We’re excited to introduce you to some of the incredible DEI training facilitators that are part of the SGO team. We asked them to share what sparked their passion for this work, what DEI means to them, and why they do what they do. Meet Renyshia Pierce, DEI Facilitator!
What does DEI mean to you?
DEI means ensuring that all spaces, whether academic, corporate, leisure, or otherwise, are representative of the global population. It means that all people can see themselves as integral and valuable parts of every community of which they are members. It means being able to show up as our authentic selves no matter where we are in the world and ensuring that others are able to do so as well.
How did you come to this work?
I came into this work through my experience in the higher education space and my transition into the non-profit world. I was tasked to assist parents in their journey to advocate for their children in the public school system; where I came face to face with the effects of systemic oppression in the education space and that is how I grew my passion and desire to make change in this work.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for teams when beginning DEI work, and how can they overcome it?
The biggest challenge that I would acknowledge is creating a shared understanding of what DEI looks like for their workspace. This is so important because it allows the team to be at a starting point for where they should focus their efforts. A great way to overcome challenges is to educate the team collectively on understanding these terms and how they can apply to the workforce. Once that level of understanding is reached, then the most meaningful work can happen. DEI work is very complex. The team should be aware that it is an ongoing project and never-ending, and that as long as everyone is on the same page, everyone WINS.
What’s the most fulfilling experience you’ve had while doing this work?
The most fulfilling work that I have done is educating and empowering Black and Brown parents with tools needed to advocate for their children in a systemically oppressive school system.
What have you learned through your experiences in facilitating?
I have learned that it is not my job to change anyone’s mind or to make anyone believe what I believe. As a facilitator, my job is to create a space for thought-provoking conversations that open the pathways to meaningful dialogue. I then leave the choice up to them to move forward.
What are some of your favorite resources related to DEI, and why?
Some of my favorite resources that I have gained from DEI is from networking and fellowship with other DEI enthusiasts. They provide the best sites, books and links, and on top of that we get to share our thoughts in a safe space which helps me create better DEI content. One book that I recommend to any person starting their DEI journey, is to read White Fragility by Robin Diangelo as well as The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. This helps the learner get a broader sense of how systems of oppression and white supremacy affects our everyday lives and navigating those systems.
Learn more about the SGO team and our diversity, equity, and inclusion training offerings.
Now that you know more about our facilitators, learn more about working with us!