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Dec 15, 2020

How often have you heard the phrase ‘I know that’s what I said, but that’s not what I meant’? In the well-meaning world of corporate business-speak perhaps some of the language we fall back on is not that helpful to the many different groups in the diverse supply chain. Are you from a ‘disadvantaged’ background or are you from an ‘underrepresented’ background? The words in context might mean very similar things but to the ears of the person, they are describing they can sound very different.

Today we want to talk about communication in the diverse supply space and how the choice of the words you use can either be empowering or reductive. We discuss how phrases traditionally used to address underrepresented backgrounds can actually obstruct communicating with them. We explore the pitfalls and risks associated with certain words and how using effective thoughtful language will break down the barriers diverse communities strain against. We also look at corporate ‘safe speak’ which while full of good intentions can be open to vulnerable misunderstanding and leave minority groups feeling less understood by their associates.

“You're about to learn a whole new language” – Adam Moore

“To have a meaningful conversation we have to understand the language” – Adam Moore

‘Supplier diversity practice means to me that it's something that's ongoing and it's always developing and that you’ve got people committed to this practice” Cloe Guidry-Reed

“When you look at next-generation entrepreneurs and when we think about who we want to be, we should be using words that are more empowering” – Cloe Guidry-Reed

“Changing some of your language as organizations and as corporations would really help you attract some of these next-generation entrepreneurs” – Cloe Guidry-Reed 

This week on Breaking Barriers:

  • Why supplier diversity requires a whole new language
  • Why supplier diversity is a practice, not a program
  • How self-identity plays a huge role in supply diverse communication
  • Why we have to be intentional with our language when reaching out to diverse groups
  • How corporations have mitigated risk in business language, leading to well-meaning but ‘cloudy’ communication
  • How understanding diverse cultures leads to clearer conversations
  • Why we need to understand how new business owners identify themselves

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With thanks to
University of Georgia Supply Chain Advisory Board

In addition to ensuring the UGA’s supply chain curriculum meets employer’s needs, the board also connects employers with highly qualified students and joins corporate board members like Johnson and Johnson, Home Depot, and Chick-Fil-A to discover and hire tomorrows supply chain innovators today. 

To learn more go to click on Alumni and find the Supply Chain Advisory Board there!


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