Joe Gerstandt | New Approach to Diversity and Inclusion, Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and Keynote Speaker

Joe Gerstandt

New Approach to Diversity and Inclusion, Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and Keynote Speaker

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Omaha, NE

Joe Gerstandt

Joe Gerstandt is a speaker, author and advisor bringing greater clarity, action, and impact to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.

Joe has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, and everything in between. He speaks at numerous conferences and summits, and blogs at  He is a featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and his insights have been published in Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Executive, HR Executive, and numerous other print and on-line journals. He co-authored the book “Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships”, and serves on the Intersectional Culture and Diversity Advisory Council for the social networking platform, Twitter.

A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees this work as poorly understood and often misunderstood. His keynote messages and interactive workshops bring greater clarity, action, and impact to existing and new organizational diversity & inclusion efforts.

Joe grew up on a family farm in NW Iowa, served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He attended Iowa State University and then spent 6 years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. Joe then made a career change and went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization doing HIV and STD prevention work. This work is where he found himself drawn to issues related to diversity and inclusion..

Today, Joe believes that we cannot afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century issues. A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees diversity and inclusion as poorly understood — and often misunderstood. His keynote messages and interactive workshops bring greater clarity, energy, and application to diversity and inclusion work.

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Designing the Inclusive Employee Experience

Your organization likely says wonderful things about inclusion, but can anyone explain what it actually is? If inclusion is our product (and it should be our first product), we should know its characteristics. This session will equip you to guide your organization in designing an inclusive employee experience, actionable for, and specific to your organization. This is how we make it real.

Key takeaways:
• Understand the necessity of having great clarity regarding what it means to be fully included in their organization.
• Understand the foundational concepts relative to the experience of being included (psychological safety, trust, empathy, etc.).
• Understand a design process and participate in several short writing exercises toward clarifying what inclusion means.
• Learn how to take the process back to your organization and design an inclusive employee experience.

GOT BIAS? Understanding the New Science of Bias

Much of what is said and done in the name of diversity and inclusion today is, unfortunately, based on an antiquated and flawed paradigm. We stubbornly cling to the idea that there are generally two groups of people in the world; there are “good people,” who are open-minded, nonjudgmental and free of bias, and then there are “bad people,” who are closed-minded, judgmental and dripping with bias. This conveniently leaves most of us completely out of the conversation regarding bias; as long as I am a “good person,” I don’t have any work to do, beyond helping to point out the bad ones…who clearly need to be “fixed.”

We know enough today about human beings, specifically the human brain, to know that there is no such thing as a nonjudgmental human being. We are naturally and even automatically judgmental, there is no hatred or fear required. Bias is not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it is simply a true thing, and only becomes a problem when we convince ourselves it is not there. Having an accurate understanding of what bias is and where it comes from, allows us to do something about it, to make sure that we are mitigating its impact on our decisions and interactions.

This is an interactive, information-rich and incredibly actionable message.

Key takeaways:
• Understand what bias, and unconscious (or implicit) bias are.
• Be introduced to research from the fields of social psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience regarding the source and impacts of unconscious (or implicit) bias.
• Understand why bias is a natural aspect of the human experience.
• Understand and explore the ways that unconscious (or implicit) bias can undermine individual and group performance in the workplace.
• Leave with individual action items that they can immediately incorporate into their work.
• Be prepared to identify collective opportunities for taking action to reduce the impact of unconscious (or implicit) bias.
• Leave with resources to support additional learning, sharing and action relative to mitigating the impact of unconscious (or implicit) bias.

Zen and The Art of Inclusion

Inclusion has, in the past decade, become an incredibly popular word in the workplace. It is not at all difficult to find leaders, organizations and communities quick to tell you how incredibly inclusive they are. What remains difficult to find is the leader who can explain what that actually means. Inclusion remains, in most organizations, a vague, abstract concept. It is no wonder so many organizations struggle to determine how to get there and what to measure along the way.

If you sincerely want to move toward a more inclusive employee experience (for your benefit and theirs), then clarity is one of your very best friends. Joe shows leaders how to build diversity and inclusion efforts that succeed, starting with a strong foundation of clear, concise, common language and logic.

Key takeaways:
• Greater clarity about what inclusion means and how it informs individual, group, and organizational performance.
• Identify fundamental barriers to inclusion.
• Take actionable models and definitions back to your organization to better inform your inclusion efforts.

Working With Humans

We have traditionally organized work from the perspective of what the organization needs or what management needs. This approach frequently results in practices that actually stymie performance. Cubicle farms anyone?

What if you built your organization and organized work based on what employees need to perform at their best? Fortunately for us, we have a much better understanding of human performance and what drives it today than ever before.

Drawing on insights from fields such as social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, organizational behavior, and behavioral economics, this session looks for opportunities to redesign aspects of our work with the humans in mind.

There are, in fact, lots of opportunities at work to replace what we think should work with what actually will work. For some strange reason, we continue to be surprised that a couple of people dominate the conversation during a meeting or that we have “silo issues.” Pretty predictable, also pretty easy to solve when approached in the right way.

Key takeaways:
• Challenge some of the fundamentally flawed assumptions we make about human beings.
• Examine examples of how behavioral design can be used to deliver better individual and shared outcomes at work.
• Be introduced to a basic model of human behavior to use in designing work.
• Direction to additional resources on human behavior, performance, and behavioral design.

Joe Gerstandt
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