"I first met Janice at a workshop she helped to lead, about a year ago, in a series called “Inclusive Lab Leadership”. We met several times after the workshop, found that we shared many ideas and values, and became very good friends in a short time. I feel privileged to know her.
I have been to many bad workshops. As this one went on, I realized that Janice and her colleagues had a great deal to offer, and my attention sharpened. They had numerous insights and genuinely useful guides on how to foster a healthy and productive environment in a research lab, and I saw that these insights were the product of long and careful thought, experience, and
wide ranging scholarship. Janice in particular had developed her own approach to this subject, which she calls Active Centralized Empowerment, and which I found to be particularly powerful."
Samuel N Beshers, Ph.D. Neuroscience Program Coordinator
A.C.E. ing IT!
Vision & Purpose
The Vision and Purpose of Active Centralized Empowerment is not about having groups from the margins migrate into a single group, which can create silos of imbalance. It is about getting people to work together across different landscapes in inclusive, productive and respectful ways.
What Does A.C.E. ing it Mean?
Meaning and Mission
A.CE.ing it is about creating a space of love, kindness, respect, dignity, belonging and inclusion with power. It is a space where All people are encouraged to be their best self while working on character building that is productive and constructive rather than destructive. It is a space where individuals work as a collective to make this world a better, more educated place where everyone can exist and thrive! Everyone has equal opportunity to flourish and gain self-esteem, confidence and value by helping others and knowing and feeling that they matter. It is a space of Unity rather than Division.
What truly distinguishes A.C.E. from other styles of teaching and learning is that A.C.E. was created and designed to, intentionally and directly, challenge and address forms of oppression that hinder positive development on all levels, individually and within a collective. It means to be Actively Centralized and Empowered from your authenticity! Groundbreaking and game-changing from the traditional way of doing things, A.C.E. as a philosophical theory, practice, critical pedagogy, paradigm and organizational design for diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion with power brings out the very best in you, your business, community, classroom and learning environment, and life through de-marginalization.
A.C.E. encourages learning how to use your best attributes to move from the margins to Optimal Performance, Benefits and Results. This means, for instance, students in STEM learn subject matter but they also learn skills to de-marginalize themselves and others. This includes self-agency, self-value, engaged and active voicing, Transformational leadership skills, and the value of cross-cultural competency within a collective. There is also concerted effort to include a student’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as academic enhancement. It is a way to nurture the gift within us all, the purpose and mission we were born with to create a better world on the micro and macro level.
Its heuristic and holistic approach enables participants to practice and learn by doing, then repeat - a location where Experiential Learning and Applied Science meet. This pedagogy is effective because in addition to being a praxis and a theory, it comes with physical space designs for de-marginalization. The foundation of this unique pedagogy comes from 16 years of empirical research, theoretical implications and discoveries, and realia. I created, tested, & developed the national award-winning and producing Active Centralized Empowerment (A.C.E.) from learning what works and what does not work. What works is to allow cross-cultural competency in its Authenticity of an individual or community (especially ALAANA, women and children, BIPOC), organization, to be used to reach a goal of positive movement. The overall Mission of A.C.E. is to assist in building microcosms of a nearly perfect world with DEBI-P where skills can be learned and applied to the Greater world and for the Greater good.
Purpose and 5 Unique Key Elements!
A.C.E. teaches DEI and Belonging with 5 Key Elements that other DEI programs don't have - inclusion with (1) Power that is designed to be (2) Fully-Inclusive, an (3) organizational design to act as an empowering infrastructure and a design of the (4) physical space to reach Optimal Performance and Results of these Initiatives. A fifth key component is the agency found in (5) Authentic Storytelling. The beauty of A.C.E. is that it can be implemented anywhere. In education, it is the classroom you want to learn and teach in. In organizations and businesses, it is the space where you'd like to work. In the community, it is the space you would like to live in. All the while, in all of these locations, you're getting a job done, succeeding in classes, and developing positive connections with communities and with each other.
From my decades of researching marginalization, I have learned that anyone can feel dismissed or marginalized. I speak about this in my book 250 Years and Still a Slave where there is shared accountability and responsibility for Race Relations. From negative, dysfunctional environments to positive, effective synergetic collaborations, there is a CORE of Operation. When the CORE of Good is established, authentically, everything and everyone is Elevated to reach Optimal Performances and Good Results. There is no Blaming or Demonizing or Berating or Shaming. Everyone has value and everyone has the opportunity to speak from the Core of who they are, authentically, and be included in narratives and dialogues for understanding and movement from the margins, individually and collectively.
