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Let them grow and let them go: A short word on racial equity and career pathsRethinking Advancement

I recently finished a webinar series called Moving Mindsets by Frameworks. In thinking about that learning, it strikes me the importance of the stories that we tell ourselves. I think it is important for organizational leaders to examine their own stories, particularly as it relates to their personal career trajectory–to really unpack how they landed where they did.


What systems, structures, or people helped along the way?

That I learned how to navigate through difficult work situations to accomplish my “dream” career goal does not mean that barriers did not exist for other people in those same situations. They did.


Where systems created obstacles, people opened other paths for me.

Part of the work of racial equity is creating paths to support advancement. However, a person moving into their highest potential may not happen at your organization. Yours may be just a short stop on their career journey.

One thing you can do as a colleague or leader in an organization is to create opportunities for others to shine their light.

To put this guidance into practice:

  • If your organization is flat with little promotion potential, acknowledge that reality.
  • Be honest about it.
  • Perhaps your role as a leader is to prepare someone for their next role outside of your organization.

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Author: Joanna Shoffner Scott
Dr. Joanna Shoffner Scott is an experienced management consultant specializing in helping organizations realize their racial equity aspirations. She has consulted with more than 50 organizations in the public and private sectors. Clients and former clients include organizations from workforce development, research, public policy, social services, place-based community sector collaboratives, government agencies, and philanthropies. She is the founder and Principal of Stamey Street Consulting Group. Joanna helps organizations move forward who are stuck in their racial equity journey.

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