Leading with Intention >> Shameka Brown + Julius Dunn envision a more equitable world

1/05/2021 Unknown 0 Comments

On December 3rd, Shameka Brown and Julius Dunn, Founders of The Adversity Group, wrapped up our Fall @BIC Lead IN lecture series with a special event entitled "Leading with Intention: The Difference Between Non-Racist and Anti-Racist." With the world in turmoil and a week before final classes, Shameka and Julius took a conversational approach to reinforce the powerful role that communications has in shaping perception. Tickets for the event were intentionally limited to ensure that the session would be intimate and authentic. 

Before the evening began, Shameka led the audience in a deep breathing exercise to center everyone, create a moment of pause, and inspire a reflective mood. Shameka and Julius then introduced a tool called Mentimeter which features live polling to encourage the audience to be interactive throughout. 

The first question, "Do you consider yourself Anti-Racist or Non-Racist or are you unsure?" helped establish basic definitions and kicked off a lively discussion that was grounded in self-reflection. 

The subtle distinctions between these two terms are at the core of being a more intentional leader and, therefore, being able to enact true institutional and societal change. The definitions prompted a discussion of the role that privilege plays and how people should use their privilege to be meaningful and action-oriented. Shameka made the point that everyone has some sort of privilege; it's what you do with that privilege that matters. One stand out moment was when Julius asked "will you leverage your own privilege or will you live in your own privilege?"

The discussion shifted to the distinction between the terms "Equality" and "Equity," which are often used interchangeably. Julius emphasized that only by appreciating the differences can we begin to build a more inclusive world. Equality is not ≠ to Equity. 

Illustrating the definitions using a scenario of apple-picking, Julius noted that equity goes beyond giving everyone the same access by acknowledging -- and fixing -- inherent gaps. He remarked how “equity is the great level setter.” Referring back to privilege, he also cited that "everyone here has privilege; the question is, does everyone have the resources or enough privilege to actually reach their goals?" 

To bring the conversation full circle, Julius brought the discussion back to the differences between being Non-Racist vs Anti-Racist and how this ties into the Equity and Equality conversation. 

With an audience filled with future communications leaders, the team reiterated how an individual's personal commitment to change can impact the industry and all of society. As Julius noted, "everything should be viewed through a lens of equality and equity." His last bit of advice was to keep pursuing your goals and be the change that you are seeking. The world depends on it.

Before shutting down the Zoom grid, BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag thanked Shameka and Julius for their commitment to creating professionals who will lead with intention, especially since “we are all culture shapers." With clarity, kindness, and intentionality, this @BIC lecture was the perfect end to 2020. 

BIC would like to thank all of the leaders who participated in LEAD IN: The @BIC Fall 2020 Lecture Series this semester. We are grateful for their wise words, inspiring advice, and thoughtful insights. Read more about our other @BICs with StrawberryFrog's Founder and CEO, Scott Goodson HERE and founder of Capital vs Humans, Paul Kim, and Director of New Brands at Unilever, Sarah Irby HERE