Up In The Chair is Uplifting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In a recent panel discussion with Devora, CEO and Chief Uplifter at UPTC, Devora responded to the following questions.
March 20, 2023
1. How does Up In The Chair uphold its DEI values?
At Up In The Chair (UPTC), we believe that each and every person deserves to be Uplifted for their unique contribution to humanity – No one and Nothing left out.
To ensure that our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals are achieved in our company, we follow these steps (and we invite you to consider doing the same, unique to your organization). Specifically, our Emerging Professional/Mentorship Alliance and our Uplifter Clubs are key to the fulfillment of our commitment to DEI.
2. How do you establish clear and measurable DEI goals? How do you define what success looks like for your DEI initiatives and set achievable, measurable goals to track your progress toward achieving them?
At UPTC we meet quarterly to review our DEI goals. We look at who we are partnering with, and what organizations are we connecting with, asking ourselves if our marketing/messaging is inclusive, inviting feedback from diverse individuals and communities, and pretty much we leave no stone unturned to continue to make our company as inclusive as possible.
We define success both on the achievement of measurable goals such as the percentage of underrepresented contractors and interns in our programs and the reflection/feedback forms we encourage after each of our programs.
3. How do you communicate the importance of DEI to your employees and make sure all employees understand the significance of DEI and why it matters?
We regularly communicate our commitment to DEI and how it aligns with our company’s values. All employees, volunteers, contractors, and interns at UPTC are vetted to ensure that their DEI values are aligned with our mission statement. This begins in our application process, followed by a deep dive into DEI at orientation, weekly reminders at our cohort meetings, regular engagement with our reflection surveys, and monthly during supervision and mentorship meetings.
4. How do you educate and train employees?
We provide training and resources to help employees and interns understand DEI concepts and their role in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. This includes unconscious bias training, cultural competency training, and other relevant training programs.
One of the unique components of our training is a regular space at meetings for “courageous conversations”. We open the space with an inquiry about topics that are often not brought into the open. Anyone can ask a question and we practice listening so that we might develop a deeper understanding of another’s narrative and integrate that into our own sense of compassion and connection.
5. How do you hold leadership accountable to ensure that leaders in your organization are held accountable for meeting DEI goals and actively promoting a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Everyone in our company is assigned an “accountabilibuddy” to have as a thought partner, supporter, and feedback provider. Part of each individual’s accountabilities includes being intentionally inclusive. The accountabilibuddy can look at their partner’s work and ask clarifying questions or provide suggestions/feedback. In our weekly cohort meetings, we also hold space for “courageous conversations” so that we can bring to light anything that may not be happening in alignment with our commitment to DEI.
6. How do you create a diverse and inclusive workplace? How do you foster an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected, and where diversity is celebrated?
At UPTC we are consistently improving and implementing inclusive hiring practices where we reliably provide equal opportunities for career growth and development. We actively promote a safe and welcoming workplace culture. If you showed up at a UPTC meeting you would see many ethnicities, generations, differing abilities, and educational backgrounds represented. You would see a common virtual background for everyone in attendance so that we are connected and “on the same page”. We have a weekly “Uplifter of the Week” award for the person who was generating an authentically welcoming and intentionally inclusive workplace. We believe in pausing to celebrate diversity.
7. How do you measure progress?
We regularly track and analyze data to measure progress toward achieving our DEI goals. We then use this information to identify areas for improvement and to adjust our strategies accordingly. An example of this is our social media presence. We want to be in partnership with organizations that align with our values. We look for individuals who can speak to their experiences, strengths, and hopes for the vision and mission of inclusion. We look at who is engaging with our posts/podcasts, etc, and adjust our language or visuals based on the information we gather.
8. In what way would you say that UPTC is Continuously improving?
DEI is an ongoing process, and it requires continuous effort and improvement. We regularly assess our DEI initiatives. We then adjust them as needed to ensure that we are making progress toward achieving our goals. Holding up the mirror and taking a close look at our practices and products is pivotal to the fulfillment of our UPTCs mission and vision.