FRED MILLER AWARDED AN HONORARY DOCTORATE OF HUMANE LETTERS

Fred Miller and Sage College President Susan C. Scrimshaw

Fred Miller and Sage College President
Susan C. Scrimshaw

On Saturday, 13 May 2017, Fred Miller was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York. The Record covered the graduation ceremony and reported on the reception of the speech – click here for the story.

A video of Fred’s speech will be posted soon – check back for an update! In the meantime, we would like to share a summary of Fred’s remarks during the ceremony.

Thank you President Scrimshaw. Thank you Board of Trustees.

A word about them, these very special people: I have been on the Board at Sage for 12 years and this is my final year. I have served on many boards and I can say this is one of the most dedicated and giving Boards I have ever seen. It has been an honor and privilege to serve with you.

Thank you for a wonderful experience. I have grown so much from being on this Board. Thank YOU!!!

And it has been an honor to partner with such a strong, smart, and caring faculty and administration. The Sage Colleges team is outstanding and so very, very dedicated to the students.

And, WOW!! What great students. Every time I have the opportunity to interact with our students I am wowed. Thanks for being who you are and bringing your voices and perspectives to the Sage Community; a community I am so very proud to be a part of.

I am very honored to receive this recognition!!!

There is a story I tell that Susan often asks me to repeat, so in her honor, I will tell it today. Way, way back when I was born in November 1946, on my birth certificate it said, “Negro.”

THAT was not just a descriptor of the day for people who looked like me, it was a label defining your position and status in life as a human being. It was a label defining your place in life as a somewhat less than fully accepted human being. Your place was understood and you were expected to stay in your place.

And knowing your place and staying in your place meant: don’t expect much from life; don’t try to be too big; your role in the world will be limited; don’t challenge what is; and, don’t get in the way of the important people.  And, those are only some of the negative messages that were conveyed.

I could have listened to those messages. My mother, who is 105 years old and living in Philly, could have listened to those messages, especially when the school system told her I should go to vocational school, I was not college material. Some very important people in my life could have listened to those messages. But, I was lucky. They could have limited me, but they did not.

THANKS Mom!!! And thanks to my many mentors and friends, including Corey Jamison, Carol Brantley, Rick Kremer, and colleagues, teachers, and people who helped me in ways I don’t even know, and those who did not let the color of my skin or how they were supposed to interact with “Negros” in the 50’s and 60’s get in the way of teaching me, modeling for me, and moving stuff out the way for me. It took many, many, many people for that birth label not to be a predictor of my life.

The people who helped shape my life didn’t put me in a box based on assumptions of what I could and could not achieve. And they stood up when others tried to put me in that box. And they taught me not to put myself in that box.

And so, here I stand today!!! Thanks to all who touched my life!!

I thank my many friends of childhood, and all my professional partners, past and present, in and through The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group that is in downtown Troy, and especially my marriage partner Pauline Kamen Miller and our two children, Shay Miller and Kamen Miller.

Why did I tell you my story? Because I want you to know—don’t let anybody tell you who you can or cannot BE!!! The world needs you to be your biggest self, YOUR BEST self. Please don’t let anyone tell you WHO or WHAT is right for you.

And, most importantly, LISTEN MOST to that voice inside that tells you YOU CAN and LISTEN LEAST to that voice that says you can’t!!!

Don’t buy into the labels that others may put on you to diminish you (Negro, too young, too bold…). Don’t let them put you in whatever box that might mean. And don’t put yourself in that box.

The world needs all you have to offer. And you have a lot to offer.

So, from someone who was marked to be small and less than and who is now receiving this Honorary Degree, I say listen most to that voice inside that says YOU CAN be big!! You are WONDERFUL just the way you are, which doesn’t mean there is not room to grow and learn and be better – BOTH can be true!!

The world needs YOU!!! Don’t let anyone make you small!!!

Thank you!!

Denise Cerrata named the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

We want to congratulate Denise Cerrata for being named the James Beard Foundation 2017 Humanitarian of the Year!

Denise is the founder of One World Everybody Eats (OWEE), an organization that promotes food security through a “pay what you can” non-profit restaurant model. OWEE supports and mentors over 60 cafes around the world, teaching others how to provide warm food with dignity and a sense of community.

Our CEO, Fred Miller, first met Denise in 2010. Inspired by her passion for the mission and his own experience of the difference between a “hand up” rather than a hand out at a pay-what-you can cafe, Fred soon joined the OWEE Board of Directors. “Income inequality has to be addressed and the price of it should not be that a person cannot eat,” says Fred. Our CFO, Ratna Randive joins Fred in supporting the organization by acting as a key partner for the OWEE annual summit of cafe operators.

