McDonough School of Business
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New Book Provides Strategies for Taking the Journey Towards Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Conversations surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the professional world have become increasingly prevalent amongst company leaders, employees, and academics. What does a truly inclusive and equitable workplace look like in modern society and what are the steps that need to be taken to achieve this sought after environment? 

In her new book, The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion, Ella Washington, professor of the practice at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, explores what it means for organizations to be on the path to inclusion and how they can best achieve a ‘workplace utopia’ in today’s ever-changing world.

To celebrate Washington’s new book, Georgetown’s Stanton Distinguished Leaders Series invites colleagues, students, alumni, and local professionals to a book launch event on November 7, 2022, from 5:30-7 p.m. ET.

The Necessary Journey provides a framework for companies and individuals to follow as they navigate their personal DEI journeys. The framework outlines several key phases as a maturity model, which includes awareness, compliance, tactical, integrated, and sustainable concepts. According to Washington, the idea for this model came from speaking with leaders across several sectors – from healthcare companies to technology to professional services. Some of these companies have already started to take the necessary steps toward positive change in their respective organizations. 

Washington explained how there will always be areas for improvement, but that companies have already started – and should start – to take the necessary steps toward positive change in their respective organizations. 

The book also addresses where organizations have largely missed the mark to create a truly inclusive and equitable environment for their employees. 

“The biggest mark that’s missed is not owning and sharing your mistakes. We all want to be perfect and companies are very much like that,” said Washington. “Before 2020, many companies didn’t even share their demographic data internally and certainly not externally. Today, many companies still don’t share this information. It’s not about airing your dirty laundry – it’s more about being honest with where you are on the journey so that other people can help you along and you can learn from other people.” 

Washington said every company is on its own DEI journey, and she’s hopeful readers will better understand what it means to be on a personal and organizational DEI journey, demystify the meaning behind DEI, and see how they might connect themselves to some of the narratives and themes explained in the book.

“The hard thing about business, and when it comes to DEI, is that the organization that is the furthest along with their journey is still just one organization within a larger society. While this is about individual organizations, we must consider that we are all part of this larger society,” said Washington. “Part of this work has to be done outside of the walls of our businesses, which is why one of the major tenets of my book talks about the ‘sphere of influence’. It starts with your internal employees, and your board of directors, and your customers, but then it goes well beyond to your industry peers – the people that you’ve been in touch with on social media and maybe even in the communities in which you’re situated.” 

As a faculty member at Georgetown McDonough, Washington hopes to positively impact the student body as they not only prepare for their future careers but while they attend courses on campus, work together on group projects, socialize with their peers, and beyond. 

“It’s not about making people feel bad for being on a journey. It’s to normalize that none of us are perfect, we are all on a journey, and we will always be on a journey. No one is done,” said Washington. 

The book launch event will be moderated by Shannon Schuyler, chief purpose and inclusion officer at PwC, and one of many company representatives featured in the book. An audience Q&A will follow the discussion between Washington and Schuyler. 

“The audience can expect the opportunity to ask questions about real organizations like PwC and share their experiences working in their respective organizations. There also will be some fun as the hard work is done. We do hope this event will be enjoyable for everyone attending and participating.” 

The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion is available now for pre-order on Amazon. To learn more about The Necessary Journey and to join the celebration on November 7, 2022, register here

Stanton Series