RESTON, VA. — Dr. Jermaine Davis' definition of "inclusion" is a culture where there are policies, practices and procedures that contribute to an environment where all employees feel safe, respected and valued, and have a sense of belonging.
During his keynote address at the recent 2021 Convenience Distribution Marketplace Virtual event, Davis provoked audience members to think hard about their own leadership style and the culture at their organizations.
The author of "Be Diversity Competent! The Art of Communicating Effectively with Diverse People" shared his thoughts on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Davis believes identifying leadership blind spots is a key component to learn in order to lead with an inclusive lens and create an environment that’s respectful of everyone. He also believes it is important to engage in courageous conversations about diversity-related issues, and his goal through his presentations is to teach attendees how to address sensitive issues without feeling awkward, guilty, fearful or uncomfortable.
Following introductions by Convenience Distribution Association (CDA) President and CEO Kimberly Bolin and Danielle Holloway of platinum sponsor Altria Group Distribution Co., Davis presented a surprisingly simple and uncomplicated formula on how to overcome the biases, assumptions, prejudices and stereotypes that interfere with effective communication and equitable treatment of others.
"You must talk the talk of DEI [diversity, equity, inclusion]; walk the walk of DEI; and walk the talk of DEI," Davis explained, urging the audience members to cultivate an "authentic" brand around DEI.
He concluded by noting that it is more important to treat people the way they want to be treated, rather than as you would like to be treated.
Presented by the Convenience Distribution Association, the 2021 Convenience Distribution Marketplace Virtual was held Feb. 15-17. As the only national conference and trade show dedicated to convenience wholesalers, the program provided attendees with a number of insightful and inspiring keynotes and sessions, along with networking and business-building opportunities.
The CDA is a trade organization working on behalf of convenience products distributors in the U.S. Its distributor members represent more than $102 billion in U.S convenience product sales, serving a wide variety of small retail formats. Associate members include leading convenience product manufacturers, brokers, retailers, suppliers and others allied to the industry.