We have formed a wonderful bond with OWEE and Denise over the years and are thrilled to have a cafe in our own neighborhood. The Oakwood Soul Cafe here in Troy provides a pay-what-you-can meal the second Monday of every month, featuring guest chefs from the region.

Click here to find a cafe near you and here to learn more about Denise and the work of OWEE.

3 Things I Learned in My First 30 Days at KJCG

by Cylon George

Cylon_Web.jpg

Hello. My name is Cylon George and I’m a new consultant with The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. (KJCG).

I’m very pleased to be working with KJCG, a firm that’s committed to helping organizations thrive by leveraging the talents of their increasingly diverse workforce to accelerate higher performance.

I recently crossed the 30-day mark at KJCG. In these first few weeks at the firm, I’ve learned 3 important lessons about inclusion I’d like to share. But before I do, a little more about me and how I came to KJCG.

I was born and raised on Tobago, part of the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Known as the “rainbow country,” Trinidad and Tobago is home to peoples of many cultures, races, and religions.

At the age of 19, I left home to work as a music teacher in the Cayman Islands. In 2000, I moved to the United States to attend college. I earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science, music, and a masters degree in theology.

After completing my theological studies, I worked as a college chaplain at Hudson Valley Community College and Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. Becoming a management consultant may seem like quite a departure from my call to ministry, but I see this new path as part my fundamental calling to make the world a better place.

KJCG is not only committed to serving its clients to the highest degree possible but also serving the community in which it resides, Troy, NY. It is this community work that first drew me to KJCG. In late 2014, our CEO, Fred Miller, was seeking stakeholders in various parts of the community to become involved in a project to raise awareness about the unacceptable level of hunger in Troy.

After learning about the initiative, I signed up to serve as a stakeholder from the college community. As I got to know KJCG during this multi-year process, I felt like this was a place where my own gifts could be used and grown to help KJCG’s twofold mission of serving global clients and the Troy community.

I’m now in a period of learning what it means to be a KJCG consultant. And as promised, I’d like to share three important lessons I’ve learned so far:

1. Inclusion is about building relationships

Previously, I thought that in order to have inclusion and diversity, we simply needed to have every race and culture represented in the room. While this is important for many reasons, inclusion is much more than representation.

Inclusion is primarily about building meaningful relationships with those we may consider different from us. It’s learning to find our commonalities while at the same time appreciating and leveraging our multifaceted differences for the greater good.

2. Inclusion requires teamwork

At KJCG, we thrive on collaboration and teamwork. In order for us to be successful at what we do, everyone must work together toward the same goals. We believe that no single person has all the answers and that only together, can we address the complex challenges facing our clients. This approach reminds me of the well-known quote: “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

Each person in KJCG learns all aspects of the business to help get a sense of how their contribution builds on the work of another to create a transformative experience for our clients.

3. Inclusion begins with me

In order to be a good teacher, one must know their material thoroughly. In inclusion consulting, being a good teacher also means learning to practice what you preach.

In order to be effective at creating culture change that fosters an inclusive environment, my own actions must be inclusive. From greeting every person with a sincere hello, to truly listening to others when they speak, to soliciting ideas from every person in the room, inclusion is not simply a set of norms to follow. Inclusion is a way of life.

Being on the KJCG team

People need to be welcomed and invited to become their best selves. This creates wins not just for them, but for the organizations they inhabit.

As a member of the KJCG team, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve KJCG and to serve our clients in helping creating places of inclusion in order to achieve results.

I am honored to be on this team.

 

THE SECRET SAUCE TO SUCCESSFUL DIVERSITY EFFORTS: WHAT TECH FIRMS NEED TO LEARN TO STOP THE REVOLVING DOOR BY JUDITH H. KATZ AND FREDERICK A. MILLER

For the last few years, news from the tech sector has been dominated by two types of stories: those highlighting the industry’s woeful lack of diversity and bold announcements by some companies to launch aggressive diversity efforts. But as the initial fanfare of multimillion dollar investments to accelerate their recruiting efforts fades, the question remains—are their efforts paying off? Unfortunately, the answer is not to the extent that they had hoped. People are leaving almost as fast as they are joining. These tech companies have the right intent, but getting sustainable results is another matter.

