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195: Fighting Racism in the Workplace with Dr. Ella Washington, CEO of Ellavate Solutions

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Ella Washington - bio-pic

The President of the American Psychological Association recently stated, “we are living in a racism pandemic, which is taking a heavy psychological toll on our African American citizens.” Our colleagues, friends, and the people who have been on the receiving end of our wellbeing efforts, have been facing racism for years. Until now, White Americans (me included) have been unaware of the racism that continues to run deep in our country.

Let’s change that. Today’s conversation is the first of a series of conversations about race and how it shows up in the workplace. As today’s guest, Dr. Ella Washington, points out “there is no neutrality when it comes to racism.”

Dr. Ella Washington is an organizational psychologist who finds inspiration through the intersection of business, diversity and leadership. Her research examines conditions of workplace cultures that best support inclusion, diversity and equity while also contributing to employee’s individual development.

As a member of the management faculty at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Dr. Washington prides herself on helping to develop and equip tomorrow’s business leaders with skills to be high-performing inclusive managers.

In this interview, Dr. Washington gives her perspective on racism, how racism shows up in the workplace and challenges Black American face. She walks us through some missteps we should avoid when addressing race and educates me on strategic colorblindness. Dr. Washington leaves us with steps organizations can take to combat racism and books for us to read.

This episode is sponsored by University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management, offering online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in wellness management. You can visit hwm.wisconsin.edu for more information. 

Graduates of the program have launched successful wellness careers with healthcare systems, wellness program vendors, community agencies, insurance providers, even the military. Here are some really cool things about UW Health and Wellness Management :

  • Courses are designed and taught by distinguished faculty from the University of Wisconsin, many of whom actively work in the field.
  • UW Health and Wellness Management is also supported by an advisory board, industry experts from corporations such as Children’s Wisconsin, Willis Towers Watson, and the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, who offer advice on changing trends in health and wellness so that students are learning the most up-to-date methods.
  • Students often say the flexible, online format is a big factor in their ability to earn a degree. (Our recent situation is an indication of the advantages of online learning.) Although the program is online, you’ll make strong connections with peers and faculty, just as you would on campus.

UW Health and Wellness Management bachelor’s and master’s degrees provide the skills you need to manage comprehensive employee well-being programs that foster healthier lifestyles and promote the value of staying well. 

Turn your passion for wellness into a healthy career with University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management. Visit hwm.wisconsin.edu or contact an enrollment adviser by phone, 1-877-895-3276.

Interview Highlights (with timestamps):
  • [7:27] Dr. Washington’s perspective as a Black American
  • [11:40] Ways racism shows up in the workplace
  • [20:37] Challenges faced by people of color
  • [24:10] The missteps we should avoid
  • [28:25] Strategic colorblindness
  • [35:30] What organizations can do to fight racism
  • [39:30] Dr. Washington’s advice for us
  • [42:25] Recommended books
Mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio:

Dr. Ella Washington is an organizational psychologist who finds inspiration through the intersection of business, diversity and leadership. Her research examines conditions of workplace cultures that best support inclusion, diversity and equity while also contributing to employee’s individual development. As a member of the management faculty at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Dr. Washington prides herself on helping to develop and equip tomorrow’s business leaders with skills to be high-performing inclusive managers. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Washington lead the global Diversity and Inclusion consulting practice at Gallup and was a talent management consultant at Ernst & Young.

Dr. Washington is committed to connecting her academic research to touch the lives of organizational leaders. As a double certified International Coaching Federation and Gallup certified strengths coach, her passion for coaching, facilitating and public speaking is unmatched. She has worked one-on-one with leaders and teams at the executive and mid-levels to develop tactical skills to enhance their organizations.

Growing up in Durham, North Carolina with a tight-knit family gave Dr. Ella Washington her roots. She proudly attended Spelman College, a historically Black women’s institution in Atlanta which led to her passion for maximizing the success of women and minorities. After earning her PhD at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, she moved to Washington, DC where she currently resides. Dr. Washington enjoys being active in her church, giving back to her local community, traveling the world and staying closely connected with loved ones.

Connect with her:

Email: ella@ellavatesolutions.com

Website: ellavatesolutions.com

Instagram: @ellavate_solutions

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/ella-washington

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