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TDM founder Donald Thompson disusses critical DEI conversations

Donald Thompson, founder and CEO of The Diversity Movement, spoke to NCBIO members about "Critical Conversations in the Workplace" in a Sept. 14 online forum. The event recording is available on NCBIO's YouTube channel.

“The points of view and perspectives that people have are driven by their experiences for sure, but they're also driven by the moment or season they are in in their life," Thompson said. ”In order to have critical conversations with people, we have to start with empathy. We have to start with really understanding, as best we can in the business context, what people have going on. What people are going through at the moment changes how they receive information."

Empathy is key to setting the temperature of dialogue and finding the common ground needed to move a discussion forward, he said. He gave a number of personal anecdote, addressing topics such as including personal pronouns.

"Why do I need to have my pronouns on my email? Why do I need to have them on my own business cards?," he said. "My team sat down with me and said, 'Donald, you're not putting your pronouns on your resume for you. As a leader, you're creating space for others to be their authentic self at the moment of their readiness."