Take The Diversity And Inclusion Leadership Challenge

Fortune Magazine’s raceAhead diversity platform created the Include U Challenge to give leaders daily tasks to help them be more diverse and inclusive. These are the tasks you can do to be more inclusive…

It’s no secret that business leaders today need to focus heavily on diversity and inclusion, especially when it comes to building their business strategy. Boardrooms are begging for more diversity in gender, age and race.

According to a recent Deloitte global survey, South Africa ranks fourth globally for the percentage of board chairs that are women at 7.8%, against a global average of 4%. And, while South Africa is slowly creating ethnic diversity through its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment initiative, more than half of firms in the UK’s Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 do not have any directors from an ethnic minority on their board, according to recent government funded research.

The answer doesn’t lie in forcing companies to simply appoint workers of different ethnicities as silent ‘tokens’; it lies in truly understanding the benefits of diversity; in learning more about others; and changing the way leaders view different groups of people, so that diversity becomes seamlessly engrained in their thinking.

One organisation trying to get leaders to understand themselves – and the world – differently, in an effort to foster diversity, is raceAhead, a section of Fortune Magazine, focusing on Culture and Diversity in Corporate America.

During September, raceAhead launched the Include U Challenge, to “give our inclusion muscles a workout in small, daily ways,” author Ellen McGrit says. Each day, they asked an extraordinary person, who understands inclusion and creativity, to suggest a single action that a leader – or anyone else – can take that day that will help them become more open, curious, and empathetic. It became a kind of leadership challenge with results and thoughts being shared on social media under #IncludeU30.

In case you missed it, here are the daily challenges. You can do them, and repeat them, at any time – if you want to expand your knowledge of diversity and inclusion. Will you take the challenge?

Challenge 1 | by Tim Ryan, US Chairman of PwC

Check yourself at the door before having a difficult conversation.

“Having difficult conversations about race, diversity, and inclusion won’t do any good if you don’t come at it with openness, empathy and a willingness to really listen… we can only make progress when we put our own issues to the side and really listen to what each other has to say,” says Ryan.

Challenge 2 | Luvvie Ajayi, Author

Do something that scares you today.

“Do one thing today that scares you – and you already know what that is! – and go do it. Even if you just make one step toward it, it will help you look at the world differently.”

Challenge 3 | Bernard J. Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente

Appreciate someone – and mean it.

Tyson asks you to consider changing the narrative in your relationships by letting people know you see them. “When acknowledging someone today, instead of saying, ‘I appreciate what you did,’ say, ‘I appreciate you’ and mean it.”

Challenge 4 | Hugh Weber, CEO of the Institute of Possibility

Ask a stranger to curate your reading list.

“Go to a bookstore or store with a magazine rack and ask an interesting looking stranger to pick out six magazines that they think you would benefit from reading,” he says.

Challenge 5 | Daniel José Older, YA Author

Close your eyes and listen to the world. 

“The traditional way we meditate is to go inward,” he says. “For this exercise, I want you to focus outward, and listen to the symphony that the world is playing around you. It could be anything, the creaks of the building, the birds chirping, traffic sounds – listen to that. There are stories being told in those sounds. What are the meanings of all the sounds you heard?”

Challenge 6 | Xian Horn, Teacher, Disability Activist

Serve someone from a different background without expectation.

“It doesn’t matter what it is — a chat, a free coffee, prayer, good deed or a simple smile, she says. The other person’s reaction to the deed does not matter – it only matters that you put it out there,” she says.

Challenge 7 | Anjuan Simmons, Technologist, Speaker, Inclusion Evangelist

Share the benefits of your privilege with someone else.

“If there’s an after work event that seems to only include people like me, I make sure those who lack my privilege know about it. If someone with whom I share privilege asks me to do something for them, I offer to do the same thing for someone who, compared to me, is unprivileged. Lending privilege doesn’t mean I’m losing anything. It’s simply sharing my privilege with those who are differently privileged than I am.”

Challenge 8 | Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks

Get vulnerable in your next conversation.

“One of the things that has been most transformative for me personally in my Starbucks journey has been having a round table discussion with six of our partners, instead of a typical store visit. We all share our life story… The most amazing stories are told and people share very vulnerable things about their lives. We’ve all gone through struggles — it’s the one thing we all have in common — and when people are willing to be vulnerable and share those experiences with others, it’s a great connection for understanding. I actually think it will impact the way you make decisions in many ways. I’ve learned so much from those roundtables and hearing these stories, and it’s made me a better person.”

Challenge 9 | Julie Sweet, CEO Accenture, North America

Ask yourself: “Who have you helped today?”

“One of the most powerful ways we can help each other is by taking the time to see others’ potential.”

Challenge 10 | Eve Ewing, Sociologist, Educator, Poet

Read Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Yes, the whole thing.

“I hope that [reading it] might invite everyone to think very carefully about the ways that their commitment to “order” (when order means a total lack of protest or social critique) makes the path toward real justice much more difficult.”

Challenge 10 | Eve Ewing, Sociologist, Educator, Poet

Read Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Yes, the whole thing.

“I hope that [reading it] might invite everyone to think very carefully about the ways that their commitment to “order” (when order means a total lack of protest or social critique) makes the path toward real justice much more difficult.”

Challenge 11 | David Kyuman Kim, Professor

Ask someone whose views you don’t understand or with whom you’ve been in conflict: What do you need?

“We have a responsibility to draw our attention to co-workers, to community members and ask a simple question – ‘how are you doing? And then listen, really listen, as if you don’t already know the answer.”

Challenge 12 | Mari Copeny, Grade School Student, Campaign Organizer, and activist known as Little Miss Flint

Use your voice to help someone who can’t speak for themselves. 

“Everyone has a platform. Anyone can change the world no matter how small you are.”

Challenge 13 | Charles Best, CEO Donors Choose

Open your calendar to underrepresented people first. 

“Make room in your calendar for someone who doesn’t have the kind of network that allows them to access the advice they need.”

Challenge 14 | Harold O’Neal is a Pianist, Composer, Breakdancer

There is a story in your past that you think defines you. It doesn’t. Today, let it go.

“Just because it’s the story of my past, it doesn’t mean that it defines me.”

Challenge 15 | Saadia Muzaffar, CEO and Founder of TechGirls Canada

Your social capital is valuable. Commit to investing it with as much rigour and intention as you would invest your monetary capital.

“First, set aside time and prioritize diversity. Put a slot in your calendar and create a way for people who need help to reach you. (I have public Office Hours, for example.) Next, set clear goals for the return on your investment. You wouldn’t put your money in a fund and just hope for the best, so set clear goals. And finally, follow through and follow-up. The beauty of social capital investing is that you are able to bring poignancy, urgency, and focus to something or someone who may not have received the attention without your push.”

– By The Philanthropic Collection –


The Philanthropic Collection™ is a boutique social enterprise,
where we tailor haute-couture brands for philanthropy.


Our appliqué is made up of global leaders, influencers and forecasters,
all creating conscious capital for humanity.