Domino Perspectives Galway  Irelanddefault

The Appreciating Differences interactive seminar

Most equality and diversity training can be defined as ‘head' training. People need to know certain things and have clear actions about how to progress. This kind of training - still important - is about adopting a code of behaviour towards others - not about increasing people's awareness of their own value system and how they acquired it. The critical need now is to impact how people are ‘being' as opposed to how they are ‘doing'. Therefore, a different approach is needed.

Geraldine's approach to inclusion training focuses on the concept of difference, which includes all differences, and we look at every individual's responsibility in relation to inclusion.

The focus of this seminar is helping individuals to look at how they see the world and whether their lenses, as it were, need changing. It assumes that the start point for change is within themselves. So Geraldine doesn't try to get them to change their attitudes, their values or their likes and dislikes, but she does challenge them to move out of their comfort zones and see that if they are uncomfortable with someone it is probably more to do with themselves than it is to do with the person they are uncomfortable with.

Key Learning Messages

  • everyone has a right to their own personal value system
  • we do not have a right to impose our value system on others so that we treat them badly, resulting in their performance being less effective at work
  • the organisation must make clear what the value system of the organisation is and be able to define ‘unacceptable' and ‘champion' behaviours related to it

The core of this inclusion seminar is an experiential exercise designed to ‘get under the skin' of diversity and see what inclusion and exclusion look like in practice. Our heads tell us that we would never allow our personal opinions to affect our professional judgements - the exercise shows us that we all do it a lot of the time, and it shows people just how this happens. We have to stop pretending it doesn't happen - or resolving that we won't do it - and be realistic about taking responsibility for who we are and how we react to others and why - and how inclusive we are (or not). If we have a problem with someone (based on an aspect of their difference as opposed to inappropriate unacceptable behaviour) then we have to be prepared to look at ourselves first and deal honestly with our own issues. This is extremely powerful work. It needs to be facilitated by someone who:

  • can establish a safe environment very quickly
  • operates from a compassionate, non-judgmental standpoint
  • can establish personal credibility quickly
  • can establish the right balance between working in a stimulating and fun way and dealing with sensitive issues
  • can challenge views without being confrontational with the person holding the views
  • has professional credibility in the area of equality and diversity


Geraldine has delivered this seminar to many organisations including:

  • over 4000 managers of PepsiCo International in groups of up to 100 in over 30 countries. In 2007 Geraldine received an ASTD award for Excellence in Practice for her diversity work with PepsiCo International in the area of Building a Globally Inclusive Organisation. 
  • over 500 seniour managers at Pepsi Bottling Group in major US locations
  • 3000 managers and employees of The Passport Office
  • 3000+ managers of The Health and Safety Executive
  • over 1000 managers at LloydsTSB over a five year period
  • many diversity conferences as a keynote presentation

The seminar works particularly well with large groups which makes it a very cost effective training.

Participant Comments

An excellent presentation. Examples were all ones with which you could identify which makes it so much more meaningful in trying to make changes within yourself and within your organisation

Very practical things to take away and work on. Very insightful and thought provoking. Will put the ideas gathered to good use

Diversity presentation excellent - really made me think about how I treat people I come into contact with

Session was inspiring and thought provoking - I don't think I will ever see things in the same light again

Wow - something different. I feel inspired I know it can be done

The session was positively life changing for me. If a company is serious about valuing its employees they should give them the gift of this session


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