Getting Real With Diversity and Inclusion in Today’s Business Climate

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Written by Kyle Adams,
• 4 min read
Understanding the Unknown Intro Graphic

*Image courtesy of Joe Pilcavage, Head of Creative, Digital Surgeons

It was a pleasure to have Cortni Grange — founder, servant leader, advisor, father and everything else in between — join Pete Sena, co-founder and CCO of Digital Surgeons, for our latest 4:4:4 discussion, “Understanding the Unknown.”

Cortni considers himself a jack of many trades who only chooses to master himself.
It was incredible to learn about Cortni’s journey from being a co-founder of Future First, an organization dedicated to using entrepreneurship and providing technology accessibility for others, to how Cortni transcends his beliefs and perspectives on subtle acts of exclusion, leadership, and diversity + inclusion in his everyday life.

Cortni came to the conversation as his whole self, beginning with how his life’s trajectory is uncommon because he was a child raised in a single parent home, is a black man in America and is a first generation American from the Carribean.

The conversation became so profound because of Cortni’s transparency and confidence. Cortni knows that based on his background, his life’s trajectory is uncommon. That’s why he wants to make his journey scalable to others.

Pete and Cortni continued going down this honest, open-minded path in their conversation. This led Pete to ask Courtney about unlearning subconscious norms and expectations in leadership, specifically Pete asked how he can avoid creating subtle acts of exclusion. Cortni learned about subtle acts of exclusion from various books on leadership and went on to explain how these micro-moments, or subtle acts of exclusion, many of us are at fault of creating can be easily course corrected.

“It’s not about not doing it, it’s about recognizing it when it comes up. Or empower environments to be able to call it out when it happens. You call these subtle acts of exclusion out by not creating another subtle act of exclusion when calling it out and having frameworks built in to deal with it in those moments or afterward."

Cortni and Pete’s conversation really dove into problem solving at the macro and micro level. With everything going on in the world during the last few months, there’s a great opportunity to do more and to do better as an individual. This includes understanding how to incorporate diversity and inclusion from a race, gender, and background perspective, whether it be in your workplace, daily life, or elsewhere.

Cortni is in a position to teach others how they can define their role and help solve this problem. Part of Cortni’s response to the D&I problem and concept of accountability is the following:

“We are inherently afraid of the unknown. We don’t have a shared history. I’ve recently had some conversations about anti-semitism and in my mind, my history is very different than someone who’s felt anti-semitism. I’ve never felt it, so I don’t know where to start in the conversation, or my research. We have to accept the fact we will never have a shared history. My experiences won’t be someone else’s. We do have to figure out what is the baseline of historical information that we need so we can start to develop a shared language.”

Cortni is a wealth of knowledge. This discussion with Cortni and Pete delved into subtle acts of exclusion, leadership, and diversity + inclusion. It’s a perfect starting point to learn how to do more and improve.

Sending a thank you to the servant leaders, executive coaches, and consultants that joined us for the conversation and continue paving the way for others to join them!

See below, to watch the full episode: