Workshops for Inclusion in the Workplace & Beyond

Sherry Marts gave a terrific, engaging, and extremely important workshop on how to recognize and how to respond to harassment - in the workplace, but also when you’re working away from home, i.e. at a meeting or conference. Her confident, yet accessible presentation resonated with everyone in attendance. We walked away feeling like we’d both found our inner voices and had become empowered to use them.
— Susan Perkins, Ph.D., Curator & Professor, American Museum of Natural History

IMPORTANT NOTE: These workshops will NOT cover the legal and procedural aspects of sexual harassment as workplace discrimination. It is intended to serve as a complement to such training.

Despite employers’ best efforts, sexual and gender-based harassment still occurs in most workplaces, resulting in decreased morale and productivity. Even the best policies and procedures don’t address the sense of vulnerability and stress experienced by the targets of harassment. Training in how to respond assertively to harassment offers relief from that stress. 

How people treat each other is a key factor in making a workplace, a team, or a conference truly inclusive. I have three approaches to this: Harassment Resistance, Bystander Intervention, and Ally Skills.

I’m not a lawyer or an HR professional, so I keep the focus on what individuals can do to ensure everyone is included. I can review what to do to report harassment, based on the processes and procedures you use, as part of the trainings.

Learn How to Handle Harassers in the Moment

This workshop covers what to do in the moment when you are the target of sexual and gender-based harassment, and how to make it clear when attention or advances are unwanted.

I teach [my women students] to draw strong professional boundaries and then to enforce them, not because [they] should have to, but because nobody else will.
— Hope Jahren, "She Wanted to Do Her Research. He Wanted to Talk ‘Feelings.’"

Participants actively learn and practice responding in variety of harassment scenarios. The methods to be taught are based on experience and research emerging from women’s self-defense instruction since the 1970’s, and will emphasize straightforward, practical techniques that can be learned and practiced by anyone. Topics may include:

  • Setting and holding clear boundaries

  • When and where to confront harassers

  • How to recognize and respond to resistance testing

  • Simple, clear and direct communication methods that work

  • How to use your voice to command attention

  • Importance of body language, tone of voice, choice of words

  • Subtle ways to avoid unwanted touch

  • The big squeeze: How to shake hands without pain

Throughout the workshop I will invite attendees to talk about their own experiences, or those they have witnessed and heard about. We will use those experiences to create practice scenarios for the participants.

Ally Skills: Because Good Intentions are Not Enough

Have you ever had the experience of cringing over an insensitive remark or discourteous behavior toward someone else, but not knowing whether or how to object or intervene? In any situation in which you enjoy some social privilege (unasked for and unearned advantage over those who are not like you), you can be an ally to those with less privilege. It takes having an understanding of privilege and oppression and being able to recognize the subtle behaviors, unspoken rules, and unquestioned traditions that perpetuate oppression. It also takes a willingness to move beyond good intentions to effective action. Allies are key to creating an inclusive culture in any organization or workplace. This training will bring you what you need to be an effective ally, including: 

  • How to recognize subtle forms of exclusion, harassment, and bullying.

  • How to respond to incidents of exclusion, harassment, and bullying.

  • How to respond to more explicit forms of harassment and exclusion (active bystander intervention)

  • A chance to practice these skills

What a difference your workshop made! We saw statistically significant increases in participants’ comfort responding to unwelcome comments as a bystander and when they are the target. Significant increase in knowledge about techniques to de-escalate unwelcome situations and significant increase in participant preparedness for confrontational situations.
— A.O., Georgetown University

Active Bystander Intervention: Be Part of the Solution

Bystanders may recognize conflict, bullying, or harassment, but are reluctant to intervene. An active bystander has the knowledge, skills, and willingness to intervene effectively and safely to stop the destructive behavior. In this training you'll learn more about why bystanders are reluctant to step in, and how you can overcome your own reluctance and be part of the solution to bullying and harassment. You'll learn how to notice and identify harassment and bullying, and you'll learn and practice three approaches for intervening to stop the behavior.