Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of conducting a live Q&A session with inclusion strategist and author Amri B. Johnson, host of the Reconstructing Inclusion podcast. During our chat, Amri shared a wealth of knowledge, insights and advice on how to become "a future-fit organization" by investing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) beyond just "window dressing."
Four little words that Amri uttered during our hourlong conversation stuck with me the most: "It's a we thing." He spoke about how some organizations unintentionally create an us-versus-them dynamic when implementing DEI initiatives. Rather than creating belonging, companies can create "othering" for those within the organization who may feel like their identity isn't relevant at that particular time. Instead, the goal is to identify DEI as a we thing by empowering all races, genders, orientations and ability levels to become their best selves.
"Replace us and them with we," Amri said. "Make sure everybody understands that DEI is everyone and that we can put things in place that create the conditions for everyone. Everyone has a unique situation, but we can always create those conditions for everyone to thrive."
Here at Convenience Store News, we also see DEI as a we thing.
Since June 2021, CSNews has been spearheading an industrywide initiative to facilitate engagement among all stakeholders in the convenience channel around diversity and inclusion. The platform is designed to be a catalyst for discussion, innovation, engagement and action.
Since its inception, CSNews has established an advisory board composed of thought leaders from prominent retailer, distributor and supplier companies in the channel; published educational columns and special reports on various DEI topics; presented a number of informational webinars; conducted research on the state of DEI in the industry; and more.
Now, in our third year, we are focused on increasing participation in the initiative and achieving industrywide engagement that reaches all corners of the convenience channel — single-store owners, small operators, large operators, distributors, suppliers, and solution providers.
To accomplish this, we are establishing three new steering committees around key DEI issues:
- Membership & Communication
- Minority Owned Supplier Initiative
CSNews is currently recruiting 10 to 12 members for each steering committee. These groups will meet quarterly and help identify industry best practices, develop programming, assist c-store retailers and distributors in achieving greater supplier diversity, and more.
Anyone interested in joining one of the steering committees should contact me at [email protected]. Any companies interested in underwriting opportunities should contact CSNews Brand Director Paula Lashinsky at [email protected].
Together, WE can create an industry where everyone is able to thrive.