Latinas can become leaders and improve their careers when they teach white male workers how to embrace their diversity so they can connect with people of all races and religions, says diversity expert speaker Pegine whose inspiring life story was recently profiled in a feature article on NBC Latino.com
"Latinas and women of color must be empowered to help their white brothers embrace their own diversity so we can all achieve our organizations' missions," says Pegine, MSW, CSP and SHRM member who is CEO of Team Pegine Inc. "We have to bring them into the program. When they grow, we all grow."
Team Pegine has created a diversity training program called White Guys Are Diverse Too! to help white men and those that work with them embrace their uniqueness. The program is geared for military, defense, government and federal contractors employees. It has been presented to officers at the US Navy, US Army, National Guard, US Marines and US Coast Guard.
She has researched diversity trends for many years and has found surprising conclusions.
"In fact, white guys might be the most overlooked group. The truth is Caucasian men already are diverse. They are diverse because of their age, background, economy, home life, geography, education, disabilities, intellectual, sexual orientation, marital status and children. No one is an Average Joe. But white men don't realize that," said Pegine, an expert on diversity training who has testified in front of the Congressional military leadership diversity commission.
"Latinas and women of color can mentor white guys to communicate and acknowledge their stories. Their stories, their histories, enable release their 'average Joe' status to unique and valuable. By telling their story men showcase their diversity. White guys' experience is an important part of the fabric of today's diverse workforce," said Pegine whose company presents keynote speeches and workshops to government, military and businesses on leadership in a diverse world.
"It is up to women in leadership roles to help white men unlearn conformity so they can share their experience and backgrounds to bond with everyone else. It is an organizational and global imperative that men not stick their heads in the sand," said Pegine who coined the term "Diversity Connection" to describe all the dimensions of who you really are and how to use those dimensions to connect with others. "Leadership is about relationships. Relationships are built on connections. Everyone's unique dimensions connect us to each other, if we share them. Assumptions are demolished when people learn about each other's uniqueness."
Women managers can help their white male workers connect with a diverse workforce when they follow three steps:
1. Tell your real story. 2. Be interested in others. 3. Know how they are diverse.
"A white guy can connect with a black woman when they discover they both grew up in a single family household. There is a connection," she said. "A white guy who grew up on the south side can connect with an Asian who grew up on the north side once they discover that they both love the same movies. It is an imperative that Caucasian men utilize the diversity they have inside of them to build connections with everyone. They can't talk about diversity until they know they are diverse."
Many companies that try to promote diversity do it incorrectly.
"Blaming, pointing fingers and excluding anyone is wrong. A diversity program that inspires, educates and trains people to utilize the strengths of every employee is what is needed. Business needs to motivate higher levels of productivity among employees. That requires an understanding of differences and similarities and how to build on them. Training people from diverse backgrounds to communicate their needs and educating all on what next steps are needed for innovation, creation, productivity and prosperity is what diversity and inclusion programs should strive for," she said.
"Team Pegine is on the 'tip of the spear' for getting the training and awareness to millions of people with this dimension of diversity and inclusion. White guys must understand their contributions and differences to remain an inclusive part of the organization," said Dr. Wm. Gary McGuire, Deputy Dean of Education, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.
In the 3-hour training, participants will learn to:
-- Challenge assumptions that all white guys have the same perceptions, opinions, backgrounds and preferences
-- Recognize the connection between employee engagement and productivity
-- Create and mentor diverse teams
An overview of the course is provided in a 4-minute mini movie at http://whiteguysarediverse.com/
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