hybrid work

The future of work is hybrid – here are an expert’s recommendations

Alanah Mitchell, Associate Professor at Drake University shares expert recommendations for the future of hybrid work post-pandemic. 

COVID-19 has changed the way we work.

Even before the pandemic, the U.S. workforce increasingly relied on remote collaboration technologies like videoconferencing and Slack. The global crisis accelerated the adoption of these work tools and practices in an unprecedented way. By April 2020, about half of companies reported that more than 80% of their employees worked from home because of COVID-19.

That shift was made possible by decades of research into, and then development of, technologies that support remote work, but not everyone uses these technologies with the same ease. As early as 1987, groundbreaking research identified some of the challenges facing women working from home using technology. That included the difficulties of child care, work-home separation and employee growth opportunities.

Since that time, we have learned much more about virtual collaboration. As an associate professor of information systems, I’m interested in what we can expect as we eagerly anticipate a post-pandemic future. One thing stands out: Hybrid work arrangements – that is, employees who do some tasks in the office and others virtually – is clearly going to be a big part of the picture.

One survey from April 2021 shows 99% of human resources leaders expect employees to work in some kind of hybrid arrangement moving forward. Many have already begun. As just one example, Dropbox, the file hosting service, made a permanent shift during the pandemic, allowing employees to work from home and hold team meetings in the office.

The definition of “hybrid” varies in other organizations. Some workers might be in the office a couple days a week or every other day. Other businesses may require only occasional face-to-face time, perhaps meeting in a centralized location once each quarter.

Either way, research does show many companies fail in their implementation of a virtual workforce.

Remote work versus in the office

In-office work promotes structure and transparency, which may increase trust between management and workers. Developing an organizational culture happens naturally. Casual office conversations – a worker walking down the hall for a quick and unscheduled chat with a colleague, for instance – can lead to knowledge-sharing and collaborative problem-solving. That’s difficult to replicate in a virtual environment, which often relies on advance scheduling for online meetings – although that’s still feasible with enough planning and communication.

But if you look at different metrics, in-office work loses out to working from home. My recent research discovered remote workers report more productivity and enjoy working from home because of the flexibility, the ability to wear casual clothes, and the shortened or nonexistent commute time. Remote work also saves money. There is a significant cost savings for office space, one of the largest budget line items for organizations.

Hybrid arrangements attempt to combine the best of both worlds.

It’s not perfect

It’s true that hybrid work faces many of the same obstacles of face-to-face work. Poor planning and communication, ineffective or unnecessary meetings and confusion about task responsibilities happen remotely as well as in-person.

Perhaps the largest issue when working at home: technology and security concerns. Home networks, an easier target for cyberthreats, are typically more vulnerable than office networks. Remote workers are also more likely to share computers with someone else outside of their organization. Hybrid organizations must invest upfront to work through these complicated and often expensive issues.

With hybrid work, managers cannot see the work taking place. That means they must measure employee performance based on outcomes with clear performance metrics rather than the traditional focus on employee behavior.

Another potential pitfall: Fault lines can develop within hybrid teams – that is, misunderstandings or miscommunication between those in the office and those at home. These two groups may start to divide, potentially leading to tension and conflicts between them – an us-versus-them scenario.

hybrid work

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Establishing a hybrid environment

Numerous recommendations exist on the best way to develop a hybrid model. Here are a few of the best ideas.

Meeting too often or with little purpose – that is, meeting for the sake of meeting – leads to fatigue and burnout. Not everyone needs to be at every meeting, yet finesse from management is required to make sure no one feels left out. And meeting-free days can help with productivity and allow employees a block of uninterrupted time to focus on complex projects.

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Listening to employees is critical to making sure the hybrid environment is working. Continually seeking feedback, through one-on-one conversations, focus groups or human resources surveys, is important too. So is recognizing and rewarding employees with in-person or virtual kudos for their achievements. Performance incentives, such as financial rewards or tokens of appreciation including food delivery, help develop a supportive culture that increases employee commitment.

