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On Sept. 29, best-selling author Minda Harts engaged in a passionate and practical conversation about equity in the workplace with Exec Club board member Connie L. Lindsey.

Harts said she wrote “The Memo” because a workplace book focused on women of color was desperately needed.

“When we pick up a career experience book it’s either written by a white man or woman and we have to make it work for us…. I wrote it for us so we could finally see ourselves in the pages of the career narrative. But I also wrote it for our colleagues, managers, our aspiring allies and advocates so that they can understand how to show up.”

-Minda Harts, Best-Selling Author and Chief Executive Officer, The Memo LLC

Understanding the life experience of colleagues is just the first step in making the workplace work for everyone, Harts and Lindsey said. Next must come supporting and advocating for their career growth and advancement.

“So many people are being harmed in the workplace because of a lack of allyship. We need the support of everyone to make the workplace better, and so I would ask … who are you willing to be courageous for?” MH

“Absolutely, and that’s the whole notion of performative allyship: Your words don’t mean anything if they’re not followed by action.” CL

Their conversation emphasized eradicating bias in the workplace because it is more than overdue, it benefits the entire organization.

“We know that where people have leveraged inclusivity and equity in the right ways, it actually increases earnings.”

-Connie L. Lindsey, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Northern Trust, Chicago

The pair spoke with honesty about the pain and isolation of being underrepresented. In corporate America just 1.4% of black women in the workforce are managers. They are held back by a lack of sponsorship by advocates truly willing to go to bat for their colleagues. Until that changes, women of color will suffer.

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