Creating workplaces where people love to do their best work and customers love to do business
She helps individuals and organizations leverage diversity and inclusion in order to create more profitable and productive cultures. She specializes in diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, life/work balance and strategy implementation.
Simma has had a passion for diversity ever since she began working with a multi-cultural organization in New York City over 30 years ago. She was trained to facilitate dialogues amongst different racial and ethnic groups in order to reduce tension and create effective working relationships.
She moved from the Bronx to Eugene, Oregon which was a huge culture shock to her. In Oregon she helped develop cross-cultural communication processes amongst people from different cultures and countries of origin.
Simma works with her clients to create environments where all people can do their best work. Her clients include; Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant Group, City of San Francisco, City of Eugene, Oregon, Motorola, Diageo, ABM Industries, GE, Applied Materials, Middle Tennessee State University, Monster, Renaissance Hotels, Pillsbury Bakeries and Foodservices, McDonalds, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara Department of Corrections, Chevron, and the IRS.
Simma belongs to DiCE which is a diversity and inclusion think tank, is the co-chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Council of Out and Equal, and is member of the Northern California Chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting, Simma is known for her ability to help people break down assumptions, build dialogues, and create healthy working relationships. Simma is the co-author of “Putting Diversity to Work, how to successfully lead a diverse workforce,” as well as the soon to be released, “Storybricks; Building Diverse Communities One Story at a Time.” Simma is currently writing her next book, “The Dynamic Workplace, Where Employees Love to Go and Customers Love to Buy.”
Simma is the host of “The Inclusionist LGBT Business Report,” on SWIRL radio.
Her articles and ideas have been featured in international and national publications including: The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Forbes.com, Investors Business Daily, CNN.com, Managing Diversity Journal, Black MBA, Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, National Diversity Workforce Network, Working Mother, Cosmopolitan UK, Newsday, and Your Cheating Spouse.com.
About Simma Lieberman Associates
Simma Lieberman Associates has been in business for over twenty years. We offer consulting, training, facilitation, and coaching services that focus on creating an inclusive environment where people can do their best work. Our clients include private industry, government agencies and professional associations. Our programs are interactive and participants learn and practice skills that they can begin to use immediately but will also impact the overall culture of the organization. We are located right outside of San Francisco in Albany, Ca. Our team consists of ten consultants, and an office manager. Previous Projects in last three years: City of Eugene, Oregon.
Buy Simma's book simmalieberman.com/PuttingDiversitytoWork.html
Visit Simma's Fast Company expert blog: bit.ly/liebermanfast
Subscribe to Simma's free newsletter simmalieberman.com
Recently inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant® Hall of Fame
Follow Simma twitter/theinclusionist
We are in the midst of a disruptive crisis no matter how “positive thinking police” try to spin it. As the Covid-19 quarantine continues with people working from home, with little or no social interaction, some of your team members may start experiencing a deeper level of anxiety. No one knows when or how it will end or what the “new normal” will look like. That anxiety due to seemingly uncertain futures and not knowing how or when the crisis will end, can cause some people to panic, lose focus about their work and disengage from the team. https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/c492eb85-9529-4eb9-bbe4-4154277bb917/downloads/Five%20Ways%20Leaders%20Can%20Reduce%20Anxiety%20and%20Preve.pdf?ver=1588179565598" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Read more
I’ve been facilitating cross-generational dialogues for over ten years. I started them because I was tired of one-dimensional conversations filled with bias and wrong assumptions about people who were older or younger. After the first three sessions, it was clear to me that we have a lot to learn from each other. Cross-generational mentoring became an integral part of my inclusive leadership coaching process.
Before you talk about hiring for culture fit, take the time, resources and energy to examine your culture as it is and then develop a vision for the future. Hire for the future culture you want and have a plan to achieve it.
If you want to build and retain a diverse workforce that supports equity and inclusion and that will result in breakthrough products and services, stop looking for “best friends” that you can have a beer with. Stop staying stuck in comfort, and stagnation with people who look, act and think like you. Read more
Is there an increase in the number of White Supremacists in the military? Is there an atmosphere of harmony across race or is it a haven for racist behavior? Should we be concerned? Or, is the military doing more to root them out? To expose and persecute white supremacists and haters based on race?
