Work place equity from Cornell University

April 9, 2022

I'm joan

I am a Korean American daughter of immigrants, a USAF veteran, and author. Welcome to my blog.


The following were my notes from Cornell University’s Diversity and Inclusion program where I received my certificate of completion. Of all the things I learned from this program, these were the most helpful in the workforce:



*Potential framework for interview process

Perceptions of Competence: Counteract negative perceptions about competence and leadership potential 

Leaders can:

  1. Offer the floor whenever possible to women and members of historically marginalized groups . Get people used to hearing from women and minorities contributing in meaningful ways
    1. Example: During a meeting, Obama called on 8 women reporters, made headline news, but if men were called it would not have made headline news. When you are giving people the floor, it can be powerful bias interrupter 
  2. Publicly acknowledge accomplishment of women and other minorities to invalidate doubts that other people might have about their competence
    1. Ex: In a study, a professor introduced a female assistant to class by her first name, but to another section of class, introduced her by outlining all the ways she was qualified for the role, her expertise. Because the professor focused on competence, they received much higher ratings from students 
  3. Pushback when people say the minority isn’t ready or qualified for a position. People are more willing to take risks on men based on their potential. 
    1. Leaders can point out that other people being considered also don’t have expertise OR point out reasons why particular candidate might be good in the role 
    2. Counteract negative stereotypes about competence with at least three specific reasons for including someone for a role. Purpose is to balance out gut instinct people have about excluding a particular individual based on perceptions of incompetence. When you focus on reasons to include rather than exclude, you have a different slate 

Evaluating Same Behavior Differently 

  1. Be specific about what constitutes excellent performance, make sure criteria are set in advance. Research shows if you make this agreement head of time, when you are looking for in candidate, then bias tends to disappear 
  2. Hold decision makers accountable for evaluations and they will be more careful 
  3. In an effort to avoid negative reactions about norms regarding how women ought to be, women are less likely to advocate for themselves. Just because a woman doesn’t toot her own horn doesn’t’ mean she lacks confidence about her ability. Managers need to make it a practice to invite, give explicit permission to minorities to advocate for themselves 
  4. Listen very carefully for likability penalty, esp performance evaluation ratings or hiring decisions, see whether or not people are expressing concern or support similarly for the same behavior across groups. 
    1. Bias language: bossy or pushy. Ask for a specific example and then ask: Would your reaction be the same if the man engaged in that behavior? 
  5. Audit who is doing “office housework”, all that communal service and support that make an office function well, make sure that some people aren’t doing additional work without also receiving additional reward for the investments they’re making 

The Ways People Interact: When women are talked over and get less credit for their ideas 

Leaders can:

  1. Set a NO INTERRUPTIONS rule, no matter minority or majority 
    1. Example: A company, IEO, has a bell to give a reminder ding when someone talks over a person
  2. Practice bystander intervention. Stop an interrupter in their tracks to let the other person finish
  3. Think proactively about engaging in micro affirmations as oppose to microaggressions
    1. Nodding head 
    2. Listening carefully
    3. Showing support while someone else is talking 
    4. Look interested 
  4. Give credit where credit is due (beware of stolen ideas, look for opportunities to acknowledge those who originally proposed idea) 
    1. Support minority colleagues when they contribute ideas, back their ideas up, help bring attention to that idea so people get more accustomed to hearing contributing ideas from minorities 
  5. Advice given by Tina Fey (rule for success):
    1. Be open to what a person says, continue conversation, respond to someone by saying, “Yes, AND”. It is important to communicate that you are open to hearing about it. Changes the framing in your mind to build on someone’s idea rather than talking over them
    2. Follow “Yes, AND”, and avoid saying, “Yes, BUT” because “Yes, but…” means, “No,” in effect shutting down someone else’s idea 

Browse By Category



aapi excellence


aapi culture

aapi education

© joan sung writer 2022  |  Design by Tonic  |  Photos by social squares & Unsplash