Creating meaningful conversations to discuss racial equity
Ashanti at home with her family.
As a mom of three children ages 6, 8 and 10, I’m used to hitting the ground running. It’s how I start most mornings, which is fortunate because it’s also how I started my Kellogg career.
Beginning a new job during the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been interesting. Almost three months into my new role, I’ve never met my boss or team in person. I’ve also never been to the office. But it hasn’t mattered. Technology helps a lot, and everyone has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome.
My decision to join Kellogg wasn’t one I took lightly. Especially because part of my role focused on diversity and inclusion (D&I), it was important for me to work with an organization whose values aligned with mine. I was impressed with and excited to be a part of Kellogg Company’s vision to build and sustain a culture inclusive of all. I also was confident that my 15+ years of instructional technology and design experience could make a difference.
“Although I was still formally onboarding, I felt compelled to begin helping. I’ve always been the one to say, “put me in the game, coach,” and Kellogg did.”
The same day I started work at Kellogg, George Floyd, a Black man, died while being arrested by a white police officer. After a video of the arrest was widely circulated on social media and television, the racial injustices that have occurred for far too long in the U.S. were suddenly at the forefront of conversations across the U.S. and around the world. The deaths of George Floyd and many others are emblematic of the ongoing discrimination and intolerance that exists across the world in so many heart-breaking ways.
Navigating working-from-home as a new Kellogg employee.
Although I was still formally onboarding, I felt compelled to begin helping. I’ve always been the one to say, “put me in the game, coach,” and Kellogg did. While the company discussed its intolerance for racial injustice internally and externally, I was asked to lead the creation of a robust internal dialogue to advance our ongoing learning agenda. I was elated to lead the charge on behalf of the organization.
Nimble learning is one of the growth competencies, or behaviors, expected of Kellogg employees. We should be able to learn and understand things quickly. We’re also expected to demonstrate a strategic mindset by seeing ahead to future opportunities and translating them into breakthrough approaches. I believe I exhibited both of these skills just a few days into my new role as I worked with others on the Global Talent and Diversity & Inclusion teams to create two learning solutions.
- Take 10 – Let’s Talk About Race: Inclusivity Chat helped people managers around the world engage in timely and important dialogues about race relations.
- Race-Conscious Learning was a four-part series with diverse panelists coupled with leaders bookending each session. We discussed topics such as the Black experience of Kellogg colleagues, authentic allyship and how we all can create a more inclusive culture. The feedback shared by colleagues was very positive – so many were engaged by the openness and vulnerability shown during the conversations, as well as impressed by the educational insights infused into each session.
The team shared key quotes like this one with employees after the Race Conscious Learning sessions.
Kellogg stands in support with the black community and with all communities of color. Even so, discussions like these take courage (another of our growth competencies). We’re living in unprecedented times where the courage to be open, honest, vulnerable and actionable is paramount. We all must work collectively to show up and ensure that equity is actualized in alignment with our company’s K Values.
I know I’m in the right place to contribute to this important and ongoing work.