Leadership in Action is our ongoing series featuring inspiring leaders who are taking conscious leadership into their workplaces and lives.
Sara Jones is CEO of InclusionPro, a consultancy specializing in creating global diversity and inclusion strategies to elevate inclusive work cultures. A well-received TED Speaker on transracial adoption, Sara is also co-founder of Women Tech Council and is a Board Member of Silicon Slopes.
Along with collaborator Shawn Newell, Sara is facilitating a guided discussion series called “Let’s Talk Race” for executive teams to begin exploring race and equality in the workplace. Crafted Leadership recommends this resource to any leadership team who wants to increase their understanding of racism and expand their commitment to inclusion and equality. Check out InclusionPro for more information.
What are some of the best leadership books, podcasts or articles you’ve read?
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen
What’s your go-to leadership quote or motto?
Lead with Inclusion, Value Diversity.
What’s the best investment you’ve made in developing your leadership?
I’ve invested countless hours in building my network over the past 20 years. By building communities and getting to know thousands of people over my career, I have a deep sense of understanding of the challenges that people experience in thriving in the workplace. It has allowed me to humanize the work that I do now because I know the difference it can make in peoples’ lives.
What is the key quality in yourself that got you to where you are?
I’m willing to jump into new situations and learn what needs to be done. This has been an asset to me over the years and allowed me to take many career leaps. While some people call this fearless, I call this leaping in spite of fear.
What stands out to you about leadership today vs. 5-10 years ago?
We are at a unique opportunity to rethink how and why organizational leadership handled diversity and inclusion. Ten years ago, we had a very different approach to supporting diversity in the workplace. It often started with “affinity groups” where people could join together to commiserate and support each other. Now, in 2020, we are in a new age of understanding humanity. Movements like Black Lives Matter affect all of us, not just the few, for example. Our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) can be much more humanity-focused than it was ten years ago.
What, if any, gaps do you see in leadership development in your industry or geographic region?
Utah happens to be behind the nation in its representation of racial and ethnic populations. However, there are significant areas of Utah where ethnic populations are actually the majority. This often surprises leaders in Utah, reflecting a knowledge and experience gap. So when we hear about a small talent pipeline in both ethnicity and gender, it’s more a reflection of people being disconnected from communities. The leadership development gap that needs to be filled is leaders becoming more personally responsible to build their own personal network with a diverse range of people.