Welcome to Speakfully Insider, a weekly series featuring thought leaders on important topics surrounding workplace mistreatment, company culture, workplace safety, social justice and more.
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Dr. Tiffany Jana, JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) practitioner, author, and pleasure activist.
What was the driving force for you to pursue a career in equal rights and social justice?
My mother, Dr. Deborah Egerton. She led the way in corporate, educational and government diversity work when the field was still nascent. She was and still is a mom-preneur, thereby modeling a oath for me that I may not have discovered on my own.
Describe the typical series of emotions a victim of mistreatment experiences.
I’m not a psychotherapist like my mother, but I imagine people’s emotions run the gamut depending upon their own resilience and grit. Emotions can include anger, resentment, defensiveness, weakened self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, and self-blame among others. Some people redirect the notional response to their mistreatment into perseverance, fortitude, action, commitment to excellence, and pride in knowing their own self-worth despite the blow.
In your opinion, what attributes to the growing proportion of workplace mistreatment cases becoming public?
People are becoming more aware and empowered. It’s safer to be the victim now (and an underestimated person) than it has ever been. We have legal protections and social support.
What steps do you believe will help in making workplace mistreatment and fear of retaliation a thing of the past?
Accountability, pure and simple. We have to define acceptable and unacceptable workplace behaviors and create consequences and rewards on both sides. Compensation should be tied to aspirational and appropriately inclusive behavior and supporting JEDI initiatives. People should lose bonuses, promotions, and ultimately their jobs—if they have a pattern of defying JEDI principles and behaviors.
If you could sit down with a historical figure to discuss equal rights and social justice, who would it be, what would you discuss, and why?
I’m a writer, so I would want to talk to Octavia E. Butler. She was a brilliant, Black Afrofuturist who defied conventional norms in service of new, mind expanding narratives that centered Blackness. I would ask her advice on the best and highest use of my skills as a social justice writer transitioning into fiction.