Conversations That Matter: Addressing Forbidden Topics

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Instead of pretending to leave our personal views, troubles, and situations in the parking lot, we bring them to work. A large percentage of our energy is then spent managing these forbidden topics, allowing each of us to under-deliver, squelching innovation. 

We will explore multiple forbidden workplace topics like racism, religion, political views, and how “real life” comes in between our responsibilities and our ability to fully “show up” to work. We also will brainstorm potential approaches and best practices to help everyone manage and respect painfully opposing views of coworkers that threaten to degrade the overall office culture, while focusing on our organizational values. No “right” answers exist here, but the issue around explosive current events and diversity-related biases (positive and negative) that evoke passions on multiple levels is influencing how organizations operate. 

Let’s move from tolerance and frustration to being heard and valued. Let’s talk about it.

This 65-minute keynote is one of four recordings filmed at The Association's Fall 2019 Conference in Houston. The conference was proudly sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, ASPCA, IDEXX, Maddie’s Fund, PetSmart Charities, and RKD Group.

Jessica Pettitt


Jessica Pettitt, M.Ed., CSP, pulls together her stand up comedy years with 15+ years of diversity trainings in a wide range of organizations to serve groups to move from abstract fears to actionable habits that lead teams to want to work together.

Graduating from the University of South Carolina with an M.Ed in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis in Crisis Management, Jessica pulls together lessons from teaching History and English in the classroom as well as those from the stand up comedy stages of New York City to bring real and actionable results to meeting rooms and board tables. She is well published, including multiple DVD and online training courses, curriculum guides, and a book, Good Enough Now, that makes the abstract actionable.

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