Finally: Both managers and employees must be transparent in their communication and understanding of hybrid plans. Policies must be in place to define what tasks happen in the office and remotely. Access to reliable communications is essential, particularly for remote work. All employees must receive the same information at the same time, and in a timely manner. After all, whether in the office or online, workers don’t want to feel they’re the last to know.The Conversation

You might be interested: Cloffice: The latest work-from-home trend to transform your workspace

Alanah Mitchell, Associate Professor and Chair of Information Management and Business Analytics, Drake University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Holiday parties: Control workplace cravings with these simple tips

Cravings!!! We are rapidly approaching the Holidays and that involves a lot of parties: workplace Holiday parties, end of year celebrations, galas and the like. Control your desire to eat junk food during these celebrations with these simple tips.


(Photo credits: by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

We all get them…CRAVINGS…that intense desire to have something sweet…or something salty…or maybe you want BOTH! The desire can be so great that you find yourself lacking control and not feeling satisfied till you give in.
These uncontrolled desires can be especially difficult to conquer in the workplace where we likely spend most of our time…you experience that mid-afternoon crash…the one that calls for a nice nap or grabbing something to boost your energy levels and your focus…

During the Holidays, breakfast and lunch can be especially tempting… Homemade cookies, Christmas doughnuts, cold cut platters or salty snacks…  So before we dive into how to control these cravings let’s first address why we get these cravings….

Where do cravings come from?


(Photo credit by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash)

There are several theories about where cravings come from. The main causes fall into three buckets:
1) Emotions may be involved in producing a food craving, especially if a person eats for comfort.
2) An imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, can also cause food cravings. It is also possible that food cravings are due to endorphins that are released into the body after someone has eaten.
3) Lack of nutrients in our body can cause these yearnings. For example if you crave salty foods like pretzels or potato chips you might have a mineral deficiency or are lacking healthier fats, like Omega 3s, in your diet.

Curb them, size them, control them!

There are plenty of ways to curb these cravings, even in the workplace! Once you implement these strategies CONSISTENTLY, they should minimize and put you back in control so you can perform your best!

  • Reducing stress levels
  • Increasing water intake
  • Getting adequate restorative sleep
  • Eating enough protein
  • Packing healthy snacks you can munch on or even chewing gum
  • Eating enough healthy calories instead of starving yourself
  • Portion control so you are not necessarily depriving yourself but controlling how much you consume to avoid overeating

You might be interested: How to fuel your brain and triple your productivity at work

Healthier alternatives for top food cravings


(Photo credit by Vitchakorn Koonyosying on Unsplash)

Replace potato chips with a salty snack that is higher in healthy fats and protein, such as cashews and walnuts. But beware…nuts are high in calories, so eat them in moderation. Popcorn is also a great alternative!

My chocoholics…. opt for dark, milk-free chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa. The intensity of dark chocolate makes it easier to feel satisfied with less. Or try carob or cacao nibs!!!

Satisfy sugar cravings with whole fruits. And having dried fruits on hand is a huge help for cravings on the go!

Sparkling water with a squeeze of fruit juice or a slice of fruit provides a similar feeling to soda but with way fewer calories and no caffeine!

Swap that cheese for nutritional yeast which has a savory, cheesy flavor and fewer calories than cheese. Did you know it is also rich in B-complex vitamins and folic acid, and is often fortified with vitamin B12?

Knowing where cravings come from and having strategies and healthier alternatives to choose from can help you say goodbye to those cravings!!!

the cost of tardiness

The cost of tardiness in business or the workplace

More often in our overscheduled, overcommitted, and super hyper society, we get to observe tardiness as a constant behavior –however, people do not realize the individual and collective negative consequences of being late.

the cost of tardiness

Do you happen to know someone who always writes “on my way” and is already ten minutes late? Or worse off, always forgets to meet deadlines? I often wonder when does arriving late to meetings, starting events past the appointed time, or simply be untimely, became fashionable? More important – who “made up” that it is acceptable?

