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289: Sarika Bhakta: Bringing The Diversity Pendulum Back Into Balance

Leaders Of Transformation | Conscious Business | Global Transformation | Leadership Development

Release Date: 10/24/2019

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Certified Diversity Executive Sarika Bhakta goes beyond the buzzwords to the power of attracting and engaging diversity that leads to greater innovation and more connected workplaces for everyone.

A visionary leader and entrepreneur, Sarika was born in Gujarat, India and raised in the American Midwest. Adjusting to the American culture was extremely challenging for Sarika, inspiring her life’s mission of helping people identify their authentic self to be successful change agents and leaders in today’s ever-changing global economy. She is a seasoned and multi-faceted executive who has over 20 years of experience empowering diverse talent and population groups to maximize their leadership potential while increasing their cultural competency and global perspective.

Prior to launching her consulting firm, Sarika worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors across the US, with several entities who had significant international presence. She is a sought-after consultant, speaker, trainer and community engager due to her high energy, interactive and inspiring style. Sarika transforms organizational cultures enterprise-wide by utilizing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement business solutions driving innovation and sustainable outcomes.

Sarika is a co-investigator/research collaborator for a national study assessing women’s leadership progression in the workplace while conducting a deeper exploration on challenges and opportunities impacting Asian Pacific Islander women’s leadership trajectory. She is also a co-author of “Power Up, Super Women”, an anthology book on women’s empowerment, and a proud recipient of Corridor Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” award.

In today’s conversation with us, Sarika shares her personal experience immigrating from India to the American Midwest, her perspective on diversity in the workplace and surrounding community – what it is, what it’s not, and how she empowers leaders to deliver innovative results through building and nurturing the diversity within their teams.

Key Takeaways

  1. Most people don’t see themselves as being diverse, and yet we are all different.
  2. In order to leverage diversity as an asset with equitable processes and inclusive behaviors, we have to go beyond diversity and inclusion. Are people engaged? That’s the real question.
  3. The melting pot theory is not the solution because when we ‘melt’ our differences together, we lose the uniqueness of each person.
  4. The layered salad theory is not the solution because when we layer different people groups, we get increased silos.
  5. The tossed salad theory is the best approach, because everyone is mixed together, they’re not in layers or silos, and they still maintain their unique identity and culture.
  6. Training itself will not get you the results you want in the workplace. It takes moving to actionable items, and connecting them to the individual. Make it relevant.
  7. Globalization and technology are the key drivers of diversity.
  8. 82% of companies are not hiring qualified leaders to be in key managerial positions.
  9. 41% of managers do not make diversity a priority.
  10. 61% of job seekers are looking for companies that make diversity a priority.
  11. Cultural competency as a leader comes down to being able to understand how to integrate individuals who have different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences than you.
  12. As a leader you need to be the buffer for the team and the glue for the team, when warranted.
  13. Realize that your company is already diverse.

Resources

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