DEI LEAP: Empowering Leaders Through Turbulent Times

Mar 26, 2024

A headshot of Lisette Martinez, a Latina woman with the text, DEI Leap.
DEI LEAP: Empowering Leaders Through Turbulent Times

​As we all know, 2024 has brought a wave of attacks against DEI. A handful of outspoken critics, such as Elon Musk, are misrepresenting DEI and attacking the strategies and practices that are creating more equitable and inclusive workplaces and delivering positive business results, as evidenced by numerous studies. We have written a few blogs about the attacks, and you can read them here.

Today, we are offering a way forward, through the turbulence, beyond and above the fray. Our aim is to empower you to not only engage in your DEI efforts but to take a leap into action with renewed vigor and determination!

We are proud to announce the launch of a new eLearning training program, DEI LEAP: Fostering Inclusion and Building Humanity with Lisette Martinez, the Chief Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Officer at the National Audubon Society and one of SunShower’s distinguished experts. You can read more and even take the course for a Test Drive by filling out the form here

DEI LEAP is a true masterclass, where Lisette invites you to get up close and personal as she shares her experiences, lessons learned and vision for what today’s employees and organizations need and want – to work in diverse and inclusive workplaces where people feel like they belong. Through DEI LEAP, leaders and individual contributors gain actionable strategies to heighten bias awareness, enhance connections through storytelling, navigate challenges with grace and cultivate a stronger sense of belonging within their organizations.

About Lisette Martinez
As a fervent advocate for the transformative power of inclusion, Lisette has created award-winning DEI organizations and programs that operationalize DEI to align and support the company’s mission, vision and values. She was recognized as a Top Diversity Leader by Modern Healthcare and held the position of EVP and Chief DEI Officer at Jefferson Health, a 198-year-old legacy organization with 18 hospitals and 10 colleges with over 50,000 employees and students. Then, in 2024, Lisette was appointed by the National Audubon Society to spearhead efforts across the organization, integrating equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDIB) practices seamlessly into the fabric of Audubon’s operations. 

According to Lisette, the future of DEI revolves around ensuring that employees feel genuinely valued, engaged and included. In DEI LEAP, she provides a wealth of techniques and skills accessible to all, aimed at fostering such a workplace environment. Hence, the course subtitle, “Fostering Inclusion and Building Humanity.”

DEI LEAP consists of three main sections:

The Power of Storytelling
– Stories have the power to challenge stereotypes, dispel misconceptions and promote cross-cultural understanding. In this course, Lisette will guide you to reflect on your own story, your feelings of belonging and your experiences of inclusion or exclusion in order to better understand yourself and form more meaningful relationships in the workplace.
Inclusion Matters – The “I” in DEI is for inclusion. However, it is often overlooked. This is a big miss because inclusion in the workplace is a key factor for employee satisfaction and productivity. Our need for inclusion is embedded in our biological makeup. It’s instinctual and crucial for our development, wellbeing and survival. Lisette offers skills and tips for recognizing commonalities and crossing barriers of difference.
Building Humanity – In this section, Lisette offers her insights on embracing discomfort and extending grace when mistakes occur. She then introduces her SPA Zone method, emphasizing active listening, a commitment to ongoing learning and the gradual rebuilding of trust over time.

The early feedback on DEI LEAP is overwhelmingly positive. For example, Leslie Aguilar, the author of Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts, one of SunShower’s most popular courses, writes, “DEI LEAP captures stories and advice from Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leader, Lisette Martinez. Lisette sprinkles gems throughout that will help leaders create a culture of connection, inclusion and belonging.”

Maria Alicea, a Preventative Health Coordinator, shared that she likes that DEI LEAP focuses on stories and feelings.  She emailed us, “I believe that when people can identify to stories, they are more likely to open their minds and explore their own feelings, allowing them/us to reflect on ‘the why’; why we may think a certain way or feel a certain way about the many dimensions of differences. I also liked the exercises at the end of each lesson and the action plans.  This gives the learner the opportunity to reflect on the lesson and think about ways to act and change behaviors to become more inclusive.” 

When we asked Lisette about her wishes for the course, she said, “Diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging are fundamental values that every individual within the organization should uphold. DEI LEAP aims to empower you and your teams to cultivate stronger connections and relationships, fostering deeper levels of inclusion to navigate the evolving landscape of the workplace and life.”

Lisette Martinez and DEI LEAP are showing the way forward
This isn’t the time to step back from DEI efforts; it’s a moment to advance purposefully and unwaveringly. Despite the challenges facing DEI work, we must persist by ingraining diversity, equity and inclusion as core principles. Through education and training initiatives, we can empower individuals, paving the path for a fairer, more equitable and prosperous future. Let’s build workplaces that reflect and uplift the entirety of America.

In this crucial moment, where misinformation spreads rapidly, leaders must stand as beacons of truth. By openly addressing concerns, debunking falsehoods and showcasing the tangible benefits of DEI, leaders foster a more informed and empowered community. The success of DEI initiatives relies on leaders who are courageous and well-prepared to confront obstacles, dispel misunderstandings and advocate for values that truly strengthen our organizations and society. Stand resolute, be a voice of clarity and lead the way toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

DEI LEAP will show you and your colleagues the way forward.


Call us or click here to fill out the form and set up a meeting. We’ll demo the course for you and share licensing and pricing info.