Training and Skill Building

We understand the importance of meeting you where you are. Some organizations have implemented diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA) training programs in the past and are looking for a new approach. Others are just getting started for the first time. No matter the situation, SDI will provide pathways to help you reach your strategic goals. Our training services are useful both for individual change and organizational growth. The process can feel like an overwhelming undertaking, so we provide a range of skill building options to meet your specific needs.

Customized Learning Opportunities from DEIA Innovators

SDI offers five types of cutting edge, practically-focused educational opportunities that present a complex and nuanced understanding of all aspects of DEIA work. We work closely with you to create learning opportunities that match your unique needs and goals.

Customized Workshops

Engagement is the key ingredient that sets SDI workshops apart. SDI workshops do more than deliver content, they engage participants in relevant conversations. SDI helps you have the practically-focused conversations that challenge bias and create inclusion. From leadership to emotional intelligence, we offer an extensive catalogue of customizable DEIA workshops that help spark organizational transformations.

See our catalogue of workshop options below.

Facilitated Discussions

Whether leading a complex staff discussion, moderating a town hall forum with external stakeholders, or actively mediating interpersonal conflict, SDI offers versatile and context-driven facilitation. Our collaborative approach ensures your organization is able to have the important conversations. In difficult conversations, our leaders model empathy, accountability, and emotional intelligence. We are here to provide the latest, most important information, ensuring that the process is inclusive, the right voices are in the room, and all participants feel heard.

Keynotes and Presentations

We provide dynamic and experienced speakers for a range of DEIA topics and presentation formats. Whether you’re hosting a guest lecture, conference presentation, keynote speech, team retreat or podcast event, we partner with you to provide customized content for your audience.

Allyship Certificate Series

Open to both individual learners and teams, this series offers experiential workshops in a virtual cohort setting. The DEIA Allyship Certificate Series aims to build capacity across organizations and society through training and practical application. Participants will be exposed to a variety of topics related to DEIA and will be challenged to incorporate concepts into their personal and/or professional roles. This program is designed to transform interest into practical skills and tangible credentials.


If you’d like to deliver the curriculum of any of the Strategic Diversity Initiatives workshops within your organization, we can provide specific training that helps you deliver the information in an impactful, engaging way. These interactive sessions will prepare participants to facilitate dialogue around DEIA topics. Participants will gain skills in content-delivery, managing pushback, and holding space for learners with varying levels of DEIA knowledge and expertise, resulting in a transformative learning experience.

Workshops That Work for You

We offer a wide range of customized workshops that those in HR, C-suites, and/or DEIA committees can leverage to create an equitable and inclusive workplace culture. We work closely with you to customize our workshops to meet your specific organizational context and goals; for SDI, no two workshops are identical. Explore our existing catalogue, and reach out to start the conversation about co-creating your workshop/s.

Where are you on your journey?

All SDI workshops are designed to be accessible to learners at all levels, however the following tracks may be helpful in selecting the right content for your audience.

Foundational Skill-Building Workshops:

Beyond Diversity 101: Micro-inequities, Implicit Bias, and Moving toward Equity

Many of us have been involved with diversity training that focuses on cultural difference and respecting all perspectives. While this is a good start, we cannot move toward true equity in our workplaces, organizations, and personal relationships until we address historical and institutional inequality. In order to address the myriad ways that certain people are marginalized based on social identities such as race, gender, disability, religion, class, sexual orientation, etc., every one of us needs to understand our own identities, how we all demonstrate bias that is often unconscious, and how we are all capable of moving toward equity.

Conversational & Relational Intelligence: Building Teams through Connection
Research shows that the teams with the best outcomes are teams where authentic communication, deep respect, and psychological safety are the norm. But in our new post-pandemic workplace, where virtual and hybrid work are the norm, how do we build teams that value relational and communication skills as much as technical knowledge and efficiency? In this workshop, we offer models and exercises that build our conversational skills and develop our capacity to address and move through conflict. And we share best practices for developing high functioning, highly innovative work teams.
Creating an Inclusive Organization: Addressing Conflict and Building Authentic Dialogue
Many of us desire workplaces and organizations that are welcoming and inclusive and also free from conflict. But these two desires can be at odds. Creating truly equitable and inclusive spaces requires us to openly and authentically address conflict and not shy away from discussions that can be difficult, complex, and even scary. In this workshop, we address common challenges in talking openly about disability, religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, class, and other social identities and practice having authentic conversations around difficult topics.
Critical Connections: Applying Emotional Intelligence Principles and Skills in Our Work

Many organizations now recognize that the “soft skills” involved in working with an increasingly diverse workforce and larger community are, in fact, not soft at all. On the contrary, these skills are crucial to an organization’s success. In a society growing increasingly diverse, complex, and polarized, organizations depend on employees with well-developed emotional intelligence skills, allowing them to work effectively in multiple settings and across diverse identities. In this interactive workshop, we explore what emotional intelligence is, how it manifests in our workplace interactions, and how we can develop it in ourselves and within our teams.

