Blog Post

Are Multicultural Women Focused on Their Tomorrow?

By Vanessa J. Weaver, Ph.D.
July 23, 2019

The Multicultural Women’s Conference recently convened this month in NYC with its theme “LEVEL UP.”

Over 600 participants attended and were encouraged to strategically and intentionally LEVEL UP in multiple aspects of their career and personal lives.

One LEVEL UP focus was on cultivating strategic networks that would support Multicultural women in identifying and acting on their future vision, while addressing their current career and workplace realities.

The need for cultivating strategic network focus was confirmed by the release of the Seramount report, “The Gender Gap at the Top.”

Key findings in this report indicate that multicultural women have substantially less access and contact with mentors, coaches, and sponsors than white men and women. The impact for multicultural women is that they have less access to an informal system that can coach and support them in how to best LEVEL UP, creating a marked disadvantage.

The Multicultural Women’s Conference addressed this significant research finding by asking Alignment Strategies, LLC to design a session that empowered its multicultural women participants to focus on: 1) their 3-5-year strategic vision and 2) identifying a network of strategic advisors that keep them focused on moving toward their tomorrow, today.

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What’s common is the assumption that all forms of networking are the same. But all networks aren’t equal.
HBR

What’s common is the assumption that all forms of networking are the same. Most of the women at the conference assumed business and personal networking, which are current-focused, were the same as strategic networking, which is future-focused.

Differentiating strategic networking from other forms of networking is important, because the strategic advisors play a different role in helping the multicultural woman move toward her tomorrow.

Focusing on strategic networking, which propels people towards their “tomorrow” is challenging for most.

Examples include:

  • Not creating this vision because it isn’t focused on the current
  • Recognizing forces change in your vision field, future is outside current reality
  • Difficulty identifying Strategic Network Advisors in and/or outside of their workplaces
  • Navigating cultural factors that may impact strategic networks

Interestingly, approximately 40 percent of the multicultural women had a current vision for their “today” addressing advancement, increasing their business/organizational impact, and acquiring sponsors.

Yet, the multicultural women understood the need to focus on their “tomorrow,” today. They were clear if they waited for two to three years to focus on their future vision, it would be almost impossible to attain.

When asked why the lack of focus on the “tomorrow” vision, multicultural women cited the following challenges:

  • Cultural lens influenced level of proactivity to formulate
  • Recognize the importance of creating a tomorrow vision, but lack a game plan to activate
  • Reluctant to reach-out to those outside of racial network
  • Navigating current race and gender challenges in their workplace
  • Perceived race and gender bias still exist
  • Reluctance of potential strategic advisors to commit to a person who is different, doesn’t run in same circles

Consistent with the LEVEL UP theme, the 600 participants were given time to create and/or revise their Strategic Vision and identify potential Strategic Network Advisors.

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The ASK: Strategic Network Advisor Action Plan from Alignment Strategies
Alignment Strategies

The women were then coached on taking the next step and presenting “The Ask” to a potential Strategic Network Advisor, a step that is often unnerving for many.

I’ll leave you with Alignment Strategies’ “The Ask Action Plan” which you can use for yourself or with a multicultural woman for which you are an ally or coach.

Move toward your Tomorrow, today!

Vanessa J. Weaver Biography

Dr. Vanessa J. Weaver, is CEO of Alignment Strategies www.alignmentstrategies.com , a Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement firm and a [email protected] partner for Diversity Best Practices.

You can learn more about her on her website or connect with her on LinkedIn.

About the Authors

Vanessa J. Weaver, Ph.D.