Orlando Magic Host Second Black History Month Virtual Town Hall Focused on Diversity of Business to Basketball

“Diversity is like being invited to the dance. Inclusion is being asked to dance. But belonging is dancing like nobody’s watching.”

That’s an inspirational phrase about diversity and inclusion and one that Candace Matthews, the chief reputation officer at Amway Corporation, wholeheartedly believes in.

“That’s when people bring out their fullest potential, is when they can truly bring their whole selves to work,” Matthews said during the Orlando Magic’s most recent virtual town hall to help celebrate diversity and embrace its many characteristics and the value it brings to both business and community.

As she has seen firsthand throughout her career, a workplace where employees accept one another, work cohesively together and are willing to have uncomfortable conversations with one another is far more likely to establish and maintain a strong culture and high morale while growing their business.

Also on Wednesday’s Zoom call, the second of four the Magic are hosting during Black History Month, were AdventHealth Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Jessica Brazier and PepsiCo President of the South Division Derek Lewis, both of whom, like Matthews, made cogent and vital points.

The call was moderated by Magic Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Esu Ma’at, who brought out some interesting and important responses by Wednesday’s guest panelists about how they address social change within their organizations.

Lewis, for instance, uses a benchmarking scorecard, or as he describes it a key checklist, to properly assess where an organization is at when it comes to having a strong, diverse and successful workforce. The acronym is C.A.R.E.S., standing for Commitment, Accountability, Resources, Empowerment and Scorecarding.

“I use that CARES model as a checklist when people ask me all about, hey, is this organization really bought in,” Lewis explained. “I start asked people let’s go through the CARES checklist. That’s the way for me to gauge whether or not people are on track or not on track.”

What all three are enthusiastic about is they are each seeing, not only in their own organizations but in many others locally, nationally and globally, a formidable effort to make substantial changes in the workplace that will open up doors for more people to have greater success and bring people together with common goals in mind.

“I am so optimistic because we are seeing this shift in consciousness that makes the potential for impact so rich,” Brazier said. “We are beginning to see strength in numbers and strength in coming together and there is a richness in having diversity of thought, diversity of industry tackling these really big problems together.”

Ma’at closed this week’s conversation with a persuasive and powerful reference to Harvard University professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s six steps to leading positive change. They, as Ma’at accentuated, are showing up, speaking up, looking up, teaming up, never giving up and lifting others up.

It’s apparent, based on what Matthews, Brazier and Lewis highlighted throughout the call, that more organizations are preaching those things inside their company walls, and it’s making an incredible difference.

The Magic invite all Central Floridians and beyond to Walk With Us as the team celebrates February as Black History Month with a variety of activities, including the virtual town hall series. The discussion on Feb. 17 will focus on the work of the Magic with supplier diversity and the importance of supporting local minority and women owned businesses and workforce development. Featured speakers include Ma’at, Tanisha Gray with the African American Chamber of Commerce, Brandon Lee with Lee Wesley, Tony Jenkins with Florida Blue and Leonard Spencer with The Walt Disney Company.

Other Magic Black History Month celebration activities include Head Coach Steve Clifford’s Social Justice Game Changers honored at each home game throughout February, special in-game features on local Black-owned businesses, an online auction featuring Magic players’ MLK warm up shirts from earlier this season, support of community events including the City of Orlando’s Black History Month Workshop and support of Valencia College’s Black History Month activities.

“The Orlando Magic remains deeply committed to diversity, equality, equity and inclusion,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “To work collectively to promote peaceful and necessary social change. We do that by joining our players, our coaches, our staff, along with our other teams in the NBA in these ongoing efforts.”

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