Meet The Man Giving A Voice To The Young And Addressing The Issues Of Diversity: David Slocum

Meet The Man Giving A Voice To The Young And Addressing The Issues Of Diversity: David Slocum

Meet David Slocum: an industry leader working to give a voice to young and mid-career diverse creative talent through inspiration, skill development and related learning.

David Slocum, Ph.D., is Academic Director and Program Adviser at RARE GLOBAL, Diversity Initiatives by Google, where he provides thought leadership and academic support to diverse talent in the creative, design, media, and technology industries.

We wanted to learn more about David and the exciting things he’s doing in the creative leadership and gender diversity space. Check out our interview with him below, and find out how you can hear about David’s incredible work and industry insights firsthand.

1.  In just a few sentences, tell us what you do.

Put very generally, I help people become better as leaders and more fulfilled as people. I’m committed to supporting the learning, growth, and transformation of people, organizations, and communities using whatever tools, knowledge, and experience are appropriate. For most of my professional life, I’ve done so as a teacher, academic program director, writer, and coach, working in universities as well as with companies and individuals directly.

2.  How did you get into the executive coaching business?

Coaching is one of several approaches I use depending on the individuals I’m working with. While potentially very powerful, it’s not right for everyone in every situation. Part of what drives me is determining with individuals which tools or approaches are best-suited and helpful for their specific learning, leadership, and development priorities. 

3.  What does creative leadership mean to you?

Creative leadership is about enablement – enabling leaders to learn and transform themselves continuously, enabling others to thrive creatively and grow as people, and enabling organizations to support those people, to create value in markets, and to do good for their communities and society. 

4Why is creative leadership important?

I sometimes say that if exploring and expressing differences is at the heart of creativity, embracing diversity is at the heart of creative leadership and fostering inclusiveness is at the heart of creative organizations. Those values and pursuits are not just nice-to-haves or abstract goods – as research has shown, as we argue at RARE Global, they are the foundation of the most consistently innovative and competitive business organizations. 

5.  Tell us more about the word “teaming” and why it’s so important.  

“Teaming” was introduced by Harvard professor Amy Edmondson to emphasize how leaders should actively build, develop, and recast their teams even as a project is underway. That active process relies on continuous learning — of affective, cognitive, and interpersonal skills — in teams and organizations that, in turn, contributes to creating and capturing value. I also like the fact that “teaming” underscores an ongoing process, which is a crucial insight for other creative business activities, as well (think: “creating”, “learning”, “leading”, “organizing”). 

6.  What are you most looking forward to about speaking at Changing the Ratio?

One of the frustrating challenges in addressing diversity in a meaningful way is that individuals and groups approach the word and concept in so many different ways. What the exceptional program and line up of speakers at CTR 2019 promises is to draw together multiple perspectives — practical cases, tool-based thinking, inspirational testimonials, theoretical positioning — in support of the vital theme of making equality and inclusion the norm. I can’t wait!

7.  What can people expect to hear you talk about at CTR?

I’ll talk about negotiation, which can be awkward for everyone but is often even more challenging for minorities. The session will present a proven approach to better negotiation, illuminate how to be more aware of the individual biases, preconceptions, and blindspots about others (and ourselves) that shape those interactions, and conclude with a lively simulation for participants.    

David will be speaking at B&T’s Changing the Ratio event, a bold new initiative to continue B&T’s mission of making equality and inclusion the norm in Australia’s communications industry and beyond. This event is about bringing the extraordinary creative problem solving capability of this great nation to bear on a problem we should be looking to fix right now.

Changing the ratio will bring together spectacular speakers and industry panel discussions, to allow attendees to walk away with practical tools, case studies and things to do right now that they can take back to their own organisation to drive diversity and inclusion. What are you waiting for, grab your tickets here. CTR is happening on 30th May 2019.


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    1. I was very fortunate to have studied under David while completing my MBA at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. You cannot meet a nicer person, and his skills at bringing empathy and self-awareness into leadership skills are second to none. Sydney is very lucky to have him here to speak!

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