Like bell hooks argued, there is Power in the Margins. A.C.E. says to take this power and through-self-agency, move from the margins. I have seen this type of movement change how you view yourself and, consequently, how others view and interact with you as well. The person you present is closer to who you are authentically which is a great place to be for change and for acceptance and respect. No matter who you are, where you are from, what you are studying, where you work or live, the A.C.E. environment provides a space to learn and grow and lead from the best part of ourselves and in fully-inclusive ways that is belonging with special attention to forms of equity and with respect for diversity. Sound too good to be true? I know. I always like to see when it works for others and they prosper! It's always a good thing when your vision, hope and dream for a better environment manifests itself. Professionally, partly because of A.C.E., I have received Superior teaching evaluations for 20 years as a Black, female and that includes teaching at historically white and black institutions of learning. I have been promoted and awarded for my work, research, creative endeavors and service and I have been applauded for my work in demarginalization from national and prominent individuals such as Jane Elliott, Joseph Opala, Tom Joyner and many others. The students and individuals that I have life coached are more well-adjusted and organizations and institutions and organizations here in the United States and Abroad are more inclusive and productive. I love it all!
Want to know something special about you? Even if you're even a little skeptical, but you have hope and believe that, perhaps, things can be better when it comes to DEBI, then guess what? That's a small but important form of A.C.E.ing IT! So, congratulations! Having the proper perspective and vision is the first step. This is why I took off the glasses you were wearing while reading this and replaced them with A.C.E. glasses so that you could see clearly, that you, too, are included and can work wonders! I want to say that it is very important that you understand that the purpose of A.C.E. is not to convert others. Rather A.C.E. allows people to share their gifts, talents, challenges, intellect, ideas, experiences, and opinions in a safe, productive, healthy and empowering environment that allows understanding. No, Black versus White, or Abled versus Physically Special, or Rich versus Poor, or having Emotional Challenges versus those who may not, or other polar opposing constructs used to divide each other and deter forward movement. Instead, cross-cultural competencies, intersectionality and self-value and agency are activated to teach others while also learning of our strengths and weaknesses. This makes us stronger, more productive, healthier, and happier. This is A.C.E.ing IT!
A.C.E. Induced DEBI with Power (DEBI-P)
A new phrasing that is unique in A.C.E. and in its practice is the direct responses to addressing the traditional way of doing things by including Power. Without some form of power when it comes to Diversity, Belonging, Inclusion and Equity, you're merely talking about tokenism in most cases. It is important to have qualified individuals to represent diversity and Inclusion with Power - which is very different than the basic "Inclusion" paradigm that everyone seems to know and talk about. Traditionally, the basic understanding and use of inclusion usually allows success with Inclusion to be measured and defined quantitatively-meaning how many this or that or them, you have seated at the table in numbers. i can't tell you how many times I have heard "We're doing great with DEI because we have hired 2 of them and 1 of them" and efforts to improve ceases.
In its design, A.C.E. is not about how much diversity exists by number. It is about the type of power and voice present to make transformational change? To address this obstacle and omission, there are intentionally-placed agents of Power within A.C.E. that can be utilized and are expected to be utilized. The Power to Choose. The Power to Speak. The Power to Design. The Power to Define. The Power to Relocate and RePosition. The Power to Create. The Power to Disengage. The Power to Engage. The Power to Feel. The Power to have Self-Value and Agency. The Power to be Authentic. The Power to be Different and Think Differently. The Power to be Responsible and the Power to be Accountable and more. As a bonus for sustainability, it is the method of Experiential Learning where the Learning comes from Doing.
At the top of each Movement is a form of Leadership. I have studied how different styles of leadership such as, Transactional, Transformational, and Resonant and other styles of leadership can either create or deter forms of DEI-P from occurring. If you have someone in charge and they do not have the skills to initiate positive results with DEBI-P, then revisions in the design of the physical environment as well as the organizational design should be a part of the solution - while that leader is still learning [or in one of my workshops or courses, smiling]! This process speaks to one-person leadership as well as collective leadership within small groups.
Understanding how to use elements of Power and Leadership are important to creating Successful, Diverse, Healthy, Equitable, Proactive, Productive and Positive Experiences & Environments that are Truly Inclusive and Equitable. Many times, these important aspects are what's missing in many DEBI strategies. They are not Intentionally Included within the Strategic Planning & Execution. In these situations most are left wondering why their plan did not work. Similarly, when they are initially included, they end up being overlooked and not viewed as essential elements, outside of the desire to win an award or some form of recognition.
The Human Aspect-A Pinch More!
Another key ingredient of A.C.E. that I really like as a Humanist, is the understanding and importance of seeing the Human Being first in every scenario and construct whenever possible. This is important. Without an understanding of the value of Human Capital, the Human Being - Sustainable Movement Forward or Upward movement that is beneficial to the Collective will not exist. This includes respect for Intersectionality and Cross-Cultural Competency, which we all have. We are seeing and experiencing, in painful ways, how parts of our societal infrastructure are failing due to this lack of implementation and understanding of humanness. Many have failed to take into consideration or include the Person, the Human Being and their emotional wellbeing as a part of its Strategic design towards inclusion. Not only that, sometimes the ones who really want to make a positive difference discover that they don't have the skills to navigate such landscapes when DEBI-P are included. Key point to remember - behind every policy, company or place of work or learning, there is a human being. So, reformation of the space as well as the people are needed. Being able to find balance between stagnant objectives and the human being, as well as emotional-wellbeing and intelligence can, and, with a high probability, determine the success or failure of DEBI-P endeavors now and in the future. This is why Implementing, Activating and Engaging in A.C.E.ing it is so important.
