Diversity, inclusion program visits St. Louis businesses to discuss unconscious biases

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Edward Jones employees stood in line at their west St. Louis County headquarters on a hot and humid day to participate in the Check Your Blind Spots unconscious bias tour.

“Diversity is something you can count and inclusion is something you can feel. If you can’t feel it, it doesn’t count,” said Emily Pitts, principal of inclusion and diversity at Edward Jones. “So at Edward Jones, we want to make sure we’re growing a diverse workforce but (at the same time) creating an environment that’s inclusive of everyone.”

Using virtual reality and gaming technology on the bus, employees look at what might be their own biases through highly interactive activities. The videos exemplify how unconscious biases can play out in real life.

“Listening to different scenarios, different ethnicities, and backgrounds forces you to be in that other person’s shoes and see the world through their lens, so I thought it was a wonderful experience,” said Cassandra Howard, Edward Jones employee.

Pitts said everyone has unconscious biases. Working and learning about them in an inclusive environment helps everyone.

“Where I grew up, the people I would see on daily basis may not be the group that is around everywhere else, so it’s a good chance to hear what they have to say and think of things that might be unconscious bias,” said Edward Jones employee Mike Powers. “I just don’t know I’m saying it.”

An example of unconscious bias can be a company hiring the same kind of people over and over again without looking for different skill sets and attributes that could complement what they already have.

“The whole idea is to be more inclusive of everyone, not just some,” Pitts said.

The CEO Action Check Your Blind Spots unconscious bias tour will be making at stop at Peabody on Tuesday.

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