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AWARE Ink Newsletter

  • AWARE

Guest Column by William Henry

In 2021, AWARE started working with William Henry. Initially, William’s work with the team was focused on helping AWARE build a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. Since then, AWARE’s partnership with William has grown to include leadership, supervision and communication trainings in addition to DEII.

William is a great partner who has inspired us to continuously invest in our employees and the culture of our organization. As part of our focus on DEII in this month’s issue of INK, we are pleased to share a guest column from William. If you’d like to learn more about William and his team, we invite you to visit www.williambhenry.com


Words from William Employees and Clients of AWARE come from different backgrounds and cultures. Our upbringing and exposure help to shape the people that we are today. In addition, backgrounds and culture provide us with slogans/cliches that we carry into other environments that may be offensive in some settings, specifically the professional workplace. As many of you know, I have the opportunity to host workshops all over the country.  I hear all types of things that truly make me go… hmmm. I should say upfront, I do believe that most of the people mean no harm at all, but actually are trying to find a way to have a conversation in which they are totally unsure about! Given this, we have the social responsibility to give those individuals grace and try to educate them on why the phrase could be interpreted in a way that it was not intended. Remember intent does not change impact! 

So without any further ado, here are some of my favorite things that have made me go hmmm...

  • I Have a Black Friend...

  • My family is not racist… We have a (fill in the blank) in our family...

  • Our business does not need to be diverse because we are successful...

  • We don’t have time to focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion...

Go back and read those again! Now, when you encounter something similar, you now have a responsibility to say…. TELL ME MORE! Asking them to “Tell me More” allows a person to explain their position without conflict. It also gives you an opportunity to regain your composure if you may have lost it while giving you the opportunity to learn more about what a person might actually mean.

Now you have a new tool and a new responsibility. When you hear things that may be misinterpreted, you have to keep your composure and ask the person to…. Tell Me More! If we are willing to do this, we make the uncomfortable conversation a little more comfortable and gain the opportunity to educate a little more about this most important topic! I look forward to hearing about your experiences.


To keep learning, subscribe to the “Lighter Side of D.E.I.I.” newsletter here.

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