Insights And Wisdom: Black Men XCEL Summit Highlights Success In DEI Leadership
The Black Men Xcel Summit began on Oct. 11 at the JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura, FL. The event featured impressive speakers, workshops, and networking events. During the How to Build a Rewarding Career as a DEIB Leader section, a panel of longstanding corporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) leaders sat down to share their insights. With Executive of Creative Artist Agency Search, Joe Aiken, and Global head of equity strategies and initiative with Amazon, Joe Briggs, as speakers, while the CEO of Believe Wellness Center, Nicholas Dillon, moderated; the men advised on how to be a successful DEI leader.
Briggs began by sharing his mentality on DEI going hand in hand with the concept of justice within a company, as a method of accountability. He explained that the best way to be successful in an equity position is to understand how “baking” the practices into the business not only acts as an initiative but can actually help to conserve customer bases. He listed some positive outcomes: “The expansion of the marketplace and [showing] customers that they belong in the customer base.”
After emphasizing the importance of DEI for big companies, Aiken discussed some tips on getting hired into a related position. Aiken identified essential skill sets such as “understanding the business practice, change management, and building out programs that integrate inclusion within the company.”
Aiken added to his initial segment by sharing some essential questions to ask recruiters and interviewees when seeking a job in the field.
Despite the overwhelming necessity of DEI positions, both men admitted that it was not an easy job. Briggs said that finding the right “opportunities for alignment” tended to be challenging in such massive companies; he explained that all levels of corporate needed to be on the same page in terms of their diversity practices, and that could be a challenging thing to manage.
Additionally, recruiting new members onto a DEI board tends to be difficult in itself.
Aiken declared, “The talent is out there; you just have to find it.”
He pointed out HBCUs, affinity groups, and even looking right where you are in your personal network as avenues to find connections.
The Black Men XCEL Summit describes itself as “the nation’s No. 1 conference focused on celebrating and refining Black men with the tools to advance their professional development at every leadership level.”
It defines its mission as empowering Black men to be able to be recognized for their already existing talent in the professional world.
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