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Motivational speaker and author Risha Grant, a renowned expert in the areas of diversity, inclusion and bias, will deliver the Friday morning keynote address during the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show on Jan. 22.
Her interactive session, “Get Rid of the BS (Bias Synapse),” will teach participants how to recognize and acknowledge their biases, while giving them easily applicable tools to move past those biases. Although diversity can be an uncomfortable topic, Grant’s approach helps attendees understand the concept without feeling judged.
Whether implicit or conscious, bias is the number one threat to humanity and any organization’s success, she says. She created the term “Bias Synapse” – or BS – as a way to explain our brain’s involvement in the processing and validation of bias.
“My edgy equity training facilitates honest, authentic conversations about unconscious bias, inclusive cultures and microaggressions,” she says on her website. “My goal is to lead my audience to a new place of respect, understanding, authenticity and inclusion.”
Grant will share her perspectives as a woman of color and truths about unconscious bias, microaggressions and other actions that perpetuate discrimination and inequality. She’ll also offer practical advice for finding respect, understanding and inclusion.
“Dancing around a topic is not my forte,” she says on her website. “I like to wade right into your BS (and mine) to explain how bias is a roadblock to acceptance and inclusion.”
She calls sexual harassment, racism and bias “the dire consequences of a dearth of diversity in the workforce.”
Grant’s presentation will give attendees:
• An understanding of diversity and inclusion
• A thorough awareness of their biases
• A realization of how their biases originated
• A recognition of the symptoms and results of bias
• Tools to address bias internally and externally
• Tips to navigate the “hot spots” of workplace diversity
She asks difficult but necessary questions, such as:
• How do we address the present social unrest and racial injustice, and what are some steps we can take now to promote inclusion?
• What are the next steps that we need to take as individuals to help to repair the rifts and move toward a society that’s both diverse and inclusive?
Motivated by her passion to recognize her own BS and correct societal “isms” – like racism, sexism, classism and “plain old stupidism” – Grant says her mission is to expose the value of diversity and inclusion while shining a light on the economic impact it creates.
Grant is the CEO and founder of Risha Grant LLC, an award-winning, full-service diversity communications, recruitment, training and consulting firm. She has nearly 20 years of experience working in “one of the reddest states in the nation,” Oklahoma, where she covers diversity, inclusion and bias as community correspondent and host of the “Risha Talks” series on KJRH in Tulsa. Through her Tulsa World column, “Risha Talks” and as a contributor to Black Enterprise magazine, she has motivated and educated numerous corporations, associations and universities. Her clients include the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and the University of Oklahoma.
In her book, “That’s BS! How Bias Synapse Disrupts Inclusive Cultures and the Power to Attract Diverse Markets,” and her corresponding “BS” video series, Grant has led audiences to new places of respect and understanding.
Grant earned degrees from Kansas State University (broadcast journalism) and Northern Oklahoma College (mass communications), both of which she attended on basketball scholarships.
She has been named a 2019 Top 100 HR Influencer by Engagedly, a 2018 Inclusive Leadership Award Winner, and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.