Career Compass

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Done Right with Dr. Angela Spranger

Episode Summary

During this episode of Career Compass, your hosts Vernon Williams and Aly Sharp are joined by the Senior Diversity Officer of the Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota, Dr. Angela Spranger as they discuss the rewards and positive impact of working in DE&I, as well as the challenging and changing times that helped inspire inclusive initiatives.

Episode Notes

With bias in the workplace costing companies billions of dollars, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), is no longer a catchphrase, it is an imperative. During this show, your hosts Vernon Williams and Aly Sharp are joined by the Senior Diversity Officer of the Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota, Dr. Angela Spranger as they discuss the rewards and positive impact of working in DE&I, as well as the challenging and changing times that helped inspire inclusive initiatives.

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Episode Transcription

Vernon Williams: Welcome back to season five of Career Compass, a podcast from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the SHRM Foundation. Career Compass prepares the future leaders today for better workplaces tomorrow.

Aly Sharp: As the voice of all things work, SHRM supports students and emerging professionals with advice, information, and resources for every step of your career.

Vernon Williams: Designed for the student or emerging professional, Career Compass delivers timely, relevant, and critical conversations about work to help succeed in your career journey. Thank you for joining us for this episode. My name is Vernon Williams and I will be your co-host.

Aly Sharp: And my name is Aly Sharp, and I will be your other co-host. During this episode, we will explore the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and best practices for new initiatives in the field. Helping us tackle this subject is senior diversity officer of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Angela Spranger. Also, just so you know, this episode is valid for professional development credit, or PDCs, for the SHRM CP or SHRM SCP. We will provide the code later in the episode.

Vernon Williams: And with that, let's get started. Aly, I want to give you a ton of credit, because you really took the production on during this episode. You did the scripts, the scheduling, and of course identifying such a talented guest for us to explore the DEI topic. Tell our audience how you first met Dr. Spranger, how she impacted your life, and why you knew she'd be the perfect guest for today's episode.

Aly Sharp: So I met Dr. Spranger in my junior year of college. She was actually my professor at Christopher Newport University, and she was my starting point for a journey into HR and just exploring different topics in HR. I think I mentioned in the last episode how employee engagement was really important to me, and she just started that off from the jump for me. As soon as I heard diversity, equity, and inclusion, I was reminded of her promotion while I was still at CNU, which we'll get into in a little bit, and her recent move to the University of Minnesota. So I knew just based on her impact on my life that she would be a great guest for our students and listeners to hear the perspective from.

Vernon Williams: Makes sense. I can't wait.

Aly Sharp: All right, let's get into it. As I mentioned, Dr. Spranger currently serves as the first senior diversity officer at the Carlson School of Management, where she leads engagement and advocacy initiatives surrounding diversity and inclusion. Prior to becoming a Golden Gopher, Dr. Spranger was the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at my alma mater, Christopher Newport University, where she was also an assistant professor of management and the SHRM's student chapter advisor. Dr. Spranger carries a wealth of knowledge from four different institutions, including a bachelor of arts from Duke, an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University, master of education from George Washington University, and a PhD in organizational leadership from Regent University. We are in for such a treat today, and with that Career Compass would like to warmly welcome Dr. Angela Spranger.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Thank you so much for the invitation. It is an absolute honor and just my pleasure to join you today. Thank you.

Aly Sharp: As we mentioned in the intro, I had the pleasure of learning from you at Christopher Newport University, but I'm sure our audience would love to learn more about your path to becoming the first senior diversity officer. Could you give us a brief rundown on your career journey and why you chose to work in the DEI space?

Dr. Angela Spra...: Okay, well, Aly, I will try to make it quick. My career journey has spanned like 40 years, summarizing that in about two or three minutes.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Well, after I completed the bachelor of arts in psychology at Duke University, which was my dream school, I returned to Richmond, Virginia and worked in varying roles, which really demonstrates the curved nature of the career path that many of us live. Very few of us get to live that straight linear career path from executive secretary to a general manager at a CBS affiliate to director of administration for a growing megachurch that had, at that time, I think 7,000 members, to a proposal team member in the state's economic development agency, and then to a corporate marketing position.

Dr. Angela Spra...: I did lots of different jobs and I learned so much about different management styles and approaches to leadership. In that marketing job, that's where I decided that I needed a graduate degree. So I enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University and started my first graduate degree for MBA in marketing, all while I was working full time. All of my graduate work was done while I was working full time, sometimes full time plus. The program at VCU was rigorous and challenging, and at the end of it, remember I said an MBA in marketing, when I graduated I got a position at a major defense contractor in Southeastern Virginia doing HR.

