USA Today: Inversity™ Reimagines Existing Diversity Without Division and an Inside-Out Approach

Nov 2 / Hilary Tetenbaum / USA Today
Inversity Solutions CEO & Founder, Karith Foster, was recently featured in USA Today.

Read the article below:

For decades, companies in the US and other Western cultures have invested heavily in DEI  (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives with the impetus to allow people to be comfortable enough to bring their whole selves to work. However, many programs’ successes have been limited, in some cases having more adverse effects than benefits to participants. 

Having seen first-hand “Diversity Gone Wrong” as a co-host on a popular US radio and TV show, Karith Foster, a diversity engagement specialist, humorist, and media personality created Inversity™ – a new approach to diversity & belonging work.  

According to Foster, most DEI programs have gotten it wrong by incorporating stringent guidelines that have people focused on external fixes instead of working from the inside out. Often these tactics utilize fear, guilt, and shame to incite behavioral change. There is an old saying that “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” This especially holds true with regard to how we implement DEI strategies, Foster says. Inversity™ seeks to change behavior by empowering and enabling people with the ability to be introspective and operate from a place of personal responsibility, which experts agree creates long-lasting change because it is self-motivated and rooted in positive psychology.  

The Inversity™approach is an inside-out approach, which focuses on six key principles, namely the ability to be intentional, inclusive, introspective, inviting, finding what we have in common, and incorporating innovation. This approach focuses more on what unites people rather than what divides them and creates brave environments where people can hold courageous conversations by utilizing intentional language, positive psychology, and neuroscience. This allows organizations to have conversations about DEI in a less threatening, more inviting, and more authentic manner. 

Inversity™ is built on seven pillars that create transformational behavioral change, not just on the surface, but by planting seeds of choice and desire to believe (and behave) differently.  

Pillar 1: Actualization

According to Foster, actualization is an essential component of success. By working toward achieving self-actualization, people are able to operate from a place of wholeness and confidence, creating an empowering environment of learning, creativity and ideas. Personal responsibility reigns supreme and replaces blame, judgment and emotional paralysis.  

Pillar 2: Awareness

Inversity™ seeks to make people aware of the need for diversity and belonging. Awareness illuminates the pathway for understanding, connection, collaboration and unity; it dissolves ignorance, ambiguity and confusion. Being aware cultivates discernment, truth and new perspectives which creates change for the better. 

Pillar 3: Reception

When we are open to receive new information – whether it's in the form of education, praise or constructive criticism – we gain knowledge and skill, Foster says. Having reception and clarity within the organization allows for the effective broadcasting of signals for a healthy corporate culture. 

Pillar 4: Courage

Foster believes that courage is what transforms workplaces rooted in fear into cultures that promote acceptance, benevolence and harmony. Having courage means boldly showing up as your true self and listening and operating confidently – not just from the head, but also from the heart. 

Pillar 5: Grace

Grace is closely related to kindness, elegance, and gentleness. Grace allows for uncomfortable conversations and moments to pass without permanence. It is a gift that, when given to others, improves relationships and creates the space for the first four pillars to continue working together. 

Pillar 6: Energy 

According to Foster, people have the ability to proactively change energy from negative to positive. With practice and application, organizations and individuals can channel this energy and create successful workspaces. 

Pillar 7: Belonging 

The previous six pillars combine into Belonging, where every member of a community or organization is seen and heard. Belonging features conscious communication, inclusive of intentional exchanges of dialogue and ideas where everyone is included in the conversation. 

Having been in the diversity and belonging space for more than a decade, Foster has provided training to a variety of organizations from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies across the globe. She has also spoken at numerous academic institutions and industry associations, where she imbues organizations with practical and effective tools for true diversity. 

Currently, Foster is creating a training program for leaders in the DEIB space. With the goal to spread the application of the Inversity™ methodology to even more organizations within the US and worldwide. 

“I believe we can change how the business world looks at diversity, inclusion & belonging,” Foster says. “By encouraging more people to adopt the Inversity™ approach, we will be the catalyst of influence for people who will act as starter cultures, by spreading the lesson and methods of Inversity™ within their organizations, effecting genuine transformation.”