Office Hours: I work with organizations invested in the leadership development of their diverse workforce. I'm Yai Vargas ([email protected])Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Yai Vargas, a diversity, equity, an inclusion consultant. I work with organizations that are invested in the career and leadership development of their diverse workforce. I am the founder and CEO at The Latinista to help women invest in their career and leadership development through dynamic workshops. I was a national multicultural marketing manager at New York Life Insurance Company, national diversity strategy manager at the US Tennis Association, marketing manager at Arcos communications, and corporate communications specialist at Mercedes Benz. Ask me anything about entrepreneurship, leadership, career development, diversity, equity, inclusion, building communities and more!EMAIL: [email protected]
Thanks so much for joining us @YaiVargas!Elphas – please ask @YaiVargas your questions before Friday, April 2nd. @YaiVargas may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi @YaiVargas! Thanks so much for joining us and the answers you've provided this far. I identify as a white, upper middle class, cis, straight-presenting woman and I work on DEI education efforts at a large tech company. I'm individual contributor and not a manager or official "leader" per se. Do you have any advice on influencing without authority/change management strategies that can be used when leadership is ostensibly supportive of DEI in their words but their actions are still wanting? Thank you!
Howdy!!! Thanks for your question - it's all too often I hear this - and to tell you the truth, that's why DE&I is complex work - it's sometimes difficult to develop strategies if you've never done this before - and most importantly if you don't know the challenges you're supposed to be solving for. First, I would ask - have you all already executed the foundational topics for everyone in the org? (Allyship, Diversity, Belonging, Equity, Equality, Inclusion, Microaggressions, intersectionality, Oppression, Cultural Intelligence etc.) If not, start there - because as much as we'd like to assume people know what these terms or workplace examples are, they don't. If you inbox me here: [email protected] I can send you my workshops as well.
Hi @YaiVargas - Great to see you again (We met at a LGP conference!) - How can lower level employees (think entry-mid level, non-decision making folks) push their companies to be more diverse and inclusive? (For example, I've joined employee groups, gave feedback to managers higher than me, and check myself to make sure I'm not contributing to a non-inclusive environment. But it's a slow burn and doesn't feel like it makes a difference, and requests and feedback always fall on deaf ears.)
So good to see you here as well! There are a few ways you can make a difference - for example since you've joined the employee groups, start sharing resources that will make it easier for the leaders of this group to create diverse and inclusive programming. Sharing diverse women speakers that can come in for Women's History Month to run a program, finding someone who can do American Sign Language for all the ERG programs, identifying a training/er on pronouns for Pride month thats coming up in June etc. Unfortunately, some organizations have the best intentions and want to do better, but they haven't invested time, money or bandwidth for the strategy. If you can't seem to be making an impact internally, I'd always suggest you find an outside organization that will respect your insight and you can become an integral resource for their mission. I'm sure they'd love to have your energy and ideas!
Hi Yai,Lovely to have you with us this week, thank you for your time! My questions are pretty straightforward but I have yet to find the answers specifically when it comes to implementing solutions.How can an organisation create a diverse and inclusive environment? From hiring / onboarding to culture transformation? What are the different strategies for a big (say F500) versus smaller (say startup) organisation?Being an African and Black woman in the workplace, what can I do to ensure my workplace is (or continue to be) diverse, inclusive and so forth?
Thanks so much for your questions, Iynna - The reason why you haven't found many answers on implementing DEI solutions is because it all depends on what challenges you uncover through workplace surveying - and all those details are very unique to the organization. For example, if you host a workplace survey and you find that employees are not feeling seen or heard or like their opinion matters, then you'll have to do more digging to understand where the breakdown in communication is - does it depend on their specific departments, online meetings, leadership sessions - are the parents the ones most affected or is it the younger generation? I always find that even when organizations launch surveys, they aren't asking the right questions and this leads to even more challenges.When it comes to hiring, onboarding and culture transformation, it has everything to do with leadership buy-in and training. If the leadership isn't invested (physically and monetarily), nothing will change. The differences between a small and large organization can be very vast - a lot of it comes down to resources and bandwidth. If you have people who are excited, inspired and motivated to do the work, that's a great place to start - when it comes down to their expertise, resources, time and technical knowledge, that's when the challenges occur. As a Black woman, as an ally, you can make sure you are aware of the current representation in recruiting, leadership roles and you could make it your mission to help bring in more diverse candidates for every job req that's open. I hope this helps!