Spoiler alert: It’s impossible

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

Imagine the sound of chalk screeching down a chalkboard. For the generations who grew up with whiteboards; recall the sound of someone pulling a fork across their teeth as they finish shoveling in that last bite. Now you have a sense of my visceral response to the throngs of people who say they want to “get it right” when referring to their diversity strategies. The flip side of that coin, being afraid to get diversity ‘wrong,’ is no less frustrating.

It’s not that I lack compassion nor the capacity to comprehend the sentiment. The problem is that fear of failure…


Notes on a 30 year journey into the light

Image for post
Image for post

One of my superpowers is seeing arguments from all sides. It’s what makes me good at my diversity work building bridges between people across differences. As transparent as I tend to be about my journey, I am aware of the risk of sharing that I was once, however briefly, a full blown antivaxxer.

I don’t always have to internalize a rationale or perspective to understand why people believe what they do. People’s feelings and perspectives are valid, even if they are misguided. I like to hope that each of us has evolved in some way, over time, that causes us…


Embracing compassion in the midst of cancel culture

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

Call-out culture is exemplified in the public shaming of people online, at work, and in the media. Call-out culture is the dirty underbelly of social justice movements. Cancel culture is the extreme end of call-out culture. The continuum moves from calling-in, through calling-out, to cancelling. Cancelling is the full on boycott and ostracizing of people and brands. Not long ago, my compassionate heart believed there was no place for public shaming, but my dear friend and professional associate, Lily Zheng, taught me otherwise. The truth is, brands respond to being called-out. …


Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

I had a few pets growing up, but the Army Brat lifestyle and parents who aren’t really pet people meant rehoming our animals with more stationary families. My teenage daughter and I decided on a Yorkshire terrier early in the pandemic for its manageable size and it’s fun-loving temperament. I was also in the market for a service dog, so I thought a pandemic would be a good time to dedicate to the years long training that’s required to certify one.

1. Discipline creates order

Having a new puppy means that some of the spontaneity of life has to take a back seat. Not…


Don’t let your allyship fizzle out with the protests

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

The lynching of George Floyd created a catalyzing moment that galvanized a long overdue movement. Millions of people and institutions had been working against systemic racism, some for decades, before our pandemic attention shifted to a heinous onscreen murder. We all became witnesses and our hearts broke. For some of us, it was a fresh heartbreak, the ripping open of a very old wound. For many, it was a wake-up call to the dormant reality that racism is alive and thriving in the United States and beyond.

What we witnessed in the weeks that followed was a civil rights reboot…


Speak your truth and don’t compromise your values…or your value

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

Antiracism and JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) make up the core of my professional work. I’ve written four books on the aforementioned topics and often wondered whether my reticence to mince words would ever backfire. I recently came close to losing a pretty valuable speaking engagement at a very successful company because its CEO did not like that one of my posts supported reparations for African Americans.

The circumstances were unusual because the speaking event was booked through a third-party diversity consultancy. The consultancy had curated an inclusive speaker series for their client, of which I was the most…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo Credit: Louise Keaton

I’ve never been in the closet. I did make a pit-stop into someone else’s closet when I fell for my first official girlfriend in college. She was securely in the closet; having never dated anyone and with conservative parents she feared would never accept her queer truth. So we pretended we were BFFs around campus as countless queer folk have from time immemorial. My super homophobic dorm-mate knew and hated it. And the women’s athletic department, rife with queerdom, definitely knew. We denied accusations in public, at her request, and enjoyed our relationship in private.

Out and proud

Until then and after, I’ve…


Allyship isn’t enough when the world is on fire

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

There was a time when being considered an ally was a compliment. In the context of racial justice, white allyship was an aspirational status. Yet, as the collective consciousness about the unconscionable atrocities against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) expands, allyship is no longer enough.

Allyship–The thinking and learning stage

In today’s world, an ally is mostly someone who believes in the equal rights of all people, or a specific group of people. An ally is someone who supports equal justice in theory — often with thoughts and prayers, and sometimes with words in small group settings. I believe that contemporary allyship remains…


Even Black Girl Magic has its limitations

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

Our responses to crime, conflict, and danger can be unpredictable, and biased. Would you jump into an unarmed, domestic conflict on the street? Would it matter who was defending what? Two white women, or two Black women, what if it were two Asian children? A group of Black boys? A dog and a person? What just happened in your mind as you pictured the people or the nature of the conflict?

There’s a reason that the phenomenon of white women calling the police on Black people for merely existing garnered so much attention. The same behavior observed in different (white)…


Stop/start DEI work can severely undermine employee trust and increase BIPOC turnover

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Canva.com

Whether you’ve been leading a diversity strategy for years or you just got on the post-2020 racial justice protest bandwagon, you may be noticing a lag in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) momentum.

JEDI Marathoners

If your organization has a fairly mature JEDI program replete with diversity councils, maybe a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), deployed a laundry list of inclusion trainings, and you’ve hired a few subject matter experts to speak at your sponsored equity events — you may be way ahead of the curve. Perhaps the lynching of George Floyd catalyzed expanding your efforts, justified increasing your diversity budget, and…

Tiffany Jana

Non-binary Best-Selling Author, Bias Hunter, B Corp Founder, TEDx, Inc.com Top 100 Speaker, Skier, Pleasure Activist, Blue-Haired Maverick

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store