Thank you to those who joined us for the October membership meeting. Willette Capers, Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Augustana University, spoke about the meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusion from a holistic approach.


Understanding Diversity
Willette Capers

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the most important things that set you apart not only as a business, but as a human.

Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity is the differences among people. Diversity is allowing people to show up and simply be all the things they represent.

Inclusion is an action. It is empowerment and creating conditions that leverage differences. In an inclusive environment, you are creating a space in which people feel respected, connected, and allowed to share their thought systems and simply be who they are. You are listening to listen and not to respond.

Diversity focuses on people’s differences, but inclusion focuses on intentionally creating an environment where all those differences can thrive.

Equality and Equity
Equality means equal, but we don’t all start at the same playing field. That is why we have equity, which is a solution for addressing imbalanced social systems. How do we dismantle the systems that create those barriers that even need us to have equity?

Social Justice
Feel comfortable in fighting for the voiceless and creating opportunities for their voices to be heard. Eliminate policies that continue to create systems of oppression for people every single day. We do that through the stages of liberation.

The Stages of Liberation:

  • Waking up: We are not ready to wake up until something happens to us.
  • Getting Ready: Educate yourself, talk to others, ask yourself the hard questions.
  • Reaching Out: Join organizations, read books, listen to speakers, learn about the plight of others.
  • Building Community: Find other people who understand. Who else is ready to be about the change?
  • Coalescing: Have conversations with others about what you are reading and listening to. Listen to understand.
  • Creating Change: You have laid the groundwork. You know your activators, areas of growth and areas to lookout for. Get down to work and organize.
  • Maintaining: How do we keep it going? We teach, we educate. We make sure things are not forgotten. We hold people accountable. We hold ourselves accountable.

Finally, remember your core values and live by them. Our core values help us engage and interact with others, and we cannot pick and choose when core values are important to us. People matter. What they represent matters. It is up to you to create a system where those things can thrive.

Reach Willette Capers at


Thank you to our meeting sponsor Avera. Sponsors allow us to bring in talented, quality speakers like we saw this month. As a sponsor the speaker comes to your business for a 1-hour presentation to your staff/customers and a table of 6 guests for the lunch. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a sponsor, contact Mindy Kroll or Sheila Hoff.

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