As stated previously, anyone can feel dismissed or marginalized. Seasoned Professors feel marginalized because Technology appears to have taken over their classes, their way of teaching and their students. They feel as if they don't learn the latest TikTok trick or how to upload all of their lesson plans onto an online platform or don't use their phones for every type of communication, they are disconnected from their students and have no other choice but to fail. This disconnect brings real fear when it comes to evaluation time and job security. But there is another choice found in A.C.E. . In a situation such as this, A.C.E. says to de-marginalize oneself by learning the skills needed to change your situation or, through collectively learning, be transparent and have your students take turns guest teaching the skills you and others may not have. This plays into strong points and de-marginalizes the learning environment and the teacher. It also gives value to the student and their place within the collective., Everyone is Actively Centralized and Empowered to learn together and from each other without dismissing the crucial and important and powerful role of the professor. I see Disempowering strategies at play all of the time in all areas where humans congregate. It is unpleasant, doesn't feel good but can be addressed.
Another example is that some women feel oppressed and are underpaid. These feelings can affect their job performances, their ability to connect with others in empowering and self-positive ways, and their ability and skill to ask for what they want and what they have earned. A.C.E. says find your strong points, confidence and self-value and actively speak and move from this negative place of marginalization and centralize yourself to get better pay, and empower yourself to have the courage to take the steps needed to make this happen. If it doesn't happen where you work, be empowered to look at options of moving on, especially if the effects are negative and hurtful. My business consultation side says, it's all negative in this type of situation of being underpaid and undervalued. There is not an upside so move on when you can. In the meantime, have your bosses take one of my workshops or call me in for an advising consultation. I can help you navigate through this process. I also encourage you to sign up for one of my motivational A.C.E. workshops. You'll love it!
Businesses can't keep good workers, and people of different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic levels, or sexual orientation feel powerless at times in spaces where they are the minority. At the same time, in some instances, White people feel targeted because they are in the majority, and like most aggregates, they are sometimes judged by the company that they keep which can include racists. If they speak, they are racist, and if they don't speak, they are racist and feel powerless. This is how some will view and judge them. The truth is is that they ALL can benefit from using A.C.E. because it Allows and Encourages each member of each aggregate to activate their voices in respectful ways, be accountable and responsible for who they are and move themselves from the margins, collectively and individually. Even in this type of situation. If they are not ready to speak on their own, the entire A.C.E. environment is required and encouraged to help them make this move when needed and is appropriate - within their Authenticity and towards Optimal Performance. Not only that, using A.C.E. can result in better ROIs for businesses and their clients. Customers are happier and human beings who happen to be employees are more productive and dedicated. Using A.C.E. people feel empowered, have an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence, are more inclusive and feel more included. Peers become support systems. They are also more competent and feel more confident in applying A.C.E. strategies, regardless of demographic make-up. It takes practice and there is no better time to start than now.
Other beneficial outcomes are found in Diversity being a Fact that translates into having "Differences" respected. Equity is a Choice which translates into everyone having Equal Opportunity to Engage, Perform & Achieve. Inclusion with Power is an Action that means having a seat at the table with active voice of power. It also means being able to build new authentic tables and chairs when needed. Having Voice at the table means to be able to assist in the Movement to reach an Outcome of Belonging, and Belonging is to have all of the above and then repeat. This is the metacognitive approach to using the A.C.E. formula for successful DEBI-P. This is Active Centralized Empowerment Engaged! That is the magic and purpose of A.C.E. .
And still more good news is that A.C.E. can be adopted, adapted and tailored in ways that work to achieve your specific goals. It is Experiential Learning, one of the best methods to learn: how to respect Diversity, how to value and practice Equity, how to create Belonging, and how to engage in Inclusive practices with an understanding of Power dynamics. I look forward to working with you to reach your goals of positivity when it comes to DEBI-P. The list of ROIs, which is the Return On Investments as a Result Of Inclusion continues to grow. I hope you enjoy reading about some of the other benefits found in specific areas of focus throughout this website.
The Mission of Active Centralized Empowerment is to enhance initiatives of Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion with Power by directly and actively de-marginalizing individuals, communities, learning and working environments and organizational infrastructures to reach Optimal Results, Benefits and Performance. We seek to bring out the very Best and to reach the Greatest Potential. Our Mission is found in areas of the underserved, underrepresented, unheard, unnoticed and under-protected, ALAANA, BIPOC, women and children as well as members found in the majority. Our mission also includes training and developing Inclusive Transformational Leaders to build on this mission to help lead and create healthy and elevating environments that are holistically and fundamentally, Fully-Inclusive and Empowered.
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