Mita Mallick is a corporate change-maker with a track record of transforming businesses. She gives innovative ideas a voice and serves customers and communities with purpose. She has had an extensive career as a marketer in the beauty and consumer product goods space, being a fierce advocate of including and representing Black and Brown communities. Her book "Reimagine Inclusion: Debunking 13 Myths to Transform Your Workplace” is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Seller.
I wrote this book 4 years ago. I wanted to say the quiet parts aloud that holds us back from making meaningful progress in creating more inclusive workplaces. Over the course of my career, I have heard the stories, or rather the myths, that we tell each other that just aren’t true.
One of the 13 myths I tackle is: We support women. We just extended maternity leave! Many leaders think the way to create a more inclusive organization for women is to only focus on mothers, when not all women will become mothers. I have watched too many organizations put into place check the box policies without upskilling their leaders on what these policies mean. Rather than focusing on maternity leave, we should focus on parental leave, where all parents have time to bond with their children. When we see men take more leave to care for their children, there’s a ripple effect on families and our workplaces. We start to chip away at the motherhood penalty and fatherhood premium, where all parents are judged on their track record of success at work, and not penalized for starting families.
As I discuss in Reimagine Inclusion, diversity, equity and inclusion efforts were never built into a company’s infrastructure. In some cases, Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) were never set up for success. They had no budget, no team and little to no resources. Some CDOs were figurehead roles. Some didn’t have any decision making capabilities. Some had no business goals or objectives. The work will continue to evolve; some companies will walk away from these efforts. Others will continue to invest in this work because they understand inclusion is a driver of the business.
Given the backlash against diversity, equity and inclusion right now, I wanted to reach people in a different way by debunking 13 of those popular myths I have heard. It took me 4 years to get this published, as I faced many obstacles in the publishing industry. I am proud the book is now a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller.
With the pandemic, and the Diversity Tipping Point of 2020, we knew it was time to bring the stories to life of what women of color are really navigating in the workplace. We want to help women of color not just survive, but thrive at work. This podcast is also an invitation for allies to pull up and step up because the change can't happen without them.
We are determined to have and spark tough conversations. Because we can't change what we won't discuss. We want to create a movement where more women of color feel comfortable sharing their experiences, which in turn allies to show up for us in the moments where we need action and support the most.
Three pieces of advice I have for those looking to scale their career:
I wouldn’t be where I am in my life and career without my community. I have so many people who have opened doors for me, picked me up when I was at my lowest, didn’t stop believing in me, and cheered me on. Building authentic relationships have been key to the success I have experienced.
My mother. She has overcome so much in her life. She immigrated to the US from India when she was 19 years old and didn’t know anyone except for my father. And she was also learning English. She has taught me what it means to be resilient, humble and grateful. She reminds me that there is no success without being grateful for what you have, while chasing what you want.
The backlash against diversity, equity and inclusion will continue. It’s not going away. And we must continue to do the work and fight to make our workplaces more fair and equitable for all. And for me, I do this work because I am determined to ensure that my kids, and all of our kids, enter a different world of work then when I began my career.