This month we partnered with Women in Bio to deliver a webinar to its members on Uncovering Unconscious Bias. Women in Bio is an “organization of professional women from all career walks in the field of life sciences. We are all volunteers and we all share the goal of enabling and empowering women to reach the highest levels of leadership, and -- more importantly -- to fulfill their own career aspirations.”
We were invited to deliver an initial foundational overview of unconscious bias and bias interrupters that can be used within the department to continue driving gender equity and representation forward. With this understanding, we will return in July to do a follow up applied learning session. Not only can we see how interrupters have impacted the department over the past 7 months, but we can also implement new tools for greater impact.
When Starbucks began their run to success in the early 1990s, it was clear the brand wasn’t simply about coffee and over the last year, we have seen many headlines highlighting their hits and misses in an effort to shift their culture. Such indications include their announcement of equal pay as well as their all-staff diversity and inclusion training. If Starbucks has taught us anything in the past year, it is that bringing awareness to unconscious bias and how it affects businesses is imperative.
We loved working with local companies and B-Corps Ingage Partners and Thrive Impact Sourcing to deliver an Uncovering Unconscious Bias workshop to employees of both sister companies. Together we set the foundation of understanding our biases and why it is important to grow our awareness of them. With small groups, participants worked through a variety of scenarios to identify "bias interrupters" they might use in common workplace situations—especially those related to hiring and performance reviews.
We were thrilled to be welcomed back to Brighton Center to present an Uncovering Unconscious Bias training to staff across multiple offices and departments. In the two hour training, we introduced the concept of implicit bias and assessed our own. We explored the impact of bias on our relationships with others, as well as discussed situations where we are more prone to experiencing it.
This year the topic was Addressing and Elevating Gender Issues, where we provided a picture of the current landscape of gender inequity in the workplace thanks to amazing current research. From there, we focused in on pain points that participants had identified in a survey before coming, and worked through the root causes, symptoms, and solutions to specific gender-based problems.
This month, we returned to dig deeper into the concept of bias with the Advancing Women in Leadership initiative. Our goal with this workshop was not only provide a thorough understanding of what bias is and how we can recognize it, but also to explore how small moments of bias can have a tremendous impact on a woman's career throughout a lifetime.
I had the opportunity to hear Mahzarin Banaji speak last year at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and it was one of the most eye-opening talks I have heard to date. The concept of unconscious or implicit bias is what Mahzarin and her research partner, Anthony Greenwald, have been researching for decades and they have distilled it into a surprisingly easy-to-consume book.
Participants were encouraged to take a few Implicit Association Tests in advance of the workshop, and together we worked to understand our own biases and their impact, as well as the impact that others' biases have on us.
Together, we focused on how building positive female relationships can combat second generation gender bias—without even realizing it.