Tara Jaye Frank’s new book, The Waymakers: Clearing the Path for Workplace Equity with Confidence and Competence, will be published on May 3rd. In recent years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have taken a national spotlight. The Waymakers guides leaders to achieving equity goals by presenting a compelling case for change and providing thoughtful lessons on facilitating best DEI practices.
Frank is an equity strategist who has advised and educated thousands of Fortune 500 executives across multiple industries and large member organizations. Her work, fueled by a deep belief in the creative power and potential of every one, focuses on building bridges between people, ideas, and opportunity. Before founding her culture and leadership consultancy, Frank spent twenty-one years at Hallmark Cards, where she served in multiple executive roles, including vice president of creative writing and editorial, vice president of business innovation, vice president of multicultural strategy, and corporate culture advisor to the president.
Today, April 19, Frank will be joining fellow Amplify Author Brian McComak on Hummingbird Hour. This virtual LinkedIn event will begin at 12 pm ET and is open to all. We will be joining and hope to see you there!
The Waymakers tackles questions of workplace equity and inclusion, highlighting what really drives it. It also outlines how historically excluded people who have broken through to greater levels of professional belonging and achievement have done so, in part, due to waymakers: leaders who actively chose to remove barriers and pave the way for others. We are honored to have been involved in Frank’s publishing journey and are excited to share a brief introduction to her book before its release.
“You are reading this book today because I have worked with hundreds of well-meaning executives all over the world who have equated niceness with fairness, being welcoming with being inclusive, and who see scant representation—even when concentrated in nonexempt jobs or entry levels—as diversity. While all these things are good things, they are not the same things.
To believe equity can be achieved by relying on leaders to be kind and to “do the right thing” suggests that inequity exists because some unkind people did some wrong things, which clearly oversimplifies a system designed and propagated to advantage some and disadvantage others. Equity—technically defined as fairness and impartiality—is an uncomplicated idea with a very complicated root. It acknowledges that there have been more barriers for some than for others, heavier burdens, higher standards, and increased risk.
The idea of Waymaking—the simple yet profound premise that those with power and position have the opportunity and responsibility to make a way for other people—goes beyond fairness. It is a state of heightened awareness, a shared belief, and a commitment to lead. Awareness of the depth and breadth of challenge sweeping over many people and of the many reasons why we have failed to create sustainable change. Belief that every human being has value and potential. And a commitment to be the kind of leader who helps others contribute their value and fulfill their potential.
Waymaking creates space for those leading and those being led to learn and succeed together by waking up to the fundamental call of leadership. It encourages us to better understand why we are where we are—after decades of equality initiatives—and what we can do to accelerate change toward truly equitable workplaces where every employee has an opportunity to achieve their highest aspirations.
In full transparency, I am a person of faith, and the idea of making a way is both practical and biblical. In Isaiah 43:2, we read, “When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” This verse suggests a sort of protection—a shielding from harm and an elevation that allows us to rise above and move through challenges without being irreparably damaged by them. Countless professionals in workplaces all over the world need that kind of shielding. They need that kind of support.
This book is an invitation, more than anything, for you—from whichever seat you occupy—to make a way for someone else. In it, I share everything I’ve learned about why companies are struggling to achieve their equity goals, how those making progress define and measure success and build inclusion competence and confidence, and what you as an individual can do—practically speaking—to create and sustain an equitable workplace. My hope is that you use it to help unlock true equity in your company and then bask in it.
I’ve been asked why I wrote this book. I wrote it because there are so many reasons why we’ve not made more progress on equity, and we can’t overcome the roadblocks we do see. I wrote it because I’ve had Waymakers, and I’ve needed them. I wrote it because beyond all the theories and strategies and operational elements involved in achieving equity, I know that you—the person holding this book or listening to it—are one of the most powerful drivers of progress. I wrote this book to show you not only why you should make a way but how. Whether you realize it or not, you are the most important difference maker.”
If you want to learn how you or the leaders in your life can become a waymaker, pre-order a copy of The Waymakers today and follow Tara Jaye Frank on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on her website!