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On June 30, 2020, The WIT Network kicked off its webinar series in response to the current environment of racial injustice faced by people of African descent, particularly Black people living in North America.
The trigger for this webinar was the recent death of George Floyd, which demonstrated the systemic racism and police brutality that many African Americans face. That terrible event brought other recent deaths to the forefront - particularly Breonna Taylor, a young African American woman who was shot eight times by police. The circumstances surrounding her death have now been classified as a botched raid.
These deaths, combined with the on-going pandemic, launched people into action. Massive protests have taken place (and continue to take place) worldwide, bringing together people of all faiths, nationalities, and backgrounds who believe that "Black Lives Matter." 

These events sparked The WIT Network leadership team and executive board to take collective action to gain perspectives from The WIT Network community members and advisors of African descent. These members currently reside in Haiti, the United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, South Africa, Columbia, France, and the United States.
The webinar “Living While Black” was moderated by Dr. Juliana Hynes, the CEO of Julianna Hynes and Associates, a leading authority on career development that assists women in breaking through the glass ceiling into the C-Suite. She is based in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Panelists:
Barbara Hardy is the Chief Inclusion, Diversity & Health Equity Officer, Stanford Health Care, and is a Strategic Advisor to the WIT Network, and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Michelle Gyimah is a leading Pay and Equity consultant working with corporates on issues related to closing gender and ethnicity pay gaps and assisting women to get fair compensation in the workplace. She is from the United Kingdom and is currently based in Spain.

Hannah Leonard is a The WIT Network SHEnovater Alumni and is a current student at Rockhurst University. She is also the author of It Isn't All Black and White: The Biracial Story," and is based in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Teri McCoy is the President of Digital Oyster Inc. She is an engineer who runs a leading IT training and development company based in Ottawa, Canada.
Madinah S. Ali is The WIT Network community lead for Atlanta, Georgia, and currently leads a cloud computing and IT infrastructure technology company, Safe PC Cloud. She has creating an EdTech division focused on bridging the digital divide among low-income and minority communities. 

The panelists gave different perspectives on their experiences as career women, entrepreneurs, and students during this historical time where organizations want to end systemic racism. They offered a view on the fundamental question, How do we begin to make this world a fair and better place? The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leaders which was developed by Deloitte Consulting Group (April 14, 2016), is currently the basis for The WIT Network Pledge for Equality and anchored the panel's discussion - 
  • Cognizant – we are self-aware of our biases
  • Courage – we are willing to take risks and be vulnerable
  • Commitment – we understand this is a long game
  • Cultural Intelligence – we are willing to learn about others’ cultures
  • Collaboration – we cannot go it alone; we need to pull in others
  • Curiosity – we will ask questions until we understand
In Summary

At the end of the presentation, we suggested that all the participants take a personal call to action:
  • Get Uncomfortable: Have those authentic talks with yourself and others and own your yuck?
  • First, you must discover your flaws, to build a new foundation for change and become aware.
  • Do not let guilt or vulnerability stop you from doing something. Acknowledge where you are and be ok with taking the first (of many) imperfect steps.
  • Educate yourself: Listen, talk to people, and learn.
  • Have Courage: Have the courage to be the change to end systemic racism? Speak up when you know things should be different.
Resources to Help on the Journey Toward a Better, Safer Tomorrow:

Leading on Purpose: The Black Woman’s Guide’s to Shattering the Glass Ceiling by Dr. Juliana Hynes-

It isn’t all Black and White: The Biracial Story by Hannah Leonard -

Michelle Gyimah has produced a whitepaper on how firms can confidentially talk about gender and race in the workplace. It will be available by mid-July 2020; please click on the link to register to receive a copy -

Madinah S. Ali started an EdTech practice to address the digital divide in minority communities-

The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership-Thriving in a Diverse New World, Deloitte Human Capital Group, Deloitte University Press, 2016 -

Diversity Still Matters by McKinsey -