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WorkPod: Stories of DEI

In this session, Nassim Abdi, Ph.D., is the CEO and Co-founder of StoryBolt, talks about her experience in promoting DEI in workplaces through the novel method of storytelling. Her extensive experience in academia and workplace experience makes for an insightful conversation on how candid human interactions can change the very culture of an organization.

Nassim is a storyteller and evangelist on finding the intersection of entertainment and learning in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has 12 years of academic experience in the field of intersectionalities of gender, race, and other identities as they relate to systems of discrimination or disadvantage. Nassim is also the leading actress of a Netflix-featured film, Secret Ballot, (by Sony Pictures). The film was on theatrical tours across the US and Europe and was the winner of many international film festivals and a Golden Lion Nominee at Venice Film Fest in 2001. Her vision for StoryBolt was shaped by the life-changing experience of the film as it engaged her in Q&A sessions and exposed her to the power of movies and how candid human connections could build empathy, change perspectives, and facilitate courageous conversations in the workplace.

Discussion Timeline:
0:59 Nassim’s career journey.
5:24 About StoryBolt.
6:46 Doing DEI right with StoryBolt.
9:34 Why companies should focus on DEI?
14:34 Working with organizational culture and DEI.
18:35 Getting the entire organization to take up DEI.
26:03:00 Ways to promote empathy.
30:38:00 Why are companies still struggling with DEI?
36:09:00 What does an ideal DEI company look like?
40:30:00 Every employee has a story.
43:13:00 StoryBolt’s resource strategy.
45:34:00 Examples of how people help each other in companies.
48:12:00 Quick fixes for solving the DEI problem.
50:24:00 Rapid fire.
53:25:00 Technology and DEI.
55:22:00 Nassim’s success mantra.
57:18:00 Nassim’s favorite reads.
59:05:00 Closing remarks.

Some questions we covered:
Stage 1: Lead-in

  1. Starter: Give your starter pitch 1 point that this book points to:
  2. Vishal briefly introduce guest
    Stage 2: Subject Matter Expertise
  3. What is the state of diversity in these times?
  4. What are some challenges for leaders pursuing DEI in their organization?
  5. What are some quick and easy ways to gain momentum and success in DEI initiatives
  6. What are some role models when it comes to DEI programs
  7. Challenges in leadership through current diversity riffs.
    Stage 3: Introduction as a diversity leader & conference
  8. What should employers Stop, Keep, and Start doing to make the workplace better for all people in your organization?
  9. 79% of organizations plan to allocate more budget and resources to DEI initiatives in 2022, despite ongoing research published in top HR blogs and publications like HBR that indicates DEI training largely isn’t working. What are the biggest issues you see with DEI training right now? Why does DEI training need to change?
  10. How does empathy relate to DEI, and is it required to make DEI training more effective?
  11. What empathy-driven skills are required to inspire inclusion rather than avoid harassment?
  12. Why would I be different if I am growing and healthy the way I am(as a non-diverse org)?
  13. How has the pandemic changed our perspective on DEI?
  14. Why have such a conference?
  15. What would one expect?

Stage 4: Rapid Fire [Say what comes to your mind]
17 a. #Diversity
17 b. #Inclusion
17 c. #Equity
17 d. #FutureOfWork
17 e. #Culture
17 f. #Leadership
17 g. #Disruption
17 h. #JobsOfFuture
17 i. #FutureOfDiversity
17 j. #FutureofOrganization
17 k. #DEI Leader

Stage 5: Closing

  1. What are 1-3 best practices that you think are the key to success in your journey?
  2. Do you have any favorite read?
  3. As a closing remark, what would you like to tell our audience?

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