On today’s episode of Diversity Be Like, host Sequoia Houston talks to Stacey A. Gordon, founder and CEO of Rework Work, a company that specializes in helping employers dismantle hiring bias and level up their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. 

Show Notes

About Our Guest

Stacey A. Gordon
Author, Unbias
 

As CEO of Rework Work, Stacey A. Gordon is an innovative human capital strategist whose mission is to reduce bias in global talent acquisition and management. To that end, Stacey offers diversity, inclusion and career related online courses which have been viewed more than 1 million times. She was recognized by Pepperdine University as a Top 40 Over 40 Leader, was a finalist for Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women Helping Women Award and was recognized by Forbes as a Top 3 Business Leader Who Spoke Out About Diversity & Inclusion. In her capacity as a highly-rated coach, she is a member of Forbes Coaching Council and coaches D&I practitioners at The Forum on Workplace Inclusion.

Website: reworkwork.com
LinkedIn: @StaceyGordon
Facebook: @reworkwork

 

3 Key Points

  1. Stacey says that conversations about DEI have to be handled carefully and in the correct context. 
     
  2. Focusing on “diversity of thought” often leads to a lot of old white men who come from different Ivy League institutions, different business fields, etc. instead of meaningful diversity. 
     
  3. In response to Sequoia asking what she would say to people who think that people like her are causing a problem by drawing attention to issues related to bias and racism, Stacey says that the problem has always been there and we’ve just been tiptoeing around it. 

 

Episode Highlights

  • Stacey was working as a recruiter when she founded Rework Work, and she found it much harder to get Black people and women hired for positions she was asked to recruit for. 
     
  • Stacey’s success is dependent on the people who take her courses being willing to do the work. 
     
  • Many of Stacey’s clients are hiring for international offices but are based in the United States, and she says that she often has to work with them about not treating their international offices like they’re just lucky to be part of the company. 
     
  • Stacey was born outside of the US, and she has a different perspective on the US than people who have lived here their whole lives.
     
  • Stacey talks about going to Hong Kong while she was in business school and visiting a factory there, and some of her fellow students were mocking the factory employees for having strong accents when they were giving them a tour. 
     
  • She then tells a story about visiting Prague and going to the offices of Deloitte, and the person giving them a tour asked if any of them would be interested in working abroad. The only people who raised their hands were non-Americans. 
     
  • Stacey says that conversations about DEI have to be handled carefully and in the correct context. 
     
  • Sequoia asks what Stacey thinks of Starbucks closing down their stores for an entire day to do DEI trainings, and Stacey says that she didn’t want to only harp on Starbucks because there were multiple companies that did this. 
     
  • Stacey was sent photos and screenshots from the Starbucks training, and the training wasn’t done by someone who specifically does DEI training so it didn’t hit on the right points.
     
  • Stacey dives into an explanation of employee resource groups, or ERGs, and says that they are often a missed opportunity. 
     
  • In response to Sequoia asking what she would say to people who think that people like her are causing a problem by drawing attention to issues related to bias and racism, Stacey says that the problem has always been there and we’ve just been tiptoeing around it. 
     
  • Sequoia talks about the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, and how her non-Black friends reacted to her talking about it and seemed to be asking her to tell them what to do in order to be an ally. 
     
  • They begin to talk about performative allyship from individuals, companies, and organizations. 
     
  • They also talk about the difference between Black, African-American, person of color, BIPOC, etc., and the distinctions between all of those terms. 
     
  • Sequoia talks about living in South Central LA, which has a large Hispanic population, and hearing a lot of boys using the n-word with each other, including when a Black friend was around. At first she found it jarring, but then as she thought about it she realized that it was cultural and specific to that situation and those interpersonal relationships. 
     
  • Focusing on “diversity of thought” often leads to a lot of old white men who come from different Ivy League institutions, different business fields, etc. instead of meaningful diversity. 
     
  • Stacey starts to talk about having a Black man as the Bachelor, and the way his season was promoted as exclusively being about “the Black Bachelor” instead of just calling him “the Bachelor.” 
     
  • They close with Stacey mentioning her new book Unbias that will be coming out at the end of March. 

 

Tweetable Quotes

“Bias is not bad, it’s just a thing we do.” – Stacey Gordon

“To every non-person of color: go back to June and July of 2020, look at every post that you made, and then ask yourself what you have done since then. If the answer is nothing, then you are a performative ally.” – Stacey Gordon

“You will always get diversity of thought if you have diversity of the dimensions that matter.” – Stacey Gordon

“When you focus only on diversity of thought, you really don’t end up with diversity of anything.” – Stacey Gordon

 

Resources Mentioned

Unbias – link to purchase