Entertaining, Education and Diversity Consulting
Most companies and organizations have made the public commitment to embrace diversity in their customers, workforce and suppliers. Implementation of these ideals varies by the organization as well as within organizations. Problems arise when individuals do not agree with or accept the organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Ten or twenty years ago, companies might fire LGBT people when they discovered the truth about the employee. This caused some remaining employees to hide and suppress their true selves and cost the company because they had to replace experienced, productive workers that they had recruited, on-boarded and trained. Fortunately, this practice is becoming extinct because of organizational commitments to diversity and inclusion. Most companies and organizations now embrace and support LGBT people. A more recent and similar problem, however relates to workers that are not comfortable with the organizational position on diversity. If someone does not want to work with or associate with a certain minority or with LGBT people, their personal views are incongruous with acceptable behavior for the company. Discrimination is bad for business. If you are a worker that discriminates for any reason, eventually you will have to hide or change your personal feelings to stay in the organization.
It is important to support these people – either by helping them evolve their views, or at least by finding a balance where they can be comfortable in the environment at work.
JJ wrote a book, Left-Hander in London: A Field Guide to Transgenders, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals – In the Family, On the Job and In the Pew and a show, Left-Hander in London – The Earthquake to help people understand diversity and to personalize the discussion. JJ uses music and humor to spread the message to Enjoy Diversity rather than have the need to understand, explain or judge. Deeply personal views are not changed by logical arguments. They are based on human interaction, personalizing the discussion and through humor. JJ does the show with a tongue-in-cheek style and uses sarcasm to share her experiences. JJ prefers making people laugh rather than “preaching” or attacking anyone. If someone that attends the show leaves with a few ideas to consider, or even questions some of their own views, then we will have made progress.
The show is edgy and thought provoking. She talks about religion and politics from her personal perspective. JJ was raised in a religious, ethnic family, attended Catholic grade school, high school and got her Masters Degree from a Catholic University. She is transgender, so she has some understanding of males and females. She has been married for over 40 years and has children and grandchildren. JJ is an advocate and was president of the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce for several years, so she is familiar with people from many backgrounds and experiences.
People that are minorities themselves, people that are LGBT and allies will enjoy the stories and jokes and quickly identify with JJ’s message. It is critical, however for her to perform for a mixed audience including people that might be on the fence regarding diversity and people that are not accepting, and even hostile to LGBT people. If everyone can laugh – at least a little, and learn about another person’s viewpoint, and see how we connect rather than only how we are different, then we are making progress.
The show is approximately ninety minutes long including music and original songs. JJ can adjust the time up or down for specific needs. JJ would like to work with organizations interested her show to tailor the material to their needs and culture. She is comfortable being controversial, but uses sarcasm and humor to help people rather than attacking or criticizing.
It is important to use the show to facilitate discussion and to create a safe space where people can discuss diversity topics and their personal views. JJ can follow the show with questions and answers, team building exercises or discussion so people can get more information, share their perceptions, voice agreements and disagreements and gauge reaction from co-workers.
Much of the fun is in the delivery and JJ’s unique experience and style. Sarcasm and nuance are better in person than on paper, but I hope you get a sense of the show, through this description.
There are three original songs in the show:
I Am so Happy, I Don’t Have the Blues https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ6DA-wS58Y
JJ also sings a lullaby for her grandchildren. It isn’t recorded it yet, but she plans to post soon.
JJ would be happy to discuss with anyone that might be interested. This show is a good way to help improve how we work together, how we live with each other and our society in general. It is certainly more fun than a speech! JJ is very comfortable answering questions and discussing diversity with people. It is healthy and productive for people to share their opinions and views. JJ has been blessed with a sense of humor to be able to disarm people when they might be angry and help people see from a different perspective. JJ has over 30 years of consulting experience, working with many industries and many types of companies – from small family owned firms to Fortune 50 corporations.
JJ is developing a plan for how to publicize and roll out the show. She is considering doing a local show in Indy so she can invite people that might be interested in seeing the show (it is way more fun in person!) and also so she can tape the show to use some footage for promotional and educational purposes.
Follow up and implementation opportunities:
- Cultural and Operations Assessment
- Facilitated Discussion about Diversity
- Questions and Answers about the Show content
Questions? Contact JJ Marie Gufreda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Diversity training is provided with the purpose of problem solving and treating diversity as an opportunity, and promoting the ability of members from a great variety of backgrounds to cooperate productively and to contribute to an organizations goal. As a certified LGBTBE and member of the NGLCC (National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce), GEI, Inc. also offers services to organizations seeking diversity consulting:
1. Diversity Strategy Development – Through skilled facilitation, GEI, Inc. consultants can help an organization develop a strategy and plan, and initiate changes that can transform the cultural climate of an organization.
2. Diversity Training – Our experienced facilitators can train employees on how to interact with diverse employees, professional and acceptable behavior in the workplace, and create communication strategies for clients and customers. Our trainers facilitate train-the-trainer, employee training, and customized sessions. Our consultants know how to break down barriers, using truthful examples that allow for real dialogue to begin.
3. Supply Chain Consulting – GEI, Inc. can help organizations develop and improve suppliers, develop a supplier strategy, and set-up a supplier diversity initiative.
4. Transgender Consulting – If an employee transitions, we can educate organizations on how to cope with the changes and challenges that are presented. Our consultants can help an organization with the legal, administrative, medical, and social issues that arise as it pertains to the workplace.
If your organization is looking to develop a diversity strategy, train employees, build or improve a diverse supplier strategy, or educate employees on transgender issues, GEI, Inc. has the resources and experience needed to help your business. Our consultants are professional, knowledgeable, and understand what is needed in today’s business climate. Let us help your organization make a real change.
JJ is the President of GEI Inc., an Operations and Process Improvement consulting company based in Indianapolis, Indiana. GEI has been in business for 15+ years and was the first transgender-owned firm certified as a LGBTE (minority business) by the NGLCC.
JJ previously worked in Consulting, Engineering and Manufacturing Management positions and taught in undergraduate and MBA programs. She has been a Board Member of Indiana Equality Action and was the President of the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. JJ has been a contributing author to several business books and publications.