This week, there’s been an amazing conversation in the Power of Us Hub, started by an ally and friend Michael Kolodner.
He asked the important question: how can we ensure there is more diversity at important community events, like the Nonprofit Success Pack Sprints?
Michael’s question highlighted two of the most important things an ally can do:
- notice who’s at the table (and who’s not) – and/or who’s given space to speak and be heard
- say something about what they’ve noticed
The question on the HUB and been raising great discussion on how to address this systematically – including identifying existing barriers, provide scholarships, and above all, listen. All are important, and valid, and true.
Often as individuals it’s difficult to know where to start when facing systemic issues of diversity. And the answer for me is simple. Start by Inviting Someone.
- Been to one community event that’s important to you? Invite 5 others to the next one. Do it personally. Send an email. Send a direct message. Call. Tag them in chatter. They are far more likely to accept an encouraging, personal invitation than a general post.
- Notice someone attend a user group for the first time? Introduce yourself. Give them your info so they can follow-up. Call or email them before the next meeting. They might need extra encouragement to come back, especially if they don’t look like the majority.
- Are you aware of a leadership position coming up? Think about people who are committed but might be under the radar. Encourage them to apply or express their interest. Telling someone that you think they could be a good fit to step into a role will help them think broader about their own limited view of themselves.
- Hear someone speak or write about a topic with passion? Encourage them to submit a presentation idea for a community event or connect them with your local user group leader as a potential speaker.
Melissa Hill Dees talked about extending an invitation to her customers and others she has crossed paths with in this post on the HUB.
Moments where I personally have dug deep into courage and stepped up into leadership have often been proceeded by a radical invitation from someone else.
We all need to be invited. Sometimes – often – more than once.
The key is not waiting until we feel comfortable enough or established enough to invite others into the space we’ve stepped into.
Who can you invite today?