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FTUIY Episode #86: Geffrye Parsons

Written By: Dr. Jaime G Raygoza

On a recent episode of the Finding the Unicorn in You podcast, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategist Jeffrey Parsons shared his unique perspective. With a background spanning finance to founding LGBTQ+ employee groups, Parsons brings invaluable business acumen to the DE&I space. His insights reveal how to drive meaningful, systemic change.

Moving from Transactions to Transformation

Parsons notes many DE&I efforts fail by being too tactical and transactional versus strategic transformations. Real change requires embedding DE&I into an organization's DNA across policies, processes, and culture. This demands long-term, "grassroots with guardrails" alignment from the C-suite to the frontlines.

The Inclusion Imperative

Diversity alone risks being tokenistic if diverse voices aren't empowered. Inclusion unlocks the value of diversity through respect, psychological safety, and empowerment. Leaders must actively listen to leverage varied perspectives. Parsons urges moving from merely accepting differences to celebrating diverse voices.

Unified but Not Uniform

Inclusion enables constructive conflict as people feel safe to challenge ideas. Leaders must synthesize this "noise" into consensus, unified behind chosen actions. The result is not uniformity but unity despite differences. Unity amidst diversity creates opportunities for innovation and risk mitigation.

Empathetic Leadership

Leaders must "meet people where they are" and adjust their approach accordingly. Parsons advocates psychological ergonomics where managers understand individuals' unique needs. This empathetic leadership liberates staff to contribute fully. It also requires vulnerability, admitting fallibility, and creating psychologically safe cultures.

Being the Change

Sustainable change starts from within. Parsons urges those new to DE&I to stay patient and strategic in influencing more senior decision-makers. Focus on demonstrating value in your role while bringing in diverse perspectives. For older generations, DE&I is both a social good and a business imperative.

Unicorn Lesson

Parsons shows why inclusion is imperative for both social justice and commercial success. To drive change, lead with empathy, and implement DE&I systematically at cultural and strategic levels.

Find the full episode of the Finding the Unicorn in You Podcast on Spotify, YouTube, and all major podcast platforms

Get Connected with Geffrye

What key lessons on championing DE&I do you take from Parsons? Share your thoughts below!

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