When we are late, we show our worst professional skills, lack of emotional intelligence, create bad impressions and horrendous reputations. Tardiness shows that we are disorganized, lack respect of our and others’ time, and poor meticulousness.

A few days ago, I had a meeting with an entrepreneur I am advising. After ten minutes past the scheduled time, she called me to advise she would not be on time. I reminded her that we had scheduled forty-five minutes, as I had a prospective commitment. She tried humoring me, explaining that the reason was that “she had too many goals and very limited time”. She also advised me to be late to my next commitment with my best smile. It is pointless to say, I was completely offended and flabbergasted. Does she realize her wrong doing and the effect her behavior will have in the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of her business?

As I had lost all my words and became mute, my only come back was to remind her that a major component of rapid growth in business is attributed to carefully cultivating partnerships and collaborations. And, that the best way to assure them was by prioritizing on eradicating all the noise that kept her off track and create dream results from her meetings – by having detailed framework questions, effective time-management and no distractions (including phones and social media).

the cost of tardiness

It is essential to keep in mind that being recognized as untimely and unreliable is negative – and it has a severe personal and professional cost. Tardiness is still a terrible shortcoming. My simple and practical techniques to promote punctuality follow:

  1. Arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the engagement. Others will begin to catch and even copy the positive behavior. You will become the “Master of Punctuality” and believe me, that is a great thing.
  2. If you have a meeting, and the guest arrives late – only provide the person the time remaining in the scheduled time. This will make others eradicate the habit of being late.
  3. Do not change your agenda for the “unpunctual”. If your first commitment is late, ensure to adjust and continue your day as planned. Under no circumstances let you look bad because of the actions of others.
  4. Organize days ahead. If you must submit a presentation in seven days, strategize and make an analysis of how many hours it will take you. Set a goal to have it ready one day ahead of the deadline – scheduling working two or three hours before the set date can do the trick. You never know which situation could arise the day of your deadline.
  5. Prepare for the following day – The night before, have everything you need at the door, on your bag or in the car. Go through the following day in detail and reach out to all the necessary things. This will assure that there are no delays the next morning, right before getting out the door.
  6. Separate time between commitments for calls, emergencies, traffic, lack of parking – these are events which, on average, take 20 percent of our days.

Remember that time is one of the most important human capitals we have – and is worth a lot, although it is in danger of extinction. The key is to get organized, and remember the negative effect tardiness has on our reputation and future opportunities.




Diverse group of businesspeople conversing with woman standing at front

Dr Ada Gonzalez leadership communication starts with Transformative Conversations

Transformative Conversations, LLC

Dr. Ada Gonzalez. PhD, author, coach, founder and CEO Transformative Conversations, LLC

Even the most talented leaders need to develop sharp leadership communication skills that would allow them to reach their audiences with emotional and rational interaction addressing the topics they need to transmit. Being a sharp communicator is not the same as being a great talker or a great orator but better yet a great conversationalist and communicator.

Dr Ada Luz Gonzalez, PhD is the founder and CEO of Transformative Conversations LLC, a consulting business that coaches people to have better and more effective conversations. She facilitates leaders, businesses and organizations to change and develop leadership communication through effective dialogue. She is also the author of Transformative Conversations: The heart of the leadership journey.

How Transformative Conversations were shaped in childhood

Dr Gonzalez grew up in communist Cuba, where the flow of free conversations was not possible. She remembers a time before Communism took over where people were unafraid to speak their minds.

She fondly recalls spending many happy evenings, on the porch, listening in on her parents’ conversations with their neighbors about business, politics, religion, love and life in general.

Her fascination with conversations began at that time but all of these interactions changed when Communism asserted itself. There were no more conversations on the porch, distrust amongst people grew and free speech became nonexistent. She then valued conversations and the freedom to have them even more.

Yet she observes, that today in the “free” world, the scenario in many places is not very different from what it was back in Cuba.

