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Session Title: DEI: The Positive-Sum Game
Speaker: Tracy Kizer, Associate Professor of Marketing, Rollins College

Session description: One of the greatest barriers to the successful implementation of DEI initiatives is the idea that it is a zero-sum game. A game in which one side loses and the other side gains. Undoubtedly, this paradigm is rooted in a historical reality that propagated the idea that benefits, be they economic, or otherwise - should be absorbed by the majority group. Thus, complicating the benefits of DEI, and giving rise to the need for the decoupling of long-held societal views. This presentation supports the view that DEI initiatives are in fact a positive-sum game, where everyone’s needs can be met and losses are minimized, while the organization thrives. Most, if not all organizations considers return on investment as a key metric in assessing business performance. What if DEI initiatives were framed in terms of ROI? What if they were framed as a core competency for the organization? If more organizations viewed DEI as a business strategy or core competency, they would be more intentional about making it a positive-sum game. Organizations that want to succeed in this arena have to develop an approach for creating organizational solidarity around DEI. Solidarity is the underpinning of the zero-sum vs. positive-sum perspective. The zero-sum perspective can inadvertently create a glass ceiling effect, as some individuals who are DEI benefactors, may be penalized by their counterparts for being ushered in through a DEI initiative. Solidarity can potentially shift this activity; as it can serve to reduce unconscious bias within the organization by reframing losses and gains. Solidarity with one another can lead to benefits for all. If forces individuals to ask: Who are we to each other? Who are we as an employee of company X? What is the vision we want for this company? Organizational culture in which DEI inches closer to a positive-sum game is one that embraces the perspective that everyone should “have” because everyone is like “me”. This presentation seeks to provide ways to achieve a positive-sum DEI game and to remove the perception and stigma that DEI is a zero-sum game.

Bio:  Tracy H. Kizer is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. Prior to joining the Crummer Graduate School of Business, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Dayton and a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. She received her Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of South Florida, an M.B.A. from Crummer Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (minor in Chemistry) from Florida A&M University. Dr. Kizer is a member of the PhD Project Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association, the American Marketing Association and the Association for Consumer Research. Her scholarship has appeared in numerous top marketing journals including the Journal of the Academy of Management Science, Journal of Consumer Behavior, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice and the Journal of Consumer Affairs, to name a few. She has been an invited presenter at numerous conferences. In addition, she sits on the editorial review board for the Journal of Business Research and has reviewed for the Journal of Promotions Management, Journal of Consumer Policy, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and the Journal of Advertising Research. Her research focuses on developing theoretical and practical contributions in the field of identity and self-concept, branding and marketing communications, particularly through the lens of intersectionality and culture. She currently sits on the board of directors for the Orlando Day Nursery and Family Promise of Greater Orlando. She is a dedicated member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America. She is passionate about issues surrounding inclusion, gender and racial equity. Her corporate experience includes process engineering, operations and marketing, and management consulting. She is married to Dr. Tremon Kizer, and has one son Tremon Kizer, Jr. 

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