White men can be great diversity partners

By Bill Springer on September 17, 2015

Bill Proudman is a member of our Women in Leadership Institute™ keynote faculty. He’s also a Founding Partner and CEO of WMFDP (an innovative consulting firm that focuses on diversity and inclusion), and an influential speaker on team effectiveness, cultural competence, and inclusive leadership. But unlike many people who are often called to help organizations be more diverse and inclusive, he’s a white man.

As you’ll see in this video clip, Bill believes that the role of white men in diversity and inclusion efforts is often overlooked. And that’s a missed opportunity.

“When we really engage white male leaders in diversity and inclusion efforts,” he says, “it frees up women, people of color and those of different nationalities from the fatiguing work of helping and coaching white men to understand their world, and that of others.”

He’s also quick to admit that the challenge global companies face related to employee engagement, morale, and representation is not a simple fix-it. But, as he explains, he is making progress.

Interested? Learn more from Bill and the rest of our rockstar faculty at the Women in Leadership Institute taking place in Phoenix, Arizona from November 2-5.

Posted in Blog, Inclusive Leadership Tagged with: , , ,

About Bill Springer

When Bill Springer isn't writing for our Leadership Insights Blog, he's usually pushing a baby stroller, sailing, or riding bikes.....long distances.
One comment on “White men can be great diversity partners
  1. Thank you so much for your work and more importantly, thank for your understanding the curial role of white men’s involvement on the issue of diversity and inclusion. Often times whites act as if it’s just minority issue; it is America issue and everybody has to be involved if we are ever going to eradicate issues of isms and thus support true inclusion which will foster our work to perfecting the union.
    The power of white men’s involvement working along with others for true inclusion can never be overstated, especially white men with power in position of leadership. In other word, I think it works better when white, black, and others in leadership role work together. I mean white men, white woman, black man, black woman, Asian man, Asian woman, and non white working together. Hence they have courage as Laura Stone stated. With courage and in position of power and commitment to influence policy and monitor progress, they will see success. This would include people in position of leadership with real power such as the president of an organization. This is especially true if the person show strong and true commitment to inclusion to the point that everyone, black, white, Latino etc are aware of the president’s position on inclusion.
    I completely agree with you point that white men should not be on the side line, they should take front and center position like everyone else. In fact, I have seen firsthand, how a white man’s involvement on the issues associated with diversity and inclusion worked extremely well, and that made a huge difference with substantive success. You are definitely right when you stated, “it frees up women, people of color and those of different nationalities from the fatiguing work of helping and coaching white men to understand their world, and that of others.” That was exactly what my mentor, Larry Vold did. The problem though is that in spite of clear evidence of what had worked, you continuously see school not replicating what worked. Instead, they revert to things that never worked like handing such an important issue of inclusion to their appointed friend that may not even understand the complex issues associated with diversity and inclusion. To make the mater worst, the appointed usually is unaccountable to no one, and that’s in part why we continuously read about one terrible thing after another stemming in part due to lack of inclusion. It almost seems like the more things change, the more they remain the same. I would argue that it is in part why in 2015, we are still seeing and reading overt and covert discrimination play in our society like the Ferguson as evidence in the Report released by the Justice Department (http://tinyurl.com/ljzxlsb)
    I agree with Bill Proudman when he stated “When we really engage white male leaders in diversity and inclusion efforts, it frees up women, people of color and those of different nationalities from the fatiguing work of helping and coaching white men to understand their world, and that of others.” I also agree with Laura Stone when she said “Being a leader really requires us to have courage, to take chances, to take risks, to push ourselves in places where we really feel uncomfortable at times.”

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