Dr. Angela Spra...: So I moved around to different HR specialties there. It's the kind of organization with I think it was like 18,000 employees at the time. You could really do a whole career there and move around several different specialties and areas, which was fantastic. I got to try talent acquisition, labor relations, training development, and of course I joined the local peninsula SHRM chapter during that time, served on the SHRM board. But I ended up settling into a training coordinator role, and there's a whole separate podcast. Y'all may have had this already, but a conversation you could have about your on role official title and the role you actually play in the workplace.

Vernon Williams: Ooh, I like that.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Yeah, right? And that was my last corporate job before I transitioned to teaching traditional students, traditional learners, full time at Christopher Newport University. I had been teaching as an adjunct, again, doing graduate study while working full-time plus, working at the defense contractor and then also teaching at Hampton University or Regent University as an adjunct faculty member. So I stopped all that and went to teach full-time at CNU and launched my consulting business, because I guess I had a need to keep the side hustle going.

Dr. Angela Spra...: But yeah, so I was doing professional development and what I called EDI workshops, because I always felt like equity was the most important part of the acronym. So I was working with clients around the Mid-Atlantic region and learning that equity work, leading the work of inclusion, in essence, it's change management work, and people and organizations are increasingly ready for moving into that change management work. It's just intimidating and frightening to a lot of people. And I was grateful, still am, for the preparation and the background to support executives in different industries as they lead their organizations, and that's essentially what got me to where I am. A few years ago, as a faculty member while I was doing consulting on the side, the president of my university called me to his office and talked with me about helping him start a change initiative and facilitate a culture shift. And I was honored to be able to help with that. And then almost two years later, I got the opportunity to come up here to Minnesota and do the same thing.

Vernon Williams: I want to touch on a couple of things, and then I'll get to my more serious questions. First, you said your dream school was Duke. I'm a Carolina basketball fan, but we going to let that slide.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Mm-mm. Nope.

Vernon Williams: Second thing, I love that you worked side hustle into the conversation. I feel like everybody needs to have a side hustle. That's part of our world nowadays, right?

Dr. Angela Spra...: Well, it's true, but it's unfortunate, and I'm trying to slide into a new season. And the new season, the phrase is "with grace and ease", because I got so programmed and so used to the hustle and grind mentality and the hustle and grind culture of constantly having to be busy and constantly having to do more and more, and offer more and more that you can really run yourself dry doing that. And so to sharpen the saw, to preserve my initial primary resource, which is myself, I have gotten to a place of just trying to tone it down a little bit and not do as much, and say no sometimes. I'm not quite good at it, but I'm working on it. And that was always my thing was I had to have multiple identities that I was operating in, multiple different constituencies that I was serving.

Dr. Angela Spra...: So as an entrepreneur, a consultant, I was serving in this area, as a faculty member and an advisor, I was serving in this area, and I had to definitely learn sometimes it is impossible, neurologically speaking, to multitask. It is impossible to be very good at multiple things at the same time. You could be good at several things sequentially, a little bit here, a little bit there. And so I had to really start prioritizing things differently over the last several years. But yeah, absolutely. Many of us have found it necessary to move through that side hustle season and figure out how to create multiple revenue streams, and that's a whole separate conversation too. But yeah, I'm glad you heard that though.

Vernon Williams: So many different conversations that I would love to have with you offline on a number of topics that you just touched on [inaudible].

Dr. Angela Spra...: As long as you don't say that offensive stuff about the light blue thing anymore, we'll be all right.

Vernon Williams: I respect that, because the difference would be you actually have a degree from there. I'm just a fan, right? So just getting us back on track. I'm sorry for that little side conversation. You attended four different universities. You worked in a variety of business roles in many states across the country. You founded your own consulting firm, as you mentioned. You taught leadership in human resources, in management at CNU and Hampton University, shout out to my HBCU family. How did your experiences in college, consulting, teaching, and so forth, shape your foundation and values in the DEI space?

Dr. Angela Spra...: So now is a time when we get really serious. I did graduate-

Vernon Williams: It can't all be fun and games, right? We got to get business now.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Exactly. So yes, I did graduate from four different universities. I can't help it. I love the learning process. I remember having people tease me along the way, along my journey, about how, "Oh, you're going to be an eternal student," and, "What are you going to do to contribute and use all of that learning?" Later on, after I started to stand up in my gifts and my strengths, I learned that I have learner and achiever in my top five signature strengths. So that justifies and explains that I am attracted to the learning process. I will never stop learning. And it was absolute joy for me to complete those degree programs at those four different schools.

