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August 2019
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TD Magazine

Leaning Into Diversity

The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table


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By Minda Harts
Seal Press, 202 pp., $21.52

Diversity is such a multilayered topic. As talent development professionals, we must always be ready to have the hard conversations. We create the safe spaces for those discussions to happen in the workplace and must dig deep into a topic to get to the root cause of the issue.

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The Memo is all about peeling the layers of diversity. Harts answers the question, "How do I as a woman get to the executive suite?" She then adds the layer of being a woman of color. At the core of this book, readers can see themselves being reflected back to them. "How do I get ahead as a woman of color?" If that question is on your mind, I suggest you pick up The Memo. Sometimes, it seems like everyone else has the secret sauce, but Harts' book shares the recipe.

Harts is transparent as she discusses her journey to what she calls "an empire state of mind." It is this transparency that grabbed my attention. It was like reading my own work experiences on the page. All professionals of color, regardless of whether they are male or female, will walk away from this book with the tools to hold others and themselves accountable for career success.

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I will admit that, like most books in this genre, there are some familiar topics such as the importance of mentors, building a network, and investing in yourself. However, Harts adds the important reminder that not all women experience the workplace in the same way. She also articulates that being a person of color is not a monolith and that women of color will have their own individualized experiences in the workplace.

The biggest lesson I learned from The Memo is the importance of showing up in our careers and for ourselves. Throughout the book, Harts refers to a pattern of behavior known as "imposter syndrome," where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Harts tells readers to stop fixating on what they do not have and instead focus on their future assets. She lets readers know that, if they want a seat at the table, the first step is believing that they belong at the table. As talent development professionals, we understand that being able to visualize ourselves doing something is often the key to making it happen.

If you are a looking for a great book to add to your collection of career books, especially if you are a person of color, I suggest that you pick up The Memo. You will laugh, and you may cry as well. But at the end, you will know that you do belong at the table.

About the Author

Konstance Allen is an information services training specialist at UI Health.

1 Comment
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Thank you for sharing Minda's book, The Memo. I'm a huge fan of her Podcast, Secure the Seat and super excited to get my copy of The Memo. Thanks for making sure Minda is recognized in this space.
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