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Event Details

    Unconscious Biases

    Date: November 1, 2018, 7:30am
    Laurie Smith
    Fairfax County Government Center - Conference Room # 7
    12000 Government Center Parkway
    Fairfax, Virginia 22035
    Event Type:
    Discussion Group Meeting
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    Hundreds of studies show that diversity training often does little to reduce bias, especially in the long-term. In this discussion, cultural anthropologist Michael Baran illuminates why that may be happening and what to do about it. He will interactively address the social science behind categorization, identity, and bias, showing how the very way that racial categories are structured in the mind renders most diversity trainings ineffective. He will apply this social science to suggest concrete strategies and best practices for making more lasting changes toward inclusive workplaces.  

    In this discussion, we will:

    • Discuss how the way human beings categorize difference leads to bias along different dimensions
    • Recognize how unconscious bias gets in the way of organizational goals
    • Identify tools and practical strategies for having conversations about changing identities and creating inclusive workplaces

    About the facilitator:

    Michael D. Baran, PhD is a cultural anthropologist and diversity and inclusion speaker / consultant. He has more than twenty years of experience conducting research on a variety of issues related to race and identity and then using the lessons from that research to work with organizations to increase diversity and foster inclusion. He currently consults for businesses, schools and non-profits on issues related to diversity and inclusion, often incorporating the digital tools developed at Interactive Diversity Solutions (IDS) as part of a blended approach. In this capacity, he has worked with companies such as Boeing, Disney and Thrivent Financial as well as Universities such as Harvard, Brown, and the University of Indiana. His digital program (Don’t) Guess My Race was recently selected as one of the top 100 most inspiring innovations in education globally by the Finland-based education group

    In addition to his IDS work, he has taught courses on race and identity, Latin America, child development, expository writing and research methodology at Harvard University and the University of Michigan. He has worked as Associate Director at the FrameWorks Institute and currently works as a Principal Researcher at the American Institutes of Research. In that capacity, he manages multi-year research and intervention projects with funders such as USAID, the MacArthur Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, UNICEF and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

    Dr. Baran received his B.A. from Emory University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology with a certificate in ‘Culture and Cognition’ from the University of Michigan. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is learning Haitian Creole.













    Please join us for this lively discussion. You are welcome to extend an invitation to interested colleagues.  No fee is charged for attending.  However, registration is required on-line, at least 24 hours in advance, via the Dulles SHRM web site ( -- Chapter Discussion Groups. If you have questions, contact Laurie Smith at 703-362-8082 or Participation may be limited to the first 25 people who sign up.