Holistic DEI Executive Mentoring with Acasia Wilson FEINBERG
Around Holistic, we borrow heavily from Howard Tullman’s philosophy, and one of the things he says often that resonates tremendously, “You never know who is going to bring you your future.” That’s a prevailing philosophy by which we abide. Opportunity is everywhere and it’s incumbent upon us to figure out the most creative way to leverage it.
I met up with Acasia Wilson Feinberg last year. We were meeting to talk about a variety of different matters, mostly our shared experience in public policy work. However, as we began talking about our mutually shared interests, we talked about diversity and inclusion within organizations. We immediately found that we had a lot of common ideas and visions for these matters. One of those ideas was an emphasis on individual leaders within organizations taking responsibility for their companies and demonstrating real leadership and energy. A few months later, we met up again, and Acasia pitched a very interesting idea.
What if there was an offering for leaders of companies where, in a safe space, they could have a private, high-level conversation about diversity and inclusion with a trusted source?
The abovementioned trusted source could provide a mixture of advice, guidance, best practices; they could be a sounding board, and in some cases could even provide some therapy. Basically, someone to help leaders think and talk about diversity and inclusion and how those matters are going to affect their company. We left it pretty much at that because the Cubs were in the midst of losing their one-game playoff against the Brewers and neither one of us could really concentrate at all. But I couldn’t stop thinking about this idea. A few months ago, Acasia and I met up to reconsider this idea see if it might be possible for Holistic. We decided that, sure enough, you never actually do you know who’s going to bring you your future, and so it’s with great excitement today that we’re launching the DEI Executive Mentoring program at Holistic.
Here’s how it will work: key clients will meet on a semi-regular basis with Acasia to consider whatever matters of their own company are diversity and inclusion experiences they may want to consider. In most cases, Acasia will be meeting with CEOs, CTOs, or other high-ranking officials, but we envision the value of this program extending down the leadership team and up to the board level as well. In advance of the meetings, the Holistic team will be conducting some research, so that Acasia is well-prepared to have a substantive conversation. One of the reasons why we’re doing with this program with Acasia is that her wealth of experience with executives will help her navigate these conversations in a successful, safe, and productive fashion.
There can be discomfort in creating a more diverse team if that has not been the norm for your organization. I am excited by the DEI mentoring program because it provides an avenue to explore that discomfort and find strategic ways to move through it. We are all limited by our own perspectives, but there is so much more material, books, articles, etc. that focus on DEI from different perspectives currently. These materials can be a great way of better understanding and exploring the biases we hold.
We envision our clients meeting with Acasia about once a quarter, but some of the companies with which we’ve talked about it have committed to having three or four executives meet with her as part of this program. Some of our clients are already participating in the program.