Dr. Angela Spra...: But my experiences in college and most of my work experience has been in predominantly white institutions. I spent most of my life and most of my career operating in what Mary-Frances Winters described as minimization. For those who are familiar with the intercultural development continuum or the intercultural development inventory, the IDI, minimization is right in the center of a spectrum of where we fall in terms of our monocultural or global orientations. Through this work, this work of inclusion that I've been doing the last few years, and our shared cultural experiences in the United States over the last few years, I know that I've moved forward on the continuum. But in reflection, there's no shame in owning that all of my foundational experiences had to do with having to prove my worth, having to adhere to respectability politics, what successful meant, proving or providing irrefutable evidence that I belonged in any given space, and working very hard to avoid behaving in any stereotypical way.

Dr. Angela Spra...: My experiences in college and in teaching both reinforced all of that programming, and that's just the season that I came through. I did get to do a bit of work as a coach using the strengths finder toolkit from the Gallup Organization. I got to work with executives around the country who were predominantly women of color, black women, Asian women, I had a Hispanic woman client, which was fantastic. All of them were fantastic. Most of my consulting work was doing professional development workshops, focusing on strength based leadership development, communication skills. I had a model that I called the five Cs of organizational behavior. So executives could talk to me about what issues they were facing, and I would ask them, or I would diagnose as the org doctor, that it sounds like either communication, collaboration, culture change, or conflict. And we would focus in one of those areas. So conflict management, change management, and then eventually equity and inclusion. So that's really where I got to blossom and develop some opinions and positions and values in the D, E, and I space.

Dr. Angela Spra...: My consulting work required lots of outside reading and ongoing professional development, which that shaped me I think more than anything. And I have to give a shout out, definitely, to the mentoring I received from some amazing leaders in the field, dr. Veleka Gatling, Dr. Janice Underwood, Dr. Kevin McDonald, Dr. Sherri Benn, these folks gave me such important guidance and affirmation as I started this journey full time just a few years ago. So I guess to wrap that answer up, my experiences in college and consulting and teaching shaped my foundation such that I have empathy for those who have been in the same position I have, but I am able to advocate for people who have not. I'll stop it there.

Aly Sharp: That answer was extremely profound. I should have known when I was making these questions that you are going to surprise me with your answers, but it just really opens my eyes, and I think everyone should hear more from you from that perspective. Along with your path, you are also an accomplished author, and you wrote "Why People Stay: Helping Your Employees Feel Seen, Safe and Valued". Can you talk a little about how employee engagement is affected by D, E, and I initiatives?

Dr. Angela Spra...: Sure. Thank you so much for mentioning my book, Aly. [inaudible] So that book, while it was published several years ago, it's based on my dissertation research, and I would argue that the fact still holds true. When organizational leaders focus on creating an atmosphere of belonging, and an environment in which employees feel seen, safe, and valued, then they will get to reap the individual and organizational benefits, like higher revenues and profits, lower turnover, which would be great right now, wouldn't it? Right? We're all experiencing lots of turnover. Lower shrinkage, fewer accidents, less unionization, the benefits go on and on. And I'm not anti-union, but when you see the phenomena that are happening right now in our workplace, I just shake my head because I'm thinking a lot of this could have been prevented if you had an organizational leadership working hard to make sure that their employees had felt seen over the last few years, and safe, and valued.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Each one is its own separate category. When people don't feel seen, they behave in certain ways. When people don't feel safe, they behave in certain ways. And when people don't feel valued, guess what? They leave. All of those things are just tremendous benefits, of course, that are valuable. It seems like to me it would be so easy to encourage leaders to focus on investing in creating an environment in which their employees are engaged, they have a high degree of organizational commitment, they report feeling like they belong. That's been my focus here, actually, at Carlson is we're speaking the language of inclusive excellence, which we'll get to in a minute, and we're starting to really talk about promoting an atmosphere in which people feel like they belong. So the book chapter too, that I wrote last year, I just published on the inclusive leaders toolkit, goes even deeper into identifying those strategies and tactics that can be useful for leaders of all kinds of organizations.

