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703 Foster Empathy, Reflection & Action in Your Equity Training

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM ET
Tuesday, November 8

Tracks: Practices

DEI training is often viewed as a box to check. Yet organizations seek behavior change where employees think, act, and communicate in ways that advance equity. This requires organizational commitment and prioritization, as well as a culture of continuous learning where employees at every level have opportunities to develop empathy, question themselves, reflect on their beliefs, and action plan. Designing these experiences requires shifts from status quo approaches to learning design and development and a willingness to face organizational challenges and to lean in to the uncomfortable.

The YMCA is a 175-year-old organization dedicated to strengthening community for all. With more than 800 associations across the US, there’s a Y in 10,000 communities. Its areas of impact include healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. But what does “for all” really mean? Like many other organizations, the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is exploring this question as it takes a deeper look at its history, operational practices, and organizational strategies—some of which historically have been designed with bias and support systemic racism. In this session, we will explore approaches and techniques that the YMCA of the USA is using to provide employees at every level continuous learning opportunities to advance equity. We’ll examine key shifts to learning design and delivery, such as:

  • A shift from creating “safe spaces” to creating “brave spaces” that help employees lean in to the uncomfortable
  • Moving from preparing trainers to skilling up facilitators who guide employees along learning journeys where there’s no one “right” answer
  • How to reduce reliance on formal learning and leverage the learning ecosystem, including social learning, coaching, and ongoing informal discussions
  • Evolving from trying to compel employees with stats and quantitative data to inspiring them with stories and opportunities to reflect

These shifts become particularly interesting and complex in the Y-USA federated organizational model, where 800 associations have autonomy to develop standards of practice with their own independent governing boards.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Tactics for partnering with the DEI team
  • Ways to leverage your internal strengths while partnering with external organizations to create learning experiences
  • Pitfalls to avoid as you create continuous learning opportunities to advance equity

Marissa Moore

Senior Manager, Learning Design & Development

YMCA of the USA

Marissa Moore is the senior manager of learning design and development for YMCA of the USA, YMCA’s national resource office. Marissa has a bachelor’s degree in human development from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in instructional design and technology from Trevecca Nazarene University. She began her career as a classroom teacher as part of the Teach For America corps. Her time in the classroom sparked her interest in instructional design and led her to be part of the implementation and onboarding teams at two education start-ups before transitioning to the YMCA.

Victor Rivera

Senior Manager, Strategic Priorities

YMCA of the USA

Victor Rivera is the senior manager, strategic priorities with the YMCA of the USA. As a member of the Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team, Victor focuses on creating strategies and opportunities for local Ys to improve their efforts and connection to communities with an aim of equity and a focus on using anti-racist practices to include those who are most marginalized. This work is important, as many of the systems the Y is working to address have a complex history tied to the race-based outcomes within the United States and around the world. 

Victor is energized by problems where others may be in dismay. The challenge of analyzing symptoms and identifying issues gives him the greatest push when working with individuals or organization. Whether the situation is complicated or unexpected, Victor embraces the confusion to develop new solutions.