YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) — In support of Eastern Michigan University’s commitment to fostering a thriving, inclusive university community, and the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all, Head Football Coach Chris Creighton recently welcomed Master Facilitator Dr. James Pogue to campus as a part of the team’s Champions 4 Life series.
Dr. Pogue is an educator, speaker and executive coach who equips leaders at all levels with the tools they need to be a catalyst for positive change. An expert in unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion and multi-generational intelligence, he understands that talking about the sensitive issues is a ‘right now’ imperative.
“We are grateful for all the time and energy Dr. Pogue put into facilitating our team discussions regarding diversity, bias, and race relations,” said Creighton. “I am proud of how engaged our program was throughout the three weeks and am confident that we will all continue to keep learning and growing in these areas.”
Broken up into weekly discussions, the topics covered included diversity, inclusion, bias, and micro-aggression.
The primary goals of the workshops were to: 1) increase student-athlete and coaches comfort and confidence in their ability to express themselves, their feelings, and their perspectives about race, diversity, inclusion and bias; 2) provide tools for student-athlete and coaches to engage more deeply about each other and their backgrounds, perspectives and experiences; and 3) encourage student-athlete and coaches to be leaders on the field, in the classroom, in their homes and communities as it relates to race, diversity, inclusion and bias.
“The pre-session with the coaches helped to accelerate the conversations between them and the student-athletes,” Dr. Pogue added. “Clearly both groups were hungry for the conversation, and it was an important step in deepening the relationships that build connections for life, on and off the field.”
In small-groups, the team was able to have open discussions and get to the “right kind” of uncomfortable. Dr. Pogue was able to lead the discussion on how the team can achieve greater success through understanding and embracing its diversity.
“The segment with James Pogue was phenomenal,” senior defensive back Jeff Hubbard (Atlanta, Ga.-Woodward Academy) mentioned. “Dr. Pogue challenged us to step outside of our comfort zones and have those thorny conversations about the problematic stumbling blocks that individuals face in their everyday lives. These conversations were jarring to several individuals who had no idea that their counterparts face the micro-aggressions that they encounter in their everyday lives. The way that Dr. Pogue focused on the varied races throughout the team and not just the blacks and whites brought this brotherhood multiple steps closer to the definition of FAMILY. His time spent with us is very appreciated.”
Micro-aggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups. The difference between micro-aggressions and overt discrimination or macro-aggressions, is that people who commit micro-agressions might not even be aware of them.
Oftentimes, people don’t even realize that they’re doing those sorts of things.
“As Dr. Pouge would say, I had a couple “breakthrough moments” over the three sessions,” said senior punter Jake Julien (Barrie, Ontario-North Collegiate) of the workshop. “One thing that stuck out to me was the topic of bias and the different types of micro aggressions. When November rolls around every football season and the temperature outside starts to drop, I always get comments about how ‘it must be nice to feel like I’m at home’ because of the cold weather since I am Canadian. Truth is, I hate the cold but it is very easy for me to laugh about these comments and shrug them off. My breakthrough moment was thinking about how these comments would affect me if they were about my skin color or race. It really put things in perspective for me about how some of my teammates must face these comments on a regular basis. Overall, I was very thankful and grateful for the experience and knowledge Dr. Pouge shared with us. I think this was a great experience for our team and opened my eyes for sure.”
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About Dr. James Pogue
Leadership and training are at the core of who Dr. Pogue is and align with his ongoing commitment to equip executives and professionals with the thought leadership to improve communicate, and manage effectively. His military service and overseas deployment in the Middle East, gave him tangible examples of the critical balance between leaders and followers on teams.
After nearly 10 years in higher education as a researcher, professor and administrator where he focused Diversity, Inclusion and Unconscious Bias, Dr. Pogue expanded his work to include Multigenerational Leadership. He helps companies prepare, recruit, and retain talent across gender, culture, ethnicity, and generations from Baby Boomers, to Millennials and now Generation Z.
As an Expert Keynote, Dr. Pogue supports leaders in making decisions that impact cross functional teams at all levels. As a Consultant and Executive Coach, Dr. Pogue helps organizations realize breakthrough outcomes by helping them identify and overcoming what is getting in their way. His work helps executives achieve optimal working relationships and achieve organizational expectations through both personal and corporate executive coaching.
James’s recent clients include The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), Dallas Convention Visitors Bureau, The Association Forum, Panda Foods, Brinker International and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), Connectiv, American College of Prosthodontics (ACP) and American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).