Diversity Certification Programs

The Cultural Diversity Executive Role is Filled With Landmines

Cultural diversity executives work hard to create a workplace in which everyone feels like they belong. That’s why negative news headlines about cultural diversity programs are difficult for them to endure. They know that staff depends on them, and negative cultural diversity news stories raise questions about their leadership effectiveness.

Consider the coverage of the email a white male Google senior software engineer wrote and distributed company-wide. His “manifesto” raised questions about the merit of the company’s cultural diversity initiative to increase women in technical roles. The email understandably angered the female staff. Unconscious bias training and a commitment to increasing cultural diversity appeared to create more problems than solutions.

The coverage of controversial comments an Apple Incorporated diversity officer made during a panel discussion and the firing of a diversity officer after she signed an anti-gay marriage petition while attending church service add to the anxiety of far too many top executives. No wonder they prefer to recruit someone from within the organization, such as a person of color, diversity champion, or trainer, into the cultural diversity leadership role. Too many take on the role enthusiastically only to quickly learn that it comes with a treacherous terrain even season professionals find challenging.

We at the Diversity Executive Leadership Academy understand these and other challenges diversity executives face in their professional roles. That’s the reason we created the academy. We provide the competency and acumen needed to safeguard the organization and the professional. We aim to protect professionals from unnecessary missteps and skills needed to navigate the landmines. That way, cultural diversity practitioners can give full attention to the more rewarding aspects of the work with confidence that they can meet the challenges.

What are the Different Types of Diversity Certification Programs & Credentials?

What is Diversity Certification?

Most diversity professionals have bootstrapped their expertise through the school of hard knocks. Few have been trained or schooled in how to work. Many have made costly mistakes along the way. Too many have lost their job or moved into another profession. It doesn’t have to be that way for the professional committed to making a difference today. Professional certification is a designation that assures qualifications for performing a job or task. Diversity Certification is credentialing training that empowers professionals with competence in consulting, training, managing, and leading cultural diversity.

Cultural diversity professional credentialing is still in its infancy. Certification training takes the mystery out of what the work involves, teaches successful strategies, and demonstrates how to navigate the landmines inherent in the profession. Certification programs offer both seasoned professionals and novices formal credentialing programs designed to increase their expertise and the savviness needed to navigate the landmines in the profession. Training is especially important for someone new to the cultural diversity profession to prepare for the role. A good program will take seasoned professionals to the next performance level by building upon existing competencies, challenging them to think more strategically about the work, and providing them with credentials.

Quality diversity certification training offers expertise and certification needed to enhance professional reputation, professional identification, and understanding of the certified diversity practitioner profession. A comprehensive, well-designed credentialing program is backed by a body of diversity management knowledge based on the contributions of pioneers, evidenced-based techniques and tools, a strategic framework, leadership competency, and facilitation skills. A high-impact diversity certification program teaches how to lead a successful inclusion initiative, develop solutions based on needs analysis and business acumen, leverage technology to enhance organizational learning and much more. Better Diversity Certification programs use a common language to unify the cultural diversity and inclusion profession.

How to Become a Cultural Diversity Practitioner

How to Become a Cultural Diversity Practitioner

What Are the Responsibilities of the Cultural Diversity Practitioner?

There are at least four sets of cultural diversity practitioner responsibilities, depending on the job role:

Which Cultural Diversity Practitioner Role Is For You?

You will like to find one of the roles described in the above list more attractive than the others. Once you decide which is most suitable, you must ask yourself if you have the full range of competencies needed to fulfill the role.

Do You Have the Necessary Diversity Practitioner Competencies?

Cultural diversity consultants use word of mouth and networking to secure their first opportunities. Over time, they develop a reputation and become the vendor of choice if successful. The competition is stiff and continuous education is a must to stay relevant and competitive. After success in other organizational roles, in-house professionals are typically appointed. The leadership turns to in-house talent when introducing a new diversity leadership role. Someone in training, HR, sales, or several other positions will be asked to take the lead because they “know the culture” and work well with the leadership. Diversity champions and ambassadors may also be potential recruits. Once the role has matured, the organization hires practitioners with at least five years of experience in the position. Increasingly credentials, such as cultural diversity certification, are expected.

We Have Made the Mistakes. Let Us Help You Avoid Them

You can bootstrap cultural diversity practitioner competence like many of the pioneers. But it is risky. Consider the diversity trainer that, in his best efforts to increase cultural awareness, ended up getting the organization he worked for sued. One of the activities he used created a hostile work environment for a white male participant. At least, that is the way the court saw it in awarding the victim damages. The trainer did not know what he didn’t know. Wouldn’t it be better to learn from expert cultural diversity professionals who have made all the mistakes and are eager to help you avoid them?

How Can a Certified Diversity Professional Make a Living?

A cultural diversity professional can take on a range of roles and responsibilities. Some work within the human resource management department. Others have essentially an EEO role. Still, others are directors of student life in colleges and universities. The vice president and diversity officer titles are typically reserved for those reporting directly to the organization’s leader. Some choose to be an independent consultants.

The core responsibilities of the certified diversity executive include leadership, training and facilitation skills, assessment, organizational development, internal consultant, and partnering with human resource managers. While knowledge of cultural diversity best practices is important, diversity certification goes beyond understanding how to implement these popular solutions.

Diversity certification develops the competence to apply organizational change techniques to identify inclusion gaps and develop a diversity education plan to close the performance gaps. Cultural diversity and inclusion strategy serves as a foundation from which the certified diversity professional creates strategic alignment, identifies needs, develops and delivers solutions, and evaluates performance.

What is the Certified Diversity Trainer Program?

The Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Trainer (CDT)™ program focuses on developing participants’ facilitation skills and ability to design high-impact training. There is very little attention given to managing or leading cultural diversity. Cultural diversity training requires specialized skills due to the reactions many have towards cultural diversity topics, the difficulties of getting people to talk honestly about cultural differences, and the techniques needed to maintain a learning environment when conversations become heated. Successfully creating and maintaining a community of learners during a diversity training even when conversations stretch participants’ ability to remain civil requires skills that few possess. Thus, the need for specialized training.

What is the difference between the CDP & CDT Credentials?

The DELA CDP, or Certified Diversity Practitioner, training best suits the individual who wants to learn about how to lead a cultural diversity and inclusion initiative either as an in-house or independent consultant. The CDP focuses on strategy, training, communications, and managing cultural differences among staff. The Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Trainer (CDT)™ certification is for the professional interested in primarily serving in a trainer role. The training covers high impact facilitation skills for managing hot topic discussions, managing emotional reactions to diversity and inclusion, and keeping the audience engaged.

What is the Difference Between the CDP & CDE Credentials?

The DELA Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) provides credentials for those in higher level leadership roles, such as Vice President of Diversity, Chief Diversity Officer, and Diversity Executive. A CDE practitioner is expected to be a strategist, has considerable independence, and works closely with the leader and leadership team in promoting inclusion. The CDP is also a good choice for those interested in serving as an independent or in-house consultant with at least some training responsibilities.

Who is in Charge of the Diversity Executive Leadership Academy?

Dr. Billy Vaughn, CDT CDP CDE is the founder and executive director. The video below shows a sample of his teaching skills. DElA faculty are selected based on their ability to deliver the best training for adult learners.

Are the Diversity Certification Programs Accredited?

DELA is the only accredited certification organization that is not a university. Accreditation demonstrates that a program meets some minimum standards based on independent evaluations.

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