Stacey Gordon knows how it feels to not belong, and she has spent her career helping many of the world’s greatest companies transform equity in the workforce.
Gordon, CEO of Los Angeles-based Rework Work – which aligns companies’ top talent with inclusive workplaces that help everyone realize their true potential at work – recently authored the book, “UNBIAS: Addressing Unconscious Bias At Work.”
“The thing you can’t ignore is that I’m Black and I’m a woman,” said Gordon, who was born in London, spent her teenage years in Brooklyn and now lives in California. “Everything I do is related to being black and a woman. … And my background has allowed me to have these important conversations.”
“UNBIAS: Addressing Unconscious Bias At Work” reveals the concepts of workplace diversity, equity and inclusion, and discusses how to identify bias with key tools for actively removing barriers and ensuring equity throughout organizations. The book is divided into four parts to help organizations weave DEI into their DNA: Awareness, Alignment, Action and Advocacy. As CEO of Rework Work, Gordon has partnered with some of the world’s top organizations, including GE, American Express, Expedia and Walmart.
“It’s really getting leaders to see that their way isn’t the only way and giving leaders as much information as possible,” Gordon said. “Many leaders are overbearing, and their expectations are ridiculously high without giving real support for people to reach those expectations. There’s so much ignorance and denial, and when things are brought to leaders’ attention, it becomes a truly educational experience.”
The book helps leaders and readers identify numerous keys to creating workplace cultures where employees feel they belong, including: discussing race in an authentic and meaningful way; helping employee resources groups without creating extra work; and placing accountability on organizational policies that allow biased behavior.
Gordon also is a Diversity, Inclusion and Career Strategy [IN]structor at LinkedIn. More than 1 million unique learners access her courses and that includes her unconscious bias course which is consistently in the top two of the most viewed across the entire LinkedIn Learning platform. Pepperdine University – from which Gordon has an MBA and is a professor in the Business School – recognized her as a Top 40 Over 40 Leader, and Forbes named her a Top 3 Business Leader Who Spoke Out About Diversity & Inclusion.
Gordon, the daughter of Guyanese immigrants, grew up in London through age 12 before moving to Brooklyn in her early twenties and eventually settling in Southern California. In Brooklyn, she looked like everyone else, but sounded different and didn’t understand the hip hop/rap culture. In her early teen years in New York City, Gordon said she would practice her speaking for hours in front of a mirror, eventually shedding her British accent for a more American one.
“Working on myself has allowed me to have a better communication style with others,” Gordon said. “And we can all have an impact. My communications style works for me and it’s very satisfying to have a rapport with these leaders because I can see them change and turn a negative situation into a positive one.”
Gordon’s favorite song is Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” – which begins with the lyrics: “I’m gonna make a change … For once in my life … It’s gonna feel real good … Gonna make a difference … Gonna make it right.” Gordon stressed she’s dedicated to those words and that mantra for most of her life.
Her new book is the next step in that process.
“My goal for the book is to impact as many people as possible,” she said.