BY NITYANJALI THUMMALACHETTY4 MINUTE READ
Diversity and inclusion is a challenging topic to discuss—but that doesn’t mean that every discussion needs to leave someone agitated.
I’m a health tech entrepreneur who also does advisory work on diversity and inclusion. When I tell people about my second day job, they typically react in one of three ways: a dismissive eye roll, an apparent interest in what that means and what my job entails, or noticeable caution and skepticism.
I find the skeptics most intriguing. In my experience, they tend to be willing to engage in a discussion about diversity and inclusion–as long as it’s not confrontational. I can see why. Productive conversations do tend to involve hearing some things that might make a person uncomfortable, but there is a way to do this tactfully without rousing unnecessary anger. After all, you don’t want to put them off from engaging with you in the future.
So how can we approach conversations about diversity and inclusion in the workplace as a dialogue rather than confrontation? Here’s what I know for sure: It will not be an overnight process, but we can start to move in that direction by doing these three things.
1) Accept that no one has all the right answers yet (and that it’s okay to admit this)
2) Don’t aim to win arguments
3) Getting better requires a lot of practice
Nitya Thummalachetty is the CEO and cofounder of Fortuna HLTH, a healthcare cybersecurity company, based in New York City. She was named by the BBC as one of their 100 Women of 2017.