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ECPA Wire: Industry Issues

A conversation on diversity with Leadership Summit speaker Skot Welch

Thursday, March 9, 2017  
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Why we can’t stop talking about diversity

by Stan Jantz, ECPA executive director





Skot Welch, Global Bridgebuilders


Diversity has become an important topic in publishing. Conversations about the need for diversity abound on industry websites and at industry events. At last year’s Leadership Summit, several speakers and panelists presented information that illustrate the need and the opportunity for Christian publishers to be intentional about embracing diversity. In a lively, fact-filled presentation, Ed Stetzer showed that nearly 40 percent of all who hold evangelical beliefs are ethnic minorities. Urban Ministries CEO Jeffrey Wright shared that by the year 2020, over 50 percent of U.S. school children will be non-white.

Rather than continuing to talk about the need for diversity in our industry, we want to offer practical strategies that will help us move in the right direction. That’s why I am excited to tell you that Leadership Summit 2017 will feature Skot Welch, president of Global Bridgebuilders and one of the leading experts in this growing field. Not only has Skot consulted with Fortune 500 companies, but he has also worked with one of our members. I am confident that Skot’s sessions alone will be worth the price of your senior staff attending Leadership Summit.  (Plus, Skot will be offering FREE consultations throughout the event!)


I am pleased to introduce you to Skot through this brief Q&A.


Skot, please tell us a little about what you’ll be presenting to our industry at Leadership Summit.
SW:  My session will move beyond academic theory and "connect the cables to the floor."  Real time/real life examples will be shared and the necessity of process over program will be discussed in depth. Organizations that are stuck in the "pleasantries" of diversity and inclusion and have yet to intentionally commit to a business-imperative, innovation-driven-orientation -- risk marketplace irrelevance and miss God's best.


Why has the opportunity for diversity become such an important topic for the arts, including publishing?
SW:  The opportunity for diversity has become such an important topic for the arts, including publishing, because industries - and more specifically organizations in those industries - will not survive if they don't. With the multi-ethnic marketplace possessing over $3 trillion of disposable income to purchase goods and services, the reality is that if current publishers don’t reach out to these audiences, someone else will - and they may not even be in the publishing industry currently.


Your methodology is based on process rather than programs. Why is process so important when it comes to diversity?
SW:  Diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives that are programmatic in focus are not sustainable because they focus on short-lived “events” and comfort as goals. Conversely, process focused initiatives are embedded in everything that the organization does with a focus on the innovation that heterogeneous teams produce. Organizations that have a process orientation have a long-term focus and ultimately come to understand that D&I properly leveraged, provides keys to stronger recruitment/retention, innovation, market leadership and relevance.


Why did you form your company, Global Bridgebuilders?
SW:  I formed Global Bridgebuilders (GBB) because of what I saw working with many Fortune 500 organizations. Many of them are stuck in the social imperative (the right thing to do) with a programmatic focus (finite in length with an event centered orientation: a great formula for diversity committee burnout). While some of these approaches are convenient, they are neither sustainable nor do they address the need to build robust metric based processes that actually affect the “business.” Global Bridgebuilders' focus is the innovation that comes as a result of inclusion. Our belief is that there is no function that inclusion doesn’t touch because there is no part of an organization where people aren’t important.


You are making yourself available throughout Leadership Summit for free consult sessions?
SW:  Yes, I encourage attendees to contact me and schedule a time to meet during program breaks. Or, come to my booth onsite and sign up for a time.  I look forward to meeting the leaders in this vital industry!


May 2-3 2017 | Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs

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