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Collaborate on inclusive leadership with the D&I Executive Exchange

The Partnership

September 15, 2022

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The BNP’s Diversity & Inclusion Executive Exchange provides a unique, peer-to-peer forum for leaders to collaboratively share skills and strategies in D&I practices.  Designed specifically for senior leaders with the highest level of responsibility for D&I initiatives, the program is facilitated by our expert in residence Sesha Yalamanchili.


Sesha specializes in creating inclusive cultures, diversity training, inclusive leadership coaching, developing leaders, and coaching emerging leaders. We spoke with Sesha about the benefits of the D&I Executive Exchange and what she sees in leading the monthly sessions.


What value do you see in D&I professionals getting together to discuss their work? 

Those in leadership positions are faced with the never-ending and sometimes lonely task of moving DE&I forward. The D&I Executive Exchange enables leaders to share honest and confidential conversation and feedback with experienced peers from across the region. It’s the perfect forum to collaborate, share solutions, connections, and successful strategies for DE&I. A skilled facilitator leads each session to guide the group in how to be stronger, more dedicated, and resilient in their efforts.

What is on the minds of D&I professionals today as you help them navigate this important work?

Most of our leaders recognize that they have moved the D&I needle off the start line. But there is still work to do. Moving forward they are asking the questions what have we done to affect change; is it enough; are we resourced properly; and how do build off what we have done to drive action that will make a difference? These are the issues the D&I Executive Exchange addresses through collaboration with others.

Is there a topic you would like Buffalo Niagara businesses to spend more time exploring related to D&I? 

While seemingly unrelated, an issue I find interesting is the seismic shift in how work gets done today, with remote work from home and hybrid work schedules. The reality is that hybrid is here, and here to stay. And I see a strong connection to DE&I work. So as organizations wrestle with figuring it all out, there is also a great opportunity to be more intentional about building more inclusion and diversity into a new way of working. For example, by engaging in remote work, an organization can access expanded sources of talent to hire people beyond a 25- or 30-mile radius. That creates a strong connection between D&I and the way we work.

If you could look into the future, in a perfect world, what do you envision related to D&I? 

I imagine a world in which we no longer have a need for DE&I efforts. That’s not to diminish in any way the need for it now. But the goal of current work is to have DE&I become one with the way an organization works so it is not a separate function that needs to be resourced differently. As facilitator, I see my role as one in which we focus on the work at hand with an eye on the future.

For more information on the D&I Executive Exchange and how to get involved, click here.

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