Mason School Launches “Diversity Goes To Work” Podcast

The 11-episode season seeks to do a deep dive into our common humanity in an effort to improve the quality and outcomes of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Diversity Goes To Work series artIn September, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business launched the “Diversity Goes To Work” podcast. The bi-weekly podcast takes a refreshing approach to diversity and inclusion work, featuring guests from all walks of life – from internationally acclaimed experts to everyday lay people – and is the newest initiative to debut as part of the business school’s expansive Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) efforts.

The 11-episode series will release new content bi-weekly throughout the fall and is hosted by Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Communications Phillip Wagner.

“We are all systems a blazing with our focus on D&I work at the Mason School. However, this topical space can be really loaded and tough to enter into,” Wagner said. “Our students were looking for more content on D&I and what I really like about the podcast is that you can listen to it anywhere. The format gives us the ability to cast a wide net and bring in some heavy-hitters to talk about everything from D&I consulting to size diversity to ability and disability to race and trauma and beyond. We’re exploring topics of interest and things we want to know more about to take us one-level deeper into understanding why this work is so important.”

Wagner joined the William & Mary faculty in 2020 from University of South Florida where his teaching focused on professional, interpersonal, and intercultural communication. He also led focused D&I initiatives university-wide at USF. Though he’s taught podcasting in the past, this is his first foray into the medium as the voice behind the microphone.

“The number one goal of this podcast is to destigmatize diversity and inclusion work. People often hastily categorize D&I as a segment of HR—and it is in some spaces. But the truth of the matter is in 2021 and beyond, there is no corner of the world of work where you can go where there is not an expectation that you will engage with this content in some authentic way,” Wagner explained. “That is only going to grow. We know the public is hungry for it. We know that C-suite executives recognize its importance. Our goal is to prepare our students to have the vocabulary and knowledge to go out and be the leaders that meet that felt need.”

Episode 1 featured William & Mary alumnus Amandeep Sidhu ’00 who is an Equity Partner at Winston and Strawn, and co-founded the Sikh Coalition which is the largest civil and human rights nonprofit organization in the United States. Sidhu joined Wagner for a conversation about his Sikh faith, growing up in America as a Sikh, breaking barriers as a turban wearing professional, and how life dramatically changed after 9/11.

Episode 2 welcomed William & Mary’s former rector and current member of the Board of Visitors, Jeff Trammell for a conversation focused on Trammell’s journey in business, politics, and education as well as his work in the LGBTQ+ community and the changing perceptions of inclusion.

Episode 3 invited Jennifer Brown, author of “How to Be an Inclusive Leader” to discuss what it means to be a D&I consultant, encountering apathy within the business space for D&I work, and what lived experience, if any, is necessary to do D&I work in a formal capacity.

Future guests for Season One of the podcast will include consultant Diane Goodman who talks about skepticism surrounding D&I work; Rita Sampson who is the Chief of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and Rebecca Poole, a leading researcher on size diversity.

Wagner says the podcast is designed to be storied and narrative in order to capture the perspectives of real people and educate listeners – from D&I advocates who have been in the industry for a long time to those who know absolutely nothing about the steps involved in diversity and inclusion – in an effort to destigmatize the work.

“D&I work is necessarily tedious; it can be exhausting because it’s iterative and it’s constantly evolving,” Wagner said. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it. But when we bring the attention back to the people that diversity and inclusion work is serving, it reminds us of our central purpose as we work in that domain, which is to bring it all back to the humanity that drives D&I. It also reveals that this is work for all of us. The podcast is an invitation for you to get involved because you can’t simply ignore it.”

Catch Season One of the “Diversity Goes to Work Podcast” on all major streaming platforms. Season Two will launch in January 2022.