Business & Finance

Sobel & Co. Executive Women's Breakfast Focuses on Diversity in the Workplace

159af89cb9dc51194ab0_20180124_085732.jpg
Alycia Banks, training and development officer from Columbia Bank give presentation entitled The "D" Word Credits: Jessica Marrone Parkes
2e56c996e2accd905f3a_20180124_084855.jpg
Sally Glick, Sobel & Co chief strategic growth strategist with speaker Alycia Banks Credits: Jessica Marrone Parkes
02fb78fac1afe76726f7_33e18bec75be64fea828_20180124_083634.jpg
Several Organizations representing the music and arts community of Newark at Sobel & Co's Executive Women's Breakfast Credits: Jessica Marrone Parkes
25be1e07be1f97ba5977_e4e4358d05bd0c93101e_20180124_083125_HDR.jpg
Several Organizations representing the music and arts community of Newark at Sobel & Co's Executive Women's Breakfast Credits: Jessica Marrone Parkes
610d508ea1cb5de1279c_2eb35f4b54adce217009_b442bf6db00cb8b8aaad_20180124_083516.jpg
Several Organizations representing the music and arts community of Newark at Sobel & Co's Executive Women's Breakfast Credits: Jessica Marrone Parkes
159af89cb9dc51194ab0_20180124_085732.jpg

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Diversity in the workplace (The “D” Word) was the central theme of Sobel & Co. LLC’s Executive Women’s Leadership Breakfast last week, where businesswomen gathered in Livingston to hear a presentation from Alycia Banks, training and development officer for Columbia Bank.

Following some networking and a light breakfast, Banks opened a conversation on how to create a diverse and inclusive environment in the office. In her presentation, she identified why diversity matters, demonstrated how diversity impacts the bottom line, shared inclusive behaviors in the workplace and provided the “how to’s” of fostering innovation through diversity and inclusion.

Livingston resident Holli Ehrlich, Isagenix Personal Success Coach, said she was inspired by Banks’ message that “women are masters of embracing diversity because [they] are nurturers and cultivate conversations to be inclusive.”

Sign Up for E-News

“We need to be active listeners and have an open dialogue, which will lead to increased productivity, improved customer service, and a better understanding of those you work with,” said Ehrlich. “Becoming more aware of who you are and your cultural perspective will help shape your interactions. Being open to learning about others, respect, and effective communication is the key to building stronger relationships personally and professionally."

Banks has had many opportunities to teach and create diversity initiatives over the 22 years that she has worked in learning and talent development, but said that she has always run from it, thinking of diversity departments as “a sinking ship.”

“Diversity is a topic that everyone tries to avoid,” said Banks. “There tend to be programs that we run, but we have failed tremendously in many efforts as a whole Corporate America. We have tended to wrap [diversity initiatives] into multicultural days, employee resource groups, but ‘have we really moved the dial forward’ is the big question.”

Banks said she always ran from it because of the stigma that was associated with it.

“Being an African American woman, I only saw people in Corporate America teach diversity that were people of color, and so I felt that many of them were very preachy…and that’s really not me,” said Banks, adding that she felt she was only offered the position because she was a woman of color. “As I approached my last eight years, I have taken a different approach, realizing that diversity is really lived out when there is transparency and it’s about telling your story. We have to get comfortable in telling our story and being comfortable in our own skin in a professional way that makes us credible and in a way that allows us to share our diversity.”

Banks stated that diversity exists in everyone and that there is “not one person in this world that is the same person as the person sitting next to them.”

As one of 10 children, Banks overcame her fears and became an advocate for diversity after some of her siblings married outside their race and others married individuals of the same sex. She said she learned first-hand how “joy and love comes in many forms,” and she can now embrace diversity with passion.

In order to embrace diversity in the workplace, Banks said a business or organization has to demonstrate behaviors that are inclusive, which involves addressing common patterns like making assumptions based off premonitions, misunderstanding others due to poor communication, giving into prejudices and naturally fearing the unknown.

Stating that diversity is the opposite of discrimination, Banks discussed techniques to overcome each of these patterns, and also spoke about the significance of equal employment opportunities and affirmative action plans.

During the breakfast, Sobel & Co. also hosted a “Newark Arts Showcase,” highlighting some key organizations from the music and arts community of Newark, including Barat FoundationHave You Met Newark ToursGlass RootsNew Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Newark Arts Council.

To become a part of the next Executive Women’s Breakfast conversation, join the Sobel & Co. Executive Women's Breakfast group on LinkedIn or contact Sally Glick, principal and chief growth strategist at Sobel & Co., at sally.glick@sobel-cpa.com

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

Essex County Freeholders Celebrate African-American History Month

February 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – At its 2018 African-American History Month Celebration on Wednesday at the Hall of Records in Newark, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders commemorated the heritage, culture, resilience, and spirit of the African-American community.

Brendan Gill, board president and Freeholder At-Large, first acknowledged African-American contributions, both past and present, in ...

How Do I Decide Which College to Attend?

Now that college acceptances are rolling in, how do I decide which to attend?

Your hard work in high school has paid off. You took your SAT/ACT exams, got the best grades you could, and filled out as many applications as you needed to. Acceptance letters are starting to come in and you need to make a decision on where you will go in the fall. It's hard to decide!! Here are some tips and ...

Hackensack Resident Charged with Sexual Assualt and Child Endangerment at YMCA

February 23, 2018

HACKENSACK, NJ — Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of Timothy Smith of Hackensack on six counts each of Sexual Assault by Contact and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti, and the Hackensack Police Department ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b9dfd7fd9ec06f34f8cd_coriphoto

Sat, February 24, 4:00 PM

Lobby - Office Building, Livingston

Gun Violence Prevention & Congressional Candidates

Other

Carousel_image_198d9d8e60fbe2b63cf4_be01635f448f7ee17d10_flyred_photo1

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

CycleBar, Livingston

Cycle Red for Heart Disease to Benefit Heart ...

Giving Back

Mon, February 26, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: WILD OATS

Arts & Entertainment

NJ Acting Health Commissioner Cites Inglemoor as Example of Best Practices in Flu Prevention

February 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — With one of the worst flu seasons in recent history taking a daily toll across the nation, New Jersey Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal visited Inglemoor Rehabilitation and Care Center this week to meet residents and praise clinical staff for their success at keeping the flu at bay.

"There are best practices that Inglemoor has already implemented ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...