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 and hiring practices, to rewarding and incentivizing inclusion and teamwork efforts, to setting respectful standards of behavior and 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 speaking and consulting.

“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

Because Lane spent 25 years immersed in a male world, both professionally and socially, she gained an unusual level of insight into men and male culture. She also learned a lot about surviving and thriving as a minority in a majority-culture workplace. In her early years, she stumbled often. But by the time she became the first woman columnist at Flying magazine, she’d learned enough to become enormously successful—and happy—in that role, despite having no other women to lean on or learn from.

 

The insights that proved key to her success fall into two categories: the importance of developing individual core strength, and the power of viewing a majority culture workplace as a cross-cultural challenge. Those are the topics she focuses on with both women-only groups and more general
co-ed audiences.

Women’s Groups

 

In working with women’s groups, Lane focuses first on what women can do to improve their own ability to navigate majority cultures more effectively. She 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, and focusing their ambition on intrinsically-rewarding goals instead of external markers of success. The stronger and more grounded a woman is, the easier it is for her to make good career choices and pick her battles more effectively, while being more flexible, resilient, insightful and effective in her interactions with others.

 

Lane then focuses on how to apply that strength to become happier and more effective in a challenging workplace, starting with reframing the difficulty of working in a majority culture as a cross-cultural challenge. This was the single most powerful insight that led to her success in the overwhelmingly male industry of aviation; the superpower that helped her build the critical mass of support she needed to counter the challenges and exclusionary forces she faced along the way.

 

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.

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. But if a woman is great at building bridges, she’ll have much more support in drawing those necessary boundaries. So Lane focuses on how women can strengthen those bridge-building skills and perspectives. She then addresses how to use those skills, along with the power of a strong and grounded core, to navigate challenging work environments, make strong choices, and work toward change.

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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

Mixed Groups

 

One of Lane’s greatest strengths is her ability to reach and connect with both men and women. Women can relate to her story and struggles with being herself while still being effective in a male-dominated workplace and industry. But men are drawn in by Lane’s understanding of male culture, as well as her adventures and world explorations. The fact that she can talk easily about flying an Air Force U-2 spy plane, flying relief supplies in conflict zones in Africa and the Amazon, landing on glaciers, to navigating Europe by blimp, flying her own plane across North America, and many other experiences, makes her both interesting and credible to men.

 

In mixed groups, she leads with personal stories that establish those credentials and demonstrate to men in the audience that she not only sees them, but that she also understands, respects, and cares about key elements in their lives and culture. She’s then able to build on that connection to help men see the world from the perspective of others working as cross-cultural minorities in their world. With that foundation, she can engage the entire audience in looking at the challenge ahead of them not as men just forming “alliances” with women and minorities, but as a cross-cultural challenge where everyone needs to work on reaching across cultural divides and supporting each other.

 

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.

Lane is available for speaking to any kind of group, facilitating “Core Strength”-building workshops with women, and for consulting with organizations on creating effective diversity and inclusion events and programs. 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.