PESA’s industry-leading Inclusion and Diversity Certification Program engaged participants in an in-depth discussion of unconscious bias and how it can affect interpersonal interactions and a company’s culture during a virtual training September 22.
The program includes interactive seminars, peer coaching and executive sponsorship to help participants develop detailed plans to lead meaningful changes within their companies. PESA transitioned the program to a virtual format when the pandemic hit, which allowed inclusion of more participants. PESA also broadened the scope of material covered to reflect the current racial equality climate.
The session on unconscious bias, facilitated by PESA Advisory Board Member Dave Warnick, Weir Oil & Gas, included a live Q&A session with subject experts and break-out groups for in-depth discussions. The session was designed to provide a safe space for participants to delve into topics that might otherwise make participants uncomfortable in the workplace. Participants worked with materials from the previous seminar, select articles and recorded material provided in advance. A pre-recorded keynote by Zachary Nunn, PwC, provided tips on what should and should not be done in the inclusion and diversity space.
The keynote and panel speakers discussed unconscious bias in real time and provided their own personal best practices and resources to the group.
“If you want to create a culture that’s inviting, you have to identify, whether it’s people of color or women or whatever the group, if there is a community that needs to be supported,” said Shara Hammond, Marathon Oil Corporation, during the panel discussion. “Be agile. Elevate those conversations. Acknowledge these are unique leads and then identify, where are the commonalities?”
After a Q&A session, participants broke into small groups to discuss what they’d learned. That was followed by a second break-out by company that let participants work the day’s content into planning and implementation for their specific organizations.
“Without a strategy you are left with chaos,” said panelist Leila Hamza, Schlumberger. “Without a strategy you are left with only some people who work together because they like each other instead of all people working together towards a conscious goal. A company will not be successful if it just matches on similarities. We need to go beyond first reaction.”
The group will come together again before the next seminar on October 20 for a virtual networking event, which will allow participants to continue the conversation and discuss how planning and implementation are proceeding.
PESA will remain a resource in the inclusion and diversity sphere and looks forward to continuing to expand on this important initiative. The next seminar, Talent Pipeline & Retention, will be October 20.
For additional information, contact PESA Director Member Services Carolynn Henriquez.