I received a comment on a recent blog post asking about diversity and inclusion panel questions. While the topic of “diversity and inclusion” (D&I) is rather broad, I was delighted that this commenter had a clear objective within the context of diversity and inclusion to ensure that “all students are prepared for and being safe in our schools.” I’m not as clear about the audience (students and/or stakeholders?) nor do I know about the panelists (let’s hope the panelists represent the diversity within the school district). All of which will contribute to the selection, flow, and sequence of the questions!
So, given a diversity and inclusion panel can go in a variety of directions, here are my top 30 potential diversity and inclusion panel questions. You will not ask them all, but perhaps they might provide some inspiration as you develop your own list.
Diversity and Inclusion Panel Questions
What is your definition of diversity? What does it mean to you?
What is your definition of inclusion? What does it mean to you?
Why now? Why is D&I the topic of conversation?
What has influenced your thinking around D&I and motivated you to get involved in being an advocate for change?
Are there new and/or diverse groups of people in your organization? What new challenges do they bring?
How far along the D&I journey do you feel the organization is at?
What are the barriers that limit our ability to be D&I?
What success/outcomes has your organization realized from diversity initiatives or best practices?
How has D&I impacted your company?
On a personal level, what impact does D&I have on you?
What are some of the ways you have benefited from or worked with D&I advocates?
What are the long-term consequences if we ignore D&I?
Diversity and Inclusion Panel Questions that Beg for Specifics
What successful initiatives or best practices has your organization identified concerning diversity and inclusion issues?
What would you say is the most difficult part of implementing a D&I program?
Where have you experienced the most resistance to D&I? How did you and your team respond?
What are the most effective ways to make the case for D&I?
Who is involved on your board, management team, and diversity task forces? Do they reflect the organizations you serve? What types of D&I responsibilities do these groups take on?
Can you give an example on how to “bake” diversity into a job description?
How do you respond to leadership who says “we just hire or promote the best person of the job, regardless of race or gender?”
What are some creative ways to proactively source candidates from underrepresented communities?
How do we involve our employees from underrepresented populations without making them feel tokenized?
What strategies do you use for developing innovative diverse teams?
How do you identify and/or work with D&I advocates?
How have D&I advocates helped to make the environment a more inclusive place for everyone?
What are some specific ways that you have advocated for change and the successes and challenges you’ve faced?
Questions about Application to the Audience
What is your biggest piece of advice for getting started with D&I?
How do we get the entire company—including our leadership team—on board with D&I initiatives?
What advice would you give to those who are trying to identify and work with other D&I advocates?
What advice do you have for those who want to be D&I advocates and aren’t sure how to start?
How can D&I be a priority for organizations that have other big issues to deal with?
A big thank you to Lever and the British Chamber of Commerce for inspiration in building this list of great questions for any kind of diversity and inclusion panel discussion!
For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative leadership panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.