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The 99 Day Diversity Challenge

The 99 Day Diversity Challenge
Creating an Inclusive Workplace

First Edition

January 2019 | 328 pages | SAGE Response

Is it really possible for an individual or an organization to develop an inclusion and diversity mindset within the proverbial 99 days?

Award-winning social entrepreneur Dr Saundarya Rajesh, one of India’s most prominent diversity strategists who is credited with having ushered in the ‘second-career’ revolution for women professionals, believes it is.

In an engaging, gentle, often light-hearted way, Dr Rajesh demystifies this vast subject of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) for the business leader, the diversity enthusiast and even the young professional who is curious about this topic.  Over a set of 99 stories, anecdotes and thought blogs, this book sequentially uncovers what inclusion and diversity means and how this can be absorbed by just about everyone.

At the core of The 99 Day Diversity Challenge is the belief that the organizational practice of inclusion actually results in us becoming better human beings. For when we break down differences and create greater connectedness between people, we are building a better world.

What is The 99 Day Diversity Challenge?

• A never-before account of the nascent experiences of implementing the culture of D&I at the Indian workplace

• A precise explanation on the different strands of diversity, how to leverage each strand and the future of the D&I thought

• A handy guide to set organizational inclusion goals, design a methodology to accomplish them and track your progress

• An interesting ‘user manual’ to unlock the diverse human potential at your workplace

Prelude: The CEO’s Townhall
Section 1: The Basics of Diversity
Day 1/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 2/99 What Does a Diverse Workplace Really Mean?
Day 3/99 Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Dimensions of Diversity
Day 4/99 Recognizing Differences
Day 5/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 6/99 Understanding Your Diversity Biodata
Day 7/99 The Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion
Day 8/99 How Is Diversity and Inclusion Beneficial?
Day 9/99 What Is Cultural Blindness?
Day 10/99 Crossword
Section 2: The Dimensions of Diversity
Day 11/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 12/99 The Diversity Strand of Gender
Day 13/99 The Diversity Strand of Generations
Day 14/99 The Diversity Strand of LGBT
Day 15/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 16/99 Religious Diversity
Day 17/99 Socio-economic Diversity
Day 18/99 Intersectional Diversity
Day 19/99 Is a Unified Culture Possible in a Diverse Workplace?
Day 20/99 Wordfinder
Section 3: Gender and Generations: Important Imperatives
Day 21/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 22/99 Millennials
Day 23/99 Age Diversity
Day 24/99 Knowledge Transfer in Generational Diversity
Day 25/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 26/99 The First-generation Indian Woman Professional
Day 27/99 The Phenomenon of Second Careers for Women
Day 28/99 Intentional Career Pathing for Women
Day 29/99 POSH: A Foundation
Day 30/99 Crossword
Section 4: Initiating the Discussion Around Diversity
Day 31/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 32/99 Problems of a Diverse Workplace
Day 33/99 Diversity in a VUCA World
Day 34/99 D&I in Small and Medium Enterprises
Day 35/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 36/99 Obtaining the Buy-in for a D&I Agenda
Day 37/99 Diversity and Team Development
Day 38/99 Diversity and Problem-solving
Day 39/99 Diversity and Profitability
Day 40/99 Wordfinder
Section 5: Demystifying Diversity in Your Workplace
Day 41/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 42/99 Identifying Your D&I Champion
Day 43/99 Hallmarks of an Inclusive Colleague
Day 44/99 Cognitive Diversity and Identity Diversity
Day 45/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 46/99 Social Justice and Inclusion
Day 47/99 Buddy Systems and Inclusion
Day 48/99 D&I Metrics
Day 49/99 D&I Action Plan and Business Goals
Day 50/99 Crossword
Section 6: The Role of Leadership and Strategy in Diversity and Inclusion
Day 51/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 52/99 Interlude: The Tallest Lighthouses Cast the Longest Shadows
Day 53/99 The CEO is the CIO
Day 54/99 Creating an Inclusive Business Environment
Day 55/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 56/99 Objectives of a D&I Agenda
Day 59/99 What Is the ROI on Diversity and Inclusion?
Day 60/99 Wordfinder
Section 7: Actioning Your D&I Vision
Day 61/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 62/99 Elements of an Effective D&I Plan
Day 63/99 A Hierarchy of D&I Priorities
Day 64/99 How to Measure D&I Progress?
Day 65/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 66/99 Competencies of D&I Practitioners
Day 67/99 Who Are Your D&I Role Models?
Day 68/99 ‘Diversity Fatigue’ Is Real
Day 69/99 Diversity Audits and Benchmarks
Day 70/99 Crossword
Section 8: Biases and How to Find Them
Day 71/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 72/99 Interlude: The Danger of Caring Too Much
Day 73/99 Understanding Your Biases
Day 74/99 Filters of Perception
Day 75/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 76/99 Self-awareness and Inclusion
Day 77/99 Inclusion Begins with ‘I’
Day 78/99 Blind Spots
Day 79/99 Diversity Sensitization: The ‘Why’ of Inclusion
Day 80/99 Wordfinder
Section 9: Creating Equity in the Workplace
Day 81/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 82/99 Interlude: Bonsai Trees and Apple Boxes
Day 83/99 Equity and Equality
Day 84/99 Employee Resource Groups
Day 85/99 D&I Game: Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion
Day 86/99 Language as a Diversity Factor
Day 87/99 Inclusion and CSR
Day 88/99 Inclusion and Respect
Day 89/99 Is Your Hiring Inclusive?
Day 90/99 Crossword
Section 10: Infusing the Spirit of Inclusion in Your Workplace
Day 91/99 Diversity and Inclusion Lexicon
Day 92/99 Inclusion and Flexibility
Day 93/99 Work-Life Balance and Work-Life Integration
Day 94/99 Men as Allies
Day 95/99 The Superwoman Syndrome
Day 96/99 Inclusion and the Salsa Culture
Day 97/99 The Imposter Syndrome
Day 98/99 Artificial Intelligence and Inclusion
Day 99/99 The Inclusive Learning Organization
Epilogue: The Red Carpet
Answers to Crosswords

