I am not a DEI expert.
I have expertise in facilitation, leadership, building trust, collaboration, and other core life skills. I’ve been told by many my superpower is connecting people. I have long made diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority and I invest time, energy, and personal and professional development in the DEI space. My formal education and career are, however, not historically rooted in DEI.
The list of experts below and included in the resources are some of the many folks that are DEI experts. This year more than ever I’ve been asked to consult on or speak about DEI related topics. Sometimes, and always with intention, I say yes – for example to facilitate conversations and for podcasts and other events where I can bring awareness to important DEI issues and point participants to valuable resources. I will continue doing so because it fuels my passion and purpose of activating others to thrive, and I know I can deliver. To other DEI-related requests I politely decline and instead suggest experts from the list below that are better able to deliver on the specific need at hand.
The following is applicable to anyone that is reading this article, regardless of your profession. Guess what? It’s okay to bring in experts, DEI or other, from outside of our given profession! We can help these experts understand any nuances that will be important in their work with us. If we want to create lasting change then there are times that we must be comfortable with (and excited about!) leaning on and learning from specialists.
Speaking of being comfortable. You have likely heard the phrase “getting comfortable being uncomfortable” quite a bit this year. It means that to help create real change, to be an antiracist, to stand up for the oppressed and marginalized – we must invite and initiate tough conversations. We must speak up. We must be active allies. I am so in, and I use this phrase in a variety of ways. It is the name we chose for the group of 73 folks from the veterinary space (myself included) that took the Purdue D&I certificate course together. It’s also the title for a workshop I continue to deliver to interested audiences such as the Indiana VMA, the Ohio VMA, the veterinary team at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, attendees of the 2020 Veterinary Social Work Summit, and in a collaboration with the Fully Vetted podcast team.
I am not a DEI expert. And yet, I am a passionate, inclusive leader and you can be as well. I will continue to talk about DEI, to speak with radical candor, to be an ally in any way that I can, to amplify marginalized voices, to learn from my mistakes and keep moving forward. Many of you are already doing so as well. Thank you! For those that aren’t yet in, consider yourself officially invited! We need you.
Debbye Turner Bell
Ibram X. Kendi
National Coalition Building Institute
AAVMC Black Lives Matter
AVMA D&I Resources
DEI Assessment Spreadsheet
What can I do?
Please send suggestions for additional experts to include!