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These Women Are the Next Generation’s Leaders

December 11, 2019, 11:34 PM UTC

This is the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s daily newsletter on race, culture, and inclusive leadership. To get it delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.

Tamara El-Waylly here, filling in for Ellen while she’s at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit. The conference kicked off yesterday in Laguna Niguel, Calif., and features women who embody forward-thinking leadership. For those who can’t attend, never fear. Here are some takeaways.

  1. In her first public interview, Chanel Miller, Know My Name author and sexual assault survivor, explained her decision to reveal her name. From my colleague Anne Sraders, on the conversation with Fortune‘s Beth Kowitt:
    1. “Miller was nervous to come forward under her own name, largely out of concern for her privacy and safety. But she said the feeling of being alone—unable to share her experience or interact with others about it—was a key factor in taking the leap. ‘Keeping a secret can be really isolating, especially when 18 million people can discuss your secret but you can’t,’ Miller said. ‘I felt like I was changing, I was on this whole transformative narrative arc, and the way people perceive me felt outdated—like they were identifying with my past self.’”
  2. How do you truly transform the workplace—and work culture—to be both diverse and inclusive? RaceAhead‘s Ellen McGirt moderated a panel on the issue with Code2040 CEO Karla Monterroso, Dalana Brand, vice president of people experience and head of inclusion and diversity at Twitter,and Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer of Carbon. As Fortune‘s Nicole Goodkind writes of the dialogue, it often comes down to having difficult conversations:
    1. “Organizational systems of promoting diversity like bias training and pipeline programs are necessary, [said Treseder], ‘but we actually have to talk and have a conversation, which is really hard.’ The old-fashioned idea that people shouldn’t get personal or talk about internal struggles in the workplace, she explained, is not actually polite or helpful.”
  3. Equal pay is about more than money. Pay equity champions Jessi Miley-Dyer and Alysia Montaño discussed their efforts as part of a larger “movement,” writes Ellen:
    1. “’There are so many women in the world now that are fighting for those things [pay equity]. And we really wanted to be like a leader in the space,’ Miley-Dyer said.

Tamara El-Waylly

tamara.elwaylly@fortune.com

Ellen McGirt wrote and curated the blurbs in this edition of raceAhead.

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On Point

Greta Thunberg is Time’s person of the year The person of the year is always a conversation-starter. This is a lot to put on the shoulders of a 16 year old. But wherever you stand on the young activist, you’ve gotta love the way the Time team opted to describe her neurodiversity. “She has Asperger’s syndrome, which means she doesn’t operate on the same emotional register as many of the people she meets. She dislikes crowds; ignores small talk; and speaks in direct, uncomplicated sentences. She cannot be flattered or distracted. She is not impressed by other people’s celebrity, nor does she seem to have interest in her own growing fame. But these very qualities have helped make her a global sensation.”
Time

The country’s biggest blueberry producer is fined for labor abuses Munger Bros., based in Delano, Calif., has been ordered to pay the Labor Department some $3.5 million in back wages and penalties, as part of a groundbreaking legal agreement. The government has a two-part argument. First, Munger passed over U.S. workers for foreign guest workers. Then, it failed to adequately pay or protect those workers. Several hundred workers were recruited through a Mexico-based contractor to pick fruit in California and Washington state; the company is the subject of a class-action lawsuit that alleges human trafficking and numerous labor violations. It’s a record fine and a novel legal argument. 
Los Angeles Times

Immigration authorities are defending their creation of a decoy university to entrap foreign students The Detroit Free Press first reported the sting operation, which involved the creation of a fake university in Michigan expressly in order to attract and deport immigrant students. Some 250 students have been arrested on some form of immigration violation. The story resulted in a national outcry, but federal law enforcement says it was a necessary ploy to fight visa fraud. "This is cruel and appalling," Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter. "These students simply dreamed of getting the high-quality higher education America can offer. ICE deceived and entrapped them, just to deport them."
USA Today

The addition of a nonbinary option for driver’s licenses has pinched state budgets About a dozen states have added an “X” to the “M” and “F” options on their licenses and identification products. But laggards may be dealing with more than politics. A representative from the California DMV told Fortune that the entire process of adding a third gender option took approximately 5,000 work-hours, $880,000 in one-time costs, and $45,000 in ongoing costs. Come for the familiar horrors of bureaucracy, stay for the stories of public servants working hard to get ‘er done.
Fortune

On Background

Fat and lazy? Lean and mean? Why we just can’t shake body-based stereotypes The associations have been around since the 1940s, when psychologist William Sheldon established “somatypes,” or three body types that he believed could be linked to personality traits. Ectomorphs, tall and thin, were shy and anxious, while the rotund endomorphs were lazy and “affection-seeking.” While these theories have been completely debunked, their impacts have not. A recent study by researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas finds that people continue to make moral judgments based on people’s body types. The fatter the body, the more negative the traits. Since obesity is more likely to be found in low-income communities where access to good food and the time to prepare it is scarce, these negative first impressions are particularly dangerous.
The Atlantic

A Tiny Desk concert like no other I like to imagine the first time someone pitched the Tiny Desk series during an NPR edit meeting: “It’s like a concert in our office, plus an interview. No, we won’t clean up or anything. We’ll just put them in a corner.” The unusual venue has led to some extraordinarily intimate moments over the years. (Since Lizzo is back in the news, you might enjoy her "truly tiny-ass desk" concert.) But this one, from a band called Bernie and the Believers, is more intimate than most. It’s the story of an aspiring musician named Bernie Dalton, a father and songwriter in his 40s with a day job as a pool cleaner, who had one dream: Make an album. His teacher and collaborator managed to help him achieve his goal, just as his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig's disease threatened to consume him. Bring tissues.
NPR

Let’s all go to the baths today You will want to book a flight to Japan immediately after reading this lovely piece by Hanya Yanagihara, who shares her tentative and joyful experiences with ofuru or the Japanese public bath ritual. "One might not appreciate just how extraordinary the country’s devotion to soaking in a steaming tub of water is until one realizes that Japan might be the only industrialized nation in which virtually every citizen (in this case, 127 million people) participates in a daily event," she says. She describes the sensory delights, the all-enveloping aesthetic, the communal peace and the overwhelming “Japanese-ness” of it all. “It is a time and place reserved for pleasing the senses, for enjoying the luxury of feeling, for the wonder of experiencing the simplest, most satisfying sensations: heat, water, scent.” Utterly blissful…unless you’re a shy outsider.
Town and Country

Quote

“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow. Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you're Count Dracula.”

Kurt Vonnegut, in response to five New York City high school students who had contacted him as part of a 2006 English assignment.