Log in
Log in
  • Home
  • ATDChi President Hayward Suggs: What Can I Do?

ATDChi President Hayward Suggs: What Can I Do?

June 18, 2020 10:02 AM | Leslie Scarpace

“What can I do?”

I love that question.

Over the past few weeks “my girl” and I have heard that question multiple times from our non-African American friends and colleagues who are deeply concerned about racism and want us to know Black Lives Matter. The question has come from successful people with high degrees of empathy. They understand to effect real change, it is not enough to see racism as a problem or feel the pain of others, they must do something.

Racism in all of its vile, trauma-inducing shapes and forms limits potential and promise at best and destroys livelihoods and lives at its worse. To penalize others based on race is ethically wrong, socially destructive, and morally reprehensible. Racism is also a crime.

“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

- Albert Einstein

The significance of our racial divide has never been more apparent however, our opportunity to reconstruct the rip in our “social fabric” may never be greater. Talent developers, as usual, are in an optimal position to elevate thinking and influence change.

World Changing

Talent developers are world-changing agents who can create an atmosphere of unbridled enthusiasm for social change based on trust, shared values, and mutual accountability. We exert our influence through our vast coaching, training, facilitation, design, and development efforts. Our success as change agents is efficacious.

Our talent development capabilities and collaboration efforts extend to executives, employees, and entrepreneurs. This provides us with a unique opportunity to build “collective efficacy” by having impactful conversations, and doing meaningful work while taking a trauma-informed approach to ”rebuilding the village”. (Bandura, 1993) (Bell, 2007)

Ensure Success

Risk factors are not predictive factors because of protective factors” 

- Carl C. Bell M.D

To ensure enduring success we have to reduce racial trauma risk and decrease predictive factors by increasing protective factors in our large systems; child welfare, corrections, criminal justice, education, employment, and healthcare, etc. However, we can strengthen resilience and reduce racial trauma risk factors immediately by modeling these community (village) level protective factor behaviors. 

  • Welcoming “otherness”, by acknowledging, celebrating, and valuing differences in people. 
  • Staying socially connected and bonded with others; being self-aware of our implicit biases, and asking for feedback.
  • Empathizing with others at all three levels; mental (thinking) emotional (feeling), and physical (doing). (Bell, 2000) (Goleman, 2007)

Ten things we can do today to “Rebuild Our Village”

  1. Hire racially diverse people as employees and contractors.
  2. Coach and train staff on implicit bias, diversity, and inclusion.
  3. Patronize minority businesses and donate to cause supportive organizations.
  4. Demand and advocate for large systems change.
  5. Listen to African Americans and “others” discuss their experiences, feelings, and ideas.
  6. Talk with your family and friends about racism the same in private as in public.
  7. Speak up when you see injustice.
  8. Publicly communicate your support.
  9. Ask how you can help.
  10. Model the behaviors you want to see in others.

Ten things we can do today to “Rebuild Our Village”

Finally, if you know there are moments where you could have been better or done better, welcome to the club. As one person puts it, the room for improvement is the biggest room in the house. Apologize sincerely, and focus on how you want people to “feel” going forward.

 “I've learned that people will forget what you said, what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou.

You may be amazed by how you can make people feel by empathizing and asking What can I do?

I love that question.

Let’s continue to build our capabilities and do that world-changing talent development work,



1. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Science," Cultivating Resiliency In Youth," Carl Bell, MD, Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol 29, No5, 2001, pp 375-81 by The Society for Adolescent Medicine. Retrieved from 

2.    Griffin, G., McEwen, E., Samuels, B. H., Suggs, H., Redd, J. L., & McClelland, G. M. (2011). Infusing protective factors for children in foster care. Psychiatric Clinics34(1), 185-203.

3.    Donohoo, J., Hattie, J. & Eells, R. (2018). The Power of collective efficacy. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from

4.    Goleman, D. (2007). Emotional intelligence, social intelligence. Retrieved from


CARA Group Logo

Phone: 872-228-7476  |   Email:
Privacy Statement
© 2014-2024, ATD Chicagoland Chapter
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software