Defrost & Ignite: Lessons in Inclusion from Frances Rios

As Anne was at #HRFL19, we took advantage of the time to do some planning for #HRWonderWomen. And we realized that we didn’t have a list of upcoming guests. And even though we don’t want to start checking off boxes, we do want to be sure we are getting a good representative of all women of color. We haven’t had any Latina women, so we asked our friend Lorena Pabon for introductions. Lorena shared that a good friend of hers, Frances Rios was actually speaking at #HRFL19 on Wednesday. Frances is a strong Latina business woman who, Lorena shared, is not a feminist, but a capitalist.” That was enough for us to want to hear her presentation.

It was Wednesday morning, the last morning of the conference, so there weren’t a lot of people at this “early” (8:30 am) session. We almost had Frances to ourselves! There was a lot to unpack in her presentation including little tidbits of information that explain SO much.

She defined Diversity & Inclusion in a new way “Diversity is having a lot of women in the organization; Inclusion is ensuring there are women in the upper levels.” We need to do on-going self-assessments to ensure we have the right inclusion, the right equity and the right diversity (in that order). We need to encourage these changes at the top most level of the organization and the leaders need to set the example. As we look for people for promotional opportunities, you want to be sure you have the same number of male and female candidates. Everyone needs to lift up women, but especially other women. Women! We need to be better at this — it is not a zero-sum game. There is room for all of us.

Frances also challenged us to be sure we are looking at our vendors and clients. Are you associating yourself, your organization with people who share your same message? Who look different than you do? What about your charitable donations? You need to be sure you are sharing a consistent message across all platforms and people.

Frances gave us a lot to think about, especially as you look at your strategic plan and how Diversity, Inclusion and Equity fit into it. And to be clear, if DEI isn’t part of your strategy, you are already falling behind. We are looking forward to having Frances on #HRWonderWomen and exploring these topics a little further.

Disclosure: I was compensated for attending HRFlorida conference and sharing my thoughts and commentary on the conference. No one at HRFlorida directs what I am supposed to write or how I cover the conference – I am simply invited to share my impressions of the experience. 

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