Diversity & Inclusion

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Anyone who has heard Lane Wallace speak finds themselves being drawn back to hear her again…

Enhancing diversity and inclusion in an organization or company is a multi-pronged challenge. Fundamental, of course,
is instituting policies and processes that support a more diverse and inclusive workplace, from recruiting, hiring and promotion practices, to incentivizing standards of behavior, to ensuring prompt and effective adjudication of any conflicts or transgressions
of those standards.

 

Equally important, however, is working on changing individuals’ attitudes, frameworks and perspectives in ways that promote a more inclusive and cooperative environment. This second element is where Lane’s expertise lies, and what she focuses on in her work with organizations’ diversity and inclusion efforts.

“Lane exceeded our expectations and greatly enhanced our ability, both as individuals and as a group.”

—Craig Leach
President and CEO
Torrance Memorial Medical Center

One of the problems diversity and inclusion initiatives often run into is a lack of enthusiasm or engagement on the part of those in the majority groups. Nobody wants to be lectured to or painted as the “problem,” and asking people to be “allies” sets up an uninspiring dynamic of one-way effort and support. So instead of approaching inclusion as a “have to do” or “the right thing to do,” Lane reframes the challenge as one of mutually-beneficial, cross-cultural team-building. She stresses the benefits that kind of environment, as well as each individual’s responsibility in building that kind of team: First, by seeking understanding and finding compassion for other people’s experiences and burdens, even if those burdens are not as great as their own. And second, by using those points of genuine connection and compassion to build the kind of two-way bridges that lead to a more inclusive and respectful environment.

Lane learned the power of this counter-intuitive approach in her own career, as a trailblazing woman in a field that was 96% male. By bringing an authentic level of understanding, respect and compassion for the pressures and norms of male culture to her interactions with her colleagues and readers, and by approaching the obstacles she faced as a cross-cultural challenge instead of a fight for inclusion, respect and voice, she became very effective at reaching across cultural divides. She became a powerful bridge-builder, which allowed her to be highly successful, marginalize bad actors and, over time, even impact majority attitudes, norms, and the culture itself.

 

Working on individual engagement, attitudes, frameworks and perspectives is just one piece of the puzzle. Many other elements, including leadership and structural changes and support, are also critical. But reframing diversity and inclusion as a cross-cultural challenge, and stressing the importance of mutual understanding and compassion, can be important and powerful tools in effecting real and lasting change.

Men in Lane’s audiences have commented, after hearing her talk, that she was the first women they’d heard speak on diversity and inclusion whom they found themselves actually wanting to listen to; the first talk they’d sat through where they didn’t feel resentful at being made to feel like the bad guys. And, more significantly, that she was the first person they’d heard talk on the subject who made them really want to do more to help support women and minorities in their midst.

Additional Support for Women

 

The more burdens and injustices any of us face because of our gender, race, or other minority group status, the more difficult it can be to extend the compassion necessary to build the bridges we need to survive in a majority-culture work environment. Not to mention building the resilience, flexibility, and clarity we need to pick our battles, respond effectively, and successfully navigate the tricky waters of a work environment whose culture is not designed for, or controlled by, people like us.

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“Anyone who has heard Lane Wallace speak finds themselves being drawn back to hear her again. In venues with a dozen speakers performing simultaneously, her audiences consistently number in the hundreds.”

—Cam Martin
NASA

Core Strength in action: Cindy Silong and Lane flying relief supplies in Africa

“Our industry executives were riveted by Lane Wallace's insightful and inspirational comments and advice.”

—Barbara Higgens
Plumbing Manufacturers International

“Lane Wallace has the exceptional ability to connect with her audience. She proved to be a great asset and she added tremendously to the success of our ventures. We highly recommend her!”

—Anna Pangrazzi
Apex Aviation, Toronto, Canada.

Blimp crew

Living in a man's world: Lane with the blimp crew she lived and worked with, flying a blimp across Europe

“Lane held us spellbound as she shared her stories. Her style ranges from lighthearted to a passion that enthralls and engages the audience with a genuine and very personal touch.”

—Phil Tartalone
Great Lakes Aviation Conference

As a woman who spent years struggling to build those capabilities within herself, Lane knows just how difficult that task is. So her work also focuses on helping women and minorities build the inner strength, knowledge, and skills they need to navigate those challenges more effectively. 

Lane starts with the elements that build a woman’s “Core Strength”: developing a grounded sense of who they are and what matters most to them, gaining a sense of peace about themselves and their choices, and focusing their ambition on intrinsically-rewarding goals instead of external markers of success.

 

Lane then focuses on how to apply that strength to become happier and more effective in a challenging workplace. In any field, the stronger and more grounded a woman is, the easier it is for her to make rewarding career choices and pick her battles more effectively, while being more flexible, resilient, insightful and effective in her interactions with others. But those skills are especially important in a challenging workplace culture.

Even with supportive leadership, being happy and effective as a minority in a majority culture requires a delicate balance between building bridges and drawing boundaries. If a woman is great at building bridges, she’ll have much more support in drawing those necessary boundaries. So Lane stresses the power of reframing the challenge in cross-cultural terms and finding the compassion necessary to build those critical bridges and support––not just in the workplace, but anywhere a woman needs support, wants to have impact, or wishes to effect change.

Lane is available for speaking to any kind of group, facilitating “Core Strength”-building workshops with women, or as a part of larger diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional resources and support for her in-person work can be found in her  “Core Strength” columns and on her No Map. No Guide. No Limits. website. In addition, she is currently writing a book on the subject, titled Core Strength: Being Happy and Having Impact in a World Run by Men. For more information, contact Lane.