Community Diversity: A People’s Issue
Track Leader: Monica Jones
The purpose of this session is to provide participants with educational opportunities not only to increase awareness of community diversity, but also to develop and enhance skills to help create more inclusive experiences.
This track will help participants explore how to maximize their service to others by raising awareness of personal and organizational norms, distinctiveness, and blind spots. This session engages participants through a variety of methods, including self-assessment via a “cultural audit,” group activities and interaction, compelling videos, and concept discussions.
Diversity is about leveraging all aspects of human potential. Therefore, we look at the make-up of our changing and diverse population as a means of understanding how to meet the needs of our workforce and our stakeholders. Appreciating and valuing diversity improves our ability to serve others. The level of customer service provided individually and by an organization is connected to the ability to respond effectively in an increasingly diverse world.
“Diversity” has to do with the many ways that people are distinctive, including dimensions related to geography, income, education, region, race, religion, birth order, etc. There are countless ways that people are unique, even as they share many traits, and by expanding one’s understanding of what constitutes “normal,” we can open up new and more effective ways to relate to others as well as strengthen the interactions within our organizations and with those served by the organization.
Additionally, populations change over time. Communities can identify new opportunities by exploring how our region is experiencing changing demographics and consider the economic opportunities these changes may present.
Track Capacity: 18
What can I expect to learn?
- How to increase your personal effectiveness and interactions with others
- How to maximize nonprofit / community organizational effectiveness by ensuring positive engagement with various types of community members and constituencies served by your organization
- Examples of how diversity can contribute to specific aspects of nonprofit organizational processes
- Demonstrate a greater ability to recognize, appreciate and value your similarities and differences and those of others.
- Define diversity and its benefits, especially to the community.
- Identify barriers of diversity and their implications on you and your community.
- Become more aware of attitudes, values, feelings and beliefs that form perceptions, prejudices, stereotypes and biases that influence behaviors.
Examples of how diversity can contribute to nonprofit effectiveness and culture:
- We are more effective with others if we are able to navigate cultural nuances, as well as not unwittingly create barriers to communication. Knowledge of one’s own norms and biases can help prevent communication barriers.
- In an environment where diversity is valued, each person feels valued for their unique perspective and abilities. Organizational and community effectiveness is enhanced when 1) open, respectful communication is the norm, and 2) there is greater buy in for organizational decisions because members feel represented and valued. In such an atmosphere, decision making is enhanced and responses are supported.
|Monica Jones is the Director of the Black Cultural Center at Berea College. She is completing her doctoral degree at Ohio University where she earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Previously, Monica was the Director of Diversity for Ohio University (Eastern, Lancaster and Zanesville campuses) as well as the former Director of Student Services on the Zanesville Campus. She has been employed within the higher educational arena for 15 years working directly with under-represented students from the Appalachian regions of Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.|