To the members, organizations, and communities we serve:
A respected friend and Talent Development leader reminded me recently that “silence says something as well.” I am so grateful for this patient nudge. As a person of privilege in our society I have found myself hesitating out of fear or uncertainty of how to help. I am leaning on the advice of those trusted friends and colleagues who have generously supported me while already carrying a heavy burden of their own.
I teach leadership and management skills. I stand in front of classrooms and train people to have the difficult conversations and share explicitly about their context and intent. That includes the lesson to leaders that proactive communication is critical to avoid damaging assumptions and that as leaders we are accountable for the perception of our organizations and teams. Now as a leader in our community of professionals, I have a responsibility to practice what I preach and speak clearly.
The institutional racism and violence against people of color in our nation is unacceptable and must stop. Racism is not new and it is not limited to what we can see in our news feeds. We in the talent development community have seen it in job interviews, talent review meetings, leadership pipelines, and board rooms.
We stand broken-hearted but proudly with the communities across the nation who are making their deep pain explicit and visible for others. And we are committed to listening and putting in the work as a chapter to become more inclusive and supportive of all the talent in Southeastern Wisconsin.
This is our cause.
SEWI-ATD is an organization of professionals who believe in the potential of human beings to learn, grow, and improve. We have been trained—and train others—how to listen for understanding, how to set expectations and build culture, and how to coach others through their blind spots. We understand the need for reinforcement of learning and how to help transfer knowledge and awareness into action. Right now, our communities need these skills more than ever. And so we have a responsibility to act.
Some of us have already been leading this work, knowing that our communities of talent cannot flourish when we are divided by our skin color, ZIP code, or identity. We are grateful for your guiding examples. Others of us are being asked to step beyond our personal comfort zones in order to help. Wherever you are in your own journey, know that we at SEWI-ATD are here to support you.
The nation, our state, the organizations and communities to which our members belong all have a lot of learning to do. Let’s get to it.
HELP US TO TAKE ACTION
I would ask those in our community of learning professionals to help us all to learn.
Chapter President, SEWI-ATD