President and founder of IEC Enterprises, Inc. – a multicultural human resources consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bill has supported the diversity needs of scores of Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies and universities since 1988. He specializes in providing broad-based diversity consulting and conducting work environment assessment studies (i.e., cultural audits) designed to identify barriers to organizational success. His current focus is using his 30 years of DEI experience to provide executive coaching and to leverage his Kellogg School of Management Corporate Governance training in appointments to Board of Directors positions with Public and Private Sector organizations.
A prolific writer, Bill has over fifty (50) publications in journals that include the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Journal, Urban League Diversity Works Magazine, Journal of Staffing and Recruiting, Bureau of National Affairs, Cultural Diversity at Work, Black Issues in Higher Education, Recruiting Trends and The Black Collegian. His book, Minority Recruiting… Building the Strategies and Relationships for Effective Diversity Recruiting, was published in 1996 and remains a reference source for creating diversity recruiting programs.
Mr. Shackelford’s community service leadership includes serving as President of the Greater Atlanta Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (now ATD) in 1997 and serving a three-year term on an ASTD National Board of Directors Committee.
William (Bill) Shackelford
President, IEC Enterprises
1945 Manhattan Pkwy, Suite A
Decatur, GA 30035 USA
Father, Grandfather, Former Civil Rights Activist, Cultural Diversity Trainer, Concerned Citizen
In 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated I was a college student in Atlanta Georgia and immediately thrusted into the middle of the movement that would change the nation. We had great leaders in the Black community in Atlanta – and in the nation – who helped us understand, process and react to the events around us.
In 1992 riots broke out in America after the acquittal of the four police officers involved in the beating of Rodney King. My three kids were all teenagers at the time, and we talked with them to help them understand, process and react to the events around them.
Unfortunately, we are here again in a confusing and terrible time of racial strife in America. My kids are all grown. However, now, I have 10 grandkids – 6 of whom are teenagers or very young adults. Most are living nearby but, because of social distancing restrictions imposed because of the Coronavirus, I am unable to sit with them and discuss this matter to help them understand, process and react. My situation is not unique. So, as I thought about how I would approach a conversation with my grandkids I decided to put my approach to paper – hoping my comments would be of help to others.
One thing I have learned in my 70 years is that when you talk with your children about tough issues, it is important for you to listen as much as you talk. In fact, it is generally best to listen first. I’ve put together a list of seven questions you can use that will allow you to listen and discussion the events of the week with your child or children. These questions can be used with kids of all ages. If you find them helpful, please share them with others in your social networks.
Q1. What have you seen on the news (TV/Social Media, etc.)?
With this question you will be able to gauge your children’s current level of exposure to the events. Don’t assume they have seen all you have seen or, that they fully understood what they have seen.
Q2. How do you feel about what you have seen? (or What do you think about what you have seen?)
The goal of this question is to encourage you children to express their feelings and emotions about what they are seeing/experiencing. I personally prefer the direct approach (“How do you feel …”) but, chose the one that fits your child best.
Q3. Do you know why they are protesting/rioting?
Again, this gives your children a chance to express themselves and gives you a chance to gauge where they are on this issue.
Q4. What is the difference between a Rally, Protest and Riot?
This is one many adults have trouble with. You and your children are probably hearing all three of these terms – often being used interchangeably. However, they are not the same. I would define them as:
Rally – An event organized by an individual or group around a defined issue or issues with a fixed start and end time and place.
Protest – An event organized by an individual or group around a defined issue or short list of issues generally with a fixed start time and place but, flexible end time and place.
Riot – An unorganized gathering – often with multiple leaders – with the intent of harming individuals, damaging property and/or looting.
It is possible (even common) to have just a rally or just a protest – with no violence or destruction of property. However, what happens sometimes is what started as a peaceful rally or protest descends into a riot (as we saw have seen all across America).
Q5. What type of Rally, Protest, Riot would you participate in?
The intent of this question is to test their understanding of the difference between constructive and destructive protest. You are doing this by asking them to give you examples from their own experience.
Q6. How should police respond to a Rally? Protest? Riot?
First, you should help your children understand that it is the job of the police to protect them and the community (including property). They don’t always get it right but, that is their job. Then, you should discuss each of the three situations separately. Use this question to inform your children of the many businesses in your community that are owned by people from the community. When discussing how police should respond to riots, ask your children, “Would it be fair for the police to allow rioters to burn down OUR businesses?” and similar questions. Help them understand that, during times like this, the job of the police is so much more difficult and that many of the police are from their community.
Q7. So, what would you like to see happen next?
This is a question that is “forward looking”. You want to end the discussion on a positive note – something that gives your children hope for the future. For very young children you can reframe the question with language like, “In a beautiful world, how would we treat one another?”.
One of the biggest challenges in diversity recruiting today is not building commitment but, turning commitment (and action) into results. Despite decades of focus – first on minority recruiting and them broadening the focus to diversity recruiting – too many organizations still struggle with building effective diversity recruiting efforts.
I think I know what the problem is and how it can be effectively addressed. Read more
I had a dream earlier this morning about the KKK. I was walking with some of my grandkids and with a teenage version of my brother TJ (who passed last year at age 54). We were walking in an area that looked like the street leading to my old office building. A flatbed truck drove passed us.
On the back of the truck sat about a dozen KKK members. I knew from past experience what was about to happen next. Read more
In April 1999 eight African American employees of the Coca-Cola Company filed suit on behalf of themselves and 2200 similarly situated colleagues alleging discrimination in pay, performance evaluations and promotions. Coca-Cola denied the allegations but settled the case in late 2000 for $192.5M. It is unthinkable that a global company like Coke -- a marketing company whose success depends on understanding cultural differences to capture world markets -- could be guilty of discrimination against its minority employees. Or is it? Read more
I truly believe most major employers in the United States are serious in their concerns about reducing (or even eliminating) bias and/or discrimination in their organizations. Most have non-discrimination policies, have conducted diversity training and have even (on occasions) reprimanded employees and/or managers who failed to follow established policies.
Despite the good intentions, there is ample evidence that bias has not been completely eradicated in corporate America. Consider this excerpt from the EEOC 2008 report. Read more
We all know the story. First the housing market collapsed; which impacted the financial markets; which impacted the stock market. This current economic crisis has impacted every sector of the U.S. economy (both public and private). During tough economic times, organizations are forced to focus on their “core business”. Projects (like diversity) that reside in their support area may be delayed or cut – often with trepidation about the potential impact delay will have on efforts to build an inclusive culture. Several of my clients have expressed concerns about having to delay their diversity initiatives with the refrain “What choice do I have?” What I have been doing is giving them choices for “doing diversity” in these tough economic times. Read more
There is no shortage of organizations (public or private sector) that have developed for themselves a compelling case for diversity recruiting ¼ a case that goes beyond it being “the right thing to do” to one that is anchored in the business case.
Luke Visconti, partner and co-founder of DiversityInc. stated the business case well when he said, “How well a company manages its hiring, recruitment and retention practices directly affects its competitive edge and may well be the deciding factor in its very survival.”
Workforce Diversity Network
150 State Street, Rochester, New York 14614, United States