Intel was one of the first tech giants to step up with a bold commitment; however, they are finding that whatever gains they made have fallen short (Fast Company, 2016—http://www.fastcompany.com/3056245/...). While they describe holding everyone of their 107,000 employees accountable for achieving their diversity goals through a company-wide bonus program that has increased employee referrals, and have in fact done well in terms of broadening their recruitment efforts--efforts that are reflected in clearly improved hiring numbers, the revolving door for people who are different remains as active as ever. It is tempting to see these lackluster results and ask “why?” but the real question should be “Why are we surprised?”

Many organizations in the tech (and other industries) have invested considerable time, money and resources in revamping their recruiting processes (including instituting best practices such as blind recruiting, recruiting at a broader range of schools, and training hiring managers and teams to be aware of unconscious bias). These efforts to get people in the door are critical and need to be maintained and even escalated in some places, but they are only one part of the task. These organizations have not yet learned the often painful lesson that recruiting is only the first step toward having a more diverse organization. The secret sauce is inclusion. Many organizations assume their culture is fine and just getting people in the door is sufficient. Unfortunately, almost anyone who has ever joined an organization and had to navigate—with varying degrees of success—the unwritten rules and unspoken but powerful norms knows this is not a recipe for success. Too often, individuals of diverse backgrounds get hired only to find themselves in an organizational culture that feels like a club where systems and ways of interacting are unwelcoming and exclude people who are not a part of that club.

So what does changing the culture entail? It means creating an environment in which people feel welcomed and that they belong. It means that people feel seen, valued and respected for their differences and they experience a level of supportive energy from their team members, peers and leaders. Creating a culture where people want to stay requires more than diversity training or building awareness of the unconscious biases that block effective, inclusive interactions. Instead, it is about instilling, expecting and rewarding the day-to-day conscious actions for inclusion that allow people to do their best work using the talents, skills and abilities they were hired for in the first place. It means providing support for people who are different than the traditional group not only through networks and resource groups, but, more importantly, in their team environment so that the team members feel accountable and have the skills to leverage each person’s talents and abilities and understand the role that differences play as a part of their success. An inclusive organization recognizes that everyone needs to change. And it means expecting a new set of competencies and ways of working so that everyone succeeds.

Changing the culture means leveraging diversity AND living inclusion. Creating an inclusive organization must become a new way of life in organizations that are serious about becoming more diverse. Inclusion must become part of the organization’s DNA, the new HOW for how people interact, how decisions are made, how work gets done, but also who is at the table and whose voices are listened to. It is about BOLD moves…transformational change for most organizations.

It’s great that the tech industry is beginning to realize that it needs greater diversity for its continued success. Now it’s time to stop the revolving door and expand the focus beyond the door and into the hallways, meeting rooms, and shop floors where the culture lives and breathes. The tech industry has taken some solid first steps. The question is, will they step up yet again to ensure their efforts pay off? Organizations like Slack are leading the way, showing that it’s possible to recruit AND retain a diverse workforce. They are changing the way people interact. Creating a work environment in which all people feel that sense of belonging and can do their best work because the organizational culture works for them, supports them and fully includes them. It’s time for others to join with efforts that will make a sustainable difference in their organizations. The secret sauce is not so secret – but it does mean leadership must see the need for change. And that change is an inclusive culture.

OD NETWORK/IODA ANNUAL CONFERENCE

OD, Inclusion, and Diversity: Yesterday, Today, and Looking Around the Corner

Fred Miller and Judith Katz gave a well-attended presentation at this year’s conference on OD, Inclusion, and Diversity: Yesterday, Today, and Looking Around the Corner. The presentation centered on how we talk about differences in the workplace and in society has changed fundamentally in the last 25 years. We’ve seen shifts from a compliance focus of affirmative action to recognizing and articulating the business case for diversity in the workplace to focusing on not just representation, but the inclusion of people of all differences. Yet, stories related to diversity and differences are as alive as ever, from Ferguson (and beyond) to Gamergate to the battle for marriage equality. How do we as practitioners address differences and where does diversity fit in moving the field of OD forward? This presentation explored the evolution of diversity and inclusion, the challenges organizations face today, and how emerging trends such as Dialogic OD are shaping our approach to making an impact in how we change organizations.

