Understanding social identities and intersectionality

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We recommend you have taken Beyond DEI basics first


In this facilitated DEI workshop, you will have an opportunity to uncover specific dimensions of diversity that may have been overlooked in your DEI work to date that have an impact on decision making, trust building, and how you might navigate different environments.  Additionally, you will explore the intersection of multiple social identities that add to the complexity to how we understand workplace experiences.

Why Social Identity AND Intersectionality? 

Building awareness around our social identities help determine pin-pointed ways we can form more psychologically safe spaces for people to feel included and valued that extend beyond the surface level acknowledgements of bias and inequity in the workplace to reveal exactly how and where we might let our bias seep into our organizations. 

We all have multiple social identities that shape how we navigate our environments, which is why we will also spend time exploring the topic of intersectionality. Intersectionality, a term coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, is a framework for understanding different people’s varying experiences in the world. Intersectionality is not about adding one aspect of identity to another. It is about how people with overlapping identities experience systems of power.

It is important to consider intersectionality in the workplace because our various identities impact our daily lives, affecting how we perceive the world and how the world perceives us. When we look at how our identities intersect, we see the unique lived experiences—of ourselves and others—through the lens of privilege, oppression, power, and marginalization. Who has power? Who gets the benefit of the doubt? Who doesn’t? Who is automatically included in groups? Who isn’t? How do you “show up” to other people? What do you do to control how others perceive you? What parts of your identity help you fit in? What parts of your identity make you stand out? The answers to all these questions are rooted in intersectionality.

During this workshop, we will:

  • Increase awareness of own social identity and how individual identities impact decision making
  • Identify ways to adopt an intersectional approach in the workplace

After the workshop, you will:

  • Identify one focus area within their organization to apply their learnings
  • Design your own Social Identity Map (which each participant would create during one of the activities in the session)
Without Exception


Without Exception

Dennis is the chief executive officer of Without Exception, a company he founded to help organizations build, develop, and fine-tune their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy by leveraging systems thinking to deconstruct these complex topics into concrete actions that facilitate immediate and sustainable change. Without Exception partners with organizations to help them identify starting points that promote greater equity and belonging for all employees.

Dennis has over 20 years of experience in the higher education and nonprofit sectors, holding a variety of strategic leadership roles in that time. Beginning his professional career as a registrar for a small law school in Southern California, Dennis went on hold senior leadership positions in accreditation and licensing, institutional effectiveness, admissions, and institutional research. In his most recent role as Director of Research for Math for America in New York, Dennis designed and implemented a large-scale research agenda measuring programmatic impacts on educators across all five New York City boroughs. Dennis has also developed and taught graduate leadership courses and is an expert in Systems Thinking and qualitative research methodology.

Dennis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University ofCalifornia, Irvine, his MBA from Everest University, and his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dennis also holds a certification in online teaching pedagogy as well as certifications in a variety of assessments and experiential learning programs.

Dennis is a member of the Academy of Management, the Association for Institutional Research, and the American Educational Research Association. He is also an Advisory Council Member for the Conscious Leadership and Team Management Certificate Program at the University of Chicago Graham School ofProfessional Development Programs.

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Feb 17, 2022
10:00 am
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