Dr. Moore, Can you tell us about yourself?
I have found my life’s passion and work within the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion field. The 15 years of corporate experience uniquely prepared me to start my own company and work with companies across the globe and multiple industries that seek to create more inclusive and equitable workplace cultures and communities.
How did you start your career in DEI or Social Impact?
I have always had a passion for social justice or social impact realities. Years ago, my career started in education and social service. As I made investments in my career, I was led to a Masters program that specialized in Diversity Management. During this program, I established several relationships that would change my life forever. Once I graduated, I began my DEI career in supplier diversity and then matriculated to roles that focused on workforce diversity.
Tell us about a personal experience on why our world needs more Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
I have been a diversity practitioner for fifteen years. I’ve formally studied diversity management and lived in the South for a large chunk of my life. But nothing could have prepared me for the moment that I would personally experience racism.
I was called ni**er just four years ago at the age of forty-one. Meaning, I had spent forty-one years without incident, and this jarring moment had a profound impact on my life. Nothing could have prepared me for it, but that moment prepared me for the days ahead.
I remember it vividly. It was a cold morning. The parking lot was empty, and as I approach my vehicle, an idiot slowly drove by in his white pick-up and yelled at me.
“Get away from the car, ni**er.” His voice reverberated off the adjacent buildings before he sped off. I looked to my left…then to my right, to make sure I was the focus of his racist comments. As I stood in the empty lot, the reality set it that I was the target of his heinous remarks. My blood started to boil, and my hands began to sweat as I slowly got in my car. He was gone, but the encounter left me wondering. Where might I see him again? Would he follow me home? Might this guy become someone I encounter again at the grocery store? Did we work together? The whole event left me emotional but not detoured.
At the time of this cowardly act, I was the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDO) of a large Midwest bank. Here’s the deal…it took being called a ni**er for me to really get off my tail and work my butt off to make a difference. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was doing the work of a CDO, but that moment of being disrespected, profiled, belittled, made me want to do so much more to ensure a better society for everyone. I recommitted that this work starts one person at a time, and I will work until my last day to see that change happens.
Marlon, What does DEI mean to you?
DEI is an intrinsic motivation that drives one to ensure representation, access, and empowerment for those within underrprespresnted groups.
What is your proudest moment as a DEI professional?
After eight years at my former employer, when we issued our colleague engagement survey, colleagues were asked to use three words to describe the organization. The three most commonly used works were diverse, inclusive, and welcoming! This suggested to me that we were on the right path to sustaining a world-class DEI strategy.
Why is DEI important to you as an individual?
I believe we have an obligation to decrease the wealth and education gaps between ethnically diverse communities and the majority. Very purposedful DEI efforts can ensure better societal equality. Equally as important is the desire to create a world where my three little nieces have the best chance possible to be their best selves at work, home, and in society.
If you could change one thing in terms of DEI, what would that be?
I’d like to see organizations make deeper investments in this work. DEI is a business unit that has a direct impact on revenue. Financial and human resources need to support the strategic execution of this important business imperative.
What is stopping your community, organization or company from achieving a more equal and equitable world?
DEI is not “the right thing to do.” If we see this work through that lens, progress will be slow, lack true meaning, and wont be sustainable. It is imperative that we see each other (neighbors, colleagues, people we don’t even know) as human beings. When we want the same things for our neighbors that we want for ourselves, we’ll create an environment that is empowering and equitable.
If you could say one thing to the leader in your community, organization or your company about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, what would you say?
Be bold, authentic, and truly committed to this work.
Why did you want to do this interview?
This is a great platform to share my thoughts on DEI with those who are interested in listening.
Anything you want to share with your readers?
“Your resolve will be tested. Be resolute anyway.”
This interview is part of our DEI Thought Leader Series