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Amazon best-selling author, Ovell Barbee Jr., discusses diversity, equity and inclusion

Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 17, 2023
  • Amazon best-selling author, Ovell Barbee Jr., discusses DEI
  • Encourages people to use their own voices
  • Discusses doing more to do right by each other

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Remember “The Big Quit" last year? That term was used to describe the people who left their jobs at historic rates. Citing a range of reasons from health concerns to happiness.

But ADP, which keeps track of resignations says they're down 5% now. Leading to what's described as "The Big Stay."

But what if more businesses were generally more positive places for everyone and less prone to trends?

I met with a man at Happy Hollow Club who blazed a big-time trail and is now on a mission which he boils down to three words you might not expect: Use your voice.

This is retirement for some. But weeks on end...

"How do you define culture?"

Ovell Barbee's traveling America talking about doing more — to do right by each other.

"Most of the data shows that the younger generations may actually work for eleven different companies. For me, what that means is that organizations need to recognize the importance of treating their people like human beings."

Barbee is back in Omaha where he once worked as a vice president at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska.

He wrote about his time in corporate America in "The Big House." A best-seller on Amazon. He focuses on the realm of DEI.

"A lot of the related topics as you start talking about diversity, equity, racism, harassment, bullying...a lot of those conversations can be met with silence."

But he doesn't give a pass for discomfort, because, he says opening up is how we learn.

I was curious about what he thinks — when national voices link the growth of DEI programs with what we've seen on college campuses since the war between Israel and Hamas began.

As the things he's fought for are being challenged.

"I'm gonna provide you with an answer to that question. I think that the sentiment that we're seeing — there is political divisiveness occurring. And the work is not done. As you think about the subject of D-E-and-I, and also belonging, it includes every single person."

What he teaches is — ensuring our values recognized starts with our own voice though, not always used for ourselves.

"What I want is for people to find a way to advocate on behalf of someone else. Because, if we are willing to do that, then our communities are strengthened."

Watching this do you have a question? Interested in getting advice on DEI, human resources, or leadership?

He told me people often feel more comfortable going to an HR pro outside their own company. So he created the website askovell.com.

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