June 18, 2015 

Necessary Competencies for a Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner in Today's World

Your Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Shirley Davis during a break at the 2015 LWHRA Symposium. She graciously shared some of her insights and experiences with us. Today we bring the second part of the four-part interview.

D&I:  Dr. Davis, you mentioned competencies that a D&I practitioner needs to have.  Could you tell me a little bit more about which competencies you see as necessary to D&I?

Dr. Davis: Well, SHRM national has done quite a bit of research as they were putting together the competency model, and they have defined nine competencies. One we know specifically is all about the technical skills and expertise we need to have as an HR professional.  So knowing the roles, the responsibilities, the day-to-day activities that we need to do, and the skill sets we have to have there --  meaning understanding recruiting, understanding onboarding, understanding talent management, understanding employee engagement and employee relations -- those are the technical skills.

As a D&I professional, I think it’s important to have a couple of other skills. Leadership is very key and critical; you have to have cultural competence, at least understand it. I’m not saying you have to know everything there is to know about different cultures and countries, because you never will, but you have to have an inquisitive mind and you have to have an open mindset to want to ask questions, to check yourself, and to want to understand differences. So, you have to have that level of inquisitiveness to be able to ask questions and to admit what you don’t know and to seek those kinds of questions and the answers to those questions.  
Also, you have to be a change agent. You have to be one that is willing to step in there  in the midst of change, even when change  isn’t  always embraced or doesn’t go well. You have to still be that voice of change: “That is why we are doing this. This is why it’s important, and this is how it’s going to benefit you, and here is the role you can play as we roll this change out.” Because this work we do in D&I really is a change management process. It’s about changing processes, changing policy, changing paradigms, changing mentalities, and changing behaviors. Change agent is a very important role we play.

I think we also play the role of consultant and that is a key competency. I think we have to not only be able to ask questions, be able to help lead people to the right answers, be able to get a seat at the table, but also to make offers to your clients and your key stakeholders in a way they see the benefit of how D&I integrates into the organization.  

There is [sic] the other skill sets too I think are important -- communication skills and the ability to sell and market.  We are all sellers. We all have to market and brand the company, the organization, and ourselves so that we are an employer of choice. We are a go-to organization for some of the diverse talent -- the top talent that we are trying to attract.  We are the ambassadors and the mouthpieces for the company on why our culture and our company is a great place to come and work at.  You’ve got to have the skill set of being a great salesperson. I think you also have to be a problem solver and you have to have tough skin.

Register now for the July Chapter Meeting and learn how to enhance your HR Career!

July 14 | 11:15 AM - 1 PM
Bellevue Club

The Intelligent (HR) Worker

Every HR professional wants to pursue their career at a great company.  You want to achieve personal success and, because you’ve selected HR as a career, you want to help your co-workers achieve the same.  Picking that great employer is often the biggest influence on your personal success and long-term career advancement, so how do you choose?  

This presentation will help you evaluate your current employer and prospective employers by applying two of the new SHRM Competencies: Business Acumen and Critical Evaluation. This program will provide you a simple three step model for applying these competencies to evaluate potential employers. By the end of the session you’ll have a simple framework you can apply to one of the most important decisions in your career: Where should I work?    

During this session you will learn:

  1. How to select a great employer using Business Acumen and Critical Evaluation competencies, the same tools investors use to pick great investments.
  2. How to apply these same competencies to evaluate your current employer and manage your career.
  3. How to evaluate potential threats to your employer and your career in Human Resources.

About our speaker: Rich Doherty has been providing strategic human resource solutions to Fortune 1000 companies for the past 15 years.  Over the past twenty-five years, Rich has held executive positions in a diverse array of industries.  His experience includes leading human resources for a global medical device company and leading several global training and development teams.  Rich’s years of experience as a general manager give him the ability to tie organizational development efforts to bottom line results and stakeholder value.  Rich is a frequent speaker at conferences on topics of strategy and human resource management. 

In other news

  • Have you considered board service? If you are interested in learning more, contact Tracy White, Nancy Kasmar, Tracy Sudman, or Tracy Sigmon. We would be delighted to talk with you about service to LWHRA, and to learn more about your interest in serving our chapter.
  • Membership Committee Chair Opening.
    If you are looking for a position that will utilize your leadership and process development/improvement skills, we would like to consider you for this critical role. Please contact Lindy Fowler.
  • Keep "HR Sizzling" and attend the 2015 Annual NHRMA Conference & Tradeshow.  The conference will be held in Portland, Oregon from October 5-7. For more information, please visit their website

In This Issue...

  1. Necessary Competencies
  2. July Chapter Meeting
  3. In other news

Our Mission

LWHRA is a "Super-Mega Chapter" of the Society for Human Resource Management. The Society for Human Resource Management is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management.

We provide educational, informational and networking opportunities to human resource professionals in the Puget Sound region. Our local programs, along with our affiliations with the Northwest Human Resource Management Association (NHRMA), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), provide our members with a wealth of resources.


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