I’ll never forget the day I learned about the impact unconscious bias has on behavior. It was 2012, and I was beginning my second year in a leadership position. My eyes were wide. On that day I also reflected on how systems of oppression are in the air that we breathe. It pained and confused me to learn about things I was never taught in school. The event was hosted by the National Equity Project, an organization I’ll always be grateful for.
On that day, in that conference room in Oakland, a lightbulb went off.
On that day, my perspective on leadership and cultural consciousness shifted forever.
On that day, I made a commitment to learn (and unlearn) as much as I possibly could—so I could be the best version of myself as a leader.
Thanks to my brilliant leadership coach at the time Mark Salinas (who I had the privilege of working with for years thereafter) I became conscious of the myriad invisible tensions and opportunities that were the embedded in fabric of my context. I saw layers and micro-layers of white privilege and cultural hegemony everywhere. Blindspots were illuminated everyday. And I learned a ton leading during my time at ECP.
And I’ll always have more to learn.
Since then, though, my commitment to learn & lead differently took off. I haven’t stopped learning and unlearning. I’ve read up on neuroscience and adaptive leadership, I’ve surrounded myself with people who push my thinking and hold up the mirror with love.
In 2016 I threw up an idea on Kickstarter for a product that would be a tool for counteracting unconscious bias (SPARK Community), and to my surprise we met our goal and were able to fund our first prototype.
A year later I created a leadership framework to help other leaders uncover their blindspots and lead with integrity. To say it’s an honor to host SPARK Leadership courses, to coach, and to lead this work everyday is an understatement.
When I look back and reflect on how far I’ve come since that day in 2012, I feel great pride, because I put in countless hours of hard work, energy, and I persevered when things got hard. I did all that because I have been committed to being the best leader I can possibly be.
As I’ve shared more of my story and lessons-learned in the SPARK Family, folks have asked for more resources and research on unconscious bias and emotional intelligence…SO I put something together that I’m excited to share.
I have limited seats available, so if you’d like a leadership-boost and want take your EI to the next level, check out my upcoming 3 week mini-course below.
Got questions? I’d be happy to chat more. Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Rosen, the founder of S.P.A.R.K. Community and S.P.A.R.K. Leadership, is on a mission to start a global conversation about inclusion, empathy, and racial equity. With a Masters from Stanford, and extensive training in leadership, coaching, team and organizational development, S.P.A.R.K. experiences are grounded in theory and practice–all in service of making the world a better place. With love. For justice.