In my first self-produced podcast, “Every Day Conversations on Race,” Stephon Williams, a former Marine and Greg Jenkins, who served in the Army, offer their experience and observations. Read more
Bias can be broken if you take the right steps. How do we deconstruct bias beyond awareness? How do we “break bias?”
We have a filter in our brain that helps us interpret what we see and hear. It filters out information that is not threatening, not important and not in our perceived reality.
We form our biases based on our experiences, what we hear and what we see. Read more
Someone on LinkedIn recently directed this question to me. My answer was “I don’t get the question. Some of my best clients have been conservatives through the years. They understand diversity and Inclusion as it relates to innovation, profit and expanded markets. How are you defining conservative. They support everyone having opportunities to do their best work so they look at why some people aren’t, who they need in their organization and how to get the best brains contributing. Read more
For the past three months I've been interviewing and recording people from all races, backgrounds, ages and every other dimension of diversity for a new project, "Everyday Conversations On Race For Everyday People." Everyone I've spoken with agrees that we need to have conversations about race, yet many are reluctant to talk to people outside of their own group. They feel awkward, uncomfortable or afraid of saying the wrong thing. Read more
I recently attended the 50th anniversary conference of the Black Panther Party at the Oakland Museum. I didn’t expect to be impacted so deeply. Three of the programs I attended had very deep, personal meaning to me.
One was on the original Rainbow Coalition of White, Black and Brown people working together to feed hungry kids, promote consciousness and action of race and economic disparities and improve quality of life for everyone. Read more
There are times when I hear the term employee engagement and just want to add the words, "blah, blah, blah!" Here are five reasons: 1-Employee engagement has become a buzzword with no meaning in some workplaces. What some managers really mean, is that they are engaged in theoretical discussions. They seem to
think that if they loudly declare that their whole workforce is engaged, even if few people are, they will be considered a great place to work. Read more
A woman recently asked me why the word hater would be used for someone who just had a different point of view. This was in reference to my very strong opinion piece I wrote about Target supporting Transgender rights. She thought it was just a disagreement about whether men should use the women's bathroom and women should use the men's bathroom. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a mistaken idea about this issue. Read more
A senior leader at a high tech company called and said, "Simma, I just spent an enormous amount of money for a training program about unconscious bias. It was very well received and people are still talking about how much they liked it," he said. "However, nothing changed."
When Howard Schultz announced the “Race Together Campaign,” he was met with criticism by those in denial that there are any issues regarding race in the US, and by social activists who said he “did it wrong.” Schultz may not have “done his research,” or created a working foundation for baristas and customers to have constructive discussions on race, but unlike a lot of other White people with money and power who have yet to say a word, Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, listened, acknowledged, and decided to use his money and power to be part of a solution. Read more
A senior leader at a high tech company called and said, "Simma, I just spent an enormous amount of money for a training program about unconscious bias. It was very well received and people are still talking about how much they liked it," he said. "However, nothing changed." The demographics stayed the same, people of color, women, and LGBT people were still leaving at the same rate and getting hired by competitors and people were still working in silos. He asked, "What did we do wrong?" Read more
People of all colors, ages, and backgrounds - from students and employees, to government workers and executives - have been expressing their outrage about what they view as mistreatment, discrimination, and violence, against people of color, particularly Black people, at the hands of some police and other agencies of law enforcement. Read more
I'm often asked "How do we know if we're managing diversity well and being inclusive? What do we need to measure? What does it look like?" Based on my over 20 years of experience in diversity and inclusion that include working with surveys, interviews and focus groups I've created a list of 25 traits of a diverse and inclusive organization. Some of these traits are easy to measure, others will need to be measured using a comprehensive assessment. Read more
Actually, why wait until 2014; you can begin as soon as you finish reading. I’m not going to suggest New Year’s resolutions or tell you how to make them. There are enough books and suggestions online.
Here are three no-cost, very simple diversity management practices you can begin today. Read more
The recent Supreme Court Decisions overturning DOMA and Prop 8 have far-reaching impact in the workplace beyond providing federal and state benefits for same-sex married couples. These decisions also affect single LGBT and heterosexual people in those workplaces, along with LGBT employees in states where same-sex marriage is not yet legal. Read more
Employee Resource Groups or ERGs, are organized networks of employees in organizations who have similar demographics, interests, or life experiences, i.e., veterans, women, Gen Y, people over 40, African-American, people with various religious affiliations, South Asian, etc. Read more
At some point in our lives, everyone needs an ally, a person who supports our ideas, encourages us to follow our dreams, or defends us against naysayers. At some point in our lives, we’ve probably all had opportunities to be an ally to another person, and perhaps made a difference.