“I have talked to families in which everyone (except maybe one person) sits in silence, with eyes downward, afraid to ‘tick off’ that one overbearing person. I have walked into workplaces where there is no buzz of conversations anymore. All you hear is the clicking of keyboards. I have been in meetings where there are only a series of monologues with nobody really listening or engaged, and nobody daring to speak their minds. I have seen leadership teams that are ineffective because they lack effective leadership communication”, she explains.

She then decided to lead a movement of people that connect and help each other be better leaders by having open dialogue in conversations. She conducts a Mastermind program centered around leadership communication to help people develop leadership skills for the new millennium.

Dr Ada Gonzalez during a presentation of Transformative Conversations leadership communication

Dr Ada Gonzalez during a presentation of Transformative Conversations

Solving difficulties along the way

She has faced many obstacles right from the time she first left Cuba. When she started her college in the USA, she not only had to conquer finances and relationships but also struggled to learn the language. Despite her obstacles, she succeeded in achieving a bachelor of music, with classical piano as her major. She then went on to finish a MA in Educational and Developmental Psychology.

After finishing her Masters, she lived in Costa Rica and started giving piano lessons. Although piano lessons were not too well-paid at the time, it gave her the freedom to be at home while making enough money to make ends meet.

At the same time, she started having conversations with couples, and leading couple’s retreats. Not knowing much about how to monetize those efforts, she did it mostly as a service to the community. It was during those years that she self-trained in marriage and family therapy by reading, going to workshops and conferences, and by practicing. After her consistent efforts, she became a licensed marriage and family therapist.

In 2004, at the age of 52, she completed a PhD in Organizational Behavior, with an emphasis on leadership development, dialogue, and change.

Though she prefers running her own business, she has faced certain challenges when it comes to reaching a wider audience. She became more involved in social media groups and by networking and making her voice heard, she has successfully reached out to a number of people and helped them develop leadership communication.

Her strengths as a Latina entrepreneur helped her succeed in her business

“My strengths are wisdom, perseverance, and optimism. I’m also good at connecting with others at an emotional level and in turn helping people connect with each other. As a Latina, I understand the power of family and supportive relationships. In most organizations, many of the problems that executives face are due to disconnection and silos. I help them discover how much more they can accomplish through collaboration and connection”, Dr. Ada discloses.

Diverse group of businesspeople conversing with woman standing at front

Leadership communication in the workplace

Latinas starting or conducting their own business

“Move forward! Learn from the past, but keep planning and acting toward your dreams,” she said.

Her father taught her early in life that she could always put her best effort forward. “If I don’t succeed, I can always ask for help, I can find a different way to do things, or a different path to walk on. But, ‘failure is not an option’; And nothing is a failure if you learn from it and try again. I’m still learning, and I’m still moving forward”, she concludes.

Transformative Conversations editorial reviews

From the Back Cover

“Ada’s book will transform our leadership style. It is the secret sauce that leaders have been waiting for to raise the bar for enterprise wide communication within their organization.  This is a powerful book filled with sage “dialogue” and pearls of wisdom. It is a must read for all leaders who aspire to be great communicators.”

~CB Bowman, President and CEO; MBA, CMC, MCEC  Association of Corporate Executive Coaches (ACEC)leadership communication

“The book Transformative Conversations is a superb resource to any leader, or coach, who is working to improve their leadership. This is far from the first book written that deals with the dynamics of dialogue and effective communication. What is special about this book is the way Ada weaves wisdom from many sources into a useful flow that informs the reader about not only why this is a valuable subject, it gives clear guidance on how to pull it off. Personally, the part on silence itself was worth the read. If you want wisdom combined with practical processes to use to create more fruitful dialogue, pick up a copy of this book.”

~Frank Wagner, PhD, The Marshall Goldsmith Group

Ada Gonzalez has hit on a topic that everyone in corporations are taking about today! How to balance the amount of listening and asserting occurring between people at work to ignite engagement and commitment to accomplish business priorities. For years, executives have been asking me for a good book on how to listen better and how to assert more skillfully. This book provides instructions on both. i highly recommend this a practical, yet well researched read that will help every leader focus on the kind of communication that matter and builds stronger, more influential relationships over time–virtually or face-to-face.”