Dr. Angela Spra...: And that's where I specifically introduce the five terrains of inclusive excellence, because when you start focusing intentionally on doing the work of inclusion as a leader, you can ensure that your organization's focus on excellence, it's a small tweak, really. Intellectually speaking, you've always probably been focused on excellence. As a leader, of course. Every organization wants to say, "We focus on excellence. We promote excellence in our service delivery or in our products," or whatever. But the key is if you focus on excellence, and it's strategically integrated throughout your organization and it explicitly addresses inclusion, that improves decision quality, that improves critical thinking, that improves emotional intelligence and cultural competence, all of which support what Carla Harris has called the commercial imperative for diversity.

Dr. Angela Spra...: So you see how it's all woven together. That's what I'm trying to do is bring together all of these very practical, useful, necessary components of organizational leadership, and make it easier for folks to accept. There are some things like inclusion, diversity and inclusion, that sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. If we accept and appreciate that diversity is not just some novel concept, it's been with us for decades, but also it's a commercial imperative. It's going to improve your business. Particularly in a capitalist society, you want that right?

Vernon Williams: Mm-hmm. Diversity of opinions, diversity obviously around the leadership table, so diversity in all forms. And I love that you actually mentioned sense of belonging. My background, which I know pre-show we didn't go into a lot, but I spent years in higher education both living and working on campuses. And as I was starting to, in my latter years, see the importance of that belonging, so we often talked about food and shelter in terms of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and where that falls on a spectrum. But what I was starting to see is it didn't matter how nice the resident halls were. If this person didn't feel like they had a group to belong to, you were going to experience a lot of problems in behavior, grades, obviously, and so forth. So I imagine that probably carries over into the workforce, and that's a lot of what it sounds like this particular book was discussing.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Yes. And I did a little bit of research, and I saw some of your background. You were dealing with crisis response as well as engagement, and I think that we would be able to, in our current work environment as well as in our higher education environment, we would be able to move out of the crisis, respond to crisis, anticipate the next crisis, live through the crisis, respond to the crisis. We'd be able to get out of that cycle if we focus more on engagement and belonging. Does that make sense?

Vernon Williams: Sure. It does. It makes perfect sense, and you're exactly right. We saw that, or I should say I saw that playing out. And so in a lot of cases, the response to a troubled student was how do we get them involved? That's why I think my roles were combined in a lot of cases, because once we got them involved in a club, an organization, research with a faculty member, whatever that looks like, all of the behavioral issues started to go down.

Vernon Williams: So I want to switch up just a little bit. I'm sure our audience is starting to get the sense, if they had not already, that we're really talking to a leader and pioneer in the DEI space, so my next question is regarding the changing workplace dynamics as it relates to DEI. How has your thinking about changed, and how would you describe it now as opposed to, say, 10 years ago, five years ago, or maybe even, say, five weeks ago, maybe last night, even, with some of the legislation that just got passed? Walk us through that transition.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Well, first of all, thank you, Vernon. I'm honored, but I am truly walking in others' footsteps. I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, as they say. And I gave my shout out to my mentors, those who have invested in me with the work that I do and the way that I do it. My thinking about DEI has changed most dramatically from five or 10 years ago in that, unlike Angela from 2017 or 2012, I say things out loud in public now that give others permission to ask questions and accept their own vulnerability. In group meetings, in presentations, I create space. I invite participation. I honor positions. And I set boundaries, and I require accountability in ways that I wouldn't have before. The work of inclusion is one of the phrases I get to use daily now, whereas I might not have several years ago. And creating space is another phrase that I use all the time now. People are getting used to me. Live into it is another phrase that I'm using quite a lot now.

Dr. Angela Spra...: This is a different space for me than, like I said, five years ago, where I had to be much more careful because of that minimization training and programming. I felt that I had to be much more careful, and as I think you mentioned a minute ago, Vernon, when an employee or an individual in an organization doesn't feel safe or fully integrated into the organization, they will behave in certain ways. And so I definitely had that experience of let me just keep my head down, do what's expected of me, try to not draw any negative attention kind of thing. But a few years ago, I don't know, I just got released, energetically. I don't know if it was the universe or what.

Dr. Angela Spra...: But it started with creating an affinity group for women called the Collegiate Women's Network, women and people who identify as women, at Christopher Newport University, and then from there I think the doors were opened and I started, again, having conversations out loud, being more comfortable talking about issues of race and gender and ability and neurodiversity and all of the different layers of diversity and inclusion that weren't being discussed in various spaces. Just starting it. Being willing to start the conversation or entertain the conversation. So I think my thinking about DEI has changed in the sense that it's not only appropriate, because remember that respectability politics training that I had all my life was about what was appropriate and not wanting to be offensive, not wanting to be too much. So having to step into my own gifts and take the opportunities that my own talents had created a space for. Your gifts and talents will make room for you in the presence of rulers and kings.

