A Personal Passion for Inclusion in the Workplace
Dr. Shirley Davis, President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc.
Small in stature, but big on impact, Dr. Shirley Davis, President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc., joined MRA for the 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Conference and shared a powerful message to inspire attendees to become inclusive leaders. With 30 years of experience as a global thought leader on diversity and inclusion, Dr. Davis spoke to the crowd of more than 300 HR and business leaders on what it takes to be a successful inclusive leader. Davis advocates that inclusive leaders help create inclusive work environments that produce high-performing workforces.
For Dr. Davis, her work is very personal. Not only was she hearing stories of people who didn’t feel they were being treated fairly or getting what they deserved, she was seeing it, as well as feeling it firsthand. Becoming a mother was the real catalyst. Dr. Davis wanted to create a better world for her daughter. It became a mission, her passion and purpose. Dr. Davis felt she needed to help change people’s perceptions as she did not want her daughter to experience the same treatment. She wanted to leave a legacy and have her daughter see her mom making a difference in the world. Over the years, she has seen change happen and that is rewarding.
Dr. Davis’ commitment to this effort is evident in her accomplishments as a corporate executive with Fortune 100 companies, a global workforce management expert, a certified leadership coach, and a master of reinvention. She works with leaders at all levels and has worked in more than 30 countries on five continents and delivers more than 80 speeches a year.
In addition, Dr. Davis has authored two best-selling books, “Reinvent Yourself: Strategies for Achieving Success in Every Area of Your Life,” and “The Seat: How to Get Invited to the Table When You’re Over-Performing and Undervalued.” In her most recent book, “The Seat,” Davis shares strategies of not only things organizations should do, but also things employees need to do individually. In her book, she is looking to empower employees to be prepared and be ready to sit at the table.
“Just getting invited to the table is not enough though,” said Davis. “Once at the table, we need to have a voice, speak up and provide value. We need to ‘represent!’ It’s not just about getting a seat, but, adding value when we get there.”
Davis mentioned that there are so many out there overperforming and being undervalued. She works with organizations to help them see the need for change, and to help those who are underrepresented be seen.
Getting noticed is certainly an area Dr. Davis has overcome. She shares her personal experience of being discriminated against and being made to feel less than those around her simply because she was a woman, a single mom, and a person of color. Proving herself is something she also has overcome in the corporate world. In fact, she even got her PhD to prove her value. As Dr. Davis puts it, “I’ve got to do my part, and in turn, organizations need to do their part and provide the opportunities,” said Davis.
Her goal is to level the playing field, overcome the biases, and bring inclusion into the workplace. “Better workplaces, better communities … all contribute to a better society and being more inclusive,” Davis said. “With all the gifts and talents people bring to the table today, we should not be talking about this in 2019 still. But we are!”
And Davis will continue to talk about this topic, make presentations, share her expertise, coach leaders to be more inclusive, offer training sessions and courses online, write books and more to overcome the biases and help develop many more inclusive leaders.
“The world is going to continue to change, and if we want to make a real difference, we need to change mindsets, change attitudes, and our own behaviors. Inclusion starts with ‘I’,” added Davis.
For more information or to order one of Dr. Davis books, go to: https://drshirleydavis.com/