~Barbara Singer Cheng. CEO Executive Core

“Transformative Conversations” speaks volumes to every leader I’ve ever been involved with. Dr. Ada Gonzalez provides practical tools and guidance to transform your communication by helping you create deeper understanding and meaning. As she so aptly states, “talk may be cheap, but genuine dialogue is priceless.”

~Patrick J. McKenna, co-author of international bestseller, First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals.



finding love during trip long-distance relationships

All work no play? 3 Best places to find an amazing date on your work hustle

October is here already and I was thinking about you! With all the Halloween parties coming up, I thought you could use some help finding a party date. And you never know where a party date could lead to!

I know what you’re thinking, “I am too busy”……”Jen, there’s no point there aren’t any good ones left.” That’s why I am sharing three of my favorite tips that will be sure to help you have a date with a Hans Solo and stay away from the Ghouls.

Coffee meets bagel app

Coffee Meets Bagel app

Dating apps are great and there are plenty to choose from. I highly recommend two, the first is Coffee Meets Bagel the second is Cheekd.

Coffee Meets Bagel is a FREE app for Team Apple & Team Droid that launched in NYC –which means will have its highest matches in tri-state area.

Based on your preferences, it gives you a daily “bagel” at noon, which is a date for lunch that you can like or not pass. It’s connected to Facebook so you can see if you have mutual friends but it does not show up on your Facebook page so none of your friends know you are on. Also, my favorite part is that there are no profiles to have to go through! My dating clients have gone on a few great dates with this app and love it. Also there’s no staying online forever because they only give you 24 hours to decide to get offline and go on a date!

Cheeked app

Cheek’d app

CHEEK’d APP LOVE IT! Perfect for the busy professional and only an Apple App right now but great for meeting someone in your direct vicinity in real-time vs virtual time. No lost opportunities anymore! The Bluetooth technology allows the app to work on the train, on a plane or during lunch time. You’ll get a notification if someone who meets your criteria is within 30 feet of you. If you’re near a potential spark, Cheekd makes sure you know about it.

Read more about Cheek’ed    Lori Cheek



2.  Next place, on your THE COMMUTE, TRAIN, SUBWAY OR BUS.

Businesswoman Commuting To Work On Train And Using Laptop

Don’t read that book, pop in those headphones or stay glued to your phone. Make a genuine effort to be aware of your surroundings. Even if you drive, I am sure you are walking some of it. Act like the LOVE & FUN FBI. Your job is to look around, enjoy your surroundings, people watch, sightsee, even if this is the tenth time you have taken this commute. Look for the beauty and the need of the things you look at. One think I do is look at how objects help so many people. I promise you it will be different. I remember a game I used to play when I was a kid, I would look at someone and imagine their amazing life story. I do this now when I want to make new friends. Look, listen and feel for the opportunity for LOVE & FUN. Stay curious of the possibilities. Pick one person on every commute you will exchange a smile, a hello and ask them a question (people love sharing their opinions!). Amazing loves amazing, so he or she will find you while you are on your expedition of life.


Woman looking at the view in balloon exercises room

The other great place to find a great date is at the places YOU have meant to go to. No more waiting. Make the time for that thing you have wanted to do, that place you have wanted to go eat at, that vacation you’ve had on hold. Stop procrastinating. If you don’t make the time for yourself, odds are you won’t meet someone who will stop and make the time for you. Everyone has the same amount of time in 1 day we just all use it differently. Prioritize your values into a life you are proud of. If you value family time or friend time but you are always at work, your soul won’t be happy because you are misaligned on your values. So make time for what’s valuable to you. If work is your highest value, bring your happiness there, talk to people, get to know them, take the time to have coffee dates with colleagues that seem great to get to know, men or women.

Ready to use one of these suggestions? Have a question, comment to this article. Already used it, tell us how it went, we’d love to hear from you.