Dr. Angela Spra...: You don't have to be super aggressive, loud, boisterous, whatever. There's a space for that. There are people who are much more militant, much more pointed, much more aggressive than I am, but I choose to believe now that the work I get to do is because of how I have shown up over these last decades, and what I have made myself available for, and how I have been willing to facilitate conversations that are sometimes difficult and painful and uncomfortable, and ensure that all parties come through it with dignity and respect. So I guess my thinking about DEI has changed in the sense that it's not an option anymore. We don't get to, I won't even say we, I'll say the systems that have been in place for decades in this country no longer get to try to ignore the needs of diverse groups and populations, our historically marginalized communities. Now it's an absolute imperative that we do the work of inclusion in order to keep moving forward as a culture and as organizations within this culture.

Vernon Williams: You're absolutely right. I feel like growing up diversity classes were something you could opt in or opt out of, whereas now the conversation is around us. It's everywhere that we look, and I'm glad that we have created the space as a society to have those conversations. And it just feels better, right?

Dr. Angela Spra...: Yes. Yes, absolutely.

Vernon Williams: I want to pause for just a second to take care of a couple of housekeeping items. First, those of you listening to this podcast who are seeking professional development credit, this program is valid for 0.5 PDCs for the SHRM CP or SHRM SCP. The code to redeem your PDCs is 23-CZAS6. Please note that this code will expire on September 7th, 2023. Again, that code is the number two, the number three, dash, the letter C as in Charlie, the letter Z as in Zulu, the letter A as in alpha, the letter S as in Sierra, the number six.

Aly Sharp: And speaking of PDCs, one place to earn more than 20 PDCs while networking with peers, connecting with mentors, and expanding your HR knowledge is at Inclusion this October in beautiful San Diego. Inclusion 2022 is more than a conference. It's a chance to change the way you see the world and to create a more equitable world of work. And even better for students with discounted member pricing at 395 for in-person registration in San Diego, or 245 for virtual passes.

Aly Sharp: And I just wanted to make one note on the last question, because sometimes I sit here at work and I'm like, "What is it?", and my background that makes me so drawn to creating relationships when I'm at work. And Vernon is part of my lunch crew, we like to say, and we all come from different walks of life, and we're all different ages, we all have different family situations, and I think that we are such big proponents of having those open conversations that you mentioned, even though we're not in leadership, but we have a trust amongst each other that we can talk openly and share our opinions and accept feedback from others without feeling like we are being attacked or we need to change our views for other people.

Aly Sharp: So our next question is that we all know that diversity and inclusion can come with some challenges, but it can also be very rewarding. What are one or two challenges that you faced, as well as one or two of your most rewarding moments?

Dr. Angela Spra...: Great question, Aly, and at the risk of facing accusations of toxic positivity, I'd like to start with the rewarding first. I will say that I have received affirmation for using senior instead of chief in this role here, and on the one hand that felt very performative. It felt like a very small thing to ask if we could change the title of this position, but having done it and enduring the pushback about it, which wasn't too pointed. It was just, "Why? Why does it matter? Nobody cares." But then, in a group meeting, I had someone say to me that they really appreciated that, and they identified their own indigenous background and they took it as it was intended, as a gesture of respect, and that means something to me. And I just had that repeated again recently. So I'm really grateful for that, because you don't get a whole lot of that kind of affirmation when you're doing this work.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Another very rewarding thing has been the opportunity to model and teach the name, place, and intent format for doing introductions. When you introduce yourself, usually, at least in my role and in my consulting work and that kind of thing, say you're doing a presentation, you got a slide deck and your intro slide has all of your bonafides listed. This degree, that degree, this many publications, this many student awards, so on and so forth, but I've shifted a little bit to doing an introduction where I talk about my name and the history of my name and who I'm named after, and where the name comes from. And place, in terms of where I'm coming from, and not just a land acknowledgement, but my connection to the place that I'm coming from. And then my intent for the time, what I intend to do with us while we are here together.

