Having just joined the team here at FACES, I was thrilled to tag along with Lauren (FACES' Director of Programs & Services) and Tuyen (FACES' Deputy Director of Business & Corporate Development) last Friday, to Leadership Mountain View’s “Diversity Day” at the Googleplex.
(Pictured here from left to right: Lauren McCabe; Julie Conde, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Mountain View; Tuyen Fiack; Bruce Humphrey, Leadership Mountain View Program Director)
After a series of enlightening presentations delivered by various Googlers – especially moving was Marnie Florin’s Trans @ Google – Lauren asked the class to leave their seats (and their comfort zones) and stand facing one another in a circle.
“Step forward if you’ve ever had to go to bed hungry because there wasn’t enough to eat. Notice who’s with you, and who’s not.”
“Step forward if you’ve ever been afraid of being attacked because of your religion. Notice who’s with you, and who’s not.”
“Step forward if one or more of your parents has died. Notice who’s with you, and who’s not.”
With each statement read aloud, a smaller circle came together in the center of the room and there emerged an almost sacred silence as the group was viscerally reminded how much we all have in common. We were able to see quite literally that none of us are as alone as we sometimes think that we are.
“We need to think about diversity if we’re going to be effective leaders,” one participant reflected afterward. “We have to be able to work with people on a human level.”
As Inauguration Day looms, I find encouragement in the sincere commitment to learning and collective action for justice that I observed among Leadership Mountain View’s cohort of community leaders and professionals. And I’m ready to get to work right alongside them!
Ellen Dahlke, Manager of Grants & Funds Development, has a BA in English and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois. Read her bio here.
Silicon Valley FACES brings awareness of biases, creates safe spaces to have hard discussions and empowers participants to make changes through our unique experiential learning programs. Programs and workshops can be customized to meet the needs of any organization and they are designed to have lasting impact. For more information please contact Tuyen Fiack at firstname.lastname@example.org.