Laura Morgan Roberts discusses how Black women can balance self-care, pressures to lead DEI efforts

November 22, 2021

POISED (Positive Organizational Inclusion Scholarship for Equity and Diversity)
Research Spotlight

Laura Morgan Roberts

Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Laura Morgan Roberts participates in the Harvard Business Review video discussion “Black Women on the Challenges and Opportunities of the Past 18 Months.”

Roberts joins Ellen Bailey, Vice President for Diversity and Culture at Harvard Business Publishing, and career coach Octavia Goredema to discuss how Black women can balance self-care with the pressures of helping to find solutions for racial injustice and inequality at their organizations.

“Some of the most unsettling aspects of the past 18 months were that we were really thrown into a frenzied state whereby the stakes were so high,” Roberts says. “On the one hand, I’m looking at folks on Instagram, and other places, talking about all the bread that they’re baking and what kinds of quarantine projects they’re doing. I’m like, ‘What’s going on.’ I’m in a can’t stop, won’t stop phase here. People in organizations, CEOs, boards of directors now wanted to have conversations about race and racism and spinning those off into other conversations about exclusion, injustice, belongingness, equity.”

Roberts encourages leaders to alleviate the pressures on Black women by addressing the root cause of their exhaustion, setting them up for success with tangible resources, valuing their contributions more fairly, and rewarding their contributions in DEI roles.

Roberts is a Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia. Her book, Race, Work and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience, was published by the Harvard Business Review Press.


POISED — Positive Organizational Inclusion Scholarship for Equity and Diversity — is a new microcommunity that investigates diversity, equity, and inclusion through the lens of Positive Organizational Scholarship — paying special attention to positive states, qualities, relationships, and processes (such as dynamics that contribute to human strength, resilience, and flourishing) in organizations to surface new insights.

POISED is tackling vital questions such as how underrepresented minorities develop the capacity to thrive in the workplace rather than being derailed by discrimination, how leaders and allies partner in DEI efforts to help underrepresented minorities thrive, and how organizations that have stumbled in their efforts to support DEI can learn, grow, and flourish from their experiences. All are invited to learn more and join.

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