Dr. Angela Spra...: And I've had the opportunity for people to come up to me and say, "Hey, I like that. Where'd you get that?" And I give credit to the Crucial Conversations Organization, I took it from them, and I've been able to really open people up. They share more about themselves and create genuine connections when they do those introductions that way. And of course, connecting with other people doing this work, and forming valuable support and development groups has been very rewarding. Very rewarding. It's kept me upright sometimes when I just wanted to droop. And then making room for young people and older people to question and examine and reconsider and reform their values and their norms. That's beautiful. That's the kind of thing that keeps me going in this work.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Most challenging. This work is emotionally exhausting. The nature of a diversity officer's job is emotionally exhausting. It requires, every day, that you bring compassion and anger and energetic investment and creativity and tact and political savvy, and a whole slew of other things to intentionally apply all that you bring, all of your toolkit. Like I mentioned in that toolkit, articles, the chapter I wrote last year, it requires a whole lot every day, such that you have to acknowledge on a pretty frequent basis, okay, it's time for some self-care. I need to cut this off. I'm going to leave. I'm going to go home and take a nap, or I'm going to go home and take a walk, it's probably more healthy and productive, or whatever self-care looks like. Getting away for a weekend, or going and sitting in a hot tub, or whatever different people have to do.

Dr. Angela Spra...: I've been very grateful to have joined with a small friend group here in Minnesota where there are several women who are triathletes and whatnot, so they're always posting and texting about, "Yeah, I walked this morning," or, "I got to the gym today, what are you going to do?" And that motivation is really helpful to get me just to get my 8,000 or 10,000 steps in a day. But also taking care of yourself physically, and then recognizing that emotionally and spiritually, because of how much you pour out every day, you owe it to yourself to invest in building yourself up, whatever that means and looks like.

Vernon Williams: Dr. Spranger, I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, and unfortunately we got to start bringing things to a close, so I'm going to get you out of here on this question. Any advice or parting tips for students and emerging professionals who are interested in DEI or impacting their workplace in the future?

Dr. Angela Spra...: Yes, absolutely. And thank you so much. It has been an absolute pleasure chatting with y'all today, and I'm just so gratified to hear things coming full circle, because I was very, very involved with the SHRM chapter on campus, and in that area in Southeastern Virginia, and just to see Aly, and you Vernon, doing this work and reaching out to students and to young professionals in HR in this way is just phenomenal. So rewarding.

Dr. Angela Spra...: And by way of encouraging people who want to dig deeper, I definitely recommend NICELA, the National Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy. You can look that up. Damon Williams is the owner, I guess, of that consultancy, and has led the way, led the research in terms of higher education diversity and inclusion work. So if you're somebody who's in higher ed, I would send them that way. And I'm leaning towards higher education, but in general, if folks in corporate, particularly our younger folks coming into the professional workforce wanting to impact creating an environment where people feel like they belong, I would certainly recommend all of the great LinkedIn learning courses on belongingness and DIBs, they're calling it, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Dr. Angela Spra...: And let's see, the eCornell program for diversity and inclusion I participated in. That was fantastic. So yeah, there are a lot more resources out there now than there were years ago when I was doing even my last graduate degree. So I'm excited about that, because we're having those conversations, we're teaching what we can teach, learning from one another, sharing experiences, and growing together in this broader community. And I definitely encourage folks young and old to learn something new.

Aly Sharp: I love that little tidbit to learning at the end, because as you were talking about your Gallup strengths, I was remembered that one of my Gallup strengths is being a lifelong learner. So I'm like, "Hmm. I wonder who I got that from." But Dr. Spranger, thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey and your thoughts about the different HR career pathways with our students and emerging professionals. It was so great to catch up with you, and I'm sure we'll be in touch soon.

Dr. Angela Spra...: Absolutely. My pleasure, Aly. Thank you both.

Vernon Williams: And with that, we're going to bring this episode of Career Compass to a close. We'd like to thank SHRM and the SHRM Foundation for providing us with this platform. But more importantly, we'd like to thank you all for joining us and hope you stay with us throughout the season as we discuss more topics like this episode.

Aly Sharp: For more exclusive content, resources, and tools to help you succeed in your career, consider joining SHRM as a student member. You can visit us at to learn more about being a part of a community of over 300,000 HR and business leaders who impact the lives of over 115 million employees worldwide.

Vernon Williams: If you like what you heard, follow us or subscribe at Career Compass on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. And if you have a topic that you think we should cover, or guest you think we should hear from, we'd love to hear from you. Email us at

Aly Sharp: Lastly, are you looking for more work and career related podcasts? Check out all things work and honest HR at Thank you again for listening, and we'll catch you on the next episode of Career Compass.