We live in times that are changing rapidly. This rate of change, and the fact that La Crosse is home to many diverse people, creates the imperative for intercultural competencies in the workplace. Join us for a presentation on intercultural communication by Ayesha Patniak, of the UWL Communication Studies Department.
The presentation will explore questions such as:
- What is culture?
- What intercultural communication experiences have we had – both online and face-to-face?
- How have we responded… with amusement, curiosity, interest, hostility, anger fear?
Ms. Patniak will help us understand how we often use our own cultural frameworks to make sense of the world, and how these assumptions can lead to misunderstanding.
The study of Intercultural communication is both an art and a science. We can develop greater intercultural competencies by becoming self-aware, sensitive and flexible to change. This heightened sensibility is critical in reducing conflict, fostering a more positive workplace environment, and leading ultimately to higher employee productivity, satisfaction and retention.
Ayesha Patniak teaches in the Communication Studies department at UW-L. A native of India, she has lived in the United States for the past 25 years. She did my Masters in CommunicationArts from the University of Cincinnati, and has taught at UW-L since 1999. Ayesha’s passion is international education; she has taken students to India and Ireland on study abroad trips and is currently planning a faculty led trip to India in 2019. Ayesha says, “As a transplant, with one foot in each culture, I remain in love with my country of adoption, but yearn and return frequently to my country of origin.”
- Create teams and procedures to provide for reporting and proactive responses to hate-bias incidents
- Work on increasing the safety of groups that have been targeted by hostile language and actions
- Review workplace policies regarding inclusion
- Increase intentionality around mentoring, formal and informal
- Take the Harvard Implicit Bias test and share
- Reduce gender-binary language; create opportunities for inclusive language on signs, in bathroom availability, and in educational materials
- Plan for regular dialogue about diversity
- Create a daily/weekly space for staff to talk about justice issues
- Work on ourselves: continue education and expansion of social networks in our personal lives.
- Civic and Advocacy Organizations and Initiatives
- Accessing City and Regional Government
- Faith Communities
- Businesses and Services
Andrea began her time at UW-L in Continuing Education and Extension (CEE) where she was awarded a grant from UW-Extensin to address workforce diversity and inclusion. Through this grant, Andrea formed an advisory group which designed a series of community workshops, highlighting the need to to support workplace diversity initiatives and lift up the strengths and assets of the area’s changing demographics. The advisory group did not want to disband after the grants ended and, with lead sponsors and memberships, the Diversity Council was born.
Andrea feels fortunate to find a niche at UW-La Crosse that allows her to engage in community education and change work within an academic setting. SSP, CEE, and the the work of creating the Diversity Council reflect UW-L’s commitment to the “Wisconsin Idea,” the idea that the university should be active in solving problems that affect the quality of life of citizens of the state.
Like many of the other board members of GLADC, Andrea is active in numerous community initiatives, including the AAUW-La Crosse Branch and WINGS program for community women interested in going to college; helping to establish and provide leadership for Lugar de Reuion, an area resource for Spanish-speaking residents; working to raise awareness of issues related to aging, family caregiving, and the long term care workforce; and designing a ACT Prep Program for Hmong students that included family sessions and support. In 2011, Andrea received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Leadership Award in for promotion diversity and justice through education and advocacy. In 2014, she was recognized by the YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women program in the activist category.
After 10 years of helping launch and develop GLADC, Andrea continues to devote significant time to the Council, currently serving as our Treasurer. Andrea says she values how the Council has grown and transformed over the years. She reflected on the contributions each leader on the Board, and the past and current Executive Directors have made to increase the awareness and capacity of the Council. Positive energy for change comes from each member organization and individuals embracing the mission and vision of diversity, inclusion and equity.
Andrea hopes the Council will continue to build and grow. The increased level of total organizational buy-in is one aspect needed to increase our region’s ability to attract and retain a more diverse workforce. Andrea believes that workplaces can be great agents of change that have a positive impact on the wider communit. It is her hope that organizations and employers will embrace the values and practices that build open, inclusive, and equitable workplaces and lead to more just, creative, and healthy communities.
- Recruiting a diverse workforce
- The value of diversity to service organizations
- Combating hate and bias
- Effective sexual harassment prevention and response
- Creating an inclusive workplace or school for transgender, non-binary, and queer employees/students
- The macro effect of microagressions
- Multiracial identities in the workplace
- The language of inclusion
- Cultural competency
- Developing a positive school climate
Join us to learn from a broad array of expert speakers who will share best practices for: addressing hate and bias incidents, learning to be positive and proactive mentors and allies, developing and supporting inclusive leadership, and creating an LGBTQA-Friendly workplace.
GLADC members receive a discounted registration fee.
Discounted registration fees are also available for students.
Ann Wales serves as President of GLADC’s Board of Directors. She brings a passion for the work, and a continual willingness to learn and to share, along with years of experience in Human Resources. Ann is a remarkable servant leader for the Council, regularly volunteering her time to take on organizational tasks, consistently listening to ideas, adding her own thoughtful perspectives, and bringing good humor and a willingness to roll up her sleeves to keep advancing the mission of the Council.
Since the Council’s founding in 2001, Ann has had some level of involvement and represents Gundersen Health System on the Council. She says that what she’s learned from the people on the Council and the presenters has been “life-changing,” and she is “honored to be part of it and so grateful that Gundersen supports my involvement.”
Ann is driven to be involved in the Council not only because it connects to her work in Human Resources at Gundersen, but also because of her faith: “Social justice is a big part of my faith,” Ann says. “I desire to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly. Being a part of the Council has enabled me to do just that. The Council has provided an opportunity for me to hear stories, to listen, to learn, and to be challenged about my own privilege and bias. It has also provided me with an opportunity to be an advocate and to be a part of educating other people, encouraging and challenging them.”
The impact of the Council and Gundersen’s active participation are evident in many ways. GLADC’s “expertise and passion has helped shape the hiring and education and training we do here at Gundersen,” she says.
Ann is optimistic about the Council’s impact on the community as a whole, too. The Council, she says, has “built a lot of awareness and educated a lot of people on issues of diversity and inclusion. We are creating advocates and I think the work of the Council will be to create more advocates. We will need to provide them with the resources and the training they need to advocate for diversity/inclusion in their workplaces, organizations and communities.”
In addition to Ann’s service on the Council, you can find her around the community, serving on the La Crosse Jail Ministry Board, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee and the LASHRM (La Crosse Society for Human Resource Management) Event Planning Committee. She is also pursuing another master’s degree in hopes of one day becoming a chaplain. We are very grateful to have Ann’s leadership on the GLADC board!
We’re excited to introduce a new Diversity Council member benefit to our 2017 member organizations: the opportunity to link directly to your organization’s Career Opportunities page from our GLADC website. We’ve heard from many of you that you would like to recruit a more diverse workforce, and we hope this service can be helpful.
The new “Careers” tab on our website invites job seekers to start their search with employers that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity by supporting our Council.
Likewise, if you are a member of the Council, or would like to become one, we invite you to make your membership visible on your employment opportunity page, or elsewhere on your website. Let people know about your support for diversity and inclusion, in the workplace and in our community!
If you would like to become a member, have questions about this benefit, or would like a copy of our logo to include on your site (if you’re a member), contact Jodi Vandenberg-Daves at firstname.lastname@example.org.