About 4 months ago, we launched The Dignitas Agency, a company dedicated to strengthening the representation of black leaders at the executive level. On September 12th we held our first – Accelerating Impact for Black People (AI4BP). Since then, some of you have been curious about what we’ve been up to and what we have planned for 2016.
Accelerating Impact for Black People – Minneapolis (Sept 12, 2015)
On Sept 12th, we were joined by professionals ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s. We had scientists, technical folks, attorneys, sales people, marketers, CEOs of fortune 500 companies, and owners of small businesses.
The Dignitas Agency is about creating experiences that create enough safety for participants to examine the experience of blackness, embrace that story, and understand the limiting (subconscious) beliefs associated with that experience. Once in touch, participants are in a place to shift to a more empowering belief. The AI4BP event lays the foundation for this exploration and teaches the process for replicating this shift, whenever necessary.
A large portion of the day was focused on how limiting beliefs help us survive and succeed up to a certain level, but for many of us, they eventually get in the way of us having bigger impact. What is unique about AI4BP is that this was a very specific conversation about limiting beliefs related to the stories we hear and consciously or subconsciously internalize about what it means to be black.
Going into the event, our goal for the session was to test whether we could:
1) create a safe space to talk about deep, personal and layered experiences of being black in America.
2) provide simple, practical tools to help people be more effective in their work.
3) create enough motivation to take action in their real world and create more traction in their career.
The following are quotes from participants that have us feeling optimistic that we’re heading in the right direction:
- “Well, when you walked into the room, and it’s a good-sized room, my first thought was how are people going to feel comfortable opening up? We had so many different levels of people, so many people that knew one another. But there was just this feeling that this was a safe place for people to have a conversation that was really important to have. So I thought that it was some of the best, most open conversation that I’ve been able to have in my career surrounding issues that happen daily, and it was amazing just how comfortable people felt in that.” –Lea B. Olsen, Broadcaster/Speaker, Home Team Sports, a division of Fox Sports Media Group, 45Tv, KSTC-TV Channel 45
- “I felt safe when I saw Angela and Cheryl sit down on stage as Stacy was setting up what the day was about. You had folks sharing some really deep stuff – and y’all set that stage.” — Scott Morris, International Sales Development Leader, 3M
- “I had the privilege of attending the Minneapolis AI4BP workshop which was marked by innovative thought leadership and breakthrough self awareness exercises. — Eric Alexander, Supply Chain Leader, General Mills
- “I want to congratulate the DIGNITAS Agency for their successful execution of the Accelerating Impact for Black People event in Minneapolis. It’s certainly one of the most effective events I’ve attended in a very long time. The workshop forces you to analyze how you really think and how you might marshal internal and external resources to achieve personal success through authentic leadership. Well done!!!” — Omar Richmond, President, Synergy HomeCare Twin Cities South
Since the event, we have been busy capturing feedback from participants and panelists, continuing to build out our content and brand, and meeting with corporate stakeholders who are interested in both event sponsorship, as well as, integrating the AI4BP content into their existing leadership development platform and programs. Focused attention was given to these efforts during a week-long strategic planning session that we held recently in Minneapolis, and we are more committed to this work than ever. Here are some of the outcomes from this planning:
In partnership with our allies at goDutch Studio, we completed our rebranding effort this fall and are really excited about the clarity that this process has brought to our work and how effectively our new logo, color family, and visual expressions communicate our mission.
November Reunion in Minneapolis
One of the goals of the Dignitas Agency is to build a network comprised of those individuals with whom we work with in our programming. This desire was validated through consistent feedback we received from those who attended our September event – the message was: “we want to stay connected with one another.” We all realized that we had
made an amazing connection with each other during the event, and looked forward to another in-person experience.