DEIA Upstanders: Building Leadership Tools and Taking Action

With a foundational understanding of implicit bias, historical and institutionalized inequities, and how our own social identities impact our positionality in diverse environments, it is time to apply the practical tools that will shift our
allyship into action. Upstanders use Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and communication skills to interact, interpret, and navigate uncomfortable and potentially distressing situations where microaggressions and bullying take place. In this skill-building workshop, we practice applying the frameworks and best practices to proactively recognize bias, assess situations for safety risks, and interrupt marginalization in its tracks.

IDI®, DEIA, and Beyond: Moving from Intercultural Competence to Equity

In a continually diversifying society and workplace, intercultural competence is becoming more important for teams and individuals. This session is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the Intercultural Competence Inventory (IDI)® methodology, offer insight into a group’s intercultural competence profile, and challenge participants to apply an intersectionality and equity frame to this tool. As Qualified Administrators, we offer the IDI® assessment as a prerequisite for this workshop.

Leveraging the Business Impact of DEIA: How DEIA Impacts Teams, Products & Performance

Issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) impact all areas of the organization and require strategic decision-making around challenges and opportunities, like how biases affect hiring & promotion, employee engagement and retention, conflict and crisis management, fiscal planning, and stakeholder value perspective, among others. And research is showing that organizations that operationalize their DEIA commitments are more innovative and more competitive in a rapidly evolving market driven by a generation of employees and consumers who hold DEIA as a top value. In this interactive workshop, we create the space leaders need to explore how DEIA impacts their teams and products, as well as implications for organizational performance, and practical solutions for development as an industry frontrunner in DEIA.

Universal Design in Mind: Inclusive Program Development and Communication

Workplaces and organizations want their services and programs to be high quality, accessible, and inclusive. Yet we often unintentionally design in ways that create barriers, promote exclusion, and lessen quality. Universal design principles and practices can be used to design our programs and services – and communicate about those programs and services – in ways that help us achieve our goals.

Special Topics Workshops:

Addressing Disability & Creating Access: Toward Disability Justice

Many organizations are relatively new to understanding “disability” as an equity and diversity issue. But people with disabilities often face physical, programmatic, informational, and, especially, attitudinal barriers that limit their opportunities and access. In this workshop, we address the specific stereotypes and myths that surround disability and explore what it means to act as an ally in various contexts, thus increasing access for all.

Advancing Racial Equity: History, Context, Privilege

Racial equity efforts are gaining momentum across many aspects of society, including in corporate, governmental, non-profit, educational, and faith community settings. Undertaking substantive and effective change around institutional and personal racism requires an understanding of the history and context of race in the U. S. This workshop provides the history and context necessary for recognizing white privilege, challenging racism, and advancing racial equity.

Behind the Letters: Understanding LGBTQIA+ Identities

Diversity and inclusion efforts are increasingly addressing issues of gender identity and sexual orientation, requiring education around lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual identities and communities. In this workshop, we create opportunities to learn about the similarities and differences between these identities, how LGBTQIA individuals and communities are affected by stereotypes and bias, and what it means to be an ally around gender identity and sexual orientation.

Hierarchies All Around: Class, Socioeconomic Status (SES), and Rank

Our society and its institutions often mask the hierarchies that affect our lives. Whether based on social class, title/rank, access to financial resources, and/or education level, where you land in these hierarchies can have a profound impact on your opportunities, level of respect, and material conditions. This workshop helps organizations and institutions understand how social class and socioeconomic status can affect their clients, members, patients, students, and employees – and how they can work against unnecessary hierarchies, allowing them to function both more equitably and more effectively.