 

OD Network/IODA Annual Conference

OD Network/IODA Annual ConferenceOD, Inclusion, and Diversity: Yesterday, Today, and Looking Around the Corner 18 October 2015

Matt Ninihan, Mila Baker, Judith H. Katz, Fred Miller

Fred Miller and Judith Katz gave a well-attended presentation at this year’s conference on OD, Inclusion, and Diversity: Yesterday, Today, and Looking Around the Corner. The presentation centered on how we talk about differences in the workplace and in society has changed fundamentally in the last 25 years. We've seen shifts from a compliance focus of affirmative action to recognizing and articulating the business case for diversity in the workplace to focusing on not just representation, but the inclusion of people of all differences. Yet, stories related to diversity and differences are as alive as ever, from Ferguson (and beyond) to Gamergate to the battle for marriage equality. How do we as practitioners address differences and where does diversity fit in moving the field of OD forward? This presentation explored the evolution of diversity and inclusion, the challenges organizations face today, and how emerging trends such as Dialogic OD are shaping our approach to making an impact in how we change organizations.

To view or download a copy of their presentation, CLICK HERE.

A More Welcoming, Inclusive and Safer Troy

Inclusive_Troy On Wednesday, 7 October 2015, a three hour community conversation was hosted by KJCG, along with community partners, about creating A More Welcoming, Inclusive and Safer Troy at Bush Memorial Hall on The Russell Sage College campus in Troy, New York. This conversation, with 230 engaged people, focused on ways that citizens, community members, students, police, city government, businesses, and civic and religious leaders can work together, honor our diversity, and make Troy a more welcoming, inclusive, and safer city. The event sparked a conversation that helped to shape a community that values all and conveys belonging, appreciation and neighborly goodwill; a community that celebrates connection and cooperation with care and respect—without exceptions. The event had a very diverse turnout, with people of all social economic groups, ages, races, and employment conditions. Participants each filled out individual Call-to-Actions and Big Ideas, ideas that are beyond the scope of an individual. This is one piece of a larger movement to make Troy, New York, a more welcoming, inclusive and safer place.

KJCG RECEIVES THE 2016 VAN RENSSELAER SMALL BUSINESS AWARD

The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Van Rensselaer Small Business Award.  The Chamber established the Van Rensselaer Small Business Award to honor businesses that demonstrate exceptional corporate citizenship through active involvement and generous contribution to the economy while improving the quality of life in the Rensselaer Gateway communities.  The Chamber stated that is is proud to highlight KJCG’s efforts with this award as the community initiatives of The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group clearly exemplify these characteristics.  Previous Van Rensselaer Small Business Award recipients include Bouchey & Clarke Benefits Inc./Bouchey Financial Group, Ltd.; Tri-City ValleyCats; MicroKnowledge, Inc.; architecture +; The Alcher Printing Group; The Old Daley Inn Catering Company; and Spiral Design Studio, LLC.

The Chamber will honor KJCG at the annual Van Rensselaer Awards Dinner scheduled for Thursday, September 15, 2016 in Troy, NY

 

KJCG Receives the 2016 Van Rensselaer Small Business Award

The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Van Rensselaer Small Business Award.  The Chamber established the Van Rensselaer Small Business Award to honor businesses that demonstrate exceptional corporate citizenship through active involvement and generous contribution to the economy while improving the quality of life in the Rensselaer Gateway communities.  The Chamber stated that is is proud to highlight KJCG’s efforts with this award as the community initiatives of The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group clearly exemplify these characteristics.  Previous Van Rensselaer Small Business Award recipients include Bouchey & Clarke Benefits Inc./Bouchey Financial Group, Ltd.; Tri-City ValleyCats; MicroKnowledge, Inc.; architecture +; The Alcher Printing Group; The Old Daley Inn Catering Company; and Spiral Design Studio, LLC. The Chamber will honor KJCG at the annual Van Rensselaer Awards Dinner scheduled for Thursday, September 15, 2016 in Troy, NY.

KJCG Wins Troy Vision Award

image002-1 The Downtown Troy Business Improvement District’s Fourth Annual Fundraising Dinner and Sammy Awards was at Franklin Plaza in Troy on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.  The BID honored individuals and businesses that have helped make Downtown Troy a thriving place to live, work and explore.

Fred Miller and The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. were honored with The "Troy Vision" Award.  This award is given to a person or organization that has implemented a proven dedication to tackling community or societal issues in Troy in an effort to improve quality of life in the city.