I haven’t come across a book on diversity and inclusion that is so compelling with personal anecdotes, yet outcome-driven and organization focused. Dr Saundarya has taken a very non-linear approach in delivering her product with substance and character that has her signature all over it.

Raj Raghavan,
Senior VP HR, IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation Limited)

Business case for diversity and inclusion has been well researched, established and unequivocally proven. And yet progress has not been adequate whether in public or private enterprises due to multiple reasons—cultural, historical, conscious and unconscious biases. That’s why D&I has to be championed by the CEO/head of the organization with passion, conviction and commitment. Dr Saundarya has researched and championed women’s workforce participation at multiple levels for two decades. She is internationally recognized and respected for her deep insights into theory and practice of D&I. I invariably came away with new perspectives on the subject after interacting with her and attending her sessions/workshops. I cannot think of a better person to write a book on D&I than Saundarya, and I am convinced that the book will exude her passion and in-depth understanding of the topic.

Dr Raman Ramachandran,
Head South Asia, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India Ltd

Organizations with diverse and inclusive leadership at the top create a better world where individuals and organization not only grow, but they also thrive, get more out of their talent and therefore deliver better performance. Dr Saundarya Rajesh’s passion for creating inclusive cultures and helping women with potential achieve their career goals is unshakable.

Mr Ramesh Iyer,
CEO, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited

By engaging the reader in a combination of riveting storytelling, roleplays, quizzes and practical tools, Dr Rajesh invites us into a CEO’s world and his/her journey to becoming an advocate for diversity and inclusion. The 99 Day Diversity Challenge is filled with real-life, practical examples of strategies and techniques that can be used to shift mindsets and drive meaningful change.

Rohini Anand,
Senior VP Corporate Responsibility and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo

Dr Saundarya Rajesh is uniquely positioned to write this book because she has lived this journey personally and has been a teacher and collaborator to both individual women and their companies for a couple of decades. This book synthesizes her best thinking and experiences. The ability to have a handy resource as reference when you are on your company’s inclusion journey is critical. This is the book you want in your arsenal. Be sure to get your advance copy!

Subha Barry,
VP and General Manager, Working Mother Media

I think Dr Saundarya Rajesh is most qualified to write on the topic of D&I as she has great passion for the subject combined with the gravitas of research over many years. I also think that she has moved beyond qualifications and made a change in the society with Project PUTHRI. She has also created a huge influence in the way subliminal gender bias has been addressed in the Indian workplace and that is showing the way for organizations to put this on the top of their agenda—something that was never spoken about.

S.V. Nathan,
CHRO, Deloitte India

A simple, practical and engaging read on diversity and inclusion, presented innovatively. The stories shared are profound and relatable. Saundarya’s 99 Day Diversity Challenge has something to offer to all who wish to be part of or create a diverse and inclusive ecosystem.

Uma Ratnam Krishnan,
Managing Director and Co-CEO, Barclays Global Service Centres

“Starter-to-dessert detailing of diversity and inclusion…offers a precise explanation on both concepts”

The New Indian Express


“Through stories, anecdotes and blogs, totaling 99…how to set organizational inclusion goals and design a methodology.”

The Hindu

“Coming from Dr. Saundarya Rajesh who one of the early voices of D&I in India, this book is a must read for all those with insatiabke appetite for D&I. Doctor Rajesh has weaved in her personal experiences through anecdotes and stories that makes this book a compelling read for all D&I enthusiast…”

Director Today, October 2019
Key features

·         Authored by Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, who is one of India’s very first voices to speak about the inclusion of women in the workplace and considered an authority on the subject.

·         A breezy and engaging collection of stories, caselets and first-person accounts of the real-life experiences of individuals and organizations aspiring to create a better workplace.

·         A comprehensive perspective on the different strands of diversity, how to leverage each strand and what the future of the D&I looks like.

·         In the current era of multiplicity of talent, this book speaks about engaging diverse professionals at the workplace to unleash their combined energy.

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ISBN: 9789352808311