Applying Leadership & Inclusion to Your Work

A follow-up from keynote speaker Dar Mayweather’s session at Summer Summit



What does baking a cake have to do with leadership and inclusion? A lot!


We now know there are many similarities between baking a cake and leadership & inclusion thanks to the energizing keynote speaker, Dar Mayweather, at the recent Summer Summit. In the session led by Mr. Mayweather attendees were given the tools to help our youth see and explore their leadership identity and the importance of inclusion and diversity.


Just like the individual ingredients in a cake, each individual person’s contributions are important. Including all the ingredients makes the cake successful. It’s the same in life. We need to help our youth understand that their individual experiences, differences and contributions are needed to make a better, more informed and inclusive society. In an interactive workshop, Mayweather shared his own 20-year long journey of learning and growth. Just like the complex process of baking, his journey hasn’t always been easy.


Mayweather shared a humbling experience that, if it were not for the strong personal identity and refined leadership skills of another, his career trajectory could have been derailed just as it was starting. During a professional development workshop he attended early in his career, Mayweather made an off-the-cuff comment to a supervisor that he thought was in jest. As it turned out, the comment hit closer to home than he had ever imagined. Because that person displayed leadership attributes that lead to change and movement, Mayweather had his eyes opened to his personal assumptions. He was challenged to develop himself and learn from the experience.


His message to the audience: Check your assumptions.


We need to help our youth see and explore their identity. What you see on the surface, may not be the thing or experience that is causing an individual to respond like they do. “Oftentimes we see demographics and not how their demographics shape their experiences, “ said Mayweather. Take the time to look beyond the surface. Care about the mission AND the people. Look for opportunities to go beyond the status quo, rewarding unique contributions and innovative practices.


Throughout the workshop, Mayweather gave examples of ways to be inclusive and develop leadership skills. But what is leadership? Mayweather stressed the importance of defining things so others are all on the same page. “How we define things impacts how we experience things and our identity is developed through our most critical experiences.”


Mayweather used a great analogy when speaking on the difference between diversity and inclusion. He said .. “diversity is inviting someone to the party, but inclusion is asking them to dance.”


The session was inspiring to those who attended and the concepts shared could be easily implemented in their youth-focused settings. Specialist Cortney Sanders said her biggest takeaway from the session was to “allow [the youth] to be heard, seen, and valued. They are somebody and they belong regardless of their orientation, religion, family, age, origin, etc.”


Youth Solutions Specialists will be using the techniques they learned in their interactions with youth this fall.


How can you implement similar techniques in your environment?


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