The Business Council of Westchester has launched a series of free webinars designed to take action steps against racism as part of its new Anti-Racism Initiative.
The first in the series of programs held on Thursday “Unconscious Bias,’’ was led by Dr. Gena Yuvette Davis, Psy.D., MBA, BCC, CCP, an organizational psychologist, executive coach, and corporate trainer.
The series was organized in partnership with Balancing Life’s Issues and sponsored by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR); Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce; The New York State Economic Development Council; Westchester-Putnam Workforce Board and the Putnam County Business Council.
“The Business Council of Westchester is committed to standing against racism and to create a call to action for all of our members to make a difference in the communities we all represent,” said Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, who opened the program along with BCW Board Chairman Heidi Davidson. “We will continue to seek opportunities for the BCW to play a critical role in both advancing the conversation about dismantling racism, and also in taking actionable steps to support real change.”
The BCW has created an Anti-Racism Resource Center on its website with educational materials including the webinar series, which will be recorded and can be watched at any time. View the program here.
Dr. Davis’ talk was designed to help business leaders raise awareness about their own unconscious biases, how they affect employees and others in the workforce, and steps to correct this.
“It has to begin with you,’’ said Davis. “You have to decide that change will happen in your organization. Inclusion, equity and belonging has to begin with you.’’
Davis said that many unconscious biases stem from fear and the first step is to examine those fears and look within for ways to alleviate them.
“Some unconscious bias can come from fear: we need to get clear on what this is,’’ she said. “If we understand what is driving our fear, we can eradicate it and open up to others.’’
Dr. Davis suggested that leadership create a culture of psychological safety where employees feel free to be their authentic selves. Also key, she said, was to provide educational opportunities such as lunch and learn programs where employees can examine implicit bias and learn about the accomplishments and histories of brown and black peoples to help frame new perceptions.
“We all hold these unconscious biases, and once you identify them, you will be able to uncover them and make different choices.’’
The series, which is free and open to the public, will continue with Fostering Inclusion in the Workplace on July 16th followed by:
- How to Be An Inclusive Leader- July 23rd
- What You Need to Know About Demonstrations –July 30th
- Coping with Civil Unrest- August 4th
- Self-Care in The Face of Trauma- August 11th
- Raising Children to Respect Diversity In Your Home –September 1st
“The Business Council of Westchester is committed to standing against racism, said Chairman Davidson. We will join forces at the federal, state, and local levels with business organizations that share our same desire to create a call to action for all of our collective members to make a difference in the communities we represent. Our goal is to advance the conversation to end racism with actionable steps to support real change. We hope you find these sessions valuable and we encourage you to share the links with your entire company and your network — they are free and the full schedule can be found on the BCW website.”
To register for these programs and learn more about the Anti-Racism Resource Center, visit www.thebcw.org