On February 22nd, CCL Senior Research Scientist, Marcia A. Dawkins, participated in a conversation hosted by CCL’s Black Professional Employee Resource Group (BPERG). Panelists discussed their professional experience and background, their ability to thrive amidst the challenges Black leaders face, and their unique perspectives on resilience as Black professionals.

The definition of resilience is the capacity of a system, enterprise, or individual to respond adaptively to challenges while maintaining core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances. For Black leaders, resilience is more than managing burnout at work. To be successful, Black leaders have had to endure racism, discrimination, micro and macro aggressions, and institutional socioeconomic inequalities just to get on the playing field, which was never level to begin with and still isn’t. There have been significant changes, yes, but black and minority leaders are carrying all of this with them into work each day and still being successful and thriving and helping others despite the pounds of external pressure put on them.

At CCL we think about resilience a lot. And our colleague Pete Ronayne, makes the point that there are the two types of resilience: there’s the bounce back/grit part and then there’s the energy management/resilience as recharge/self-care part. At CCL we refer to this as Burning Bright, as opposed to Burning Out. The two types are powerfully connected. CCL’s BPERG has provided a support network and a place where our Black leaders can recharge and sustain their well-being in the workplace, and where they can be their authentic selves. The panel shared resilience strategies, boundaries, choice, and responded to these four questions.

  1. How have you maintained or implemented resilience practices in your own lives? What can you recommend for our audience if they are still figuring this out for themselves? (Ask audience to share their go-to resilience practices in chat)
  2. Do you think our resilience benefit us or can possibly harm us?
  3. What does it mean for us if black leaders are too good at bouncing back and can we be too resilient?
  4. Being resilient may lead us to take on or absorb more than we should for our own well-being. But do we have room to make a different choice? (Ask audience about how they create boundaries for themselves to support their own well-being)

Watch the recording here