Issue 170 - 01 | Erasing Institutional Bias: Structural Change, Starting with You

By Tiffany Jana & Ashley Diaz Mejias
Published Nov. 14, 2018 12:00 p.m.
“Many organizational leaders long to talk about diversity and inclusion, and want to make diverse hires and bring more people into the room. But institutionalized biases have put true equity—the breaking up of the dominance of one culture and the creation of space for those who have been underrepresented—out of reach for those who are working towards creating more just workspaces. In our work with organizations, we have found that erasing institutional bias is a difficult task. When bias is operating at a systems level, it can seem impossible to change. But with humility, patience, and some tools, change is possible.

Working against institutional bias, as we will explain, involves more than just increasing simple numbers. It includes the hard and often vulnerable work of making room at the table, on the board, and in the c-suite for those who have not historically been represented. It requires undoing our cultural assumptions about what bias is and how it works, and then giving ourselves over to the introspective and collective work of erasing institutional bias. It’s about doing this all in our everyday workspaces.”

About Tiffany Jana & Ashley Diaz Mejias | Tiffany Jana is the co-founder of TMI Consulting Incorporated, a diversity and inclusion management-consulting firm founded in 2003 and headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. TMI Consulting is a benefit corporation as well as a certified B Corporation and earned the 2016 Best for the World honor from the nonprofit B Lab that certifies B Corps worldwide. She is an internationally known keynote speaker on the topic of diversity and racial equity in the workplace.

Ashley Diaz Mejias earned her MA in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and her MDiv at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond. Ashley has devoted her academic work to researching and writing on racial bias and has written for blogs and led curricula for institutional conversations on race, systemic bias, and mass incarceration.

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