The Downtown Troy BID's mission is to cultivate and advocate the economic growth of Downtown Troy and to further enhance and make our community a vibrant, attractive destination for visitors, businesses, residents, property owners, daily workforce and students.

image001

KJCG WINS TROY VISION AWARD

The Downtown Troy Business Improvement District’s Fourth Annual Fundraising Dinner and Sammy Awards was at Franklin Plaza in Troy on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.  The BID honored individuals and businesses that have helped make Downtown Troy a thriving place to live, work and explore.

Fred Miller and The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. were honored with The “Troy Vision” Award.  This award is given to a person or organization that has implemented a proven dedication to tackling community or societal issues in Troy in an effort to improve quality of life in the city.

The Downtown Troy BID’s mission is to cultivate and advocate the economic growth of Downtown Troy and to further enhance and make our community a vibrant, attractive destination for visitors, businesses, residents, property owners, daily workforce and students.

A MORE WELCOMING, INCLUSIVE AND SAFER TROY

On Wednesday, 7 October 2015, a three hour community conversation was hosted by KJCG, along with community partners, about creating A More Welcoming, Inclusive and Safer Troy at Bush Memorial Hall on The Russell Sage College campus in Troy, New York. This conversation, with 230 engaged people, focused on ways that citizens, community members, students, police, city government, businesses, and civic and religious leaders can work together, honor our diversity, and make Troy a more welcoming, inclusive, and safer city. The event sparked a conversation that helped to shape a community that values all and conveys belonging, appreciation and neighborly goodwill; a community that celebrates connection and cooperation with care and respect—without exceptions. The event had a very diverse turnout, with people of all social economic groups, ages, races, and employment conditions. Participants each filled out individual Call-to-Actions and Big Ideas, ideas that are beyond the scope of an individual. This is one piece of a larger movement to make Troy, New York, a more welcoming, inclusive and safer place.

 

Hunger in Troy

image004 On 28 September 2015, KJCG and the Hunger in Troy Planning Group gathered together with Troy community members at Sage Bush Memorial to discuss individual and collaborative actions to help increase food security in Troy. One of the big ideas that came out of the meeting was mobilizing local participation in #GivingTuesday, which resulted in raising over 700 pounds of food that Hunger in Troy donated back to local Troy food pantries and organizations in need.

The Power of Checklists

Frederick A. Miller Checklists have saved thousands of hospital patients. One of them may even have helped the Allies win the Second World War.

Those statements may seem exaggerated. But in his 2009 book The Checklist Manifesto, surgeon and author Atul Gawande tracks how checklists have dramatically reduced human error and, today, enable us to leverage the impossibly complex knowledge that humans have amassed in the past few decades.

Gawande’s thesis, simply stated, is that we can’t keep all that knowledge in our heads any longer. In medicine, in engineering, in finance, even in organizations, our species has uncovered ever more knowledge to handle ever more complex situations. The knowledge and complexity are so great, in fact, that in the attempt to apply the knowledge we often forget the routine things—like ensuring there’s enough soap in an ICU to wash one’s hands. The result, as you might imagine, can be disastrous.

This is the value of the checklist: it frees us from having to remember the routine, so we can devote our full attention to the complexity that our brains are designed to grapple with. As Gawande notes, “A lesson is emerging: checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized. They provide a kind of cognitive net. They catch mental flaws inherent in all of us—flaws of memory and attention and thoroughness.”

In the world of organizations, I see checklists as an ideal way to follow standard work. The whole point of standard work—loosely defined here as the most efficient and effective method currently known for performing a repetitive task—is to eliminate waste. With its origins in Lean Six Sigma, standard work provides an established, repeatable way to perform tasks. As a result, people no longer have to rethink their routines at each repetition; they simply complete the tasks according to standard work and devote their brainpower to unexpected or complex issues.

Still, not everyone will remember every step of standard work every time. Here is where a physical checklist, posted prominently, can come in: as a continual reminder to attend to the routine but essential details that make standard work as efficient and effective as it is.

Moreover, the benefits of checklists can extend well beyond processes. This is why we developed the Inclusive Meeting Norms as a checklist for more inclusive, more effective meetings, and the 4 Keys that Change EVERYTHING as a checklist for interactions in general. By practicing standard work and checklists in our human interactions, we will reduce waste, create a common language with which to communicate, increase our personal effectiveness, and get closer to Right First Time interactions.

Where could you use a checklist—in your own work life, in your team, throughout your organization—to ensure that everyone is focused where their brains are most needed to focus: on the complexities of the workplace? What pieces of your standard work would run more effectively through the use of checklists? How could you use checklists in your home life: packing for a trip, for instance, or keeping track of bills? Feel free to post your thinking here.