October 12, 2022
Making a difference in DEI (Diversity Equity Inclusion) is an ongoing discussion in the Venture Capital and Private Equity industries, and the IVCA has been expanding the discussion through their Diversity Program Series in 2022. The first three parts have taken place, and the series final event – “Strategies for Survival: Cultivating Mentors and Allies for Success” – will be an in-person luncheon on November 18, 2022. Click here to register.
Conducting the series has been Nextions LLC, a consulting firm that believes that smart leaders recognize that workplaces that work for everyone are better for everyone. They provide these leaders the tools for cultivating workplaces that honor and value diversity, inclusion, equity, justice, and wellness.
To preview the November luncheon, and to talk about what has transpired throughout the series, the IVCA talked to Dr. Arin N. Reeves, the President and Principal at Nextions.
IVCA: Historically, the workplace has always been diverse, given the nature of the melting pot, gender/orientation evolution and the simple need to earn a living. In the history of those workplaces, when did diversity come to a reckoning in human resources terms and how has its evolution sped up post the year 2000 to today?
Dr. Arin N. Reeves: Workplaces have always been diverse, but not in equitable ways. For example, women have always worked in certain industries – but only as secretaries or support – until they demanded to be hired for other professional positions. When they were hired beyond traditionally female roles, workplaces had to shift HR practices to ensure parity in retention and advancement.
Most recently, the opening up of communication channels and the expansion of connection through social media has allowed more people to reach more audiences. People who historically were not able to get their voices heard spoke up, and workplaces had to shift to listen better.
IVCA: In the IVCA Diversity Program, the seminar topics are Inclusion Efforts, Noting Bias in the Workplace, Being Authentic During Uncertain Times and How to Survive by Cultivating Mentors/Allies. How did these four subject matters become important in the 21st Century workplace?
Reeves: I think these topics have always been important, but until recently there wasn’t a way for people to ask workplaces to talk about them or even do something about them, without negative consequences to their careers. As the younger generations have come to expect a greater level of focus on these issues in workplaces, those workplaces are more open to talking about them.
IVCA: We are currently in a post-pandemic readjustment, with remote work being one of the debates that emerged from the pandemic situation. How did the pandemic affect diversity in the workplace, and what is your opinion on working remotely?
Reeves: Working remotely is not a new phenomenon, but it became a more prevalent phenomenon during and since the pandemic. We don’t know how the pandemic impacted diversity and inclusion, but we know that remote work is not better or worse than in-person working. Remote work just requires different skill sets in employees and their managers. Without these skills, it can feel like in-person is better, but with the skills in place, businesses can leverage the strengths of both.
IVCA: Why is Inclusion so vital in 2022, and in what sectors or businesses can you point toward their efforts and successes?
Reeves: Diversity adds both differences and different perspectives. Inclusion is our ability to navigate those differences and leverage them. I think the arts and other fields that rely heavily on creativity have always been at the leading edge of inclusion because creativity requires inclusion.
IVCA: Authenticity is always interesting state of being. Since we all create facades in our day to day lives, especially in the workplace, how does an individual’s authenticity vital in making breakthroughs in a workplace environment?
Reeves: We all have multiple aspects to who we are, and we have choice as to which parts of us we reveal and/or express in different areas of our lives. If we are creating a facade, it’s not authenticity … but we don’t have to share every part of ourselves to be authentic. As long as you don’t have to pretend to be someone or something you are not, you can experience authenticity. If you are pretending, that takes a lot of energy, and it’s not sustainable.
IVCA: The next and final seminar for the IVCA is ‘Survival Strategy: Cultivating Mentors and Allies for Success.’ What are the characteristics to look for in good mentors and allies, even if they’re not necessarily upper management or have traits that are most in common with you?
Reeves: Mentors and allies are people who can be resources to help you achieve the goals you set out to achieve in your workplace. Mentors can teach and coach, and allies can help you get integrated and feel supported. Everyone has different needs, and what people need from mentors and allies varies, but those needs determine who will be an effective mentor/ally for an individual. If you have needs that are better met by senior people in your workplace, that’s where you will find effective mentoring. If you have social integration needs, a peer mentor would be better.
IVCA: Finally, describe Nextions services that you offer clients, and how those services can be customized to each individual organization, business or firm.
Reeves: We tailor our research, insights, and training to fit your organization and address your situation. Your workplace is unique, so that is why we tailor everything we do to fit your workplace’s specific challenges and desired outcomes. We utilize our own cutting-edge research, complemented by findings from other respected organizations working in leadership and culture change, to develop 100% bespoke insights and programming. No canned speeches. No platitudes. No bullshit. Ever.
Part Four of the IVCA Diversity Program Series will be “Strategies for Survival: Cultivating Mentors and Allies for Success” on November 18, 2022. To listen to the previous three parts, click here. For more information about Nextions LLC, click here.