Transforming Workplaces - A Deep Dive into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Michele Shelton

Apr 5, 2024

Michele Shelton on navigating DEI Challenges and Opportunities in 2024. With over twenty years of experience, Michele stands at the forefront of the DEI movement.

From her early days in EEO compliance to becoming a DEI advocate, Michele shares her journey and the lessons learned along the way. She emphasizes the necessity of addressing DEI myths through education and advocates for practices that foster a sense of belonging and accessibility for all. Facing opposition head-on, she advises leaders on embracing DEI values and offers a hopeful outlook on the potential for positive change through collective commitment and action.


[0:09] - Introduction to DEI Work: Michele introduces herself as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) advisor with over 20 years of experience, focusing on helping CEOs and senior leaders advance their DEI goals. They started in EEO compliance, investigating workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.

[0:26] - Shift from Compliance to DEI: After a decade in compliance, they shifted focus to DEI, motivated by a desire to help people understand and appreciate differences in the workplace.

[1:01] - DEI's Role in Enhancing Workplace: The importance of DEI in making the workplace a healthier, more respectful, and appreciative environment is highlighted.

[1:31] - Educating and Re-educating on DEI: The speaker discusses their role in educating and correcting misconceptions about DEI, especially in the face of legislative challenges against DEI work.

[2:01] - Understanding DEI Components: An explanation of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity as foundational components of DEI. The goal is to create environments where diversity is appreciated, inclusion fosters belonging, and equity ensures access and opportunities for all.

[4:53] - Current State of DEI in 2024: Discussion on the heightened attention and challenges DEI faces in 2024, reflecting on changes in societal attitudes and legislative environments since 2020.

[6:00] - Progress and Backlash in DEI Efforts: Insights into the progress made in DEI post-2020 and the subsequent backlash. The speaker stresses the importance of collective effort in advancing DEI principles.

[7:20] - Role of Leaders in Advancing DEI: The responsibility of leaders in shaping an inclusive and equitable workplace, highlighting the need for CEO involvement and commitment to DEI values.

[10:55] - Addressing CEO Skepticism on DEI: Strategies for engaging CEOs who prioritize meritocracy, emphasizing the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce for organizational success and legacy.

[14:16] - Measuring Success in DEI Initiatives: Discussion on setting personal and organizational goals related to DEI, including talent retention, reducing grievances, and fostering a trusting work environment.

[16:50] - Advice for DEI Skeptics and Leaders: For leaders, the reminder that they can't achieve goals alone and for individuals, encouragement to pursue healthy workplace interactions. The importance of collective effort in DEI is emphasized.

[18:49] - Conclusion: Appreciation for the conversation and the ongoing commitment to DEI in the workplace.