Reimagining Aging and the Experiences of Older Individuals Using a DEIA Lens

In a society that often values youth and appearance over lived experience and wisdom, our understanding of aging and older people is often fraught with hurtful and inaccurate stereotypes and misinformation.  In this workshop, we use an intersectional and DEIA lens to center the voices and experiences of those who are older, addressing the experience of older adults in the workplace, in our families, and in all other parts of society.  With an interactive focus, we address what we’ve been taught, how stereotypes have affected us, and how we can show up as allies in addressing ageism.

Religion, Spirituality, & Meaning-making in a Public Context

Religion and spirituality have played an important role in the shaping of modern U.S. society, and many Americans consider religion and spirituality to be important parts of their identities. But because our Constitution guarantees both freedom of religious expression and freedom from state-sponsored religion, in public contexts we often fall on the side of not talking about religion and spirituality at all. In this workshop, we address the history and context of religion and spirituality in the U.S., how these social identities relate to diversity and inclusion work, and how it is possible – and necessary – to talk openly about religious and spiritual identities and even differences – if we are to create an inclusive and affirming workplace.

Still Work to Do: Women, Sexism, and Gender Equity

It is a common misconception that women have won full equality in the workplace and in the home. But data suggest otherwise. A persistent pay gap exists between men and women and grows even wider for women of color and Native women. Domestic and sexual violence continue to be deeply-rooted social problems disproportionately affecting women. And the “second shift” of caring for family members and the home continues to fall primarily on women. In this workshop, we address these challenges and offer strategies for achieving true gender equity.

Strength-based Approach: Centering Community Agency in Nonprofit Work

Even with the best of intentions to impact positive change, nonprofit organizations often fail to recognize the ways in which our biases prevent us from acting as allies to the communities we serve. If we only see the problems and deficiencies within communities, we perpetuate constructs like saviorism, classism, and racism, while hindering our ability to partner and promote equity and wellbeing. In addition to assessing and meeting needs, educational and economic equity requires us to highlight and value the skills, knowledge, and stories of the community. In this workshop, we address the shortcomings of a ‘deficit approach,’ explore allyship through strength-based storytelling, communication, and programming and discuss how to center community agency in our nonprofit work.

Taking Up Space: The Roots and Implications of Sizeism

In a culture trained by centuries of sexism and racism to objectify women’s bodies, to privilege thinness, and to condemn fatness, the importance of celebrating and respecting fat bodies can be difficult for some to grasp. Social systems of sizeism and ableism deny fat bodies equal worth, access, and value. Outdated practices in the healthcare industry invalidate personal autonomy, pathologize, and endanger big bodies. Anti-fat bias in hiring and recruiting can mean missing out on talented candidates who we assume to lack individual willpower or discipline simply because of their size. In this workshop, we explore sizeism and ableism through the intersectional lens of sexism, racism, and classism. We discuss the implications of anti-fat bias in the workplace and learn to create inclusive spaces for bodies of all sizes.

The Method Matters: Using Storytelling to Create Authentic Community Engagement

Organizations need to authentically engage their constituents and stakeholders, but sometimes our very method of engaging can get in the way.  In this workshop, we examine how our organization’s assumptions and biases can impede our work in – and with – communities.  And we explore the work being done, from community organizations to healthcare to corporations, with storytelling as a method for authentic connection across communities and across difference.

Understanding our Work: Institutional Advocacy vs. Community Activism

Many of us working in higher education are here because we want to create opportunities and inclusion for our students. And many of us share a passion, with our students, for creating a more equitable and inclusive society. But, as staff, we also represent our institution, and when student activism conflicts with institutional decisions, we may feel caught in the middle – wanting to support our students and their activism while also recognizing our unit, department, college/university may be the target of their activism. In this interactive workshop, we address how we can build authentic relationships with our students while also fulfilling the expectations of our institutional role. With a focus on agency, accountability, and emotional intelligence, we will explore what it means to lead from a social justice lens, navigating our competing demands with integrity and openness.

Leadership Workshops:

Beyond Awareness: How Leaders Can Move their DEIA Efforts Forward in Strategic, Sustainable Ways

All too often, our DEI efforts start off with energy and excitement, only to get bogged down in too many initiatives, not enough support, and leader burnout. Part of the problem is that we don’t approach our diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA) work with the same strategic focus we use for areas of our organization like technology, operations, and communications. Add to this that much DEIA work is divided among staff with other primary responsibilities, and we end up making little progress toward our DEIA goals. In this interactive workshop, participants learn best practices for using a strategic, sustainable approach to DEIA work and identify concrete next steps they can take to help their organization move its DEIA efforts forward.

