjoined to commit to compliance, became a model in working toward such things as recruiting minority businesses into its supply chain and encouraging minority employment in and ownership of its restaurants.

Highly useful for diversity officers, HR workers, CEOs, and activists in the business community.

Ellavated Learning

Ellavated Learning: Managing Millenials and Gen Z in the Workplace 

By: Hildana Haileyesus

     Over the last two years, we have seen significant changes to the workplace as COVID disrupted the typical work/life separation. In addition to the dialogue around work from home and flexible work options, the increasing numbers of Gen Z in the workplace have also required companies to take a closer look at their culture and values. We often discuss the various generations as significantly different from one another or challenging to manage, but what really are the differences in the needs of Gen Z and Millennial employees?  

     Gen Z and Millenials make up about 26% of the American workforce, and according to a Gallup Survey share roughly three characteristics they look for in employers. With the Racial Reckoning of 2020 and the Great Resignation that followed shortly after- Gen Z and Millenials have been experiencing a lot of change early in their careers. This shifting social climate also impacted the workplace by empowering many Millenials and Gen Z to push forward issues in the workplace that impacted their experience as much as their work. In a shift from their Gen X colleagues, Millennials are more likely to care about how open and honest an organization’s leadership is than about an organization’s financial stability. Now, to be clear- this is not to say that Millennials don’t care about finances, but rather simply that the issues they are championing push organizations to consider how employee wellness is being considered. Both Gen Z and Millenials want employers who care about well-being and have ethical leadership practices. With the recent evolution of social justice conversations in the workplace, Gen Z workers in particular are looking for employers that are diverse and inclusive of all people. 

     Despite these slight differences in employer expectations, Gen Z and Millenials share many of the same needs and wants in the workplace. According to a 2022 Deloitte Survey, 29% of Gen Z and 36% of Millennials reported the cost of living as their greatest concern. Additionally, nearly 36% of Millenials and Gen Zers say they have rejected a job or assignment based on their personal ethics. This survey and data tell us that this generation of workers cares a great deal about their personal lives, how they are being valued in the workplace and the experience of their peers in the workplace.

     Luckily, the past few years have also seen the rise of organizational focus on DEI strategy and workplace equity. As you consider creating a DEI strategy or even begin planning for your 2023 strategy, it is essential to know that there is a business case for DEI that the workforce wants to see. Employees today, more than ever, care about their wellness, fairness, and equity for all of the people they work with. The push for flexibility as a result of Covid and the need to address DEI as a result of the Racial Reckoning have put organizations on a path to meet the needs of their employees. The great thing is also that DEI can be both top-down and bottom-up. Having a strong DEI strategy does not have to silence employee voices on the frontlines. The two can work together to make the workplace a better place for all.

3 Best Practices For Avoiding Cultural Appropriation this Halloween

     For many, October marks the undisputed arrival of Fall and, for those who celebrate, the start of the American holiday seasons including Halloween at the end of the month. Halloween originates from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which included practices such as costumes to ward off ghosts and spirits. As the English church grew, November 1st was designated as “All Saints Day” to honor and integrate the faiths of various groups that could be politically beneficial through alignment via the church. As a result, October 31st became “All Hallows Eve” and eventually Halloween. Today Halloween is celebrated with pumpkins, candy, and costumes. When it comes to costumes and dressing up, cultural appropriation can be a challenge when we think about DEI. Cultural appropriation is the adoption of elements of one culture in an exploitive or unacknowledged manner by a dominant culture. Often the history of discrimination and bias across race and ethnicity impact the degree to which an action could be considered cultural appropriation. As you think about your costume for an upcoming event, consider how these 4 practices can help you avoid cultural appropriation. 

  1. Don’t change your skin color. Imitating a character or a celebrity by recreating their outfits is one thing, but changing to your skin color or other major features to look like a different race rather than a character can be inappropriate and offensive. It harkens back to the days of early films where white actors would be cast to play people of color through black, red, or yellowface instead of hiring actors of those races. Although this Hollywood practice has continued in many ways today, it does not make it any more appropriate.

  2. Wear costumes, not cultures. Halloween can be a fun time to step into a character you admire or find entertaining, but we must remember to dress up as a character and not as an entire culture group as cultures are not costumes. For example, dressing up as Pocahontas- a specific character created by Disney is different from dressing up as a Native American Chief from any tribe. One is a character and one is a culture. 

  3. Consider the cultural significance. There are certain elements of culture that we associate with one group or another. This may be because of stereotypes we have seen in the media, or it could even be because of the history lessons we were taught. Regardless of the case, it is important to re-examine our knowledge to better understand the meaning and significance to a group of people and avoid disrespecting their traditions and practices. For example, we often associate feathers with Native Americans or the detailed and delicate Kimonos of Geishas from Japan. Beyond their simple association with their respective cultures, these are elements with history, purpose and function. Wearing these items without proper consideration recreates the exploitation many marginalized groups had to endure in order to survive and tell their stories today.             


DEI in Action: Celebrating Diwali

     Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs across the globe. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar months of Ashmina and Kartika. This year, the third day of Diwali(the main day of the festival) will be celebrated on October 24, 2022. Diwali is celebrated in slightly different ways across each of the religions but generally includes practices such as exchanging gifts, feeding the poor, organizing large feasts and decorating homes with elaborate designs made from colored sand, candles and flower petals. As you expand and evolve your organization’s DEI calendar of holidays, consider teaching employees about Diwali in the office celebrating the holiday in some of the ways listed below.

  • Decorate the office: The intricate designs, colors and lights used during Diwali are a major component of the holiday. Bringing some of the holiday’s images and colors can introduce employees to a visual understanding of the holiday. 

  • Introduce employees to Henna: Henna is a dye as well as an artform that has been used in parts of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia for thousands of years. The art of Henna includes creating intricate designs on the skin using the staining dye. It is a practice used for celebratory times such as weddings, birthdays, festivals and other significant events.  

  • Invite employees to share one thing they have learned: Consider having a lunch and learn opportunity for employees by sharing a resource in advance and catering South Asian food to give employees a cultural experience and an opportunity to engage with new information. 

  • Check out The Corporate Diwali: This event planning organization is driven by a mission to bring Diwali to the forefront of American awareness by hosting personalized Diwali events for corporations, universities and businesses across the U.S. 

Source 1

Source 2

Cultural Competence

Check out Dr. Washington’s most recent episode on recognition in the workplace with guest Meisha-Ann Martin.

Why Is Recognition at Work So Important?

Many organizations do not prioritize recognition at work. When it is given, it’s often experienced differently by employees -- including women and people of color. How can employers make recognition more equitable? Meisha-Ann Martin, senior director of People Analytics and Research at Workhuman, joins the podcast to discuss.

Service Spotlight: Bulk & Custom Options of the Necessary Journey

Pre Order now for October 2022 delivery

     95% of Best Selling Authors are White. Let’s change the narrative together. You can show your commitment to making real progress on equity and inclusion by sharing The Necessary Journey with your team, organization, or clients. Books can be purchased in bulk at a discount for use in training programs, sales campaigns, or gift-giving for company Holiday events. Books are available in bulk in hardcover, eBook, or audiobook format. 

     You can even customize books for your organization to reflect your brand on orders of 50 or more copies. Contact for more information.
Elevating Diversity.
Cultivating Equity.
Embracing Inclusion.
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