Breakfast with the Chairman

Wes Becton

Creating A Welcoming Work Environment: A Conversation About Diversity & Inclusion

DuPage County business leaders gathered on Wednesday, September 23 at a virtual breakfast for an engaging  conversation about diversity and inclusion. The event was moderated by Wes Becton, Executive Leadership Coach and Organizational Performance Consultant, CEO and Co-Founder of George Washington Street Partners.

Chairman Cronin opened the discussion remarking, “We hold these breakfasts as a way to better understand the issues impacting the DuPage County business community…Today’s topic is a crucial one: how do we create an environment where everyone feels welcome and included?”  

Following Chairman Cronin, Wes Becton gave a short presentation on diversity and inclusion. The key points from his presentation included:

  • We each see what we expect to see. When two people look at the same situation, they literally see it differently because they are viewing the events through the lenses and filters of their past experiences and their beliefs and values.
  • We generally prefer to be around people who are like us, this is called implicit bias. It comes in the form of personality, behavior, likes, preferences, politics, and race.
  • It takes work and effort to allow people to feel included. If you feel excluded, you’re not fully engaged. Which means that you’re not going to be fully productive as an employee. And if you’re not fully productive as an employee, the organization is going to suffer, affecting the bottom line.

The economic case for diversity and inclusion

Why is diversity and inclusion so important to businesses DuPage County? What is the economic case? Wes explained that while there are not a lot of peer-reviewed studies on this topic, the value to businesses is that diversity is a key driver of innovation. Diversity helps prevent “groupthink” — a phenomenon that occurs when a group of well-intended people make decisions spurred by the urge to conform to the group. In the ideation process, this means they are unable to come up with creative solutions.

According to Wes, there is a consulting group in Boston that published a study showing that organizations with diverse management teams have a 19% higher rate of profitability than management teams with less-than-average diversity.

Additionally, a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial for companies that want to attract and retain top talent. Millennials and Generation Z are seeking out companies that don’t simply have a statement about equal opportunity, but actually make it part of their culture.

At the conclusion of the presentation, Wes led a meaningful discussion with attendees about their experiences, ideas, and perspectives on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

For more information about Wes Becton, or George Washington Street Partners, click here.