Frederick County Society for Human Resources Management

Advancing and Serving the HR Profession in Frederick County Since 1975

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Let’s Talk About Race: Practical strategies for building inclusion through conversation
Thursday, April 26, 2018, 11:30am - 01:00pm
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Program Description

Having conversations about sensitive topics such as race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, and sexuality are critical for building inclusion in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion practitioners commonly exhort people to have “courageous conversations” yet the details of how to do that are often left vague and sparse. In this session, cultural anthropologist Michael Baran gives evidence-based strategies for how to have these challenging conversations. He gives practical tips for the conversations themselves and provides overall strategies for organizations to build a more inclusive and open culture. 


Learning Objectives

In this session, HR Professionals will:

  • Understand evidence based principles for having effective conversations around sensitive topics like race.
  • Gain practice initiating and responding to microaggressions.                                                                                      
  • Learn organization-wide strategies for creating a more inclusive workplace culture.

Speaker Bio

Michael Baran, PhD is a cultural anthropologist and diversity and inclusion speaker / consultant. He has with more than twenty years of experience conducting research on a variety of issues related to race and identity and then using the lessons from that research to work with organizations to increase diversity and foster inclusion. He currently consults for businesses, schools and non-profits on issues related to diversity and inclusion, often incorporating the digital tools developed at Interactive Diversity Solutions (IDS) as part of a blended approach. In this capacity, he has worked with companies such as Boeing, Disney and Thrivent Financial as well as Universities such as Harvard, Brown, and the University of Indiana. His digital program (Don’t) Guess My Race was recently selected as one of the top 100 most inspiring innovations in education globally by the Finland-based education group


In addition to his IDS work, he has taught courses on race and identity, Latin America, child development, expository writing and research methodology at Harvard University and the University of Michigan. He has worked as Associate Director at the FrameWorks Institute and currently works as a Principal Researcher at the American Institutes of Research. In that capacity, he manages multi-year research and intervention projects with funders such as USAID, the MacArthur Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, UNICEF and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.


Dr. Baran received his B.A. from Emory University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology with a certificate in ‘Culture and Cognition’ from the University of Michigan. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is learning Haitian Creole.



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