Top 3 DEI Tips w/ Member Dezbee McDaniel

The Raleigh Founded Team

Dezbee McDaniel is the co-founder and CEO of CliniSpan, a software program committed to diversifying clinical trial recruitment. CliniSpan advances this goal by getting more people of color, specifically women of color, into clinical research.

Last year, we had the pleasure of speaking with McDaniel about DEI in the workspace. Here are our top 3 tips from that conversation!

Tip #1: DEI is necessary - treat it that way.

When asked why DEI is crucial for companies, Dezbee approached the question from two perspectives - the moral and the business. DEI is ethical. It is important to be humane and to encourage inclusivity in the workplace. Furthermore, DEI makes sense from a business perspective. The corporate landscape is continuously becoming more diverse. If you can’t cultivate spaces of diversity and inclusion now, you are allowing the businesses that do to have that advantage over you in the future.

DEI is difficult to implement for large companies at a later stage. Give yourself the advantage of building your company and concepts with DEI rather than applying it retroactively. Allow DEI to be in the DNA of your work!

“… that when you develop them (concepts in your business) they would be developed with DEI in mind, and you should be able to feel that in it’s DNA.”

Tip #2: Ensure that your DEI goals are measurable

You won’t be able to tell if your DEI efforts have been effective if your work isn’t measurable! While calculating DEI’s impacts will differ depending on the scenario because the goals and metrics for each context will vary, each DEI project should start with the same question: How do we define diversity and inclusion in this space?

Most important in measuring your goals is seeking feedback from the group(s) you are attempting to include.

“From my perspective, if you don’t get the feedback of someone you’re trying to include as you craft this plan […] you’ve already failed.”

Tip #3: Approaching DEI doesn’t have to be intimidating

DEI work is less intimidating when you know you don’t have to tackle everything alone. Pull someone else in to do DEI work for your company! Go to people in your network who may already support your business to leverage their perspective on how you can be more inclusive!

Conversations surrounding DEI may seem scary, but they don’t have to be! These conversations are necessary - approach them intentionally and don’t hesitate to practice transparency!

“Be open and transparent about your identity and about how you relate to this. Saying […] I know I’m further from this problem than anyone in the world, but I want to understand.”

Dezbee McDaniel has partnered with Raleigh Founded to provide DEI workshops, consultations, and strategic planning. Join us for his upcoming workshop on Tokenism in the workplace on April 13th. More information to come!