DEIA for Managers and Supervisors

Supervisors and managers play a critical role in reinforcing an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA). And that role may involve particular challenges and opportunities, including how DEI affects hiring & promotion, performance reviews and improvement plans, managing conflict, addressing bias, engaging employees, and offering professional development, among others. In this interactive workshop, we create the space managers and supervisors need to explore how DEIA impacts them, offering practical solutions for continued development as a leader on DEIA.

Ethical Leadership: Leading in Challenging Times

Too often we assume that leaders are, by definition, ethical.  We need only look to the latest headline to know this is not the case.  Ethical leadership – where leaders understand the obligations and limits of their role; respect and reinforce boundaries; hold themselves to the highest of moral standards; treat everyone they encounter with respect, and appreciate they are role models in everything they do and every space they inhabit – must never be assumed nor overlooked.  In this workshop, we explore what ethical leadership is, how it can be developed in both informal and formal leaders, and what it offers to every member of an organization.

Inclusive Hiring and Onboarding: Addressing Bias and Creating Equitable Practices

We know that historically marginalized candidates, such as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals, women, disabled persons, the LGBTQIA community, neurodivergent individuals, veterans, and many more, can experience barriers to entering and thriving in the workplace. Although distinct, these groups share common barriers to accessing social, economic, and environmental resources necessary to achieve sustainable employment. Research shows that intentionally creating opportunities for marginalized individuals can benefit organizations in multiple ways. An equitable recruiting, hiring, and onboarding experience is important to creating an inclusive company culture, as well as to increasing employee retention, and attracting new talent. In this workshop, we explore ways to address biases in the hiring process and discuss implementing inclusive and equitable practices for attracting, hiring, and retaining diverse talent.

Leading on Equity: How Leaders Take Risks, Model Inclusion and Share Vision
Workplaces and organizations wanting to move toward equity and inclusion must encourage leadership at every level. However, it can be challenging to develop leaders and leadership in today’s polarized social climate and with so many demands on people’s time. In this workshop, we explore how we can move from the hierarchical view of leadership, involving power, position, and authority, to a framework of everyday leadership where we can all lead on equity and inclusion in ways that reflect our identities, abilities, and capacity.
Moving from Allyship to Leadership: Agency, Accountability, Emotional Intelligence

As organizations continue to build practical knowledge around addressing microaggressions, minimizing implicit bias, and developing allies, it won’t be enough to just create as many allies and champions as possible. Changing entrenched, biased systems and practices requires leadership at every level of an organization. And leadership around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will require more than management skills. As DEI leaders (whatever our organizational role may be), we will be required to build agency for social change among our colleagues and model how to hold ourselves – and others – accountable. This can feel challenging when we are among friends, but even more daunting in a work setting. Using a frame of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), we identify how we’re already showing up as allies – and how we can develop as relational and brave DEI leaders. With an interactive focus, participants will practice having the challenging – and necessary – conversations that mark DEI work.

Resource is a Verb: How Human Resources/People and Culture Leaders Activate DEIA

All workplaces are subject to the societal systems of positionality, power, and privilege to some degree. Human Resources can serve to interrupt these systems as the primary facilitator of employee development and wellbeing. However, even the most well-intended HR practices can inherently exhibit biases that often perpetuate these inequities. Examples such as resume-whitening and code-switching, as well as organizational policies around dress code and time and attendance, indicate wide-spread expectations for employee adherence to euro-centric standards of professionalism. Meanwhile, our rapidly diversifying workforce demands actionable plans for equitable HR strategies that create an inclusive organizational culture and drive operational excellence. This session provides HR/People and Culture practitioners with the necessary context, tools, and skills to operationalize equity, inclusion, and access into the workplace. Learning outcomes equip participants with transformational HR strategies around recruiting and hiring; employee engagement, performance, and development; culture transformation; and change management.

Understanding and Challenging Implicit Bias in Decision-Making

Scholars and researchers continue to demonstrate that we all carry implicit bias involving social identities like race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, and religion, among others.  This unconscious bias can work against an organization’s stated diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals, affecting everything from hiring and promotion decisions to how staff work with clients, students, the larger community, and each other.  This workshop addresses what we’ve learned, and how we can use this knowledge to challenge implicit bias in all our decisions.

Start the Conversation

We’re excited to help tailor a unique training and skill building path forward that makes sense for your organization. We take a collaborative and agile approach to training, so please reach out with questions, ideas, and customizations.