There is a crisis in education, inclusion, and communication amongst people, particularly young people in the US. While some people don’t see it, or don’t think it affects them, because they choose to live in their own little life bubble with people just like themselves, the fact is that high numbers of high school dropouts mean higher unemployment, and higher crime. Read more
Employee engagement has become a buzzword with no meaning in some workplace. What some managers really mean, is that they are engaged in theoretical discussions.
They seem to think that if they loudly declare that their whole workforce is engaged, even if few people are, they will be considered a great place to work.
Millions of kids idolize hip-hop artists and rappers and have dreams of becoming one. They think that rapping would be a great way to get rich. Most of them will never get there. And people that are talented often have no background in the business side, so they will disintegrate or lose all of their money. And there is a proliferation of young people, and not so young people, who want to create the next Facebook, Google, Zappos, etc. Read more
If you want to create an inclusive workplace where employees love to do their best work, and customers love to do business, you may need a culture change.
I’m often asked by senior managers for a list of basic external indicators of how people feel about their organization, and whether or not they are happy at work. Read more
Have you ever had a job that you hated? That you dreaded so much you didn't want to leave your house in the morning?
I had one of those jobs. In those days, it was called telephone soliciting. I sold aluminum siding over the telephone. I didn't know how much it actually cost or even what aluminum siding was.
There are six “I”s, that are necessary to create a dynamic workplace where employees love to do their best work and customers love to do business. In my previous article, I featured the first “I” in this process, which is “Insight.”
Do you want employees who love to do their best work, and customers who bang down your doors to do business with you? If your answer is yes, it’s time you use your dynamic leadership skills, and use the six “I”s, to create that dynamic workplace where employees love to go and customers love to buy. Read more
Do your employees know your name? Do they even know why your organization exists? If the answer to one or both of these questions is “no,” you cannot possibly have an inclusive culture in your organization. And if that’s the case, you are not optimizing your business results.
I've often been asked if I "do sensitivity training" I found myself getting irritated by the very term "sensitivity training", and didn't know why I had such a visceral reaction. After spending time thinking about it, and talking to people who professed to be "sensitivity trainers' I realized that “sensitivity training" was actually insensitive and patronizing.
I've been writing and speaking about work/life balance for over 18 years. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken workshops on work/life balance and tried to make changes in their lives. Senior leaders have supported wellness programs for their employees and lent words of encouragement at their kick-off. Yet, as much as I love speaking, writing and helping people in organizations with work/life balance, I see imbalance in the work/life balance discussion. Read more
or the first time, four generations of employees are simultaneously playing a prominent role in the workplace. Today we have more and more people who are working beyond their 60s into their 70s, 80s and even some into their 90s, which means you may find two people working together who could potentially have a 50 year age difference. Read more
I don’t know why so many articles on life/work balance seem to focus on people who suddenly decide they’ve had it with working all the time and within one hour quit their job, buy a yacht or a jet, grab their family or their best friends or their dog and travel the world for a year or two. They then get touted as the role model for the rest of us who either like our work, can’t leave right now, or just want to enjoy life at home. Read more
Some people work at their jobs because they have to make a living, and they get to express themselves after work. Some people have careers that they love, and have a hard time not taking home their work with them when they go home. And then there are successful people in the diversity field. They have a passion for diversity and they live their work.
To be a successful business in today’s culture you need to create an environment of inclusion where people feel valued and integrated into a company’s mission, vision and business strategy at all levels. When employees’ skills and knowledge are recognized, appreciated and utilized they are more engaged in contributing to an organizations’ success. They are more willing to go the ‘extra mile’ and share ideas and innovation.
Workforce Diversity Network
150 State Street, Rochester, New York 14614, United States
Workforce Diversity Network Executive Director
Guided by the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the overall management, operation, and well-being of WDN. The Executive Director champions the development and implementation of the organization's mission and goals, oversees the organization's strategic plans, manages the organization's financial operations, and provides leadership and direction to WDN contractors and volunteers.