As always, if you are ready to get crystal clear on your life, gain confidence on your actions and goals, and build real love connections in your life, stop by the LatinasInBusiness.us booth and sign up for a complimentary 15-minute Love Breakthrough Session at the SHCCNJ Annual Convention where you will get a personalized mini-action plan. Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet with me, your Clarity, Confidence and Connection Coach!

SHCCNJ Annual Convention and Awards Luncheons
October 16 at The Brownstone
Register here!





Setting boundaries at work

3 Ways to stop being a doormat, manage boundaries at work

Jennifer Castaneda, LIBizus Hypnocoach for Empowered Women

Jennifer Castaneda, LIBizus Hypnocoach for Empowered Women

As a Women’s Empowerment Coach who specializes in Love, I have seen women usually take two stances at work: The aggressive, power-driven, stay all night, work on weekends always-say-yes-to-the-boss kind of worker or the passive wallflower who goes to work and then straight home, does what she needs to do but is never considered for promotions or raises.

You might be falling into one of these categories or a blend of both.   Either way, the truth is, your needs aren’t being met. Even worse, if you don’t set healthy boundaries, you may not yet realize how negatively this is affecting your romantic life and relationships.

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

1. You never say no, or you say it only rarely

And when you do say no, you second guess yourself a million times or feel guilty. You may also say yes, then claim, “It’s no problem” but then you get really upset when you aren’t recognized for it.

The truth is the company you work for was probably there before you and will be running just fine after you. The other truth is that companies have their own agenda and will get the resources the best way they know how. For example, single workers without kids get asked to come in more, stay later or work on the last-minute “emergencies” more than coworkers who are parents?

Unmarried people are required to stay more often because they figure they have nothing better to do and they don’t have the same level of responsibilities as parents. Some companies even offer four hours of paid time off for parents to go to their children’s school functions but they don’t offer the same for going to your nephews or nieces recitals.

Do you see what I am getting at?

What to do: I am not advocating to be reckless with your job and never help, but I recommend to TAKE CARE of YOURSELF. They will find a temporary replacement if needed and they will find a way to work it out, trust me. You can’t blame them for YOU not taking time off. So say it with me “NO.” “I’d love to help but I have a previous engagement that needs to be taken care of immediately,” –even if your previous engagement is a Netflix marathon or so much-needed rest.

If your workplace balance is off with saying no, it’s probably safe to say you also don’t have boundaries in other areas of your life. By putting your “No” into place, it could be the beginning of a beautiful change for you.

2. You haven’t received a raise, bonus, recognition or promotion for a long time

Have you been working your butt off? Going over and beyond and no compensation. We as women love to nurture and give our all, our time, knowledge and gifts. Sometimes we think it would be selfish to give and ask for something in return. But this is unhealthy in the workplace and can indicate weak boundaries. So if you haven’t been offered compensation for your great work and great evaluation, STOP and ask yourself: What’s stopping me from asking? Don’t hide behind the “I know they will say no.”

What to do: Think what you would want? Is it money? Is it the ability to work from home one day a week? Have a plan A and a plan B if they can’t offer you A right away. Also, ask for what you need from a matter a fact way vs. an aggressive way.

For example, “Ms. Lopez, I have been working here for x time; since that time I have helped with a, b and c and have been part of accomplishing d, e, f for the company and my work has been on point. I’d like US to consider extra compensation at this time, what are your thoughts?”

Setting boundaries at work

3. Your boss or coworkers constantly question you and your decisions or berate you

It is customary in many work settings for managers or supervisors to micro-manage or constantly question their workers. Sometimes this can cause problems with trust and productivity.

Someone constantly questioning your work or micro-managing can cause your confidence and self-esteem to be affected. Your relationship with this person can ultimately deteriorate. You will not want to share your creativity or ideas; you may isolate and begin performing worse. Sometimes your boss may not realize they are doing this and sometimes they may not care.

What to do: Usually micro-managing comes from worry, fear or miscommunication. You may have one goal while your boss has a different one in mind. In this case, try the following: 1. Let them know you want them to feel confident in your work and that you are on their team 2. Let them know you worry you may not be on the same page, 3. You’d like to feel trusted. Don’t blame them or tell them what they are doing wrong. Focus on you, what you feel, and what you would like to happen.

