Diversity Voices Interview: Gamal Turawa
- Gamal has anything that you’ve witnessed over the last couple of years of ‘social reckoning’ triggered new perspectives or challenged your thinking in relation to Diversity and inclusion?
If anything it has highlighted to me the importance of holding the middle ground. The world is becoming increasingly politically and socially polarised and certain events such as George Floyd, Donald Trump and the MeToo movement for example have been catalyst for a lot of that blowing up. I saw very quickly that the need to be right become so overwhelming that it began to erode the capacity for dialogue and its in that arena I have chosen to hold space and see that as draining but extremely vital.
- In your work as a motivational change catalyst, what are some of barriers/challenges to change that repeatedly recur in organisations of all kinds?
The biggest barrier is the need for instant change without really understanding what the underlying issues may be.
- If you were creating a syllabus to develop leaders- what would your key modules be and why?
My top three modules that I must include are the dynamics of Marginalisation, the power of conformity and Elements of Gordon Allport’s Scale of prejudice
- With regards to social media, do you perceive it as a help or a hindrance to DNI?
I see social media merely as a vehicle or rather a tool to disseminate information. It's how that tool is used that creates the problems. It has given everyone a voice but not all have the skills to use it effectively. What we as a society are not doing is equipping people with the right skillsets to navigate through its avenues, dead ends and alley ways safely. It has exploded faster than our awareness or comprehension and its power can be utilised for either the greater good or the greater bad.
- Gamal, it is said that successful organisational change begins and ends with the leadership: what should leaders be doing now to embed DNI more effectively (especially after the social reckoning triggered by the George Floyd murder and covid 19) do you have any examples of leaders or organisations that you think are doing it well?
One of the first things I became more aware of during and after the George Floyd murder was that the expectations of leaders went through the roof but many were not equipped to deal with these dynamics. They were like a rabbit caught in the headlights and they had no inkling as to where to go or even how to begin. Some acted blindly and either delegated out sourced but didn’t know where to go or even how to begin there own personal journeys. And thats where I saw an opportunity I started doing one to one coaching with them, holding the space for them to explore their own awareness and to say, “I don’t get this” in a safe non judgmental space. During these sessions I listen, offer insights and give them experiential challenges to help with their confidence in navigating the D E+I maze. Without breaching any confidentialities this has been very beneficial and one client in particular has done a 180 degree flip in his views from wanting to be hands off to being totally immersed and leading from the front.
- Gamal, do you have any favourite books, podcasts or websites that you feel should be on every ones ‘learning’ list?
- The Chimp Paradox - Dr Steven Peters
- Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
- Dignity - Dr Donna Hicks
- Peaceful Warrior - Dan Milman
- White Fragility - Robin Di Angelo
- The Nature of Prejudice - Gordon Allport
- American History X
- Freedom Writers
- Peaceful Warrior
- Crash - Don Cheadle/Sandra Bullock etc
- The Power of Forgiveness Documentary
- Life in Focus - Barrister Stephen Akinsanya
- Serenity in Leadership