The response to our reunion invitation was tremendous as several AI4BP attendees were able to join us for Happy Hour at Scratch Bar & Grill in Downtown Minneapolis. We were excited to see everyone and get updates of the progress they’ve been making since the AI4BP event. We were thrilled to hear which messages were still with people and how they were integrating them into their real world actions. As a fun way to reconnect, we created a recap video of the Sept 12th event just for event participants to keep them connected to that space of safety, exploration and expansion. We are also grateful for the opportunity to thank this group for all of their feedback and support in helping Dignitas continue to improve and develop our portfolio of offerings.
Our Mission – Revisited
After reviewing our mission through the lens of 4 months of experience and feedback, we confirmed that we are still committed to creating a world where : “The number of Black people in executive positions within organizations mirror the percent of Black people in the United States population with the goal of creating a legacy of value, impact and wealth.”
We also decided that we needed to append the following sentence: “We unapologetically pursue peace, power, and differentiated productivity. This last sentence is about individuals, organizations, and the world.
2016 Schedule of Events
We will launch our national Accelerating Impact for Black People platform in eight markets in 2016. Below is a map outlining our 2016 Event Schedule:
The Dignitas Agency Suite of Offerings
In our efforts to fulfill the company’s mission, The Dignitas Agency offers the following:
- Accelerating Impact for Black People (AI4BP) | A Series of RealTalk – One day events, intended to increase your awareness around your limiting beliefs and transform them into breakthrough beliefs that will put you in a mindset that will maximize your performance, and create more satisfaction as you journey through your career.
- 1:1 coaching – Provides individualized coaching and accountability to continue the process of identifying limiting beliefs and transforming them into breakthrough beliefs, as well as, the implementation of performance accelerators that deliver results.
- AI4BP Mastermind Group (6-months of Accelerated Impact) – Provides focused, intentional small group coaching and accountability to continue the process of identifying limiting beliefs and transforming them into breakthrough beliefs, as well as, the implementation of performance accelerators that deliver results. The focal point of this program are six specific results that each participant creates specifically related to their work performance. This program is available only to those who have participated in the Accelerating Impact for Black People event.
- Corporate Collaboration and Sponsorship – HR and Business leaders recognize how the experiences that we create through our AI4BP work is the type of personal work that makes all other leadership and professional development more effective. Without the type of awareness and shift in mindset created through the AI4BP experience, the knowledge shared through other investments in leadership development will always face resistance from the limiting beliefs that a leader has, and that knowledge won’t be able to be effectively put into action in the form of behavior shifts that increase performance effectiveness. In this way, AI4BP is an accelerator for any leadership development platform. Organizations choose to provide event sponsorship, send individuals to our open-enrollment events, or work with us to deliver AI4BP events specifically for their employees.
- CEO Consulting – Increasingly, senior executives are committed to improving their organizations, by adding more diversity to their leadership team. However, they are finding this a challenging conversation and landscape to navigate. These leaders call on us to talk with them directly about the root cause issues within the broader fabric of our country that directly impact their comfort levels, confidence and effectiveness in this arena. Real talk about unconscious bias, access and social agility position these executives to more effectively deliver on both their intentions and their business objectives, related to diversity. We also work with talent development and succession planning teams to enhance their strategies and implementation effectiveness.
- Collegiate Professional Readiness – As young professionals enter/re-enter the workforce, it is increasingly important for them to be prepared to bring incredible value to their organization upon arrival. Managers expect emerging leaders to not only demonstrate that they have the ability to excel in their position but that they are also capable of producing the requisite results immediately. We work with faculty, students and administrators in graduate school programs to prepare graduates to successfully launch their careers by providing the necessary tools to help them accelerate the transition from student to high performer.
- Pipeline 13 Mentoring – The road from emerging leader to corporate executive can be rocky, intimidating, lonely, and frustrating among many other challenges. Learning how to navigate your way through the corporate labyrinth (culture, politics, personalities, processes, etc.) with efficacy can help to make your journey more enjoyable. We assist emerging leaders in this endeavor by connecting them with a select group of mentors who are committed to helping you reach your goals in a structured mentoring program.