If there is no communication with this person then it’s time to start looking for a healthier environment. Remember a toxic place can and will start affecting your behavior with your loved ones as well.

Sometimes this is easier said than done AND yet it’s possible! If this is you and you need some help to stop this insanity you are invited to book a powerful session with me to get you into empowerment. I give three sessions a month, and August has one spot left just for you!

Rachel Dolezal, NCCP leader, before and after

The Dolezal case: Can a White person be a diversity leader?

Rachel Dolezal, NCCP leader, before and after

Rachel Dolezal, NCCP leader, before and after

A few days ago, the American public was shocked with the news that Rachel Dolezal, a 37-year-old woman heading a local NAACP chapter in Washington, had been misleadingly portraying herself as a black woman, her mother revealed.

I remembered then a short paragraph of my book, “¡Hola, amigos! A Plan for Latino Outreach” in which I discussed the question title of this article: Can a White person be a diversity leader?

“Regardless of race or ethnicity,” I said in 2010, “people from different backgrounds have a genuine interest in promoting diversity. However, White people might experience exclusion by some people of color, who may distrust the motives of a White person who promotes diversity or feel the person does not have the credibility to be a diversity leader—I have personally experienced this issue because I’m a White Latina from Argentina” (Baumann, page 36).

For clarification purposes, my background of origin goes back to Switzerland and Poland on my father’s side and Italy –all “spaghetti” – on my mother’s side: Comotto, Comini, Bellatti, Bellini.

“Country of origin or nationality might be another obstacle to diversity leadership,” I continued to say. “Some people of color might consider themselves natural diversity leaders because they have resided for a long time in a community or because they feel they have seniority in diversity issues.”

Belonging to a particular race or origin does not instantaneously turns you out to be a qualified diversity leader, nor does your country of origin. I have heard some diversity leaders of main academic institutions who identify themselves as “brown” refusing to admit that I was Caucasian. “You are ‘brown’, I was told.”

Does it really matter?

I had also the same situation at a conference, where the speaker was pointing out diversity issues related to “brown” people. I had to bring up again my “whiteness,” which made me somehow uncomfortable and put the speaker in an embarrassing situation.

I am unaware of the motives for Dolezal to publicly lie- if that is the case- about her race. Was she trying to gain an advantage in her career or was she confronted with the same situation, her “whiteness” being a major obstacle in her advocacy efforts?

For sure, such convoluted situation can bring frustration and discouragement to anyone who truly believes in advocating for diversity. When this type of situation happens in the workplace, it is necessary to review the elements that make us all diverse, which are not limited to race, color, or national origin. Gender, age, abilities, religion, sexual preferences, and other variables make us all diverse in many ways.

Most importantly, becoming an advocate for diversity does not disqualify any race or ethnicity. Moreover, being White is just another shade in the diversity rainbow.

However, the dominance and privilege of certain race over others is the matter of discussion, and diversity competency in the workplace should be a number one priority in ensuring a fair game.

“Acquiring diversity competency in the workplace not only has to do with recognizing issues of disparities, but also with issues of equality,” I said.  “You need to find out how you can bring everybody to an equal playing field so all have the same opportunities. Discover the issues in your workplace, and bring them to an open discussion in the training context.”

A productive way to promote diversity leadership and support your staff in becoming diversity leaders is to encourage them to participate in the community they serve, no matter the race, ethnicity or any other diversity qualifier they might carry. Companies must mirror the communities they reach out to, and that mirror needs to be reflected at all levels of the company.

Anybody can advocate for a more open, equitable society if they sincerely believe and live that truth every day.

What is your opinion on this matter? Is Dolezal right or wrong?


Ethnic smelly food, a no-no in the office

CaribbeanfishSome ethnic food has a strong or spicy smell when heated; however, the person bringing the food might not be as sensitive to the smell as other co-workers who are not used to that kind of food. People might complaint or just get upset. Read more