Get involved in DEI where you are
DEI is needed everywhere. Take the opportunity to implement an idea, event, or educational objective around DEI in your current role. This could be setting up trainings for your team, making communication more inclusive, or joining an employee resource group. Making that impact builds your resume.
Find your process and style
There are a variety of approaches to DEI. Working on your skills of communication, empathy, and project management is key. Start finding your personal style through reading up on active listening, psychological safety, and conflict resolution. Practice your public speaking skills and find your voice. Make note of how you work through complex projects and how you measure success.
Find your areas for improvement
It is impossible to know every piece about every culture, identity, or lived experience. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consistently be learning about the lives of people. Start thinking about areas you may need to learn more about. For example, do you know the acronym for the queer community, what about when AAPI Month is, or who was bell hooks? Don’t? Look it up now and start the learning!
Find your space for mental health
This work is hard. You are working daily in the lived experiences of folx. To really do this work well, empathy is required, but that can be mentally draining. Ensure you have self care integrated into your life. Seeking a therapist or support group can also benefit your mental health and the processing of emotion.
Have the data
As you go through and engage in DEI, think about how you will measure your success. Utilize 1:1 meetings, short surveys (1-3 Questions after an event), and check-ins with supporters on how they feel about and would rate the work being done. Having qualitative and quantitative data gives depth and story to the work you are doing.
Work on your public speaking skills
This is one of the biggest skill sets you will be leaning into when you enter the DEI world. Not only will you likely be the one providing presentations, but you will also need to present data on initiatives, successes and areas for improvement. In this work, your persuasion skills and ability to communicate on multiple levels with people are key. You need to connect with folx and engage them in the DEI work to create a successful culture.
Join DEI orgs
Check out Slack groups like WOU Collective, #ergs in OUT in Tech, or #DEI in URx // One Req. These are great spaces to learn about DEI across industries and professions. They can also be a good source for informational interviews of DEI practitioners to learn their career path for your own journey.
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