Recently, I was invited to be one of the speakers in a special program hosted by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, IACP. I am an IACP member, and I sit on its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Committee (IDEA).
Last month, I led a discussion in partnership with Rajan Chettiar, a Barrister, Lawyer and Mediator in Singapore. Our topic was to focus on diversity and inclusion in Practice Groups.
IACP Practice Group Leaders (PGL) from around the world host quarterly meetings where we come together to learn and share information. This was the first PGL meeting with a specific theme and focus. I am part of the Southeast Michigan Practice Group and regularly attend IACP PGL meetings.
It’s also where we network, learn, form stronger teams of Collaborative professionals, and have opportunities to get to know people on a different level and share information and best practices.
Our mission at the September meeting was to offer ideas for Practice Groups to increase awareness and be more inclusive.
While diversity and inclusion are buzzwords these days, at IACP, it’s our goal to use those terms to become aware and intentional in the work that we do and how we relate to colleagues and clients. Some people host a book club and discuss issues that come up in the titles they read. Others plan webinars, share articles or recommend books. Some committee members share personal stories to better understand each other’s background and beliefs.
A while back, I hosted a Civility Session through the Great Lakes Civility Project for my Practice Group, as a way of launching a conversation about civility and bridge-building.
At the recent session, Rajan and I discussed the IDEA committee, what we do, and what IACP is doing to expand inclusion and diversity. These values are embedded in the organization, which is why I am proud to be a part of it.
In this politically divided time, it can be nerve-wracking to imagine discussing some of these sensitive issues. They can become explosive or offensive. There is so much hatred and vitriol encircling our communities and nations.
But we must press on, so we can come to common ground, and all be better at the work we do.
Professional development isn’t just about learning new tricks of your trade. It’s also opening your eyes to the world at-large, to better help your clients and do better work yourself. In the end, the effort changes us, making us better as people, and as professionals.